Sphinx (Marvel Comics)
Fictional character biography
The Sphinx (right) battles the Thing on the cover of The Thing #34 (Apr. 1986). Art by Kim DeMulder.
|First appearance||Nova #6 (Feb. 1977)|
|Created by||Marv Wolfman and Sal Buscema|
|Alter ego||Anath-Na Mut|
|Notable aliases||The Dreaded One|
|Abilities||Via Ka Stone:|
Superhuman strength and durability
Anath-Na Mut is a magician in the court of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. Defeated in a duel of magic by the prophet Moses, the magician is exiled into the desert for his failure. The title Nova recounts in flashback how Anath-Na discovers the alien Ka Stone, which grants him immortality and a host of other powers. Using the alias the Sphinx, Anath-Na wanders the Earth for thousands of years, and eventually becomes bored with his immortality. After learning the origins of the hero Nova, a human empowered by the aliens of the planet Xandar and possessing the subconscious knowledge of Xandar's Living Computer, the Sphinx theorized that the machine may be able to find a way to end his immortal life.
In a Fantastic Four annual, the Sphinx empowers a pawn called Thraxon to help subdue the Inhumans, as he plans to use the power of ruler Black Bolt to amplify a scanning device and read the minds of all mankind for knowledge of how to finally die. Superhero team the Fantastic Four defeat Thraxon and in a final confrontation Black Bolt blasts the Sphinx into deep space. The character reappears in the title Nova, taking mental control of Nova and with his temporary allies (Comet; Crimebuster; Diamondhead; Powerhouse and Doctor Sun), they travel back to Xandar to join a war against the invading Skrulls.
The story continues in the title Fantastic Four, where this proves to be a ruse, as once on Xandar the Sphinx takes advantage of the war to find and absorb the knowledge of the Living Computer of Xandar. Evolving into a god, the Sphinx decides to destroy Earth. The Fantastic Four witness this, and knowing that they are outmatched Mister Fantastic contacts the cosmic entity Galactus and presents a proposal — if Galactus will defeat the Sphinx, then Mister Fantastic will release him from his vow to never threaten the Earth again. Galactus accepts, and after the Fantastic Four find Galactus a new Herald (Terrax), the group travel to Earth. Galactus defeats the Sphinx, and after crushing his Ka Stone sends him back in human form to ancient Egypt. The character is trapped in a time loop, forcing Anath-Na to constantly relive his life to this point.
An issue of the title Marvel Two-In-One continues the story, as Anath-Na relives his life several times until due to a chronal flaw he is able to meet himself, and so warns the younger Anath-Na as to his future. The two then build a machine to reconstruct the Ka Stone, and after hypnotizing the younger version of Anath-Na so he would not remember, the future version enters suspended animation. The future version of the Sphinx awakens after Galactus departs, and begins to rebuild the Ka Stone. The hero the Thing, however, battles the Sphinx to a standstill and destroys the machine, leaving the Sphinx with an incomplete Stone. The Sphinx departs, but on learning that the incomplete Ka Stone is losing all power seeks revenge of the Thing. The villain Puppet Master assists the Thing and forces the Sphinx to crush the Ka Stone; as a result Anath-Na immediately ages five thousand years and crumbles to dust.
As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Sphinx obtained Nadeen Hassan's brother Navid as an apprentice where he helped Sphinx retrieve numerous Egyptian artifacts from the San Francisco Museum of Egyptian Culture.
Meryet Karim is a desert nomad who finds an unconscious Anath-Na Mut soon after he finds the Ka Stone. In nursing him back to health, Karim absorbs residual energies from the Ka Stone which grant her a fraction of its power. Karim found that after death she was being perpetually reincarnated into new bodies and retains the knowledge of her previous lives with each rebirth. In the modern era, Karim finds the remnants of the Ka Stone and reconstructs it to become the new Sphinx. Karim then alters history so that Anath-Na Mut kills Moses which leads to Egypt eventually conquering the world and leading to the Forever Yesterday storyline. Karim is thwarted by the superhero team the New Warriors and she resurrects Anath-Na in a bid to reclaim his love. The newly empowered Anath-Na battles the New Warriors. But when forced to face his feelings for Karim, he decides to merge with her into a composite entity which goes back in time to live a normal life.
The gestalt entity has a final appearance in the title the New Warriors before reappearing as the male Sphinx in the third volume of the title Nova. The character discovers that Galactus' curse is still in effect and battles Nova once again, intent on having access to Xandarian knowledge. The Sphinx appears in an issue of the fourth volume of the title Nova.
Powers and abilities
The Sphinx is an ancient mutant, who has gained additional abilities through use of the Ka Stone, and other sources. The character possesses superhuman strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes, and virtual immortality. Courtesy of the Ka stone, the Sphinx also possess a range of metaphysical abilities including energy projection; telepathy; teleportation and flight. The Sphinx also possesses knowledge of ancient Egyptian sorcery.
- Seen in flashback in Fantastic Four Annual #12 (1977)
- Nova #6 - 7 (Feb. - Mar. 1977)
- Nova #11 (Jul. 1977)
- Fantastic Four Annual #12 (1977)
- Nova #23 - 25 (Jan. - May (bi-monthly) 1978)
- Fantastic Four #206 - 213 (May - Dec. 1979)
- Marvel Two-In-One #91 (Sep. 1982)
- The Thing #34 (Apr. 1986)
- Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3
- New Warriors #47 - 50 (May. - Jul. 1994); Nova #6 - 7 (Jun. - Jul 1994); Night Thrasher vol. 2, #11 - 12 (Jun. - Jul. 1994)
- New Warriors #68 - 70 (Feb. - Apr. 1996)
- Nova vol. 3, #1 (May 1999); #3 - 6 (July - Oct. 1999)
- Nova vol. 4, #20 (Feb. 2009)