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PROFESSOR IMAM

Real Name: Unrevealed (see comments)

Identity/Class: Extradimensional/alternate reality (Earth-712/"Earth-S") human magic user

Occupation: Unrevealed;
    formerly Earth's supreme master of magic

Group Membership: Golden Agency (American Eagle/James Dore Sr., Power Princess/Zarda, others unrevealed )

Affiliations: Benjamin Thomas Jones, Master Menace (Emil Burbank), Mink (Julie Steel), Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), Pinball/Chester Freeman, Remnant/Frank Edwards, Scarlet Centurion (Nathaniel Richards), Squadron Supreme (Arcanna Jones, Haywire/Harold Danforth, Hyperion/Mark Milton, Inertia/Edith Freiberg, Lady Lark/Linda Lewis, Moonglow/Melissa Hanover, Power Princess/Zarda Shelton, Michael Redstone, Shape/Raleigh Lund, Dr. Spectrum/Joseph Ledger, Whizzer/Stanley Stewart), Howard Shelton (presumably, see comments)

Enemies: Hugh Jones, Nth Man (Thomas Lightner) of Earth-616, Serpent Cartel, Set (both Set-712 and Set-616)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None revealed

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly his Temple of Contemplation "somewhere in the northern hemisphere")

First Appearance: Captain America I#314 (February 1986)

Powers/Abilities: As his Earth's supreme master of magic, Imam was capable of a variety of magical feats. Among his recorded abilities are levitation, prescience (seeing hundreds of years into the future), telepathically contacting people via long distance, opening portals to alternate realities, casting invisibility spells potent enough to disguise a tower, recognizing the mystical potential of others and even prolonging his own life for centuries by efficient energy conservation. Imam's inner balance was strong enough to affect his surroundings, with the professor keeping his age old sanctum sanctorum from collapsing by sheer force of will. He achieved all this either through the incantation of spells, the use of objects of powers (talismans, elixirs, wands) or invoking the powers of mystic principalities. A self chosen recluse in his later years seeking personal enlightenment, Imam refused to get involved in most of the superhuman crises that arose. Due to his advanced age, he preferred to levitate instead of walking. He also had a weak heart and, presumably, was blind but was able to perceive (beyond) the world thanks to his "third eye that never blinks," an emerald encrusted magical object he wore on his chest.

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Height: 5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 130 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed (Imam's eyes are covered)
Hair: Bald (white beard)

 

 

 

History:
(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (fb) - BTS) - At some unrevealed point in time, possibly hundreds of years ago, the mystic calling himself Professor Imam became Earth-712's supreme master of magic, the strongest wielder of arcane energies on the planet. He took up residence in his Temple of Contemplation, where he regularly retreated to for meditation. Using the tower's Prism of Prescience, in tandem with his mystical ability to see the future, he kept himself apprised of the goings on in the world.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe - BTS) - During World War II, Professor Imam joined Power Princess, American Eagle and unrevealed others in forming the Golden Agency, a wartime superhero team that fought the Axis. After the war, he left the team and retreated to his Temple of Contemplation to work on achieving inner enlightenment.

(Avengers West Coast Annual I#4 - BTS) - Imam infrequently left his temple, going into semi-official retirement as Earth's foremost magic user. He did strike up a friendship with Arcanna Jones, the magically empowered founding member of the upstart superhero team known as the Squadron Supreme.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (fb) - BTS) - Throughout the years, Imam had eschatological premonitions about the coming of a force from beyond his universe (Earth-616's Thomas Lightner, aka the Nth Man), though he was unable to identify the threat or its exact arrival.

(Avengers West Coast Annual I#4) - In their attempt to take over the United States government, the Serpent Cartel (controlled by Set and the Serpent Crown) realized they needed to rid themselves of Earth's most prominent magic users. Locating Professor Imam and Arcanna, who coincidentally happened to be visiting, the Cartel took Arcanna prisoner while banishing Professor Imam to an unidentified dimension.

(Web Of Spider-Man Annual I#5) - Following the Squadron Supreme's foiling of the Serpent Cartel's plans and the eventual freeing of Arcanna, Imam was freed from his extradimensional exile.

(Squadron Supreme I#5 - BTS) - Sensing that Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) was looking for him and needed his help, Imam allowed his Temple of Contemplation to be seen.

(Captain America I#334) - Nighthawk pleaded with Imam to help him fight his former teammates, the Squadron Supreme. Although Imam admitted that the team's recently launched Utopia Program worried him, he regretfully declined, telling that he needed to conserve all his energy to train his successor 443 years from now. However, he did agree to help Nighthawk find the heroes their world required by mystically transporting Richmond to Earth-616. There, Nighthawk had 12 hours to recruit the aid of that world's heroes before Imam's spell automatically returned them home.

(Squadron Supreme I#7 - BTS) - After 12 hours, Imam's magic returned Nighthawk to the Temple of Contemplation, along with his new allies, the Squadron Supreme's old enemies Mink, Pinball and Remnant (who had fled to Earth-616 thanks to Master Menace but were inspired to help out, in part due to an encounter with Earth-616's Captain America). Aware Nighthawk needed additional allies, Imam supplied him with a mystical crystal that would lead them to a number of super powered individuals inclined to aid them in their mission.

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(Squadron Supreme I#12 (fb) - BTS) - Thanks to Professor Imam's help, Nighthawk was able to locate Redstone, Moonglow, Thermite, Haywire and Inertia.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe - BTS) - A week after the confrontation between Nighthawk's team and the Squadron Supreme ended in both the Squadron and the Utopia Program being disbanded, Imam became aware of the imminent arrival of the extradimensional threat he'd perceived over the years.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe) - Just as Hyperion was informing the president and his staff about the Squadron's decision to abandon the Utopia Program, thereby handing control of the United States back to the government, he was telepathically contacted by Imam who summoned both him and Power Princess to his Temple of Contemplation.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe - BTS) - En route to Imam, Hyperion and Power Princess discussed the reason why the Professor would insist on meeting with them after taking deliberate steps over the years not to interfere with the outside world. Zarda recounted how she'd only seen the mage once or twice since their days together in the Golden Agency.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe) - After welcoming Hyperion and Power Princess to his temple, Imam wasted little time, calling forth his Prism of Prescience to show the world's two leading superheroes the growing threat of the white hole-like phenomenon he'd spotted rapidly expanding across the solar system. Determined to help stop this potentially universal threat, Imam joined with the Squadron and left his Temple of Contemplation, which crumbled without his inner balance to keep the ancient tower up. Joined by Master Menace, Professor Imam and the Squadron Supreme rocketed into space to confront and possibly stop the unidentified threat that had slowly began taking on the form of a man, now so large he even eclipsed the Sun itself. While Hyperion, Whizzer, Doctor Spectrum and Lady Lark went outside to set up Master Menace's dimension traps (designed to create a field that would shift the expanding entity into another reality), Inertia came up with an idea. Reasoning she might be able to use her control over inertia to turn the direction of the expansion backwards, her powers and range was mystically enhanced by Imam and Moonglow (actually Arcanna Jones in disguise, along with her newborn baby boy, Benjamin). Even with the additional sorcerous aid, Inertia was almost instantly overwhelmed by the massive volume of the entity. When her powers were turned back on her, she was instantly reduced to little more than a pink mist.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe - BTS) - Imam became aware that "Moonglow" was actually his old friend Arcanna who had switched places with the actual, somewhat cowardly, Moonglow. He also sensed that her infant son possessed unparalleled mystical potential.

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(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe) - When the Squadron's vessel was close enough to the anomaly for Imam to make telepathic contact, the aged wizard requested Moonglow's aid in trying to mystically reach out to it. After some doing, Imam made contact which proved to be a grueling ordeal as he was bombarded with otherworldly images and energies. In considerable pain, he nevertheless told the Squadron this menace was actually once a human known as Tom (Thomas Lightner), who was a scientist in another dimension. He then learned that after Lightner's transformation into the Nth Man, he'd started consuming, expanding and consuming, having already devoured seven entire universes. Power Princess pleaded with Imam to try and reason with the entity, figuring he was the only one able to convince it to stop. Unfortunately, the gigantic stress and strain caused the aged wizard's heart to give out.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (fb) - BTS) - In his dying moments, Imam bestowed the mantle of Earth's supreme master of magic upon Arcanna's son Benjamin.

(Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe) - Thanks to Imam passing the proverbial torch, Benjamin's consciousness was expanded enough for the infant to reach out to the Nth Man in Imam's stead. Thomas offered to take Lightner's place as the Nth Man, allowing the former scientist to assume the role of Earth-712's new sorcerer supreme. Lightner accepted, having grown bored with his existence as the Nth Man. Little Benjamin Thomas said farewell to his mother, as he set out to restore everything his predecessor had mindlessly absorbed. 

Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks).

    Imam is obviously intended to be Earth-712's version of Doctor Strange. The blind mystic's "third eye that never blinks" is remarkably similar to Strange's equally non-blinking Eye of Agamotto. Given these similarities, it's quite possible "Imam" is either his actual first or last name. It's never been explained how Imam was unable to return from the dimension the Serpent Cartel banished him to under his own power. Maybe he was stranded in a reality like the Dimension of Exile in which supernatural abilities more often than not don't work.
    However, we should also be aware that Imam is also a word that refers to an Islamic leader or prophet. Strange is clearly a word and also the real last name of Dr. Stephen Strange, and, following that pattern, Imam may be his name and not refer to any actual Islamic connections...or it could be a title he chose because of such connections. Again, I don't THINK we have any evidence for or against Professor Imam being Muslem.
--Snood
   
I think it seems more likely given what we know about him (magic guy, lives in a tower, was active in the '40s) that he's intended to be a counterpart to DC's Doctor Fate.
--Minor Irritant
    Certainly, since Earth-712 is generally a DC homage world, that makes perfect sense. As he is the "supreme master of magic," I think he also filled a role similar to Strange...or perhaps the Ancient One...
--Snood


    As for his age... It's hard to tell. Imam commented on his temple being two millennia old, though that doesn't necessarily mean he is as old as his sanctum sanctorum. Still, if you consider his comments that he was reserving his strength so he could mentor his successor "443 years from now," a span of 2000+ years suddenly doesn't seem that unlikely.

    Since Imam served with Power Princess in the Golden Agency, during which she met her future husband Howard Shelton, it's possible the professor encountered him too at some point. Also, calling a superhero team from the 1940s the Golden Age...ncy was a clever little pun on Gruenwald's part I truly enjoyed.

    Unless otherwise specified, all locations and beings related in this profile refer to Earth/Reality-712 versions.

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Professor Imam should not be confused with


Professor Imam's Temple of Contemplation

    Professor Imam's sanctum sanctorum, known as the Temple of Contemplation, was located "somewhere in the northern hemisphere" and was well over two millennia old. Both its exact coordinates or its origins remain unknown, though it's been strongly suggested the Temple had no fixed location. The Temple contained Imam's personal belongings, as well as a wide array of mystical tomes and artifacts, chief among them his Prism of Prescience. Valuing his privacy, Imam regularly cast a spell of invisibility that made it impossible for either technology or less talented mages to locate his abode. Well over 2000 years old, the construct was maintained by Imam's own inner balance. When he left to help fight the threat of the Nth Man, it collapsed moments after his departure. Imam wasn't too disturbed by its destruction, claiming he felt he no longer had any need for it.


-- Squadron Supreme I#6, Captain America I#334, Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe

 

 

 



Professor Imam's Prism of Prescience

    Professor Imam used his prism of prescience to keep himself apprised of the comings and goings in the outside world. The geometric crystal showed Imam different aspects of any conflict. Rising up out of the floor of Imam's meditation space, it could zoom in on whatever the Professor wanted to study. Professor Imam summoned the prism of prescience to show Hyperion and Power Princess the growing threat of a rapidly expanding white light (Earth-616's Nth Man) which consumed all it encountered.


-- Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe

 

 

 


images: (without ads)
Captain America I#334, p2, pan5 (main image)
Squadron Supreme Death of a Universe,p22, pan 5 (Close Up)
Web Of Spider-Man Annual I#5, p55, pan1 (banished by the Serpent Cartel)
Squadron Supreme I#12, p3, pan5 (hands Nighthawk the search crystal )
Squadron Supreme Death of a Universe, p66, pans 2&3 (death)
Squadron Supreme Death of a Universe, p22, pans 1&2 (Temple of Contemplation)
Squadron Supreme Death of a Universe, p23, pans 1,2,3 (Prism of Prescience)


Appearances:
Captain America I#314 (February 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#7 (March 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Jackson Guice (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Squadron Supreme I#12 (August 1986) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Sam de la Rossa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (October 1989) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers West Coast Annual#4 (November 1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Web of Spider-Man Annual#5 (November 1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor) 


Last updated: 07/16/14

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