Classification: Extraterrestrial power item (possibly magical)

Creator: Unidentified alien race

User/Possessors: The Mandarin, the Yin sorcerer

First Appearance: Iron Man I#309 (October, 1994)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Heart was sentient on some level, and it gifted the Mandarin with powers of teleportation, and created an anti-technology field, while also reverting everything within the field to an ancient version of itself. The Mandarin used it to create his Avatars, by creating their enchanted masks out of a substance drawn from it.


History: (Iron Man I#312 (fb) - BTS) - Known as the Thuviskaroth of Cataphylaxis to Century's people, Century recounted its past thusly: "For twenty thousand years it has been thought destroyed. I know only what I have heard in whispered legend and myth. It is said that the race which created it, upon learning what they had made, committed planetary suicide. That it is nothing less than a lens for focusing mystic power drawn from the blackest wells of cosmic evil."

(Marvel Comics Presents I#169/1 (fb)) - Over 20,000 years ago, the Heart of Darkness fell to Earth.

20,000 years ago (see comments), "after centuries of shining and brilliant progress," -- aided, some said, by the magical power of a wondrous sphere from the heavens "the fabled city of Atlantis vanishes beneath the sea in a single night."

300 years ago, a member of the ancient Chinese order, the Yin, in search of objects of mystical power, found the sphere.

250 years ago, the Yin sorcerer died, his body and spirit wasted to nothing by the artifact he came to describe as the Heart of Darkness.

(Iron Man I#309 (fb), Marvel Comics Presents I#169/1-170/1) - The Mandarin found the Yin sorcerer's castle, and the Heart of Darkness, which had called out to him in dreams and visions. He touched it, and it showed him his past history and defeats, to help him understand that all his past defeats were destined, and were but the path to this moment. The Heart then forced him to battle and defeat his past selves, to master his own failings. Doing so, the Heart granted him mastery of its powers, which he used to transform the castle, and then turn China back into a medieval version of itself, and a passing Red Army unit into his own army.

BTS - The Mandarin used the Heart of Darkness to create his Avatars.

(Iron Man I#309) - The Mandarin and his Avatars stood around the Heart of Darkness as they prepared to strike.

(War Machine I#8/Iron Man I#310) - The Mandarin and the Avatars observed the Iron Man/War Machine battle through the Heart of Darkness. The Mandarin used its power to teleport himself to his foes, and then teleported back to his castle with them as his prisoners.

(Force Works#6 -BTS) - The anti-technology effect of the Heart of Darkness spread to affect all of China. Century recognized the taint of its power on the Avatars.

(Iron Man I#311) - The Mandarin used the Heart of Darkness to create his newest Avatar, Turmoil.

(Force Works#7) - The Heart of Darkness lurked in the background as the Mandarin battled Stark and the Scarlet Witch.

(War Machine I#10 -BTS) - The Heart's power spread to Hong Kong, as the Mandarin focused it through Parallax, and later used it to transform himself into a vast energy-form, laying waste to Hong Kong.

(Iron Man I#312) - The Mandarin drained too much power defeating Iron Man, forcing him to flee back to his castle. His dreams taunted him with failure, and were most likely a warning from the Heart itself. He sent the Avatars to capture Iron Man, watching the battle through the Heart of Darkness. When Iron Man infected the Mandarin with a techno-organic virus, he rapidly aged, and his touch turned Deluge to dust. Reaching out to the Heart of Darkness, it rejected him and flew away, and the effects of its power faded in a mystic implosion, while the Mandarin and his Avatars disappeared, and the castle was destroyed.

(Iron Man III#10) - In an erroneous retelling of the end of #312, the man claiming to be the Mandarin claimed the Heart of Darkness and the Avatars were destroyed.

Comments: Created by Len Kaminski and Tom Morgan.

In War Machine I#9, Century claimed to have encountered the Heart of Darkness before, and recognized its power on the Avatars in Force Works#6, yet given his 100-year life span, he couldn't have personally encountered it before. Presumably these memories are among the many not his own, especially given how his mind was somewhat fractured without Parallax to stabilize it.

The fall of Atlantis and the Great Cataclysm occurred @ 18,000 BC, not 10-15,000 years ago as listed in Marvel Comics Presents#169--Snood.

by Gauntlet: Dark Rider

No known connection to:

images: (without ads)
Iron Man I#309, p12, pan4 (Heart of Darkness)
Iron Man I#309, p12, pan1 (ancient citadel)
Iron Man I#311, p5, pan6 (Avatar mask)

Iron Man I#309 (October, 1994) - Len Kaminski (writer), Tom Morgan (artist), Nel Yomtov (editor)
War Machine I#8 (November, 1994) - Scott Benson & Len Kaminski (writer), Gabriel Gecko (pencils), Pam Eklund (inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Iron Man I#310 (November, 1994) - Len Kaminski (writer), Tom Morgan (pencils/inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Force Works#6 (December, 1994) - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Dave Taylor (pencils), Rey Garcia (inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#169-170 (December, 1994) - Scott Benson & Len Kaminski (writer), Patrick Rolo (pencils), Reggie Jones (inks), Richard Ashford (editor)
War Machine I#9 (December, 1994) - Scott Benson & Len Kaminski (writer), Geoff Senior (pencils), Pam Eklund (inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Iron Man I#311 (December, 1994) - Len Kaminski (writer), Tom Morgan (pencils/inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Force Works#7 (January, 1995) - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writer), David Taylor (pencils), Rey Garcia (inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
War Machine I#10 (January, 1995) - Scott Benson & Len Kaminski (writer), Geoff Senior (pencils), Pam Eklund (inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Iron Man I#312 (January, 1995) - Len Kaminski (writer), Tom Morgan (pencils), Sam de la Rosa & Bob Wiacek (inks), Nel Yomtov (editor)
Iron Man III#10 (November, 1998) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Sean Chen (pencils), Eric Cannon & Lary Stucker (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)

First Posted: 05/24/2002
Last updated: 03/28/2005

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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