Real Name: Merlyn (maybe)
Identity/Class: Extra-dimensional technology and magic-user / allegedly half-demon
Occupation: (former) advisor, prophet,
and wizard to King Arthur, court magician;
(more recently) guardian of the Multiverse, manipulator of events on a grand scale.
Affiliations: Founder of the "Captain
ally of Arthur (defender of the Dragon), Bedevere, Black Knight ("Hollow Knight"), the Black Knight (Sir Percy), Black Knight (Dane Whitman), the Doctor, Ddraig Goch, Feron (original), Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble, Gargantua, Guinevere, Higher Evolutionaries, Interloper, Jackdaw, Knights of the Round Table, Moondog, Morvane, King Arthur Pendragon, Lady of the Lake (Niamh), Proud Walkers, Rassilon, Sersi, Sir Ector, Telesti of the Folk; the elves of Otherworld,
leader of the forces of Otherworld,
advisor to Kings Aurelius, Uther Pendragon and Vortigern,
father and mentor of Roma;
manipulator of Captain Britain, Captain UK (and the rest of the Corps), Excalibur, Reaver;
former mentor and lover of Nimue/Vivienne; former mentor of Morgan le Fay;
Enemies: Asmodiar, Beliar, Catavolcus, Joe Cooke; Dragon of the Moon, the Evil Walkers, the Fury, Galgoth, Gog, Howling Commandos (S.H.I.E.L.D. supernatural squadron, particularly Lilith and Nina Price); Mad Jim Jaspers of Earth-238, Mad Jim Jaspers of Earth-616, Maegog, Mandrac, Melanicus, Merlin Demonspawn, Modred the Mystic, Mordred the Evil, Morgan le Fay, Myth Monster, Necrom, Necromon, Nimue/Vivienne, Nykonn, Tyrannus
Known Relatives: King Conaan (alleged
maternal grandfather), Aldan (alleged mother), Ganieda (alleged twin sister)
unnamed demon or Otherworld native (father, allegedly); Roma (daughter)
Aliases: firstborn of the Devil, the
Magus, Merlin, Merlyn, Myraddin, Myrd, Myrr, Myrrdin, sovereign
of the innumerable spheres.
Impersonated the Black Knight (Sir Percy)
Base of Operations: (former) Camelot, (more recently) Otherworld
First Appearance: Black Knight I#1 (May, 1955)
Powers/Abilities: Apparently immortal, and at the least exceptionally long lived. Able to assume a variety of forms. Capable of a wide range of abilities, either through mystical or ultra-high tech means, including (but not limited to) granting superpowers, firing bolts of energy, teleportation (including across dimensional boundaries), creating life-like illusions, bringing the dead back to life, levitation. His powers appear strongest in Otherworld, which may explain why he uses guile so much of the time throughout the rest of the Multiverse.
Merlin remains respected as one of the greatest sorcerers in Earth's history.
Merlyn may be a character unique to the multiverse, such that while he may create duplicates of himself, there is only a single being who controls his own destiny. Or not.
Height: (as Merlin) 6' (as Merlyn) variable
Weight: (as Merlin) 210 lbs. (as Merlyn) variable
Eyes: (as Merlin) Grey (as Merlyn) variable
Hair: (as Merlin) Grey-white (as Merlyn) variable
History: (see comments)
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8) - Merlin is said to be the son of a demon and the beautiful virgin daughter of Conaan, King of Dyfed, an area of Wales. The demon took the form of a handsome knight to seduce Conaan's daughter and impregnate her. But when she realized that her seducer might be a demon, she consulted her priest, who blessed her and had her drink holy water. She took a vow of chastity and, after giving birth to Merlin, became a nun, thus preventing him from being born with an innate tendency to serve evil.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)/Thor: Heaven & Earth#4 (fb) ) - <Ca. 9th century> While Merlin was still a boy, Vortigern, king of Britain, failed repeatedly in his attempts to build a tower stronghold in the Welsh mountains, for the tower's foundations kept sinking. The king was told that in order to succeed he had to sacrifice a boy with no human father; therefore his men found Merlin in the Welsh town of Carmarthen and brought the boy to the king. Merlin used his power to reveal that the true cause of his failure was a pool lying beneath the foundations, Vortigern's men then found the pool and the dragons Ddraig Goch and the White Dragon emerged. Ddraig Goch slew the White Dragon. Merlin saw this as an omen predicting the reign of King Arthur, who was as yet unborn.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - Vortigern was killed and succeeded as king by Aurelius. It has been claimed that the occult stones that now make up Stonehenge once stood in Ireland, and that Merlin advised Aurelius to bring them to their current site in Britain. Merlin's magic allowed a party led by Uther Pendragon to move the tremendous stones.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - Uther Pendragon became king of Britain after his brother's death. He warred for many years against Gorlois, Duke of Tintagel in Cornwall, and became greatly attracted to the duke's beautiful wife Igraine. Merlin, knowing that a great ruler was destined to be the son of Uther and Igraine, agreed to unite Uther with her in return for the care of their firstborn child. Merlin used his magics to give Uther the appearance of Gorlois, and in this form Uther went to Tintagel and made love to Igraine. Earlier that night, before Uther came to Igraine, the real Gorlois was killed in battle. Soon Uther married Igraine, who gave birth to Arthur. Merlin had Arthur brought up in anonymity by a knight named Sir Ector, and Merlin served as Arthur's tutor. Merlin also persuaded Uther to construct the Round Table that Arthur and his knights would later use.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#16: Black Knight (fb)) - Merlin was friends with Arthur's distant cousin, the future father of Percy of Scandia.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - After Uther's death, Britain was torn by was over the succession of the throne. Merlin had the nobles of Britain summoned to London for the Christmas season, promising a divine revelation as to the identity of the new king. There appeared a magic sword thrust through a steel anvil, into a marble block. Upon the anvil were inscribed in letters of gold: "Whosoever pulleth out this sword of this tone and anvil is rightwise King born of all England. As planned, only Arthur could pull out the sword, and he was then crowned king.
(Black Knight I#1 (text story) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - For years Merlin served Arthur as his chief advisor and magical protector. After Arthur broke the magic sword in battle, Merlin took him to the Lady of the Lake, who gave Arthur the enchanted sword Excalibur. It was also Merlin who arranged on Arthur's request for the young king to marry Guinevere, although Merlin, with his prophetic powers, warned Arthur that this marriage would lead to disasters at Camelot.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - Before his marriage, Arthur made love to Queen Morgause, unaware that she was his half-sister. Merlin warned him that she would bear him a son, Mordred, who would be responsible for the end of Camelot. Arthur tried to have the infant Mordred killed, but he was saved and raised in anonymity.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#9: Morgan le Fay (fb) / (Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1/3 (fb)) - Merlin taught the arts of sorcery to Morgan Le Fay, sister of Morgause. Morgan persuaded Merlin to teach her magic by promising to be his lover in return. Morgan also mastered the sorcery from the ancient Celtic religion.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1/3 (fb) - BTS) - Morgan served as beloved priestess to Gaea, helped bring about bountiful harvests, and healed followers when ill.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1/3 (fb) - BTS) - As they felt faith in Gaea unraveling, Morgan became angry with Merlin as he turned away from Gaea.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1/3 (fb)) - Once upon a Samhain, Merlin thought Morgan would not dare keep him from entering Avalon's altar of sacred trees. She dragged burning rock from below the Earth to shove down his smug throat, and he tore shooting stars from the sky and hurled them down at her. Their battle lasted for six days, burning down a thousand acres of sacred forest to prevent Merlin from entering.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - Merlin made plans to counter the threat posed by Mordred: He had the parents of the boy who would become Sir Percy of Scandia train Percy in all known forms of combat. Merlin knew he would need a great warrior who could stop Mordred, but whose identity would remain a secret, so that Mordred could not have him killed.
(Marvel Preview#22) - Arthur brought an injured knight, Beliar, whom they had found in the forest, back to the Camelot, where he recovered with the aid of Merlin. Upon recovering, Beliar began to challenge Merlin repeatedly, who suspected his true nature, and warned Arthur about him, though the King ignored his advice. Beliar became more and more bold, even to the point of trying to seduce Guinevere and nearly killing Lancelot in a jousting tournament. Finally, Arthur realized that Beliar was a threat to Camelot and banished him, but he kidnapped Guinevere when he left.
Arthur and Merlin followed Beliar's trail into an underground cavern, where they met Beliar's father, the arch-demon Asmodiar. The demon forced a battle between Arthur and Beliar, but when Arthur's skilled proved superior, Asmodiar began to magically augment his son's power until Arthur was at his mercy. Merlin pitted his might against the demon's, but found it to be a losing battle. Finally, when the deaths of both Arthur and Guinevere were imminent, Merlin caught Asmodiar off guard by taking Beliar's form, allowing him to attack him from behind and behead him.
Defeated, Asmodiar warned them that he would come again in the future, in a far more subtle form.
(Spider-Man Battles the Myth Monster!#1) - After Arthur had defeated the Myth Monster, Merlin used his magicks to imprison the creature within an enchanted amulet.
(Avengers Annual#22/2) - Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble preserved the timestream by ensuring that Merlin obtained the Starstone meteorite, preventing the Incinerators from obtaining it. Gamble then time-traveled back to Camelot, where he bartered the Starstone to Merlin in exchange for his copy of the Iron-bound Book of Skelos.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1 (fb)) - Merlin appeared before Percy, rendering his guards unconscious with dust and then asked his secret aid in protecting Arthur from the treacherous Mordred and Morgan Le Fay.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #8: Merlin (fb) / Black Knight Comics#1/Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1 (fb)) - Merlin sent Percy to Camelot, and instructed him to play the role of a timid fop so that no one would suspect how dangerous an opponent he could be. Percy was to protect King Arthur from Mordred's plots to usurp the throne of Camelot.
(New Excalibur#12 (fb)) - Seven men held the Ebony Blade, each an honorable and good man, but each one was driven mad by the sword and had to be put down.
(New Excalibur#12 (fb)) - The formerly gallant Sir Reginald, Arthur's own cousin, took up the Ebony Blade, and he, too, was driven mad by it and had to be put down. At that point, only Arthur, Percy, and Merlin were deemed noble enough to wield the Ebony Blade. Arthur was irreplaceable as king, and it was felt that if Merlin were corrupted by the Blade there would be nothing on Earth able to stop him. Percy thus took up the Ebony Blade.
(Dazzler#3 (fb)) - Merlin conferred upon a collection of gems "the power to make their owner invincible." These gemstones, later known as the Merlin Stones would be sought after and used as sources of power by various beings of the following centuries.
(Strange Tales I#108/2) - Merlin animated a suit of armor as his first Black Knight to oppose Sir Mogard.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb) / Black Knight Comics#1) - After the death of Percy's parents, Merlin summoned him to Camelot, where he instructed him to play the role of a timid fop so that no one would suspect how dangerous an opponent he could be. Merlin had summoned Percy to protect King Arthur from Mordred's plots to usurp the throne of Camelot. Merlin knew that Arthur would never believe anything evil of any of his knights, so that merely telling him about Mordred's intent was pointless. In addition, Mordred's followers would kill any who tried to stop him, so Percy was to secretly act as the Black Knight.
(Black Knight Comics#1) - Sir Percy of Scandia
arrived in Camelot where, following Merlin's instructions, he received
sanctuary after telling Arthur that his lands in Scandia had been
seized by the Baron of Emscore. Merlin then gave Percy the armor
and secret identity of the Black Knight.
A trio of Mordred's men learned of the existence and purpose of the Knight (though not his identity), and they ambushed Merlin and the Black Knight. The Knight quickly overcame the attackers. Later, Merlin observed via his mystic crystal how the Black Knight won the approval of Arthur after saving him from an ambush by Mordred's agents.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1 (fb)) - Merlin told Percy of the foredoomed future of Camelot, and the two agreed to try to thwart the path of destiny
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1 (fb) - BTS) - Merlin lured Orphelus away from the Pool of Blood and transported the Starstone, a forge, an anvil, and mallet to the cavern containing the pool.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel
Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)/Marvel Super-Heroes
II#17 (fb)/Avengers Annual#22/2 (fb) / Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1 (fb)) -
Merlin brought Percy to the Pool of Blood, showed him the Starstone and had him
forge weapons from it. An acrid smoke appeared, Merlin cast a spell and rinsed
the weapons in the Pool's blood, and the smoke cleared to show an ebony chalice,
shield, staff, and sword. Merlin announced that only one of these would save
Camelot and instructed Percy to choose one of them. As a knight, Percy chose the
sword, the not even Merlin knew if the decision was the correct one. Percy
prayed that he had selected wisely, after which Merlin summoned a nimbus of
light to destroy the other weapons so that they could never be turned against
the Ebony Blade.
As they departed, they failed to see as Mordred, aided by Morgan, as he recovered the Ebony Staff before it could vanish; from the staff, Mordred would forge the Ebony Dagger.
(New Excalibur#12 (fb)) - Seven men held the Ebony Blade, each an honorable and good man, but each one was driven mad by the sword and had to be put down.
(New Excalibur#12 (fb)) - The formerly gallant Sir Reginald, Arthur's own cousin, took up the Ebony Blade, and he, too, was driven mad by it and had to be put down. At that point, only Arthur, Percy, and Merlin were deemed noble enough to wield the Ebony Blade. Arthur was irreplaceable as king, and it was felt that if Merlin were corrupted by the Blade there would be nothing on Earth able to stop him.
(Black Knight Comics#1/3) - When King Arthur was imprisoned by Mordred, Merlin revealed to Percy that he was being held within his own castle. Merlin then gave the Ebony Blade to the Black Knight. The Knight freed Arthur and the two of them fought their way back to throne room, displacing Mordred.
(Black Knight Comics#2/2) - Via his crystal ball, Merlin discovered a plot of Mordred's to use treachery to poison and unseat Arthur during a jousting competition, so that he might steal the throne. Merlin told Sir Percy, who challenged Mordred instead, defeating him and foiling the plot. Merlin helped Percy return to his chambers in time to prevent Mordred from discovering his absence and connecting him to the Black Knight.
(Black Knight Comics#3) - After the Black Knight received a injury to his shoulder from Sir Guy of Gascombe, an agent of Mordred, Mordred attempted to determine who the Black Knight truly was by finding which of Arthur's men had a matching wound. Sir Percy was nearly found out, but Merlin donned the Black Knight armor so that the Black Knight and Sir Percy would appear to be in the same place at the same time, throwing off Mordred's suspicions.
(Black Knight Comics#3/2) - Merlin summoned the Black Knight to him to show him an image in his crystal ball of Mordred making a deal with the owner of an animal caravan. He directed the Black Knight to guard King Arthur, as Mordred attempted to use the animals in an attack upon Arthur's party.
(Strange Tales I#71) - Merlin was visited by a man from the 20th century who had read his diary in a curio shop. The man refused to believe that magic actually existed, so Merlin sent him back to his own time, but turned his hair white to serve as a reminder of the truth of magic.
(Avengers Annual#20/2 (fb)) - Tyrannus, deposed as an Emperor of Rome, raised and army and sought to conquer England. He was defeated by Sir Percy, the Black Knight, and brought before Arthur and Merlin, who banished him to Subterranea.
(Incredible Hulk II#210 (fb) - BTS / Avengers Annual#22/2 (fb) - BTS, Thor Annual#17/4, Doctor Strange III#11/2) - The Black Knight and Merlin left Camelot to face Morgan Le Fay. A mutant possessing a fragment of the Bloodgem impersonated Merlin during this absence, usurping his role in Camelot.
(Spider-Woman I#41) - Merlin imprisoned Chthon within Wundagore Mountain (see comments).
(Marvel Chillers#1 (fb) - BTS/Dr.
Strange III#11/2) - When Modred was overcome by the power of Chthon and
the Darkhold, this dire event attracted the attention of the real Merlin, who was still away
with the Black Knight. By then, Merlin was tired and weary, probably a
of the world-shattering emergency he had been dealing with. He knew
that, even with the Black Knight's help, he
could no longer forestall Camelot's ultimate fate. He also knew that he
would have to deal with Demonspawn upon
his return to Camelot. So, when on top of all this, he sensed the power
of the Darkhold rising again, Merlin knew
he needed help, and he called upon the Roman Catholic Church. Using a
crystal ball, he communicated with the Pope
(for which Pope, see comments below). In those days the Church was not
afraid to use its powerful white magic to
(Marvel Chillers#1 (BTS)) - Meanwhile, the Darkhold struck at Modred and his beloved Janice.
(Dr. Strange III#11/2) - Brendan arrived. It took the combined powers of Brendan and Merlin to battle and ultimately contain the Darkhold. Then, Brendan and Merlin entombed Modred, who was still in the Darkhold's power.
(Incredible Hulk II#210 (fb)) - The
returned to Camelot, easily overpowering the imposter, and
trapping him in a special crypt.
BTS - The Merlin imposter, aka the Mad Merlin, Maha Yogi, Merlin Demonspawn, was exposed with the aid of the Eternal Sersi.
(Iron Man I#150 (fb, BTS)/Namor I#62 (fb, BTS)) - Arthur and Merlin thwarted numerous attempts by Morgan to bring ruin to Camelot.
(Captain Britain Weekly#34, 35 (fb)) - Merlyn demonstrated his power of levitation for King Arthur and his court (see comments).
(New Excalibur#11) - Merlin was ambushed by a trio of "dragons" (actually Makluans). A time traveling Excalibur (Captain Britain, Dazzler (Alison Blaire), Juggernaut, Nocturne (TJ Wagner), Sage, Pete Wisdom) and Dane Whitman, the Black Knight of the modern era, were led to the conflict by Percy (who had lived through an alternate timeline (Earth-6120) where Merlin was slain in the assault, and Camelot and Arthur had subsequently fallen before the assault). Percy was dropped by a fiery blast, and Dane took up the Ebony Blade; Excalibur and Whitman helped Merlin regain his strength via distracting the dragons from him, and then they drove the dragons off. Percy then punched out Whitman and retook the Blade, telling him never to touch his sword again. The group then returned to Camelot and shared the warning of the dragons' threat to Arthur. They had a celebration of the arrival of their intended saviors and a scout was sent out to locate the dragons' lair. The scout did so, but his horse brought his corpse back to Camelot.
(New Excalibur#12) - After the "dragons" attacked Camelot, Arthur led his knights in joining Merlin and Excalibur against them. The two Black Knights joined the fight, which seemed doomed to failure. However, having explored the true dragon's lair, Sage returned and revealed the dragons to be Makluans, and she instructed Merlin to conjure some Formosian herb, which caused the dragons to collapse into unconsciousness. Via the Lady of the Lake's magic, Excalibur and Dane Whitman returned to the modern era, with Dane and Percy parting amicably; after which Merlin asked if he thought Whitman was prepared for what now awaited him? Was he ready to discover what being a Black Knight truly means? Percy said, "Aye. I do."
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - After the revelation of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere through England into a civil war, Mordred openly gathered armies to lead against Arthur.
(Iron Man I#150 (fb)/Namor I#62 (fb)/(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb) / Black Knight I#1(fb)) - In the final year of the reign of King Arthur, with the Round Table shattered, Mordred and Morgan sent an army against Arthur. There was a tremendous battle in which the Black Knight led Arthur's forces to victory over the forces of Morgan and Mordred. Having learned of a plot while in the guise of Sir Percy, the Knight and Merlin met the army far from Camelot with a force of their own. Hoping to prevent Arthur from discovering his guilt, Mordred fled the field of battle. Merlin and the Black Knight led their army to Castle le Fay, on the Northern Irish Coast, hoping to force the she-witch to tell the King the truth. Forewarned of this, Morgan laid a trap to kill any who entered her castle. Merlin detected this and instead imprisoned Morgan in Castle Le Fey, holding her there with a powerful spell.
(Iron Man I#209 (fb)) - Entering Castle Le Fay (either physically or in spirit) by unknown means alongside Sir Tristan and at least two knights, Merlin had his men, wearing iron armor, capture Morgan and bound her with iron chains to a large block. He then amplified his earlier spell, such that her body would die should she ever leave its walls. In addition, as he held Morgan responsible for the death of the age of chivalry, he felt that she should pay the price for its loss. He left her to the not-so-tender mercies of the lusty knights.
(X-Men and Spider-Man: Time's Arrow: Book 1: The Past (fb)) - BTS) - The initial spell trapped Morgan within the block upon which her body had been bound, while her spirit could still move about the castle. While her soul could not leave the castle, her spells could affect events outside of the castle to only a limited degree.
(X-Men and Spider-Man: Time's Arrow: Book 1: The Past - BTS) - Kang the Conqueror sent a series of "Time's Arrows" into the past and then duped Spider-Man and the X-Men into traveling into the past and destroying them, which actually activated them. Merlin sensed the presence of Kang and his agents and sent the Black Knight to oppose them. The Knight was assisted by Cable, Storm, and an alternate reality version of Aliya, who convinced the Knight that he must release Morgan from her physical stasis so that they might access the Arrow.
(Defenders I#152 (fb)/Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8: Merlin (fb)) - The cosmic creature known as the Dragon of the Moon came to Earth and allied itself with Mordred against Camelot. During the final battle between Arthur's forces and Mordred's, Arthur assisted the Eternal known only as the Interloper in defeating the Dragon, banishing it back into outer space. It is ASSumed that Merlin played a major role in this battle.
(Iron Man I#150 (fb)/OHotMU Deluxe#8: Merlin) - Merlin fell in love with Nimue/Vivienne, a faerie sorceress. Merlin taught many of his magic secrets to Vivienne, who, tiring of him, imprisoned him within an enchanted cave, where he fell into suspended animation...to sleep for centuries...until bidden once more to wake (see comments).
(Iron Man II#11) - During a travel back through time, Dr. Doom
and Iron Man visited a number of sites of significance to them, including
Camelot. They appeared before Merlin, apparently within a cavern, who recognized
them as being "here again, for the first time" (presumably either
chronologically prior to their trip in Iron Man I#150, or perhaps referring to
their distorted memories as they were part of Earth-Heroes Reborn (the future
Counter-Earth, created by Franklin Richards) at the time). Merlin warned them
that their existence was tearing apart the fabric of the universe, and he
postulated that his own spells might be powerful enough to right these wrongs.
When Iron Man asked for his advice/direction, Merlin replied, "Time. Time and
time again holds the key."
Doom and Iron Man vanished, traveling further back in time.
(Marvel Super-Heroes II#17(fb) / Black Knight I#1(fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe#16: Black Knight I / Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1) - Merlin's spirit summoned the Black Knight, sending him to Garrett Castle to plan strategy with Arthur. However, Sorcerous energies, either from the Dragon of the Moon, or other sources, delayed Sir Percy so that he did not arrive until after that final battle had been fought, with King Arthur and Mordred mortally wounding each other. Arthur was dead by the time Sir Percy reached him. the Black Knight lamented the death of Arthur, but Mordred himself then appeared from the shadows.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1) - The Black Knight sensed Mordred's approach and was prepared to turn and slay Mordred, but Merlin showed the Black Knight a vision of "Reality-97213" in which Camelot's reign continued but became corrupt. The Black Knight allowed Mordred to kill him, as Camelot's time had ended.
(Marvel Super-Heroes II#17(fb)
/ Black Knight I#1(fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe#16:
Black Knight I) - Mordred stabbed the Knight with his Ebony Dagger, slaying him.
Merlin's countenance appeared above the dying Knight, casting a spell over him such that he would live again through another if ever Mordred walked the land.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1) - Merlin predicted, "In the hour Sir Percy dies, your own (Mordred's) death is also very near."
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1) - As Merlin vanished, Percy was reincarnated as Gwynn, his sacrifice having won him the right to be part of the Earth Goddess, Gaea. He would thus remain, immune to time, until his spirit would later be summoned to wear the armor of the Black Knight again.
(Marvel Super-Heroes II#17 (fb)) - Mordred died soon after.
(Captain Britain Weekly#34, 35 (fb)) - With the fall of Camelot, Merlyn decided to return to his "star-home", where his daughter Roma awaited. Before departing he left behind a sword and amulet, hoping that one day a worthy mortal would discover them.
(Excalibur I#50 (fb)) - Centuries ago Merlyn and Feron were the students of Necrom, the sorcerer supreme of their race. Necrom revealed to them the energy created by the exchange of exotic particles at every dimensional interface, the doorways between worlds. When a series of interfaces across the multiverse aligned, the localised energy fields merged to create a matrix of awesome power. Since the alignments were too brief and infrequent to be harnessed as things stood, Necrom hatched a plot to stabilise them. He and his students travelled to Earth-616 (the "prime Earth") to the location of an imminent alignment, to where the interface point was marked by a tower erected by a race which had been ancient when Atlantis was young. Feron, a pure and pious individual, managed to commune with a celestial elemental which would much later become known as the Phoenix, and at the moment of alignment he called on the Phoenix avatar to project the essence of the tower through the multiverse, so that it existed on every plane of reality simultaneously, acting as an anchor to the matrix energies. Necrom then revealed his evil intentions to use those energies to become a god, but Feron, armed with the phoenix power, fought back. While they fought, Merlyn leapt into the energy matrix, and was swept across the multiverse struggling to tame its fury. Having defeated Feron, Necrom realized that he could not yet face Merlyn and the new energies he had at his command, and so stealing some of the Phoenix force he went into a form of suspended animation while his body incubated "the anti-Phoenix". Merlyn, meanwhile, mastered the energy matrix and established Otherworld. He sought Necrom, but unable to locate him, he created a corps of agents to patrol the multiverse in anticipation of his foe's return. At some point these agents became the costumed heroes known (somewhat erroneously) as the "Captain Britain Corps".
(Dr. Who Monthly#66 (fb)) - In the third century A.D. the demon Melanicus granted a warlord known as Catavolcus forbidden knowledge. Together they set out to conquer the Earth, only to be opposed by the wizard known as Merlyn. He banished Melanicus to a formless void, trapping him there for centuries. Catavolcus, armed with the secrets of time and space travel, escaped.
(Defenders I#11 (fb) - BTS) - After he had been turned to stone by the Enchantress, the Black Knight's spirit was eventually transported (allegedly via the magic of Merlin) to the 12th century, during the Crusades, where it possessed the form of his ancestor, Eobar Garrington.
(Strange Tales I#71) - In the 20th
century, Merlin assumed the form of a curio shop owner in the
Balkans. One day, a man entered his shop and found his diary amongst
the items on the shelves.
Despite Merlin's warnings, the man opened the book and was cast back in
time, where he met Merlin
in medival times. When the Merlin of the past returned the man to the
20th century, his hair had
been turned white. He wandered out of the curio shop in a daze, still
unaware that the shop owner
(Tales of Suspense I#27/5) - A terrible stage magician, Joe Cooke decided to drop his original act as the Great Nero and took on the new stage name Merlin the Mystic. This did not improve his magic tricks though, and no one wanted to hire him. A bum claiming to be a former magician offered to show Cooke some real tricks, including teleportation and levitation. When the bum requested his payment for teaching Cooke these abilities, Cooke laughed him off. At that night's show, Cooke performed a vanishing act. However, the audience became bored when he didn't return and left. The only person left in the audience was the old bum, who transformed into his real appearance, that of the real Merlin. Stating "The Fool! He thought he could defy me! Me!! The one who came from the dim past to assist him! The one whose very name he stole! The greatest magician of all -- the REAL Merlin! Well...I never DID like imposters!" Merlin teleported away.
(Captain Britain Monthly#7 (fb)) - Merlyn picked one of his "chosen guard" to go to Earth-616 to prepare the way for the creation of a champion to fight the incredibly dangerous, reality warping mutant, Mad Jim Jaspers, and other threats to the Multiverse.
BTS- Merlyn, in his red-headed Myrr guise, granted powers to Linda McQuillan, transporting her to Otherworld and transforming her into Captain U.K.
(Captain Britain Weekly#1) - Brian Braddock, fleeing from Joshua Stragg (the Reaver) and his men, crashed the motorbike he was riding in the middle of some standing stones on Darkmoor. Injured and dazed, he was confronted by a vision of an bearded man (Merlin, although he wasn't named as such until much later) and a beautiful woman. The man informed him that he was in the middle of a circle of power, the Siege Perilous, and was here to be judged on peril of his immortal soul. The vision told the skeptical scientist that he must choose between an amulet and a sword that had materialised on the stones, and that the choice was life or death for him...and maybe for the world as well.
(CBW#2) - With Stragg and his men closing in, Braddock decided he was no slayer of men, and chose the amulet, symbol of life. He was transformed into Captain Britain. Battling Stragg (likewise transformed when he grasped the sword) the newly created hero triumphed, and promised the apparitions (specifically the lady) that he would be their champion, now and forever.
(CBW#33) - While Captain Britain's injured body was lying on an operating table at S.T.R.I.K.E. headquarters, his spirit was summoned through the void to another reality, where he was confronted by a monstrous creature. As battle commenced, the hero was unaware he was being observed by the man and lady who granted him the medallion which gives him his powers, and that he was in the middle of test.
(CBW#34) - With Captain Britain trapped by the monster, the lady pleaded with Merlin (whom she finally identified as such) to save their champion. But Merlin insisted the hero must survive this final test unaided. As the battle continued to go against him, the lady again pleaded for her sire to end the hero's torment. Again Merlin insisted that Captain Britain must prove his inability to accept defeat, his willingness to battle to the death should need be. However he decided that the hero had shown sufficient worth to have his staff weapon returned to him. Using the staff's force field, Captain Britain held back his opponent, and Merlin finally felt the hero had passed the test. He summoned Braddock to their side, but the hero was outraged to think that the ordeal he had just gone through had been choreographed. Merlin did not take well to the harsh words, pointing out that if he had the power to summon Captain Britain across the void then he likewise had the power to restrain him. Faced with a show of Merlin's power, Captain Britain calmed down. Merlin admitted that he was sorry for putting the hero through his paces, but stated that it was for a noble cause, and, having warned Braddock that time was limited if he was to return to Earth before his body perished, the magician created an image of the Court of King Arthur.
(CBW#35) - The vision showed Merlin demonstrating his powers to amuse Arthur's court. As it continued Merlin recounted his origins, stating he was a "star-born space traveller" who travelled the galaxies studying and aiding other life forms. Having helped Arthur create the joyous realm of Camelot, Merlin was yet unable for all his power to stop its fall. And so he fled back to his star-home and his daughter Roma, leaving behind the sword and amulet that later empowered Captain Britain. As the vision continued Merlin showed the hero how over the years others had found the artifacts, but always chose the weapon, symbol of death, over the amulet, symbol of life, a choice that each time led to their undoing. Now finally one man made the right choice - Brian Braddock. In doing so he had taken on the responsibility of restoring the glory that was Camelot. Having endured deadly foes and Merlin's "last" test, it was time for the hero to accept his true role. Reluctantly accepting this, Captain Britain watched as Merlin transformed his staff into the Star Sceptre.
(CBW#36) - Merlin gave Captain Britain his new weapon, apparently unaware that the villainous Nykonn was watching on avariciously. Suddenly the mage shouted to the hero, pointing to the falling figure of Braddock's beloved, Courtney Ross, who had appeared out of nowhere. Using his new sceptre, the hero flew into the heavens to catch her before she struck the ground, but after bringing her safely to earth, she faded away, revealed as simply an illusion of Merlin's to test the hero "when thy emotions are aroused" (so much for Merlin's comment only an issue earlier that the previous test had been the "last" one!). Merlin explained to Britain the limitations of his sceptre, and stressed that it must never fall into the wrong hands.
Suddenly Nykonn attacked, seeking to claim the device. He hurled large rocks at the trio, which Captain Britain blocked with his sceptre's force field. Merlin warned his champion that he must be returned to Earth swiftly or the chance to do so may pass, but Britain stated he could not abandon Merlin and Roma to face this threat unaided. Then Nykonn closed in, and battle was joined. While Cap battled alien warriors summoned by the villain, Merlin and Nykonn traded mystic energy bolts. Having overcome his own opponents, Captain Britain distracted Nykonn, allowing Merlin to strike home and banish his foe. But he had bad news for his hero; the battle had drained his energies, and now he could not return him to Earth before his mortal form expired back at S.T.R.I.K.E. HQ.
(CBW#37) - Angrily Captain Britain demanded Merlin return him to Earth, but again the weary wizard explained he had not the strength to do so. He informed the desperate man that only he could save himself now. Back on Earth his body had just been declared dead, but suddenly its right arm moved, and grasped the amulet that gave him his powers. As it did so, his astral form faded away from in front of Merlin and Roma. Merlin commented to Roma that the hero had passed "the final test" (yes, another one!), and that they had witnessed the birth of a hero and the final fulfillment of a dream.
BTS- Merlyn sent the Black Knight on a quest to find Captain Britain, who had vanished after jumping out of a plane while returning the U.K. from America. He then sent Vortigen the Proud Walker to locate both heroes and lead them to Otherworld.
(Hulk Comic#23) - Having reached Otherworld Captain Britain was slain by the White Rider, and then Mandrac, Lord of the Slain, arrived to claim his soul. But a gigantic vision of Merlyn appeared, challenging him for the life of the hero.
(HC#24) - Mandrac challenged Merlyn to appear before him in the flesh, which he did, changing from the immense vision to a stooped old man. Mandrac laughed at the apparent weakness of his foe, shattering the Earth with his mace and knocking him to the ground. As Merlyn rose, Mandrac charged him on horseback.
(HC#25) - Mandrac faced off against Merlyn, and struck a resounding blow to the wizard's skull with his mace. Although the blow shattered what it hit, Mandrac was dismayed to realise he lashed out at an illusion, a rock shaped like his opponent. Merlyn revealed his true location seconds before he exploded a sphere of energy in the Nethergod's face, blinding him. Falling from his steed, the giant Lord of the Slain smashed his war hammer off the ground, but this had the unfortunate side effect of splitting the ground under him, and he fell into the crevasse he had created. Merlyn used his powers to bring the rocks crashing back together, trapping Mandrac. The Black Knight asked Merlyn if Mandrac had been slain, but was informed that "none but another god may slay a god"; the villain was merely trapped for as long as the spell held. However they had more urgent matters to attend to; they must reunite Captain Britain's body and soul swiftly if they were to save their downed compatriot.
(HC#26) - Merlyn sat next to Captain Britain's body for hours, unmoving and unspeaking, while the Black Knight watched on with trepidation. Suddenly the mage moved, placing his hand on the corpse's brow, and unseen to the Knight, Merlyn's astral form flew forth, hunting down the soul of Brian Braddock. He found it, floating along in the currents of infinity and literally approaching the jaws of death. Meanwhile, back on Otherworld, the Knight's vigil was disturbed when tree-like forest trolls attacked.
(HC#27) - As the Knight fought in the physical realm, Merlyn stood atop the horned skull which symbolized the jaws of death in the spiritual plane, and threw Captain Britain's astral form his staff, which transformed en route into an elegant wand. The dying hero grasped this lifeline, and Merlyn tried to draw the staff back out of the current with the hero attached. His efforts were spotted by Galgoth, receiver of the dead, who sat within the jaws, and the demon summoned his brethren to help him prevent the loss of a soul. Back in the physical world the Knight had been restrained by the grasping branches of moving trees, and was confronted by Mordred. The evil mage takes some burning branches from the fire and threw them on the robe of the unmoving Merlyn.
(HC#28) - As flames licked at Merlyn's legs in Otherworld, in the astral realm his spirit form managed to summon his staff to him, dragging along Captain Britain's soul as well as Galgoth and two other demons, who were hanging on to the hero's legs. Taking hold of the other end of the staff, Merlyn sent a rush of energy through it and the Captain's soul, and shocked the demons loose. Returning to his body, he found it aflame, blocked the pain, and gathered the fire into a ball which he hurled at Mordred. The evil mage ignited like a Roman candle, but then rallied and drew the fire away from himself. He sent a bolt of energy hurtling at Merlyn, who deflected it and returned the attack by telekinetically hurling the sword Excalibur at Mordred, who narrowly managed to dodge aside. However the blade was not meant for the villain, but rather for the trapped Knight, who used it to slice his way free of the branches holding him.
(HC#29) - While the Knight battled Mordred, Merlyn used the respite to reconnect Captain Britain's soul to his body. But the Knight was once again attacked by the Forest Trolls, leaving Mordred free to hit Merlyn from behind with a bolt of mystic energy. Seeking to finish off the weakened Captain, Morded summoned all his power and unleashed it in a single blast, only to have it intercepted by Excalibur, thrown by the Black Knight. The power rebounded, striking Mordred down.
(HC#30) - With Mordred a broken man, Merlyn turned his attention once more to the healing of Captain Britain. Though his soul had been retrieved, the saving of his life was not yet guaranteed. For several days Britain's companions watched over him, until finally he regained consciousness.
(HC#42) - Now that his champion had awakened, Merlyn revealed to his allies the true extent of the threat facing them, revealing that Necromon, Lord of all the Nethergods, was their true opponent, to whom all their other enemies were but servants. Using an amulet which was the brother to the one which granted Captain Britain his powers, Merlyn unlocked Brian Braddock's memories, revealing that he had suffered a mental attack while aboard a plane back from New York.
(HC#43) - Fearing he was under attack from dark forces, Captain Britain had jumped out of the plane, and eventually been washed ashore on an island where he witnessed a vision of three standing stones, over which the sun rose. Then he passed out again, and awoke to find himself on the beach back on the mainland of Britain. Hearing these memories, Merlyn surmised that two great powers had fought for the hero's soul on the plane, and that the good force had led him to leap out and drawn him to the island in his dream. He further stated that he believed the good force to be the spirit of King Arthur himself!
(HC#44) - Merlyn explained to his allies, the Knight, the elves and Captain Britain, how Necromon had long sought to conquer the three realms - his own, Otherworld and Earth. But in each age a hero arose to drive the evil back to the Netherworld, with the greatest of all of these heroes being King Arthur. Merlyn too took part in this fight, and since Arthur fell he had continued to instigate new heroes, such as the Black Knight and Captain Britain. Necromon tried to destroy the latter, but unwittingly managed to provide his foes with a clue as to the whereabouts of his greatest enemy. For, as Merlyn explained, when Arthur's body was buried at Avalon, the dark forces stole it and secreted it away. Now Britain had a vision of that resting place, and the dark forces would stop at nothing to prevent him from locating it for real.
Merlyn stated that this was the new stage of their quest, to locate Arthur, and so saying healed Captain Britain with a touch. Their true quest had begun, "so speaks Merlyn the Magus!"
(HC#45) - Seeking the resting place of Arthur, the heroes headed for Camelot, as Captain Britain was sure the island of his vision lied on the sea of Otherworld. Since Camelot was en route, Merlyn felt they should halt there and see what their enemies had in store for them. He sent the Knight ahead on winged Valinor to scout the way.
(HC#48) - Having ranged ahead and defeated a dragon, the Black Knight used a mystic dragon pearl his downed foe gifted him with to spy on his allies, many leagues behind him. Merlyn sensed the mind watching them, but could not determine whether it was friend or foe, only that it grew increasingly more powerful.
(HC#52) - The Knight had reached Camelot and met its defenders. A short while later the elves who had accompanied Merlyn were spied running for the gates, with trolls in close pursuit. The monsters fired a hail of arrows at the castle's guardians, but before they could strike, the shafts turned into starlings, transformed by the power of Merlyn. He urged them all to get inside of the gates, for "the siege of Camelot has begun".
(HC#53) - Within the castle Merlyn revealed to the Knight that his magick was temporarily exhausted, leaving the defenders to employ more conventional means.
(HC#54) - As battering rams pierced the gates and the spells that sealed them, backed by magick that was as strong as Merlyn's and drained the Magus of his own energies, Merlyn's attention was drawn to Gargantua, a gigantic horned being who was bested in combat by the Knight on his ride to the castle. A creation of Merlyn's, sculpted from the bones of a whale, Gargantua had been seduced by the dark forces, but now sought to redeem himself. Minutes later the trolls breached the defenses, only to face the giant. He cut through them, finally sacrificing his life to kill their leader, Maegog.
BTS- Merlyn, anticipating that he would soon be sending the Black Knight and Captain Britain away to seek King Arthur, ordered Jackdaw, an elf whose mental powers were particularly strong, to hide in Valinor's saddle bags, so that he could aid them on their quest.
(HC#54) - As the defenders ventured forth to survey the carnage, Merlyn noted that the impact of Gargantua's massive form as he crashed dead to the ground had weakened the bridge that was all that stopped Camelot from collapsing into the abyss.
(HC#55) - Suddenly the defenders were confronted by the six evil Walkers, led by Caradoc of the Twin Blades. Shocked by the sight of Mordred among them, whom he had believed utterly defeated, Merlyn lost concentration, and the spell holding the bridge together weakened further. But the Knight and Moondog exposed the Walkers as merely being illusions created by Necromon. Knowing that their respite was limited before the forces of the Netherworld launched a fresh assault, Merlyn ordered the Knight and Captain Britain away immediately on Valinor to locate Arthur.
(HC#60) - Anticipating that if the Knight found Arthur then he would surrender Excalibur back to its rightful owner, Merlyn visited the forge of Weyland Smith within Camelot, and gave him the shattered pieces of the Knight's own Ebony Blade to restore.
(HC#61) - Watching the mists, Merlyn saw the Knight returning to Camelot with a hooded figure, and minus Captain Britain. But his reverie was disturbed by a castle defender bearing news that figures were approaching the gates. Fearing a fresh attack, he ordered the warriors of Camelot to assemble, and collected the reforged Ebony Blade from Weyland. But as the defenders marched out, they were confronted not by the enemy, but by the gathered forces of the Six Proud Walkers, returned to lend their assistance in this hour of need.
Only just in time too, as Necromon and his forces arrived. The Netherlord and Merlyn exchanged challenges, and Merlyn cleared the mists around them to reveal his allies. Battle is joined!
(HC#62) - Overwhelmed by the enemies' numbers, Merlyn ordered the heroes of Camelot to retreat to the bridge. As they did so, the Knight and his passenger alit on the battlements. Moondog fell in battle, and Vortigen, enraged, turned the tide of the battle. But Merlyn spied that Necromon was ascending the side of the very castle. Reaching the top he was confronted by not only the Black Knight, but King Arthur as well!
(HC#63) - Arthur dealt a fatal blow to Necromon, but was unable to prevent him from destroying the bridge holding Camelot out of the abyss with his dying breath. As Merlyn sensed the death of the Nethergod, the castle plunged into the darkness. At first the defenders feared that the Knight and the King had been lost too, but rising out of the dust cloud came Valinor, the two heroes on her back.. Arthur and Merlyn exchanged heartfelt and long overdue greetings. Merlyn noted that Camelot had ceased to be, but Vortigen offered his kingdom to build it anew, an offer Arthur gratefully accepts.
(Marvel Super-Heroes (UK)#377) - Merlyn and Arthur discussed the King having sent Captain Britain and Jackdaw away prior to the final battle, and concluded that "They have a destiny to fulfill elsewhere." "Aye, perhaps even more important than ours!"
(Dr. Who Monthly#60) - Merlyn was in the far future of one alternate Earth, where he and Arthur were defending the last bastion of civilization from the forces of Catavolcus and his Neutron Knights. Realizing that they could not hold out much longer, Merlyn summoned the Doctor, intending to use his TARDIS as a means of evacuating the defenders from their castle. They escaped just as the mutant warlord breached the citadel, and Merlyn set the fusion device known as the Dragon to overload, destroying the invaders.
(DWM#62) - When Catavolcus' master, the demon Melanicus, seized control of the Event Synthesizer, the Time Lords of Gallifrey called on the aid of all "Higher Evolutionaries" to decide what to do about the crisis - Merlyn was one of those called. Their minds convened within the Matrix, a virtual reality world within a complex computer system on Gallifrey, and the Time Lord known as the Doctor was summoned to act as their agent in hunting down Melanicus. He was not overjoyed to see Merlyn again.
(DWM#63) - Merlyn informed the Doctor about his foe, and how he had originally banished Melanicus from this plane of existence for a millennium. The Time Lord was then sent away to track down the villain.
(DWM#65) - Merlyn consulted with the other High Evolutionaries in the Matrix. As yet Melanicus had only limited understanding of the device he had hijacked, and was only causing chaos in one dimension, but they feared that as his knowledge grew, so too would his ability to cause disruption.
(DWM#67) - Along with the other Higher Evolutionaries, Merlyn combined his vast mental powers to freeze time, allowing the Doctor to locate Melanicus. The Time Lord did so, but only at the cost of his companion's life. Afterwards, when reality had reverted to normal, the Doctor awakened in a church to find a tribute to his fallen friend. He wondered who could have made this tribute, who could have known what happened to arrange this epitaph. And behind him the ghostly form of Merlyn briefly materialises unnoticed, then faded away.
(MSH (UK)#382 - BTS) - In the middle of a battle an enemy fired upon Jackdaw with a bazooka. Merlyn snatched him away through the dimensions just before the missile could connect. While the Captain believed his friend had been killed, in fact the elf had only received minor injuries.
(MSH (UK)#383) Unknown to Captain Britain, who was trying to help fix things in the Crooked World he had ended up in, Arthur, Merlyn and Jackdaw were watching his progress from Otherworld. Arthur agreed that Merlyn's plan was sound, but that there were many variables, and that on this retrograde world the forces of Necromon had their tightest hold.
(MSH (UK)#386 - BTS)- Merlyn ordered Jackdaw back to the Crooked World to assist Captain Britain, but told him not to say where he had been all this time.
(MSH (UK)#387) - When Jackdaw received a fatal injury at the hands of the Fury, he told his friend not to worry - Merlyn would rescue him again and fix him up. Then he died in Captain Britain's arms.
(MSH (UK)#388) - Abandoned on a world gone mad, and with his closest friend dead, Captain Britain stumbled upon the empty grave of Captain U.K., his counterpart in that reality. Breaking down in despair, he pleaded to Merlyn "Why did you send me here? Why have you forgotten about me?" Seconds later the Fury caught up with him and blasted him to ashes.
(Daredevils#1) - On a high tech world in a high tech laboratory two people, whose likenesses had not been seen before, examined the remains of Captain Britain - a rag, a bone, a hank of hair. The woman asked if the man, whom she called father, if he was sure they could succeed. He responded that nothing was certain; if they had been able to snatch him sooner from the dire alternate world he had been on, if that world had not been in the grip of a reality storm that thwarted even his abilities. If. "An empty word".
The woman began to reconstruct the dead hero, transferring his powers from the costume into the man himself. Meanwhile the man attempted to rebuild "his mind, his dreams, his memories,... his soul." Throughout the process they discussed their differing opinions on what had happened and what was to come. The woman felt sorry for the hero they were trying to revive, whereas the man saw what happened as necessary steps in a process, although he seemed to regret that he could not save Jackdaw without endangering their chances of saving the Captain. Each having completed their part in the process, the man forced life into the new body, and sent it screaming through the dimensions. Captain Britain awakened on Darkmoor, believing Merlyn must have rescued him and sent him home. Back in the lab, the woman asked her father, whom she identifies as Merlyn, why he could not have shown himself to the hero, why he couldn't have explained? And Merlyn, shifting forms with every sentence, asked her "Show myself Roma? But which self? This one? Or this? He wouldn't have known me...and in the end, that is for the best." As Merlyn strided off, Roma watched the Captain in the scrying pool, and a tear dropped from her cheek. "Poor thing. Poor, doomed thing."
(Daredevils#2) - Merlyn and Roma continued to watch Captain Britain from Otherworld. Roma stated that their rebuilding of the man was a success, but Merlyn said it was too early to say. They may have rebuilt his body, but as for his mind...? He might be insane.
(Daredevils#9) - As the situation worsened on Earth-616, and the heroes gathered together at Braddock Manor, in Otherworld Merlyn and Roma settled into a bath together, and began a game of chess on a three dimensional board, with pieces that looked like the various heroes and villains back on Earth. Roma chose randomly, won the black side, and the game commenced. One at a time, the moved the forces into play.
(Daredevils#10) - The game continued. Merlyn worried that he might have missed something, and Roma pointed out that even he was not infallible. "Sometimes I think that a strong wind could blow you over..." He responded "Ah yes. But I make the winds." But horrified, Roma spotted something on the board; the Fury had appeared, unbidden, and the board was warping around it. "And that, father?..Did you make that?"
On Earth-616 the Fury attacked Linda McQuillan. Merlyn watched, his face clouded with anger, and when the Fury was about to kill her, he screamed "No!!" and put his hands around her game piece. The Fury fired on her point blank, but she was unharmed. In Otherworld however Merlyn's hands were scorched and blackened.
(Mighty World of Marvel#9) - Roma tended to her father's injuries, and counseled him to abandon the game. He had moved his main piece into the midst of the enemy, leaving his other pieces vulnerable. He was losing. But Merlyn forcibly insisted in playing on. Very swiftly Betsy Braddock and Alison Double were captured, and Tom Lennox was killed, leaving him only three pieces: Captain Britain, Captain U.K. and Saturnyne. He moved Captain Britain into play.
| (MWOM#11) - The battle on Earth-616 was
reaching its climax. Captain Britain had been defeated by Mad Jim
Jaspers, but the Fury had intervened, and was now fighting the reality
warping mutant. Roma demanded her father tell her what was happening,
as the game was disintegrating, and the Multiverse depended on the
game. She shouted at him "Is this the End, father? You've lost, haven't
you? We've all lost!" Merlyn sat with his back to her, seemingly
ignoring her. Enraged, she shoved him on the shoulder, and he keeled
(MWOM#12) - With the battle over, and both the Fury and Jaspers dead, the bruised and battered surviving heroes are stunned when they found themselves suddenly transported to Otherworld, where they were greeted by the sight of Roma standing over Merlyn's coffin.
(MWOM#13) - Roma had gathered many of the "Captain Britain Corps" together for Merlyn's funeral. After the eulogy Roma led the procession, with King Arthur and the Black Knight among the pall bearers, and Captain's U.K. and Britain following behind. They cast his body through the Portal Perilous.
"Let his deserted flesh be set before the Portal Perilous. Then let all that is frail and human go hence from that place, lest their breath and reason be forfeit...when the gates of infinity are flung wide. Go, sovereign of the innumerable spheres. Go, first born of the Devil. Go, my father...to whatever rest awaits you."
(Captain America I#305 - BTS, 306) -
comments) - Modred the Mystic usurped the armor of Captain
Britain, hoping to use it to contact Merlin so he could battle
him. Modred blamed Merlin for having summoned him to Camelot
way back when. Despising what he saw as a corrupt sorcerer, Modred
instead had sought power through the Darkhold,
which ended up corrupting him. It was for this reason that he
wished vengeance on Merlin. However, Modred apparently had never
learned that it was not the true Merlin he had hated back then.
The one who summoned him was actually the imposter, the Mad
Merlin, aka the Maha Yogi, aka Merlin Demonspawn.
Nonetheless, not knowing this, Modred tried to summon Merlin with Captain Britain's suit. When there was no response, Captain Britain convinced him that he himself must be wearing the suit to contact Merlin. With Braddock's solemn vow, Modred returned his suit and genuinely tried to summon Merlyn, to no avail. Furious, Modred went on a rampage, but the two Captains managed to turn his own blasts back on him, incapacitating him.
Only after Modred was defeated did the image of Merlyn appear in the sky, congratulating and thanking them for their service. Merlyn then took Modred to Otherworld, telling the Captains that he planned to attempt to re-educate Modred and hopefully return him to Earth if he were successful.
(Excalibur Special: The Possession) - When Meggan of Excalibur was possessed, Alistaire Stuart of the Weird Happenings Organization remembered that a strange old man called Myrd predicted this occurrence some months back. He led Excalibur to Myrd's castle home, where they encountered ghostly apparitions. Finding Myrd, they pressed him for answers, but he claimed amnesia. With Meggan having escaped their custody, the team traveled to Braddock Manor with Myrd in toe, where Captain Britain consulted the computer to see if he could find out what was happening, but all it managed to tell them was that Myrd's castle was the centre of mystical power surges. It was only at this point that Captain Britain heard Shadowcat call the old man Myrd, and realization hits home as to who he truly was.
Recapturing the possessed Meggan, Myrd examined her, while still claiming he did not remember what his own part in the unfolding events really is. When science failed to provide an answer, Myrd suggested they resort to mystic means and hold a séance. With the old man conducting the process, they were visited by the spirits of Micky Scott, an innocent bystander who was killed during the battle that ensued when Meggan and Captain Britain first met, then by Jackdaw, then Doug Ramsay, before finally the villain of the piece revealed himself: the Changeling. Driving him away, Meggan was released from her ordeal, and Myrd revealed himself to be (as Captain Britain suspected) Merlyn (using his Otherworld saga appearance).
Angrily Captain Britain demanded to know what sort of game the wizard had been playing, and why he had deceived them. He wanted to know why Merlyn had not been there to help after the Jaspers' warp ended. Merlyn responded that he did not feel the hero's anger was as real as he made out, because Captain Britain understood that Merlyn was, as ever, his friend, and because this was, in fact, little more than a test. But he apologized for not being honest with him about surviving, and that there were further trials to come, which Captain Britain, and Excalibur, would be "inherent components" of.
(Excalibur I#47) - In Otherworld Captain Britain was invited by an old man to engage in a game of chess. At first the hero gracefully declined, but when the old man mentioned knowing his father, Britain was intrigued, and settled down to talk. The old man told Captain Britain that Roma was no less of a manipulator than her father had been, having engineered events to cause the formation of Excalibur, and then jinxed Britain to curtail his individuality, so that he would stay with the group. She had inflicted a "blunder factor" on him so that whenever he tried to operate on his own his perceptions would be fogged and his co-ordination dulled. He explained, point by point, how Roma drew the British-based team together. With things beginning to fall into place, the hero grew angry at the thought of being manipulated again, and flew off to confront Roma. As he vanished into the sky, the little old man transformed into a taller, more imposing form, and whispered "O what a tangled web we weave..."
Roma admitted to Captain Britain that she had been manipulating events (hard to deny when she had a chess board in front of her and the pieces on it were Excalibur), but said she was only continuing a gambit her father began before he died. But Captain Britain stated that Merlyn wasn't dead - Excalibur had met him recently. Scanning his memories, Roma witnessed the events surrounding Meggan's possession, but as she and Britain watched them unfold, obvious inconsistencies become clear - the hero remembered things that happened without his presence, and meeting Braddock Manor's housekeeper Emma Collins, who was long since dead by that time. Somehow at the time none of this occurred to him, and Roma declared that whatever happened, it was not truly her father they met in the guise of Myrd. "Merlyn was never so caring, nor so willing to explain his actions". Someone had been toying with Excalibur, proving their ability to play with them without Roma noticing, even though they were under her protection. Captain Britain accepted her account of events, but smashed her chess board, scattering the pieces, angrily proclaiming that he would not be treated as a mindless pawn.
(Excalibur I#49) - Reality warps were engulfing the light house HQ of Earth-616's Excalibur, and the evil mage Necrom, now bonded with the Anti-Phoenix force, was headed there to destroy the team. In the Starlight Citadel, Roma's base on Otherworld, Saturnyne raced to inform her liege of the situation. However Roma was already aware of the situation, but said the forces at work were more powerful than her. Saturnyne asked "Did Merlyn tell you nothing of this power play?" Roma replied "No...he did not confide in me." Then a figure behind them in the shadows, standing at a chess board on which even Roma and Saturnyne are but pawns, revealed himself:
"I told you all I wished you to know" It is Merlyn. The final gambit has begun.
(Excalibur I#50) - Roma angrily demanded to know why her father deceived her, why he didn't trust her. He replied that trust was not the issue - Necrom had to believe Merlyn was dead. Merlyn explained his and Necrom's origins to his daughter and Saturnyne, how Necrom had sought to gain control of the multiverse spanning energy matrix, only for Merlyn to gain control of it while Necrom went into hiding, and how he, Merlyn, established the Corps to patrol the universe searching for his nemesis. Unsatisfied, Roma asked if the deception has been necessary. Her father explained that acting openly to repair the energy matrix would have left him vulnerable to attack from the evil sorcerer. Roma was outraged that Merlyn left others to defend his empire while he hid, but he was unrepentant.
A short time later the combined forces of Excalibur managed to end the threat of Necrom, merging themselves into a gestalt entity in order to kill him. Roma teleported in to explain all that has happened to her bewildered champions. Merlyn joined her, arrogantly stating that the single casualty, Phoenix, was better than he had expected - he had anticipated at least two deaths in the team before Necrom would be killed. He went on to explain how he manipulated his daughter to have her form the team, acclimatizing them to one-dimensional travel through a series of adventures, before returning to apply "a small amount of fine tuning."
Enraged, Captain Britain accused him of being Myrd, whom the team had met when Meggan was possessed. The wizard admitted that it was, the faked possession a fantasy the team played out in the mind of Alistaire Stuart, none of it real, merely a way of preparing their psyches for the merger they just experienced. An outraged Nightcrawler demanded to know who gave Merlyn the right to use them so, and he replied that his power and the threat Necrom posed to the energy matrix gave him that right. Behind him Roma exchanged glances with Meggan and Captain Britain, and the two heroes linked hands. Meggan drew the excess matrix power stored inside Captain Britain into herself, and used it to fire a bolt of energy that destroyed the tower in all its incarnations across the multiverse. Angrily Merlyn told them they had destroyed everything, and that without the tower the energy matrix would fade. When Meggan revealed they knew this and destroyed the tower for that reason the wizard flew into a rage, gathering energy to smite them. But Roma stepped between her father and his targets, and Merlyn calmed slightly. Claiming that Excalibur was not worth the energy it would take to put them out of his misery, he teleported away.
(DWM#265) - As the Time Lord known as the Doctor uses his own body to bridge a circuit on a device originally designed to re-write history, risking his own life to undo the damage it caused, it hurtles forward through time, and a billion Higher Evolutionaries, Merlyn among them, sensed its wake.
(Excalibur I#125) - Merlyn, in
present at the wedding of Brian Braddock and Meggan. Roma
recognized him, and they were both surprised to learn that
neither of them had engineered the dissolution of the group
Excalibur, but rather the members had chosen for themselves.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#1) -
Merlin (or an aspect of him, or even an imposter - see comments) broke
free from his confinement in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supernatural storage
facility known as the Warehouse.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#2) -
Merlin arrived at Stonehenge, and began to use his magic to transform
the surrounding area into a mystic fantasy-like land. He then had his
new minions (centaurs, trolls, etc.) carry him on a throne through an
Howling Commandos#3) - While Merlin and his right-hand man Telesti of
the Folk made their plans to transform the entire world into such a
place, the Howling Commando members Lilith and Nina Price infiltrated
their ranks. Damien
Hellstorm arrived as a representative of the Lords of the Living
Lightning to arrange an alliance with Merlin.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#4) -
Merlin's forces stormed the base of the Lords of the Living Lightning
and forced them into his service. He then turned his attention to
Lilith and revealed he knew of her true allegiances. To prove herself,
she turned over her teammate Nina, and Merlin had the half-vampire
bound to await the morning sun. Now aware of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Area 13
base, Merlin created a portal through which many of his followers
stormed the Commandos.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#5) - As
his forces battled the Commandos, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents jumped
through the portal, landing in England. Meanwhile, Merlin and his
followers continued their path.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#6) -
After bedding Merlin, Lilith tried to kill him, but Merlin incinerated
her instead. Outside, the Commandos launched an assault on his forces.
Merlin shifted through Lilith's ashes to see the future, and when he
saw he couldn't win this battle, he retreated, the area turning back to
normal. Merlin then invaded a meeting room of the Lords of Living
Comments: Adapted by Stan Lee
Merlyn persona conceived by Alan Moore, I think.
Interestingly, in Spider-Woman I#41, Morgan claims it was Merlin who imprisoned Chthon in Wundagore Mountain. Everywhere else it says that Morgan herself did it. Using the No-Prize/Spot Weld policy, Merlin sensed the danger that Chthon posed and added his power to her own to prevent him from gaining dominion over the Earthly plane. That actually makes a lot of sense, as Chthon is so powerful that it would seem unlikely that Morgan could stop him by herself. In addition, Merlin and the Black Knight left Camelot to oppose Morgan at some period in time, during which time the Maha Yogi/Mad Merlin impersonated Merlin. No further information is given on the circumstances under which they went after Morgan, so perhaps it was because she got Merlin's attention by nearly summoning Chthon.
Maybe appearances, or Which Merlin is it this time?
Merlin's origins in Arthurian Legend
A full discussion of Camelot and the legend of King Arthur, is way beyond the scope of this already long profile, and also way beyond my knowledge (we'll probably discuss Arthur out the ying-yang when we do his profile). There are a couple of nice discussion of it in Marvel Preview, by Bill Mantlo, Marie Severin, and Steven Grant. Based on my readings (and my puny understanding), there are a few things of worthy note:
Camelot should be around the 6th Century AD (some
sources list Arthur (if he existed) as having been born in 475
AD, and dying in 520 AD). At this time on the real world,
following the fall of the Roman Empire, society was wild and
barbaric. Constant wars left little for literacy, Feudalism was
the main economic structure, and starvation, ignorance, and
disease were harsh realities. Chivalry was a trait of a much
later era, and there was also not the sophisticated armor seen in
the movies, etc. depicting this era. So, that's what it would
have been closer to in reality. What was the case in the Marvel
Universe? It's hard to say. With the existence of prior
civilizations (Hyborian, pre-Cataclysmic, and even their
predecessors) and races on Earth-616, Camelot could easily have
been the more advanced world that is usually depicted.
What I have a problem with is the frequent errors in the time of Camelot. Modred the Mystic's story, tied directly into Camelot, was supposed to have occurred @ the 10th Century? In a recent Iron Man story, a magical sword was lodged in a stone for the future king of England to pull out. That foreshadowed the story of King Arthur, I think, but again, this was taking place @ 1000 AD, nearly 500 years after the closest approximation to the possible existence of Arthur.
According to the entries in the OHotMU on Merlin, Morgan, the Interloper, the Black Knight, and probably a few others, the time of Camelot in the Marvel Universe was the 6th Century. All references to the contrary are erroneous and should be treated as such.
Taken from Marie
Severin's discussion: The earliest possible reference to
Merlin in historical references discuss meetings of Arthur and
the Welsh Saint Cadoc. An early poem by Robert de Borror simply
lift the legend of St. Cadoc and replaces it with the alchemical
mage who later became Arthur's tutor and mentor through the works
of Alfred Lord Tennyson and T. H. White. The character of Merlin
only became an established part of the Arthurian myth with the
publication of T.H. White's The Once and Future King in
1939. In an early History of the Kings of Britain (1136)
by Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur's advisor is one Ambrosius.
Geoffrey later wrote the Life of Merlin (1145).
The name Merlin was possibly derived by Geoffrey and others from Myrrdin, as seen here: a wild man of the woods who had lost his reason in battle and subsequently lived in the forest of Calidon or Celyddon. Another character, Lailoken, has also been credited as the original source of the wild man legend of Myrrdin.
According to the OHotMU entry on Merlin, modern historians believe that Stonehenge was erected at its present location long before even Arthur's time.
Merlin's origins on Earth-616
I don't know.
Merlin's origins are shrouded in the mists of time and mythology, and further confused by the myriad of chroniclers through the centuries who have added their own spins to the stories of King Arthur and his Knights, with whom he is inextricably linked. Legend has it that he is the child of a mortal woman and a demon (sometimes the Devil himself, making him the original Son of Satan! ). Some say he ages backwards, others that he raised Stonehenge. If the Merlyn who employed and manipulated Captain Britain is indeed the historical Merlin, then it is likely that much of this is false, and equally likely he encouraged or even made up most of these stories, just to obfuscate things. Excalibur I#48, somebody makes a reference to the first Feron having survived the Great Cataclysm, indicating that he came to Earth before 20,000 BC. That might indicate that this was also when Merlyn first came to Earth. If we take the stories of his childhood in Wales as accurate, then he would have had to time travel back to do so (but then, since history places this childhood c. A.D.600, and we know Merlin opposed Melanicus around A.D.300, this has to be the case as his entry currently stands). Alternatively, we have to re-arrange some of the entries in his history as we have it, to place his training with Feron before his time in Wales, and assume that he either took on the form of an infant to create his childhood history in the 6th century, or just plain lied about it.--Loki
UK Hulk Comics, featuring the excellent Otherworld saga (why the
H' don't they reprint that one? In color, even better!), it
seemed perfectly clear to me that Merlin of Camelot and Merlyn of
Otherworld were two separate characters, with the Otherworld
version just being a poser. Then you read the Otherworld saga,
and they tie the characters in to Camelot, including Mordred and
Arthur, and Camelot itself is now in Otherworld.
Things that make you go hmmmm...
Olshevsky placed the Black Knight's (Whitman) Hulk Comic appearances after his return from the past in Avengers I#226 (December, 1982) in the Avengers Index.
Ok, first off for this discussion, you have to have the whole Merlin imposter/Maha Yogi/Merlin Demonspawn thing figured out. If not, go read that one first.
Loki adds something to the Merlin vs.
debate: Merlin's second form in the top panel of this profile
Demonspawn. It must be a joke on Merlyn's part, though, as the Official
Handbook Master Edition Entry for Merlin explicitly stated
that the Maha Yogi is a different entity from Merlyn. Then again remember that Moore implied that he was both Arthur's teacher *and* the villainous 'Mad Merlin.' In the case of the Sersi encounter, when she helped show up Merlin as a fraud, either Merlyn has been putting a lot of effort into maintaining the "Merlin Demonspawn" persona, given that guy's other appearances, or we take things at face value and say that whoever encountered Sersi was an impostor, not the real Merlin. The latter is a lot simpler. The fifth form in the same line-up is the Doctor's Merlin, and that should be a future incarnation of the Time Lord himself - so Merlyn must be happy to impersonate others when the occasion arises.
Next, one option is to assume that the two are
and Merlyn is a poser fooling everyone, and/or the whole
Otherworld saga was also a big scam engineered by him.
That COULD be the case, and that's definitely the easy way. If that is the case, than maybe Merlyn killed Merlin, or Merlin is still a prisoner of the trap set by Nimue/Vivienne. All appearances taking place in the modern era pretty much have to be Merlyn, unless Albion actually is the true reincarnation of Merlin.
How do the histories of Merlyn and Merlin fit
While I'm sure there are lots of ways to do this, I'm going with all of the Camelot/Merlin adventures as coming first. Merlyn refers to himself as a spaceborn traveller, journeying throughout galaxies, etc., but he doesn't say that he did any of that before his time in Camelot. He says he would return to his star-home, which is most likely the Starlight Citadel, in Otherworld.
Merlin/Merlyn is a hybrid human/Otherworlder,
scion of one of the faerie folk, just like Morgan.
This fits nicely with him being called the son of a demon, as superstitious people might have seen the alien/faerie/whatever and assumed it to be a demon. This also fits just fine with him referring to "his" or "our" race to Roma. He considers himself part of his father's race, moreso than the humans, whom he sees as peons. He could also be fully a native of Otherworld, having been magically implanted--just like with a surrogate mother having a fertilized ovum implanted--within a human woman. That would make his lineage with Conaan still true.
Even if you want to believe that he was a traveler through time and space BEFORE his time in Camelot, he could still be partially or fully a native of Otherworld, and could have reformed himself into a fetus to be reborn as Merlin.
What's the deal with that stuff from the Namor#62 flashback?
(Namor I#62 (possibly a flashback, possibly a dream/delusion--see comments)) - On the island of Avalon, one of the surviving fragments of ancient, pre-Cataclysmic Atlantis, sacred flames prophesized a coming catastrophe. The ancient priest of the sun, too feeble to make the journey, sent his young apprentice Myraddin to take his secret scrolls, his sacred symbols, and the ancient priest's daughter--Igraine--and flee Avalon. They took with them the young Morgan, daughter of Igraine, and sailed from Tingail just as Avalon was consumed in the explosion of an immense volcano.
Upon arriving on the isle of Britain, Myraddin changed his name to Merlin and established his druid worship at Stonehenge. Merlin arranged for Igraine to marry the brutish Gorlois, Duke of the Tin Islands, who adopted young Morgan. Shortly thereafter, however, Gorlois was slain by Uther Pendragon, who took Igraine as his wife, and through her sired a son, Arthur.
Meanwhile, as Morgan grew into a young woman, she followed Merlin to Aran Island and became his apprentice.
I have NO idea. Some of it seems to be based on real world myth, but it doesn't jibe completely with the other origins of Merlin. The story was told by a vision that was supposed to be Kamuu, the last emperor of Atlantis at the time of the Great Cataclysm. Actually, Namor was just beaten into unconscious and was recovering while he had that vision. So it might just have been a dream, rather than a real flashback.
However, assuming it were supposed to be true: How does it fit?
-The dates given seem off, as the story starts 8000 years after the Great Cataclysm. The Cataclysm occurred 18000 BC, which would put their time as 10000 BC (during the Hyborian era), which is nearly 10500 years before Merlin was hanging around Camelot.
Maybe they were referring to another Cataclysm, such as the post-Hyborian one which occurred @ 9500 - 8000 BC. That would put the start of the story closer to the AD side of the calendar, which makes more sense.
Maybe the Avalon they were referring to was actually a chunk of Atlantis that got pulled into Otherworld, or close enough to it that time moved at a different pace?
Maybe the whole deal took place in Otherworld.
-As far as the differences between the history of Gorlois, Igraine, Uther, etc.? I have NO idea, period. I don't know enough about Arthurian Legend to even comment on that. I'd take the Marvel Universe version over the version from Namor's dream.
Another possibility. In the Chaos Engine trilogy, it was made clear that Roma is actually a composite being composed of all of her divergent selves throughout the multiverse. It would make sense that this is true of Merlyn as well, and that this story would be the history of an alternate dimensional counterpart. It makes senses to me that Merlin is the pre-Otherworld version, while Merlyn is the composite being of all Merlins, etc, throughout reality.
That makes sense to me - which also means Merlyn might well be (or more accurately "include") the Doctor Merlin and the Maha Yogi - they could be "components" of him.
Loki's suggestion as to how this vision stuff might have come about - On the Namor flashback, here's a possibility about it (it's a stretch, but it fits the known facts): Merlyn has dealt with Necrom (Excalibur, c.May 1992 real world time). Next up - Kang the Conqueror, whose tripping all over time creating alternate realities and versions of himself throughout history is causing havoc with the multiverse, and who has his eyes on the throne of Otherworld anyway.
Step One - recount your origin to Roma and Saturnyne (your own daughter doesn't know where you came from - mmm, not a very inquisitive child then). But perhaps this is for Saturnyne's benefit, and you don't expect it to be kept a secret - and you specifically tell her that most of your power comes from the energy matrix. How much of what you say is true is anyone's guess. Roma is quick enough on the uptake to play along - she is your daughter after all.
Step Two - make an unbelievable error in judgment and have Excalibur destroy "the source of most of your power". Oh dear, Brer Kang, right now I am really vulnerable to being thrown into that there Briar Patch!
Step Three - time for some more obfuscation. Kang isn't above going back and taking out his enemies as children, if the adult versions are too dangerous, so let's plant some new, conflicting tales for him to consider. Kang keeps tabs on a lot of 20th century heroes, so I plant a conflicting story that the Merlin of Camelot is stuck in a tomb somewhere (Iron Man) and arrange for Namor to hear a totally misleading story placing me as coming from Atlantis (c. 1995 in the real world, when my plan against Kang is well underway, and he is gunning for me) - that'll keep Kang guessing.
Step Four - I meet my daughter at the wedding of Meggan and CB and confirm "Oh no, I had nothing to do with the break-up of Excalibur, and of course Captain Britain has lost all his powers, so Otherworld is doubly vulnerable now (hint, hint)"
Step Five - sit back and see what Kang does next, while plotting my next move. Let him think that Otherworld is still weakened by having a new, inexperienced monarch, and having most of the Corps dead. I always have something more up my sleeve....
When does the Marvel Preview story take place?
My guess is that the story was not initially supposed to be canon, but rather just a tale of Arthurian Legend. However, there's nothing that rules it out either. The Black Knight is the only noticeable absence (he isn't even mentioned), so I put it before the creation of the Black Knight identity. However, it could just as easily be a time when the Knight were away, making it occur later in his chronology.
When does Merlin get imprisoned by Nimue?
In the OHotMU, Mark Gruenwald and/or Peter Sanderson discuss the fact that most accounts place his falling in love with Nimue as occurring shortly after the marriage of Arthur and Guinevere. However, Merlin is known to have lived in Camelot after Mordred became an adult.
In Iron Man#150, Merlin's imprisonment by Nimue is discussed as occurring AFTER Morgan's imprisonment, which was during the final year of Arthur's rule. That explanation makes the most sense. Merlin's imprisoned state may have only allowed him release a weakened form of astral self, such as when it appeared as if his ghost cast the spell allowing Sir Percy, the Black Knight, to return whenever Mordred did. His absence/weakness in that last year could have contributed to the fall of Camelot. This possibility is discussed to explain the Black Knight story from Marvel Super-Heroes II#17.
Alternatively, they propose that perhaps he was imprisoned at that early time, but managed to escape, or that the imprisonment took place AFTER the fall of Camelot.
Yep. Could be. But I prefer it having occurred during the last year of Camelot. Perhaps he fell in love with Vivienne earlier, but wasn't imprisoned by her until later?
What's the transition from Merlin to Merlyn?
Again, lots of explanations, but how about this: Trapped in Nimue's cave for centuries, Merlin rethought his goals and plans, and decided to expand beyond limiting himself to one nation, or one planet, or one dimension, or even one timeline. He returned to Otherworld, where he trained alongside Feron under Necrom, evolving in power and motivation to become the being known as Merlyn. From that point, he could travel back in time to do whatever he wanted.
Alternatively, if you want to place Merlyn's existence prior to Camelot, then he could have become Merlin of Camelot as previously discussed, and then just abandoned the role after the fall of Camelot.
What about Albion?
I think the Pendragon's are more like echoes than reincarnations. They receive some of the magical energy from the original inhabitants of Camelot.
Alternatively, Merlyn could just divvy out some portion of his energies (along with memories) to Hunter/Albion.
Or, since he's a time traveler, he could actually be possessing Hunter/Albion.
Take your pick!
Let me know what else I missed!
As shown in Dazzler#3, Merlin
number of gems that centuries later Doctor Doom would come to
covet. Although they were first mentioned in FF I#5, Marvel
Comics Presents#62/3 retcons them to have been owned by Red Lucy
Keough prior to this time. Ben Peberdy, our own Spaceknight
points out that as well as being seen in FF I#5, these
stones also turned up in What If? II#27, where (as Zerostar
informs us) "Namor used them to defeat a Doombot who had
captured Sue Storm, which started the Doom/Namor rivalry in that
These same Merlin Stones showed up in Dazzler I#3 and 4.
What's in a name?
Merlin / Merlyn. The first time
was spelt with a "y" was during the Otherworld saga (where
they also spelt magic with a "k"). As soon as Alan
Moore took over he reverted to the more traditional spelling, and
the "y" wasn't used regularly again until his return in
Excalibur. It's now generally accepted that the "y"
spelling is used for the manipulative version, and the "i"
when it refers to the Camelot version.
--So, regardless of whether they're the same being or not, we've made every effort to refer to the Otherworld version as Merlyn and to the one present in Camelot as Merlin.
Mordred/Modred. Throughout the duration of the Otherworld saga the evil Walker and magician has his name spelt Modred. He is identified in HC#41as being the magician who empowered Black Knight foe le Sabre, but his name is officially spelled Mordred (as in Mordred the Evil) by the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. To avoid confusion with Modred the Mystic, also a foe of Merlin's, I've spelt his name Mordred (MORDRED) throughout this profile, even though that doesn't tally with the spelling in the story.
Merlyn is alleged to age backwards according to many versions of the tales. Some versions suggest he was born an old man, and is getting younger (Version One), others take it he was born in the future and is just heading down time in the opposite direction from the rest of us (Version Two)
T.H. White's Sword in the Stone makes use of Version Two (as witnessed in the Disney cartoon), effectively giving him a bizarre form of precognition - he knows the future, but not the past.
Peter (Hulk, Aquaman, Young Justice) David also makes use of Version One in his novel Knight Life and it's sequel One Knight Only - Merlin escapes the prison which has held him for centuries when he gets so young that he can slip through the bars. It was also used in Comico's Elemnentals series, where he had become a youth by the 20th century (going under Ambrose - his full name in that version being Merlin Ambrose).
In What If II#35,
makes a reference to Merlin living backwards. He says
"Merlin, wizardly advisor to the legendary King Arthur, who
lived backward...(sidewise, as well, if one accepts the word of
all those who have claimed the
Greg O notes that the backwards aging mentioned may be an attempt to explain Merlyn's being identified as being from the wrong time period. I'm not sure if that means the times the Camelot is described as being @ 1000 AD (which happens a lot), or something else altogether.
Merlyn the Manipulator
During the Otherworld saga it is interesting to note that Merlyn takes days letting Captain Britain heal, then suddenly decides that things have gotten urgent, and heals him with but a touch. Why didn't he do this earlier? Is it because it would drain him of vital energy to do so? Nope, because once he has done this he too is renewed with new energy. What's he been playing at? While there is no doubt the threat they face from Necromon is real, you begin to wonder if Merlyn has had it all under control from the start, and has just been hiding a lot of his cards until he felt it was time to stop messing around. More flipping testing of his champions!
"Merlyn was never so caring, nor so willing to explain his actions" And yet at the end of Excalibur#50 he turns into exposition-dude, happily explaining to Excalibur how he played with their lives for months. Then Roma informs Meggan and Captain Britain how they may thwart his final goal, and they destroy the interdimensional tower. Meggan states "You implanted us with the knowledge needed to protect your private power source. That same knowledge showed us how to destroy it." Oops, that was careless of Merlyn, wasn't it? A guy who has planned for centuries for this point, who has demonstrated he is a masterful manipulator of men who gets people to do things by pushing their buttons, gives Excalibur the know-how to thwart him, then unthinkingly says just the right things to get them angry enough to act, at the exact (and singular) time when Captain Britain is charged with enough energy to allow Meggan to blow the tower to smithereens. Anyone else smell a rat? If he'd just kept his mouth shut and stayed out of Roma and the team's way for a little while longer, then the energy which had built up within Captain Britain would have discharged, and the heroes wouldn't have had a hope of doing any damage to the tower. Necrom would still have been killed whether Merlyn had revealed his survival or not. I reckon it was just one more ploy on his part, down to getting Roma to unwittingly play the "good cop" to his bad. For that matter what are the odds that Merlyn has never once, in all his years, explained to Roma where he comes from? Yet at the start of the issue he tells Roma his origin. Was this really done for the benefit of Saturnyne, the only other witness? Perhaps the energy matrix was seen by Merlyn to be too powerful to leave around for someone else to try and control it the way Necrom had tried? The final panel of the issue, where Captain Britain states "The manipulation's over. We're nobody's pawns now" as the group walks over a chess-like set of paving stones serves to reinforce this idea of manipulation. The game isn't over.
Now why would Merlyn do this? Here's a
possibility. We've seen time and again that Merlyn is a forward
planner. Even before Necrom is defeated, he's setting up for the
next fight, against Jaspers. Before Jaspers is out the way, he
has set things in motion for the creation of Excalibur (plans
which Roma carries out for him) in preparation for Necrom. In the
Excalibur mini-series the Mastermind computer takes over
Otherworld, having been re-programmed by Kang the Conqueror.
Merlyn is noticeable by his absence - it's Roma who is in charge
when Otherworld is conquered. Was the whole tower thing and
apparent falling out with his daughter (the start of which was so
well staged in front of the untrustworthy Saturnyne) all for
Kang's benefit? Sort of "oops Kang, I've just lost my major
power source. Oh dear, I've had an argument with Roma and stormed
off, so I won't be here should you try anything....", etc.
Who is the Merlin in Howling
Well, we're not sure just yet. It's
obviously not Merlin as a whole. Or if it is, he's doing this to
manipulate others and what he did wasn't his true goal. It may be an
imposter, or even some "evil" aspect of Merlin that he lets run around
doing this sort of thing.
Additional Comments by Loki
The flashback to Merlin levitating for the court of Camelot in Captain Britain Vol.1#34/35 I'd place towards the end of his time in Camelot, as the version of King Arthur shown is extremely portly, suggesting an older man, one who hasn't had to worry about battles for a while. This isn't Merlin showing his powers to gain his position in court, this is Merlin acting as entertainment for the sake of a bunch of bored knights at a banquet. Hence it has been positioned in the period of peace that occurred at Camelot just prior to things coming apart because of the troubles that arose in the final year of Arthur's rule.
Captain America story chronology: Modred the Mystic took on Captain's Britain and America in CA I#305 and#306 in May 1985 (the first American title to show Captain Britain's new costume which had debuted in Marvel Superheroes in the UK back in September 1981.) At the end of this story, as mentioned above Merlyn is summoned in a spiritual form to collect the villain. But by this point Merlyn has been long dead in the U.K. titles, and Captain Britain knows this - why would he try and summon him?
Excalibur#50 established it had been five years for Roma between Merlyn's funeral and his return. In the real world Merlyn's funeral began in the May 1984 issue of Mighty World of Marvel, and Merlyn returned in Excalibur#49 in April of 1992, almost eight years. With the sliding time scale that runs through Marvel (and most other comics) even five years seems overlong, but it is possible the five years is what Roma has experienced, not the people of Earth-616. There is no reason to believe that time flows at the same rate between Otherworld and the 616 dimension.
Captain Britain's Merlyn (and Roma)
be non-human, having pointed ears. He tells Roma that Necrom and
the original Feron are other members of his race (but
interestingly not "our" race), but doesn't say which
race. At his funeral Roma calls him "first born of the devil",
but whether this is meant as an accurate descriptive term, or
merely an appellation someone gave to him, is unclear. Since in
Excalibur I#50 he has to tell her about his origins it seems
unlikely she really knew his heritage back at his funeral.
--I'm sticking with my Otherworld/Faerie Folk idea--Snood.
In response to Snood's comment: I like the suggestion that Merlyn is a hybrid human / Otherworlder - especially as this is also true for the Braddocks - Merlyn knowing the genetic potential inherent in such a mix because of his own background. Traditionally the Faerie folk (e.g. natives of Otherworld?) were shapeshifters, and known for switching human babes for their own offspring, so this would likewise fit. Perhaps his father might even have been the Fey ruler of Otherworld - this would fit with the title "first born of the Devil" (historically speaking, the Fey folk aren't believed to be too polite about their devious leaders) and with him being ruler of Otherworld. - Loki
Placing the Merlyn's appearances alongside the Doctor in the context of his other adventures: Arthur is with him, so unless we decide it's a different version of Arthur, it has to be after the Otherworld saga. But it should be before Merlyn's apparent death, as Arthur is one of the pall-bearers, and unless Merlyn let Arthur in on the ruse (seems unlikely, since he didn't even tell his own daughter) then it had to be prior to the funeral. It seems unlikely that Merlyn would have time to slope off to another reality while the Jaspers stuff was happening, as that required close monitoring. Fortunately publication dates fit nicely for fixing when things happened. The version of Merlyn who appears alongside the Doctor makes his first appearance in#60 of DWM in January 1982. This neatly places it after Captain Britain is sent to Earth-238 (he arrives there in the September 1981 issue of Marvel Super-Heroes), where Arthur and Merlyn have the exchange: "They have a destiny to fulfill elsewhere."; "Aye, perhaps even more important than ours!" This destiny that Merlyn and Arthur have to fulfill could easily describe their defence of the Dragon in the Neutron Knight story. Indeed, since Arthur doesn't seem to have any part to play in the fight against Jaspers, it would be difficult to see what other destiny he might be talking about.
Also, in the Excalibur II four
series, the Sword of Might was "revealed" to be
Excalibur itself. That doesn't fit with the description of it
being the corrupt item, or the wrong choice.
Historically, you can get an excellent background for Merlin from http://www.britannia.com/history/biographies/merlin.html. Also worth checking out is Camelot in Four Colors, which charts all the Arthurian characters and their appearances in comics - http://camelot4colors.tripod.com/retell.htm
The Watcher also
identifies Merlin as a nexus being, one of the "rare
individual entities with the power to affect probabilities-and
thus the future".
Other nexus beings: Sise-Neg, Kang the Conqueror, Leonard Tippit, the Scarlet Witch, Franklin Richards, Vision, Jean Grey/Phoenix, and Odin (those last four from alternate Earths). Eleyn was another nexus being from the Dan Abnett Scarlet Witch mini-series.
A future version of Merlin is seen in the alternate/potential future of Earth-Young-Arthur, @ 2093.
by Loki, Snood, and Prime Eternal
Merlin and Merlyn are discussed in the comments, they (or he) should be differentiated from
Lady of the Lake (Niamh/Nimue)
Vortigern, the former king of England,
quite likely the same person, just not confirmed as:
Vortigen, aka the Walker, one of the Proud Walkers, @ Hulk Comic#6
Merlin of "reality-6120"
In this reality, Merlin was slain in the assault of the Makluans posing as dragons, and Arthur and the rest of the Round Table perished. Percy took up the sword Excalibur in addition to the Ebony Blade, and the Lady of the Lake sent Percy forward in time to bring the heroes of Excalibur (Captain Britain, Dazzler (Alison Blaire), Juggernaut, Nocturne (TJ Wagner), Sage, Pete Wisdom) and the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) back to a time before the assault. They saved Merlin and Camelot, diverging this alternate reality.
Note: Only the point of divergence was glimpsed. The two knights (Percy and Whitman) were not present when Merlin of reality-6120 fell before the dragons.
Tales of Suspense I#27, story 5, page 5, panels 9-12
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#3, page 13, panel 5 (w/ Telesti)
Black Knight Comics#2 (July, 1955) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Joe Maneely (artist)
Black Knight Comics#3 (September, 1955) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Joe Maneely (artist)
Strange Tales I#71 (October, 1959) - Steve Ditko (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Tales of Suspense I#27 (March, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Strange Tales I#108 (May, 1963) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Marvel Super-Heroes II#17 (November, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), Howard Purcell (pencils), Dan Adkins and others (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Defenders I#11 (December, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Frank Bolle (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Chillers#1 (October, 1975) - Bill Mantlo (writers), Yong Montano (artist), Len Wein (editor)
Captain Britian I#1-2 (October 13th-20th, 1976) - Chris Claremont (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Fred Kida (inks), Larry Lieber (editor)
Captain Britain I#33-37 (1977) - Gary Friedrich & Larry Lieber (writers), Ron Wilson (pencils), Bob Budiansky, Fred Kida (#33-34, 36) & Tom Palmer (#35) (inks), Larry Lieber (editor)
Captain Britain I#37 (1977) - Larry Lieber, Bob Budiansky & Len Wein (writers), Ron Wilson (pencils), Pablo Marcos (inks), Larry Lieber (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#210 (April, 1977) - Len Wein (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks)
Marvel Preview#22 (Summer 1980) - Doug Moench & John Buscema (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer & John Tartaglione (inks), Lynn Graeme & Ralph Macchio (editors)
Dazzler#3 (May, 1981) - Tom DeFalco (writer), John Romita Jr. & Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Danny Bulanadi & Armando Gil (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
Iron Man I#150 (September, 1981) - Bob Layton & David Michelinie (writers), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Bob Layton (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Spider-Woman I#41 (December, 1981) - Chris Claremont (writer), Steve Leialoha (pencils), Bob Wiacek (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Marvel Super-Heroes#382-383 (UK) (February-March, 1982) - Dave Thorpe (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Bernie Jaye (editor)
Marvel Super-Heroes#386 (UK) (1982) - Dave Thorpe (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Bernie Jaye (editor)
Marvel Super-Heroes#387-388 (UK) (1982) - Alan Davis (#387) & Alan Moore (writers), Alan Davis (artist), Bernie Jaye (editor)
Dr. Who Monthly#60 (January, 1982)
Dr. Who Monthly#62-63 (March-April, 1982)
Dr. Who Monthly#65-67 (June-August, 1982)
Daredevils#1-2 (1982) - Alan Moore (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Bernie Jaye (editor)
Daredevils#9-10 (September-November, 1983) - Alan Moore (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Bernie Jaye (editor)
Mighty World of Marvel#9 (February, 1984) - Alan Moore (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Tim Hampson (editor)
Mighty World of Marvel#11-13 (April-June, 1984) - Alan Moore (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Tim Hampson (editor)
Captain America I#305-306 (May-June, 1985) - Michael Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain Britain II#7 (July, 1985) - Jamie Delano (writer), Alan Davis (artist), Ian Rimmer (editor)
Defenders I#152 (February, 1986) - Peter Gillis (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Dell Barras (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8 (July, 1986)
Iron Man I#209 (August, 1986) - Dennis Mallonee (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Ian Akin & Brian Garvey (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#16 (June, 1987)
Dr. Strange III#11 (December, 1989) - Roy Thomas & Jean-Marc Lofficier (writers), David & Dan Day (artists), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Black Knight I#1 (June, 1990) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Tony DeZuniga (artist), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Spider-Man Battles the Myth Monster#1 (1991) - Danny Fingeroth (writer), Jose Delbo (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks)
Avengers Annual#20 (1991) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Jeff Moore (pencils), Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Excalibur Special: The Possession (July, 1991) - Michael Higgins (writer), Tom Morgan (artist), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#47 (February, 1992) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Thor Annual#17 (1992) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Rich Yanizeski (pencils), Fred Fredricks (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers Annual#22 (1993) - Roy Thomas & Jean-Marc Lofficier (writers), Al Milgrom (pencils), Mark Steckbauer (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Namor I#62 (May, 1995) - Glenn Herdling (writer), Geof Isherwood (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Excalibur I#49-50 (April-May, 1992) - Alan Davis (writer/pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Iron Man II#11 (September, 1997) - Jim Lee (co-plotter), Jeph Loeb (co-plotter/script), While Portacio & Terry Shoemaker (pencils), Jo & Homage Studios (inks), Ruben Diaz (editor)
Dr. Who Monthly#265 (June, 1998)
X-Men and Spider-Man: Time's Arrow: Book 1: The Past (July, 1998) - Tom DeFalco & Jason Henderson (writers)
Excalibur I#125 (October, 1998) - Ben Raab (writer), Dale Eaglesham (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Frank Pittarese (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#1 (December, 2005) - Keith Giffen (writer), Eduardo Francisco (penciler), Terry Pallot & Kris Justice (inkers), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#2 (January, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Eduardo Francisco (penciler), Rob Campaella (inker), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#3 (February, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Dan Norton (penicler), Terry Pallot (inker), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#4 (March, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Derec Aucoin (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#5 (April, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Derec Donovan (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#6 (May, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Mike Norton (penciler), Derec Aucoin & Norman Lee (inkers), Mark Paniccia (editor)
New Excalibur#11-12 (November-December 2006) "The Last Days of Camelot" - by Frank Tieri (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Rick Ketcham (inker), Mike Marts (editor)
Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1 (September 2007) - Roy Thomas (writer), Tom Grummet (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor)
(Ian McNee story) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist)
Thor: Heaven & Earth#4 (November, 2011) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Lan Medina (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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