Not his Fault: Shuma and the space Invaders!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 10:14
THE BREWER REPORT
Not his Fault:
Shuma and the space Invaders!
By Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
Shuma-Gorath is a cosmic demon whom I first read about as a whispered name in Dr. Strange’s return arc in Marvel Premiere. The opening issue was beautiful (I think it was by Roy Thomas and Dan Adkins), but later installments sunk into a mish-mash of Cthulhu mythos and monsters. Towards its end, enter Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner, who took Strange not only in a needed new direction, making him Sorcerer Supreme after killing his mentor, but turning the cyclopean Shuma-Gorath into a foe for the ages (and all in two issues).
Shuma-Gorath is in fact a demon native to an extradimensional realm, although apparently not the Cancerverse. He is one of the "Old Ones" who came to Earth untold millions of years ago, ruling it and feasting on mankind's ancestors. Though banished in the distant past by the sorcerer Sise-Neg (aka God!), Shuma-Gorath returned to Earth and ruled for an age in what would be Cimmeria, fed by blood sacrifice.
And in December, he will arise again in the pages of the mini-series Invaders Now #4, by Chris Gage and Alex Ross with interior art by Caio Reiss.
Over 21,000 years ago, the newly risen god Crom led a shaman to three iron-bound books of magic with which the shaman imprisoned Shuma-Gorath in what became Mount Crom. Around 10,000 B.C., the newly-wed sorcerers Kulan Gath and Vammatar sought to release and enslave the demon, but failed after betraying each other. A century later, Shuma-Gorath was indeed unleashed by the two sorcerers and others, but the barbarian Conan used the books to banish the demon from Earth.
In the modern era, Shuma-Gorath attempted to be reborn on Earth through the mind of the Ancient One via his agents Nightmare, Sligguth, Ebora, N’Gabthoth, Dagoth, Kathulos and the Living Budda. (How did Nightmare wind up with this bunch of losers?) Unable to stop the demon, Dr. Strange instead slew the Ancient One, banishing Shuma-Gorath back to his realm while allowing the Ancient One to become one with the universe.
Later, Strange's near destruction of his many talismans and scrolls in battle against alien sorcerer Urthona collapsed the barriers imprisoning the Old Ones, allowing Shuma-Gorath to gain a foothold on Earth. Forced to use black magic to oppose Shuma-Gorath's agents -- such as Erlik Khan, Ghaszaszh Nyirh and a water elemental -- Strange ultimately merged with Shuma-Gorath and then impaled himself. This temporarily destroyed Shuma-Gorath, but Strange suffered the consequences of his dark actions for some time. Re-forming over time as Strange purged himself of the demon's taint, Shuma-Gorath continued to seek to conquer Earth and other realms, sometimes by acquisition of objects of power like the Infinity Gems.
Nicholas Scratch took a turn at reviving Shuma-Gorath. Along with the Salem Seven, Nicholas trapped Dr. Strange and his servant Wong in a dimension so he could not stop Shuma-Gorath when he returned. In order to create more sacrifices, he called the Fantastic Four and brought them to Wing Hill where Shuma-Gorath was eventually resurrected by Nicholas.
However, unknown to Nicholas, Reed Richards freed Diablo and ordered him to free Dr. Strange and Wong. After he freed the Sorcerer Supreme, Diablo and Dr. Strange traveled to Wing Hill and joined the battle against Scratch and Shuma-Gorath. Strange then devised a plan and teleported himself and Shuma-Gorath to Stonehedge where he once again banished Shuma-Gorath.
In his native dimension, Shuma-Gorath is virtually omnipotent. He generates his own mystical power, but also draws energy, mystical or otherwise, from others. Shuma-Gorath can release destructive blasts and can manipulate magical energy on a planetary scale. He can communicate telepathically and control others, even across dimensions. Shuma-Gorath's physical characteristics vary greatly and his true form is uncertain; he usually adopts multiple tentacles and a rubbery, armored form, sometimes mountainous in size. Though Shuma-Gorath can be harmed by powerful assaults, he can eventually re-form from seeming destruction, and it may be impossible to destroy him permanently. Shuma-Gorath is invoked for dark power by many beings across many dimensions.
At this point, it seems unlikely the demon is behind the rumblings in The Thanos Imperative, but he is a wondrous and powerful foe. And as always, all we Marvel Cosmic fans can do is, like Uatu, imagine … what if?
Invaders Now #4 (of 5) hits stores in December!