|First Comic Appearance||Wake the Devil|
The Baba Yaga was a legendary witch of Russian folklore, that lived inside a chicken leg house, and counted dead men's fingers.
Prior to the downfall of the Romanov's rule in Russia, in 1895 Baba Yaga contacted a young Grigori Rasputin. She told the monk that the fates had chosen him to be their agent of change, father of the new millennium. To ensure that Rasputin's spirit always be safe, the Baba Yaga placed half of it within the roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Baba Yaga and Rasputin gained a strong bond after this, with Rasputin going so far as to call Baba Yaga "grandmother" afterwards.
In March 1964, Hellboy first encountered the Baba Yaga while investigating missing children in Russia. It was soon revealed that the Baba Yaga was the reason behind the disappearances; her reason for kidnapping the children was to satisfy her cannibal hungers. When Baba Yaga was counting the fingers of the dead in a cemetery, she attempted to use a skull (that once belonged to someone called Katayev) to lead her to the Sabbath. Then she was ambushed by Hellboy who leaped onto her in a sudden attack. During the scuffle one of Baba Yaga's eyes was shot out. Furious, the Baba Yaga attacked Hellboy with the graveyard's own tombstones. A strange gathering of animals; namely a cat, a frog, a bird, and a bear, came together to discuss the event, with all except the bear fearing that the Baba Yaga was dead. The bear reassured them that this was not the case, and that as long as Russia endured, so would the Baba Yaga.
As a result of her defeat at Hellboy's hands, Spring did not come to the village of Bereznik that year, and every child born in the village that year would be blind in one eye. Her chicken leg house vanished, and the old, wise people in the village were known to say "Her reach is long."
Wake the DevilEdit
During the Giurescu affair in Romania, Baba Yaga's servant Koku presented an iron maiden from the great witch, to Grigori Rasputin and his Nazi ally Ilsa Haupstein. To stand alongside her master Rasputin in the coming apocalypse, Haupstein entered the iron maiden and locked herself inside it, killing her instantly and joining her soul with the iron maiden itself. Unfortunately for Haupstein this gesture would ultimately be in vain, as the iron maiden would end up becoming the new body of Hecate.
As Hellboy was cast into the darkness by Hecate, three mystic watchers, Dagda, Edward Grey, and the Baba Yaga, watched and observed. During Hellboy's struggles Baba Yaga believed that he would eventually succumb and destroy the world, and later faced disbelief when he did not.
The Baba Yaga's presence alongside Dagda and Grey in the normal world is a bit curious due to the fact that, as established much earlier in the Hellboy storyline, she is presumably unable to exist in the normal world due to the loss of power caused by the loss of her eye. This event seems to suggest that it is still possible for the Baba Yaga to venture outside of her personally made Russia, albeit for a short time.
After witnessing Hellboy overcome the power of Hecate (along with others), Baba Yaga meets with Rasputin at the Yggdrasil where they discuss Rasputin’s past efforts (i.e. The Cavendish Hall affair). She tries to convince he is no god, but only a man and invites him to stay with her in the faux Russia she had created for herself. But Rasputin finishes by saying "..maybe a man can make himself into a god." Baba Yaga hesitatingly admits that it might be possible and bids Rasputin an unhappy farewell.
After Grigori Rasputin's final defeat, the Baba Yaga kept what was left of his soul inside an acorn that she wore around her neck, claiming that there wasn't enough left of him "to light a skull."
Strange Places Edit
During the events of The Third Wish, the Bog Roosh mentions the Baba Yaga, saying that after Hellboy is killed, the witches of Earth shall have their revenge and the Baba Yaga shall have his eye, for Hellboy had shot out one of her's.
Darkness Calls Edit
In 2007, after Hellboy was turned over to the Baba Yaga, after refusing to be king of the Earth's witches. The Baba Yaga entrapped Hellboy in a parallel dimension controlled by her, where she attempted to destroy him with the undead army she had at her disposal. Hellboy was saved from the army only by the intervention of a pack of giant wolves ruled over by the Leshii, who offered Hellboy a one night sanctum in his woods. During this time Baba Yaga recruited Koschei the Deathless, an ancient soldier who couldn't die, to hunt down and kill Hellboy, or at the very least take his eye for her. Koschei agreed, and set off to claim his prey. At this point Baba Yaga found a naked and weakened Perun, the pagan god of the world, and killed him for assisting Hellboy by creating weather storms to impede Koschei's progress.
After Koschei found Hellboy and killed Vasilisa the Beautiful, Hellboy used a magic comb given to him in Vasilisa's last moments to summon forth a miniature forest, the branches of which lifted Koschei up by stabbing through his body. The Baba Yaga, watching from the roots of the World tree in the company of Koku and an unnamed ghost in black, quickly responded by channeling the power of her spirit lanterns into Koschei's soul, which resided in the body of a goat. Obsessed with seeing Hellboy dead, and possibly regaining her freedom through his death, Baba Yaga emptied the full power of her lamps, which contained thousands of souls, into Koschei and transformed him into a great and burning version of himself. Freeing himself from the trees, Koschei once again battled Hellboy. Hellboy's resistance, however, ended up proving to much for Koschei, who was unable to kill him before the power of the souls began to dim and die away. In a fit of desperation, the Baba Yaga breathed the power of her own soul into Koschei's, momentarily turning him into a monstrous giant. This proved to be a petty and pointless move on Baba Yaga's part as Koschei quickly collapsed afterward and began returning to his normal, tired self.
Drained of almost all her power, Baba Yaga turned to the last soul she had at her disposal; the fragment of Rasputin. Not wanting to see Rasputin returned, Koku snatched the acorn that contained the evil monk away from her and cast it through the roots of the World Tree, where it fell into the flames of Hell. In a last ditch effort, Baba yaga ordered Koschei to throw his dagger into Hellboy's back as he ascended to the exit of her world. The blade struck true, but proved an inconsequential wound for Hellboy and only caused him to drop the blue scarf given to him by Vasilisa the Beautiful, which transformed into a great sea as soon as it touched the ground, carrying Koschei away. Weakened to the point of being unable to even speak, Baba Yaga watched powerlessly as Hellboy escaped her world, all while being calmly derided by the ghost in black, who finally told her that Hellboy was as deathless as Koschei and the eye she sought could not be taken, only given.
The Baba Yaga make a small apperence in The Storm and the Fury helping Hellboy get to the tower where Nimue is. Though in order to get Hellboy there it costs him his eye. After giving her his eye The Baba Yaga says that "I live in a dream of Russia long gone, i'll reain till the world's end".
Powers and Abilities
The Baba Yaga is one of the most powerful magic users, let alone witches, in the Hellboy universe. She is well known across the Russian lands and is feared by many who dwell there, especially those who live in the wilderness she often roams. Before the loss of her eye and depowering, she was often seen in the graves of the dead, counting the fingers of the corpses before sucking in their souls and breathing them into empty skulls to create ghostly lanterns. These lanterns are shown to hang from the branches of the world tree and completely fill the interior of her chicken legged house.
Baba Yaga's magical expertise appears to lie in spiritual magic, or magic the involves the control or manipulation of souls. Her lanterns are a chief example of this; it has been stated that she had thousands in her collection. A vast army of the undead is under her control, one that uses to dominate her faux Russia with little resistance, save by the hands of the Leshii, who delights in getting in her way. She also controls Koschei the deathless and owns his soul, which she keeps in an egg inside a duck inside a rabbit inside a goat. Her ghostly lanterns appear to be the source of her power; she has demonstrated the ability to use them to amplify the powers of other beings. She can also remove portions of a soul and place those portions elsewhere to grant the soul's owner extended life, as demonstrated with Rasputin.
Baba Yaga also uses other forms of magic to aid her. She is often seen traveling great distances inside a giant wooden mortar, in a manner similar to a witch's broom. She also possesses a set of prosthetic wooden legs and a wooden lower torso, both of which are likely powered by magic. She has demonstrated on more then one occasion the ability to see great distances, going so far as to even see outside of her faux Russia and into the normal world. She also has the ability to communicate with witch's in the normal world should she deem it necessary.
Within her dimension, the Baba Yaga is easily the dominant power. Her army of undead reinforces her power there to an nth degree, and her personal abilities are, or at least were, unrivaled. Several other deities and Russian folklore figures exist in the faux Russia with her, but she is shown to be extremely oppressive to them and will kill any who get in her way without hesitation.
After the draining of her lamps and a portion of her own soul however, the Baba Yaga's power appears to have been permanently crippled. Following Hellboy's escape, she is shown to be weak and trembling, losing even her ability to talk. "Her" Russia is shown to continue existing even after her power is gone, hinting that its existence may not depend on her and might simply be an alternate world that she managed to conquer. No longer possessing the ability to travel into the normal world to collect more souls, it seems unlikely that her power will ever recover.
After losing her eye, it is stated that the Baba Yaga lost her ability to exist in the normal world, yet she is shown doing just that in "Wake the Devil," standing alongside Dagda and Edward Grey, suggesting that she still has the ability to make quick trips outside of her world. It is unknown if she can still do this after the loss of her lanterns.