Sargon the Sorcerer
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|Sargon the Sorcerer|
David Sargent Sargon, artist Scott Hampton
All-American Comics # 26, (May 1941)
Helmet of Fate: Sargon # 1, (April 2007)
John B. Wentworth (writer)
Howard Purcell (artist)
Steve Niles (writer)
Scott Hampton (artist)
|Alter ego||- John Sargent
David John Sargent
Sargon the Sorcerer is a fictional character, a second string mystic, superhero and sorcerer appearing in DC Comics publications during the Golden Age. The original Sargon first appeared in All-American Comics # 26, (May 1941), and was created by John B. Wentworth and Howard Purcell. The modern Sargon first appears in Helmet of Fate: Sargon # 1 (April 2007) and was created by Steve Niles and Scott Hampton. The name Sargon is of Mesopotamian origin, and one king of Akkad and two of Assyria bore this name.
Fictional character biography
Sargon debuted in All-American Comics #26, with a publication date of May, 1941. He was a stage magician, dressed like a swami complete with turban, to disguise the fact that he wielded true mystical powers, passing off such feats as illusions. As a child, he came into possession of the mystic Ruby of Life which allowed him to control anything he touches (touching the ground lets him erect a wall, for instance).
Taking his professional name from the ancient king of the same name, Sargon has had a checkered career, acting mostly as a hero during the Golden Age aided by his cartoonish fat little comic relief sidekick/manager Maximillian O'Leary as he battled crooks, spies and his azure-skinned archenemy the Blue Lama, Queen of Black Magic, but re-emerging in the Silver Age - as a villain, at least at first. It was later explained that his villainous activities were the result of certain side effects of possessing the Ruby of Life. He was brought back for occasional guest appearances in the Silver Age and was awarded with an honorary membership in the Justice League in Justice League of America #99. Despite this, Sargon was never a major player in the DC Universe, at least in published adventures.
Sargon maintained contacts with several other mages in the DC Universe, notably Baron Winters, Zatara (a fellow faux stage magician), and the younger mage John Constantine. Sargon answered the summons of Constantine to participate in a ritual at the mansion of Winters in July 1985 to help deal with the effects of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, using the Swamp Thing as their portal into the war being fought in Hell. Locking hands in a circle of power, and using the psychic powers of Constantine's drunken acquaintance Mento, the group of sorcerers (which also included Zatara's daughter Zatanna) observed the events unfolding, and attempted in turn to channel their magical powers into several other mystical characters present in Hell, including Etrigan, the original Doctor Fate, and the Spectre.
Their enemy, a primal form of evil (called the Great Evil Beast) that was surging upwards to obliterate everything in its path, sensed their interference and lashed out several times; its power raced around the circle, finding a weak link and incinerating it. The first to fall was Sargon. At first panicking and crying out for the others to help him, and almost pulling his hands away from the circle, Sargon was rebuked by Zatara to maintain his composure and die like a sorcerer. In a final act of will, Sargon apologized for his outburst, and calmly sat in place and burned alive without a whimper, never letting go of his colleagues' hands. This ritual also kills Zatara and leaves Mento completely deranged.
Sargon would later return in Swamp Thing, "borrowing" the body of an elderly German man named Koestler and planning to lead the souls trapped in Hell in an assault on Heaven. He sacrificed this form to save his niece, Gracie Brody.
During the Books of Magic series, the Phantom Stranger and young Timothy Hunter had a brief encounter with what was apparently Sargon's soul, who attempted to warn the boy of the dangers and costs of pursuing magical power. He then disintegrated right before their eyes, leaving behind his Ruby of Life.
Sargon appears in the Day of Judgement series as a grey soul in the realm of Purgatory. He presumably joins in the fight against the guardians of Purgatory when a team of living heroes arrives to bring back the soul of Hal Jordan.
The Helmet of Fate miniseries featured a Sargon the Sorcerer one-shot, starring his successor David John Sargent.
After dropping out of college, having at least seven relationships, and a brief stint as the lead singer in a band, David spent the rest of his life as a drifter on the side of the road. One day two men who claimed to represent the estate of his grandfather, the original Sargon, found David and told him that he was his heir. Actually, these men were demons trying to find Sargon's Ruby of Life, but could not do so because of the protection spells he had placed on his house.
David was tricked into signing away his grandfather's estate over to the two men, who then prepared to force him to find the Ruby when the Helmet of Fate suddenly appeared. David escaped the two and was led into his grandfather's secret attic by Sargon's ghost. Searching around, he found his grandfather's old props, his suit and turban, which contained some pieces of the Ruby. Those pieces then went into David's chest, through them Sargon was able to project himself in front of his grandson. He explained to David that he needed a successor to his name to find the remaining pieces of the Ruby, which somehow shattered, and he was the only member of his bloodline still alive. He also explained that he pulled the Helmet off its course in order to provide a distraction long enough to grant David the Ruby's power.
David accepted the role of Sargon the Sorcerer, and armed with new mystical abilities, went to drive the two men from his home. At the time, the two used a piece of the Ruby they acquired to turn themselves into demons, and managed to weaken the Helmet. David then quickly disposed of the two, and sent the Helmet back on its course after placing a piece of himself into it.
David went on to play a part in Reign in Hell, assisting Zatanna and Blue Devil, and ultimately sacrificing himself to Lobo's mercy to allow many heroes and anti-heroes out of Hell; this event left Zatanna and Blue Devil traumatized, as they were the ones who went to Sargon for help in the first place.
Sargon appears briefly in Justice League Dark, where he is mentioned as one of the great magicians of the past age, among peers such as Zatara and Dr. Occult. In Constantine #1, Sargon is revealed to have been one of four powerful magicians who became corrupted by their power and formed the villainous cult, The Cold Flame. He is shown to have died some time prior, and his daughter has taken on his powers and role in the group, under the name Sargon the Sorceress.