Darkhold

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Darkhold
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Spotlight #4 (June 1972)
Created byGerry Conway
Mike Ploog
In story information
TypeBook, Mystic item/artifact
Element of stories featuringChthon
Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins
Darkhold cover.jpg
Cover of Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins 1 (Oct, 1992), art by Richard Case
Publication information
ScheduleMonthly
FormatsOriginal material for the series has been published as a set of ongoing series.
Genre
Publication dateOctober 1992 – January 1994
Number of issues16

The Darkhold, also known as The Book of Sins, is a fictional book (a grimoire) appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Darkhold has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Runaways, and WandaVision.

Publication history[edit]

The Darkhold was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog. The Darkhold was first mentioned in Marvel Spotlight #3 (May 1972), but first shown in Marvel Spotlight #4 (June 1972). The book subsequently appeared in Werewolf by Night #1 (September 1972) and Marvel Chillers #3 (February 1976).

The comic book series Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins ran 16 issues, from October 1992 through January 1994.

The Darkhold received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89 #2.

Fictional book history[edit]

Origin[edit]

Chthon, a demonic Elder God who was the Earth's first practitioner of black magic, was the principal author of the Darkhold. Being academic, Chthon wrote all his collected knowledge of magic into the iron-bound scrolls that served as the first form of the Darkhold. It remained as the Darkhold after most of the demonic Elder Gods were slain by the Demogorge except for Chthon and Set. The Darkhold's power is so vast it took the combined strength and will of both Merlin and St. Brendan to contain it. Even together, they were unable to destroy it or its power. Mordred also seemed to believe that use of the Darkhold would grant him sufficient strength to challenge Merlin himself.[1]

First vampire[edit]

Humans first found the Darkhold during the time before Atlantis sank into the ocean. When Kull slew Thulsa Doom, his followers the Darkholders used the Darkhold to create the first vampire Varnae who was dying due to wounds suffered in battle with Kull. Varnae consumed one of the Darkholders who attempted to command him, and began creating other vampires. Some surviving Darkholders managed to make off with the Darkhold before Atlantis sank.[2]

When Atlantis sank, Varnae went into hibernation and did not revive until circa 10,000 BC. He found that some parchments of the Darkhold had been left behind in the Flaming Mountains of Khorasha. Varnae attempted to recover these parchments, now bound into "The Iron-Bound Book Of Skelos." In an altercation with Conan, Red Sonja, and the sorcerer Zula, Varnae controlled bat-like humanoids called the Afterlings. Zula used a spell from the Darkhold/Chthon Scrolls against Varnae, reciting, "Shemek Iref Wenek Tjhen Inek It-Ek Chthon Djedeni Emm-Maat Wenen Taeei Hemet Ankh-Ek Isheset Antioo Djedte Nes Sep Iree Nen Renek Anhkhu Wi-Im Valka!" He then noted, "I'm sorry the incantation ended where it did--and only hurt Lord Varnae, rather than destroying him." To Zula, the words appeared in Stygian, but it had long been known that Chthon had cast a spell that would make the Darkhold appear intelligible in any language. In any event, Varnae fled.[3]

Red Sonja[edit]

Zula also used the Darkhold against the Set-worshipping sorcerer Thugra Khothan. Later Red Sonja and Zula traveled to Zamboula, Zamboula serving as the western part of the Turanian empire. Totrasmek, the priest of the deity Hanuman (note that Hindus also worship a simian deity called Hanuman), came into possession of the Chthon Scroll/Darkhold. Totramesk had been searching for years for the Darkhold. Zula recovered the Darkhold and used the scrolls to transport himself and Sonja away. Zula noted that the scroll disappeared as a result of the spell.[4]

Later historians in the Vatican would note that at some point scrolls of the Darkhold were taken East during the Hyborian Age.[5]

Morgan le Fay[edit]

After the Hyborian Age, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Hebrews came to possess the Darkhold scrolls. Morgan le Fay bound the scrolls into book form for the first time circa the 7th century. It is around this time they were translated from Chthon's arcane script into Latin. Saint Brendan tore them up. Numerous pages from the Darkhold have been scattered across the globe by cults of Chthon-worshipping Darkholders. The usage of a page of the Darkhold would summon the Darkhold Dwarf, a minion or manifestation of Chthon, who would attempt to manipulate and corrupt the page's invoker.

In the 12th century, a heretical monk named Aelfric had reformed the Darkhold. This monk was burnt at the stake, the Darkhold with him. The Darkhold reformed itself, and was purchased by a trader, who was then murdered. By the 17th century, the Vatican came to possess the Darkhold. Dracula sent a thief to acquire it for him, but Cagliostro slew the thief and took it for himself.

At some point the vampire Lord Ruthven may have possessed the Darkhold.

Werewolves[edit]

The Darkhold was also responsible for the curse of the werewolf; an 18th-century man named Grigori Russoff had been tainted by the Darkhold, and was subsequently bitten by a werewolf who served Dracula. Grigori passed this curse of lycanthropy on to his descendants, including eventually Gregor Russoff and his son Jacob Russoff. Taboo, the sorcerer, claims to have found the Darkhold in an old Balkan castle. He used to taunt Gregor Russoff with a possible cure.[6]

Gregor Russoff came to possess the Darkhold. He would later copy much of its content into the journal of his ancestor, and used it as a journal for himself. Accounts vary as to how he came to possess it. Some say he purchased it, while others say he took it from the sorcerer Taboo. Two accounts say that Russoff bought it. In any event, when he read of the origin of lycanthropy in the Darkhold, Gregor Russoff (whose ancestor Grigori had been a werewolf) also contracted lycanthropy. During this time, Dracula shadowed Russoff.

Gregor Russoff attempted to raise Chthon hoping he could cure him of lycanthropy. Chthon instead apparently struck Russoff dead, though Russoff evidently somehow revived. The High Evolutionary and Magnus managed to defeat Chthon at this point. Presumably, the revived Gregor Russoff recovered the Darkhold and somehow managed to hide his activities from the High Evolutionary and Magnus for some time. He was later slain by villagers no earlier than approximately 20 years ago.

Later, Russoff's son Jack also became a werewolf. Recovering the Darkhold from Miles Blackgar, he gave it to a Father Jacquez to translate. Aelfric's ghost possessed Jacquez. At the end of this struggle, Russoff incorrectly thought that the Darkhold was destroyed. Later, Russoff traveled to Transylvania with the Indian woman Topaz to visit Russoff Manor. There they found Gregor Russoff's diary. Dracula came to possess the diary, but he left it behind in a blizzard in the Alps once he learned that the diary contained a copy of the Montesi Formula to destroy vampires. Morgan Le Fay later recovered the diary.

At some point Doctor Doom found a part of the Darkhold that allowed him to cast a spell to access Belasco's Limbo. Also at some point, Mephisto imprisoned a demon called Darklove into a page of the Darkhold.

Marvel Zombies[edit]

The Darkhold played a role in the fifth Marvel Zombies series, specifically in the third issue.[7] In this series, Machine Man and Howard the Duck (from the primary Marvel universe) and Jackie Kane (from Earth-483) travel between dimensions collecting samples of the various zombie viruses in order to develop a cure. In this issue, they travel to a universe which contains zombies dubbed "Raimis" (a reference to the Evil Dead films directed by Sam Raimi). In this universe, though, the zombies are controlled by the Darkhold rather than by the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, which is how they are controlled in the film series.

Later appearances[edit]

Carnage was augmented by the Darkhold and was successful in resurrecting Chthon, but was defeated by the Symbiote Task Force (composed of John Jameson, Eddie Brock as Toxin, Claire Dixon and Jubil van Scotter).[8]

During the "Secret Empire" storyline, Baron Helmut Zemo used the Darkhold on Blackout in order to enhance his powers enough to have Darkforce shadows cover all of Manhattan.[9]

Darkhold Redeemers[edit]

A group led by Victoria Montesi, the last member of the Montesi family, attempted to curtail the effects of the lost pages of the Darkhold. The group starred in the series Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins. Many pages of the Darkhold were being passed around by a demonic dwarf. The recipients of the page could use them to grant a wish at the cost of their soul; the wish tends to go horrifically wrong.[10]

Victoria Montesi[edit]

Louise Hastings[edit]

A member of the Darkhold Redeemers. Professor Louise Hastings was an expert in the occult. She spent her career fighting occult or demonic forces, usually alongside her peers and the Midnight Sons. During the crisis known as the "Midnight Massacre" it was Hastings who saved the day by reading from the Darkhold, sacrificing her soul to Chthon. She was killed months later during the "Siege of Darkness" by Morbius who was possessed by Lilin blood. She is survived by her grandson, Jinx.

Sam Buchanan[edit]

Little is known about Sam Buchanan. He is an Interpol agent who is assigned to protect Victoria Montesi after she barely survived an attack by a cult worshipping the Darkhold. After Victoria Montesi disappears and Professor Hastings was murdered, Sam walked away from the occult. He is presumed back at Interpol.

Modred The Mystic[edit]

Jinx[edit]

Jinx is the grandson of Louise Hastings, an expert in the occult and a mystic of limited power. It is likely that her experiences in the mystic affected her lineage, although her daughter, Caprice, never demonstrated any mystical abilities. Jinx proved able to access magic to perform small feats without any sort of training.[volume & issue needed] Jinx's mother was killed in a struggle over of the Darkhold pages, and he came to live with his grandmother, Louise. Almost instantly, he became caught up in a Darkhold plot to reassemble the pages. Sam Buchanan was an agent of Interpol and was convinced by his superior, DeGuzman, leader of a Darkholder sect, to betray and bring in the Darkhold Redeemers. Jinx followed Buchanan back to a base in the southwest, where he accessed the energy of a page of the Darkhold to disperse a group of guards and free Victoria Montesi.[volume & issue needed]

An ally of the Darkhold Redeemers, Blade, was temporarily corrupted by a page of the Darkhold, becoming an incarnation of the Demogorge. Modred teleported Jinx back to New Hope to prevent him from being injured in the battle against the Demogorge.[volume & issue needed]

Jinx accompanied the other Redeemers when they investigated Lt. Frank Walsh after he used the "Troid" spell of the Darkhold. Following this, Victoria Montesi accessed a page of the Darkhold to gain healing powers. This resulted in the summoning of the creature Monstrosity, which was drawn to follow Victoria and slaughter those it encountered. Jinx attempted to engage the Monstrosity, but was stabbed in the chest by it. He was mortally wounded, but Victoria appeared and used her magics to heal him instantly. It was at this time that Jinx began training as an apprentice to Modred, much to the consternation of the other Redeemers. Jinx demonstrated the ability to focus mystic energy from his right eye while directly participating in the struggle against Spider-X, another Darkhold page user.[volume & issue needed]

Modred's training allowed Jinx to participate in the "Siege of Darkness", amplifying Modred's power to oppose the forces of the demon Lilith I. Internal strife and misunderstandings amongst the Midnight Sons did briefly turn Jinx against Modred, but they soon resolved this. Jinx accompanied the others to the jungles of Central America to locate the Blood member Truth-Sayer. They succeeded, although Truth-Sayer was incinerated by the Fallen member Metarchus. Following this, in order to protect him against the final battle against Lilith and Zarathos, Jinx was sent to the Vatican to remain under the care of Vittorio Montesi.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]

  • The Darkhold appears in The Super Hero Squad Show animated series episode "Mother of Doom".
  • The Darkhold appears in live-action television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • The Darkhold appears in the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.[11] According to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, this version of the Darkhold was sought by numerous parties over the years. While its pages appear blank, words will manifest before corporeal readers in their native language. The book was found by Momentum Labs workers Joseph and Lucy Bauer, who used it in their research to create matter from nothing. However, the lab technician Eli Morrow became obsessed with the power the Darkhold offered, turning Lucy and her co-workers into ghost-like beings and putting Joseph into a coma in his pursuit to claim it, only to learn it was hidden away. After freeing her co-workers, Lucy undergoes her own quest to find the Darkhold, restore her physical form, and resume her work.[12] In the episodes "Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire" and "Lockup", Lucy uses her ghostly abilities to revive Joseph and learn the book's location, unintentionally killing him the process. Due to her incorporeal state, Lucy is forced to free Morrow from South Ridge Penitentiary, though she loses her co-workers to Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider. In "The Good Samaritan", Morrow and Lucy create a replica of their laboratory at an abandoned Roxxon power plant. After Melinda May contains the Darkhold and Reyes vanquishes Lucy, Morrow uses the machine to grant himself the power to create matter by pulling energy from other dimensions. In "Deals With Our Devils", Holden Radcliffe has AIDA read the Darkhold so she can create an interdimensional portal and rescue Coulson and Leo Fitz from another dimension before secretly using her newly acquired knowledge to create LMDs while Reyes defeats Morrow. Following this, the Koenig family hide the Darkhold in a S.H.I.E.L.D. base called the Labyrinth until Radcliffe steals it to gain immortality. In "BOOM", the Watchdog Superior Anton Ivanov uses the book to assist in his plans in killing Inhumans. In "Self Control", AIDA uses the Darkhold to create LMDs for Ivanov as well as LMD duplicates of Coulson's team. In the season finale, "World's End", Reyes secures the Darkhold once Coulson defeats AIDA and takes it to another dimension to keep it safe.
    • The Darkhold appears in the third season of Runaways.[13] Having acquired it as of the episode "Merry Meet Again", Morgan le Fay plots to use its knowledge to conquer Earth following her escape from the Dark Dimension and stores the book at the Essex Tower Hotel. In order to rescue Alex Wilder from the Dark Dimension, Nico Minoru and her parents, Tina and Robert, infiltrate the hotel in an attempt to steal the Darkhold. In "Left-Hand Path", Robert uses his WizGlasses to record select pages to help Nico access the book's spells, but Morgan detects, teleports to, and kills him on his way out. In his final moments however, Robert hands his glasses to Nico, which she later uses in conjunction with the Staff of One to open a portal to the Dark Dimension, only for the spell to summon Cloak and Dagger instead. In "Devil's Torture Chamber", Nico explains herself to the duo, who help her rescue Alex. In "The Broken Circle", the Runaways join forces with Pride to use the Darkhold to foil Morgan's plans and send her back to the Dark Dimension.
    • The Darkhold appears in the miniseries WandaVision.[14][15] In the episodes "Breaking the Fourth Wall" and "Previously On", Agatha Harkness uses it to determine Wanda Maximoff's true nature as the Scarlet Witch. In "The Series Finale", after defeating Harkness and going into hiding, Maximoff takes and studies the Darkhold.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wolfman, Marv. Marvel Chillers Featuring Modred the Mystic. Volume #1 No # 1, Marvel Comics Group, 1975, p. 15.
  2. ^ Doctor Strange III #11/2. Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ Conan the Barbarian #244-245. Marvel Comics.
  4. ^ Savage Sword of Conan #194-195. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ Doctor Strange vol. 3 #13/2. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ Mystic Arcana #3. Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ Marvel Zombies 5 #3. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Carnage vol. 2. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Secret Empire #0. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ The Darkhold #1 (October 1992). Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2017-05-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (September 27, 2016). "S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Catch the Spirit — Plus, the New Director Is [Spoiler]". TVLine. Archived from the original on September 28, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  13. ^ "Marvel's Runaways season 3: How did Morgan le Fay get the Darkhold?". Netflix Life. 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  14. ^ "The WandaVision finale sets up Marvel's most terrifying storyline yet". The Independent. March 6, 2021.
  15. ^ "How the 'WandaVision' finale sets up Wanda and Monica's futures". Los Angeles Times. March 6, 2021.

External links[edit]