Real Name: Johann
Identity/Class: Human Technology User;
former citizen of an unnamed kingdom in Eastern Asia (see
His modern day existence and/or subsequent events from the Crusades are unknown to the general populace of Earth.
Occupation: Teacher, Traveler, Explorer;
former priest, knight, former would-be conqueror
Group Membership: Four Muses (Glorian, Stranger, Tim) of Eurth
Affiliations: Ally of the alchemists of Avalon, Black Knight of the Crusades (Eobar Garrington, while possessed by Dane Whitman), Cable, Champions of the Realm of Eurth, Charles the Simple, the Defenders, Greenskyn Smashtroll of Eurth, Human Torch (Storm), Iron Man (Stark), John Kriek, Irene Merryweather, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, Marco Polo, Rabbi Rosen, Shaper of Worlds, S'tvaan of Eurth, Thing, Wyatt Wingfoot
Enemies: Chandu, Deadpool, the Fomor, Hecatomb, Prince John, Kang the Conqueror, Mordred the Evil, Muslims, Thor (Eric Masterson)
Known Relatives: Gaspar, Melchior, Balthasar (the Magi/Wise Men, alleged ancestors)
Aliases: The Wanderer
Place of Birth: An unnamed kingdom in Eastern Asia (see comments)
Base of Operations: Providence (Cable's island), South
formerly Castle Avalon, Eurth;
the Middle East during the Crusades in the 1100's;
his own kingdom
First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#54 (September 1966)
Powers: John was of gifted intelligence, a skilled swordsman, and highly athletic, though not superhuman in ability without outside power. He had many years of experience as a priest, king, warrior, and explorer. He wore a suit of medieval armor and used a sword and staff.
With the Evil Eye, he could manipulate matter at the molecular level and fire concussive force blasts, disintegrate matter, and create or destroy force fields. The Evil Eye also has dimensional/time travel powers, but Prester John mostly seemed to have used these accidentally. The Eye later was transformed into the Stellar Rod, which allowed him to project energy blasts and form force fields..
While possessing the alien Stone of Power, he had superhuman strength and durability (@ Class 75).
He also used the Chair of Survival, which placed him in suspended animation to survive lengthy periods of time.
Height: 6'1" Weight: 210# Eyes: Blue Hair: Red
History: (Folklore) - Prester John was a monarch of a fabulous Nestorian Christian kingdom in the Orient, circa the 1100's (see comments). Though Roman Catholics considered the type of Christianity Prester John followed as heretical, he came to the aid of Richard the Lion-Hearted and other Crusaders in their battle with the Islamic peoples.
(Marvel Fanfare I#54) - In 1191, the Black
Knight (Dane Whitman in the body of Eobar Garrington) encountered
the young would-be Crusader Prester John battling five Muslim
warriors. The Black Knight helped John overcome his attackers and
brought him to the Crusaders' camp. There they encountered agents
of Hassan ibn Sabbah, Lord of Assassins, saving King Richard from
certain death at the assassins' hands. Prester John doused the
Black Knight's Ebony Blade in holy water, enabling him to drive
off Sabbah himself.
Richard was most ingratiated to John for his part in saving him.
(Fantastic Four I#54 (fb)) - After having served under Richard the Lion-Hearted until the end of the Crusades, Prester John wandered the globe. In Asia he found a country where people traveled in airships called "flying carpets" filled with a gas called Helios. He found the Yeti, and in China/Cathay he saw rockets used in warfare, and across the ocean he found people who thought the Earth was round. Prester John later arrived in the fabled isle of Avalon, where wizards had created devices to harness the natural forces of the universe. After a plague, John was Avalon's last living inhabitant. He prepared to sit on the Seat of Survival, built by the wizards of Avalon to keep John alive so that he would live to tell of Avalon's glory. Presumably, he obtained the Evil Eye in Avalon.
(Thor Annual#17 (fb)) - Just before Prester John sat on the Seat of Survival, Kang arrived, asking him to join him in an alliance to conquer the 20th century. John refused and battled Kang. He used an Avalon-created weapon called the Evil Eye. During the struggle, John was displaced to 911 AD.
Finding himself in France, John had the advantage of having accessed the true records of history from Avalon. Becoming an adviser to Charles the Simple, a Frankish king, John took interest in the Vikings led by Rollo Hrolfson the Walker. In the history he knew from records, the Vikings had settled in a place the Romans called Neustria. Charles (who held Christian beliefs) agreed to make Rollo his vassal, the Count of Rouen.
Prester John, eventually seeking to use Charles as a puppet monarch, persuaded him to attack Rollo, as he had decided trying to control the two kings would be too difficult.
(Thor Annual#17) - Eric Masterson as Thor, during an adventure involving Kang's city of Timely, Wisconsin, arrived in the year 911. He encountered many Franks and Vikings, as well as Prester John. The latter explained who he was and offered an alliance. Masterson refused, and battled John. During the battle, Masterson got blasted by the Evil Eye. Hurled by the force, his hammer struck the ground twice in quick succession-changing him back to a human being. Prester John had Masterson bound to a stake next to the similarly treated Rollo. Mjolnir turned back into a gnarled cane.
Prester John allowed Charles to take Masterson's cane, but informed him how he would serve as only nominally king, with Prester John as the true power. Charles accepted this. Prester John then set out to use the Evil Eye to replicate the splendors of his kingdom- a "sea" of sand, a waterless river of stones, a wall fire with a giant salamander. The startled Charles, shocked to see his France turned into a strange new Avalon, dropped Masterson's cane. The giant salamander accidentally freed Masterson, who became Thor and attacked Prester John. During the battle, the Evil Eye became overloaded with energies from Mjolnir's thunderbolts and was somehow triggered so that it returned Prester John to the 12th century Avalon. Masterson patched things up in 911, and departed. (Rollo agreed to convert to Christianity to please Charles the Simple).
(Thor Annual#17 - BTS) - John returned to Avalon upon the Seat of Survival and was placed into suspended animation.
(Fantastic Four I#54 (fb) - BTS) - Prester John and the Chair somehow ended up in a deep cavern beneath the African desert (or perhaps the African desert had a portal to Avalon).
(Fantastic Four I#54) - In the modern era, the Human Torch and Wyatt Wingfoot were traveling across an African desert north of Wakanda when the sand gave way beneath them and they fell for minutes down a VERY deep hidden shaft. Upon reaching the bottom, they found themselves in a deep underground crypt where they soon found Prester John sitting in the Chair of Survival. They inadvertently revived him, but he attacked them with the Evil Eye. Inquiring from them of info on the present world, he also explained his identity. Johnny warned Prester John not to attack them again with the Evil Eye by way of firing a flamebolt at John's feet. Prester John sought to humble the Torch by using the Evil Eye to blast holes in the floor and ceiling to demonstrate its power, and then encased Wingfoot and the Torch in an impenetrable shield created by the Evil Eye.
Seeing them choking, he freed them. Storm asked for the Evil Eye from Prester John, as he sought to use it to free the Inhumans from the Great Barrier. Prester John refused, so the Torch forcibly took the Evil Eye and fled. John warned Wingfoot that the Evil Eye would soon explode due to the Torch's mishandling. Wyatt and Prester John managed to knock the Evil Eye from the Human Torch's grasp, so that it exploded in the desert.
(Marvel Two-In-One#12 (fb)) - Prester John wandered aimlessly through the desert, the great heat affecting his mind and body, until he collapsed. He was found and recovered by a tribe of Bedouins who looked at him as a visitor from the Heavens and honored him as a god. As tributes were piled at his feet, he was intrigued with the Stone of Power, the energies of which infiltrated his mind, causing him to believe that he had created the universe. The maddened John then summoned a whirlwind to slaughter his benefactors, but it also caused the ground below him to collapse, and he fell into a subterranean cavern. He passed out from lack of oxygen, but the Stone of Power kept him alive, though in a trance.
(Marvel Two-In-One#12) - In the modern era, a failed test run on an experimental ship opened the subterranean chamber containing Prester John. He awakened and took control of the Thing, and then Iron Man. The two managed to free themselves and go after the madman who sought to control the world. They teamed up against him to little avail, until the Thing tore the Stone of Power from his neck. Within seconds John regained his own mind, and was shamed by his previous actions. He agreed to accompany Iron Man and the Thing to find some nourishment.
(Defenders I#11) - The Evil Eye was reformed during the great Avengers/Defenders War due to the machinations of Dormammu and Loki. Afterwards, the Defenders took it back to the time of the Crusades, where it fell into the hands of Prince John and Mordred. Prester John arrived from the present to reclaim the Evil Eye, and took it away from the two rogues. As he himself commented, due to the paradox of time-travel, he held the Evil Eye at a point before he originally had gotten it. The Defenders returned to the present.
(Avataars: Covenant of the Shield#1-3)- As
part of a cosmic experiment, the Shaper of Worlds fashioned Eurth, a
world similar to earth, with medieval-style counterparts of many
Earth-616 heroes, all fashioned from the mind of a boy named Tim. Prester
John served as one of the Four Muses that inspired Eurth, bequeathing to it the
memory of a shining realm forgotten. Afterwards, he took up residence upon Eurth, and came to raise S'tvaan, son
of the great king Captain Avalon, following Avalon's
disappearance after battling the Dreadlord.
Prester John narrated to S'tvaan the entire tale of how he had been captured by the Dreadlord as an infant, and how Captain Avalon led the Champions of the Realm to rescue him, finally being teleported back in time with the Dreadlord. In the course of relating this tale, he simultaneously recounted to him the origins of many of their world's champions, including the Webslinger, the Four Fates, and Eurth's counterparts of the X-Men. Prester John also assisted Greenskyn Smashtroll in teaching young S'tvaan how to fight, and kept a record of all the adventures on Eurth. He predicted that one day S'tvaan would follow his father's path.
(Cable and Deadpool#11 (fb) - BTS) - Prester John came into possession of a gem of power, possibly the Stone of Power.
(Cable and Deadpool#14 (fb) - BTS) - Under unspecified circumstances, the Evil Eye was altered to become the Stellar Rod.
(Cable and Deadpool#13 (fb)) - Prester John came to live in Providence, the artificial island established by Cable.
(Cable and Deadpool#11) - John joined Irene Merryweather and Rabbi Rosen in a discussion regarding S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plans for Cable.
(Cable and Deadpool#13) - John, Irene, and Rabbi Rosen pondered the murder of Haji Bin Barat. Later, when Deadpool began harassing the island's Muslim residents (in a feeble attempt to uncover evidence about Barat's murder), John interrupted him and brought him back to Irene. The investigation continued, and all clues began to point to Deadpool himself.
(Cable and Deadpool#14) - Prester John attempted to bring in Deadpool when he was wanted for for the murder of Haji Bin Barat. The two battled savagely until Cable struck down Prester John, ending the conflict so he could exile Deadpool from Providence in a non-violent fashion.
(Cable and Deadpool#15) - When Deadpool--brainwashed into trying to kill Cable by the being known as the Black Box--returned to Providence, Prester John tried to stop him. Their battle was interrupted by the arrival of Cannonball and Siryn, who stopped Deadpool until he could be contained in a restraint harness.
(Cable and Deadpool#23) - Prester John voiced his worries about Cable plugging the Dominus Objective into Providence, which would allow him to mechanically access the Infonet to simulate telepathy.
(Cable & Deadpool#25) - Prester John discussed matters aboard Providence with John Kriek and others.
(Cable & Deadpool#26) - Prester John was present as the other residents of Providence searched for Cable who had been missing for two weeks.
(Cable & Deadpool#28) - Prester John was unconvinced that replacing the Flag-Smasher as head of Rumekistan with Cable would be any better for the people of Rumekistan.
(Cable & Deadpool#33) - Prester John was on hand after Providence's tachyon propulsion chamber was blown up by bombs set by Deadpool. He stayed on the sidelines while Cable contained the unleashed energies.
(Cable & Deadpool#40) - As Providence was assaulted by the Hecatomb, Prester John and Domino attempted to rouse Cable to face the threat, but he was temporarily entranced as he debated with himself how to proceed. Prester John began to assist with plans to evacuate the island.
(Cable & Deadpool#41) - Providence, though critically damaged, regained sufficient power to operate the ferries, and Domino instructed Prester John to begin evacuation of the people via ferries.
Comments: Adapted by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
In Cable and Deadpool#14, Prester John claimed to have used his "Stellar Rod" against the Fantastic Four and Thor. I've asked Fabian Nicieza if this was supposed to be a new form of the Evil Eye or something.
It is a variation on the Evil Eye, but I didn't want to go into pages of continuity, so I kind of upgraded the weapon into the Stellar Rod.-- fabian
Plus, I guess he just wanted to say the words, "Stellar Rod." Cosmic Sceptre just doesn't have the same giggle factor.
According to Thor Annual#17, Prester means "Presbyter," presumably as in Prebyterian, but it is not elaborate on any further than that.
In Marvel Fanfare I#54, John claimed to be German. In that same issue, the Black Knight remarked that it was ironic to meet the young Prester John, as the older version had been the one to convince him to remain in the 12th Century.
Nestorian Christians believe in the Trinity (idea that Jesus Christ is a part of God along with the Holy Spirit), but follow the teachings of Nestorius as to how they specifically believe in it. Nestorius was a Syrian ecclesiastic who served as a patriarch of Constantinople circa 428-431 AD, and was condemned as a heretic. Nestorius rejected the hypostasis of Jesus and held to the existence of two distinct persons in him. His followers believe that Jesus united in himself two persons: the Word and the man. But these two persons existed in such a close symbiosis that they could sort of be considered as one. Nestorians rejected the idea of Mary as the mother of God. They taught that Mary gave birth to a man who served as the instrument of divinity, but not divinity per se.
Clear as mud? Although we today find it strange that people once killed each other over such trivial differences in theological opinion, remember that historically, Christianity began with the paradigm of salvation based on faith, not on works, as is clear from Paul's letters. These letters make it clear that the humanity of one's actions has no impact on whether one makes it to Heaven, but rather only one's faith matters. So this is why it was thought so important to believe in an orthodox manner.
The Prince John in this story is the historical Prince John, as in the one who sealed the Magna Carta, featured in the Robin Hood legends. However, except for a Golden Age appearance in Young Allies Comics#7, as well as adaptations of the Robin Hood legend and of Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe in Marvel Classics Comics, Robin Hood himself has made a skimpy showing at Marvel. He was linked to the Knights of Pendragon, but other sources indicate that Thor's companion Fandral the Dashing was the Marvel Universe's Robin Hood. (In Thor I#450, Fandral the Dashing comments on how familiar the Robin Hood stories seem to him. Also, Thunderstrike#18/2 recounts Fandral's marriage to Maid Marian.) This story, with Prince John teaming up with Mordred, is the closest thing to a King Arthur/Robin Hood team-up we have ever seen. (Though, since King Arthur was a Celtic king fighting the Saxons, and Robin Hood was a hero of the Saxons, the two might not get along if they ever met.)
Counterpoint, by Donald Campbell
Profile by Per Degaton, Snood, and Prime Eternal
Prester John should not be confused with:
Richard the Lion-Hearted, should not be confused with:
Thor, Eric Masterson, later Thunderstrike, should not be confused with:
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition (Prester John main image)
Cable and Deadpool#14, p13, pan3 (Stellar Rod)
(Prester John VS Kang)
(Prester John fires Eye of Avalon)
(Prestern John introduction)
(Prester John head shot)
Cable and Deadpool#14, p8, pan1 (Prester John in Cable & Deadpool) - by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Patrick Zircher & Dave Ross (penciler), Udon's M3TH (inker); Nicole Wiley (editor)
Defenders I#11 (February, 1974)
Marvel Two-in-One#12 (November, 1975)
Marvel Fanfare I#54 (December, 1990)
Thor Annual#17 (1992)
Avataars: Covenant of the SHield#1-3 (September-November, 2000)
Cable and Deadpool#11 (March, 2005)
Cable and Deadpool#13-15 (May-July, 2005)
Cable and Deadpool#23 (February 2006)
Cable & Deadpool#25-26 (April-May, 2006) - by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Lan Medina (penciler), Ed Tadeo (inker), Nicole Wiley Boose (editor)
Cable & Deadpool#28 (July, 2006) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Reilly Brown (penciler), Jeremy Freeman (inker), Nicole Boose (editor)
Cable & Deadpool#33 (December 2006) - by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Reilly Brown (penciler), Jeremy Freeman (inker), Nicole Boose (editor)
Cable & Deadpool#40-41 (July-August, 2007) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Reilly Brown (penciler), Jeremy Freeman (inker), Nicole Boose (editor)
Last updated: 06/30/07
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters