Real Name: Cornelius Van Lunt
Identity/Class: Human, technology user
Occupation: Crimelord, businessman
Group Membership: Zodiac Cartel;
formerly Great Wheel (Aquarius (John Garrett) Aries (Leonardo Da Vinci), Cancer (Viktor Uvarov), Capricorn (Vasili Dassaiev), Gemini (Nick Fury), Kraken (Daniel Whitehall), Libra (Timothy Dugan), Pisces (Shoji Soma), Sagittarius (Wolfgang von Strucker), Scorpio (Jake Fury), Virgo (Thomas Davidson) )
Affiliations: Jason Birch, Fedders, Regis Fusskey, Searcher#1;
see also the Catalogue of Correspondences for Gaea from Ian McNee's reading of the First Tarot
Enemies: Avengers (Black Panther, Captain America, Goliath (Clint Barton), Hawkeye, Iron Man, Mantis, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Tigra, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man, Yellowjacket), Nick Fury, Iron Man (James Rhodes), Rick Jones, Maggia, Menace, Red Wolf, Split-Second Squad, Rebecca Talltrees, Thomas Talltrees, William Talltrees, Zodiac (LMDs)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: New York City
First Appearance: Avengers I#72 (January, 1970)
Powers/Abilities: Taurus wore a costume outfitted with a pair of horns, and favoured ramming his opponents in combat. Van Lunt was also a brilliant businessman, and an expert astrologer. During the period when the rest of the Zodiac Cartel did not know Van Lunt was Taurus, he would speak in a gruff lower-class voice when wearing the Taurus costume.
Taurus often carried a Star-Blazer, a pistol which drew its power "from the stars," converting solar energy into powerful energy blasts capable of stunning Thor.
(Secret Warriors#25 (fb) ) - In 1961 Leonardo Da Vinci invited Van Lunt to the Pieta base in Rome, Italy to become a member of the Great Wheel. Leonardo offered everyone at the meeting the chance to get what they needed to win their quiet wars in exchange for a little help, which would in return win them Leonardo's approval.
Leonardo sent Dugan, Uvarov, Van Lunt and von Strucker on a mission to the Zargos Mountains to secure a base full of chambers that were essentially augmentation/rejuvination devices. Van Lunt was present when the chambers were set up in Pieta and stolen by the Russians Uvarov, Dassaiev and their soldiers. Van Lunt silently fled the scene.
(Avengers I#77 (fb)) - Cornelius Van Lunt once used unethical business practices to force Wilkins into bankruptcy. He then made Wilkins his secretary.
(Untold Tales of Spider-Man#21 - BTS) - The Van Lunt Trading Company was invaded by Menace, one of several criminals masquerading as an evil mutant. One of the employees managed to escape the building and alert others, which led to the X-Men and Spider-Man intervening, and ultimately defeating Menace.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#20: Zodiac (fb) - BTS) - The Zodiac Cartel was founded by Cornelius van Lunt, handpicking the eleven other members; van Lunt served as Zodiac's financier, and concealed his own identity, while he was the only one who knew the identities of the others. Each member was based in a different American city as part of his nationwide criminal network, with the ultimate goal of world economic and political domination.
(Avengers I#80 (fb)) - Van Lunt attempted to purchase land on a Cheyenne reserve, despite the hostile reactions of the locals. He threatened violent retaliation against the reservation if they didn't accept his offer. With the assistance of Jason Birch, Van Lunt eventually attempted to coerce Thomas Talltrees into accepting an offer, but William Talltrees drove Van Lunt and Birch away. Van Lunt then had Birch kill Thomas and Rebecca Talltrees in retaliation.
(Avengers I#72) - Taurus attended a gathering of the Zodiac made by Scorpio, who had captured the Avengers, only to discover that Nick Fury was masquerading as Scorpio, and the Avengers set themselves loose to battle them. Taurus attempted to charge Goliath, but struck down Aquarius when he dodged him. Taurus was able to flee when Aries distracted the Avengers with the Zodiac Key.
(Avengers I#77 (fb)) - Van Lunt attempted a takeover of Stark Industries, forcing the Avengers to pay an enormous back rent sum to Tony Stark in order to assist him. When the Avengers set out to solicit financial aid, Van Lunt offered to pay off their debt if they would come to work for him for one week.
(Avengers I#77) - Van Lunt put to the Avengers to work as a demolition team, destroying old properties of his. Later, he had them perform a repair job to a tunnel near one of Van Lunt's banks. The Split-Second Squad, a band of criminals gathered by Wilkins, attacked the Avengers during their duties because they worked for Van Lunt, and the Avengers defeated them for Van Lunt. Van Lunt was pleased with the Avengers' services, but they were disgusted for having aided him.
(Avengers I#80 (fb) - BTS) - Under the direction of Aries (Marcus Lassiter), Zodiac regrouped and began plotting their takeover of Manhattan.
(Avengers I#80 (fb)) - William Talltrees, now the Red Wolf, spied upon Jason Birch and Van Lunt in New York, intending to obtain his vengeance.
(Avengers I#81) - When the Avengers and Red Wolf came to confront Van Lunt, he sent a Zodiac craft to engage them, but the Vision was able to bring down the vessel. Van Lunt managed to take the Scarlet Witch hostage in an attempt to force the Vision to obey him, while he sent his men to attack the locals who hand't given up their land. When Goliath came to confront Van Lunt, the Vision was forced to defend Van Lunt from him. As the Red Wolf rallied the locals against Van Lunt and set off to destroy a dam Van Lunt had built, Van Lunt led his men to the dam to stop them, but the Scarlet Witch freed herself just as the dam burst, and van Lunt was swept away by the rush of water, along with his men.
(Daredevil I#69 - BTS) - Zodiac backed the Thunderbolts gang, directing them to dupe other African-Americans into joining a seeming revolution against oppression, when they were really just common criminals; the Thunderbolts were defeated by the Black Panther, Daredevil, and William Carver.
(Avengers I#82 - BTS) - Aries led the forces of Zodiac to ambush the Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Quicksilver, and Thor), using gas to incapacitate then within Avengers Mansion, after which they were placed within stasis.
Aries then led the forces of Zodiac to take over Manhattan, entrapping it within a force field, and threatening to slay the entire population if they did not receive one billion dollars within 24 hours time. The Black Panther and Daredevil freed the imprisoned Avengers, and Aries was apparently slain in the ensuing conflict. The army captured Zodiac's mercenary soldiers, and the force field was deactivated. The rest of the Zodiac Cartel escaped capture.
(Avengers I#120) - Van Lunt visited Joshua Link in prison and revealed to him that he was Taurus, and that the Zodiac intended to slay all the Geminis with their Star-Blaster, except for Link himself, who Van Lunt helped escape. He then led the entire Zodiac to assault the Avengers in their own mansion, just to send them a message. They went about setting up the Star-Blaster on the World Trade Center, but the Avengers intervened. Taurus was able to halt them by threatening to slay Mantis with the Star-Blaster.
(Avengers I#121) - The Scarlet Witch ruined the Star-Blaster with one of her hexes, but the Zodiac were able to escape when Aries threw Mantis from the tower, distracting their foes. Later, Van Lunt held a meeting at one of his warehouses with Aries, Scorpio, Cancer, Pisces, Aquarius, Leo and Sagittarius, who wanted Van Lunt's help in overthrowing Taurus, having no idea who he really was. When the Avengers arrived, Van Lunt escaped, and revealed his double identity to his enemies before launching the entire warehouse into space to kill them.
(Avengers I#122) - Taurus informed the remaining members of the Zodiac what he had done. Later, he met with Gemini, but soon realized that it was Link's brother Damian that he was dealing with, not Joshua, and that Libra was trying to distract him. Libra helped the Avengers and rogue Zodiac members return to Earth and confront Taurus' Zodiac, but Taurus observed to the traitors that if they helped the Avengers, they'd still go to prison. The traitors returned to Taurus' side, but they were all bested by the Avengers regardless.
(Avengers I#123) - The Avengers turned Taurus over to the authorities along with the rest of the Zodiac, except for Libra.
(Avengers I#124) - When the Avengers required Van Lunt's Star-Blaster in order to confront the extra-terrestrial Star-Stalker, they requested Van Lunt's aid in operating the machine, and received it.
(Ghost Rider II#7 (fb)) - Van Lunt was able to avoid prison time thanks to his connections, causing Aquarius to grow bitter towards him.
(Ghost Rider II#7 - BTS) - As the One-Man Zodiac, Aquarius attempted to have his revenge upon Van Lunt by attacking his properties, but his soul was claimed by the Devil before he could obtain his personal vengeance.
(Iron Man I#183 - BTS) - Van Lunt hatched a brilliant scheme to move in on turf run by the Maggia.
(Iron Man I#183) - Van Lunt's base in Manhattan was invaded by the Taurus LMD, hired by the Maggia to kill Van Lunt. Unable to contact the rest of the Zodiac Cartel, Van Lunt contacted Regis Fusskey, and had him hire Iron Man to come and rescue him. Van Lunt used an electroblaster on the LMD, but it had no effect. He was saved by Iron Man, who engaged in a lengthy brawl with the LMD before destroying it with his unibeam. With the LMD's defeat, Van Lunt now became concerned that Iron Man would target his operations.
(Iron Man I#184) - Taurus held a viewscreen-only meeting with the other 11 Zodiac members, during which he explained his intent to destroy Iron Man with a bomb to prevent him from investigating the cartels. Van Lunt planted the bomb inside of James Rhodes' moving truck, knowing that Rhodes had some connection to Iron Man, but Rhodes found it before it went off. Van Lunt asked Aries for assistance, and later Aquarius, but both men also failed in their attempts to kill Iron Man and his friends.
(West Coast Avengers II#26) - While attending a meeting of the Zodiac in Dallas, Texas, Taurus was ambushed by the Zodiac LMDs, who had come to take the cartel's place in the underworld. Only Taurus survived their attack, and managed to flee from Scorpio. He traveled to Stark Enterprises to see if Iron Man would aid him; finding Iron Man and Henry Pym there, he had them bring him to the Avengers Compound so that he could make his case. With all of the West Coast Avengers gathered, he told them he would help defeat the LMDs by using his knowledge of astrology, and promised Moon Knight on the moon of Taurus that he would go straight. He then set the Avengers after the LMDs, who he predicted were in Dallas, Texas.
(West Coast Avengers II#27) - Taurus later informed the Avengers that the LMDs' next target would be the Denver Mint, but later second-guessed himself, not certain if the LMDs would strike the San Francisco or Philadelphia Mints instead.
(West Coast Avengers II#28) - The Avengers brought Taurus with them cuffed aboard their Quinjet as they set after the LMDs, after failing to catch them at the Denver Mint, and Taurus directed them to Death Valley. After the Avengers and LMDs were all teleported to the Ankh Dimension, Taurus contacted some of his allies with the Quinjet's equipment to come and set him free.
(West Coast Avengers II#29) - Taurus sought out the Shroud and offered him the position of Pisces in the new Zodiac cartel he intended to form, but he was pursued by Moon Knight, who had come for vengeance for Van Lunt having broken his oath. Taurus attempted to flee, but Moon Knight pursued him to the outskirts of Los Angeles. Taurus desperately tried to escape by commandeering an airplane, but Moon Knight had already stolen aboard as the pilot. As they fought aboard the plane, Taurus managed to throw Moon Knight out, but he grabbed onto a wing of the plane, causing it to dive. In trying to shake Moon Knight off, Taurus accidentally blasted a hole through the plane's roof. Unable to pilot a plane himself, he grasped desperately at the controls. The last thing he saw was the Moon Knight, hovering to safety using his cape as a parachute. The airplane spun to the ground in a blaze of fire.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema and Sam Grainger.
As a Taurus, Cornelius Van Lunt was born between April 20th and May 20th.
There's actually a good chance that Van Lunt survived his crash, should anyone care to revive the Zodiac. It's always possible he simply grabbed a parachute.
Van Lunt was first listed as a member of the Great Wheel in Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors#1 (December, 2009)
Profile by Prime Eternal
Taurus should not be confused with:
Fedders was a scientist employed by Cornelius Van Lunt, and was fully aware of his activities within the Zodiac. His laboratory was attacked by the Taurus LMD, but he was not harmed. He fell into the clutches of the LMD's superiors in the Maggia, but was rescued from them by Iron Man, who forced him to explain what Van Lunt had been up to.
--Iron Man I#183
Images taken from:
Avengers I#72, page 13
Avengers I#77, cover
Fedders- Iron Man I#183, page 2, panel 2
Last updated: 10/23/13
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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