Membership: Atlan, Dr. Juden Bardham, Centurius, Kaballa, Bubbles O'Day); Ulluxy'l Kwan Tae Syn (former member)
Affiliations: Pawns of the Exo-Mind;
Domino, Goram, Killer Shrike, Modular Man, Sharzan the Elemental, and an-unnamed giant flying creature (agents); a group of unnamed costumed agents-some of whom had superhuman energy powers or had been surgically altered to gain infra-red vision;
Enemies: Ulysses Bloodstone, Brad Carter, and Iron Man (Tony Stark)
Base of Operations: A subterranean cavern approximately one mile beneath the bedrock of Manhattan
First Appearance: Rampaging Hulk I#1/2 (BTS, April, 1977), Rampaging Hulk I#4/2 (pictured, August, 1977), Rampaging Hulk I#8/2 (fully seen and named, April, 1978)
HISTORY: The Conspiracy is a name given to the five beings necessary to open a dimensional portal to allow the Exo-Mind to access other dimensions. The first Conspiracy may pre-date the current universe. It is uncertain how many other versions existed.
The current Conspiracy was formed by five holders of the Bloodgem fragments who sought to gain immortality and far greater power by accessing the Hellfire Helix. The Helix is an inter-dimensional nexus through which virtually all energies pass. How each member gained their fragments is not clear, but the Conspiracy had some association with Ulluxy'l Kwan Tae Syn, a semi-humanoid creation of the Exo-Mind, designed to serve as the guardian of the Bloodgem. However, Ulluxy'l did not apparently know who the individual members of the Conspiracy were.
The Conspiracy first made its presence felt when a group of assassins were sent to attack Ulysses Bloodstone, presumably to attain his Bloodgem fragment. Ulysses easily overcame these agents, from whom he confirmed his belief that there was another group after the Bloodgem fragments, separate from Ulluxy'l, whom he mistakenly believed to be the head of a plot to take over the Earth.
When these agents were defeated, Centurius sent the immense monster Goram to attack the ship. However, in the course of an undersea battle, Ulysses learned that the Conspiracy was after a different Bloodgem fragment, one which had been aboard the same ocean liner as Ulysses. Goram overpowered Bloodstone and escaped with the fragment. Agents of Centurius claimed the fragment from Goram, who was then sent to attack Bloodstone Island. Goram was assisted by the Killer Shrike, another agent of the Conspiracy. Bloodstone managed to drive Goram back into the sea, and overpower the Killer Shrike. Brad Carter, an ally of Bloodstone, took his undersea ship and followed Goram back to Centurius' base, only to be captured by his agents.
Ulluxy'l Kwan Tae Syn located Centurius and attempted to retake the Bloodgem fragment from him. Ulluxy'l attempted to use his alliance with the Conspiracy to intimidate Centurius, who laughed and revealed that he, himself, was a member of the Conspiracy. Bloodstone recruited the aid of Iron Man in tracking down Centurius. While Iron Man battled agents and monsters, Bloodstone was led to Centurius, just in time to see him use a weapon powered by the Bloodgem fragment to execute Ulluxy'l Kwan Tae Syn. Centurius revealed that Ulluxy'l had failed to serve the Conspiracy adequately, and that he had been chosen to replace Ulluxy'l. Iron Man broke the neck of an immense flying manta-ray-like creature during the battle. Centurius escaped from Iron Man and Bloodstone.
While Bloodstone recovered, the Conspiracy sent another agent, Domino, to occupy Samantha Eden. They feared that involvement with her might allow Bloodstone to achieve greater emotional development and throw off the manipulations of the Exo-Mind. Domino harmlessly detained her and sent her on a series of wild goose chases to keep her away from Bloodstone.
The Conspiracy had a portion of a well-known hotel in the upper East Side of Manhattan converted into a "Death Suite." Bloodstone was somehow manipulated into staying at that hotel, but he managed to overcome the Death Suite. Bloodstone located the agents involved with the suite and attacked them, overcoming them, despite their ability to project energy blasts. More than likely, the Conspiracy planned these events only as delaying tactics.
When Bloodstone held a press conference, where he announced his goal to gain legal sovereignty for Bloodstone Island, he was attacked by Sharzan the Elemental, an agent of Kaballa. Ultimately, Sharzan overpowered Bloodstone, and Kaballa teleported the two of them to his subterranean base. Kaballa explained the true nature of the Exo-Mind, Bloodstone and Ulluxy'l's roles as pawns, and the goals of the Conspiracy. Bloodstone was kept subdued; he was anesthetized and Dr. Bardham surgically removed the Bloodgem fragment, killing him.
The Conspiracy members united the five Bloodgem fragments and performed the ritual to open the dimensional portal for the Exo-Mind. However, rather than gaining power and immortality, the five members had their souls siphoned into the Bloodgem. The Exo-Mind used their life energies to transform the Bloodgem into an immense crystalline creature, and it set out to convert the entire world into its servants. However, Ulysses Bloodstone, retaining some spark of the energy which sustained him, arose zombie-like and tracked down the crystalline creature. Casting his astral self into the creature, Bloodstone observed the soul remnants of the Conspiracy, pleading with him for help. Bloodstone's whole life purpose was realized as he penetrated the Exo-Mind and disrupted the Hellfire Helix, shattering the crystalline creature, and dispersing the souls of the Conspiracy members.
The Conspiracy had sent the inert, disassembled form of the Modular Man to the Delenor hospital where the comatose Killer Shrike was held. The Modular Man was rebuilt there and took the Killer Shrike with him, but the Conspiracy's plans for the two were never realized.
Brad Carter discovered that the Conspiracy had bombed Bloodstone Island, but he was too late to do anything about it, and was incinerated by an agent of Centurius.
All five Conspiracy members' corpses were found years later -- exactly as they had been left in Kaballa's subterranean cavern -- by Batroc's Brigade IV during the Bloodstone Hunt.
COMMENTS: Created by John Warner and John Buscema, but actually fleshed out by Steve Gerber and Alan Kupperberg. I wonder how much (if any) of the storyline was altered when the writers changed. At a minimum, the fates of the Modular Man and Oliver Quinn were left hanging.
Bloodgem fragments have also been referred to as Bloodstones, but I have tried to avoid that term to prevent further confusion with Ulysses Bloodstone.
The caverns used for the base of the Conspiracy were later used to make Zerotown, home of the Night People
The Conspiracy has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1970's Handbook.
Clarifications: Conspiracy has no known connection to:
An immense, flying manta-ray-like creature (another agent of Centurius) attacked a commercial airline over the Atlantic Ocean. I believe it is that plane which was found at the bottom of the ocean, containing a Bloodgem fragment during the Bloodstone Hunt. Oliver Quinn was the only passenger mentioned on that plane, so I'm assuming he was the one who possessed the fragment. This creature battled and was killed by Iron Man when he and Bloodstone invaded his base.
--RampHlk I#2 (3
Atlan was actually a dolphin, whom Kaballa described as the other intelligent species on Earth. He was apparently a mystic of some power--RampHulk I#8
Dr. Juden Bardham was a famed Cardiologist, enlisted to perform the surgical removal of the Bloodgem fragment of Ulysses Bloodstone--RampHulk I#8
Centurius has his own entry in the
OHotMU Master Edition and on the Appendix. @ Nick Fury, Agent of Shield I#2.
He is not to be confused with Centurious, the man without a soul, @ Ghost Rider II#74.
Kaballa first appeared in Strange Tales I#176
Bubbles O'Day was an ecdysiast (ie. stripper), who had been given a Bloodgem fragment by a suitor and gained the power to floor an entire audience with her mind--RampHulk I#8. She should not be confused with the Ecdysiast, nor with Sherry the Showgirl of Earth-1298.
Goram's origins are unknown, but he was a servant of Centurius. He could easily be a deviant mutate, but there is no evidence one way or the other. He attacked the ocean-liner on which Bloodstone was traveling, overpowered Bloodstone, and successfully retrieved the Bloodgem fragment that was being transported on that ship. After relinquishing the fragment to Centurius, he was sent to Bloodstone Island to attack Bloodstone. Bloodstone's defenses managed to temporarily incapacitate Goram, but he was freed by the Killer Shrike, who had arrived to assist him. Goram fled back to Centurius' base, and was followed by Brad Carter. Bloodstone encountered Goram again after tracking Centurius to his base. Bloodstone managed to stun him with several taser-like devices, and then caused an avalanche that seemingly crushed him.
Goram was large, approximately 30' tall, and possessed greatly superhuman strength and durability (Class 100). He was somewhat dim-witted, as well as savage, and Centurius' agents had to use a temporary paralysis ray on him in order to approach him to retrieve the Bloodgem fragment.
--RampHlk I#1 (2, 3
Sharzan the Elemental was also of unknown origins, but he was a servant of Kaballa, indicating he may have more magical origins. He may even be a minor demon. He emerged from the East River and attacked Ulysses Bloodstone in Manhattan while he petitioned for sovereignty of Bloodstone Island. Sharzan was bound by Bloodstone, but he succeeded in incapacitating Bloodstone with an immense fist of stone. Sharzan accompanied Bloodstone back to Kaballa's base, but his fate after this is unrevealed.
Sharzan was also large, easily 30' tall. He certainly possessed superhuman strength and durability, although these were not his main assets. He possessed large wings and could presumably fly. He could manipulate any of the four ancient elements -- earth, air, fire, and water -- to any degree he could imagine.
--RampHlk I#6 (8
Rampaging Hulk I#2-3 (BTS; April-June, 1977) - John Warner (writer), Bob Brown (pencils), Rudy D. Nebres (inks), John Warner (editor)
Rampaging Hulk I#4-6 (August-December, 1977) - John Warner (writer), Val Mayerik (#4-5) & Alan Kupperberg (#6) (pencils), Sonny Trinidad (#4, 6) & Bob Wiacek (#5), John Warner (#4) & Roger Slifer (#5-6) (editor)
Rampaging Hulk I#8 (April, 1978) - Steve Gerber (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Rudy Messina & Rod Santiago (inks), David Kraft (editor)
Captain America I#357/2 (September, 1989) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Kieron Dwyer (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Last updated: 05/01/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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