The Dark Rider reveals himself to the astonished Dr. DoomTHE DARK RIDER

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Demon; formerly "human" (or non-human wizard race), magic user

Occupation: Wizard, seeker of magic beings, would-be ruler of lesser beings

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Cotton Mather, his cat, his Night Bird

Enemies: Dr. Doom (Victor Von Doom), Moondragon, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Vision;
    formerly the men of the Last Age of Wizards

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Rider of Time, the Master of Time

Place of Birth: Pre-historic Earth

Base of Operations: Salem, Massachusetts, USA (17th century);
    formerly the First Age of man;
    formerly the Last Age of the Wizards (pre-historic Earth)

First Appearance: Marvel Team-Up I#42 (February, 1976)

Powers/Abilities: The Dark Rider had vast, powerful magic powers, the most part of which remains unknown. He knew how to summon demons and how to entrap time. He seemed immortal, or at least, very long life-spanned. He could absorb power from other beings, transforming it into energy to feed on, to use and, probably to prolong his life. He could absorb power simply by being near the person who held the power. The lesser the distance, the more the draining. He could also increase his size. The holder of the power could feel loss and weakness due to the draining process. The Dark Rider could absorb also records and knowledge of a person. The Dark Rider was able to grant special powers to other beings. The Dark Rider transformed normal animals like a bird and a cat into greater beasts under his control (he probably empowered Cotton Mather with some special powers). The Dark Rider could fire magic blasts, and probably any other energy absorbed from his victims. He probably could also travel in time and/or have other people to do the same.
    The Dirk Rider used a long knife, the Soul Blade, to quickly drain the power of his victims, and other special equipment for the same purpose.

Height: 15'
Weight: 3125 lbs.
Eyes: Black
Hair: Grey

head shotHistory:
(Marvel Team-Up I#44 (fb)) - In the Last Age of the Wizards (at least 25,000 years ago according to the Mystic Aracana Handbook), the most powerful of the wizards was the being known as the Master of Time. He, like the other wizards, summoned and bound demons. The wizards became equal to the demons and mastered the dark laws of magic science. They entrapped time itself in their Towers of Magic and became lords of the "lesser" forms of life who lived under the Towers.

    The men (the lesser forms of life) rebelled and attacked the Towers. The wizards were all slain except for the Master of Time, also known as the Dark Rider. He abandoned the world (he probably traveled to another Era). It was the First Age of man.

(Marvel Team-Up I#44 (fb) - BTS) - Many men served the Dark Rider but they all died out while the Rider lived on. At an unspecified time the Rider met Cotton Mather, who was a seeker and persecutor of people gifted with magic. The Dark Rider plagued Cotton Mather to act as his pawn. He sent his servant in 1691, at Salem, Massachussets where the man fomented the Witchhunt using the fear and ignorance still present in the village.

The Dark Rider absorbs Dr. Doom's powers(Marvel Team-Up I#41) - Cotton Mather traveled to the 20th century (probably helped by the Dark Rider) and captured the Scarlet Witch in the Castle of Latveria. Cotton Mather brought Wanda back in the 17th century. Using Dr. Doom's Time Machine, Spider-Man and the Vision also followed her to 1692.

(Marvel Team-Up I#43 (fb) - BTS) - The Dark Rider slowly and secretly started to absorb the Scarlet Witch's magic powers.

(Marvel Team-Up I#42 - BTS) - Dr. Doom, attracted by an unspecified power from the Dark Rider traveled back in time to the Salem Village of the 1962.

(Marvel Team-Up I#42) - On the night between August, 17th and 18th, 1692, on his dark stallion, the Dark Rider, shining in the night, arrived near the Salem Village and met Cotton Mather. Mather was attacked by Spider-Man and Vision. The Dark Rider transformed a bird into the Night Bird that attacked Spider-Man. Vision eyeblasted the Night Bird, and it died burning. Dr. Doom arrived on the scene.






The Dark Rider obliges Cotton Mather to use the Soul Blade on the heroes


(Marvel Team-Up I#43) - The Dark Rider secretly started to absorb Dr. Doom's latent magic powers (and, probably, his memories). He initially talked to Doom, thus delaying the fight and draining more power from him. Spider-Man and Vision tried to attack him but the Dark Rider had a cat grow larger than a tiger and hold back the two heroes. The Scarlet Witch arrived on the scene and killed the cat. Meanwhile the Dark Rider grew in dimensions thanks to the power absorbed from Dr. Doom and Scarlet. Doom energy-blasted the Dark Rider without any result. Spider-Man distracted the Rider, but only the Vision stopped him for a while with his heat eyebeams. The Rider, however, absorbed the flames around him and, with the same energy, blasted Vision, knocking him down. The Scarlet Witch bound the Dark Rider with her last spell but, using Doom's scientific knowledge, the Rider freed himself and knocked both Dr. Doom and Spider-Man down. It was August, 18th, 1692.

(Marvel Team-Up I#44) - The Dark Rider built machinery to absorb the heroes' powers more quickly. Meanwhile, a spell sent by Scarlet Witch had transported Moondragon to the scene. The Rider gave the Soul Blade to Mather, to kill the heroes and let all their power flow into the Rider's body. Moondragon intervened, stopped Mather and hitting the Dark Rider with a mind blast. The Rider staggered, but started to absorb Moondragon's power, too. The two were mentally linked, and Moondragon could see his memories. Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch and Vision awoke and freed Dr. Doom. Victor Von Doom, using his latent magic power on the Dark Rider, caused him to scream in pain, the other heroes joined the attack, and the Rider fell. Then he burnt in cinder. Cotton Mather became mad, trying to tell the history of the Dark Rider but nobody believed him. It was August, 19th, 1692





Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito/Dave Hunt.

For further discussion on the Salem Witch Trials, see the profile for: Charity Brown.

    From the Dark Rider's memories it seems that the Last Age of Wizards came just before the First Age of man (if the First Age of man is the Age of the Aryas' sons, then the Last Age of Wizards could be the Hyborian Era. In the first panel depicting the Last Age of Wizards we can see a vulcan erupting. It may mean that the Last Age of Wizards started with the Great Cataclysm, or a lesser Cataclysm, or none of these).
    Actually, I'd place the Last Age of Wizards as pre-Cataclysmic, perhaps somewhere b/t 100, 000 B.C. and 30, 000 B.C. Just my take. I'd consider placing the Dark Rider as a contemporary of Thulsa Doom, and the Wizards as one more pre-human race on ancient Earth.
In the Marvel Team-Up Index Olshevsky was not sure when the Age of Wizards took place in relation to the First Host of the Celestials, but he guessed it preceded by thousands of years the time of Kull.
--Per Degaton

    It seems like the Hunt to the Witches in Salem was fomented by Mather with the purpose to find "food" for the Dark Rider or only to cover the Dark Rider's activities in that area/period of time.

    It's not clear how the Dark Rider knew about Dr. Doom, his Time Machine, the Scarlet Witch, and the 20th Century (probably he could also see in the future, he was also named Master of Time, after all), nor was it known what power he employed to attract Doom in 1962.

    The Rider knew Dr. Doom's past. I think he read it from Victor's mind.

    If in the Salem's neighborhood real witches lived , the end of the witchhunt could depend from the Dark Rider's presence. He could have drained most part of the magic power in the zone, leaving real witches without powers and/or defense.

    I don't know if the voyage in the past of the Earth-616 heroes has spawned an alternative timestream. IF so, from the Scarlet Witch arrival in Salem, this reality should be named Earth-4176.
    Yes...Marvel Team-Up Index declared that the Salem seen in that MTU story was that of an alternate Earth due to the time travel involved, and that therefore that was not the same Tituba as seen in Dracula Lives!
--Per Degaton

    I give this some credence since it is from an Official Index, but the rules of time travel are not hard and fast. They vary with author, etc. Generally, I think that it is possible to travel to the past with time machines. Sometimes actions taken by time travels can affect the past (or, more accurately, those events had actually occurred in the past, they just had not been previously revealed). Sometimes past actions actually do change the present. Most often, changes in the past diverge a new timeline.
    The way I see it is if the Dark Rider was revealed as the orchestrator of the Salem Witch Trials and the outcome was the same as prior to this information being revealed, it does not have to be an alternate timeline. In fact, the Dark Rider may well have traveled forward in time to 1691, so that would not have created a divergent timeline (if Captain America traveled to Earth-691 @ 3000 AD and interacted with the Guardians of the Galaxy, that would not create a divergent reality (unless it were the Guardians' past). So the Dark Rider was already there. Since the Dark Rider did not conquer the world in 1691 in Earth-616, it can be presumed that this is because he was defeated by the time-traveling heroes. I see no alternate reality evidence in this case. Earth-616 AFAIC.

Dark Rider has a one page profile (not very informative) as one of "Spider-Man's Forgotten Foes!" in Web of Spider-Man Annual#3 and a full profile in Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic.
--Markus Raymond

Profile by Spidermay

The Dark Rider has no known connections to

The Soul Blade has no known connections to

Marvel Team-Up I#43, p7, pan1 (Dark Rider, full body)
Marvel Team-Up I#43, p11, pan12 (Dark Rider, head shot)
Marvel Team-Up I#44, p4/5, pan1 (Dark Rider's draining machinery)
Marvel Team-Up I#44, p6, pan2 (Dark Rider's Souls' Blade)

Marvel Team-Up I#42-44 (February-April, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito & Dave Hunt (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Web of Spider-Man Annual#3 (1987) - Roger Stern (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)

First Posted: 12/13/2005
Last updated: 05/16/2011

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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