Warning: SPOILERS for War of the Realms #4
Marvel's latest event may have given Thor a powerful new arm, but it's his father who is getting the far better upgrade with help from Iron Man. It's time for comic fans to meet... Odin, the Iron All-Father.
Of course, this promotion begs the question: why does the powerful All-Father need a suit of armor? Odin has been out of the game since the beginning of the War of the Realms event, when he was ambushed by Malekith's Dark Elf assassins (before the villain invaded Earth). But a severely wounded All-Father can't stay on the sidelines any longer, now that his wife Queen Freyja is in peril. Odin must save her, but it's Tony Stark who helps give him the edge he'll need to pull it off.
Freyja is Keeping The Universe Together
When War of the Realms #4 begins, a team of covert Avengers has been led by Freyja to Svartalfheim, the Dark Elf realm, to destroy the Black Bifrost. Most fans of the Thor movies will be familiar with the normal Bifrost, also known as the 'Rainbow Bridge.' While Malekith was able to launch his attacks on the Nine Realms by surprise, the truth eventually came out: Malekith's using his own Black Bifrost to stay one step ahead of the heroes, traversing all of the realms as he pleases. Since Freyja was forced to watch as the war began with Loki being eaten by his Frost Giant father, she is out for revenge that only bloodshed can give her. But right as the team is about to destroy the black bridge, Freyja can feel that Asgard's own rainbow bridge was just destroyed by Malekith's forces. So if she goes through with destroying the black bridge... then both her team and the heroes spread across the realms will be stranded. The plan instantly changed: hold the line, and control the Black Bifrost as long as possible.
After killing Bitterhand, the black bridge's own version of Heimdall the Gatekeeper, Freyja takes the Bitterblade for herself--and with it control of the Dark Elves' Black Bifrost. While single-handedly holding back the attacking horde, of course. The battle scenes that follow prove just how much of a badass Freyja really is, easily as strong and courageous in combat as the rest of her family (with her battle fury even rising as high as Thor's own bloody 'berserker rage'). Controlling the black bridge allows Freyja to send her Avengers back to Earth, after making several stops along Yggdrasil (the World-Tree) along the way, recruiting those who have fallen victim to Malekith's war for one massive battle.
But this decision is made knowing full well that Freyja will be left alone to 'hold the door open' behind them. Even for her, it's a death sentence to stand against the entire military might of Malekith's home. And that's exactly what Odin realizes when he hears the first word of her sacrifice.
Odin Gets an Iron Man Upgrade?
Odin, awakened by the news that his wife has been left for dead in "the very home of the Bor-damned Dark Elves," is determined to save her despite injuries that would kill any other being. The Avengers may not be strong enough to come to her aid unless Freyja allows it herself... but Odin is. Clearly setting aside the drunkenness and ego that have defined him over the past several months, Odin is given new purpose upon seeing Freyja put in harm's way. As the All-Father marches off to enter the black Bifrost and save his wife with only his spear in hand, he is stopped by Tony Stark and Screwbeard the dwarf... who proclaim they have built a great new weapon for Odin.
In classic Tony Stark fashion, he talks. He reveals what great weapon he, Screwbeard, and Shuri have been working on since its tease in War of the Realms #3. Apparently everyone realized they would need the All-Father sooner or later, no matter how wounded he was when he arrived on Earth. At the time, Screwbeard was apparently impressed enough to ask if Tony and Shuri ("Man of Iron and Woman of Vibranium") were certain they didn't possess some Dwarf DNA. But now that his work is unveiled to the King of Asgard, Screwbeard is taking all of the credit.
Explaining that he did all the work while Tony just talked a lot, the comic confirms that it was built according to Iron Man's designs. And once it's revealed, there is no doubt. This weapon is a suit of armor fit for a king... and when he arrives on Svartalfheim determined to save his wife, even Freyja must see her husband in a brand new light.
Meet Odin, The Iron All-Father
The suit's two large horns on top of the helmet stand out right away, giving an intimidating silhouette that can belong only to Odin. But the longer you look, the more details come out. Like the All-Father himself, the suit only has one eye. At the center of his chest is not an arc reactor, but the Valknut--a classic symbol from Norse mythology, also known as 'The Odin Knot.' The use of this symbol shows the grim beauty with which Tony, Shuri, and Screwbeard designed this armor for the father of the gods. The valknut is associated with both death and Odin... a dark omen for what is to come. Odin is determined to save his wife, but Freya has different plans. She knows destroying the black bridge could be a turning point in the war, cutting off Malekith's reinforcements.
So as the All-Father and All-Mother fight side by side against the endless waves of Malekith's forces, they are eventually overrun and pinned down. The two gods turn to eachother, and profess their love as they destroy the black bridge--and everything else around it, themselves included. Is this truly the last we've seen of The Iron All-Father and Thor's Bitterblade-wielding mother Freyja? Only time will tell.
War of the Realms #4 is available now from your local comic book store, or direct from Marvel Comics.