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|First appearance||Strange Tales #115 (mentioned)
Marvel Premiere #5 (appeared)
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)
Steve Ditko (artist)
The Vishanti are a fictional triumvirate of powerful mystical beings appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The three beings who make up the Vishanti are Agamotto the All-Seeing (The Light of Truth), Omnipotent Oshtur (Oshtur the Omnipotent, Lady of the Skies), and Hoary Hoggoth (Hoggoth the Hoary, Lord of Hosts). They are extra-dimensional creatures with vast magical abilities, which are generally benevolent towards humanity and support the Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. They grant occult power and knowledge to benevolent practitioners of sorcery, including Doctor Strange and Brother Voodoo. The three all live in extra-dimensions, but can observe and interact with other dimensions.
The Vishanti can manifest themselves to humans, but take disguises that the human mind can recognize to interact with them as their true forms are incomprehensible to any human, even human beings trained in the occult. They commonly manifest themselves to Doctor Strange as a bald male humanoid head, a green female humanoid head, and a lion-like head with flaming eyes.
In a preface to the Dr. Strange story in The Origin of Marvel Comics, co-creator Stan Lee explained that while many people assumed such names to be distorted allusions to real-world spiritual terminology, he "just made 'em up." In the Modern Greek language, Agamotto's name is transliterated using slightly different vowels in order to avoid an unfortunate resemblance to a vulgar phrase.
The "Vishanti" received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89 #8.
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Little is known about the Vishanti's origins. All three are ancient and very powerful; "hoary" Hoggoth is likely the oldest; though Agamotto has claimed to be older than the Earth itself, he is in fact, the son of Oshtur, who was among the ancient Elder Gods of Earth, spawning Agamotto years after her emergence. The Vishanti, especially Agamotto, have protected the Earth's dimension for billions of years. Thousands of years ago, the human known only as Aged Genghis sought out the Vishanti and asked them for knowledge and mystical power. In return, Aged Genghis would gather the most powerful mages and sorcerers on Earth every century to test them. The strongest would become Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. The Sorcerer Supreme would protect Earth's dimension for the Vishanti and fight their enemies and in return could call upon the powers of the Vishanti.
Near the end of the 20th century, the Vishanti and various other magical entities went to war. This war was known as the "War of the Seven Spheres". During this war the Vishanti were matched against their counterpart, the "Trinity of Ashes". The Vishanti expected Doctor Strange, Earth's Sorcerer Supreme to fight at their side, but when they mentioned that they expected the war to last for several millennia, Strange refused, not wanting Earth to remain unprotected for so long, and rejected the Vishanti's power. Nearly powerless, Stephen Strange was driven from Earth by the ancient sorceress Salome. Salome offered her services to the Vishanti in exchange for power. The Vishanti found the amoral Salome repulsive, but accepted her offer in their need for soldiers. Still, Agamotto warned Strange about the deal Salome made with them. Shortly afterwards, Strange found a new source of power: he tapped into the mystical power of the Earth itself. With this new power, Salome was defeated and the Vishanti approached Strange again and asked him to become their soldier, feeling that with this new source of power Strange was even more valuable and even threatened to kill him should he not comply. This time, Strange, feeling that he owed the Vishanti for all their support over the years, agreed under the condition that they would return him in time after the war ended to the moment he had left the Earth, so that the Earth would not remain unprotected.
Fought in other dimensions, the war lasted for 5000 years, but only a nanosecond passed on Earth. The Vishanti, apparently on the winning side, returned Strange to Earth. Several months after his return, Strange could call upon the power of the Vishanti again. A short time after the War ended, one of the principal artifacts involved in it - the Sphere of Sara-Kath - lighted upon Earth once more, to be dabbled with by Technomages who had no idea of its power. In studying it, they accidentally released an entity called Buel, a 'Gremlin-Lord', who had been imprisoned in another dimension. Dr. Strange managed to destroy Buel and the Sphere with the aid of Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed]
At one point, the Vishanti were summoned by Doctor Strange to aid him against Sligguth, the minion of Shuma-Gorath. The Vishanti later appeared to the entities Kubik and Kosmos on their tour of the planes of existence. Agamotto also appeared to Doctor Strange as a talking caterpillar in the world within his amulet, and became the jailer of Silver Dagger after he was banished there.
When Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom are possessed by an unspecified demonic entity, they attempt to claim the Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Voodoo, causing it to teleport to Avengers Mansion. Luke Cage touches the object and mutates into a monstrous version of himself, the entity that has possessed him subsequently 'jumping' into Iron Fist, who then teleports away with the Eye, triggering a rift in the sky that Strange states means the end of everything. As the Avengers battle the demons back on Earth, Iron Fist finds himself in a white void where he encounters the Ancient One, who claims that he is responsible for the current invasion due to his anger at Strange's recent 'failures'. When Iron Fist returns to Earth- now dressed in a new costume-, he claims that the Ancient One has told him that Strange stole the Eye from the Ancient One rather than being given it by his master, challenging Strange to admit the truth. Noting that such a claim contradicts everything the Ancient One taught him about the Eye, Strange realizes that the entity they are facing is not his master, with a casual comment by Spider-Man prompting the sorcerers to realize that the enemy they face is Agamotto himself, trying to reclaim his Eye and alleging that the Vishanti are "no more". Although the group attempt to defeat Agamotto by empowering Wolverine to serve as their avatar by using a spell to channel all of their powers into Wolverine so that he can battle Agamotto in his realm, Doctor Voodoo is finally forced to sacrifice himself to forever banish and cast out their foe from the Earth realm, apparently destroying himself and the Eye at the same time.
Powers and abilities
The Vishanti have the vast ability to manipulate the energies of the forces of magic for virtually any purpose. The Vishanti have given specific mystic abilities to Dr Strange. Besides the eye and orb of Agamotto, Strange can conjure the hoary hand of Hogoth that manifests itself as a giant metal (armored) fist. He also calls on the omnipotent Oshtur The Book of the Vishanti, a treatise on magic compiled by the Vishanti, which besides containing countless spells and other mystic lore, is itself a powerful magical icon whose mere physical presence repulses spells hurled against it. Attained by the Ancient One many years ago by time-traveling to ancient Babylonia, it is currently held by Doctor Strange. The Orb of Agamotto is a large crystal orb which allows the user to view events of mystical significance occurring throughout the universe, and in various mystic dimensions. The Eye of Agamotto is an amulet which can release a beam of mystical light that dispels illusions, reveals hidden truths, and can heal or enhance the abilities of a willing recipient bathed in its beam. It also allows the wearer to release the Eye to become a "third eye" affixed to the wearer's forehead, allowing mystical mental probes of persons and objects. All of these items were long ago presented to the Ancient One by Eternity and are currently possessed by Doctor Strange.
- Agamotto, when appearing as part of the Vishanti, usually takes the form of a lion or a tiger and in most cases only the head appears, with red eyes resembling flames and the image of an ankh on his brow. In other appearances he has taken the form of a large ant, but during these appearances a tiger's head was also present among the Vishanti. (Whether this was simply a mistake by the creative team of the comic book or means that the Vishanti take on each other's appearances when it suits them is unknown.) Agamotto has also appeared as a hookah-smoking caterpillar, with hazel eyes.
- Hoggoth usually appears as an old, bald man (or sometimes with silver hair) with blue or purple skin, pointed ears and whose multifaceted eyes have no pupils and burn with blue energy. At other times he either appears as a large ant or takes Agamotto's guise of a tiger or lion (see Agamotto).
- Oshtur appears as a green or golden-skinned woman, either bald, with long blue or auburn hair or long strands of ivy-like leaves on her head. In this form she has blue-white eyes resembling stars.
- Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment (July, 1, 1989)
- Marvel Premiere #5
- Fantastic Four Annual #23
- Dr. Strange vol. 2 #1 - 2, 4 - 5
- New Avengers #1
- New Avengers #2
- New Avengers #3
- New Avengers #4
- New Avengers #5
- New Avengers vol. 2, #6 (Jan. 2011)