Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Once Immortal, Always Immortal


Name This Marvel Villain??

With all the trouble this guy has caused in meddling with human history, no doubt some of you have quickly recognized the Sphinx, whose origin dates back to ancient Egypt. The chief sorcerer of Ramses, he was banished forever when he failed in his appointed task to discredit and prevail over the Hebrew prophet, Moses. It was only when he chanced upon the powerful jewel known as the Ka stone that he found his true destiny--one that he unknowingly would be trapped in forever.

We've already been witness to one grim end to the Sphinx's search for the answer to ending his immortality; but in this universe, his search would lead him to a hidden temple in the Himalayas where resided a mysterious being known as Sayge. And in the dark, hooded visage of this oracle, the Sphinx saw a terrible, ultimate fate lying in wait for him, too horrible to allow to come to pass. And so the goal of the Sphinx now became to escape that fate, at all costs.

Finally, the Sphinx's quest would bear fruit when information unknowingly possessed by the man called Nova would lead him to the world of Xandar, and its amazing array of living computers. Yet once he was flooded with the knowledge he sought, and the incredible god-like power that came with it, his priorities shifted to that of a conqueror who would dominate all those he considered his inferior. And given the fact that the Earth had been his prison for centuries, his first order of business was to return and destroy it.

At the time the Sphinx attained ultimate power on Xandar, the Fantastic Four were present and attempted to stop him, but failed. And so Reed Richards struck a deadly bargain with the only being he felt was capable of challenging the Sphinx--one who had his own plans for the fate of Earth.

Yikes! Are you getting the feeling that no matter who wins here, we lose??

This clash of titans takes place in Egypt, where the Sphinx had returned to indulge in a gesture that brings him full circle: Before destroying Earth, he decides to create a spectacular kingdom on the landscape that is a fitting monument to the Egypt he remembers in its prime. Yet he has little time to admire his handiwork, as Terrax, the herald of Galactus, appears to announce his master's coming and to test the Sphinx's mettle, an act that quickly results in Terrax's humbling.

With the arrival of Galactus, the Sphinx gives him the curious impression that their meeting and his interference have been expected; but since Galactus clearly has no interest in anything the Sphinx has to say, given his own plans for consuming Earth, what do you say we let their battle decide not only the meaning of the Sphinx's riddles, but also which one of these titans will destroy us?

However prepared he was to face Galactus (details of which we still have yet to learn), it looks like the Sphinx isn't faring well in this fight, despite the power he now wields. The resulting carnage lays waste to the magnificent new city that the Sphinx had created; and with the Sphinx apparently on the ropes, it seems as if that state of ruin will be appropriately symbolic for the crushing defeat of its creator.

With the arrival of Sayge, and the subsequent reaction of dread on the part of the Sphinx, we can rightly assume that the fate long ago predicted for the Sphinx is nigh--a fate that almost seems a product of the battle itself, judging by the contempt with which Galactus has come to regard the Sphinx. And so begins a cycle of immortality that the Sphinx never originally conceived--a twist on the original curse of the Ka stone that renders any search for his release from it futile.

As for Galactus, his own future isn't exactly a rosy one, is it?


Anonymous said...

Good grief, not ANOTHER hidden temple in the Himalayas - how many are there ?? If Galactus can send the Sphinx back in time can he also send himself back in time ? If so, Galactus could travel back to a time before superheroes existed and consume Earth like he's always wanted.

Comicsfan said...

Colin, we could probably assume that Sayge and the Ancient One ran into each other from time to time in those mountains, stopping by each other's sanctums to swap war stories with one another (or maybe play a rousing game of "Name That Inhuman"). As isolated as they were in the Himalayas, they probably could have used the company inbetween greeting outsiders who were in search of something. As for Galactus, that's a good question--but perhaps it was because he was acting in accordance with prophecy that he was able to deal with the Sphinx as he did. (At least that's my guess--I don't have a Sayge of my own to consult about it.)

Anonymous said...

CF, don't forget the temple of Kali where the Shroud got his powers - obviously the Himalayas is the place to go if you want to set up a hidden temple/monastery/refuge :D

Jason Atomic said...

I'm wondering how that sun bleached flesh angle escaped my notice before. Bizarre but strangely evocative...

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