Elektra Natchios, usually known only by her first name Elektra, is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by Frank Miller, she first appeared in Daredevil #168 (January 1981).
Elektra is a ninja and assassin who wields two bladed sai as her trademark weapon. She is a love interest of the superhero Daredevil, but her violent nature and mercenary lifestyle divides the two. She is one of Frank Miller's best-loved creations for Marvel, and subsequent writers' use of her is controversial among American comic book fans. She has also appeared as a supporting character of the X-Men's Wolverine.
She is named after Electra, daughter of Agamemnon of Mycenae and Clytemnestra of Sparta.
Family and early life
Elektra was born on a 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).
Two contradictory accounts of her family history have been given in various issues. In Elektra: Root of Evil #1-4 (March - June, 1995), it is stated that her father was an aspiring diplomat who eventually 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 who was 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 assassins left them for dead. The couple was taken to a nearby hospital. Christina gave premature birth to Elektra and then died. 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 test confirmed the child to be his own. Hugo was not sorry for losing 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 showered 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.
A very different account was told in Elektra (Vol. 1) #18 (May, 1998). The account was told to Wolverine by an old family retainer 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 15-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 threatened his life with cold determination in her eyes. The following day, Stavros joined a leader who was able to inspire such determination to his followers.
Christina would prove 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 "government 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 versions of the nature of Christina Natchios' death cannot 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 5-year-old. Years of counseling and medication had convinced her this was a false memory. But the doubt remained. Another memory had the 6-year-old Elektra sitting on Hugo's lap while her teasing father compared her to a cat; likely 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 occasionally reacted to them with self-harm. Her father eventually sent her away to psychotherapy until becoming more stable. It was uncertain whether Elektra actually became more stable or merely appeared to. The issue was scripted by Frank Miller and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz.
The account of her childhood in the 2005 film Elektra appears to blend these two contradictory versions. In the film, her father did not abuse her physically or sexually, but rather pushed and bullied her as a warped form of "training"; in an attempt to forge her into an implacable warrior, he harshly punished her for the smallest failure or show of weakness. She did indeed mature into a formidable warrior, but was crippled emotionally.
Activities as an adult
Hugo Natchios is known to have eventually served as a Greek ambassador to the United States. 19-year-old Elektra first attended Columbia University, New York City, New York. There Elektra met Matt Murdock, the man who would become Daredevil, who became her boyfriend.
A year later, 20-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 of his daughter's eyes.
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 ninja, 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.
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 ninja. 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, Stick would send her to aid the X-Man Wolverine, at a time when he had been physically and mentally regressed to a bestial form. She helped retain him to the point where he could think and vocalise as a human once more, and spent time with him thereafter as he returned to his normal form, including taking him with her on a return to her ancestral home.
Some time after her partnership with Wolverine ended, it was revealed that when 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.
Wolverine: Enemy of the State
Elektra was recently one of the 'good guys' when she worked with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Hydra and The Hand joined forces, killing off various heroes and resurrecting them into their possessed Warriors, including the X-Man Wolverine, who became their killing machine. Based on her relationship with Logan and her ties to the Hand, Nick Fury hired Elektra to lead the mission, paying her in excess of $200,000, more money in one day than the (then) yearly salary of the President of the United States. She worked to stop Wolverine from killing others as well as to try and turn him back to his normal self. During a fight with The Hand, Elektra was killed and resurrected as a Hand warrior, eventually becoming their leader. Along with Northstar, another hero killed and resurrected by the Hand, Elektra attacked Nick Fury, injuring him badly.
Thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D, Wolverine eventually came to his senses and wanted revenge. During a fight with Elektra, she mentally spoke to him, using new abilities given to her by the Hand, which were similar to the Kimaguri abilities she had in the Elektra movie. She explained it was all part of a plan she had from the beginning. She explained that she had been resurrected by The Hand and worked for them. She told him that they would take The Hand and Hydra down together. They fought off many ninjas and were victorious. Gorgon, however, attacked Elektra and threw off her mental blocks, enabling him to read her thoughts and see where Fury was being treated for his injuries (he also discovered that the Vatican also hired her, to kill him). Gorgon teleported, with Elektra, to kill Fury. When they arrived, Elektra ordered the S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers to attack. Gorgon used his power on her neck and she collapsed. Wolverine eventually used Gorgon's own Powers against him, defeating him.
In an e-mail to Kitty Pryde, Nick Fury told her that Elektra had survived, but was missing and was probably in Eastern Europe, creating her own militia group, which she intended to be her own version of The Hand. He also told Kitty that Elektra was no threat... so far. It was unknown where Elektra really was or what her plans were. (Wolverine v3 #31)
Daredevil and the Kingpin
She has recently re-surfaced to help Daredevil with his current situation with the Kingpin, in which the crimelord, in exchange for his freedom, is offering the FBI evidence that Daredevil and Matt Murdock are indeed one and the same.
It was revealed that Elektra actually helped Kingpin gain all the needed information back when she was Daredevil's enemy, and she returned because she felt an obligation to help Matt out of the trouble for which she felt responsible. It was also revealed by the Black Widow that Elektra is now the leader of The Hand.
Daredevil meets up with Elektra, the Black Widow and the new White Tiger in front of the building that holds the "Murdock Papers" (the evidence Kingpin was talking about). They intended to retrieve the papers before the FBI could get there, but were suddenly attacked by Bullseye. Daredevil and Elektra fought the villain and, after a lengthy and bloody battle, won against him. However, Daredevil was suddenly shot by FBI operatives and was left bleeding profusely in Elektra's arms.
Elektra then takes Matt to the Night Nurse, and is questioned about her job and who she is leading her to make a mysterious call. Moments later, Black Widow suddenly appearing in the doorway only to be surrounded by The Hand. Elektra and Black Widow have a little fight, while The Hand heals Matt Murdock.
Outside the Night Nurse's medical office, reporters and police gather. Elektra then jumps out the side of the window, along with The Hand. She gets in a quarrel with Luke Cage, and quickly exits the scene.
Elektra most recently appeared in New Avengers 27, in which she killed (then resurrected) and imprisoned Maya Lopez, who in the guise of Ronin had been trying to destroy the Hand. It seems that Elektra had become corrupted by the Hand's influence, as she had planned to torture Lopez and use her as a weapon. However, the New Avengers showed up to stop her and rescue their team-mate. Once the Avengers had gone, Elektra, having suffered a severe kick to the groin from Luke Cage, furiously sent the Hand to track them.
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