Real Name: Tartessus

Identity/ClassDemon (Elderspawn)

Occupation: Demon, predator

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Formerly Calyxis

Enemies: Calyxis, Dr. Strange, Rintrah

Known RelativesSet (father), Ophions (spawn);
Demiurge (grandfather);
Chthon, Hyppus (uncles), Gaea, Issus, Osthur (aunts);
    Damballah, Dragon of the Moon, Phorcys, Siapep, Sligguth, Yamato-no-Orichi (brothers);
    Ishiti (sister);
progenitor to the Snake Clan;
    many relationships through siblings' descendents

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unidentified extradimensional realm

First Appearance: Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#51 (March, 1993)












Powers/Abilities: Tartessus was a giant demon, approximately 20' tall, possessing superhuman strength (Class 50-100?) and durability. Mystic bursts from the relative novice Rintrah were able to distract her sufficiently to make her drop her prey, though they did her no significant harm. She possessed sharp talons and a long, spiked, semi-prehensile tail. Her tongue (pictured on the right) would latch onto the face of her prey, siphoning his or her mind and soul and rendering him or her unable to resist in any way. Tartessus fed on souls to survive; it is unclear how long she could survive without feeding, though one might speculate that it had been 700 years since she had last accessed Earth (since the talisman was noted to be 700 years old), and she was near to starving to death at this point. It might be further speculated that she had only begun to regain her strength when she encountered Strange, and that she might be much more powerful after feeding on more souls.
    She apparently could not traverse dimensions on her own.
    Though she frequently spoke in some alien language, she would occasionally speak English, making comments like "Hunger!" or "Morsel!" indicating that feeding was her major motivator.

    Tartessus entered Earth via the "Talisman of Tartessus," which opened and closed the dimensional aperture, as well as placing Tartessus in psychic communion with those who held it, enabling communication between the two, and possibly enabling Tartessus to control the talisman's holder. It could be used by its holder to mentally enslave others (usually by placing it atop their heads). It further enabled the holder to mentally control the bodies of those whose souls Tartessus had already consumed, though this control could be disrupted by magical probing. The talisman was essentially a mouthed head, and, when in use, the jaws swung open such that the energy seemed to be discharged from its mouth.






(Marvel Tarot) - Tartessus is the daughter of the Elder God Set and the mother of Ophions.

(Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#51 (fb) - BTS) - Dwelling within her own realm, Tartessus could apparently only access Earth via the "Talisman of Tartessus," created at least over 700 years ago.
    The talisman was discovered in Spain by archeology student Calyxis. The talisman placed Calyxis in communion with Tartessus, who was apparently very near death. Calyxis allegedly rescued Tartessus and then fed her (human souls?) to restore her strength.
    Calyxis presumably returned to the USA and gathered a cult, offering to abundantly enrich them with the artifact, granting them new life. Cultists spread the word to others on the street.

(Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#51 (fb) - BTS) - Tartessus apparently consumed the life forces of those Calyxis brought to her.

(Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#51) - Calyxis' agents gave a pamphlet to Rintrah, who investigated the church out of which she worked. Calyxis began to summon Tartessus, and Rintrah attempted to disrupt the spell, scaring off most of the attendees, but Calyxis completed the ritual, and Tartessus hungrily reached through the portal and grabbed Rintrah. Asking Tartessus to wait, Calyxis probed Rintrah's mind and learned that he was connected to a far stronger being, and she decided they could use Rintrah to lure in even greater prey for Tartessus.
    Calyxis lured Dr. Strange to the church and mentally ensnared him with the talisman, then summoned Tartessus to feed on him. Tartessus eagerly rushed through the portal, slapping Calyxis aside as she approached Strange, then ignoring Calyxis' angry cries as she took Strange back to her realm. As soon as they entered Tartessus' realm, Strange was freed from the talisman's grip, but before he could clear his head and break free from Tartessus, she latched onto him with her mind/soul-siphon, leaving him powerless to resist her, though still conscious.
    Calyxis was furious at Tartessus' betrayal, and after Rintrah pulled the talisman from her hands -- seemingly freeing her from Tartessus' control -- she agreed to reopen the portal, allowing Rintrah to enter Tartessus' realm. Though Strange feared it was too late, Rintrah nailed Tartessus with a mystic bolt, causing her to release Strange. As Rintrah picked up the helpless Strange, Tartessus lashed out with her tail, slapping the two. Rintrah tossed Strange through the portal then delayed Tartessus with another blast, leapt through the portal, and had Calyxis close it before Tartessus could follow. Reasoning that the talisman was Tartessus' only way to access Earth, Rintrah -- ignoring Strange's warning that it might be booby trapped -- smashed the talisman, and was rendered a burnt out, apparently lifeless husk.

Comments: Created by Geof Isherwood.

    Tartessus is seen in Set's family tree in Marvel Tarot. It's not clear whether Tartessus was born on Earth or in another dimension, but as the child of Set, she would fit the Elderspawn (spawn of an Elder God) sub-set of Class One demons better than the Class Three demons, whose origins are generally not associated with Earth.

    Strange had noted exhaustion from his recent battle with Dormammu, which may be why he was so easily ambushed by Calyxis and so easily overpowered by Tartessus.

    I'm not convinced that Calyxis was totally under Tartessus' control and forced to do evil. She seemed like she had been willing, but then when Tartessus slapped her aside, she got angry and wanted vengeance. She could easily have been feigning regret when talking to Rintrah to avoid being punished.

    In Marvel Tarot, a number of fairies drew a picture of Rintrah and noted that he was not dead, more like a "cowterpillar in cowcoon. He come back all pretty soon."

The Ophions

    Historically they were a sect within the Gnostic Christians that began around 100AD. They believed the Serpent in Eden was mankind's savior rather than the big villain of Genesis. That may seem a little crazy, but the Gnostics thought that GOD could not have directly created the universe because it was so flawed, so they theorized that a "fallen angel" kind of being (known as Yahweh or more commonly as the Demiurge lol) made this mess. They believe that the Demiurge was the angry sometimes cruel God of the Old Testament. So, it kinda makes sense that if the God of Genesis is bad then the Serpent could be viewed as good. By encouraging them to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil, the Serpent helped Adam and Eve gain knowledge and see the tyrannical Yahweh/Demiurge for what he truly was. 

    The Ophions took the idea of the Sacred Serpent to an extreme and worshipped the Serpent of Eden and started to embellish other Biblical stories (like Leviathan) and then added Lion headed serpents and all kinds of things as their religion developed. There are still forms of the religion that exist today.
    For the purposes of MARVEL, I think they are the beginnings of the modern priests of Set. Set sees the growing power of the Christian Church and he tries to infiltrate it with Serpent Priests. In my mind I saw the descendents of Tartessus as being like Calyxis. Serpentine Sorcerers and Priestess (as opposed to warriors) who used guile and deception to further the cause of Set. Kind of like the Drow in D&D.
    Tartessus mated with a human male (then probably ate him) and had a hybrid child. The offspring did what Calyxis did and brought together followers. Feeding some to Momma T, breeding with some to create the Ophions.

--David Sexton

Profile by Snood.

No KNOWN connections to:

images: (without ads)
Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#51, p7 (hand grabbing Rintrah)
        p15 (full body)
        p18, panel 2 (mind/soul-siphon)
            panel 5 (Tartessus within own realm)

Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#51 (March, 1993) - by Geof Isherwood (story & art), Barry Dutter (assistant editor), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Marvel Tarot (October, 2007) - by David Sexton (writer/designer), Jeff Christiansen (continuity consultant), Michael D. Short & Cory Levine (assistant editors), Mark D. Beazley & Jennifer Grünwald (associate editors), Jeff Youngquist (editor)

First Posted: 08/04/2007
Last updated: 09/04/2010

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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