MOONDARK

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human, magic-user

Occupation: Former stage magician

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: The Dark Beings/Gods (led by the Dark Master, masters); Water Wizard (ally);
Freaks (Gorilla Girl/Woman, Muck Monster, Six/Six-Armed Spider-Man) (former pawns)

Enemies: Buck Cowan, Ghost Rider (John Blaze), Phantom Rider (Hamilton Slade), Lissa Russell, Spider-Man, Werewolf (Jack Russell)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Moondark the Magician; another cornball third-rate wizard in a turban (per Spider-Man); Gina Langtree

Base of Operations: Currently unknown; formerly an extra-dimensional realm; the deserts outside Las Vegas, Nevada; the realm of the Elder Gods he served; New York City; San Francisco, California

Appearances: Marvel Team-Up I#12 (August, 1973)

Powers/Abilities: Moondark was skilled at typical stage-magic, such as the ring-trick, rabbits-out-of-a-hat, etc. However, he possessed a number of true sorcerous powers. He could mesmerize large groups of people, forcing them to do his bidding. He could open portals in space, via the Mists of Passage, across a distance of several miles. He could fire energy bolts (powerful enough to drop both Ghost Rider and Spider-Man simultaneously) or form shields of mystic force. He could also either mutate animals such as vultures and cougars, or possibly create versions of these out of mystic force. These possessed greater than normal size and strength. He could disguise his appearance at will and create convincing illusions. After losing his soul, he became immune to the effects of the Ghost Rider's soul-withering hellfire, although his body was still vulnerable to conventional fire.

The Soul-Orb was created "from the substance of both this world and the next one." It was virtually indestructible to conventional attacks, although it was quite vulnerable to mystic attack, such as hellfire. The orb was inhabited by the Soul-Stealer, a mist-like entity, which enabled him to draw forth the souls of his victims, and it served as a place of storage for them as well. After the first one was destroyed by the Ghost Rider, he created another one, which was also destroyed by the Ghost Rider.

 

 

 

Moondark's Ring was most likely of similar origins to the Soul-Orb, and could hold a single soul. However, it was not as durable as the Soul-Orb, and shattered on impact with the ground.

 

Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

 

History: Moondark was a magician who worshipped some unnamed Dark Beings, who apparently granted him some power (As far as I know, his full origin, as well as his goals, have never been described).

(Marvel Team-Up I#12 (fb) ) - When Spider-Man came to San Francisco, Moondark feared that he would interfere with his plans (whatever they were). To this end, he mesmerized an audience at the small bijou in which he was performing, and took control of Jack Russell, who was present in that audience.

(Marvel Team-Up I#12) - Moondark sent the Werewolf through his Mists of Passage to ambush Spider-Man at the San Francisco Bay, where he was vacationing to help cope with the loss of Gwen Stacy. This attack, of course, led Spider-Man back to Moondark, of whom he had never heard, and had no previous inkling of his plans or interfering with them. As Spider-Man and the Werewolf struggled with each other, Spider-Man tackled Moondark and they both fell through his Mists of Passage. This sent them back to the bay where Moondark had first sent the Werewolf, Moondark fell into the waters, and he was killed by the fall.

(Marvel Team-Up I#91(fb)) - The Dark Beings whom Moondark worshipped claimed his soul, but accepted a bargain to allow him to return to Earth to claim other souls with which he might buy back his own. He joined a carnival in New York, where he acted as a stage performer. He created the Soul-Orb and one by one claimed the souls of the other carnival performers. Johnny Blaze briefly took a job at the carnival, and had his soul stolen by Moondark as well. Moondark kept this more valuable soul (which was highly sought by higher demons, like Mephisto) in a smaller receptacle within his ring.

 

(Marvel Team-Up I#91) - Peter Parker went to the carnival which employed Moondark, and recognized the Ghost Rider, who was part of Moondark's stage show. He returned as Spider-Man, but was captured by the Ghost Rider and the other carnival employees under Moondark's control. Moondark attempted to steal Spider-Man's soul, but he succeeded in shattering Moondark's ring, and freeing the Ghost Rider. Moondark overpowered both of them, and summoned his demon-lord to offer their souls in exchange for his. However, the Ghost Rider revived and destroyed Moondark's Soul-Orb with a burst of hellfire, freeing all of the souls it contained. With no other souls to feed upon, Moondark's demon-lord, -lord, the Dark Master, claimed Moondark, who "was sent shrieking into its darksome netherworld, never to return..."

(Ghost Rider II#56) - Moondark, of course, got better again, and set his sites on Ghost Rider. He created a new orb and sought again to claim Blaze's soul to bargain for his own. Making his base in a cavern in the deserts outside Las Vegas, he sent some mutated vultures to attack Blaze to attract his attention as he cycled through the area. He then posed as a former girlfriend of Blaze to get him to return to mortal form, blasted him into submission, and bound him with magical bonds that prevented further transformations. However, the Phantom Rider (aka Night Rider) was also nearby and was drawn to the magical conflict. Moondark sent some mutated cougars to attack the Phantom Rider, who overcame them and confronted Moondark. Moondark attacked him, but the distraction weakened his concentration so that Blaze could again become the Ghost Rider. Blaze then destroyed Moondark's new Soul-Orb, and threatened to incinerate his body. Moondark fled back to his other-dimensional realm.

(Ghost Rider II#59) - Still weakened from his last defeat, Moondark joined forces with the Water Wizard in an attempt to gain vengeance on Blaze. Moondark's powers enhanced the Water Wizard's enough that he was able to easily overpower the Ghost Rider, and threatened to destroy him. However, Moondark could not stand it that the Water Wizard was taking sole credit for the Ghost Rider's defeat, so he journeyed to Earth to mock the seemingly helpless Ghost Rider. The Ghost Rider set Moondark's body on fire, and he was forced to flee back to his nether-realm to survive, and took his power with him. Without Moondark's help, the Water Wizard was easily overcome.

 

Comments: Created by Len Wein, Gerry Conway, and Ross Andru. (although those eye-markings have a distinct Rob Liefield look)

Here's a question for the die-hard comic fan: Where did the Freaks (this exact group) make a return appearance? (answer at the bottom).

I'd guess he was based on the original Mandrake the Magician, but he was never fleshed out too well. He'd be a great character to bring back and give a full origin (and personality).

Sorry about the grainy pictures. Some of the older comics don't scan so well (and they're not exactly mint...).

Moondark has a one page profile (not very informative) as one of "Spider-Man's Forgotten Foes!" in Web of Spider-Man Annual#3.
--Markus Raymond

Moondark received a full entry in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update#2.

Clarifications:
The Freaks, who served Moondark, have no known connection to:

Ghost Rider

Moondark's Dark God(s) are described in the Official Marvel Index to Marvel Team-Up as the Dark Beings.
They may or may not have any connection to any other Dark Gods.


images: (without ads)
Ghost Rider II#56, Cover (Moondark main image)
Marvel Team-Up I#91, p13, pan1 (Soul-Orb)
Marvel Team-Up I#91, p11, pan9 (Moondark's ring)
Marvel Team-Up I#91, p14, pan2 (Moondark head shot)
Marvel Team-Up I#91, p17, pan4 (Dark Master)


Appearances:
Marvel Team-Up I#12 (1973) - Gerry Conway & Len Wein (writers), Ross Andru (pencils), Don Perlin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Team-Up I#91 (March, 1980) - Steven Grant (writer), Pat Broderick (pencils), Bruce D. Patterson (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Ghost Rider II#56 (May, 1981) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Mike Esposito and others (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Ghost Rider II#59 (August, 1981) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Jack Sperling (pencils), Don Perlin (inks), David Kraft (editor)
Web of Spider-Man Annual#3 (1987) - Roger Stern (writer), Al Gordon (artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)


Last updated: 06/15/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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