This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
|First appearance||Venus #6 (July 1949)|
|Created by||Violet Barclay, Many Hands, Chu Hing, Pierce Rice, Don Rico|
|Place of origin||Hell; Limbo|
|Notable members||Mephisto, Blackheart, Marduk Kurios, Satannish, D'Spayre, Chthon, Daimon Hellstrom, Satana Hellstrom|
Demons are fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Marvel Universe hosts a number of demons, many of whom are at times at conflict with gods and angels. All possess varying degrees of mystical power, feed upon souls for self-sustenance, and are inclined towards black magic.
During the era in which the first single-celled organism formed on Earth, the Demiurge achieved consciousness after being formed and coalesced from the Earth's biosphere. As conditions on Earth began to support life, it became aware, and wanting to know itself, the Demiurge split itself into countless aspects, each of which wanted consciousness and to manifest into new entities. These entities later become known as the "Elder Gods".
Most of the Elder Gods later degenerated into demons, including:
However, certain demons, such as Lucifer, Kazann, and Asmodeus, have other origins, such as originally being angels having fallen from Heaven after a massively failed insurrection against the Judeo-Christian God long before the dawn of humanity, or hailing from other mystical dimensions adjacent to Earth.
It is also not uncommon for various gods worshipped throughout Earth's history to degenerate into demonic beings, though the distinction between gods who have degenerated into demons and gods who are merely malevolent is often unclear. For example, during the Fear Itself story arc, Cul Borson, elder brother of Odin, is the Asgardian God of Fear and uses the terror experienced by mortals to restore his youth and vitality and to gain cosmic levels of power, but he is not classified as a demon or having degenerated from Godhood into a demonic existence. However, gods who typically use the life force of other beings, either through personal offerings or as some type of sacrifice, to sustain their powers are usually classified as having degenerated into demons. Aside from the various Elder Gods of the distant past, certain members of various modern pantheons have degenerated into demons. For instance, a large number of the Annunaki are now demonic, including Ba'al, Nergal, Ningal, and Dagon.
Within Marvel's depictions, demons are often hindered by various and very specific rules, rules that not even entities as powerful as Mephisto or Satannish are able to break. While some of them, using Mephisto or Satannish as examples again, have vast powers on a cosmic scale, they are unable to force sentient beings into serving them or making pacts with them; they can use trickery and lies to attain their means, but they cannot physically or mentally force sentient beings into surrendering their souls or otherwise obeying them. They can also use other demons, generally minor underlings, as a means of intimidation or to force sentient beings into serving them. It is possible they can also use other humans to intimidate or force others into their service, counting on the ignorance of their demonic limitations to serve them. However, this is not often the case, as demons are depicted as malevolent beings who derive great pleasure from tricking and outwitting sentient beings, especially humans, into surrendering their souls to them without threats or intimidation. If a being willingly enters into a bargain, the demonic beings must fulfill their part of the bargain, though the outcome is often not exactly as those offering their souls wanted; there are numerous loopholes that demonic beings exploit in order to get what they want, while seemingly fulfilling their part of the deal. For instance, if a human offers his/her soul for immortality, demons can grant the request, though the term itself may be open to broad interpretation; if a human being endures forever, then the demons cannot collect that person's soul, though there are still ways around this. For instance, while they may become immortal, immortality does not necessarily mean the same as eternal youth; the bargainer may technically live forever though his/her body will continue to age to the point where the person is essentially trapped within a crippled, withered body. Even if the person still held on through the decades until their body was reduced to bone, their soul would still be bound to its earthly remains forever. In such an instance, a being could call out to the demon, or demons, and request the deal be undone, though their soul is forfeit since the demon fulfilled its end of the bargain.
The Elder Gods are the forerunners to the modern gods and demons of Earth.
Gaea came into being and was the "Protector of the Emerging Life" that began in the seas.
Set, the "God of the Dead", spawned a number of offspring (e.g., "Sligguth" and "Damballah").
Oshtur was the goddess of the stars and left Earth early on before the fall of the Elder Gods. She mothered Agamotto, the first Sorcerer Supreme; she is the third member of the mystical Vishanti.
Realizing he could increase his own power by consuming the essence of his fellow Elder Gods, Set became the first being on Earth to murder another. By consuming the life energies of a fellow Elder God, Set started down the path of degeneracy. Other Elder Gods quickly began following Set's example, killing each other to gain more power. The more they consumed, the more they hungered for power, becoming insatiable.
Many became corrupt and began warring to satisfy the thirst for power, the victor feeding off the others. After millions of years, all the Elder Gods except for Gaea had degenerated to less than their Godhood, becoming demonic in nature.
Gaea, fearing the Elder Gods' war with each other would destroy the evolving life on the planet, mated with a reincarnation of the Demiurge and gave birth to Atum, who became dedicated to eradicating his forefathers.
Foreseeing the threat Atum was to his existence, Chthon inscribed all the mystical knowledge he had learned through millennia of evil onto indestructible parchments to be his touchstone within the Earth dimension; these parchments would later be bound into the book known as the Darkhold.
Atum indeed became a threat to the Elder Gods, as he began destroying them for their evil and degradation, absorbing their energies into himself. The energies he absorbed caused him to undergo a metamorphosis into the form of Demogorge the God-Eater.
Many of the Elder Gods fell to Atum, and those who were not destroyed fled to other dimensions:
Chthon, sensing the end was near, cast a spell that allowed him an escape into another dimension before Demogorge could slay him. Before he left, Chthon left the parchments containing his mystical knowledge in this dimension.
Set, witnessing what Chthon had done, replicated the spell, allowing him and his offspring to escape. Gaea was the only original Elder God permitted to exist on the planet, and she infused her godly essence into the Earth and into all living things - ultimately becoming "Mother Earth".
Demogorge released the energies he had absorbed, reverting to the form of Atum. He then took residence within Earth's Sun.
Over millennia, the energies that Demogorge had released when he reverted into Atum eventually manifested into a number of different beings:
(Note: whether Atum fathered the original founders/creators of Earth's pantheons is speculative, as is whether or not Atum is the creator of Earth's pantheons. Similarly, Gaea was said to be the mother of "Ouranus.")
- Buri, father to a number of different pantheons of "New Gods."
(Note: it has been implied that the demonic energies released by Demogorge after destroying most of the degenerated Elder Gods coalesced and gave rise to demons, such as Mephisto, Satannish, Thog the Nether-Spawn, Marduk Kurios (a.k.a. Satan), etc.)
To fuel his own power, the Elder God Set, from his pocket dimension, began drawing psychic energy from the dinosaurs, the dominant life forms of Earth. Eventually, Set's continued feeding on the dinosaurs helped bring about significant drops in their population.
Gaea knew the dinosaurs were at an evolutionary dead end and allowed Set to continue his feeding, knowing that he was quickly depleting his main supply of energy. Set, aware that Gaea was allowing the extinction of the dinosaurs, became infuriated and commanded the dinosaurs to seek out and kill all mammals (which Gaea had selected as Earth's dominant species over the dinosaurs).
Gaea sensed Set's command over the dinosaurs and summoned the Elder God. Set appeared on Earth in physical form for the first time as a giant serpent and attacked Gaea. She summoned her son Atum to protect her. Atum (in his form of Demogorge) engaged Set in battle and destroyed his head. However, Set was not killed, and two heads grew back. Set and Atum battled for decades. Many disasters befell the Earth during this time, some caused by the titanic struggle (which brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs in the Marvel Universe).
The mammals were sheltered from the devastation by Gaea. Eventually, Set drained of power, was forced to withdraw from the Earth dimension. By this time, Set had grown seven heads to replace the ones destroyed in the battle. With his power all but exhausted, Set could no longer journey to the Earth dimension without aid. Demogorge reverted to Atum and returned to his dwelling place in the Sun.
Several demonic entities dwell in extra-dimensional realms referred to as Hell, using humans as pawns and subjects; some have claimed to be Satan in order to exploit humanity's belief in a single being of great evil.
Their origins are shrouded in mystery - a few are fallen angels or Gods who fell out of favor with their pantheons, whereas some are the descendants of degenerate Elder Gods, and others were shaped by the subconscious desires of their earliest worshippers.
This category also includes messengers and servants who work for these "Rulers of Hell"; "lesser demons" that share the same origins as their masters, but are usually less powerful (although still superior to most mortals).
Hell is broken into several smaller kingdoms ruled over by entities who are generally at odds with each other. Most of these entities are devils, and those considered powerful enough to be the strongest rulers in Hell are referred to as the Hell-lords. Those who currently and have previously borne this identification are:
- Daimon Hellstrom
- Johnny Blaze
- Marduk Kurios (a.k.a. Satan)
- Satana Hellstrom
- Strong Guy - Strong Guy obtains this status via losing his soul during resurrection and ends up working with Mephisto against the other Hell-lords.
- Thog the Nether-Spawn - a demon who is the ruler of the extra-dimensional realm of Sominus the Dark Domain and who has clashed with the Man-Thing several times.
Although Hela and Pluto could claim the title of Hell-lords, because they also rule in other nether realms, some readers have referred to them instead as Death-Gods.
- the Demogoblin
- the Haazareth Three
- Ikthalon - the embodiment of man's tendency to resist change who, thus, represents frozen stagnation
- Inanna, the "demoness of inspiration and madness"
- Saturnine, a servant of Asmodeus
- Zahgurim, the "armorer to Satan"
Some demons seem to be entirely unrelated to Earth and humanity's past - these creatures are often non-humanoid in form and utterly alien in motivation. They are referred to as Class Three Demons in Marvel's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
Demons of this sort include:
- the N'Garai - a race of demons created by Chthon who have come into conflict with the Midnight Sons,[volume & issue needed] the Hulk,[volume & issue needed] and the X-Men. They are ruled by Kierrok the Damned.
- the Undying Ones
Several extra-dimensional mystical beings exist in the Marvel Universe that does not fall into any of the three preceding categories. They are powerful and evil enough to be considered demons. Beings of this sort include evil mortal beings that have attained great power, as well as beings that have been referred to as demons, but whose origins have yet to be definitively defined or revealed. They include:
- the Adversary
- the Beast of the Hand
- Cobweb - an alien entity hailing from the Mindscape and an archenemy of the Sleepwalker
- the Dark-Crawler
- the Demon Bear
- the Elementals (Hellfire, Hydron, Magnum, Zephyr)
- Helleyes - a demon who has fought both Morbius the Living Vampire and the Defenders
- Kindred - a human condemned to Hell who became a demon with a personal vendetta against Spider-Man
- Lilith - an ancient and powerful being who is sometimes called the Mother of All Demons. Imprisoned centuries ago by Atlantean sorcerers, she regained her freedom in modern times.
- N'Gabthoth - a demon who has clashed with Doctor Strange. He once served as an agent of Shuma-Gorath.
- Russell Daboia - a Serpent Man/demon hybrid
The Octessence is made up of eight powerful principalities (Balthakk, Cyttorak, Farallah, Ikonn, Krakkan, Raggadorr, Valtorr, and Watoomb), a number of whom are routinely invoked for the power of spells related to their particular area of magical knowledge. Roughly 1,000 years ago, they disagreed on which of them was the most powerful. To settle the question, they entered into the Wager of the Octessence. Each placed a small fraction of its magical might into an artifact and then established a temple on Earth to house it. The first human to find and touch the artifact would gain the power and lose his will to the artifact's master, becoming an Exemplar: a creature of focused magical might. When all eight Exemplars appeared, they would perform the Ceremony of the Octessence, the construction of a great magical engine to enslave the will of humanity. Then the Exemplars would divide the world into eighths, and each would battle the others (using his own powers and armies made of his enslaved one-eighth of the population) until only one remained. The first artifact uncovered was the Crimson Ruby of Cyttorak, which empowered the Juggernaut. Only years later would the other Exemplars appear.
- Balthakk first appeared in X-Men #12. While meeting to establish the terms of the Wager, it appeared as little more than a free-floating cloud of energy or charged particles. It empowered the Blinding Brazier of Balthakk and, through it, the Exemplar called Inferno.
- Cyttorak first appeared in Dr. Strange (vol. 3) #44, published in 1992, nearly 30 years after its first mention in 1964 (Strange Tales #124). While meeting to establish the terms of the Wager, it appeared as a semblance of the Juggernaut, but completely covered in armor. It has involved itself in human activities more than the other members of the Octessence, perhaps owing to the early discovery of the Ruby of Cyttorak (referred to as the Crimson Crystal of Cyttorak in the Wager storyline, possibly to avoid confusion with the Ringed Ruby of Raggadorr). Cytorrak's gem lent enormous strength and durability to Cain Marko, transforming him into the Juggernaut. It would be years before Marko's purpose as an Exemplar became known, when the other Exemplars appeared. Marko's betrayal of the other Exemplars contributed to their eventual defeat.
- Farallah first appeared in Iron Man (vol. 3) #22. While meeting to establish the terms of the Wager, it appeared as a powerful humanoid with ruminant characteristics: short, coarse, dark fur and spiral horns close to the head, like those of certain sheep. A large hump similar to that of a dromedary adorned its back, and its hands ended in very sharp nails or claws. It empowered the Fearsome Fist of Farallah, which granted feral combat skills and superhuman speed and coordination to the Exemplar called Carnivore.
- Ikonn first appeared in Dr. Strange (vol. 2) #47 and is the creation of Roger Stern and Gene Colan. It is a powerful mystical entity that Doctor Strange and other sorcerers regularly invoke, most often to produce a powerful spell of illusion-crafting called the Images of Ikonn. Ikonn can create extremely believable illusions and has been titled the "Lord of Illusions." It can disrupt reality and, if it gains control over a world, it can make its illusions real. Meeting to establish the terms of the Wager, it appeared as a greyish insectoid/humanoid adorned with dark greenish spikes and pupil-less grey-green eyes. Each limb ended in four radially arranged claws. It had a proboscis where the mouth would normally be. As with any being so powerful, and especially one versed in illusion, one can only speculate as to what Ikonn's real form would be. For the Wager, it invested power into the Ivory Idol of Ikonn, a token that granted Olisa Kabaki powerful telepathic and mind control abilities as the Exemplar Bedlam.
- Krakkan first appeared in Iron Man (vol. 3) #22 during the meeting to decide the terms of the Wager, appearing there as a grey armored figure; this armor possessed a number of long and very sharp blades. It crafted the Kestrel Key of Krakkan. In Thor (vol. 2) #17, Bridget Malone found this key and became the Exemplar called Conquest, the "living embodiment of battle."
- Raggadorr first appeared in Iron Man (vol. 3) #22. While meeting to establish the terms of the Wager, it appeared as a creature with a four-armed but otherwise humanoid torso and a blue-colored serpentine lower body. Its face remained concealed behind a heavy blue helm from which projected bluish horns similar to those of a ram. Powerful magicians invoke Raggadorr's name to empower certain of their magical spells, most commonly the Rings of Raggadorr. It empowered the Ringed Ruby of Raggadorr and, through it, the Exemplar called Stonecutter.
- Valtorr appeared at the Wager meeting in the form of a greyish, possibly armored snake possessing a crest of slightly raised overlapping plates or scales. Magicians invoke Valtorr in spells to command vapors and gasses. The Vapors of Valtorr create what amounts to a gaseous extension of the magician's will; these vapors have properties that the magician imparts to them during the casting. The Verdant Vial of Valtorr transformed Stark-Fujikawa employee Yoshiro Hashiman into Decay, an Exemplar with the power to corrupt and destroy anything with his touch.
- Watoomb presented itself as an armored humanoid (or possibly a creature bearing natural armor) with aspects both feline and insectoid, in various shades of yellow, orange, and brown. A signature spell is the Winds of Watoomb, which can carry a caster across light-years of space and can even pierce dimensional barriers. Watoomb crafted the Wicked Wand of Watoomb, roughly 30 cm from tip to tip. The ends of this device are carved with the visages of demons. This device granted Nicolette Giroux with a portion of Watoomb's power and will, creating Tempest; Dr. Stephen Strange had possessed the device for years prior to this event without ever transforming into an Exemplar.
The Fear Lords
- the Dweller-in-Darkness
- the Lurking Unknown
- the Straw Man (originally known as the Scarecrow)
The Six-Fingered Hand
The Six-Fingered Hand is a fictional organization in the Marvel Universe.
The Six-Fingered Hand was a group of six lesser demons acting as pawns of more powerful demons, including Mephisto. The legion of demons once plotted to merge Earth and Hell, but the Defenders successfully opposed their plan. The six are also responsible for the creation of the Lesser Grey God, a statuette that has the power to reactivate old curses.
- Avarrish, clashed with the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)/Zarathos
- Fashima, clashed with the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)/Zarathos; the mother of Asmodeus Jones
- Hyppokri, tried to merge Hell and Earth
- Puishannt, clashed with Dracula
- Unnthinnk, clashed with (and briefly possessed) the Man-Thing
- Maya, the sixth and final member of the Six Fingered Hand; was actually a disguised Mephisto who manipulated the rest of the group
The Lords of the Splinter Realms
This loose collection of various demons (but also wizards and sorcerers) was made up of rulers of the various realms of the Netherworld (most prominently Mephisto, Dormammu, Umar, Nightmare, Surtur, Thog the Nether-Spawn, and Pluto). While normally separated from and opposed to each other, they formed a tenuous alliance against the Archenemy at the request of Magik (Amanda Sefton), the then-ruler of Limbo.
The Devil's Advocacy
The Devil's Advocacy is a location in the neutral realm where the demons and their affiliations discuss matters of importance at the empty throne of Satan, which no one was up to taking the name or mantle. It is an evil counterpart of the Infinite Embassy (which was created by the Living Tribunal as a meeting place of the different gods). The Devil's Advocacy first appeared in the Fear Itself storyline, where the demons and their affiliations meet to discuss the impact of the rise of the Serpent and what this would mean to them. Cyttorak mentions that the Serpent stole the Juggernaut from him, Dormammu remained silent, the demons of Muspelheim did not speak of Surtur's impending release, and Marduk Kurios mocked Mephisto, who tolerated it as he was fond of his children. The rest of the meeting was long, and the Advocacy did not achieve a united resolution to the threat of the Serpent.
In other media
- The demons appear in the video game Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Besides Blackheart, Daimon Hellstrom, Dormammu, Mephisto, Satana and Surtur, the demon foot soldiers consist of Auspex, Bellator, Cusptero, Harpe, Incascia, Inves, Meretrix, Nefaralae, Praefectus, Spiculum, Subcintus, Tetrabrach and Verignis.
- Hellstrom and Satana appear in the video game Marvel: Future Fight as playable characters. They are also bosses in Doctor Strange: Epic Quest.
- Silver Surfer Annual #2
- David F. Walker (w), Scott Hepburn (p), Scott Hepburn (i), Matt Milla (col), VC's Clayton Cowles (let), Jake Thomas (ed). "Sweet Christmas" Power Man and Iron Fist: Sweet Christmas Annual #1 (23 December 2016), United States: Marvel Comics
- Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski (w), Bernie Wrightson (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i), Elizabeth Lewis and Prenevost (col), Richard Starkings and Comicraft/EM (let), Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti (ed). "Purgatory Part 4: The Hour of Judgment" The Punisher v4, #4 (February 1999), United States: Marvel Comics
- Fear #11, 13; Man-Thing #1, 21-22, (vol. 2) #11
- "N'Gabthoth (Dr. Strange foe)". Marvunapp.com. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
- Defenders #96
- Journey into Mystery #627
- Demons at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Octessence at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Balthakk at DrStrange.nl
- Cyttorak at DrStrange.nl
- Farallah at DrStrange.nl
- Ikonn at DrStrange.nl
- Ikonn at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Krakkan at DrStrange.nl
- Raggadorr at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Raggadorr at DrStrange.nl
- Valtorr at DrStrange.nl
- Watoomb at DrStrange.nl
- Six-Fingered Hand at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Avarrish at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Fashima at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Hyppokri at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Puishannt at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Unthinnk at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Demons on Marvel Database, a Marvel Comics wiki