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Who Is Balder The Brave From MODOK Episode 6?

Contains minor spoilers for "MODOK" Season 1, Episode 6

"Marvel's MODOK" isn't like anything else that Marvel Television has ever produced. The new series is an adult-themed, stop motion animated series that feels more akin to shows like "Robot Chicken" and "Harley Quinn" than it does "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," "WandaVision," or any Marvel title on Disney+. Fortunately, "MODOK" uses those differences to its advantage — offering unique takes on certain Marvel characters, locations, and storylines that might not ever see the light of day in the prime Marvel Cinematic Universe. To just further add to the series' charm, "MODOK" is also brimming with obscure references and Easter eggs for Marvel comics fans to catch and obsess over.

One of the show's more unexpected Marvel Comics homages comes during the opening sequence of its sixth episode, when a character named Balder the Brave attempts to make an inspiring speech to a legion of Asgardian warriors. The character meets such a quick and brutal end shortly after his introduction in "MODOK" that it'd be fair to assume that he isn't anyone worth thinking about for long, but what casual viewers may not realize is that Balder the Brave is actually a fairly notable figure in the Marvel comics.

Balder the Brave is a major part of Thor's comic book mythos

In the comics, Balder the Brave is not only a famous Asgardian warrior, straight from Norse mythology, but also the half-brother of Thor (via Marvel Fandom). When he was young, it was foretold that Balder's death would mark the beginning of Ragnarok, aka the end of Asgard, so Odin worked with his wife Frigga to make Balder practically invulnerable. However, the character was left with one weakness, which made him mortally vulnerable to mistletoe. That vulnerability would later be exploited by plenty of nefarious Marvel comics villains, including the god of mischief himself — and Balder's adopted sibling — Loki.

As of yet, Balder has yet to appear in the MCU. In the comics, though, Balder has assumed a number of different roles over the decades. At certain points he has taken over for Odin and Thor as the Lord of Asgard, while at other times, he has died and become the King of Hel. But no matter what his position within the multiverse has been, Balder the Brave has (more or less) always remained on the side of good. Of course, none of that really matters in "MODOK," which kills off Balder in shockingly bloody fashion just moments after introducing him.

Given his backstory though, Balder's quick death in "MODOK," via thrown office machinery, feels very much like a cheeky and meta nod to the character's close relationship with death in the comics.