DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD
Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Wraithworld) demon
Occupation: Uh...being demonic?
Group Membership: Demons of Wraithworld
Affiliations: In-Betweener, Living Tribunal, "Piper of Peril"
Enemies: Dr. Strange, Rom
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations:
An other-dimensional "realm of unreality"
linked to Wraithworld;
originally Wraithworld, Dark Nebula
First Appearance: Rom#40 (March, 1983)
Powers/Abilities: The Dweller on the Threshold claimed to be one of the "dark forces that exist, part and parcel of the planet (Wraithworld) itself." Rom described him as "a mystic embodiment of the Dark Nebula's Black Sun" and "Wraith magic incarnate."
As a powerful mystical entity, the Dweller probably possessed numerous magical abilities but only a few were ever seen by Rom. First, while in his dormant state, the Dweller apparently rested in some other dimension (possibly the "realm of unreality" in which he later fought Rom). After being awakened by the Piper of Peril's Summons Song spell, the Dweller was able to open a rectangular doorway between him and Wraithworld.
Second, while standing within his doorway, the Dweller was able to resist the effects of Rom's Neutralizer by dispersing its beam to other worlds beyond his portal. However, once the Dweller was no longer standing "on the threshold" of his portal, he was unable to prevent the Neutralizer (when fired at close range) from banishing him to Limbo.
Third, the Dweller's power was able to reach out and distort Rom's cyborg body somewhat when they were both in the "realm of unreality."
Fourth, the Dweller was able to cause others to see specific illusions and, more importantly, could somehow make those others believe in the reality of those illusions no matter how impossible they actually were. During his battle with Rom, the Dweller made the Spaceknight see him as an innocent child and believe that that was his true appearance even though Rom had already seen his true form. The Dweller was also able to make Rom believe that by stepping through the Dweller's dimensional portal he would find himself on Galador where some of Rom's dead friends were all alive. The Dweller's influence caused Rom to accept this impossibility without question.
There is no evidence that the Dweller on the Threshold possessed actual, physical shape-shifting abilities like those of the Dire Wraiths.
Nothing is known about the origin of the Dweller on the Threshold. He (it?) could have been a creature created by the magic of the Dire Wraiths or he could have existed on Wraithworld even before the Wraiths arrived.
(Rom#41 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in the past, the Dweller on the Threshold apparently traveled to another dimension where he eventually went to sleep (possibly the "realm of unreality" in which he later fought Rom). Similarly, the other eldritch entities that existed as part of Wraithworld itself also became dormant (but exactly why they all did so has never been revealed).
(Rom#41 (fb) - BTS/Rom Annual#2) - Over 200 Earth years ago, Rom drove the Dire Wraiths off Wraithworld but did not destroy the dark forces that existed as part of the planet itself. Those eldritch entities remained dormant, awaiting only a mystic call to rise up again.
(Rom#27 - BTS) - The Dweller on the Threshold and the other eldritch entities on Wraithworld remained dormant even when Galactus tried (and ultimately failed) to consume the planet.
(Rom#40 (fb) - BTS) - As a Cosmic Alignment between the Black Sun of the Dark Nebula and Earth approached, the sorcerous Dire Wraiths on Earth made plans to use their soon-to-be heightened powers to transform the human children of Earth into incredibly-powerful Wraith-Slaves whom the Wraiths would then use to conquer Earth for them. One of these plans called for the "Piper of Peril" to summon the Dweller on the Threshold to Earth to transform the children.
(Rom#40) - On the night of the Cosmic Alignment between the Black Sun of the Dark Nebula and Earth, when the sorcerous powers of all Wraiths on Earth were at their peak, the "Piper of Peril" used his pipes to play his "Summons Song" spell which called across space to awaken the Dweller on the Threshold while opening a Cosmic Portal between Earth and Wraithworld. When the portal was fully open, the Piper stopped playing and addressed the children he had mesmerized into following him, telling them that:
this portal soon shall stream,
a thing of nightmares, not of dreams!
Welcome him! He comes for you!
To bring a change the Earth will rue!
When the Galadorian Spaceknight Rom appeared and confronted him, the Piper used his magic to bind Rom with bands of force. The Piper then resumed playing his Summons Song. Responding to the musical magic, the Dweller on the Threshold began to manifest himself amidst the lava flows of Wraithworld (as a figure framed by a door of light). As Rom struggled against his bonds, the Piper continued to play his pipes, causing the door of light containing the Dweller on the Threshold to move closer across the void towards the Cosmic Portal to Earth. Just before the Dweller was to arrive, the Piper boasted that Rom had already lost the final battle because the Dweller on the Threshold was here. Seeing that the demon had not yet stepped through the portal, a desperate Rom broke free from his bonds and used his Neutralizer to shred the Piper's magic and banish the Piper to Limbo. Rom then flew through the Cosmic Portal, grappling with the Dweller on the Threshold and forcing him back from the doorway between dimensions and away from Earth. As a result of this action, Rom and the Dweller ended up in a realm of unreality that was neither Earth nor Wraithworld.
(Rom#41) - Having broken free from Rom's grip, the Dweller on the Threshold returned to his previous position within his rectangular doorway which was now drifting in a realm between worlds. As the Dweller slowly came nearer to the moment when he could step through that dimension to Earth, Rom continued to fire his Neutralizer at the Dweller but the demon was able to disperse its power to other worlds beyond his portal.
During this stand-off, the Earth dimension's Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange, arrived to help Rom battle the Dweller but he was prevented from doing so by the Living Tribunal who stated that the Dweller on the Threshold would be allowed to reach Earth so as to restore the balance between good and evil magic on Earth. The Living Tribunal then summoned the In-Betweener to enforce its verdict by stopping Dr. Strange.
As Rom overheard the previous discussion, the Dweller used his power to reach across the dimensional void and cause reality to shift around Rom, forcing the cyborg's circuitry to approach overload and making him feel that he was being driven insane. Rom tried to regain some grip on his sanity by approaching his enemy, the only thing he knew was real in the altered reality, but the Dweller cast a spell upon Rom that made the Spaceknight see him as an innocent child. In this tempter's guise, the Dweller offered to grant Rom his soul's desire and make him a man again. As the entranced Rom knelt before him, the Dweller showed him that the world beyond his threshold was Galador where some of Rom's friends who had died during the war were all alive and at peace. Rom had just stepped into the portal when he was touched by a spell of awakening cast by Strange which canceled out the illusion that the Dweller had created.
Now that Rom could see that the portal led to Wraithworld, the Dweller confronted Rom and revealed that he was one of the dark forces that existed as part of the planet. As the Dweller tried to get past Rom to reach Earth, the Spaceknight fired his Neutralizer at him at close range, closing the portal between Wraithworld and Earth while banishing the Dweller on the Threshold to Limbo.
Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema (pencils), and Ian Akin & Brian Garvey (inks).
While the idea of a Cosmic Alignment between Earth and the Dark Nebula played a big part in several issues of ROM, it was never explained how a planet could come into "cosmic alignment" with another star system. As I understand it, the sorcery practiced by the Dire Wraiths was somehow linked to Wraithworld which itself received its dark magical power from the Black Sun's radiation. If so, then Wraithworld acted as a relay for the Black Sun, absorbing its energies and then retransmitting them in a form that the Dire Wraiths could use. Furthermore, I believe that Wraithworld also acted as a lens which focused the Black Sun's energies through it and out into space. Thus, when Wraithworld was aligned between the Black Sun and Earth, those energies were directed at Earth in concentrations similar to what was available within the Dark Nebula, thereby boosting the sorcerous powers of all Dire Wraiths on Earth to their peak levels. However, this is just my interpretation of those stories.
According to a High Wraith Witch (in Rom#36), "Once each year the heavens swing into unholy alignment! Across untold light years, the Black Sun of our dreaded Dark Nebula now casts its pall across the cosmos -- to Earth! Thus,as long as its shadow does cross that of Earth's, our Dire Wraith black magic is at its peak!"
A search for "Dweller on the Threshold" at the online encyclopedia Wikipedia produced the following result:
- "An invisible malevolent entity that attaches to
human being. The term was first used by Bulwer Lytton in his novel
- In theosophical literature, Helena P. Blavatsky affirms that the Dweller is not a fictitious entity. It is the discarded astral double of an individual in a previous life that may not have fully disintegrated yet when that individual is reborn. Thus the dweller will be drawn to the new incarnated personality due to their affinity.
- Van Morrison, who cites his interest in Theosophy in Rave on John Donne (see "Inarticulate Speech of the Heart"), refers to himself as a "Dweller on the Threshold" in the song of that name on the album "Beautiful Vision".
Also according to the CthulhuWiki, the Dweller on the Threshold is one of the avatars of Yog-Sothoth, who "is a fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. The being takes the form of a conglomeration of glowing spheres."
The Dweller on the Threshold has no known connections to
"Realm of Unreality"
The "realm of unreality" was a mystical dimension where the rules and restraints of Earthly physics did not apply. It was also called a "dimensional void" and a "realm between worlds."
Rom#41, p21, panel 3 (Dweller - full body)
Rom#41, p21, panel 4 (Dweller - head)
Rom#40, p20, panel 5 (Dweller in portal)
Rom#41, p13, panel 2 ("innocent child" guise)
Rom#42, p1 (mystical dimension)
Rom#40-41 (March-April, 1983) - Bill Mantlo (script), Sal Buscema (pencils), Akin & Garvey (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Last updated: 04/23/11
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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