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Kulan Gath (Earth-616)

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Kulan Gath was a sorcerer in Earth's Hyborian Era, the ancient time period in which Conan the Barbarian lived. At some point, he married the witch Vammatar in an alliance to obtain the power of the demon Shuma-Gorath. He had an apprentice named Razal Gulath, and was an enemy of the immortal vampire-like mutant named Selene. He sought the power of the Melnibonéan sorceress Terhali, who had been exiled to Earth and placed in suspended animation; when Terhali awoke, she disintegrated Kulan Gath with a magical bolt of energy.

This proved to be only a setback for Kulan Gath, as he had achieved effective immortality by placing his life energy into a magical amulet. He eventually regained his body, allied with Vammatar, and fought Conan and Red Sonja. Kulan Gath and his bride were apparently destroyed when they attempted to control the demon Shuma-Gorath.

Kulan Gath returned again[2], thanks to the efforts of his new wife, Armati, but he was decapitated by Conan. At some point, his body was restored, but his heart was cut out by Red Sonja; possibly with the assistance of Conan[3]

Millennia later, Kulan Gath returned to life in the modern world when the necklace that housed his essence turned up at a museum display in New York City. The necklace was donned by a night watchman; the sorcerer transformed the guard's body into a duplicate of his own, which he then possessed. He was defeated by Red Sonja, who had been temporarily reincarnated in the present day in the body of Mary Jane Watson, and her newfound ally Spider-Man.

Spider-Man later tossed the necklace off of a ferry bound for Staten Island, but it was found not long afterwards by a fisherman named Jaime Rodriquez; although Jaime resisted Kulan Gath, a mugger who subsequently killed him was considerably weaker in willpower, and when the mugger donned the necklace, he was possessed instantly and transformed by the wizard.

Kulan Gath, now returned to the height of his power, transformed Manhattan into a likeness of his native time. Everyone trapped on the island believed that the transformed world was the true world, with the exceptions of his enemy Spider-Man and the modern-day Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. Kulan Gath mystically bound Strange, and transformed Professor X and Caliban into a hybrid creature under his control. He also took control of the minds of the Avengers, the X-Men, the New Mutants and the Morlocks, who hunted down Spider-Man.

In the end, Spider-Man and several other heroes were killed by Kulan Gath, his enemy Selene, or the mind-controlled agents of one of the two. Strange and the New Mutant Magik used their powers to change time so that the mugger who had originally killed Jaime Rodriquez and had been Kulan Gath's host had instead been slain by the time-travelling android Nimrod, creating a new divergent timeline in which all the changes and deaths caused by Gath never occurred.

In the process of the mugger's death, Kulan Gath's amulet was lost in the New York City sewers; Gath, however, still possessed the memories of the original timeline. In gratitude for saving his life, Jaime took Nimrod into his home, unaware of the Sentinel's true nature.

Yet another fisherman later found the amulet and was transformed into Kulan Gath's new host. Kulan Gath traveled to the Latin American nation of Costa Verde, and transformed the region inhabited by the Kamekeri Native Americans as he had previously transformed Manhattan. The Avengers, accompanied by their ally Silverclaw, traveled to Costa Verde to stop him.

He attempted to sacrifice Silverclaw's mother, the Kamekeri goddess Pelali, to his demonic gods, but Silverclaw was able to free her (though Pelali died from the effects of the ritual later). The gods, having been partially summoned, still required a sacrifice, and when no other victim was offered, they took the unwilling Kulan Gath to their native dimension.

Gath was able to return to Earth when the amulet came into contact with a corrupt U.S. senator, providing him with a new body that he subsequently used to transform New York once again. Knowing that Red Sonja would return to fight him, Gath attempted to negate that threat by enchanting Sonja's blade so that she saw Spider-Man as an enemy, but Sonja was eventually able to overcome the spell and fought alongside the wall-crawler, encouraged to trust him by Mary Jane's residual memories. Seeking to enhance his power, Gath attempted to lure Venom to him, subsequently stealing the symbiote and bonding with it to become 'Kulan Venom', intending to then sacrifice Red Sonja and use her holy blood, blessed by a goddess, to complete his dominion over this plane and then expand to all others.

Despite his attempts to delay his adversaries by pitting them against altered versions of Vermin, Lizard, Scorpion and Hobgoblin, the symbiote's attempts to rejoin with Brock distracted Gath long enough for Sonja to destroy the amulet and break Gath's spell, thus restoring the world to normal.[4]

Abilities

Kulan Gath was an incredibly powerful sorceror, and could cast spells including illusion casting, enslaving the wills of others, and many more.



  • When Marvel lost the rights to use Conan, Red Sonja and other properties, the rights to Kulan Gath were reverted to the property owners. The character is now being used in Dynamite Entertainments Red Sonja series as the chief antagonist. He appeared in the Spider-Man/Red Sonja miniseries.

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Footnotes

  1. Spider-Man Red Sonja #3
  2. Conan: The Flame and the Fiend
  3. a silhouetted scene in Marvel Saga #1 suggests that this may have occurred with the assistance of Conan.
  4. Spider-Man Red Sonja #1-#5



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