Classification: Magic item

Creator: The human alchemists of Lemuria, led by Atra, under the guidance of Set

Aliases: Seven-Headed Serpent Crown of Lost Lemuria, Crown of Lemuria, Helmet of Power, Helmet of the Ancients

The Earth-616 Original Serpent Crown:
Atra, Lilia Calderu, Destiny (Paul Destine), Lady Dorma, Hugh Jones, Krang, Naga, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Phraug (struggled with Atra for possession of it), Pyscatos, Viper (Ophelia Sarkissian)
The Earth-712 Serpent Crown: Living Laser (Arthur Parks), and Earth-712's Nelson Rockefeller and the Serpent Cartel (Gregory Hungerford Gideon, Justin Hammer, Leland Owlsley, Sebastian Shaw, Obadiah Stane, Cornelius Van Lunt)
The amalgam of the two above Serpent Crowns:
Hugh Jones, Dr. Myron Wilburn and other Project: PEGASUS employees used this and other Crowns summoned from alternate Earths.
The giant merged Serpent Crown: Ghaur, Llyra,
Dr. Myron Wilburn
Recreated Crowns: Imus Champion, Chthon, Llyra, Ian McNee, Nagala. Dr. Stephen Strange (possessor, but not user)

First Appearance: (Helmet of Power) Tales to Astonish I#101 (March, 1968);
    (Serpent Crown) Sub-Mariner I#9 (January, 1969)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Serpent Crown is a powerful mystical artifact that forms a connection between any who wear it (or come into other contact for prolonged time) and the Elder God Set. The spiritual connection between Set and the wearer will persist when contact with the Crown is severed. Though normally inanimate, the serpent heads on the Crown have can move somewhat when directly controlled by Set, ensnaring and biting people.

Wearers of the Crown are also granted an array of superhuman abilities including mind-reading, levitation of oneself or other objects, hypnotically commanding others to obey the wearer, powerful destructive bolts of mystical energy, mental manipulation of matter and energy (including causing earthquakes), illusion creation, superhuman strength, communication between others connected to the Crown (even in other dimensions), and superhuman strength and endurance. Not all wearers of the Crown had the same amount of access to all these powers, depending on variables such as that person's previous skill with manipulation of mystic energies, the length of time one wore the Crown, any innate abilities the wearer possesses similar to those of the Crown, and Set's attitude toward the wearer. Prolonged exposure to the Crown causes the wearer to take on a more reptilian aspect, becoming scaly and taking a greenish hue.

Most wearers of the Serpent Crown fall under Set's mental domination; only those possessing tremendous willpower can resist. When the Crown is no longer being worn by an individual, Set can still focus his powers into the Earth dimension through it, often instilling a desire in those nearby to wear it. For a time the Crown was encased in an unidentified metal (as the Helmet of Power) that dampened its ability to call to potential wearers somewhat, though going into a state of suspended animation seemed to allow the wearer access to all the other abilities normally granted by the Crown.

When the Crown of Earth-616 and that of Earth-712 were merged into a single object, its power was said to be the square of their original power. This Crown was able to produce ethereal duplicates of all the people who had worn it in the past, lifelike (though green) physical but soulless copies of the wearers. When at least 777 Crowns in the Multiverse were merged, the resultant Crown was immense in size and allowed Set himself to take over it and manifest in the flesh. Too big to be worn, this Crown could still grant powers to those who touch it. The area above where this giant Crown is now buried seems to act as a source that allows skilled mystics to petition Set for the creation of a new Serpent Crown on par with the original.

History: (Marvel Team-Up Annual#5 (fb), Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23/7, Savage Sword of Conan#41 (fb) - BTS) <18,000 BC> - In Lemuria, a nation ruled by the Deviants, a cabal of human alchemists led by Atra allied with the Serpent-Men to create the Serpent Crown, a device designed to allow its wearer to channel the power of the Elder God Set, with intent to overthrow the Deviant Emperor Phraug. This was designed as a replacement for the Cobra Crown, a similar item of lesser power created by the Serpent Men of pre-Cataclysmic Valusia. When the Deviants found out what he was doing, they threatened him. Atra explained what he was doing to his daughter, Antilia, who tried to get him to renounce the demon Set, but Atra instead killed her as a sacrifice needed to get Set to empower the Crown. Atra donned the Serpent Crown and confronted Phraug, only to learn that he was powerless against him. Phraug revealed that he worshipped Set and the Elder God had guided the created of the Serpent Crown for his benefit. Atra refused to hand over the Crown and the two struggled over it even as the Great Cataclysm occurred, collapsing Lemuria around them and leaving their corpses still clutching the Crown at the bottom of the ocean.

(OHOTMU Deluxe Edition: Serpent Crown profile / Silver Surfer Annual#2 (fb) - BTS) - Using the wearers of the Serpent Crown as pawns, Set caused his power to spread to the "furthest reaches of reality", including alternate Earths that diverged after the point of the Crown's creation (see comments).sect-red_serpent-combineduse.jpg

Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4 (fb)) <Many millennia ago (see comments)> - The followers of the serpent god Set spread death and tyranny across Earth. Every sacrifice empowered Set, but for the most zealous followers, this was not enough. In their eyes, the priests of Set had grown fat and complacent, and so they formed their own secret faction, the Sect of the Red Serpent. serpentcrown-worm-sect-combineduse-dies

    Basking in the bloodbath as the sect slaughtered temple after temple of Setian priests, Set's rival the Wyrm sought to sow further discord among Set's followers.The Wyrm began to whisper to the Sect of the Red Serpent. He planted in their minds the notion the notion that a treacherous god such as Set was most truly worshipped by treachery -- by being defied. The Wyrm presented Set's traitorous priests with the Serpent Scepter, an artifact that allowed a mortal to unlock untapped powers of the Serpent Crown while still resisting Set's will. 

    Together, the Serpent Crown and the Serpent Scepter should have been unstoppable. However, when the Sect of the Red Serpent tried to use their combined power, they found it too much for the frail human frame. 

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4 (fb) - BTS) - The Serpent Scepter was hidden by the ragged remnants of the Red Serpent. It was to be discovered only by one who had proven himself by bathing in the blood of Set's priests.

(Punisher Annual#2/5 - BTS) <10,000 BC> - With the Serpent Crown sunken, Set turned back to using the Cobra Crown and it came to be possessed by Thoth-Amon. This Crown was eventually destroyed.

(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Serpent Crown became one of the Cornerstones of Creation, a quartet of powerful magical talismans each connected to an Elder God.

(Spectacular Spider-Man Annual#9/5) - Set grew angry with the continent of Atlantis after its people were responsible for foiling him on several occasions, so he sought to get revenge by finding a new wearer of the original Serpent Crown. He influenced the Homo Mermani who lived now in the underwater land of Lemuria so they could find the Serpent Crown. The slave first sent to receive the Crown died upon picking it up, but the Naga, Emperor of Lemuria, confidently placed it on his head, as Set wanted.

(Daredevil Annual#4/6 (fb)) - Set instructed Naga's alchemists how to treat the Crown with special oils that made its wearer stop aging.

(Sub-Mariner I#10 (fb)) - Naga's soldiers located and captured the rare animals needed to obtain their oils. The alchemists treated the Crown and presented it to Naga, who then mentally commanded themselves to commit suicide so that nobody else would know the secret.

(Daredevil Annual#4/6 (fb)) - Ruling over Lemuria for centuries as a brutal tyrant, Naga's physical appearance grew more reptilian.

(Sub-Mariner I#10 (fb) / Daredevil Annual#4/6) - Seeking to find a group of rebels who were opposing him, Naga interrogated and executed one of their leaders, Aurwel, learning only that the rebels had telepathic powers. Aurwel's brothers, Pyscatos and Bekkit, also leaders of the rebels, decided they must flee, but first they used their mental powers to lull the guards of Naga's palace to sleep, then stole the Serpent Crown as Naga slept. Protecting themselves from the Crown's influence with self-hypnosis, the rebels fled to Antarctica using a potion allowing them to live on land, with a side effect of making their skins pink and smooth, and set up their home around a giant dynamo and other devices created by ancient Atlanteans who had lived there. Bekkit encased the Serpent Crown in a substance that weakened its ability to affect people's minds.

    Bekkit and Pyscatos ruled jointly until Bekkit, his wife Jhandark, and their children, left on a decades-long journey to tour the world and contact the human race. With his brother away, Pyscatos aged and grew ill and, fearing death, took to wearing the still-encased Crown. Pyscatos ruled the colony as a servant of Set and he grew reptilian and his people turned green and scaly again. When Bekkit returned, Pyscatos asked him to join them, but Bekkit refused so Pyscatos killed him. Realizing what he'd done, Pyscatos sent Bekkit's family away, then overloaded the dynamo, killing himself and the entire settlement, and burying the Crown; Pyscatos and Bekkit's group would later be known as the Ancients.

(Sub-Mariner I#12 (fb) - BTS) - Naga assembled a group called the Questers to search for the Crown.

(Iron Man & Sub-Mariner#1 (fb) / Avengers Annual#18/4) - In the early twentieth century, Paul Destine, seeking an explanation for his mind-reading abilities found references to the Ancients in various books. To learn more, he joined Captain Leonard McKenzie on an expedition to Antarctica in 1920. When they found the ruins of the Ancients' colony, Destine greedily wanted to keep it to himself and ended up burying himself in an avalanche, though in the ruins he found the encased Serpent Crown, which he called the Helmet of Power. He went into a state of suspended animation to increase his powers, both mental and physical.

(Sub-Mariner I#1 (fb) / Avengers Annual#18/4) - Awakening from his suspended animation in 1958, Destine took the name Destiny. Because of Set's hatred of the Atlanteans, Destiny learned of their location at that time near Antarctica and tested the Helmet's power by devastating it from afar. Many Atlanteans perished in the assault, and the survivors were left homeless. Namor the Sub-Mariner, an Atlantean prince and the son of Leonard McKenzie, went to investigate, but Destiny dominated him with his mental powers, rendering him amnesiac (which lasted for decades) and leaving him stranded in New York City. Destiny returned to suspended animation to amass more power.

(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1) - Lilia Calderu, Queen of the Gypsies, found a one-time incantation that summoned the Crown to her so she could gain its power; but she did not want to take it off, for fear of losing it. Lilia and her coven-mates (Maria Laura Russell and Margali Szardos) tried to enlist young Wanda Maximoff, in whom they sensed great mystic potential. Wanting Wanda for himself, Set's fellow Elder God Chthon directed the mystic Taboo to seek the help of Damballah (Josué Koulèv), knowing he would want the Crown for himself, in stopping the coven. Taboo and Damballah attacked the coven, and the chaos startled the young Wanda, who instinctively used her mutant hex power for the first time, which allowed Chthon to affect the area. As Wanda's powers first manifested, Chthon was summoned (at least he could affect the area) and he banished the Crown back to the ice (and Destiny).

(Tales to Astonish I#96 / Tales to Astonish I#101 (fb)-BTS) - In the modern era Namor, with his memory restored visited his mother's grave in the ruins of that first Atlantis and afterward was haunted by dreams of Destiny, though he couldn't remember who Destiny was.

(Tales to Astonish I#101) - Namor continued experiencing the dreams of Destiny and found himself drawn to Antarctica, feeling that he'd done so before. There he came face to face with Destiny in the flesh.

(Iron Man & Sub-Mariner#1) - Destiny mentally convinced Namor that he was frozen/paralyzed and explained life story to the Prince. When Namor saw through the illusion and realized that he could move, their struggle caused a cave-in that buried Namor.

(Sub-Mariner I#1 / Avengers Annual#18/4) - After gloating over Namor, Destiny left.

(Sub-Mariner I#6) - Now in New York, Destiny built a machine that showed him Namor's location. Seeing that Namor was occupied with other things, Destiny turned to his plans to conquer the nation.

(Sub-Mariner I#7 / Avengers Annual#18/4) - Paul Destine ran for president of the United States as an independent, mentally influencing the crowds to be loyal to him by keeping the Helmet hidden but near him during speeches. Having had dreams of this, Namor found that it was truly happening when he went to New York. After speeches to the public and meetings with businessmen in which he promised to destroy America's enemies, Destine prepared for a live televised speech which would spread his influence further than ever. Namor learned of the speech and fought Destine in the studio, then on the roof after Destiny donned the Helmet. When Destiny threw Namor from the roof, he was unable to accept that Namor was still alive and deluded himself into thinking he was dead, a belief the Helmet spread to those watching. His mental state ruined, Destine believed he was the true source of his power and threw the Helmet away to prove he no longer needed it. He then attempted to levitate off the rooftop to the crowd below, but just fell to his death.

(Sub-Mariner I#8 BTS) - The Helmet was located and brought to the NYPD, who intended to get it to the Pentagon for scientific study.

(Sub-Mariner I#8) - The police rightly suspected Namor would be after the Helmet, so they enlisted the Thing (Ben Grimm) to escort it. Namor and the Thing fought, and Namor escaped with the Helmet.

(Sub-Mariner I#9 / New Mutants Annual#5/3) - As Namor and Lady Dorma transported the Helmet back to Atlantis, Dorma desired to wear it, though Namor struck it from her. Leaving the Helmet with his scientist Ikthon, Namor left Atlantis to deal with other matters. Alone in the laboratory the Helmet's shell disintegrated, revealing the Serpent Crown beneath once more. Dorma was mentally influenced to desire to wear the Crown, and Ikthon to let her, so Dorma became ruler of Atlantis serving Set (in Naga's name). When Namor returned, he was attacked by his people, and he deduced that the Helmet and the Serpent Crown were one in the same. He stole the Crown from Dorma, but found that even he was not strong enough to shatter it. He fled with the Crown and then, determined to get to the bottom of things, donned the Crown to see what he could learn. Overwhelmed by images of Naga and the ancient Atlanteans, as well as strong psychic pain, Namor fought against the Crown with all his willpower and threw it away. As he went to retrieve it, he found someone else interested in it.

(Sub-Mariner I#10 / New Mutants Annual#5/3) - Karthon the Quester, a Lemurian soldier serving Naga in the search for the Serpent Crown, fought Namor and, when defeated, explained the history of the Crown and Naga to him. Both men and the Crown are then unexpectedly captured by Captain Barracuda who imprisoned them both and demanded information on the Crown, which he assumed was merely a valuable treasure they had been fighting over. When Namor and Karthon finally got free, Karthon escaped with the Crown.

(Sub-Mariner I#12 / New Mutants Annual#5/3) - After dealing with Barracuda, Namor resumed tracking Karthon via his mental link to the Crown and caught up to him at the Panama Canal where the two fought again. After getting the Crown again, Namor was knocked out by gunships in the Canal. Karthon, wanting to show mercy to his noble opponent, took the Crown and the unconscious Namor back to Lemuria. Karthon presented the crown to the now aged Naga, who eagerly donned it and believed he was restored to his physical prime, even though he hadn't been. Naga's psychic abilities were returned, however, and he forced Namor to fight his way through various illusions, ending with Namor believing he had killed Dorma.

(Sub-Mariner I#13 / X-Factor Annual#4/3) - Namor attacked Naga for what he had seemingly caused him to do, but Karthon protected his king. Naga then attempted to have Namor fight to his death in the arena, ignoring Karthon's request for him to show mercy and killing all the other Questers to prove his point to Karthon. Namor defeated everything thrown against him in the arena and ultimately challenged Naga himself. Naga realized Namor's drive stemmed from his perceived loss of Dorma, so Naga revealed that her death had been an illusion and he had used the Lemurian girl Llyna to make it convincing. Karthon, Llyna's brother, saw this and finally turned against Naga. Naga used the Crown to create a large fissure in the sea floor and mentally controlled Namor to swim into it, but Karthon killed Naga, and Namor's mind cleared. Karthon was then tempted to wear the Crown himself, but Namor stopped him, and they decided to leave it with Naga's corpse. The corpse was then swallowed up by the fissure which took much of the city with it. All of this was observed by Llyra, Naga's high priestess of Set, who intended to one day get the Crown for herself.

(Fantastic Four Annual#22 (fb) - BTS) - Being buried with the Crown caused Naga to become more spiritually linked with it than any other user ever had been.

(Captain America I#181 (fb) / Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - The Atlantean warlord Krang, recently released from imprisonment, found himself drawn to the Serpent Crown's location. When Krang placed it upon his head, Set's voice told him to seek out Madame Hydra and, when he does so, she decided to go along with his plan of world conquest.

(Captain America I#180 / Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - Madame Hydra, taking the name Viper after killing the Viper (Jordan Dixon), formed a new Serpent Squad, and they kidnapped Roxxon president Hugh Jones, escaping despite Nomad (Steve Rogers)'s efforts.

(Captain America I#181 / Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - The Serpent Squad placed the Crown on the head of Hugh Jones to control him as he addressed the public to demand nothing be done to interfere with the villains' plan. Namor heard this, recognized the tone in Jones' voice and its connection to the Serpent Crown, and teamed with Nomad. Krang, Viper, and the Serpent Squad went to a Roxxon oil rig near Lemuria and directed the enthralled executive to attempt to use the drill to raise Lemuria. Nomad arrived to fight the villains, followed by Roxxon's elite security force, who took over the situation. Krang removed the Crown from Jones and gave it to Viper and Cobra who fled, though the others were captured.

(Avengers I#131 - BTS) - Viper and Cobra were spotted in Los Angeles, and Nomad trailed them.

(Captain America I#182 / Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - Now in Seattle, Viper and Cobra, holed up in a building, had a shootout with police. Wearing the Crown for instruction, Viper decided that because of their failure they should meet a dramatic death to live on as martyrs in the world ruled by Set. As the building went up in flames, Nomad arrived and saved Cobra. The building collapsed with Viper and the Crown inside.

(Marvel Team-Up I#84 (fb)) - The weakened floors broke, dropping Viper to the basement and separating her from the Crown.

(Captain America I#182) - As firefighters hosed down the remains, a torrent of water carried the Crown unseen into a sewer.

(Captain America I#185 - BTS) - Jones apparently felt he owed Captain America for saving him from the Serpent Squad and helped Cap on another case by giving him the Red Skull's location, refusing to explain how he gained the knowledge.

(Marvel Two-in-One #66 (fb) / Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - Hugh Jones voluntarily remained mentally connected to the Serpent Crown, and he had one of his workers find the Crown and bring it to him.

(Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - On alternate Earth-712, workmen on an oil rig found that world's Serpent Crown by chance and were commanded by Set to bring it to their employer, Gregory Hungerford Gideon. Following Set's instructions, Gideon brought other prominent businessmen into the fold by having them briefly don the Crown, and they formed the Serpent Cartel (aka Cadre Cartel). The Cartel began their plan of conquest by attacking their world's greatest mystics, Professor Imam and Arcanna, banishing Imam to another dimension and imprisoning Arcanna. When the Squadron Supreme investigated Arcanna's disappearance, Gideon was able to place all but Power Princess and Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) under the Crown's control. The Cartel also made Nelson Rockefeller, the US President, their pawn.

(Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6) - The Cartel made mental contact with Earth-616's Hugh Jones and agreed to work with him as a fellow follower of Set. The Cartel sent the Squadron Supreme to aid Jones in his conquest of his world.

(Marvel Two-in-One #66 (fb) / Web of Spider-Man Annual#5/6 (fb)) - The Roxxon employee brought Earth-616's Crown back to Jones, who began wearing it regularly, willing it invisible.

(Avengers Annual#6 (fb) - BTS) - In prison, Living Laser read a book about Lemuria and learned about the Serpent Crown. He decided to find the Crown for himself, only to discover it had recently apparently been destroyed, so he occupied himself with other things.

(Avengers I#149 (fb) - BTS) - The Serpent Crown summoned Orka to Roxxon subsidiary the Brand Corporation, where his powers were enhanced and he served Hugh Jones.

(Avengers I#141 - BTS) - The Avengers investigated the Brand facility where Jones was present, so he had the Squadron Supreme attack and capture them.

(Avengers I#142 - BTS) - Jones gloated over the imprisoned Avengers.

(Avengers I#144 - BTS) - After the Avengers escaped imprisonment, Jones resorted to sending them and the Squadron Supreme to Earth-712.

(Avengers I#147) - The Avengers, fought the Squadron Supreme until they were approached by President Nelson Rockefeller, wearing Earth-712's Crown. After Captain America (Steve Rogers, returning to this identity after giving up being Nomad) explained the Crown's significance, the Vision snatched it from Rockefeller and gave it to the Scarlet Witch for study. The Avengers, threatening to destroy the Crown, escaped, and Rockefeller mentally contacted Hugh Jones. The Scarlet Witch mystically probed the Crown and learned of its power, and that contact alone was enough to allow Set to start influencing her mind. With extreme effort, Wanda escaped Set's mental assault and gave the Crown to the Vision, who was apparently unaffected by it.

(Avengers I#148) - The Squadron fought the Avengers in their attempts to get the Crown back, but failed, and the Avengers gained entrance to the White House and use the counterpart to the machine that sent them to Earth-712 to return to Earth-616, taking the Earth-712 Crown with them.

(West Coast Avengers Annual#4/5) - Power Princess, Nighthawk, and Arcanna took out the Serpent Cartel and freed Professor Imam from the dimension in which the Cartel trapped him. With Gaea's help, Imam and Arcanna freed Earth-712's America from Set's mental influence.

(Avengers I#148) - The Squadron, now beginning to shrug off the Crown's influence, decide not to follow the Avengers to Earth-616.

(Avengers I#149 - BTS) - Seeing the Avengers return to his Brand Corporation building, Hugh Jones had Orka attack them, then contacted Rockefeller to find out what happened on the other Earth. Orka overpowered the Avengers, until Thor and Moondragon arrived. After Orka's defeat, the Avengers escaped, and Hugh Jones was captured.

(Avengers I#153 (fb) - BTS) - During the fight at the Brand building, the Avengers lost track of Earth-712's  Serpent Crown.

(Avengers I#153) - The Scarlet Witch returned to the Brand building to find the Crown, but was attacked by the Living Laser, who took the Crown for himself, then used it to control the recently revived Wonder Man.

(Avengers Annual#6) - Scarlet Witch told the other Avengers about Living Laser and the Crown, and Iron Man tracked the Crown's unique radioactive aura to California. While the Beast found and defeated the mind-controlled Wonder Man, Iron Man and Captain America tracked the Crown to a hidden army base run by General Jacob Pollock, a former US Army General turned mercenary. While Pollock distracted the heroes, the Living Laser attacked the heroes and knocked them out. Laser bragged about his plan to conquer America, but the rest of the Avengers arrived, and the Beast kicked the Crown off his head. The Vision flew off with the Crown.

(Avengers I#154 / Thor Annual#14/5(fb)) - The Vision dropped the Crown into the Pacific Ocean.

(Marvel Two-in-One#64 - BTS / Thor Annual#14/5(fb)) - The Thing and Stingray found a Roxxon oil rig in the middle of the Pacific at a location Stingray knew there should be no oil. An explosion caused the rig to begin sinking, and when the Thing tried to help he was attacked by the workers. Stingray was knocked by a new, Roxxon-employed Serpent Squad.

(Marvel Two-in-One#65 / Thor Annual#14/5(fb)) - The Serpent Squad left Thing and Stingray chained to the false rig as they resumed their search for the Crown. When the Thing escaped, the newly arrived Triton the Inhuman told him about the Serpent Crown. Just after the Serpent Squad found the Crown, the three heroes fought them. Sidewinder left with the Crown while the others fought.

(Marvel Two-in-One#66 / Thor Annual#14/5) - Sidewinder, resisting the temptation to don the Crown, took it to Hugh Jones' Washington, DC apartment. Jones merged the Earth-712 Crown with the native one he already possessed, then put the entire city into a trance. The Thing and Stingray, now joined by the Scarlet Witch, arrived to find Jones in the Capitol Building, flanked by ethereal duplicates of almost everyone who had ever been linked to Set via the native Serpent Crown, the Cobra Crown, or the Earth-712 Crown, a group which Jones called the Congress of the Crowns. Jones explained that this was the first time in the history of the Multiverse that two Crowns have been joined, and that he had begun indoctrinating the government to follow Set's rule. While Thing and Stingray fought the manifested Congress, the Scarlet Witch confronted Jones, and the Crown attempted to take her under its power. As the Witch's astral form struggled against Set in the Elder God's own dimension, the Thing saw her trouble and tried to remove the Crown from Jones, even when it used illusions to make him believe he was losing his powers. Realizing what the Thing was doing, the Witch surrendered to Set suddenly, causing a distraction that caused the Crown to slip off, saving her. As soon as the Crown was off Jones, it tried to get the Thing under its Control, physically trying to force itself onto his head by extending serpentine coils to him, but the essence of Jones still in mental contact with it rejected the Thing, not wanting to share the power with someone unworthy. As the politicians came out of their trance, the Thing tore up the floor to wrap the Crown, insulating it for safe transport.

(Marvel Two-in-One#67) - The Thing took the Crown to Project: PEGASUS where it was placed in a magnetic stasis field.

(Marvel Team-Up Annual#5 (fb) - BTS / Fantastic Four Annual#22/5 (fb)) - Set tempted a Project: PEGASUS technician to don the Crown and then gained influence over him. This technician brought another under Set's influence, and they continued one person at a time until the Project was entirely under control, including acting director Myron Wilburn. When Project security chief Quasar (Wendell Vaughan) discovered the Crown was missing, his own men overpowered him and forced him to don a Crown. Using dimensional cannons powered by the Cosmic Cube, they brought Crowns from alternate Earths to Earth-616's for a ritual requiring 777 Crowns to summon all the others in the Multiverse and manifest Set.

(Marvel Team-Up Annual#5 / Fantastic Four Annual#22/5 (fb)) - The Thing, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange arrived at Project: PEGASUS to investigate and found the ritual nearly completed. The PEGASUS employees merge the multiple Crowns into a single giant Crown, which seemingly became Set himself. As Dr. Strange attempted to hold off the Elder God, the Thing, the Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man were all swallowed by Set, though the latter brought the Cosmic Cube with him. From inside, the heroes used the Cube to disintegrate the Crown, turning it to a mass of snakes. Dr. Strange then joined them in holding the Cube and cast a spell banishing Set from their plane of reality, leaving only metallic dust behind. All who had been in Set's thrall were now set free.

(Silver Surfer Annual#2 (fb) / OHOTMU HC#10 Set Profile) - Strange's spell was weakened when the alien sorcerer Urthona temporarily stole Stange's talismans. This allowed Set to contact the Deviant ruler Ghaur and teach him about the Serpent Crown.

(Silver Surfer Annual#2 - BTS) - Ghaur met with Llyra and informed her of his plan to reassemble the Crown and bring forth Set again. She agreed to aid him in this plot.

(Iron Man Annual#10 - BTS) - Llyra and Ghaur told Attuma of their plans and enlisted him and his army to aid them on their mission.

(Uncanny X-Men Annual#13 - BTS) - Ghaur, Llyra, and the Lemurian alchemists used a collection of stolen mystical relics to begin the ritual to recreate the Crown.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual#23) - Construction of the reassembled Crown continued, and Ghaur fatally punished a worker who made an error.

(Avengers Annual#18) - The ritual completed and the giant Crown reformed, Ghaur, Llyra, and their forces begin their plans of conquest.

(Fantastic Four Annual#22 (fb) - BTS) - Naga's spirit was summoned back from oblivion as a result of the giant Crown's reconstruction.

(Avengers Annual#18) - Emanations from the Crown were felt all over the world, affecting those who had previously been connected to the Crown, including Viper, the Thing, Scarlet Witch, Namor, and Quasar. The Avengers opposed Ghaur and Llyra's plans.

(Fantastic Four Annual#22) - Other efforts having failed, Ghaur decided to use the power of the Crown and the Sacrifice of the Brides of Set, seven captured heroines, to manifest Set on Earth. The combined power of the heroes, including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Dr. Strange, forced Ghaur to give more of himself to the Crown than he ever had, which brought him into contact with Naga's spirit. Naga and Ghaur dueled over who should be possessor of the Crown, seemingly annihilating each other in the process. With the villains gone, the freed Brides pushed the massive Serpent Crown into a rift in the sea floor and closed it up.

(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1 (fb) - BTS) - Set transformed Llyra into a more serpentine form and charged her with guarding the ocean floor above where the Crown was lost.

(Defenders II#7 (fb) - BTS / OHOTMU HC #10 Set profile) - Nagala, a descendent of Naga, drew upon the energies at the ruins of Lemuria where the large Crown had been lost and created a new Serpent Crown which appeared to be as powerful as the original. She allied with Attuma and Deep Six.

(Defenders II#7) - Nagala wore the Serpent Crown as she and her allies fought the Defenders. She faced off against Dr. Strange until the Defenders were teleported away by a mystic curse.

(Defenders II#11) - When the Defenders and Deep Six fought again, Nagala performed well, but was defeated. Strange then took the Crown from her.

(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1) - Nagala went to the ruins of Lemuria above where the giant Crown had been swallowed by the rift. After an argument with the jealous Llyra, Nagala prayed to Set, who created a new Serpent Crown for her.

    Ian McNee, seeking the four Cornerstones of Creation, played the two servants of Set against one another and tempted Nagala with the Ebon Rose, giving her hopes of becoming even more powerful than Set himself. Llyra and Nagala fought each other while McNee furtively made off with the Crown.

(Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1/3) - As Ian McNee realized his quest had been a trick by Chthon, he used the Cornerstones of Creation, including the Crown, to banish the Elder God. Llyra acted as the agent of the Serpent Crown.

    However, Chthon took the Cornerstones with him.serpentcrown-cbftsc4-champaquatic

(Secret Avengers#1 - BTS) - Following leads about Roxxon having a new Serpent Crown, Steve Rogers and his Secret Avengers learn about the Three Crowns, devices similar to Set's Serpent Crown, but apparently unrelated.

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4 (fb) - BTS) - Under unspecified circumstances, the Serpent Crown was placed within a hidden temple/cave near Atlantis.

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4 (fb) - BTS) - Imprisoned in Las Vegas' Hotel Inferno, Mephisto believed that the combined power of the Serpent Crown and Serpent Scepter could free him.

    Mephisto also appreciated that time-displaced Hyborian warrior Conan of Cimmeria would be able to locate the Serpent Scepter, which could only be accomplished by one who had been covered in the blood of Set's priests.

Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#1 (fb) - BTS) - Mephisto allied with multi-billionaire Imus Champion to manipulate Conan into freeing Mephisto from Hotel Inferno; however, Mephisto provided limited information to Champion about his plans.

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#2) - Mephisto noted that items must be achieved in a certain order: The ring (Ring of the Sect of the Red Serpent.), the sceptre (Serpent Scepter), and then the crown (Serpent Crown). serpentcrown-cbftsc5-overload

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4 (fb) - BTS) - Traveling to a hidden temple/cave near Atlantis in an armored aquatic suit and wielding the Serpent Scepter, Champion claimed the Serpent Crown and slew the Atlantean guards who attempted to interfere with him. 

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4) - Having taken a Wakandan chemical provided by Shuri, Conan and Nyla swam to the ocean floor and approached the temple. Champion then confronted them and goaded Conan into a brief fight that was interrupted by the arrival of Namor. Donning the Serpent Crown, Champion then forced Conan and Namor to fight, until Nyla assaulted from behind, knocking away the Serpent Crown and allowing Conan and Namor to regain their wits.

    However, still possessing the Serpent Scepter, Champion halted his challengers, reclaimed the Serpent Crown, and then banished Namor to an unspecified desert before informing Conan and Nyla that they were going to die slowly in Las Vegas.

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#5 (fb) - BTS) - Champion spent hours studying the power of the Serpent Crown and Serpent Scepter, after which he decided that he no longer needed Mephisto to safely wield the two items. 

(Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#5) - Holding the Scepter and wearing the Crown, Champion released Conan and Nyla from their chains and forced them to their knees, but he found that the combined efforts of using the items' power and protecting himself from their influence was too much, and he cried out in pain. Mocking this limitation, Conan took advantage of the distraction to punch Champion, knocking the Scepter from his hand and the Crown from his head. 

    As Champion's men attempted to recapture Nyla, Conan engaged Champion until Mephisto interrupted. After Conan refused Mephisto's offer to wield the weapons to liberate Mephisto in exchange for being sent home (or whatever else he wished), Mephisto attempted to guide Champion to use the weapons -- which he had reclaimed -- together safely, but Champion arrogantly refused to serve Mephisto any further, although redonning the Crown again filled him with pain. When he attempted to remove the Crown, however, Conan leapt on his back and held the Crown on Champion's head until the two weapons apparently consumed Champion. 

    Both the Crown and the Scepter vanished in the process.

Comments: Helmet of Power created by Archie Goodwin, Gene Colan, and Dan Adkins.
    Serpent Crown created by Roy Thomas, Marie Severin, and Dan Adkins.

        The Serpent Crown was completed just before the Great Cataclysm, and it was apparently buried until being found by Atlanteans serving Naga approximately 600 years ago. It's not clear how the Sect of the Red Serpent would have had it during the Hyborian era, but that's really the only time they could have had it.
    Perhaps they magically summoned the Serpent Crown via the Serpent Scepter, but then after the user was destroyed, the Serpent Crown returned to the site from which it had been brought.

    By my count there are currently two Serpent Crowns in the MU, one last seen in the possession of Dr. Strange, and one with Ian McNee. In Amazing Fantasy II#15 we saw some decoy Serpent Crowns kept by the global law enforcement agency GRAMPA for faking out people, and I don't know the exact deal with the Three Crowns in Secret Avengers, but they seem to be unrelated, tied not to Set but another powerful entity called, among other things, the Darkest Child.

    Nagala seemed to be under the impression that Naga was the creator of the first Serpent Crown, so either she just didn't know the whole deal or perhaps that was a claim that Naga had perpetuated in Lemuria. In any case, Llyra seemed to regain Set's favor, so Nagala may be on the outs.

    The book in which Living Laser learned about Lemuria and the Serpent Crown was called "Legend of Lemuria" and appeared to be written by someone called Dr. M. C. Higgins. Just for the record.

Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation

blackmirror-darkhold-acewandsSome insight courtesy of creator David Sexton:

     I discovered the original Cornerstones of Creation on your Appendix website as I was investigating magic in Marvel and the idea of the number 4 as a repeated theme in Marvel. And, of course, the way that Tarot fits into all that.

     When I saw the C of C on your site I connected it to Tarot and then the 4 Elder Gods. I knew that Gaea was Earth and Rose fit with her, that the crown was the Serpent Crown, and that the Sword which signifies intellect and the mind was Oshtur.

     So then I was like how would a mirror work with Cthon and I realized that the Darkhold was the mirror of Chthon. A reflection of his twisted vision for the world.

     In Marvel Tarot, it appears as the Ace of Wands (see image on right--Snood; the Ace of Swords is the Sword of Bone, the Ace of Cups is the Serpent Crown, and the Ace of Pentacles is the Ebon Rose)

     In the image of Ian McNee using the Cornerstones of Creation, the Black Mirror is just a magical construct to symbolize the Mirror.

     In my mind, the Darkhold itself is the Cornerstone. Possessing the Last Chronicle of Chthon / Darkhold page allowed Ian to access the Darkhold's power (as far as the Cornerstones of Creation is concerned).

The Serpent Crown. The Ebon Rose. The Sword of Bone. and the Darkhold. Those are the four Cornerstones

The Cornerstones of Creation received a mini-profile in the Talismans of Mystic Power of the Mystic Arcana handbook. It stated:

The Cornerstones of Creation refers to a set of four unique artifacts of the ancient world. The Sword, the Rose, the Crown, and the Mirror are related to air, earth, water, and fire, respectively, and some ancient texts have connected them with four entities known as "Elder Gods." Individually possessed of vast power, some have theorized that if the four Cornerstones were gathered together and used correctly, the very fabric of reality could be altered. This is why the true names of the items have been obscurred throughout history...
    After re-re-re-re-reviewing all the stories and speaking to the creator, it seems clear that the Handbook entry offers the best solution...the Cornerstones' reality-altering power changed their nature...or their natures were altered.

    The pages for Set and for the Cobra Crown contain all sorts of interesting comments relevant to the Serpent Crown, so check both of those out.

    Alternate realities and questionable data:

    As far as the Serpent Crown is concerned, one topic of continuing confusion is the connection between the Serpent Crowns and the Sets of various universes. The general appearance is that no matter the universe, the Crown connects its wearer to the same Set. The OHOTMU Deluxe Edition profile presents the possibility that because Set left the Earth so early, maybe he was separate from the divergences in the timeline that followed, though even that profile can't say for sure. We have seen at least one alternate Set, so we know the native one is not the only one. Ghaur's telling of the history of the Crown in Silver Surfer Annual#2 makes oblique mention of Set using his pawns to spread his power to other universes, but we don't have much in the way of detail. Could this mean that the Set of Earth-616 has forced his presence into other worlds at the expense of his alternate selves? Or perhaps the alternate Sets have some deal worked out where they can use the alternate Crowns as they please? We've pretty much got no way of being sure. Either way, the people who really lucked out in these stories are the inhabitants of the universes where the Crown just vanished to another world and was destroyed.
--That's stuff that's fun for a story, but just doesn't fit with the Marvel Universe/Multiverse as we know it. There is a Set for each reality, though they may be able to communicate and act through various alternate reality Crowns once they appear on that Set's respective reality.

    Speaking of those universes, here's one from What If?I#41 because it would, we assume, have joined up with all the other Crowns into the massive Crown.
(What If? I#41) - In an alternate universe (Earth-8310), Namor defeated Destiny and took the Helmet and buried it deep in a muddy seabed where he hoped it would be beyond the reach of anyone.
I've not included the Crown of Earth-9151 because that would be a divergent of the merged Crown and thus not a part of the current 616 Crown, if you see what I mean. Possibly there are other Crowns depicted in alternate universes out there, but I don't know about them yet.

Profile by Patrick D Ryall. Expanded/updated by Snood

The Serpent Crown(s) should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#19, page 45, panel 1 (main image)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual#23, page 53, panel 5 (Atra wearing Crown)
Sub-Mariner I#1, page 1, panel 1 (Destiny wearing Helmet of Power)
Marvel Two-in-One#66, page 9, panel 1 (Hugh Jones wears his Crown flanked by the Congress of the Crown)
Avengers Annual#18, page 1, panel 1 (giant merged Crown)
Defenders II#7, page 17, panel 1 (Nagala wears her first Crown)
Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4, story pg. 2, panel 6-7 (Sect of the Red Serpent member wielding and being destroyed by combined use of Serpent Crown and Scepter);
        pg. 19, panel 1 (Imus Champion in aquatic suit wielding both weapons);
    #5, pg. 17, panel 1 (Conan holding Serpent Crown against Champion's head)

Iron Man & Sub-Mariner#1 (April, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#1 (May, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Frank Giacoia (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#6 (October, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Dan Adkins (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#7 (November, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Dan Adkins (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#8 (December, 1968) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Dan Adkins (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#10 (January, 1960) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Dan Adkins (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#12 (April, 1969) - Roy Thomas (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), H. Cooper (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#13 (May, 1969) - Roy Thomas (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inker), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain America I#180 (December, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Avengers I#131 (January, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema & Joe Staton (artists), Roy Thomas (editor)
Captain America I#181 (January, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Captain America I#182 (February, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Joe Giella (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Captain America I#185 (May, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Frank Giacoia (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Avengers I#141 (November, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#142 (December, 1975) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#144 (February, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#147 (May, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#148 (June, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils) S. Grainger (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#149 (July, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), George Perez (pencils) S. Grainger (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Avengers I#153 (November, 1976) - Gerry Conway (writer/editor), John Buscema & Joe Sinnott (storytellers/artists)
Avengers Annual#6 (1976) - Gerry Conway (writer/editor), George Perez, Esposito, Tartag & Vohland (inkers)
Avengers I#154 (December, 1976) - Gerry Conway (writer/editor), George Perez (artist/storyteller), Pablo Marcos (embellisher)
Marvel Team-Up I#84 (August, 1979) - Chris Claremont (writer), Sal Buscema & Steve Leialona (artists), Al Milgrom (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One#64 (June, 1980) - - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), George Perez & Gene Day (artists), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One#65 (July, 1980) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), George Perez & Gene Day (artists), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One#66 (August, 1980) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), Jerry Bingham & Gene Day (artists), Jim Salicrip (editor)
Marvel Two-in-One#67 (September, 1980) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), Ron Wilson (pencils), Dave Friends (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Marvel Team-Up Annual#5 (1982) - Mark Gruenwald (script, plot, breakdowns), Jim Mooney (embellishment), Tom DeFalco (editor)
What If?I#41 (October, 1983) - Alan Zelenetz (scripter), Marc Silvestri (pencils), Mel Candido (finishes), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Silver Surfer Annual#2 (1989) - S.F.X. Englehart (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)
Iron Man Annual#10 (1989) - David Michiline (writer), Paul Smith (pencils), Michael Gustovich (inks)
Uncanny X-Men Annual#13 (1989) - Terry Austin (writer), Mike Vosburg (artist), Bob Harras (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual#23 (1989) - Gerry Conway (writer), Javier Salteres (inks), Randy Emberlin (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Avengers Annual#18 (1989) - Michael Higgins (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Mike Gustovich (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Fantastic Four Annual#22 (1989) - Roy Thomas (writer), Rich Buckler (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Saga of the Serpent Crown (1989) (in the annual backups) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Defenders II#7 (September, 2001) - Kurt Busiek (co-writer), Erik Larsen (co-writer, pencils), Sal Buscema (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Defenders II#11 (January, 2002) - Kurt Busiek (co-writer), Erik Larsen (co-writer, pencils), Sal Buscema (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Mystic Arcana: Magik#1 (August, 2007) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist), Mark Paniccia (Editor)
Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1 (October, 2007) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)/Jeff Parker (writer),Juan Santacruz (penciler), Raul Fernandez (inker), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm#1 (January, 2008) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Secret Avengers#1 (July, 2010) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#1-3 (April-June, 2020) - Saladin Ahmed (writer), Luke Ross (artist), Martin Biro (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Ralph Macchio (consulting editor)
Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown#4-5 (November, 2020) - Saladin Ahmed (writer), Luke Ross (artist), Martin Biro (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Ralph Macchio (consulting editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First Posted: 10/30/2011
Last Updated: 12/29/2023

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