OMW: Isis

As a corollary to my posts about the OMU (Original Marvel Universe), I’m devoting this month to presenting portraits I’ve done of some of my favorite OMW (Obscure Marvel Women). These characters never received their due, but remain fascinating, enigmatic, and sexy.

The goddess Isis was born in the land now called Egypt around the year 4000 BC, the daughter of Geb, the local “God of the Earth,” and Nut, a sky-goddess—both of whom were descendants of the original Elder Gods of Earth. This was about four thousand years after the Post-Hyborian Cataclysm decimated the earth and utterly destroyed the civilization that had called this region Stygia. It was only about a thousand years previously that the human inhabitants had reintroduced agriculture and begun to form small village communities along the Nile River. During this period, the local gods lived on the earth, but much further from the Nile Valley than humans dared venture.

About 500 years later, when Isis was still relatively young, the Nile Valley was conquered by a quartet of extradimensional invaders with superhuman powers. These so-called Elementals set themselves up as gods and ruled tyrannically. However, Isis and her brother Osiris lent their mystical energies to a human wizard to create a powerful artifact called the Ruby Scarab, with which a young warrior drove the Elementals from Earth’s dimension. Osiris then accepted the worship of the grateful humans, and began teaching them advanced techniques in agriculture and metallurgy, eventually coming to rule over them politically as well. Isis also sought to civilize the humans by sharing her knowledge of more domestic skills, such as preparing food and weaving cloth. In time, Osiris and Isis married, and she bore at least six children.

Shortly before 3000 BC, Osiris was killed by his evil brother Seth, but Isis was able to resurrect him. Nevertheless, Osiris chose to return to the underworld to be its ruler, and charged his son Horus to hunt down Seth and make him pay for his crimes. Osiris then decided that the humans were advanced enough to rule themselves, and so the gods retired from the earth, establishing their new home, called the Celestial Heliopolis, in another dimension. From there, they continued to guide and protect their worshippers in Egypt. However, after only two centuries free of Osiris’s control, the Egyptians began to develop in their own manner. Though the flourishing culture maintained many Heliopolitan influences, the gods found their direct involvement in human affairs diminishing.

Finally, in 31 BC, after battling each other for millennia, Seth finally defeated Horus and imprisoned him, along with Isis and Osiris, in a pyramid which he buried deep beneath the desert sands. Seth then made himself ruler of the Celestial Heliopolis and its remaining denizens. Isis, along with her husband and son, would remain imprisoned for twenty centuries. Without their benevolent influence, the last Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, was finally defeated by the forces of the Roman Empire, which then conquered her lands, ending forever the reign of the pharaohs.

In 1968 AD, Isis, Osiris, and Horus were freed from their long imprisonment by the Asgardian thunder god Thor and his father Odin. Seth was driven from the throne, but remained a menace to the other Egyptian gods. Isis resumed her rightful place as the Queen of Heliopolis, but found herself now totally divorced from the earth and its inhabitants.

First Appearance: Thor # 239

Final Appearance: Thor # 400

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