We all know who the mighty Thor, God of Thunder is, but who is the strange mystical hammer-wielding creature named Beta Ray Bill?
When his race of Korbinites faced extinction, Bill was their only hope. Enhanced by alien technology into a cybernetic astronaut, Bill was charged with the task of finding a new home for his people. Piloting the star craft Skuttlebutt, Bill traveled deep into uncharted territory and came into contact with Thor. Mistaking Thor for an enemy, they battled with Bill as the victor. Taking up the mighty Mojlinir, Beta Ray Bill was shockingly transformed into a powerful being much like Donald Blake when he took on the mantle of Thor. The pair was transported to Asgard where even the mighty All-father Odin had to admit that Mjolinir’s choosing of Bill was a sign of his nobility. However, there could be only one God of Thunder, so the two warriors battled over that right with Bill again claiming victory over Thor. This was no battle over egos as Thor’s sense of self-worth had been in doubt for some time and he had been thinking of hanging up his hammer in any case. For Bill, he saw a weapon that could easily defend his people from the demons that followed the sleeper spacecraft on their journey from the destruction of his home planet.
Even though he was terribly powerful and victorious, Bill’s nobility prevented him from smiting down his opponent, leading wise Odin to recognize that he must bestow upon Bill his own honor. Returning Mjolinir to his son, Odin granted ownership of Stormbreaker to the valiant Beta Ray Bill. Joining forces with Lady Sif, Thor and Bill took to the stars to intercept the ‘demonic horde’ that threatened the fleet of sleeper ships bearing the Korbonite race. After encountering the demonic horde which was hard at work attacking the sleeper ships, the trio split up with the hammer bearers agreeing to attack the forces at their source, leaving Sif to take on the attacking force on her own, or at least until Skuttlebutt arrived lending formidable firepower.
The sentient craft filled in a few details on Bill’s origin adding humility to his list of characteristics. Chosen from thousands of his race, Bill had undergone several grueling tests taxing both his body and mind for the task of defending his people alone in the vastness of space. After achieving this distinction, his physiognomy was altered through a series of painful operations, transforming him into a hybrid with the most ferocious animal native to his planet with the most advanced technology laced into his skin and muscles. The entire process was an honor to undergo for Bill, but left him unique and freakish to his people. Sif couldn’t help but feel attracted to Bill’s bravery.
Parting as brothers rather than enemies, Bill left to return to his people (with the smitten Lady Sif as company… that sly horse).
After several adventures and serving along with Thor, a version of the thunder God from future and Thunderstrike as members of as ‘Thor Corps’ (no kidding), Bill returned to his people to help them establish a new home. All was not well, though, as Galactus found the new planet of the Korbonites and began to feed. Battling the herald of Galactus Stardust, the planet was destroyed.
After his cataclysmic battle with the herald of Galactus, Beta Ray Bill fell to Earth where he bonded with a human and became a member of the newly formed Canadian superhero team Omega Flight. Defending the Great White North from a horde of demons alongside Arachne, Talisman, Guardian, USAgent and Sasquatch, Bill sacrificed himself to close off a rift in reality that was allowing the unnatural creatures entry to our world. After such a noble battle, he was repaid by becoming a tool for the Skrull invasion fleet for duplicating the power of Thor. Teaming up with his ‘brother,’ Bill and Thor cast the invading aliens from Asgard and made a sizable dent in their attacking fleet.
In many ways, Bill is more powerful than Thor, his cybernetic biology granting him a significant benefit over his Asgardian fellow. In addition to the mystical might of Stormbreaker, Beta Ray Bill also has the ability to convert cosmic energy, making him a force to contend with in deep space and the ideal protector for his people.
In other media, Beta Ray Bill starred in the Silver Surfer cartoon back in the 1990′s.
He was also nearly the focus of a short animated feature along with an aborted Ultimate Avengers/X-Men DVD. While he missed out on being the star of his own production, Beta Ray Bill will share the limelight with the incredible Hulk in the upcoming Planet Hulk DVD, taking the place of the Silver Surfer on the planet Sakaar.