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Charles Benton (Earth-616)

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Not much has been revealed about the early life and history of Dr. Benton, who eventually became a respected New York doctor. Benton approached a young and vain Dr. Stephen Strange asking him to perform charity work, only to be rebuffed.[1]

At some point Benton joined a group of worshipers of the demon Satannish, who garbed themselves in red ritualistic costumes and referred to themselves as the Sons of Satannish.[2] As with all such worshipers, Benton presumably was endowed with supernatural powers in exchange for his soul. At some point, Benton, who had since renamed himself Asmodeus, became the leader of the cult.[3]

Asmodeus led the Sons of Satannish against Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange.[2] As Benton, he repeatedly contacted Strange, supposedly to hire him as a medical assistant, claiming that Strange's sorcery was not a career but mere nonsense.[4][3] As Asmodeus, he placed Strange's companion, Clea, under his mystical control and used her to steal the Book of the Vishanti, Strange's greatest collection of occult lore. The Sons of the Satannish also succeeded in capturing Strange himself, and they exiled both him and Clea to another dimension.[5] From the Book of the Vishanti, Asmodeus learned the dread Spell of Fire and Ice, with which he could bring the fire demon, Surtur, and the ice giant, Ymir, to Earth to destroy it. No longer needing his fellow mystics, Asmodeus exiled the other Sons of Satannish to the dimension ruled by Tiboro.[2]

Strange and Clea escaped the dimension to which they had been sent, and Strange did battle with Asmodeus, whose weak heart could not withstand the strain of all-out mystical combat. Just before Asmodeus died, he set the Spell of Fire and Ice into motion.[2] Strange and Dane Whitman, the Black Knight, rescued the other Sons of Satannish from Tiboro's world. Then, while some of the Knight's allies, the Avengers, battled Ymir in Wakanda, and other Avengers battled Surtur in one of the polar regions, Strange discovered how to use certain crystals filled with Satannish's own power to combat the two creatures. Strange used the crystal to cast a spell that brought Surtur and Ymir face to face just as the two monsters were about to attack the Avengers. As a result, Surtur and Ymir unleashed their power against each other, creating a mystical implosion that returned each of them to their own dimensions.

Later, Satannish gave Asmodeus the chance to returned to life if he could capture another soul to give Satannish in exchange for Asmodeus' own. Asmodeus attacked the Defenders, a team that then included Doctor Strange, intending to turn the souls of Strange and the other active members to Satannish. But the Defenders thwarted Asmodeus, who was unable to defeat them before the time limit Satannish gave him expired. Hence, Satannish carried off Asmodeus' soul instead.[6]

Powers

Asmodeus was a magic user capable of manipulating mystic power for a variety of effects, including (but not limited to) interdimensional teleportation, casting bolts of mystical energy as destructive force, and erecting energy shields or screens with a high degree of imperviousness to both physical and magical damage.

Asmodeus gained these powers through the ability to tap this universe's infinite store of ambient magical energy and manipulate these to a variety of effects, a skill derived from three major sources: personal powers of the mind/soul/body, powers gained by tapping the universe's ambient magical energy and employing it for specific effects. He also gained powers through the tapping of extra-dimensional energy by invoking entities (such as Satannish) or objects of power existing in mystical dimensions tangential to his own. The latter means of power was usually gained by the recitation of incantations.


Weaknesses

Benton had a heart condition, being unable to withstand the stress of a magical duel.[2]


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