Shuma-Gorath
Shuma-Gorath as shown on a trading card (art by Jim Nelson)
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Premiere #10
(September 1973)
Created by
In-story information
SpeciesGreat Old Ones / Many-angled ones
Place of originMultiverse
Notable aliasesGreat One Who Slumbers
Conqueror of Midnight
All-Killer of the Dawn
Father of All Evil
Lord of Chaos
Abilities
  • Vast mystical powers
  • Reality manipulation
  • Energy projection
  • Shapeshifting
  • Teleportation
  • Immortality
  • Levitation

Shuma-Gorath (/ˈʃmə ˈɡɔːræθ/) is a character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner, the character first appeared in Marvel Premiere #10 (September 1973).[1][2] Shuma-Gorath belongs to the Great Old Ones, a race of ancient eldritch beings who predate Earth.[3] It is a recurring antagonist of the superhero Doctor Strange.[4][5]

Publication history

Shuma-Gorath first appears as an adversary for Doctor Strange in Marvel Premiere #10 (September 1973),[6] created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Frank Brunner. The character's name is taken from Robert E. Howard's short story "The Curse of the Golden Skull,"[7] which features a dying magician named Rotath invoking the "iron-bound books of Shuma-Gorath" in a curse against humanity.[citation needed]

Heroic Signatures holds the rights to the Shuma-Gorath name, due to its use in Howard's story, along with additional elements related to the Conan the Barbarian and Kull of Atlantis mythos, which is licensed to Marvel Comics.[8]

Fictional character biography

During Earth's pre-history Shuma-Gorath ruled the world, and demanded human sacrifice until eventually banished by time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg.[9] The entity eventually returns during the Hyborian Age, but is imprisoned within a mountain by the power of the god Crom.[10] Shuma-Gorath continues to be an influence on Earth until it was returned to its home dimension by Crom.[11]

When the entity tries to return to Earth via the mind of the Ancient One, his disciple Doctor Strange is forced to kill him to prevent this.[12][clarification needed] Years later, Strange battles Shuma-Gorath in its home dimension, and although victorious, he gradually becomes a new version of the entity. Strange commits suicide to prevent this transformation and is resurrected by an ally.[13] Sorcerer Nicholas Scratch summons the entity to Earth, but it is driven back by the combined efforts of Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, the Salem's Seven and villain Diablo.[14]

Shuma-Gorath is eventually revealed to be one of the four undying extra-dimensional "multi-angled ones" guiding a metaphysical invasion from a dimension called the "cancerverse". In attempting to destroy Death itself, the entity and its allies are rendered inert by the conceptual form of Death and subsequently are trapped in the cancerverse when it is destroyed.[15] Shuma-Gorath survives and once again attempts to invade Earth but is repelled by the superhero team the Avengers with the Spear of Destiny.[16]

During the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, Shuma-Gorath is among the demons to meet at the Devil's Advocacy to discuss the threat of the Serpent and what this means to them.[17]

During the 2013 "Infinity" storyline, Thanos' servant Ebony Maw manipulates Doctor Strange into summoning Shuma-Gorath to the streets of New York. The creature is met by Luke Cage and his new team of Avengers.[18] Blue Marvel arrives at the scene of the battle and flies through Shuma-Gorath's head, destroying its physical manifestation. Shuma-Gorath's astral body possesses a crowd of people in New York City and attempts to recreate itself on Earth. It is weakened through mystical attacks by Power Man and White Tiger and finally banished by Monica Rambeau, who penetrates Shuma-Gorath's eye as a ray of light and disperses the entity from within.[19]

The Last Days of Magic storyline describes Shuma-Gorath as responsible for destroying the home planet of the character Imperator, leader of the Empirikul, by sending a group of evil sorcerers after his family. This leads the Imperator to dedicate his life to destroying magic in every universe.[20]

Later, during a battle, Dormammu states to Doctor Strange that he helped the Empirikul in finding Shuma-Gorath, who was defeated by the Imperator. Doctor Strange later banishes Dormammu to Shuma-Gorath itself, who was visibly wounded and seeking revenge.[21]

Powers and abilities

Shuma-Gorath is a godlike ruler of nearly a hundred alternate universes.[22][23] The character has the power to destroy galaxies and realities.[24][25][26] The entity is described as immortal.[27][28] Shuma-Gorath is able to manipulate reality.[29] It can communicate with and control life forms across dimensions.[30][31] It can shoot powerful energy blast from its eye or tentacles.[32] The entity is capable of teleportation.[33] It also possesses the ability to shape-shift.[34][35] Shuma-Gorath can also levitate.[36]

Reception

Critical response

Peter Cunis of CBR.com called Shuma-Gorath one of Doctor Strange's "most popular villains."[37] Jonah Schuhart of Looper asserted, "Shuma-Gorath remains one of Marvel's most interesting antagonists, and a fine example of how Marvel's writers have been able to integrate a variety of influences into one universe."[38] Johnny Brayson and Nola Pfau of Bustle included Shuma-Gorath in their "50 Most Powerful Characters In The Marvel Universe" list, and called it Doctor Strange's "greatest and most dangerous foe."[39] Marc Buxton of Den of Geek included in their "Doctor Strange 2: Characters We Want to See" list.[40] Rosie Knight of Nerdist included Shuma-Gorath in their "8 Magic Characters We Want to See Come to the MCU" list.[41] Chris Heasman of Looper ranked Shuma-Gorath 2nd in their "Doctor Strange's Most Powerful Villains" list.[42] Trey Pasch of MovieWeb ranked 3rd in their "Doctor Strange: His Best Comic Book Villains" list.[43] Jamie Lovett of ComicBook.com ranked Shuma-Gorath 4th in their "5 Greatest Doctor Strange Villains" list.[44] Aparna Ukil of Sportskeeda ranked Shuma-Gorath 7th in their "10 Best Kaijus from Marvel and DC Comics" list.[45]

Screen Rant included Shuma-Gorath in their "15 Most Powerful Magical Beings In Marvel Comics" list,[46] in their "15 Most Powerful Doctor Strange Villains" list,[47] in their "Scarlet Witch's 15 Most Powerful Enemies" list,[48] and in their "10 Best Doctor Strange Comics Characters Not In The MCU" list.[49] CBR.com ranked Shuma-Gorath 1st in their "11 Strongest Doctor Strange Villains" list,[50] 2nd in their "10 Most Powerful Demonic Marvel Villains" list,[51] and 3rd in their "20 Most Villainous Gods In The Marvel Universe" list.[52]

Other versions

Venomverse

In the Venomized event, a Poison Shuma-Gorath was present in the Poison Hive's invasion of the Prime Marvel Universe, fighting Vision and Falcon, successfully bonding a symbiote to the latter.[53]

In other media

Film

Video games

Merchandise

See also

References

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