Elektra (comics)

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Elektra (Elektra Natchios) is a Marvel Comics superhero. Created by Frank Miller, she first appeared in Daredevil #168 (January, 1981). She is named after Electra, daughter of Agamemnon of Mycenae and Clytemnestra of Sparta.

Elektra is a ninja and assassin who wields two bladed sais as her trademark weapon. She is one of Miller's more memorable creations for Marvel, and subsequent writers' use of her is controversial among American comic book fans.

Contents

Character history

Family and early life

Missing image
Daredevil168.png
Cover to Daredevil #168, by Frank Miller.

Elektra was born in an unnamed Greek island of the Aegean Sea to Hugo Kostas Natchios and his wife Christina Natchios. She had an older brother named Orestez Natchios. (The name should be Orestes in Greek language).

There have been two different and contradictory accounts of her family history given in various issues. In Elektra:Root of Evil #1-4 (March - June, 1995) it is stated her father was an aspiring diplomat who eventualy managed to gain his first assignment as an ambassador to an unspecified country. However Hugo and his wife had grown apart. Christina had begun a series of extramarital affairs with no apparent interest at keeping them secret. Resulting in personal humiliation for her husband. Popular opinion in diplomatic circles stated that a man unable to control his wife had no business deciding on the fate of the world. When Christina became pregnant for a second time, Hugo was certain the child was not his own.

Hugo confided to his adolescent son that his mother was a whore shaming their family. Orestez promised his father that Christina would never again shame them. Hugo failed to understand the meaning of these words. On August 13 of that year, the couple was on holiday in the Aegean Sea. They were located by a helicopter which opened fire on them both. The assasins left them for dead. The couple was taken to a nearby hospital. Christina gave premature birth to Elektra and then passed away. Hugo recovered from his wounds.

Orestez had hired the assassins in order to indirectly commit matricide. He was horrified by the idea of unintentional patricide and ran away from home. Hugo was the only family left to Elektra. At first Hugo had no intention to raise this "bastard" child. However a paternity testing confirmed the child to be his own. Hugo was not sorry for loosing Christina. He was grateful however for her giving him a daughter. He arranged for a beautiful headstone to be placed on her grave. Images of the Erinyes on the headstone implied however that Christina was responsible for her own death.

Hugo grew to adore Elektra. He nicknamed her his "Little Amber" and showeved her with gifts. Her favorite gift was a pet dog of her own, named Agamemnon. Continuing the pattern of Hugo naming members of his family after the Atreidae. The dog was killed when a nine-year-old Elektra was assaulted by kidnappers. The men were all killed by Orestez who had grown into an accomplished martial artist after leaving home. He did not explain his presence there. He briefly acquainted himself to his little sister and then left again.

But Orestez had a lasting effect in her life. He advised his father that Elektra needed to learn self-defense. Hugo hired a sensei to teach her the martial arts. Beginning her acquaintance with fighting. The issues were scripted by Dan Chichester and drawn by Scott McDaniel.

Contradictory accounts

A very different account was told in Elektra vol. 1 #18 (May, 1998). The account was told to Wolverine by an old family retained by the name of "Stavros". Stavros had reportedly met Hugo and Christina during World War II , at the time of Greece's occupation by Nazi Germany.

Stavros was leader to a small group of the Greek Resistance movement. A younger Hugo was a leader of a greater covert cell which operated in the same area. A fifteen-year-old Christina was also part of the cell and operated as a messenger. She brought a message to Stavros one day. An order to join her commandant and fight under his orders. Stavros replied to this arrogant message with laughter. Until Christina drew her gun and threaned his life with cold determination on her eyes. The following day Stavros joined a leader who was able to inspire such determination to his followers.

Christina would proove her worth many times during the resistance. She married Hugo after the war. They were not involved in the Greek Civil War. However the later war cost Christina her life. Christina was in the eighth month of her pregnancy when Hugo had to go to Athens, Attica on "goverment matters". Stavros was left behind to take care of her. He accompanied her to the clinic to see the family doctor and was then dismissed for an hour. During that hour "a man who considered himself a patriot" but wanted by the Greek Army invaded the clinic. (Given the time the man was probably a member of the Democratic Army of Greece under Markos Vafiadis). He killed the doctor and attempted to take the patient as hostages. Christina attempted to convince him to stop the unnecessary violence but was shot in the chest. She used her old combat training to take the man down. She then had to stop the other patients from assaulting the already defeated man until his arrest. But she was mortally wounded and gave premature birth. Elektra was born in the clinic floor, painted red from the blood of her mother. Christina died before hearing the first cry of her daughter. The issue was scripted by Larry Hama and drawn by Mike Deodato, Jr.

The two version of the nature of Christina Natchios' death can not be reconciled. Further more Elektra:Assassin #1 (August, 1986) placed ambiguity on the relationship Elektra had with her father. The adult Elektra recalled vague memories of being raped by her father as a five-year-old. Years of counseling and medication had convinced her this was a false memory. But the doubt remained. Another memory had the six-year-old Elektra sitting on Hugo's while her teasing father compared her to a cat. The Cheshire Cat from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Elektra grew up close to her father but was plagued by dark visions and voices with no known source. She occassionaly reacted to them with self-harm. Her father eventually sent her away to psychotherapy until becoming more stable. Whether Elektra became more stable or appeared to do so was left uncertain. The issue was scripted by Frank Miller and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Activities as an adult

Hugo Natchios is known to have eventualy served as a Greek ambassador to the United States. Nineteen-year-old Elektra first attended Columbia University, New York City, New York. There Elekta met Matt Murdock , the man who would become Daredevil, who became her boyfriend.

A year later, twenty-year-old Elektra and her father were kidnapped by terrorists. Matt wore a mask for the first time and started a rescue attempt. Elektra used the distraction to strike down some of the terrorists. However one of the defeated men fell out of a window. The police assumed the terrorists had started throwing their hostages off the window. They opened fire and killed the man closest to the window: Hugo Natchios. Right in front the eyes of his daughter.

Elektra lost faith and hope. She quit Columbia and returned to the study of martial arts. Stick, a member of the benevolent organization called the Chaste, recognized the darkness in her soul and attempted to train her himself, but she ultimately sided with the Hand, a sect of mystical ninjas, who trained her as an assassin. She later broke away from them and became an independent agent, and in this role she again encountered Matt Murdock, who was now active as Daredevil. She soon learned of his double identity, and although the pair worked together to fight the Hand, they also came into conflict frequently.

She soon became the chief assassin in the employ of New York City's premier crimelord, the Kingpin, who assigned her to kill Matt Murdock's partner, Franklin "Foggy" Nelson. When Nelson recognized Elektra as Matt's college girlfriend, she was unable to kill him.

Missing image
Dd181.png
Cover to Daredevil #181, by Frank Miller.

Elektra was fatally stabbed by Bullseye with one of her own sais in a battle over which of them would be the Kingpin's assassin (in Daredevil #181). Elektra managed to crawl over to Daredevil's house before dying in his arms as Bullseye watched the two, hidden among a crowd that had gathered to see what was going on. Later (in Daredevil #190), members of the Hand stole her body and attempted to resurrect her. Daredevil, with the assistance of Stone, a member of Stick's order, intervened, defeating the Hand ninjas. Daredevil then tried to revive Elektra himself. Although his attempt failed, it did have the effect of purifying Elektra's soul. Elektra's body subsequently disappeared with Stone.

Years later, it was revealed that Elektra was resurrected by Stone. Elektra's evil aspect had been physically split apart from her in its own body as a consequence of the ritual performed by Daredevil. Her darker half, calling itself Erynys, fought Elektra and was killed by her, thus returning the dark side to Elektra's soul. She wandered the world and became acquainted with Wolverine of the X-Men.

Feature series

Missing image
ElektraSaga_Issue1.jpg
Cover of Elektra Saga #1.

Elektra has received her own comic series twice; the second series was published under the Marvel MAX imprint before being moved back to Marvel's mainstream line of comic books.

  • Elektra Saga (1983) #1-4 (fix-up drawn from previously published material)
  • Elektra: Assassin (1986) #1-8
  • Elektra Lives Again (1990) #1 (Epic Comics graphic novel)
  • Elektra: Root of Evil (1995) #1-4
  • Elektra Megazine (1996) #1-2 (reprint series)
  • Elektra (1996 series) #1-19
  • Elektra (2001 series) #1-35 (MAX)
  • Wolverine & Elektra: The Redeemer (2002) #1-2
  • Elektra: Glimpse & Echo (2002) #1-4

Appearances in other media

In the 2003 movie Daredevil, Elektra was played by Jennifer Garner; her story arc in the film roughly followed that of the original Frank Miller comics. Garner reprised the role in a film spin-off, Elektra, continuing Elektra's story arc with her being resurrected.

External links

pt:Elektra

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