MONKS of the HIDDEN TEMPLE
Membership: Giant One, Guardians of the Hidden Temple, High Priest
Purpose: Worship of an unspecified religion (presumably Buddhism)
Affiliations: Very loose affiliation
with Dr. Strange and Spider-Man;
Sha Shan (daughter of the High Priest)
Enemies: Brother Power, Man-Beast/Hate-Monger
formerly "Flash" Thompson and Spider-Man
Base of Operations: Two separate temples
in Vietnam (see comments);
It's location was uncharted on any known maps and virtually unknown even to the natives of the region.
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man I#108 (May, 1972)
History: The Monks of the Hidden Temple worshipped in seclusion for an undisclosed period of time.
(Amazing Spider-Man I#108 + 109 (fbs)) - While
involved in a US military action in Southeast Asia, wounded
soldier Eugene "Flash" Thompson stumbled across the
Hidden Temple. The monks there took him in and cared for him,
sharing with him their belief in peace. Flash was very impressed
with the selflessness of the monks, their High Priest, and the
High Priest's daughter (Sha Shan). After recovering, the Priests
sent him back to rejoin his platoon, but upon returning, he
learned that the troops were to start shelling Sector B, the area
where the Hidden Temple was located. Flash was unable to convince
his superiors to abort the shelling, so he ran back to warn the
Monks. However, the philosophical High Priest did not believe
Flash, either. The shelling soon began, Flash was knocked
unconscious, and the Temple was destroyed.
The High Priest was seemingly killed in the shelling, but he used the wisdom of the ancients to protectively entrance himself, sending out a call for a mystic master to break the trance when it was safe to do so. Sha Shan helped Flash return to his camp, and when she returned to the former Temple, she found her father's body in its trance state. However, many of the locals came to believe that Flash had deliberately set the Temple up as a target, and that the Priest could only be awakened by Flash's death . Flash returned to the US after his tour of duty, but a death squad had put a price on his head, and military intelligence had to assign a team to protect him from assassination.
(Amazing Spider-Man I#108) - In the US, a group of the Monks attacked the guards trying to protect Flash, but Spider-Man saved Flash, learning the back history in the process. Spider-Man returned Flash to military custody in a federal building. The Monks then set off a diversionary bomb in that building, allowing them to abduct Flash and take him to their local temple, despite the efforts of Spidey.
(Amazing Spider-Man I#109) - The Monks planned to sacrifice Flash at the appointed Holy Hour, but Dr. Strange, who had sensed the call of the High Priest, contacted Spider-Man and brought him to the local temple. They arrived at the moment of the Holy Hour, and Spider-Man stopped the Giant One from killing Flash. Dr. Strange awakened the High Priest from his trance, and he absolved Flash of all blame.
(Spectacular Spider-Man II#13 (fb)) - In a new Temple, back in their country, the High Priest detected the presence of the Man-Beast who had arrived on Earth. The Priest knew that the Man-Beast had chosen a mortal as his emissary of hate, and that this emissary--Achmed Korba, aka Brother Power--would be coming to them, because his power would only work when coupled with one of purity and innocence. The High Priest instructed Sha Shan to become that one, partnering with him to preserve the holy balance. Sha Shan was reluctant to follow her father's instructions, but he then revealed that he did not have long to live, and that she would succeed him as the Guardian of the Light.
COMMENTS: Created by Stan "The Man" Lee and "Jazzy" John Romita, Sr.
Spidey tangled with the
Giant One on a few occasions, but never achieved a conclusive
victory. The Giant One may have had superhuman strength, or it
may have just been Spidey's reluctance to use his full strength
against a normal person.
BTW, that always strikes me as being way overdone. Take the Kingpin--peak human strength is 800 pounds, while Spidey can lift 10 tons, 20,000 pounds. That's 25 times the strength. Do you think it's reasonable that even if one were holding back, that a fully grown man might ever have a tough time stopping a toddler? But I guess the story wouldn't be as good if Spidey would drop him with a single punch every time...
In addition, Peter was prepared to go after the Monks when they successfully abducted Flash from the federal building, but Gwen called him a coward because he always seemed to be running away, and so he let them get away.
Sha Shan should still be the Guardian of the Light, or the High Priest of the Hidden Temple.
The Vietnam "War" in the Marvel Universe
The discussion of events in
the real world are often topical, meaning that their exact time
period cannot be fit into Marvel's sliding timescale, which keeps
moving further forward. The history of Sha Shan, the Monks of the
Hidden Temple, and even Flash Thompson were originally tied into
the Vietnam war/conflict. However, they certainly cannot have
been involved in that conflict, spanning a maximum range of 1965-1975,
and still be considered characters in their mid-twenties in the
Rather than ignore or erase such storylines, Marvel usually tries to adapt or adjust them to fit. For example, it is now established that the Fantastic Four's first mission was not actually to the moon, as first written, but rather to another galaxy. By the same token, Flash participated in a military action in an Asian nation, and his actions as seen in the comic book did occur, however, he was not involved in the Vietnam conflict. The activities could still have occurred in Vietnam, or perhaps they could have taken place in the fictional parallel nation of Sin Cong.
The same is true of the Punisher. In the series "Born," Frank Castle is a Captain in the Marines in 1971, with his first tour of duty in 1968 (keeping in mind that we know he studied in the seminary before heading off to "war."). That would still place him in his mid-to-late fifties at the date I right this profile. Forty years old for the Punisher would seem more accurate, giving his athletic ability, and I could buy 45, or even 50 with a stretch of the imagination. However, as the timeline keeps on sliding forward, to tie the Punisher to the Vietnam "War" makes him pushing 60, and a decade from now, he'd be pushing 70! He's not Nick Fury or Captain America, so there's no Super Soldier Serum or Infinity Formula keeping him young --unless, of course, they pull something funky in Born...--and I think it would really take away from the character if there was something superhuman about him keeping him young and healthy.
So, while I understand it's a work of science-FICTION/fantasy, trying to tie him to the Vietnam era is simply not believable. Options:
As originally intended, the
series "The Nam" did not take place on Earth-616 (the
mainstream Marvel Universe), but rather in an alternate Earth (The
series was labeled from the start as non-continuity). However, if
the first option above is taken as fact, then the series could
have taken place during the sliding conflict on Earth-616.
Perhaps the Nam series itself took place on an alternate world (Earth-Fallow)
and actually took place during the real Vietnam war. On Earth-616,
the exact same events took place, but just during the sliding
conflict. It is that version that the Punisher encountered. On
Earth-Fallow, Castle may have been a marine during the real
Vietnam War, and his encounter with them could have taken place
during that time period, as well.
When "Ice" Phillips encountered Castle in the modern era, it was either the exact character from The Nam crossing over to the modern era on Earth-616, or the Earth-616 counterpart to the Nam character...OR, you could make the whole series in-continuity by having the series follow one of the rules above.
So anyway, that's why I
refer to the location of the Hidden Temple as Southeast Asia. It
could even be in Vietnam (just not during the Vietnam War in real
time), or Sin Cong, or any other Southeast Asian country.
I describe Flash's activity as being involved with a military
action in Southeast Asia.
Current Marvel policy seems to be most consistent be with the first option: The Punisher fought in Vietnam, just not in the Vietnam War of 1965-1975. Flash, however, is a slightly different situation, as his military experience was during the modern era, but the same potential rules apply.
And one more thought on that issue:
I heard a theory that explains why
characters never age. Franklin Richards is using his powers to
slow time down, and no one notices. The kid created a universe,
this wouldn't be too hard.
I like the idea, as it allows the stories to happen in the period they were written stay that way, but allows the characters to stay young.
When Flash Thompson found himself in the care of the monks of the hidden temple he tells them "you saved my life." Sha Shan replies, "it is written that to save one life is to save the world." I wonder if Stan Lee was aware that the exact same quote is indeed written in Jewish scriptures. Possible, since Stan is Jewish.
The Monks and their Temple and High Priest have no known connection to:
The strong front man for the attacks against Flash and his protectors. On several occasions he went one-on-one against Spider-Man.
--Amazing Spider-Man I#108 (109
Also known as the Guardian of the Light, he was the head of the Hidden Temple and the father of Sha Shan. His entire life was devoted to a peaceful existence. Not long after returning to his native land and establishing a new temple, he named Sha Shan as his successor, sent her to balance the evil of Achmed Korba and the Man-Beast, and revealed that he did not have long to live. He is presumably deceased, though this is unconfirmed.
He had limited mystical abilities, including the ability to enter a protective trance to defend himself from harm and the ability to contact other mystics mentally.
--Amazing Spider-Man I#108 (108 (fb), 109 (fb), 109, Spectacular Spider-Man II#13 (fb)
images: (without ads)
Amazing Spider-Man I#108, p8, pan3 (Hidden Temple)
#109, p8, pan1 (Monks of the Hidden Temple)
#108, Cover (Giant One)
#108, p8, pan2 (High Priest)
Amazing Spider-Man I#109 (June, 1972) - Stan Lee (writer), John Romita (pencils), John Romita & Tony Mortellaro (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#13 (December, 1977) - - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Last updated: 11/22/03.
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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