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Quote1 Before all was, I was. Before time was, I waited. I fed on the screaming souls of the universes. I drank the spoiled milk of dead stars. I am the emptiness outside all understanding. I am Shuma-Gorath. Quote2
-- Shuma-Gorath src
 

Origins

Shuma-Gorath was an Old One,[7][3] a Great Old One,[5] and a Many-Angled One.[6]

Early Reign on Earth

Ruler of hundreds of dimensions, Shuma-Gorath came to the Earth-Realm million years ago along with the other Old Ones, ruling the Earth and feasting on the ape-men.[3]

Some time around 1,000,000 years ago,[8] he was banished from the Earth-Realm by the time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg. This was all observed by another time-traveling sorcerer, Doctor Strange, who had hoped to defeat Shuma-Gorath in the past so that his master, the Ancient One, would not need to die in a future conflict with the demon.[9]

Hyborian Age

Shuma-Gorath somehow managed to return during the Hyborean Age (which spans from about 14,000 to 10,000 BC), about 1,000 years before the sinking of Atlantis, and again set himself up as a god. The Old One fed himself on blood sacrifice and tribal war, but any priest or cultist who sought his favor was also killed. After an age of Shuma-Gorath's torturous rule, some sent out a cry to a new god, Crom. Crom sent a storm of the Northlands, and with it three iron-bound books and a key to unlock them. Armed with the books, a shaman went to confront Shuma-Gorath. He read aloud from the books atop a mountain, and just before he finished the third volume, a vengeful Shuma-Gorath incinerated the mortal with a blast of energy. A flame-headed cloud rose from the ashes, however, sealing Crom's spell, and imprisoning Shuma-Gorath within the mountain. The mountain was later named Mount Crom in the avenging god's honor.[10]

The three books became known as the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath. The Vishanti and Shuma-Gorath were eventually known to each other some time after the formation of the mystic trinity and became bitter foes to this day, neither succeeding in destroying the other.[citation needed]

Later in the Hyborean Age, the sorcerer Kulan Gath and the sorceress Vammatar fought with their two armies to a standstill. Negotiating, Vammatar revealed that she had the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath, while Kulan Gath had the key to open them. Vammatar proposed an alliance sealed by marriage, which would allow them to work together to release Shuma-Gorath and command his power for their own. At the base of Mount Crom, Vammatar turned on Gath, and while they fought Crom sent down a bolt of lightning that created an avalanche. The books were buried, and the newlywed sorcerers were separated, each believing the other to be dead for many years to come.[11]

A century later, Vammatar came into conflict with the young warrior Conan of Cimmeria. At one point, the sorceress set fire to the Village of the Snow Bear where Conan was raised in order to clear a path to Mount Crom. Conan received a dream of its destruction (possibly a vision from his deity, Crom) in which the name "Shuma-Gorath" was chanted repeatedly.[12] With his traveling campanion Hobb, Conan headed north to confront the sorceress and her Witch-Men. Once he arrived at Mount Crom, however, Shuma-Gorath took control of Hobb's mind and compelled him to read from the Iron-Bound Books, freeing him from his mountain prison.[13] By this time Vammatar had been joined by Kulan Gath, and for a time the pair seemed to hold the demon with their spells. He was not under their control, however, and the pair were obliterated as Shuma-Gorath finished relating the tale of his imprisonment. Conan took up the books, and used their power to resist the demon's attacks. Shuma-Gorath offered Conan immense power if he would stop, but Conan refused. Instead, Conan threw the books from the mountaintop to the storm above, returning them to Crom. Crom's power then once again sealed Shuma-Gorath in one of his home dimensions.[10]

Modern Days

Battling Strange

In modern times, Doctor Strange and his mentor, the Ancient One came under a series of attacks by beings such as Nightmare, Sligguth, Ebora, N'Gabthoth, Dagoth, Kathulos, and the Living Buddha. At one point, Strange detected a peculiar energy trail, which he followed to a black hole that spoke with the voice of Shuma-Gorath, and taunted him with promises of the demon's return. Arriving at his master's side, Strange learned that Shuma-Gorath meant to return through the mind of the Ancient One. Strange fought a losing battle against the demon within the Ancient One's mind, one felt by mystics across the world. Unable to stop the demon, Strange was forced to kill his mentor.[14]

At a later point, Strange was forced to destroy most of his talismans to prevent the alien sorcerer Urthona from using them (it was later revealed that Agamotto intervened, sequestering them away from even Strange himself). Doing so weakened dimensional barriers, enabling the Old Ones, Shuma-Gorath included, to once again establish a foothold in the Earth-Realm.[15]

Doctor Strange and Kaluu battled his forces, with Strange being forced to embrace the use of black magic after becoming host of the Wings of Needless Sorrow made him too impure to use his white magic. After obtaining a reservoir of dark energy from his battle with Shuma-Gorath's agent Ghaszaszh Nyirh, forcefully absorbing Victoria Bentley's magic potential, and merging with the chaos lord Arioch, Strange confronted Shuma-Gorath in its own dimension located 1,000 planes away from Earth. Strange's accumulation of power allowed him to match Shuma-Gorath's size and fight evenly with the demon while draining Shuma-Gorath's power progressively with the Wings of Needless Sorrow. In Limbo, the battle appeared to Belasco and the visiting Fantastic Four as a vision of flame which caused him to state that all the netherrealms would collapse if he could not stop them. Shuma-Gorath told Strange that although he was draining his power, he was nothing except that power and would cause Strange to become him if he defeated him. He then created a replica of the Earth, which he used to ravage the real Earth by turning the sky into flame. Strange's attempts to protect the Earth-replica only created a mystical backlash that pained Earth's other sorcerers, and Shuma-Gorath taunted the Sorcerer Supreme that he could not hope to win as both a Protector and a Destroyer.[16]

Strange chose to become a Destroyer, using the replica as a weapon, which caused a multitude of deaths and natural disasters on the real Earth, and ultimately merging with Shuma-Gorath as the demon had earlier predicted. Now partially under Strange's control, Shuma-Gorath impaled himself on one of his own tentacles. The demon was destroyed, though Strange's own ego was also destroyed in the process. Guided by Kaluu, Strange's spirit traveled through many dimensions, burning off the taint of Shuma-Gorath and mending Strange's ego on the return to the Earth-Realm. In the process, Shuma-Gorath also slowly re-formed, though still prevented from reaching Earth.[17]

Shuma-Gorath (Earth-616)

Later, Shuma-Gorath was invoked by Nicholas Scratch, who tricked the Fantastic Four into reading a spell which allowed the demon to come to Earth. Scratch offered the Fantastic Four and Salem's Seven as a sacrifice to Shuma-Gorath in its weak and hungry state, but Shuma-Gorath was interrupted by Doctor Strange. Strange teleported Shuma-Gorath to Stonehenge, where he banished the demon to a place "beyond space and time."[18]

Invaders

Shuma-Gorath was later summoned on Earth once again by a deformed shaman who had made a bargain with it in order to bring his deceased family back to life. The area in the Netherlands where Shuma-Gorath prepared to enter Earth-616 was filled with a mineral native to the region, and this mineral was filled with Shuma-Gorath's evil essence. In order to create a cure for a disease created by Arnim Zola that used the mineral of Shuma-Gorath's essence and turned the infected into bloodthirsty creatures, Namor of the Invaders consulted his mage scientists, who identified the evil aura belonging to Shuma-Gorath. Stating that they are beyond inadequate to battle it, they decided to weaken its aura by assembling items symbolizing Shuma-Gorath's past defeats - the sacred sea-flowers of Sise-Neg, hair from the Ancient One's beard, and rock from the monoliths of Stonehenge.[19]

Once the infected were cured and Shuma-Gorath's aura weakened, the shaman changed his mind about summoning the chaos lord; but thanks to interference from Arnim Zola that killed the shaman, the portal remained open and Shuma-Gorath began his crossing. Shuma-Gorath called out his name as he appeared, causing everyone in the vicinity to hold their head and collapse in pain. The evil god restrained Namor in one of its tentacles, and despite an assault from Human Torch and Vision, Shuma-Gorath was unfazed by their attacks and only delayed from entering the reality by the combined souls of the shaman and deceased villagers that tried to push him back. But before he was able to cross through his portal leading to Earth fully, Shuma-Gorath was stabbed in the eye with the Spear of Destiny by Vision and forced back into the rift, effectively banishing him once more.[20]

Infinity

Shuma-Gorath (Multiverse) from Mighty Avengers Vol 2 2 001

Invading New York

He returned to the earthly plane once again during Thanos' invasion of Manhattan while a new group of Avengers lead by Luke Cage were barely keeping the alien invasion at bay, when Doctor Strange was forced by Ebony Maw into summoning him.[21] Shuma-Gorath displayed the ability to possess hordes of people while causing tentacles to spew forth from their bodies. Despite assaults on his physical body from the Avengers, Shuma-Gorath was able to reform moments after. He was eventually defeated when White Tiger's amulet was amplified with the chi of all Manhattan's citizens and out sprung forth the White Tiger Force, which proceeded to eat Shuma-Gorath's astral form close by. However, it was stated by Spider Hero that they were fighting only the smallest part of Shuma-Gorath, akin to its fingernail scratching at their reality and trying to tear through.[22]

Damnation

Shuma-Gorath later became trapped in the necrotic sub-realm of a nether-realm Mephisto used to store the souls of the numerous Las Vegans he had imprisoned. There, he fought Doctor Strange and other Avengers before being blinded by an attack of Dormammu, who had also become trapped there.[1]

Other Realities

Shuma-Gorath has appeared in other realities. He participated in conflicts in Earth-30847.[23][24][25][26] In one reality, he became the unlikely savior of the Earth. He accepted the fact that humanity now looked up to him, and ended up becoming the host of his own Japanese game show, the Super Monster Awesome Hour. He still seemed to look down upon humans, though, calling them "vile fleshling scum."[27] In another reality, he invaded Earth, forcing that reality's X-Men to battle him. The outcome of the battle is unknown.[28]

Earth-9997

Shuma-Gorath may have appeared in Earth-9997; however, Nighthawk revealed that a number of the demons and creatures believed to be Satan or the true dark lord of the underworld were really third tier mutates manipulated by the Celestials. It is entirely possible that they were all made to believe such by the demon Mephisto. Further, it was explained that many mystical realms that exist in the omniverse are alternate Earths that have had their physical properties changed by the various lords and rulers of their realities. These revelations certainly put some of Shuma-Gorath's appearances in Earth-9997 into question. The Shuma-Gorath that appeared could actually be a mutated Deviant from Earth or of his own dimension. At some point, he was manipulated into believing he was Shuma-Gorath and placed in his own dimension which was either altered by Shuma-Gorath himself or other parties to further maintain what Shuma-Gorath and the people of that dimension believed in.[29]

Earth-9411

Shuma-Gorath once invaded Earth-9411, but he was stopped by Doctor Strange, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man.[30]

Earth-10011

In Earth-10011, the Many-Angled Ones managed to get a hold on Mar-Vell by offering him life in exchange for servitude upon his death.[31] Shuma-Gorath's name was presumably invoked, alongside Kthl's, Yot-Soter's, and Nyerlathortech's to perform the Necropsy Ritual, the murder of Death.[32] He was once again invoked on Earth-10011 during the Necropsy Ritual involving the killing of Thanos in order to destroy the Lady Death of Earth-616. The ritual inadvertently summoned Death into Earth-10011, prompting her to cripple the bodies of the Many-Angled Ones for eons.[6]

Earth-TRN636

When one of the doors of the planet Terminal, which were fueled by the time storms that naturally occurred in their dimension, opened in his prison beyond time, Shuma-Gorath attempted to invade the dimension in order to gain access to all dimensions in existence. With no other choice, the Terminal's inhabitants closed the door and cut themselves off from the rest of the Multiverse, thus thwarting the Old One's plans.[20] Eventually, the Guardian of the Galaxy named Groot ended up in the Terminal[33] and opened the door to return to his home dimension as had been prophesied, prompting Shuma-Gorath to attempt to claim the Terminal's powers once more. However, Shuma-Gorath's plans were foiled once again, this time by Groot who used the power of the time storms in conjunction with the Sentinel Projector to grow to gigantic sizes in order to punch Shuma-Gorath back to his prison and close the door.[4]

The Hive

A manifestation of Shuma Gorath bonded to a symbiote from the Planet Klyntar, and was in turn consumed by a Poison, subjugating the eldritch being's manifestation to the Hive.[34]

Power Grid [37]
Intelligence
 3
Strength
Speed*
 2
Durability
Energy Projection
Fighting Skills
 2
* Teleporter

Powers

Shuma-Gorath is a powerful and ancient demon that possesses vast supernatural powers, and is stated to be the "archetypal Class Three demon".[35] In his native dimension he is virtually unstoppable. Given his past reformations, it is unknown if he can ever truly be killed.

Among his many mystical powers is the ability to communicate with and control others both within his vicinity and across dimensional barriers. He can create and direct powerful blasts of mystical energy, and affect transmutations on a planetary scale.

His skin is rubbery and armored, making him difficult to damage except by the most powerful magics. Though he often appears as a scaly being with six to eight tentacles and a great, central eye, during the Hyborean Age he was also seen to have numerous pincers, claws, and insectoid limbs, in addition to a large, fanged maw. Similarly, he has been depicted as either greenish or purple in color. It is stated by The Vision that Shuma-Gorath exists on many planes and thus his true form cannot be seen by humans. Presumably, he can alter the form people see him as to his will. According to Shuma-Gorath himself, he is nothing except his power and his form is merely a shell that contains it.[36]

His size seems to be related to his power, as he is truly gigantic in his home dimension. On Earth he has always appeared substantially smaller, though it is confirmed that only the smallest part of Shuma-Gorath's essence manifests on Earth when he is invoked, thus he has only been seen at full power within his home dimension.

Shuma-Gorath's name is often invoked across many dimensions by beings seeking dark power.

Strength level

Superhuman with an unknown upper limit.



  • A sorcerer from an alien dimension named Shagreen, once invoked the power of an entity known as "Cthuma-Gurath."[citation needed] This may have been another name used by Shuma-Gorath.[3]
  • Shuma-Gorath was mentioned first as the name of a deity in Robert E. Howard's short story "The Curse of the Golden Skull." The character was "created", or rather adapted by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner, and is to be related to the Cthulhu Mythos developed in Lovecraft's works.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Shuma-Gorath seems to have a strange attraction for Hsien-Ko, and Morrigan seems to be attracted to Shuma's "strong" tentacles, saying that she "[...]hopes the party's just getting started".
    • Morrigan's above quote is a reference to the stereotypical, and infamous, tentacle fetish that originates from Japan. This is a humorous explanation for many in the MvC fanbase as to why Capcom added Shuma-Gorath into the MvC series, due to him appearing so infrequently in the comics, and Capcom being a company centered in Japan.
  • It is known that during discussions to determine what characters would be in the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 roster, Capcom readily conceded to any refusals made for certain characters by Marvel, such as Venom. However, when Marvel refused the inclusion of Shuma-Gorath, Capcom vehemently protested, demanding that they be allowed to include him. After unusually constant and intense demand from Capcom, Marvel conceded and allowed Shuma-Gorath to be included in the roster, but only as DLC.[citation needed]

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Doctor Strange #388
  2. 2.0 2.1 Marvel Premiere #7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18; Shuma-Gorath's entry
  4. 4.0 4.1 I Am Groot #5
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Avengers: Roll Call #1; Agamotto's entry
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Thanos Imperative #6
  7. 7.0 7.1 Marvel Zombies Handbook #1; Demons' entry
  8. The First Host occurred 1,000,000 years ago per Marvel Zombies Handbook #1's Set's entry, while Uncanny X-Men Annual #1989 picture the pre-humans who benefited from Sise-Neg going through the First Host
  9. Marvel Premiere #14
  10. 10.0 10.1 Conan the Barbarian #260
  11. Conan the Barbarian #258
  12. Conan the Barbarian #252
  13. Conan the Barbarian #259
  14. Marvel Premiere #3-10
  15. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #81
  16. Strange Tales Vol 2 #9-14
  17. Strange Tales Vol 2 #14-15
  18. 4 #26-27
  19. Invaders Now! #2-4
  20. 20.0 20.1 Invaders Now! #4-5
  21. Mighty Avengers Vol 2 #2
  22. Mighty Avengers Vol 2 #3
  23. Marvel Super Heroes (Arcade Game)
  24. Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter
  25. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
  26. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
  27. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds; Shuma-Gorath's ending
  28. X-Men vs. Street Fighter; Storm's ending
  29. Universe X #10
  30. Spectacular Spider-Man (UK) #132
  31. Thanos Imperative #3
  32. Thanos Imperative #6; Those are the four names invoked during the ritual to kill Thanos, the Avatar of Death.
  33. I Am Groot #1
  34. Venomverse #3
  35. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18
  36. Strange Tales Vol 2 #14
  37. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #10



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