Real Name: Reuben Davis
Identity/Class: Human magic-user
Occupation: former student
Affiliations: former student of Elias Spector; made an arrangement with Curly
Enemies: Marlene Alraune, Moon Knight, Mr. Weiss and his students
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Master of Divine Illumination
Base of Operations: Chicago, Illinois
First Appearance: Moon Knight I#37 (May, 1984)
Powers: Zohar possessed magical abilities enabling him to fire powerful bolts of mystic force, and reanimate the dead. He had extensive knowledge of jewish mysticism, and presumably could recite other spells and perform other magical feats. The source of his powers was apparently the body of Elias Spector, and they apparently vanished after he was re-buried.
History: Reuben Davis grew up in Chicago, alongside Marc Spector. While Marc rebelled against his father and went on to become a mercenary, Davis studied under rabbi Elias Spector, and learned of the potential for magical power which could be obtained by mastery of Kabbalah, jewish mysticisim.
death of Elias Spector unnerved Davis, who became fanatical that
he be the only one to possess the knowledge of Spector's
teaching. He gave Spector's eulogy and was reacqainted with Marc
(now Moon Knight), whom he resented for abandonning his father
over 18 years before. Davis assumed the identity of Zohar,
exhumed Elias Spector's body, and brought it to the cellar below
his apartment. While Davis did this, he hired Curly to send some
a bunch of kids to vandalize the cemetary in order to make it
appear as a random act of violence. Zohar used Spector's body to
draw upon magical power for himself. In addition, he broke into
Spector's house and stole the remainder of Spector's manuscripts.
Marc Spector was outraged by the theft of his father's body. As Moon Knight, he managed to track down Curly, who had been hired through several others, and had no idea who was behind the grave robbing. Marlene (Spector's grilfriend) encountered Zohar as he was stealing the manuscripts, but he blasted her into unconsciousness and escaped.
Zohar saw Marc Spector as sinful and rebellious, and prepared to make atone by blood. Davis contacted Marc and asked him to meet at the seminary chapel, in order to help him investigate the recent crimes. When Marc arrived, Zohar confronted him, blasted him to the ground, and shattered a large stained-glassed window over him, showering him in broken glass. Zohar left Spector for dead, and then attacked a class on the kaballa, intending to keep those secrets as his alone. Zohar blasted the students who tried to stop him, but was forced to flee after he was shot in the right arm by police.
Zohar returned to his cellar to seek a mystic remedy for his injury. Spector, meanwhile, had recovered from his attack, and recalling Zohar's words from Davis's eulogy, made the connection between the two. As Moon Knight, he located Davis' apartment and confronted Zohar. Spector used a mirror to turn Zohar's blasts back on himself, but Zohar then reanimated Elias Spector's corpse. Refusing to strike his father (as he actually had in his younger days), Moon Knight was being strangeld by the corpse of his father. Marlene arrived on the seen, and remembering what she had recently learned, she erased the Hebrew letter "E" from the rabbi's forehead, sending it back to death ( EMETH=truth; METH=death, same deal as with the Golem). Elias Spector's body was returned to his grave, and apparently took Zohar's powers with it.
Comments: Created by Alan Zelenetz and Bo Hamilton.
I think magic associated to modern and past religions is more interesting than "Bolts of Balthakk" and what-not. I'd like to see Zohar come back (surely there's still power to be had from Elias Spector's remains), and try to finish off Moon Knight once and for all. Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing him succeed. It would be a great limited series, perhaps written by Warren Ellis or Kevin Smith (sure, that'll happen).
I'd swear they explained the significance of
the name Zohar somewhere, but I couldn't find it on re-reading
the issue. The word comes from the Hebrew, meaning literally
"brightness." Webster's defines it as "a mystical
commentary on the Pentateuch, written from the 2d to the 13th
cent. : a principle source of the caballa" (Whew, that
clears it up!). Pentateuch, refers to five books, apparently
the first five books of the Bible.
...and the real explanation from our own Kyle Smith:
"Written dring the middle ages, the Zohar or "Book of Splendor" is a Spanish cabalistic text, drawing upon previously established cabalistic traditions and doctrines. This compilation of sorts was edited and scribed by Moses de Leon of Guadalajara and became the classical main text for Cabalists in time."
In addition, several comics I've read refer to
Kaballa as meaning Black Magic. This is incorrect, as thoroughly described by Kyle Smith:
Cabala, Cabbala, or Qabbalah (correct transliteration being Kabbalah, Hebrew for "receiving" or "that which is received") DOES NOT mean "black magic." "Tradition" was the technical meaning of the word around the 2nd & 3rd century AD, pertaining specifically to tradition passed down by word of mouth. By the 12th & 13th centuries, it became associated w/ a Jewish, mystical philosophical system starting in Spain and southern France with origins dating back hundreds of years in areas such as Babylonia and Palestine. To this day, Cabala is the title given to represent this system. The word became associated with any mixture of occultism or occultism in general by the 17th century.
Info from "Man, Myth, and Magic, Vol. 3." Richard Cavendish, ed. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, NY, 1970.
First Posted: 12/23/2001
Last updated: 08/01/2002
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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