Real Name: Nykonn (presumably)
Identity/Class: Alien, extra-dimensional sorcerer
Occupation: Evil sorcerer
Affiliations: Master and creator of warriors from alien worlds, possible servant of the Nether-Gods (Necromon?)
Enemies: Captain Britain, Merlin, Roma
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Demon of Darkness
Base of Operations: Otherworld (probably)
First Appearance: Captain Britain I#36 (June 15th, 1977)
Powers/Abilities: A powerful sorcerer, among the powers he demonstrated were: energy blasts; telekinetically throwing numerous large rocks; creating (or summoning) warriors from alien worlds. Since he seemed to be a match for Merlin, it's likely he could do more, and just didn't get a chance to show any others. His powers may have been supplied by the Nether-Gods, since he swears by them at one point. According to one statement he makes, his physiology lacks a heart, but that might be more bombastic statement than biological fact.
History: (Captain Britain I#36) - In an alien dimension, Captain Britain's astral form had just been gifted with the mystical Star Sceptre by Merlin of Camelot, with Merlin's daughter Roma watching on. Unknown to any of them, there was another witness to this event -- an evil, hooded figure observed from a hidden spot nearby. The being dismissed his rival's magery as mere trivia, but felt that "he, whose goodness I have loathed for eons might have more than tricks within his sleeve!", and so decided to wait and see how things developed.
When Captain Britain discovered the Sceptre's power of flight, the villainous observer decided the sceptre had greater power than he initially expected, and decided that it might be of use to him...once he killed its new owner first. So thinking, he fired a bolt of energy at the flying hero, who narrowly managed to dodge it. The evil mage vowed Cap would not escape him the next time. The hero landed to discuss his new toy with Merlin, but suddenly they were assailed by large rocks hurtling through the air at them. They spotted their attacker, who had come out of hiding and whom Merlin identified as Nykonn. Captain Britain discovered another new ability of his Sceptre, when at Merlin and Roma's urgings he used it to create a force field, blocking the missiles.
Nykonn swore by the Nether-Gods that in spite of this set-back he would still possess the sceptre, and moved closer, challenging Merlin directly. He fired an energy bolt at the aged wizard, but Captain Britain leapt forward to block it. Wishing no further interference in his feud with Merlin, Nykonn created a group of "warriors from alien worlds" to battle the hero and keep him distracted. While Britain faced them, Merlin and Nykonn started trading energy blasts, proving to be equally matched. However the Earth-born hero soon dealt with his opponents, and threw his staff at Nykonn, distracting him long enough for Merlin to get a direct hit with his energy blasts, blasting Nykonn until he fadeed into the dimensional void.
(Journey Into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Nykonn attended the Devil's Advocacy to talk about the Serpent (Cul)'s actions on Earth.
Comments: Created by Gary Friedrich and Larry Lieber.
Nykonn swears by the Nether-Gods, implying a possible allegiance there, but nothing is confirmed on this front (hey, sixteen panels -- the man had better things to do in what little screen-time he had). A connection to Necromon, ruler of the Netherworld, would seem likely, but no certain conclusion can be drawn. Likewise, his base of operations is uncertain. He confronts Cap and Merlin in a dimension that is almost certainly Otherworld, but this doesn't mean he is based there.
The next few paragraphs outline my bid to have Nykonn nominated as the single most obscure character in Marvel Comics, while still managing to warrant a profile of his own in this Handbook.
Nykonn's appearance was retold in an abbreviated form in Hulk Comic#35 and#36 (October 31 and November 7 1979). Nothing new was added to the story. Nykonn was briefly seen again during Merlyn's narration of Captain Britain's history in Daredevils#1 (1983), and again during Brian Braddock's narration of his own history to his sister Betsy in Captain Britain II#1 (January 1985). Normally such minor cameos where he didn't even really appear wouldn't warrant a mention, but since he only appeared for a total of seven pages and fifteen panels in one issue of a weekly British comic, plus the bottom left hand corner of the cover, every extra appearance counts. And for the record, those sixteen panels included four shots that were just his eyes gleaming out from inside his hood, two that are solely his hands (one panel apiece) casting spells, one that is just the back of his hooded head, one where he is a tiny figure in the background and one where it's just his dotted outline fading from existence. In other words he only had seven half-way decent panels to show off in!
Nykonn may not even exist. As was later revealed during Alan Moore's Captain Britain run, Merlyn was training up Cap to battle the reality warping Mad Jim Jaspers. Step one was creating the superhero. Step two was getting the scientifically minded Brian Braddock to start accepting there were things beyond what his science could explain, such as magic. The whole of Cap's heroic existence prior to facing the Earth-616 Mad Jim was a teaching exercise. So here is Cap, summoned to Otherworld for his first power upgrade, a brand new staff. Conveniently an old foe of Merlin's, who has hated him for "eons" just happens to be observing, and picks now to attack and fight to the death -- all over one crummy staff that only really has two powers: fifteen minutes worth of flight time and a force-field. You'd get more by pinching Iron Man's spare armour! Is this item so impressive that it's worth Nykonn attacking now, when Merlin has the back-up of Roma and Cap? Why not just wait until Cap is alone, kill him when he is away from Merlin's protection, and then come back for Merlin once you have the extra power of the staff to back you up? Instead Nykonn attacks when the odds are against him, handily providing Cap a way of learning how to use all the different aspects of his new toy, one bit at a time. Further backing up my supposition that Nykonn is merely a phantom conjured by Merlyn as a way of putting his trainee hero through his paces is the fact that while Captain Britain battles the alien warriors, and Merlin tackles Nykonn, Roma just stands there like a muppet, not lending a hand. The lady is a pretty canny sorceress herself; why doesn't she lend her dad some assistance if he and Nykonn are so evenly matched? Because the whole point of this is for Captain Britain to be the one to help, not her. Lastly, when Nykonn is blasted until he fades into "the dimensional void," he vanishes in exactly the same way an illusion of Courtney Ross did -- an illusion Merlin admitted to creating in order to "test thee when thy emotions are roused!" If Nykonn does exist, I think it is a safe bet that Cap didn't meet the real him during the recorded encounter. Now how's that for an obscure character? He's so obscure he hasn't actually had any appearances at all!
Please note that the different spellings of Merlin and Merlyn are intentional: the former refers to the persona present during the encounter with Nykonn, the latter to the more manipulative (and probably the true) identity later shown to us during Alan Moore's period on Captain Britain.
No known connection to:
Warriors from Alien Worlds
Needing to keep Captain Britain from interfering with his battle with Merlin, Nykonn appeared to summon up "warriors from alien worlds with but a common cause -- their hatred of Earthlings!" Typically the bombastic villain didn't see fit to specify which alien worlds or why they all hated Earthlings. There appeared to be at least five of them, armed with swords and shields, but Captain Britain made short work of them. First he bowled several of them over by flying into them, then he started swinging his staff around until it grew longer, and proceeded to hit them about their heads with his elongated weapon, until they were all unconscious.
Point to note for all budding master villains: if you can summon alien warriors from other dimensions to fight your enemies, try getting a few that are 1) a bit tougher than humans, and 2) have better technology and weapons than their opponent.
-- Captain Britain I#36
Captain Britain I#36 (June 15th, 1977) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Larry Lieber (writer/editor), Ron Wilson (pencils), Bob Budiansky & Fred Kida (inks)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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