Billions of years ago, shortly after the formation of the Earth, the Demiurge, the sentient life force of Earth's biosphere, seeded the young planet with its essence, creating a race of Elder Gods, the foremost of which were Chthon, and his siblings Set, Gaea, and Oshtur. The Elder Gods proliferated across the planet and ruled it for a million years. Chthon spent his time studying the mystical forces of the universe and eventually became the Earth's first black magician.
Elder Gods degeneration
Over time, at least 1 billion years ago, almost all of the Elder Gods degenerated and turned into demons, preying on one another for power. Gaea, who had not been corrupted, feared for the safety of the new life brewing within the Earth's oceans. She went to the Demiurge and asked it to conceive in her a means in which to vanquish the demons. She entered the depths of the Earth and gave birth to Atum, the first of a race of new gods. Atum went around the Earth, slaying the demons and absorbing their energy. Atum then took on a monstrous appearance and became Demogorge, the God-Eater.
Chthon managed to escape the God-Eater by creating another dimension, the Flickering Realms (also known as K'lay or Other-Realm). Along with his "brother" Set's Serpent's Sea, the Flickering Realms were the first two Inner Planes, dimensions located in the close vicinity of Earth.
Before he left, in the Darque Hold (a chamber among the caverns inside the mountain that would be known as Mount Wundagore, Transia, eastern Europe), Chthon wrote the Darkhold, inscribing all his arcane knowledge on scrolls made from indestructible parchment and left them behind to serve as a physical link between Earth and his new home should he ever choose to return. It was theorized by the Logomancer that the Darkhold was originated from etchings carved on the walls of the city of R'llyeh by ancient and hideous "things", the Great Old Ones, among which Chthon was allegedly the greatest, despite being usually recognized as an Elder God.
Continued influence on Earth
Trapped in his dimension, Chthon then went to slumber, intending to one day return. He granted powers to the Darkhold's users, who forfeited their souls. Chthon led a faction of evil Gods in a war against another group. Chthon's side was defeated and banished from Earth and to the other-realm by their opponents.
Chthon's new dimension was close enough to continue influencing Earth. A pact was struck between the surviving Elder Gods (Chthon, Set, Gaea, and the returning Oshtur) that each would occupy their own realms and not directly interfere with each others' territory. Earth was the realm of Gaea, and so Chthon was banned from ever returning there, or else face the wraith of the Demogorge. Still, he found ways to intervene indirectly, through the demon races he created, which were not bound by his oath.
Father of many monsters
Chthon created or spawned (his spawns are said to be creations, while there is nevertheless a distinction between spawns and magical creation) several Elderspawn, elder races as such as the N'Garai, the Ape Men, the Ape Lords, the Man-Bats of Ur-Xanarrh, the Harpies, the Goblins, and his most infamous success, the Wolf Men of Valusia, whose Wolf Lords Garmr "the Hellhound", Lycaon "Bloodhound", Gaueko "the Night Beast", and Varcolac "the Wolf Demon" held the world in terror. He also created the "first who crawled out of the mud" to worship the Great Old Ones: the Broodlings of Chthon, as well as the Nightgaunts.
Meanwhile, the Darkhold scrolls found their way to Pre-Cataclysmic Atlantis. The first vampires were created there using Chthon's power, including their Lord Varnae, by an Atlantean cult of Chthon-worshping Darkholders.
Chthon made contact with Varuna of the Bird-Men of Akah Ma'at, a race created by Chthon's sister Oshtur, and lied to him making Varuna and other Bird Men suspicious of the other "lower races". Varuna formed the Asura which went to war with the other faction of the Bird Men, the Seraphim.[verification needed]
11th Century BC
Working via Keku Chthon tempted and broke the sorcerer Heka-Nut turning him into his servant. Under the service of Chthon Heka-Nut tried to retrieve the Sword of Bone, but was stopped by a time-travelling Magik.
In medieval times, Morgan Le Fay formed a cult of mystics around the power of the Darkhold, and attempted to summon Chthon to do their bidding. Being invited back to Earth by its residents was a loophole in Chthon's pact with the other Elder Gods, although he was under no obligation to obey his summoners. Realizing their mistake, Morgan's cult could not fully banish Chthon from Earth as he was in primordial times. Instead, they bound him to a single location on Earth, Mount Wundagore in what would become the Eastern European nation of Transia.
Morgan's tower became the resting place for the Darkhold itself, bound by spells to prevent it from being used for evil. A mystic from the Age of Camelot known as Modred entered the tower, intending to harness the power of the Darkhold for good. The Other, a manifestation of Chthon, appeared to Modred and tried to bargain for his soul. Modred refused to give up his soul to the demon, but when his lady love Janice entered the tower (and Chthon's field of influence) Modred sacrificed his soul to spare Janice's.
When the Other and his forces attacked, Merlin and Brendan combined their forces to banish them, and Brendan scattered the Darkhold pages across the world. However, the monk Aelfric came to worship Chthon and assembled the pages once again.
In modern times, the High Evolutionary built his citadel on Mount Wundagore, and unknowingly came under Chthon's watch. His associate Jonathan Drew was possessed by the spirit of Magnus, one of Morgan le Fay's old disciples, and warned against the threat of Chthon. After evolving his New Men from animals, the High Evolutionary trained them with a code of honor like the knights of old, preparing them to face Chthon should he ever rise again. Indeed he did, and so Magnus and the Knights of Wundagore drove Chthon back into his mountain slumber.
Before he left this world, however, Chthon reached out and touched an infant girl being born on Wundagore that night, marking her as a potential vessel for the future. That girl would be called Wanda. Maria Russoff and Margali Szardos sought to enlist Wanda into their group, when they began sensing the presence of the Gypsy Queen's coven, and Taboo, under the directions of Chthon, used a copy of the Darkhold to prevent Wanda from coming under the influence of Set. Taboo enlisted the help of Damballah to fight against the coven. While they battled, Wanda's powers emerged for the first time which allowed Chthon to pass across the dimensional barriers and banished both the Gypsy Queen's Serpent Crown and Damballah in order to prevent Set to establish his influence. Before retreating he told the people involved that they would bear children of occult.
Modred resurfaced in the modern era, awakened from his long sleep, but he continued to resist the influence of the Other.
After Modred finally succumbed to Chthon's influence, he captured the Scarlet Witch and performed the ritual allowing Chthon to use her as his vessel on Earth. Wanda, as Chthon, opposed the Avengers when they arrived to help her, and imprisoned them in a mystical circle that would summon Chthon fully to Earth. However, the Beast arrived, dressed as one of Chthon's old nemeses from the Knights of Wundagore to distract him, and seized the Darkhold before the ritual was complete. Django Maximoff crafted a doll in Wanda's image (fatefully using wood from Wundagore imbued with some of Chthon's own power), and it acted as a conduit for Wanda's soul. She regained her body while Chthon was trapped in the doll. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch then buried the doll in an avalanche, leaving Chthon in his dimension once more.
Chthon had several plans working at once to ensure his rebirth, however. Vittorio Montesi was the latest in a long line of Montesi priests employed by the Vatican to guard against the rise of Chthon and the influence of the Darkhold. The Montesis even had special dispensation from the Vatican to marry and sire heirs, keeping their bloodline active against the forces of evil. Vittorio was sterile, however, and felt pressure to continue his family line, so he gave in to temptation and used the Darkhold to impregnate his wife. The misogynistic Vittorio thought Chthon had made sport of him when his child turned out to be a daughter, not a son like he wanted. Worse, Victoria Montesi was a lesbian, something the old-world Vittorio considered an abomination. Little did he realize this was the least of Chthon's actions.
During a fight against Spider-Woman, Viper cast her through a portal to Chthon's dimension where he began transforming her into a demon. Spider-Woman tried to escape, but Chthon already took control of her limbs. Luckily, she was saved by Viper, despite the pleading of Chthon.
When Blade used the Demogorge Page from the Darkhold to summon the Other, he appeared before Blade in the form of his mother and offered him a chance for revenge on the supernatural by becoming the new Demogorge to which Blade immediately accepted and became Switchblade. However, Louise Hastings used the counter-spell to save all of the Switchblade victims, but in exchange losing a portion of her soul to Chthon.
The Other eventually made an offer to Mordred that he would return his soul in exchange for the soul of a good woman from England. Mordred accepted the offer and succeeded in getting the woman through the ritual, but eventually realized that the woman was his beloved Lady Janice. Mordred fought Chthon, who was now possessing her body, but seeing that Chthon would kill Janice Mordred offered his soul again to which Chthon accepted leaving Janice to die in Mordred's arms.
As an adult, Victoria came to lead a team of "Darkhold Redeemers", fighting the proliferation of Darkhold spells being disseminated in the world. In time, however, they learned that Victoria was actually the child of Chthon, not Vittorio, and the Elder God impregnated her in order to be reborn on the Earthly plane. Doctor Strange contained Victoria in a time-locked stasis for months while trying to find a way to stop the rebirth. Fortunately, he was eventually successful.
Ritual of the Sphinx
Plotting to reclaim Earth, Chthon banished Ian McNee to the Serpent's Sea. Under the guise of Oshtur, he told Ian to restore Heka-Nut to save the mystic realms in exchange for his salvation, to which Ian vowed to do so. "Oshtur" told Ian to gather the "Four Aces", the Cornerstones of Creation, by using the First Tarot. Allegedly Chthon guided Marie Laveau into helping Ian. After Ian retrieved the fourth Cornerstone of Creation, the Mirror, which was revealed to be the Darkhold, Chthon in the form of Oshtur, came to Ian and led him to use the Cornerstones to restore Heka-Nut. After successfully restoring Heka-Nut, with the help of Ashake, Morgan and Llyra, Chthon revealed himself and Heka-Nut threatened Ian to take over his form and make him Chthon's slave. However, Ian suspected this and summoned the three women to help him against Chthon. Ashake used the Sword of Bone to release Heka-Nut, while Ian used the other Cornerstones to banish Chthon along with the Cornerstones, but not before Chthon told Ian that he would return for his payment.
Chthon resurfaced and killed the New Men at Mt. Wundagore, with no Doctor Strange to counter this new threat. Knowing about Chthon's activities, and how they had taken down most superheroes, Loki, disguised as the Scarlet Witch, helped to reform the Mighty Avengers to combat him. However, Modred successfully summoned Chthon into the body of Quicksilver and Chthon arrived, claiming that this reality would fall before him in a blink of an eye. Using Quicksilver's powers, Chthon altered the effects of the chaos cascade caused by Modred reading the Darkhold to whatever he desired. But the Mighty Avengers defeated him using teamwork.
Ant-Man used his ants to scramble Quicksilver's nerve signals, rendering him unable to remember any spells. After a goading from "Wanda" about the destruction of his world, Bruce Banner transformed into the Hulk and pounded the Chthon possessed Quicksilver, while Hank Pym spoke encouraging words to those present, reducing their belief in the Elder God's strength, weakening him further. Though Chthon managed to blast Hulk off, his host body was severely damaged and now unable to contain his power, so he left Quicksilver's body and entered Modred's body, but at the same time, Vision read one of the spells from the Darkhold, imprisoning the Elder God within the tome, thereby averting the threat.
Prophecy of the Red Slayer
A new member of the Darkholders, Barry Gleason, attempted to enact a ritual to resurrect Chthon using the symbiote-empowered serial killer Carnage, who he believed to be the subject of a prophecy in the Darkhold: "When the Red Slayer spills blood on sacred stone, he who sleeps shale wake and what walked once will walk again." The Darkholders' attempt to sacrifice Carnage backfired, infusing him with the Darkhold's eldritch power and compelling him to journey to a secret island in the Timor Sea, where a temple to Chthon had been built and guarded by the Broodlings of Chthon.
Carnage was able to awaken Chthon, who manifested as a blue-skinned eldritch monster and began devouring the Broodlings present. When Carnage demanded to be rewarded, Chthon casually swatted him aside and began summoning the other evil gods. However, he was confronted by Jubulile van Scotter who used the combined power of her own Darkhold-augmented symbiote, the Darkhold-augmented Raze symbiote, and the Toxin symbiote to face him in combat and ultimately banish him.
During Hydra's takeover of America, Chthon possessed Scarlet Witch again. Under possession, Wanda became a member of Hydra's Avengers. She was eventually freed from Chthon's possession by Doctor Strange during the final battle against Hydra.
After Doctor Doom uncovered the original Darkhold, the true Darkhold, a path opened between Earth and the Other-Realm. With this, Chthon could enter Earth in his complete form. Chthon taunted Wanda Maximoff by showing her a vision of his invasion. Wanda and Doom travelled to the Other-Realm, empowered by the true Darkhold, to defeat Chthon. Wanda backstabbed Doom and took the true Darkhold for herself. She fused with the true Darkhold which granted her the power to defeat Chthon and absorb the Elder God entirely. Although he got sealed and his power was now hers, Wanda warned her allies that he would return if she dies.
Elder God Physiology: Chthon is one of the most powerful Elder Gods of Earth, who has degenerated into a demonic state. He has the vast ability to manipulate magical energies for nearly any effect. He has manifested himself in humanoid form, but can take various forms; his true form, if he has one, has not been revealed.
- Dark & Chaos Magic Mastery: Chthon is a being of unimaginable mystical power, specifically that which can be called Black Magic & Chaos Magic. This magic can manipulate, warp and reconstruct the very fabric of existence and reality to the user's very whims and bring about total destruction to the cosmos.
- Other-realm Control: In the dimension he has created for himself he controls every aspect of reality.
- Telepathy: This ability enables him to read, control, and communicate with the minds of others, even across dimensional barriers.
- Mystic Patron: He can also send his power out of that dimension when invoked to do so by a spellcaster, though when this is done the spellcaster's soul is forfeit to the Elder God.
- Other Connection: Until Chthon finds a way to truly free himself from his other-dimensional realm, he can operate on Earth through his elemental host, known as the Other, which is summoned when someone uses the Darkhold. The Other can manifest itself in any appearance it wants, but its actions on the Earthly sphere are generally limited by the demands of the user of the Darkhold.
- Demonic Possession: If the proper rituals are performed, Chthon can also take over mortal host-bodies on Earth, but he can not easily transfer all of his totality to these forms, and often even the fraction he can is too much for the form to contain.
Chthon has an extraordinary knowledge of the dark mystical forces of the cosmos, and cataloged the evil spells of the demonic Elder Gods of Earth in the Darkhold. He is the original author of the Darkhold, an indestructible collection of evil mystical knowledge and spells that he intended to serve as the medium through which he could return to Earth. The Darkhold can apparently change its form, since Chthon created it millions of years before the rise of humanity, to whom it appeared as a set of scrolls with human writing upon them. Most people who use the Darkhold's spells fall under Chthon's mental control as a result. Only humans with great spiritual strength (or aided by great mystical expertise), like Doctor Strange and the members of the Montesi family can successfully resist this mental enslavement. The Darkhold's power is so vast it took the combined strength and will of both Merlin (the most accomplished Earth sorcerer of all time) and Brendan to contain it, and even together, they were unable to destroy it or its power. Mordred also seemed to believe that use of the Darkhold would grant him sufficient strength to challenge Merlin himself. It is later revealed that the aforementioned Darkhold is actually a mere copy of a copy of the original Darkhold, the true Darkhold.
Dimensional Entrapment: Without the Darkhold, Chthon is unable to move freely through dimensions and is trapped in his own because it would take an enormous mystical rift to convey the immense mystical power of the Elder God. Moreover, Gaea has erected magical screens, reinforced over millennia by hundreds of human sorcerers, which prevent him from traveling to Earth unless he undertakes highly elaborate preparations.
Dependency on Extra-dimensional Living Vessel: As shown during several of Chthon's summonings on Earth, though the occupation of a human would enable Chthon to share the human's abilities, he would also be left more vulnerable, in both mind and body, even magically augmented. For example, it is through a physical mind that a human processes information and which a human mystic can utter incantations and thus cast spells to work magic; if the physical mind or its processes were somehow disrupted, even through non-mystical means, Chthon would be temporarily deprived of spell-casting ability.
- The Elder Gods were created by August Derleth as a new classification within the Cthulhu Mythos. Marvel Comics's Elder Gods were then created by Roy Thomas, from various inspirations including, in the case of Chthon, the Cthulhu Mythos. Chthon was then related to the Cthulhu Mythos and to the Great Old Ones in a few instances, including:
- In "Wolf Book", in Marvel Tarot #1 (August, 2007), Chthon is stated to be possibly the creator of the Nightgaunts, creatures created by H.P. Lovecraft and first appearing in Marvel Comics in Conan the Barbarian #258 (July, 1992). That relation was confirmed in Chthon's profile in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (May, 2008).
- In Carnage Vol. 2 (2016-2017), Chthon is heavily referenced to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu and "The Call of Cthulhu":
- Chthon is included among the Great Old Ones in Carnage (Vol. 2) #14 (November, 2016) (the Old Ones have frequently been called elder gods, but they are different from the Elder Gods of Earth).
- He is depicted as a towering creature with octopus-like tentacles in Carnage (Vol. 2) #14 and #15.
- In Carnage (Vol. 2) #15-16, Chthon and the Darkhold utilize the eldritch language used in the Cthulhu Mythos, including "Ph'nglui mglw'naft Chthon K'lay wgah'nagl fhtagn", revamping of the famous sentence "ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn".
- In Carnage (Vol. 2) #15, it was stated that rules of physics and euclidean geometry didn't applied in the nether region between the realities of Earth and of the Elder God, which fit the description of R'lyeh.
- He was also named "He Who Sleeps" (shall wake), recalling some names of the Old One Shuma-Gorath in Carnage (Vol. 2) #2 and #4.
- Dormammu once invoked the Cauldron of Chthon in a spell to cast the world in an eternal darkness.
- Exodus was able to see Chthon's power with the Wundagore Mountain and thought how he could use it.
- Through the Darkhold, Chthon empowered the following people: Donald Walsh, Morton Thurnton, Aurora Poule, Reverend Styge, Clarisse Van Ripper, Mercy, Mr. Hayward, Sarrah Roberts, Jinx, Lt. Frank West, Harvestor, Morbius, and Spider-X.
- Chthon was the main villain in Spider-Man: Requiem.
- In a vision Chthon showed Wanda of his invasion of Earth, he also showed her that Valeria Richards could stop it (though she was killed in the vision).
- 41 appearance(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 10 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 13 minor appearance(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 34 mention(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 11 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 1 invocation(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 26 image(s) of Chthon (Earth-616)
- 3 quotation(s) by or about Chthon (Earth-616)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Chthon (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Chthon (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Chthon (Earth-616) on Marvel.com
- Chthon (Earth-616) at the Appendix to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe