CYRUS BLACK

Real Name: Cyrus Black

Identity/Class: Human magic user

Occupation: Sorcerer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Beast of Nohel, Hashid, Nebuchadnezzar, Serpent of Rham, Watoomb, Xandu

Enemies: Defenders (Dr. Strange, Nighthawk, Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner, Valkyrie)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Devil Incarnate

Base of Operations: New York City, New York

First Appearance: Defenders I#6 (June, 1973)

Powers/Abilities: Using magic, Black created a force-field to cover a city block, fired bolts of bedevilment, created mystic ladders, and could cast a spell of protection.  Under the influence of his Jamaican incense, Black could dream anything to life and bestow any powers upon it so long as he believed it was real.

History: (Dr. Strange II#34 (fb)) - In the dimension of Watoomb, the entity of Watoomb sought to pass his wand on to a worthy adept. Two Earth mystics, Steven Strange and Cyrus Black, were both given half of the Wand of Watoomb to battle with and Strange won the full wand, though Black's half later ended up in the hands of another sorcerer, Xandu. Black returned to Earth disheartened and considered giving up the occult, but instead furthered his studies, his only companion his rat, Nebuchadnezzar.

(Defenders I#6 (fb) - BTS) - A bitter Black spent the following years studying and training so that he might come back and defeat Strange.  He made pilgrimages, studied at the feet of adepts, killed to obtain forbidden books, and gathered a following of men.  Calling himself the Devil Incarnate, he set up shop in a house in New York City with his rat Nebuchadnezzar and prepared for revenge.

(Defenders I#5 - BTS) - Two of Cyrus Black's operatives, including Hashid, stalked near Dr. Strange's mansion and attacked Strange's ally, the Valkyrie.  She was easily besting them, and was then joined by Dr. Strange.  Both villains were quickly defeated.

(Defenders I#6) - Wrapping the block in a force field, Black and his men moved in to attack Strange and his allies.  Black created mystic ladders for his men to invade Strange's mansion, and burst Strange's doors open.  When Black's men fell all around him, he fired bolts of bedevilment, but missed.  Before he could cast a spell of protection over himself, Strange drained Black's mystical energies.  Black retreated to his home where he lashed out.  Needing calm, he lit some new Jamaican incense he had and went to sleep, his rat on his chest.  He had a nightmare where Nebuchadnezzar grew to giant size and attacked him.  When Black awoke, he saw his rat shrinking and realized the incense had given him the power to dream things to life.  He quickly returned to sleep and dreamed the Beast of Nohel to life to attack Strange and his allies, but the beast was quickly defeated.  He then dreamed the mythical Serpent of Rham to life, but the creatures defeated it as well.  Black then dreamed himself to be more powerful and threatening and had his dream-self attack Strange.  Completely resistant to their attacks, the dream self almost defeated the heroes until Namor reminded Black that this version of him was not real.  Panicking, Black awakened and his dream self dissipated.  Morose, Black left wondering if he'd ever try again to defeat Strange.

(Tales to Astonish II#13/2) - Seeking revenge on the Defenders but wary because his power had proven insufficent against the entire team in the past, Black targeted one of their number, Nighthawk, as he flew overhead. Duping a trio of children into putting on the Rings of Rankhor as part of a "game," Black encouraged the youths to become the most powerful warriors of their wildest dreams, and they became doppelgangers of Captain America, the Hulk, and Spider-Man. Investigating the flash of light released in the transformation, Nighthawk was attacked by the transformed youths at Black's prompting. Recognizing the nature of his opponents but unable to overpower them, Nighthawk removed his glove and took off his own ring and dropped it to the ground, telling the kids that he was tired of this game and wanted to play another. Agreeing that it was no fun with Cyrus Black always telling them what to do, the kids followed suit and returned to normal. Nighthawk then punched Black out and decided to take him to Dr. Strange for safekeeping.

(Dr. Strange II#34 (fb) - Disheartened after this defeat, Black wandered the streets until an apparition of the extradimensional Nightmare appeared before him, and Black learned that Nightmare had been the source of his dream power in order to test Black's desire for true revenge against Dr. Strange. Nightmare took Black to his realm, where Black became proficient in an ancient magic of which no earth sorcerer was aware. He adopted a new costume and planned his revenge on Strange.

(Dr. Strange II#34) - Using Nebuchadnezzar as a familiar, Black transported Strange to Nightmare's dimension and held him in the clamps on containment as Black explained his origins. Strange escaped and the two sorcerers engaged in a mystic battle, using such spells as the Crimson Bands of Cytorrak, the Flames of Faltine, the Vipers of Valtorr, and the Mists of Munnopor. Black refused to slay Strange, even when Nightmare demanded it, as Black wanted Strange to suffer, but a blinding flash from Strange's Eye of Agamotto caught Black offguard and made him face the self-truth of his inadequacy. Feeling depressed and self-aware, Black ignored Nightmare's orders to kill Strange with a spell of dissolution and instead turned the spell on himself, seemingly killing himself.

(New Avengers I#53) - The Eye of Agamotto appeared to Cyrus Black as it considered him a possible replacement for Dr. Strange as Sorcerer Supreme.

Comments: Created by Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), and Frank McLaughlin (inks).

Thanks to Brandon Nash for pointing out the Beast of Nohel's name was revealed in Cyrus Black's profile in Defenders: Strange Heroes (2012).

Profile by Chadman.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Character name has no known connections to:


Hashid

(Defenders I#5) - Hashid and another ally of Cyrus Black's attacked Valkyrie outside Dr. Strange's mansion.  She and Dr. Strange quickly defeated the men.

Hashid possessed no known super-powers, but seemed very agile and proficient with a knife.





--Defenders I#5


Nebuchadnezzar

(Dr. Strange II#34 (fb)) - Nebuchadnezzar was the pet rat of Earth sorcerer Cyrus Black.

(Defenders I#6) - Nebuchadnezzar was dreamed to giant size by the incense-powered Black.  The rat moved to eat Black, who quickly awakened and the rat reverted to normal size.  After Black's defeat, he left in shame, leaving the rat by itself.

(Dr. Strange II#34) - Black used Nebuchadnezzar as a familiar to transport Strange to another dimension. Later, the rat was seen foraging outside Strange's window.

Nebuchadnezzar possessed great strength and savagery when powered by Black's dreams.  He normally has no known special powers.

--Defenders I#6 (Defenders I#6, Doctor Strange II#34 (fb), 34


Serpent of Rham and the Beast of Nohel

(Defenders I#6) - Mythical creatures, the Serpent of Rham and the Beast of Nohel were created by the incense-powered Cyrus Black to battle the Defenders.  The beast was quickly defeated by the Silver Surfer's power cosmic.  The Serpent had two of its heads sliced off by Valkyrie's ebony blade before it was dispersed by a punch from Namor.

Both creatures appeared in a burst of smoke, brought to life by Black.  Both appeared to have great strength and savagery, but both were defeated relatively quickly.







--Defenders I#6


images:
Dr. Strange II#34, cover
Dr. Strange II#34, p8, pan1
Defenders I#5, p3, pan3 (Hashid)
Dr. Strange II#34, p3, pan2 (Nebuchadnezzar)
Defenders I#6, p16, pan5 (Serpent of Rham)
Defenders I#6, p16, pan1 (Beast of Nohel)


Appearances:
Defenders I#5-6 (April, June, 1973) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Frank McLaughlin (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Dr. Strange II#34 (April, 1979) - Ralph Macchio (writer), Tom Sutton (penciler), Craig Russell (inker), Al Milgrom (editor)
Tales to Astonish II#13 (December, 1980) - Naomi Basher (writer), Alan Kupperberg (penciler), Bill Wray (inker), Jim Shooter (editor)
New Avengers I#53 (July, 2009) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Billy Tan (pencils), Matt Banning (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 09/03/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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