slytis-8116-demon-mainSLYTIS
Reality-8116

Real Name: Presumably Slytis

Identity/Class: Alternate Reality (Reality-8116) extradimensional (presumably the 10th-12th planes of existence; see comments) demon;

Occupation: Demon

Group Membership: None known

Affiliations: Syzygy Darklock;
    indirectly Taurus Killgaren

Enemies: Syzygy Darklock, Sister Marian

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None known

Base of Operations: Presumably the 10th-12th planes of existence ( see comments) in Reality-8116

First Appearance: "The Price," Eclipse Graphic Album Series#5 (1981) - see comments

Powers/Abilities: A serpentine demon with a snake-like head, a humanoid thorax and arms, and a long serpentine tail, Slytis is covered in light green scales on his upper body and posterior/dorsal surface of his tail section, with pale, perhaps white scutes on the anterior/ventral surface of his tail.

    Slytis is able to steal vast mystic power from the realms of the gods and deliver it to beings it chooses...typically those who have both the power to summon him and who willingly sacrifice the being he or she most loves.

    Slytis physically devours those sacrificed to him.

Height: Unreveaeled (perhaps 18-25' feet from head to tail; he looked to be perhaps 8' when postured on usual tail section)
Weight: Unrevealed (perhaps 500 lbs,)
Eyes: Unrevealed (perhaps black or just shadowed)
Hair: None

History:
("The Price" (fb) - BTS) - Slytis is a demon known for the ability to steal celestial energies and bestow those them upon those sufficiently powerful to summon him, but only for those who would sacrifice their greatest love to Slytis.

("The Price" (fb) - BTS) - A few decades prior to the main story> - Dread Veil sorcerer Taurus Killgaren discovered a great future stellar event that would have a tremendous and very positive effect on mortal existence. However, he discovered that this future was unstable and had a good chance of never happening. Seeking to aid this tomorrow's coming to pass, Killgaren began studying the characters who would play important parts in forming the future, and he determined that one of the brothers Syzygy or Ajar'l Darklock was destined to be a major factor in this grand scheme, although it wasn't yet determined which.

    Killgaren chose Syzygy and influenced him into joining the priesthood of the Instrumentality (the theocracy ruling Altarix, the planet that was home to Ajar'l and Syzygy). Rising to the position of Lord High Bishop, Syzygy sought to rule the Instrumentality and put an end to the ancient war with the rival theocracy known as the Monarchy. To this end, Syzygy secretly researched forbidden magics. 

slytis-8116-demon-power    Realizing the amount of power Syzygy would need to achieve his destiny and that the fiercely loyal Syzygy would have to sacrifice the soul of the mortal he most loved in the universe to the demon Slytis to gain that power, Killgaren plotted to have the demon Bialgesuard slay Ajar'l in order to lead Syzygy to investigate, learn his involvement, and gain the power to confront him (Killgaren); only this level of power would allow Darlock to summon and deal with Slytis. From there, Killgaren would inform Syzygy how to gain even greater power from Slytis.

("The Price" - BTS) - Having gained power with Bialgesuard's aid, Darklock savagely confronted and assaulted Killgaren, who willingly revealed his machinations. When an appalled Syzygy could not fathom sacrificing his greatest love, Sister Marian, Killgaren used his mystic orb to show Darklock a vision of the future that convinced him of the necessity of this action. Infuriated by the position into which he had been forced, Darlock slew Killgaren.

    Returning to the mortal plane, Darklock asked Marian if she could peer into the future and learn that she could bring about great benefits to mortal beings at the expense of her own life, would she do so? After she confirmed that she would happily sacrifice herself to benefit others, Syzygy reluctantly shoved her into a dark chamber and locked the door.

("The Price") - Within the room, Marian heard a creature and turned to gaze upon its dark surreal being, and she recalled that Syzygy was never one to present hypothetical questions.

    Resigned to her fate, Marian knelt and prayed as the monstrous Slytis approached.

("The Price" - BTS) - Outside the chamber, Syzygy wept as he heard prayers turn to screams of pain that stretched the seconds into years and the minutes into lifetimes. Finally, a last choking gasp signalled the end of her agony, but then a brief silence was followed by the sounds of dead flesh being torn, bitten, sucked on and swallowed. The foul noise of the grisly feast seemed to take centuries.

    When the feast concluded, the door opened, and Syzygy found and accepted the vast power Slytis had left him, noting that he was both blessed and damned. He then considered that Lord High Bishop Syzygy Darklock was dead, but the Heavens should beware, for now amid the stars walked Syzygy the Dark.

    Syzygy subsequently quit the priesthood, and he departed Altarix, traveling to Caldor and seeking out Vanth, the man most prominent in his vision of the future.

Comments: Created by Jim Starlin.

    Dreadstar was a licensed character/title created by Jim Starlin starting way back with the Metamorphosis Odyssey in Epic Illustrated#1 in the Spring of 1980. The Metamorphosis Odyssey started around the modern era and affected Earth, but then swiftly destroyed the entire Milky Way galaxy and then moved on to a million years in the future. Dreadstar eventually got his own series under the Epic imprint, but Starlin later took the whole shebang over to First Comics. And in 1994, it was published under the imprint of Bravura, a creator-owned division of Malibu comics. He appeared sometime later in issues #5-7 of the Breed III series. And, there's been talk of a Dreadstar television show...
    Still that earlier Marvel connection allows me to place this reality in the fringes of the Marvel Megaverse.
    Peter David took over the writing around issue#31 or so, but Starlin remained the owner. At any rate, from start to finish, it is the best series I've ever read, period! I'd love to see it continued, by Starlin, David, or both!
    This profile is part of my coverage of the second part of the Metamorphosis Odyssey, the origins of Syzygy Darklock. It is noteworthy to consider that the very end of the Metamorphosis Odyssey and everything thereafter (including the Price) takes place 1 million years after Aknaton used the Infinity Horn to destroy the entire Milky Way galaxy to eliminate the threat of the Zygoteans.

    According to Epic Illustrated#9: Metamorphosis Odyssey, Chapter XIII: Doomsday, there are fifteen known power levels or dimensions of mystical existence:

       The first level is mortal existence as we know it, including the stars, the planets, and all plant and animal life, including humans.
       The second level holds energies easily accessed by mortals, including atomic, electrical, magnetic, photon, etc.
       Dimensions 3-9 are mystical planes, and only highly skilled first-levelers, such as wizards and priests, can make use of these forces;
       Levels 10-12 are the natural habitat of creatures of great power, such as demons, spirits, elementals, angels, and dread veil sorcerers; few first-levelers ever venture here;
       The 13th and 14th panes are the provinces of the gods;
       The 15th level is the sole domain of a being of omnipotent force and many names. His plane of power is without end. His is the reality of infinity.

    Sadly, despite the price Syzygy paid, the vast power he gained in his origin story did not persist. Perhaps his body could not handle the magical energies, and his power faded as a result of his body dying (his life only maintained by his magical energies). Certainly the Lord Papal later had his powers amplified by the gods of the Instrumentality or something, but I suspect it was to some degree a plot device, as having Syzygy be that powerful just couldn't fit into regularly stories and not make him a virtually invincible foe.

    I'll go progressively through the entire series/appearances of Dreadstar (though it may take me a decade or three to do so), but I'm not aware of any further appearances of or refereces to Slytis.

    I'd like to see some story set in Vanth Dreadstar's most recent continuity where he and his daughter Kara had to go rescue Syzygy's nephew, Ravol Darklock, from things that were consequences of Syzygy's actions and manipulaton of magical forces. Maybe Bialgesuard and Slytis could be involved. Wouldn't that be nice?

    The Price was originally published in black and white in Eclipse Graphic Album Series #5 (1981). It was reprinted, with colorized artwork, in Dreadstar Annual#1 (1983) by Epic (the licensed characters/stories division of Marvel)

CLARIFICATIONS:
Slytis
should be distinguished from:


images: (without ads)

"The Price," story pg. 38, panel 4 (Slytis with Marian);
        pg. 39, panel 8 (power)


Appearances:
"The Price," Eclipse Graphic Album Series#5 (1981) - Jim Starlin (writer/artist); I don't know who edited it; reprinted in Epic's Dreadstar Annual#1 (1983) it credited Jo Duffy (associate editor) and Archie Goodwin (editor)


First posted: 07/08/2020
Last updated: 07/08/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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