ASURA

Membership: Varuna, many unidentified Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at; possibly Armaziel, Tzadqiel

Purpose: Elimination of the enemies of Heaven

Affiliations: Chthon, Gabriel the Devil Hunter, Ingenuity Lee, Stephen Loss (agents);
possibly led by Dagon (posing as Yahweh; see comments)

Enemies: Ambassat, Jaine Cutter, Anton Devine, Hellstorm, Seraphim (including Saraswati), any and all agents of the Devil

Aliases: The Assassins of Heaven, The Assassins of our Lord

Base of Operations: Planes of Sephirot in the Barracks of Heaven;
the House of Blue Lights, Manhattan, New York

First Appearance: (Mentioned) Hellstorm#12; (seen) Hellstorm#13; (named) Hellstorm#14 (May, 1994)

History: (Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS) - The Asura were originally members of Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at. Their lord Varuna was influenced by Chthon until he decided to go after those he called the Lower Races (like humans) to judge and execute them. He took many of his brethren with him and they became known as the Asura. They were opposed by other Bird-Men led by Saraswati, who became known as ther Seraphim.

(Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities (fb) - BTS) - The war instigated by Chthon between the Asura and the Seraphim caused so much destruction that Oshtur, the Bird-Men's creator, decided to banish them to another dimension.

(Marvel Tarot (fb) - BTS) - The Asura reside in the Planes of Sephirot to this day.

(Hellstorm#20/2 (fb) - BTS) - In the year 1899, the Asura created the homunculus Stephen Loss and brought him to life at the very start of 1900. He was designed to be the Earthly agent of Heaven's war (for dominion of Earth, over the forces of Hell).

Loss, in turn, devised K and directed the construction of the House of Blue Lights, run by Ingenuity Lee.

(Hellstorm#12) - Ingenuity Lee brought Gabriel Rosetti to the House of Blue Lights where he gave him a sample of K.

 

 

 

(Hellstorm#13) - One of the Asura attempted to assassinate Anton Devine, High Priest of the Church of Lucifer, Devine was defended by Jaine Cutter, who fought off and slew the unnamed angel.
After consuming K, the narcotic sacrament, Gabriel communed with the Asura.

(Hellstorm#14) - The Asura recruited Gabriel to become one of their agents.

(Hellstorm#18) - The Asura directed Gabriel to Chicago to exterminate the Ambassat, which he did, brutally slaughtering them and burning down their temple.

(Hellstorm#19) - The angel Tzadqiel possessed one of the members of the Church of Lucifer, in Bend Sinister, Utah. Hellstorm confronted Tzadqiel and reinforced a magical shield, trapping the angel on Earth, and containing it with the sect of the Church of Lucifer's hovel. Tzadqiel quickly went mad soon after.

 

 

(Hellstorm#20) - Gabriel ambushed Jaine Cutter, stealing the Breathing Gun from her. The Asura created magical wards around Jaine's apartment, trapping her within while Gabriel escaped.

(Hellstorm#21) - The Asura sent Gabriel to assassinate Hellstorm. Rosetti wounded Hellstorm and shattered his trident, but was soon after incapacitated. Hellstorm pulled Gabriel into his home, which had wards preventing the entrance of angels. These wards instantly filtered all of the K out of Gabriel's system, sending him into a near fatal withdrawal. In revenge for his wounds, Hellstorm located and slew Stephen Loss.

COMMENTS: Created by Warren Ellis and Leonardo Manco.

The Asura can be considered behind the scenes in most, if not all, of Stephen Loss' history.
In addition, angels of Heaven, who would oppose Hellstorm also appeared in Hellstorm#7, 9, 10. However, these occurred under other writers than Ellis, and I think while they would be of the same religious sect as the Asura, they did not seem to be part of the group of assassins. Armaziel, Joshua Crow, and Mount Qaf will get profiles, which will cover these characters/events.

Loss' plan was that, after slaying Hellstorm, Jaine Cutter, and possibly Satana, his mission would be brought to completion by the Aura. The spiritual wealth purchased by K would overwhelm that of the various fields of Hell, and Heaven alone would harvest Earth.

Try not to get caught up in actual, real world religion. I would consider that if a number of beings could pose as Satan, than there's no reason that there might not be a number of beings trying to pose as God, as well. And I'd bet that the "God" directing the Asura is another Mesopotamian God gone awry. Maybe it's Anu...or Enlil (Dagon)...or maybe it's the Hyborian God Asura. Well, that's all just my opinion anyway, and it's pretty unlikely to ever be resolved.

The word/name Asura is derived from the Hindu religion:

Asuras were Hindu gods of the underworld opposed to the Devas, Hindu Gods of heaven. Some texts I've read remark that they were not inherently evil while other texts remark they were indistinguishable from the Rakshasas, Hindu demons. I suspect the Asuras were Hindu gods who had a Rakshasas as either a mother or father. The Asuras joined forces with the Devas once to churn the ocean with the body of the Naga (serpent-god--hmmm...recognize that name?--Snood) known as Vasuki to produce the sacred drink known as amrita. One of the Asuras tried to swallow the amrita before the Devas could get it, but Shiva sliced off his head before he could swallow it.--Will U

Information from the Encyclopedia Mythica.
"The asuras are usually called demons, but this is not a terribly good translation, for it denotes a sinister quality which is not always in the character of these beings. Strictly speaking, the asuras are the powerful beings who are opposed to the devas. In early Vedic times, they were originally another class of gods, perhaps the indigenous deities who were overrun by the Aryan supplanters but who were incorporated into the new pantheon. Such important Vedic gods as Varuna and Mitra were classified as asuras. By the end of the Vedic period, however, the asuras had attained their more demonic role. Certainly some of the asuras were quite evil, such as Vritra, but some of them were also as pious if not more so than some of the gods. They would, at times, even be more powerful than the gods, forcing them to flee in the face of their power until some way of dealing with them could be found. On the other hand, in certain instances they were known to work alongside the gods for a common goal. "

Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, also had his own Asura:
The Index of Hyborian Names found in the back of Conan the Swordsman and compiled by various Howardian scholars from Robert E. Howard's own notes lists Asura as a "god of an Eastern religion secretly flourishing in Aquilonia.
In Indian mythology a term for a god, spirit, or demon cognate with the Persian 'Ahura' "
This Ahura would be Ahura Mazdah, Lord Wisdom," who is the supreme god of the Zoroastrian religion. See the comments on
Zoroaster for a discussion on this.

Thanks to Greg O and Will U for much information on the Hyborian and Religious Asuras. I think I'll try to put together a profile on the Hyborian Asura, based on the info from Greg. The theory might be that the Hyborian Asura fathered/created either or both of the later groups of Asuras. If I had to guess, I'd think Ellis picked the name from the Hindu version, since he liked to use lots of mythological characters in his Hellstorm series.

The Asura have a paragraph in the Angels profile in Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No KNOWN/CONFIRMED connections to:


images: (without ads)
Hellstorm#21, p9 (main image)
  #13, p9, pan1 (2nd image)


Appearances:
Hellstorm#12-13 (March-April, 1994) - Warren Ellis (writer), Leonardo Manco (artist), Marie Javins (editor)
Hellstorm#14 (May, 1994) - Warren Ellis (writer), Peter Gross (artist), Marie Javins (editor)
Hellstorm#18-20 (September-November, 1994) - Warren Ellis (writer), Leonardo Manco (artist), Marie Javins (editor)
Hellstorm#21 (December, 1994) - Warren Ellis (writer), Leonardo Manco & Martin Chaplin (artists), Marie Javins (editor)
Marvel Tarot (2007) - David Sexton (writer), Doug Sexton & Jeff Christiansen (consultants), Jeff Younquist (editor)
Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities (2007) - Jeff Christiansen & others (writers), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Gruenwald (editors)


Last updated: 08/02/02.

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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