Real Name: Paolo Montesi
Papal States citizenship (pre-Vatican);
12th century AD
Occupation: Custodian of the Darkhold;
rank of Monsignore within the Roman Catholic Church
Group Membership: Roman Catholic Church;
Affiliations: Pope Eugene III (see comments); various within the Roman Catholic Church;
worshipped the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God
Enemies: Aelfric (aka the Mad Monk), Chthon and his agents, Varnae and his army of vampires;
Known Relatives: "Raffaela" Montesi (wife, deceased; see comments), Giacomo Montesi (son, deceased), Marcello Montesi (grandson, deceased), Luciano Montesi (descendent, presumably deceased), Giuseppe Montesi (descendant, deceased), Vittorio Montesi (descendant), Victoria Montesi (adoptive descendant); various unidentified daughters-in-law, granddaughters-in-law, etc.
Base of Operations: The Vatican, Rome
First Appearance: Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2 (December, 1989)
Powers/Abilities: Paolo had extensive knowledge of the theology and the Catholic church, as well as vast occult knowledge.
His strong religious faith allowed him to read the Darkhold without being corrupted by it.
His faith futher allowed him to challenge an army of monstrous vampires and even the vampire-lord Varnae himself.
Height: 5'6" brown or black
Weight: Approximately 160 lbs.
Eyes: Dark (presumably brown)
brown or black
(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2) - Paolo Montesi was a 12th century monk (probably born circa 1100 or 1110 AD) was appointed curator of a special library -- sometimes been known as St. Gabriel’s Library (cf. Doctor Strange II#39 and #40) -- inside the Vatican devoted to occult, and thus potentially dangeous, artifacts.
(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2 - BTS) - After the execution of the mad monk Aelfric in Spain in 1149, a number of the Darkhold scrolls (which had previously been separated from their bound form and scattered by St. Brendan before coming into Aelfric's possession) were brought to this library.
(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2) - From these, Paolo Montesi discovered a prophecy about the future of the Church and the world that would be called the “Malachy Prophecy” (being mistakenly attributed to an Irish bishop and contemporary of Aelfric, who would one day be sainted) and other dark secrets.
Following his astonishing discovery, Paolo obtained a special audience with then-Pope Eugene III (see comments), on a matter, as he said, of "utmost urgency."
After Paolo detailed the Malachy Prophecy and other information from the Chthon scrolls, the pope asked Paolo if he believed himself, like Aelfric, to be a victim of the Darkhold's evil influence.
Paolo knew admitted that, like any mortal man, he had become tainted by the very act of reading the Darkhold, but he assured Pope Eugene that his strong faith protected him so that the Book held no power over him.
To prevent the Darkhol'd curse from spreading further, Pope Eugene III decreed that, henceforth, Paolo would be the only priest authorized to handle the scrolls, which were to be bound together in a book to be known forevermore to the Church as the “Book of Sins.”
Further, by special papal dispensation, the pope decreed that Paolo was allowed to marry so that he might sire heirs (see comments), one of whom would then succeed him as custodian of the Darkhold custodian. Realzing he had been singled out for a very special destiny, Paolo shuddered as if a great cold wind had passed through the papal palace.
(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2 (fb) - BTS) - Via spies within Rome, the vampire-lord Varnae learned that the Church had acquired the Darkhold, which might allow the Church to accomplish its goal of destroying all vampires.
(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2) - Vatican towards the end of the 12th century (c. 1190 AD), Varnae led a host of vampire warriors into Rome in search of the Darkhold, initially overwhelming all forces the desperate defenders could throw in their paths.
Paolo then led a counter-attack, with priests owned with crosses and crucifixes, which combined with Paolo's steadfast faith and that of his associates hurled back the undead army.
A ruse of Varnae’s caused Paolo to stumble and drop the Crucifix during the fight, and Varnae slew him in that moment of weakness (see comments).
Paolo was thus unable join his triumphal host in celebrating the defeat of the fleeing, panic-stricken monstrosities.
(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2 - BTS) - However, at the same time, in a small nursery deep within the Lateran palace, Paolo's son, Giacomo, was delivered of its dying mother.
Comments: Created by Jean-Marc Lofficier, Roy Thomas, and David & Dan Day.
The Pope that Paolo reported to was Eugene III, not Eugene VII as wrongly indicated in the story.
The celibacy of priesthood only became official Church doctrine in 1525, so the dispensation was not so unusual.
Varnae should have been immune to Paolo's crucifix anyway,
since Christianity was not around during the time of Varnae's human life
(@ 20, 000 years ago). This is discussed in MUCH greater detail in Varnae's
Feigning such a weakness was part of his ruse.--Jean-Marc Lofficier
I would also consider that, as Paolo's faith was strong enough for him to read the Darkhold without being corrupted, that the very strength of this faith made Paolo himself somewhat of a force to pain Varnae, while Paolo's belief in the power of the crucifix made him lose faith and be more vulnerable after dropping it.--Snood.
Montesi's wife was not shown on panel, nor was she named as anything
other than the mother of his son. However, as Paolo was both a deeply
religious man and he had been given dispensation to marry to sire
children, this was almost certainly his wife. As not taking a husband's
last name was not common at the time, I would think her last name was
almost certainly Montesi. Jean-Marc Lofficier confirmed this and he
provided the name Raffaela for her. At the time of this profile,
however, that information has yet to see print in a Marvel Comic;
This profile was completed 05/11/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Jean-Marc Lofficier, with assistance from Snood (text editing) and Loki (digital image supplier)
No known connection to:
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#12/2 (December, 1989) - Roy Thomas, Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier (writers), David & Dan Day (artists), Ralph Macchio (editor)
First posted: 09/06/2021
Last updated: 09/04/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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