What the D'ast? The Dread Dormammu
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.) By Byron Brewer Any fan of Mystic Marvel will cringe at the name – Dormammu! Since the time of his creation in Strange Tales #126 (1964) by Stan lee and Steve Ditko until now, he remains the Numero Uno threat to everything we hold dear in the 616 reality. Notice who it was that a proactive Doctor Voodoo first went after and imprisoned before another step was taken in one of his first missions as Sorcerer Supreme. Despite the premature cancellation of his book (See WTD? – Doctor Voodoo) by Marvel, no fool Jericho! Dormammu, powerful ruler of the Dark Domain, reeks of Ditko mystic creativity. His face hidden in Faltinian Flames, he is the very epitome of otherworldly evil frequently encountered by the Ancient One, Doctor Strange and other top cops of the magic realms. A single saving grace keeps Dormammu out of the “Evil Beyond Evil” classification for some like, say, the Enchantress or Mephisto: Dormammu is a being of honor. Like Loki of Asgard, he does care about something, that being the welfare of the Dark Domain’s denizens. Much like Magus and the Sky Gods of Earth, in a way, Dormammu continues to exist and can be resurrected if destroyed by the belief energies of other beings from thousands of other worlds. We have seen this time and time again. Likewise, Dormammu funnels a great deal of his power into keeping the borders of his dimension safe and secure for its dwellers, the danger being the awesomely mighty Mindless Ones. (A rogue group of these beings are – or at least were -- making the existence of Ego the Living Planet a living nightmare!) Speaking of Dormammu and Loki, Norse god of mischief, one of my favorite uses of the pair came in the 1970s during the great Avengers-Defenders War by Steve Englehart. Dormammu enters into an alliance with Loki and tricks the two superteams into fighting each other for components of the Evil Eye. The Eye is reassembled, and allows Dormammu to merge his dimension with all the planets of the 616 Marvel U. (See, Dormyis cosmic!) without breaking his vow of non-invasion once given to Strange. Despite this and with an assist to both teams from Loki (as again was the case in Siege). Dormammu is defeated, with the Dark Domain’s ruler being absorbed into the Eye itself courtesy of a hex cast by the Scarlet Witch. That self-same energy then is shot willy-nilly into the eyes of Loki, blinding Thor’s brother for some time. Englehart also opened our eyes to Clea’s origins in a great arc drawn by the man who did Strange best (next to Ditko), the great Gene Colan. Dormammu’s evil is returning through the worship of several cults. Umar, Dormammu’s sister, seeks to take advantage of this. During the saga, flashbacks are shown of Orini, chief disciple of Dormannu. In time Umar took notice of Orini and had a tryst with him. Both evidently were virgins and Umar was initially disgusted with the experience and with Orini himself. In six cycles of the Dark Dimension, Umar gave birth to Clea. This experience changed Umar and she was no longer able to return to her true Faltinian form. Her inability to transform angered Umar, and in her frustration she lashed out at her brother. Now far stronger than Umar, Dormammu banished her to one of the subjugated pocket dimensions of the Dark Dimension. In recent days, Dormammu worked in secrecy by empowering criminal mastermind the Hood, who in turn created an army of super-villains and formed a crime army … an army that later came into the service of Norman Osborn during his Dark Reign. Dormammu also took advantage of the fact that Strange lost the title of Sorcerer Supreme, but the latter eventually exorcises his influence from the Hood together with Daimon Hellstrom and Doctor Voodoo. (It should not be forgotten that while under Dormammu’s evil influence/possession, the Hood made love to Madame Masque! Hmm …) Whether as a danger to Earth’s dimension or as a defender of his own, one thing is for sure: the cosmic flame that is the Dread Dormammu is nowhere near extinguishing, even after four-plus decades!