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|First appearance||Strange Tales #156 (May 1967)|
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)
Marie Severin (artist)
The character subsequently appeared in Doctor Strange #20 (August 1990), World War Hulk #3-4 (October–November 2007), Incredible Hulk #111 (December 2007), World War Hulk #5 (January 2008), and New Avengers Annual #2 (March 2008).
Fictional character biography
Created "long ago" by unknown forces, Zom is a massively powerful mystic entity who exists only to destroy. Possessing enough evil energy to disrupt the balance of the multiverse, it took the combined efforts of both Dormammu and Eternity to successfully banish him; Zom was fitted with the "Crown of Blindness" and the "Manacles of Living Bondage" before being imprisoned within a small mystic amphora in what Eternity described as a "world beyond all worlds" and a "time beyond all time".
In Dormammu's absence, his sister Umar assumed the Flames of Regency and all the powers of the Dark Dimension, and as she was not bound by the pact that prevented Dormammu from entering the 616-Universe, she transported herself to Earth with the intention of destroying Dr. Strange along with the planet. Knowing he had little chance against Umar in a straight mystic battle (as she was wielding power equal to that of Dormammu), he made the risky gambit of intentionally releasing Zom in the hopes that the two evil entities would battle one another. Zom furiously attacked Strange and pursued him to Earth after being released, and Umar hastily retreated back to the Dark Dimension upon seeing Zom set foot on Earth. As Dr. Strange attempted to battle the menace alone, the Living Tribunal eventually appeared and banished Zom to prevent his evil energy from leaking into other dimensions.
When faced with the unstoppable rage of the Hulk during the "World War Hulk" storyline, Doctor Strange resorted to invoking Zom's essence into himself by drinking the contents of the amphora. In the following issue seven S.H.I.E.L.D.-employed mystics stated that he did channel Zom's powers, and he severely battered and damaged the Hulk, but began to lose control. He restrained Zom long enough for the Hulk to recover and knock him unconscious.[volume & issue needed]
After Doctor Strange's defeat, the infernal entity resumed its mission to destroy the Earth dimension, and started by inhabiting Iron Man's discarded "hulkbuster" armor, to activate the latter's anti-matter doomsday device. Wong sought to recapture it into the urn, and was assisted by Hercules, Namora, the Angel, and Amadeus Cho. While it still proved too powerful to defeat, Amadeus managed to trick it into possessing his body, so the Angel could knock him out, and it was successfully resealed. Zom was referred to as severely depleted at the time.
During the assault of Amatsu-Mikaboshi on all of existence during the Chaos War storyline, Amatsu-Mikaboshi attacks Doctor Strange from behind, awakening the Zom part of Doctor Strange. Hiroim used his powers to try to exorcise Zom from Doctor Strange. Marlo Chandler later uses the power she derives from her connection to Death to free Doctor Strange from Zom.
Powers and abilities
Zom displayed innate magical power and mystical knowledge sufficient to overpower both Doctor Strange and Umar, magic users of the highest order.[volume & issue needed] The Living Tribunal was moved to intervene personally to dispatch him, something which typically does not happen unless the entire universe's existence is at stake.[volume & issue needed] He also possessed incredible physical strength, being able to shatter manacles set on him by Eternity himself;[volume & issue needed] also, Doctor Strange, while channeling his power, was strong enough to engage in a match with the Incredible Hulk.[volume & issue needed] If he is defeated and not every little part of him is captured and stored again, each one can potentially grow into a new, complete Zom, provided it has access to sufficient magical power to feed on. He can also possess individuals, seemingly dominating even very powerful and trained wills with ease, or inanimate objects. He was also apparently capable of masking his presence from the Living Tribunal.[volume & issue needed]
- Zom at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe