Real Name: Chandu

Identity/Class: Human magic user, 12th century to present

Occupation: Would-be conqueror

Group Membership: Convocation of Wizards (Achmed and his brother, Mongu, Maha Yogi, Le Sabre)

Affiliations: Mordred, Prince John, Temax and other gnomes

Enemies: the Black Knight (Dane Whitman), the Defenders (Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, Valkyrie), the Avengers (Sersi, Vision, Hercules)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Presumably mobile; formerly, 12th century Middle East

First Appearance: Defenders I#11 (December, 1973)

Powers: Chandu posseses potent magical/alchemical abilities. He invokes many of the entities that Dr. Strange calls upon, and can project bolts of power. He can also forth earth-spirits into powerful gnomes such as Temax with superhuman strength and durability. These gnomes, however, due to their roots as earth-spirits, can easily be destroyed by water due to the opposition of elements.

Chandu's powers of alchemy included his ability to transform the Vision's body into an element of an opposing density to the state of density the Vision desired. However, Chandu could only do this to what he could see. He was, however, able to force the Vision's body, obstructed from his vision by a door, to come to him through the door. (presumbly using mystical telekinesis to move the Vision's body, and altered the denstiy of the door, which he could see, so that the Vision's body could pass through it.)

Chandu presumably discovered a way to slow his aging, as he was first seen in the 12th century, and appeared in contemporary times without apparently having time-travelled.

History: During the 12th century, while a Crusade took place, Mordred, the evil spawn of King Arthur, reincarnated and joined forces with Prince John to unseat Richard the Lion-Hearted. Since the Arabs had captured Richard, the two joined forces with the Arab adept Chandu, who could create servant gnomes from Earth spirits.

(Defenders I#11)- A spell cast centuries earlier by Merlin, serving to always bring opposition to Mordred in all his incarnations throughout the ages, plucked the soul of the Black Knight (Dane Whitman), whose body had gotten turned to stone, from Limbo. When Dr. Strange, who had acquired the Evil Eye and hoped to use it to cure Whitman, sought out Whitman's soul in Limbo, he could not find it. Returning to Earth, he told his fellow Defenders of his discovery, but then Merlin's spell served to propel him and his fellow Defenders (including Hawkeye) to the destination where it had sent Whitman's soul: the Crusades.

Merlin's spell reincarnated Whitman in this era, and he encountered the Defenders. One of Chandu's gnomes, Temax, attacked them, but Strange teleported himself and his aides away. Informed by Whitman of Richard's condition, they all set out to infiltrate the castle in the Middle East where Richard had been imprisoned. Namor, the Hulk, and Strange set out to destroy the source of the gnomes, and deduced from the lack of sand in one passageway of the castle that this led to the source of the gnomes (since gnomes, as earth-spirits, would absorb any sand that clung to them, not scatter it). Eventually, they reached the room where Chandu, observed by Mordred and Prince John, created the gnomes. They prepared to attack Chandu, but the latter blasted Dr. Strange. However, Namor battered Chandu.

A gnome then hurled itself at Namor, sending them both into an oasis nearby. The water of the oasis destroyed the gnome, due to the opposition of elements (water vs. earth). Namor then struck a blow that caused the oasis water to erupt as a tidal wave. Engulfing the castle, the water destroyed every gnome.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#2 - Black Knight entry) - Whitman in the body of Eobar Garrington defeated Mordred and his allies Chandu and Prine John.

(Avengers Annual#22/1)- Centuries later, Chandu and other members of the Convocation of Wizards invaded Avengers Mansion to find Dr. Druid to learn his secrets of eternal youth, as well as the whereabouts of the Black Knight's Ebony Blade. Chandu himself confronted the Vision just as the Vision was using his abilities to phase through a door. Chandu, using his abilities to transmute the Vision's body into elements of densities opposite to the density the Vision sought to attain, gained control over the Vision's head and one of his hands. However, the rest of the Vision's body, still behind the door, could not be affected by Chandu, as Chandu could not see this. The Vision's body, processing data gained from his head and possesing sufficient autonomy, went further into the room and touched his Avengers ID card, setting off an alarm. Chandu used his powers to cause the Vision's body to hurl itself through the door.

Later, since his condfederate Le Sabre had managed to force Hercules to accept defeat by taking a hostage, Chandu used the Vision's body to form bands around the god. Chandu melted part of the Vision to taunt Hercules, but Sersi used her abilities to allow the Vision to reform into three miniature versions of himself. These smaller Visions defeated Chandu, and Sersi restored the Vision to normal.

Comments: Created by Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema.

I find it interesting that Englehart manged to have an enemy of King Arthur (Mordred) meet an enemy of Robin Hood (Prince John) in the first Chandu story. (If some of you do not remember the man who sealed the Magna Carta because of his omission from the simplified Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie, then one can rent the Errol Flynn version, which incorporated more of the key elements of the time period.) I used to think of how interesting a King Arthur/Robin Hood tie-up would come out, but I realize that several problems stand in the way of such a meeting:

(The Normans, incidentally, were the French-speaking people descended from the Vikings who took over England in 1066 after the Battle of Hastings, led by William the Conqueror. The Normans ruled England for quite some time afterwards, until they were finally absorbed into the general population of England. The Norman domination of England served to produce the vast number of French words in the English language. Friction between the earlier Saxon [German descended] inhabitants of England resulted before the final aborbtion of the Normans into English society, however, hence Robin Hood's struggle on the part of his Saxon kinsmen. Again, they left all of this out of the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood. The Normans also figured in Thor Annual#17.

Incidentally, the Normans also conquered Ireland-- with the permission of Pope Adrian II. Yup, a pope said that England could have Ireland. Of course, he based this authority on the Donation of Constantine-- a document later proven to be a forgery.)

Avengers Annual#22, since it introduced the Black Knight spin-off character Bloodwraith, used many villains who tied in with the Black Knight or Marvel's Camelot/King Arthur stories (Le Sabre, the Maha Yogi/Merlin impostor, etc.). The author of the story probably used Chandu for this reason; although it may seem odd to have Chandu pop up after a few centuries this way, we can presume he had discovered a way to slow his aging.

by Per Degaton

Clarifications: Chandu should be confused with:

Temax was one of several gnomes (or earth-spirits) summoned by Chandu during the Crusades. They possessed superhuman strength and durability, but due to their roots as earth-spirits, could be easily destroyed by water due to the opposition of elements. Summoned by Chandu to combat the Defenders, Temax proved immune to the magic of Dr. Strange, the Black Knight's Ebony Blade, and the Power Cosmic of the Silver Surfer, and Temax and his fellow gnomes captured four of the Defenders. Ultimately, Temax and his fellow gnomes were destroyed by the Sub-Mariner, when he doused them with water. -Defenders I#11











Defenders I#11 (December, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Frank Bolle (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#2 (January, 1986)
Avengers Annual#22 (1993) - Glenn Herdling (writer), Mike Gustovich (pencils), Ariane Lenshoek (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)

Last updated: 08/02/02

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