Friday, July 26, 2013

Disaster of the Mystic Arts


Can YOU


Name This Marvel Villain??



This man could kill you in his sleep--and he means that. But if that sounds like he's bristling with self-confidence, that's not necessarily true. Although his schemes have been known to be grandiose, and his power to be sufficiently threatening, he's not particularly skilled at making good on his threats--though he's come reasonably close, in spite of himself.  He had a relatively brief career as a villain, mostly spent seeking revenge against his main enemy whom he could never best.

But if that's true, then who the heck is this guy putting the smack-down on the Defenders?



Perhaps you've come close to guessing the identity of our villain--but as far as Cyrus Black, the self-styled "Devil Incarnate," is concerned, just "close" is unacceptable:



Black is referring to an earlier failed assault on the sanctum of Dr. Strange--where, backed up by a group of armed minions, he seems to think he holds all the cards. Strange, on the other hand, isn't as convinced of Black's threat:



Indeed, Black's abilities fail to prove equal to the task. And when later joined by the Silver Surfer, Strange has more than enough power at his disposal to put the wraps on this little attack:



Thoroughly beaten, Black nevertheless manages to escape, and returns to his dwelling to lick his wounds. But thanks to some Jamaican incense, he drifts off to sleep and finds he's gained the ability through his dreams to become, in reality, any powerful threat that he could conceive. And that's going to spell trouble for his rival who recently humbled him:




Suffice to say, Black takes a nap. And Strange finds that there's a new Cyrus Black in town:




Suddenly, it's the Defenders who find themselves on the ropes against Black's new form. But it's one Defender in particular who's going to bear the brunt of Black's grudge:




Fortunately, the Sub-Mariner has analyzed the situation and discovered the truth of Black's new abilities. And he's able to convince him that his newfound might isn't real:



Off to lick his wounds again, Black reflects on the sobering thought that he's even been beaten in his imagination. But later--with the aid of Nightmare, who was behind Black's new power all along--Black abducted Strange to Nightmare's realm, and engaged in battle with him one-on-one, having bolstered his abilities during his stay with Nightmare. Yet Black was forced to face the truth about his inadequacy--and in a final spell born of despair, seemingly slew himself. Nightmare, not exactly at a loss for words, provided a "eulogy" that Black would probably have wanted to avoid at all costs: "Black--no! What have you gained by this display? If your life had little meaning... your death has none."

Although Black was assumed dead, this is Marvel, after all, and you can't keep a good "devil incarnate" down. Yet he toils in relative obscurity, his dreams of grandeur never materializing in reality.

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