Type: Mystic realm
Environment: Evidently Earthlike; Desert planes and mountains have been seen
Known Aliases: 13th Dimension
Usual means of access: Magic
Dominant Life Form: alien creatures, scorpion creatures
Significant Inhabitants: "Brotherhood of Ankh", Lawholder (Most High Priest of Ankh) (disguised forms of the alien creatures)
First Appearance: (Behind the scenes) Iron Man I#35
(March, 1971--this story was supposed to precede Daredevil I#73))
Daredevil I#73 (February, 1971)
(Avengers III#60 (fb) - BTS) - The Ankh dimension was created by the In-Betweener as a "sanction" (sanctum?); a place for reflection, but it grew a life all its own.
(Daredevil I#73 (fb) - BTS) - The Brotherhood worshipped Ankh: "Ankh, the Wind-Giver; Ankh, the Sun-Holder; Ankh the Cosmic All of Our Dimension" (see comments).
(Daredevil I#73 (fb) - BTS) - Many, many cycles ago, what would become known as the Zodiac Key was fashioned from the carven stone of the earth and the spilled blood of a lamb, and thus, by its origins, it was bound into the lifeblood of the All-Creator. For many years, the Brotherhood held sole possession of the Key, and through its use they struck the eternal balance between Order and Chaos. The Key served as the mystic valve through which the power of Ankh was siphoned to its bearer.
(Daredevil I#73 (fb) - BTS) - In the fourth generation of the Century of the Leopard, something happened to the Key, causing it to weaken.
(Daredevil I#73) - The Lawholder discovered that as the world of the Brotherhood had grown calm and still, there was no longer a struggle between Order and Chaos. Without the energies they obtained through the Key, the Brotherhood's power-flames began to grow dim, signaling their dying might. The Lawholder decided that the Key must be sent from their world to Earth, which was still struggling under the eternal battle.
(Avengers III#59 (fb) - BTS) - <18th century> The secret society of the Illuminati (the historical version) got hold of the Zodiac Key, but all failed to understand the true meaning behind it's gift.
(Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD I#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Key found its way into the hands of Scorpio (Jacob Fury), who used it as part of the Zodiac Cartel.
(Iron Man I#35, Daredevil I#73) - The Lawholder apparently
spoke through the Key, entrancing Nick Fury, and forcing him to grab the Key,
using it to transport himself, Daredevil, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Madame Masque
(Whitney Frost), Kevin O'Brian, Spymaster, and the Zodiac Cartel's Aquarius,
Capricorn and Sagittarius to the Dimension of Ankh. There the Lawholder
reclaimed the Key, and explained its origins and purpose. When Kevin O'Brian
questioned the Brotherhood's right to deal in the lifeblood of men, the
Lawholder banished him back to Earth.
The Lawholder then instructed the visitors that they must battle in order to provide the energy for the Key to regain its former majesty; there would be a reward for the winners: a place among the most high of the Brotherhood. When Daredevil refused to be a pawn in their struggle, the Lawholder used the Key to influence them to fight. While Spymaster and the Zodiacs, and even Iron Man, Fury, and Madame Masque, all jumped readily into battle, Daredevil continued to resist. When Capricorn attacked Daredevil, he continued to resist, striving only for defensive actions.
Suddenly "some sort of burning flakes" began drifting through the air; while the Lawholder was pleased as the Key began to throb with new life, another member of the Brotherhood spoke out, proclaiming, "Nay! By your interference, you have destroyed the balance we so delicately seek to weave! There must be an end! The red-masked one's heart is not in this conflict! There can be no just settling of the scales." He instructed the Lawholder to give him the Key, and he used it to send the humans back to Earth, where their continued conflict would restore the Key. The Brotherhood retained the Key.
(Iron Man I#36 - BTS) - Back on Earth, the struggle was indeed renewed, as Daredevil joined the efforts to capture the villains, though Spymaster escaped.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe#20: Zodiac - BTS) - The Zodiac Key returned to Earth and re-created Jacob Fury as a Life Model Decoy (LMD).
(West Coast Avengers#28 (fb) - BTS) - After the LMD Zodiac captured Hawkeye and Tigra, they were replaced by Sagittarius and Leo, re-created to duplicate the Avengers' appearances and abilities. The real Hawkeye and Tigra were sent to the Ankh Dimension, where the Brotherhood told them they wouldn't kill them if the two would hunt the Brotherhood. The two Avengers proved to be a match for the dozen or so of the Brotherhood, establishing the conflict that they so desired.
(West Coast Avengers#28) - Scorpio forced the Key to transport
the LMD Zodiac and the Avengers to the Ankh dimension, despite the Key's desires
to the contrary. However, upon their arrival, all of the LMDs collapsed, inert.
The Key then explained that each of the Zodiacs was aligned with a particular
Zodiological energy, and that energy only existed in the Earth dimension. The Key
then traveled to the Brotherhood's side, at which point the Brotherhood called
the conflict to a halt, as the power of the Key would have made the struggle too
The Brotherhood then sent the Avengers back to Earth, intending to someday send the Key back to Earth to create new conflicts for them.
(Iron Fist III#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Brotherhood sent the Key back to Earth.
(Avengers III#59 (fb) - BTS) - The Zodiac Key decayed into dust.
(Avengers III#59 (fb) - BTS / 60 (fb) - BTS) - A new Zodiac Key was forged, possibly within the Ankh Dimension, either by the Brotherhood or by a new Zodiac incarnation.
(Avengers III#59 (fb) - BTS) - Feeling that the last millennium had unraveled incorrectly, the Brotherhood chose a new Scorpio to guide the next one.
(Avengers III#59 (fb) - BTS) - Scorpio used the Key to split the In-Betweener into two Chaos and Order beings.
(Avengers III#57 - BTS) - From the Ankh dimension, Scorpio used the Key to pull a number of cities into the Ankh dimension; Yellowjacket (Hank Pym) and the Wasp were amongst those transported there in the process.
(Avengers III#58) - As Yellowjacket and the Wasp surveyed the realm to which they had been transported, they were struck down by a the new Scorpio, who held the Zodiac Key. Scorpio was backed by the Brotherhood, as well as a number of white scorpion-creatures.
(Avengers III#59) - Within the Ankh dimension, the Brotherhood stood by as Scorpio slew hundreds of the scorpions and tormented Yellowjacket and the Wasp. The Avengers (Black Panther, Captain America, Falcon, Iron Man, Namor, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Vision, Warbird) and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) located and confronted the Order fragment of the In-Betweener. Order transported several of them to the Ankh Dimension and incapacitated the rest, at which point Thor arrived.
(Avengers III#60) - Within the Ankh dimension, the Avengers
were confronted by Scorpio and the Brotherhood. Scorpio attempted to kill the
Avengers, and Redwing tore the Zodiac Key from his grasp, but Scorpio proved
able to summon it back to himself. Under Scorpio's direction, the Brotherhood
shed their true forms and prepared to join the fight. Using her connection to
chaos, the Scarlet Witch forced "Order" to transport herself and the remaining
Avengers to the Ankh dimension. The struggle was evenly matched until Ant-Man
communicated with the alien scorpion creatures, sending them to swarm over
Scorpio. The Scarlet Witch then located "Chaos" within the Ankh Dimension,
forcibly merging it with "Order," restoring the In-Betweener.
The In-Betweener, disgusted with how the dimension had developed, then reabsorbed the Brotherhood, and transported the Avengers and the cities back to Earth. Scorpio turned the Key on himself, vanishing back to Earth, where the information gathered by the Key was downloaded from it by the rest of the Zodiac.
Comments: Created by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan.
Presumably, the In-Betweener IS Ankh.
The answer is no: no, I can't make any more sense of the story in Daredevil I#73. In fact, I think all stories involving the Brotherhood have been left in an unresolved fashion.
The group is pretty much only referred to as the Brotherhood; while the OHotMU Deluxe: Appendix to Other Dimensions names them as the "Brotherhood of Order and Chaos," the OHotMU Deluxe#20: Zodiac entry calls them the "Brotherhood of the Ankh." While that seems to fit better, the Brotherhood always references "Ankh," not "the Ankh", so I'm going with Brotherhood of Ankh.
The dimension is named the 13th Dimension (by Dr. Doom) in Avengers III#59, but a numeric designation gives no descriptive value, so I'm sticking with the classic "Ankh Dimension" name from the OHotMU.
The Ankh is the Egyptian symbol of life; whether that has any connection to the Brotherhood is unknown, and further information is unlikely to be forthcoming.
The Brotherhood can be considered behind the scenes in any of the appearances of the Zodiac Key, but I'm not getting into that here. I probably should do a profile on the Zodiac Key, but I think I'll come back to that at a later date. I should also cover the Scorpio Key, to clarify the difference...
Aquarius and Sagittarius are confused for each other throughout Daredevil I#73 and Iron Man I#35-36.
OK, so I should have done this as the Brotherhood of Ankh profile rather than the Ankh Dimension...I'm too wiped out to change it, and all of the information is in there anyway.
Based on the last photo-capture, it would seem evident that the Brotherhood of Ankh are some kind of N'garai offshoot.
Thanks to Robert Wicks for pointing out that the historical Illuminati once held the Zodiac Key. If Scorpio is referring to the historical Illuminati, then that would place the Zodiac Key's appearance on Earth before or between 1776-1785.
Profile by Snood.
No known connection to:
Daredevil I#73, p12, panel 2 (Brotherhood)
p9, panel 2 (Lawholder)
p10, panel 2 (Brotherhood with braziers)
West Coast Avengers#28, p21, panel 3 (Brotherhood in red)
West Coast Avengers#28 (January, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), David Hunt (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe#20 (February, 1988)
Avengers III#57-60 (October, 2002 - January, 2003) - Geoff Johns (writer), Kieron Dwyer (pencils), Rick Remender (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Last Updated: 09/22/15
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