Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Possible abstract entity (see comments)
Occupation: Manifestation of Fear
Group Membership: Unknown connection to the Fear Lords
Enemies: Odin, Thor, all living beings
Known Relatives: Desire (wife)
Base of Operations: "The Domain of the Dark Man",
in the eastern most point of Nornheim, bordering Varinheim;
The Dark Man's throne room is lined by the petrified forms of those who faced him and were turned to stone by his wife.
First Appearance: Thor I#323 (September, 1982)
Powers/Abilities: The Dark Man is apparently immune to
physical harm; though he can appear to suffer injuries, such as decapitation, he
can restore himself with minimal effort. He apparently feeds off (or at least
thoroughly enjoys) the emotion of fear, and he may even be able to directly
stimulate that emotion. He is immensely strong (Class 100) and durable,
effectively immortal, and can fire blasts of destructive energy. He carries a
large axe through which he sometimes channels his power.
However, despite his power, he cannot harm those who do not fear him.
History: The origins of the Dark Man are unknown.
(Thor I#323 (fb) - BTS) - All beings encounter the Dark Man (Fear) and his bride, Desire, many times in their lives; they are the great destroyers of warriors, and every warrior's companion.
(Thor I#323 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in the past, the Dark Man and Desire encountered the young Odin, who was one of the few to provide him with a challenge; still the Dark Man saw his own reflection within Odin's eyes. Odin eventually recognized the Dark Man for what he really was, and thus escaped death at his hands. Still, the encounter left a bad taste in Odin's mouth.
(Thor I#323) - Centuries ago, after Thor earned possession of
Mjolnir, but before he was fully grown, he accompanied Loki and the Warriors
Three (Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg) on a ride into Nornheim, seeking adventure.
Thor quieted an approaching storm, but suddenly dark clouds began to form again,
as the Dark Man approached and confronted them. Though Thor attempted to appease
the angry stranger, Loki goaded him into conflict, and he accepted the Dark
Man's challenge. Thor was allowed to strike the first blow, decapitating the
stranger, who simply walked over to his head and put it back on. The Dark Man
then told him that Thor must lay himself open to the Dark Man's strength, but
that he would have to first journey to his lands, and he then took off. Loki
accompanied Thor initially, but when they encountered the Dark Man's bride, Loki
became fearful and fled.
Thor resisted the woman, but when he crossed the bridge into the Dark Man's land, it collapsed under the weight of his living breath. His steed fell to its death, but he managed to grasp the cliff wall, climb it, and continue his destiny. The Dark Man then galloped by on his steed, and Thor followed him to his castle, where the Dark Man ambushed him, flattening him with a single blow. His bride tried to halt the conflict, but Thor pushed her away and continued the struggle. The Dark Man fought back, using his strength and energy blasts, taunting Thor with a previous battle against Odin. As the force of their conflict escalated, the Dark Man's castle shattered under the power unleashed. Thor crawled out of the rubble, but the Dark Man appeared virtually unscathed, telling Thor that death was calling his name. The exhausted Thor complained that he must not die where none could witness it and tell others of his legend, but when he hurled his hammer, it failed to even reach the Dark Man. As the Dark Man approached, axe held high, he asked Thor if he knew who he was; Thor responded "Thou art death incarnate!", and the Dark Man responded, "Your death, perhaps...but no, I am not death!" However, as the Dark Man prepared the killing stroke, Thor told him that he would not beg for mercy, and wished that his father might know his son died not a coward, but a true son of Odin.
Thor's love washed away his fear and pride, breaking the Dark Man's power over him. Acknowledging that Thor had overcome his blustering pride and boyish terrors, the Dark Man offered his own horse for Thor as a gift to his father, then transported him back to Asgard. Odin recognized it as a gift from the Dark Man and sent it back to him, wanting nothing to do with him or his wife.
Comments: Created by Steven Grant, Greg LaRocque, and Ricardo Villamonte.
I always loved this story. I think it is the first Thor comic I read. I still have the version I picked up at a flea market for $.10, as I bought it, without the cover.
I thought he should have been included in the Fear Lords story arc, but I also wouldn't have wanted to see him getting his ass kicked by anyone.
The Dark Man's origins are unclear, though as Odin claims all beings meet both him (and Desire), it would seem more likely that he was the actual manifestation of Fear, rather than a God of Fear, who would otherwise be under Odin's dominion.
Profile by Snood.
No known connection to:
DARK MAN, a movie character adapted into a Marvel Comics version
DARK MAN of the Hyborian era - see BRULE the Spear-Slayer.
dark idol worshipped by the Dark Men (a tribe of Picts)--REH’s The Dark Men; Savage Tales I#4
other "Dark" or "Man" or "Fear" characters
Desire has no known connection to:
The wife of the Dark Man, she is apparently the manifestation of Desire, and is thus possibly connected to Mistress Love. She appears before those challenged by her husband, attempting to turn them away from him by tempting them with passion. Those who succumb to her are transformed into stone. Thor (and Odin before him) resisted her, wishing only to prove himself in combat against the Dark Man.
As she kisses a man, she can transform them into stone. She also possesses relatively small wings which enable her to fly, and she is presumably immune to aging, disease, or conventional injury.
images: (page number)
Thor I#323, p5, panel 2 (Dark Man body)
p8, panel 6 (Desire body)
p9, panel 1 (Desire face)
p15, panel 2 (Dark Man face)
Last updated: 04/02/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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