Membership: Des (Tyrannus), Keeper of the Flame (Lann), Rey

Purpose: Accumulation of Power, World Takeover

Affiliations: Absorbing Man, City-Stealers, Goldbug, Jinku, Moses Magnum, Orb, Stegron, Tyrannoid Subterraneans (all pawns)

Enemies: Black Panther (T'Challa), Ghost Rider/Blaze, Goldbug, Hercules, Hulk, Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Ka-Zar, Nova (Richard Rider), Spider-Man, Thor

Aliases: The Brotherhood of They

Base of Operations: el Dorado, Andes Mountains

First Appearance: ("They" mentioned) Marvel Team-Up I#15 (November, 1973); (shadows) Marvel Team-Up I#26 (October, 1974);
called "They who Wield Power") Incredible Hulk II#208 (February, 1977); (fully seen) Incredible Hulk II#240 (October, 1979)

History: (Incredible Hulk II#241 (fb))-His eternal youth fading, the subterranean warlord Tyrannus traveled to el Dorado, where he sought the power of the Sacred Flame of Life to restore himself. There, as a wizened shell of his former self, he took the name Des, and united the the once-warring Prince Rey and Lann, the current Keeper of the Flame, to form the Brotherhood of They. Des manipulated the others in an effort to rebuild the crippled Flame of Life.

(Incredible Hulk II#240 (fb))-Des's wisdom and knowledge of science enabled them to rekindle the Sacred Flame, and stoke it towards its full, burning radiance.

Their ultimate goal was to continue to build the Sacred Flame of Life into an enormously powerful energy source to allow them to takeover the world. Prince Rey planned to use it to build a mighty war machine which would sweep out of el Dorado and conquer the world. The Keeper of the Flame planned to act as spiritual leader to the conquered people of Earth. Des, it was thought, planned to spend his final years as grand vizier over the whole of Earth's scientific resources. To this end, they began a series of events designed to cause violent geophysical activity that would be transmitted through the Earth's crust in such a way as to stimulate the Flame. In most cases, this involved supplying technology to a number of criminals.

(Marvel Team-Up I#15 - BTS) - They supplied the Orb's laser gun and eyeball helmet. The Orb was defeated by The Ghost Rider (John Blaze) and Spider-Man.

(Marvel Team-Up I#19-20 - BTS) - They supplied Stegron with his Ark which he thought to use to bring dinosaurs out of hte Savage Land to takeover the world. Stegron was defeated by the efforts of the Black Panther, Ka-Zar, and Spider-Man.

(Marvel Team-Up I#26) - They supplied the false vision to Jinku, the Witch Doctor of the Lava Men, which caused him to lead an attack on the surface world. Jinku's plot was defeated by the Human Torch and Thor. They are first seen, in shadow.

(Marvel Team-Up I#28 - BTS) - They supplied the equipment and exo-skeletons to the City-Stealers, who used them to cause an earthquake which threatened to split New York assunder. Their plot was defeated by Hercules and Spider-Man. Hercules later claimed to have lifted the entire city to save it from destruction. In actuality, he braced himself against the city's foundations and absorbed the machines' shockwaves into his own body.

(Incredible Hulk II#241(fb2))-Impatient with the slow progress in rebuilding the Flame, Des sent his mental essence into one of his Tyrannoid Subterraneans, causing it to take his form, and pose as him in a plot of They.

(Nova I#5 - BTS) - The Tyrannus duplicate used the Earth-Shaker in an effort to cause an immense earthquake to build the Flame's powers more quickly, but the plot was defeated by Nova.

(Incredible Hulk II#241 (fb) ) - Following the defeat of the Tyrannus duplicate, Tyrannus withdrew his mental essence, causing the Tyrannoid to return to its true form. It was destroyed by the other Tyrannoids who were led to defeat by one they considered an imposter.

(Incredible Hulk II#208, 209)-First named as "They who Wield Power", They supplied the costume to enhance the power of the Absorbing Man.

(X-Men I#119 - BTS) - They supplied the technology used by Moses Magnum who attempted to destroy the islands of Japan. This plot was stopped by the X-Men, specifically Banshee, who lost his powers for a time after exerting them to counteract the effects of Magnum's weapon.

(Incredible Hulk II#238-243)-They decided that the Hulk represented the greatest source of power they could utilize for the Flame. They employed the Goldbug, who used a ship designed by the Tinkerer (presumably enhanced by They), which allowed him to actually defeat the Hulk. Goldbug unwittingly sought to use the Hulk to power his ship, to locate and conquer el Dorado, to gain its legendary stores of Gold. They let him approach the city, and then remotely sabotaged Goldbug's equipment, allowing the Hulk to break free, and to cause Goldbug's ship to crash just outside the city.

Tulak, an acolyte of They, led the Hulk and Goldbug into the city. They revealed themselves to the Hulk, and Des used his sphere of projection to cause the Hulk such psychological anguish (with images of Jarella's corpse in stasis at Gamma Base) to cause him to return to the form of Banner. They led Banner to the Sacred Flame of Life, and then suddenly snared him with tentacles of their machines designed to drain his power into the Flame. Des' allies nearly drooled with anticipation as their machines registered the enormous power the Flame was gaining from the Hulk. However, Des then betrayed his former allies, sending tentacles which drained their power into the Flame as well, quickly killing them both.

Des then used the energy of the Flame to restore the vitality to his Elixir of Life, and returned to his youthful Tyrannus form. As Tyrannus revealed his true scene and origins, Goldbug arrived and attacked him. Tyrannus quickly used the machine of the Flame to subdue Goldbug, but not before he could drive Banner into transforming into the Hulk and breaking free of Tyrannus' machines. Tyrannus, however, subdued the Hulk with a Deviant Brain Mine, and then donned a harness which enabled him to link himself to the Flame.


Now harnessing the full power of the Flame, Tyrannus used it to form immense metal limbs under his control with which he slew Tulak, his former acolyte, and then began to rampage, drunk with power. Goldbug freed himself and removed the Brain Mine from the Hulk. Tyrannus used his immense metal arms to attack the Hulk, who shattered them into pieces.

Desperate to destroy the Hulk, Tyrannus merged with the Flame completely, and used his power to shatter the City. However, the Hulk tore the machines supplying the Flame free from their connections to their controls. Tyrannus's power raged out of control, until the Hulk finally destroyed the machines supplying the Flame, sending Tyrannus and the Flame (merged as one) into space.





COMMENTS: First mentioned by Len Wein. Finally fleshed out by Roger Stern and Sal Buscema.

You can get more information on the backstories, and the Keeper and Prince Rey, by checking out el Dorado.

Further information on Tyrannus can be found in the OHotMU Deluxe Edition#13 and the Leader's Lair Website.

The Storyline started out in 1973, and who knows where Len Wein was going with it? However, I always appreciate the efforts of someone like Roger Stern to tie up loose ends. It works for me.

They Who Wield Power have an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1970's Handbook.

CLARIFICATIONS: They who Wield Power, aka They, have no known connection to:

Marvel Team-Up I#15 (November, 1973) - Len Wein (writer), Ross Andru (pencils), Don Perlin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Team-Up I#19-20 (March-April, 1974) - Len Wein (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Frank Giacoia & Mike Esposito (#20) (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Team-Up I#26 (October, 1974) - Len Wein (writer), Jim Mooney (pencils), Frank Giacoia & David Hunt (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Team-Up I#28 (December, 1974) - Gerry Conway (writer), Jim Mooney (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Nova I#5 (January, 1977) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Incredible Hulk II#208-209 (February-March, 1977) - Len Wein (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Joe Staton (inks)
X-Men I#119 (March, 1979) - John Byrne & Chris Claremont (writers), John Byrne (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Roger Stern (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#238-243 (August, 1979 - January, 1980) - Roger Stern, Sal Buscema (#239), Steven Grant (#243) & Roy Thomas (#243) (writers), Sal Buscema (pencils), Jack Abel (#238), Mike Esposito (#239), Joe Sinnott (#240), Sal Buscema (#241-243) (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)

Last updated: 07/23/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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