Elektra has done a lot of bad things during her time in the Marvel Universe, but she's had more than her fair share of suffering too.
The assassin known as Elektra Natchios has been around in Marvel Comics since she debuted in Daredevil #168, written and penciled by Frank Miller in 1981. Since that time, her origin story has gone through a few tweaks here and there, but despite the various changes to the character, she has remained a highly-skilled assassin and lover/enemy of Daredevil.
Throughout her time in the Marvel Universe, Elektra has done some terrible things to include killing hundreds of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, joining The Hand, terrorizing Ben Urich, revealed Matt Murdock as Daredevil to the Kingpin, and she even slicing Daredevil in half.
Despite all the bad things she has done as a mercenary or assassin, she has done some good things along the way. In her many adventures, she has paired with the Punisher and Wolverine for several runs while, at one time, serving for Nick Fury as a black ops agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and as a member of the Thunderbolts. Not bad for a character who was intended to appear in a simple one-off storyline!
Elektra’s popularity with the fans wouldn’t keep her buried and throughout her publication history, she has endured quite a lot of bad herself.
We dug through the books, films, and television episodes to find the 15 Worst Things That Have Happened To Elektra
(SPOILERS for The Defenders Season One!)
Elektra never got to know her mother and it was due to her dying in childbirth. That’s a fairly common trope in comics and television, but it wasn’t something as simple as a horrible delivery that resulted in her death.
Her mother, Christina Natchios, was injured while only eight months pregnant during the Greek Civil War… or she was killed by assassins hired by Orestez Natchios, her father’s brother. Because there are two separate origins, we chose the one most recently published in Elektra #18 as it was published in 1998, three years after the previous origin revealed in Elektra: Root of Evil.
Whichever story you choose to believe, Elektra grew up not knowing her mother. She was raised by her father, Hugo Kostas Natchios, on a Greek island near the Aegean Sea. While being raised by her father didn’t turn her into an assassin, it couldn’t have helped to grow up without a mother in the house.
In 1986, Marvel published Elektra: Assassin, which portrayed an adult Elektra recalling vague memories of her father raping her when she was only five-years-old. It was revealed that she also heard voices and experienced hallucinatory visions so she began to cut herself as a means of treatment.
An interesting side-effect of her self-harm was the development of some psychic abilities (Kids, do not try this at home). Her abilities didn’t fully develop until she came into contact with the Hand much later.
Elektra wasn’t able to determine whether or not she was really raped by her father. The pain caused by the memory and visions was difficult for her to overcome and because of her actions as a child, her father felt there was no recourse but to submit her for psychiatric evaluation and treatment. It seems unlikely that she was actually raped, but the memories plagued her.
Because of she was inflicting injury upon herself and due to the trauma she was undergoing as a result of her visions, Elektra’s father had her committed to a psychiatric institution.
As you might expect from ever watching a movie or reading a book about mental illness treatment in fiction, things did not go well for Elektra. She did receive treatment and, while that may or may not have helped her, the time she spent in the institution was not… friendly.
She saw her orderlies as inhuman captors and tore the throat out of one unfortunate gentleman with her mouth. During this time, she appeared to be truly insane, but her time in the asylum may have been just what she needed to evolve into the deadly assassin she became as an adult.
When she was 19-years-old, both Elektra and her father, the Greek Ambassador to the United States, were both kidnapped by terrorists. By this time, Elektra had been attending Columbia University in New York City and was dating a classmate who just so happened to be Matthew Murdock. This was in his pre-Daredevil days, when he was just beginning to understand the extent of his abilities while he wore a bandanna on his head.
It’s possible Elektra could have gotten herself out of the situation having studied martial arts for years, but she never got the chance. Matt went on a mission to rescue his girlfriend and her father, but the rescue attempt didn’t go over very well, to say the least.
In The Defenders, season one episode four, the gang is all gathered in a restaurant for a little pow-wow when someone Matt thought dead happens to stroll in ready to kill everyone present. Wouldn’t you know it: it’s a freshly-resurrected Elektra Natchios, which Matt clearly doesn’t feel too comfortable with given his facial ticks. As the gang prepares to take on the dark assassin, something unexpected happens.
Jessica Jones was arrives in style, saving all three of her co-Defenders by shoving a van through the front of the restaurant and driving it right into Elektra. Once the gang is finally together in all its glory, it looks like things are about to go down. Granted, this didn’t really do much more than mess up Elektra’s outfit, but it couldn’t have felt very good either.
In Daredevil #168, written and penciled by Frank Miller, Matt attempts to rescue Elektra and her father from the terrorists who captured them. He quickly finds their hideout and infiltrates it, but miscalculates his coordinated attack with the tied-up Elektra and her father suffers from cardiac arrest. Matt immediately knows his heart has stopped because of his ability to hear… or rather, not hear it beating any longer. Too bad he never bothered to learn CPR!
Elektra became despondent over the loss of her father and returned to China to continue her training under Stick. Possibly due to her mental illness as a child, her upbringing, or her father being killed in front of her, she moves away from Stick’s teaching and eventually joins sides with The Hand, a sect of ninja assassins who train her to become one of the deadliest killers on the planet.
Elektra was never intended to stick around the comics for very long. Miller planned to have her appear in issue #168 and be done with her, but the fans wanted her to stick around for a while so she remained primarily as a villain until she was killed by Bullseye in issue #181.
After a long fight between the two assassins who were vying for the prize of the Kingpin’s top assassin, Bullseye got the upper-hand and thrusted her own sai through her chest.
By the end of her run, Miller had effectively used her as a villainous counterpart to Murdock and he had no plans to bring her back. Of course, bringing Elektra back from the dead is something we will get into shortly; it’s become something of a character trait for her. In light of this, she has died on more than one occasion.
Elektra’s history with The Hand is somewhat tumultuous given that she joined up with them to train as an assassin and later went on to lead the organization.
Shortly after she was offed by Bullseye, The Hand captures her corpse and attempts to bring her back to life. Daredevil fights to stop the ceremony but fails to keep it from coming to fruition and she is returned to life. Hop on over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999) and Elektra is killed by the Hand in season one of Daredevil.
In Daredevil season two, Elektra makes her appearance alongside the mysterious clan of assassin ninjas. In the MCU, one of The Hand’s fingers, Nobu Yoshioka, is a mysterious Japanese businessman, and associate of Wilson Fisk. In a final confrontation between Yoshioka and Daredevil, Yoshioka is about to deliver a killing blow when Elektra sacrifices herself and takes his sword, saving Matt in the process.
The Skrulls are an ancient species from the Andromeda galaxy with the ability to shape shift, which makes them something of a deadly nuisance to groups like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. They have also caused problems for pretty much everyone else who calls Earth their home as a sect known as Dard’van believes the race is prophesied to inhabit the planet.
As a part of the Secret Invasion, the Skrulls sent one of their top infiltrators to the planet to capture and take over the life of Elektra Natchios. While held captive, the Skrulls subjected her to psychological and mental torture intent on breaking her mind. Their goal was to learn the secrets to her resurrection with the hope of replicating it on their species, which is why they chose to show such an interest in her in the first place.
There were two Skrulls who bore the guise of Elektra over the years. The first was named Siri, and the second, Pagon. Siri was sent to Earth by Queen Veranke to replace the real Elektra, but she was killed by the ninja assassin alongside two additional (unnamed) Skrulls who followed the attempt. She was finally replaced by Pagon after he successfully defeated the real Elektra and took her prisoner.
The Skrulls planned their Secret Invasion of Earth by posing as the planet’s superheroes and villains. This was in line with a prophecy that foretold of their inhabitation of the planet.
It was during this time that Elektra/Pagon took over leadership of The Hand. Pagon maintained the identity of Elektra for some time before being killed himself, which was the catalyst to set off the Secret Invasion crossover event.
When Elektra was resurrected, the ceremony was disrupted by Matt, who wished to stop it. He, alongside Black Widow, attempted to defeat The Hand – though Matt did try to complete the ceremony, but failed due to not having enough energy within himself. The resurrection worked, but not the way it was intended and she was bifurcated into a good Elektra and an evil one – just like the time Superman split himself in Superman III.
The good version of Elektra eventually confronts her evil self and the two are reunited. Instead of merging into the troubled woman of her past, her good aspect maintains a dominance over the evil side, but an aspect of her evil self still remains within her.
Elektra was, at one point, incarcerated at Pleasant Hill, a prison for supervillains, for some unknown reason – though her mind and even her appearance were altered. This was the work of the sentient Cosmic Cube called Kobik who turned the assassin into a regular human within the village. She was given the identity of Pleasant Hill’s Sheriff Eva and she even fell in love with the Absorbing Man, who had been turned into a regular fellow named Harold who sold ice cream.
It wasn’t until the town was attacked by Baron Zemo that everyone’s true appearances and memories were returned to them, including Elektra. Most angered by the intrusion was the Absorbing Man, who went on a rampage alongside Whirlwind before Elektra could talk him out of his assault.
Leading up to the conclusion of the eighth, and final episode of The Defenders, Elektra and Matt are holed up in the bowels of a dragon’s skeleton beneath an office building. They’re fighting – hashing out their issues verbally as well as physically, when the bombs set in the building above go off.
As the two kiss, while rubble, smoke, and dust fall all around them, it seems clear that the two were conveniently crushed to death… well, one of them anyway. At least as far as we can tell – since good ol’ Hornhead is seen alive in the final shot of the season. The only person not accounted for seems to be Elektra, but who are they kidding? She can’t stay dead.
Ask anyone with a common knowledge of the character what Elektra’s greatest trait is and it would probably be that she can’t stay dead. That’s not just because she’s a comic book character either; though they all tend to resurrect every now and again.
Elektra’s constant resurrection might as well be listed as one of her superpowers since she is killed and brought back more often than almost anyone else in comics. What we mean by this isn’t that the character is brought back in the same universe, but that in every reality she exists in, she is never allowed to remain dead.
This is something that was always an issue for Frank Miller. According to the writer, his creation was intended to remain deceased and he was even given certain assurances by Marvel that that would be the case, but, as we all know, she has always returned to life one way or another.
By all accounts, this film was disastrously awful and it currently holds a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is surprisingly high.
To be fair, the fault of this crappy picture doesn’t lie fully with the star. Jennifer Garner did her best with the pile of crap she was given. Her performance aside, the story was terrible and it didn’t afford her much of an opportunity to do anything noteworthy.
The studio clearly wanted to bank on the middling success of 2003’s Daredevil, which featured Garner as the titular hero in this 2005 monstrosity. While Daredevil astonishingly holds a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes and it made more than it spent, Elektra did not. According to Box Office Mojo, Elektra cost the studio $43 million to make, but only took in $24 million, which is why we thankfully never saw a sequel.
What horrible events that have happened to Elektra have we missed? What do you think is the worst thing to have happened to her? Sound off in the comments and let us know!