ATAR

Real Name: Agni

Identity/Class: Hindu/Persian god

Occupation: God of fire and purification

Group Membership: The Council of God Kings, The Daevas

Affiliations: Living Tribunal, many heroes from Earth

Enemies: Akhenaten, Azhi Dahaka, the Rakshasas, Ravanna, Thanos

Known Relatives: Dyaus (father), Prithivi (mother), Indra, Vayu, Tvashtri, Surya (brothers), Ushas, Ratri (sisters), Kama (brother in law), Agneyi (wife), Kartikeyi (son, deceased), Angiras (grandson), Agni II (great-grandson), Varuna (grandfather, alias Ormazd)

Aliases: Haubas (Sabaean Name)

Base of Operations: Nirvana and Naqsh-I-Rustem on Earth

First Appearance: Amazing High Adventure#5 (December 1986); (mainstream) Marvel: The End#2 (May, 2003)

Powers/Abilities: Atar possesses the conventional attributes of the Persian Gods. He has superhuman strength (possibly Class 50), stamina, resistance to injury and various skills mystical in nature. He may be able to control fire, but he has yet to demonstrate the full range of his power. According to his worshippers, he could purify objects be eating them. He can also cross between various dimensions because he was supposed to guide the cremated dead to the afterlife.

History: (Hindu-Persian Myth)- Agni is the son of Dyaus, the sky-god, and Prithivi, the earth-goddess. Very little is known about his role or his character except he was one of the most important gods of the early Vedic Pantheon. He presided over sacrificial flames and guided the spirits of the cremated dead to the underworld to await their next life. As the Rakshasas led by Ravanna supplanted the Vedic gods, Agni protected the monkey-god Hanuman and led him to safety even as he himself was forced into the role of cook before the demons.

The god Vishnu subsequently led the Vedic gods to conquer the Rakshasas as the Vedic Gods were replaced by the religion of Hinduism. Agni became the god Atar under Zoroasterism, a religion where all the old Vedic Gods found worshippers under new names. Varuna became Ahura Mazda or simply, Ormazd, the ruler of the Persian Gods in Zoroasterism.

Atar, however, lost his son, the war-god, Kartikkeya, to Skanda, the son of Shiva, who was god of war in the Hindu Pantheon. Skanda assumed his predecessor’s identity and took over many of his aspects.

Atar is also credited with slaying Azhi Dahaka, one of the Asuras. Guilty for many undefined defiances against the gods, Dahaka was chained to a mountain by Atar.

(Amazing High Adventure#5/3) <1870's> An Indian rebel called the Mahdi, seeking to destroy the British army, prayed to the Hindu gods, demanding the power to fight the British. In a vision, Yama, Ratri (goddess of night), Agni (god of fire, two-headed), Maya (goddess of dreams), and Kâli granted the Mahdi powers and weapons to fight the British. From Yama, the Mahdi gained a fiery sword, from Ratri the power of "the night's shadows", from Agni sacrificial flame, from Maya the power to drive his enemies to despair with illusions, and from Kâli the wheel of destruction. The Mahdi then used these powers in battle-only to discover too late that he had offended the gods by trying to order them around. The Mahdi's weapons were only illusions, and he died in battle.

(Marvel: The End#2, 5-6)- In recent years, Atar met with the Council of God Kings to surmise the threat that the mortal Akhenaten posed to their worlds with his cosmic powers. However, Akhenaten sensed their plotting and destroyed all of them except for Thor and Zeus who escaped.

(Marvel Universe: The End#4 - BTS) - Thanos gained the virtually unlimited power of the Heart of the Infinite and altered time so that Akhenaten never gained his power, effectively undoing his actions and restoring those he had destroyed, including Atar . However, to those who could understand or even remember what had happened, these actions were seen as the replacement of one threat with another, perhaps even worse.

(Marvel Universe: The End#5, 6 - BTS) - The Godheads, including Atar, joined together with a multitude of heroes and villains from Earth and the rest of the universe to oppose Thanos, who had gained supreme power from the Heart of the Infinite. Thanos easily wiped out every single being in the universe, but later was convinced by Adam Warlock to sacrifice himself to restore the universe to its previous state.

Comments: Adapted by Bill Mantlo and Steve Purcell for Amazing High Adventure; Adapted by Jim Starlin and Al Milgrom for Marvel Universe: The End

This entry obviously merges the many details and characteristics of Atar/Agni with all his facets in Hinduism, Zoroasterism, Balinese-Hinduism and other forms. If you have something to add or remark on, please send it to aesgaard41@hotmail.com rather than the creator of this site (I'll take a copy, too, though). If at all possible, I have tried to follow the most “official” version of the character described in myth rather than the religious importance of the character. No offense is intended.

In his role as Atar, Agni is described as the son, rather than the grandson, of Varuna (Ahura Mazda). But then, in myth, terms like son and grandson do not exist and “son” was used in place of these modern terms.

In myth, Atar/Agni is described alternately as a red-skinned man with three heads or a four-armed figure with black smoke as a body.

Naqsh-I-rustem is a silent valley in modern Iran (formerly Persia) near the ancient ruins of Persepolis. Numerous temples and statues of the Persian gods exist here.

by Will U

CLARIFICATIONS:
Atar should not be confused with:


Appearances:
Amazing High Adventures#5 (December, 1986) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Steve Purcell (pencils), Del Barras (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Marvel Universe: The End#2 (May, 2003) - Jim Starlin (writer/pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Universe: The End#4-6 (June-August, 2003) - Jim Starlin (writer/pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 02/06/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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