- —Baron Mordo[src]
In the aftermath of the First World War, Baron Nikolai Mordo of Transylvania grew angry at the modern world. Desiring for his native land to return to its former glory, he asked Miarka, Witch Queen of the Romani to teach him the ways of black magic so that he may achieve his goal. Viscount Heinrich Krowler of Bavaria, himself seeking revenge upon the Allied powers, learned of the Baron's emerging skill as a magician. Krowler had already reached the limits of his mystical potential so he attempted a spell of transference to steal Nikolai's abilities. Unfortunately for Krowler, the spell could only work on a member of his own bloodline. Changing plans, Krowler sent his daughter, the Baroness Sara, to Transylvania to marry Nikolai. Nine months after her wedding, Sara gave birth to a son: Karl Amadeus Mordo.
Karl Mordo's childhood was a lonely one. He was often ignored by both his mother, who considered him to be little more than an element of Krowler's scheme, and his father, who was too busy pursuing his own goals of Carpathian supremacy. Fearing the Baron's plans would interfere with his own, Krowler ordered Sara to kill Nikolai. Following the murder, Sara and her son moved from their castle in Varf Mandra, Transylvania back to Bavaria. Krowler began to teach his grandson in the ways of black magic. Mordo became an apt pupil. One night, Mordo learned of his father's murder as well as his grandfather's plans for him. Alone in his room, Mordo swore to avenge his father, as well as carry out his plan of a perfect feudal world, with Karl ruling over it as the second Baron Mordo.
Mordo began his tutelage under the Ancient One as early as the 1930's. Already an adult, residing in the Ancient One's lair brought him reduced aging. The Ancient One realized that Mordo's lust for power made him dangerous but chose to teach him anyway feeling that he could at least keep a watchful eye on him. While poring over old scrolls and parchments, Mordo learned of an entity called the Dread Dormammu. The Ancient One ordered Mordo to not seek Dormammu and forbade him from discussing the matter any further. One night, Mordo defied the Ancient One and made contact with Dormammu. Through the spell of transference, Krowler himself learned how to summon Dormammu. In 1943, Dormammu possessed Krowler's body but he was eventually driven out by a time traveling Doctor Strange, leaving Krowler's mind and body destroyed. Mordo learned of his grandfather's condition and, after placing a spell on the Ancient One allowing him to leave undetected, returned to Bavaria. Mordo captured his mother and grandfather and sacrificed them both to Dormammu (after some deliberation just as to which demon he would sacrifice them to).
Mordo was immediately resentful of Stephen Strange when he began studying under the Ancient One and magically restrained him from speaking when Strange accidentally walked in on Mordo's plot. The plot failed, Strange became the Ancient One's disciple, and Mordo eventually left.
Mordo continued his studies and became a fierce rival of Doctor Strange. They battled many times, in an early account Baron Mordo used his powers to try and eliminate the Ancient One. Baron Mordo controlled the Ancient One's assistant to poison the Ancient One. Sensing his master in trouble, Strange battled Mordo in his ectoplasmic form, preventing Mordo from ending the Ancient One's life. Strange was soon targeted by Mordo directly, who lured Strange to England to aid mystic Sir Clive Bentley. Strange only found Clive's daughter Victoria Bentley, a latent mystic herself, and fell into Mordo's trap. When the Baron attacked Strange, he was still no match for Stephen's superior mystical abilities and was forced to flee the scene. Mordo soon struck again, this time tricking Strange into leaving his body in his spirit form. Knowing that if Strange was separated from his mortal body for more than 24 hours he would die, Mordo trapped his ectoplasmic form. Seeking the Ancient One's aid, Strange was able to recover a mystical ring that allowed him to break Mordo's spells and return to his mortal body, banishing Mordo once again.
Mordo created a miniature replica of the Sanctum and planned to transport Strange and his home into an unknown dimension. Seeking the spell's source, Dr. Strange travelled in ethereal form to the home of Baron Mordo where he fell into another trap, a bottle like prison. Mordo arrived at the Ancient One's house only to discover that Strange had reached there before him. Mordo's magical prison had no floor. By descending downwards through the Earth, Strange had eventually weakened the spell enough to break free. In the following magical battle Dr. Strange's good powers defeated Mordo's evil ones. Mordo stole Strange's body when he was in the Astral Plane, in hopes that Strange's body would die without it's soul. He then sent an ectoplasmic warrior to attack him and put his body on display in a wax museum. They battled in the Astral Plane, and Strange won and then trapped him there, and placed Mordo's body on display in the wax museum. Mordo kidnapped the Ancient One. Strange searched the world over trying to find the Ancient One while simultaneously trying to prevent Mordo from capturing him. Finding and freeing the Ancient One in ancient Aztec ruins, Dr. Strange confronted Mordo and defeated him in a mystic duel.
Dormammu also employed Mordo as a pawn to try and enter Earth. He sent Mordo and his minions to attack the Ancient One. Mordo then sent out a message to all evil mystics to help destroy Strange. He sent his minions to kill Strange in Hong Kong but he escaped them. When Strange returned home, Dormammu infused Mordo with his mystical might and sent him to battle Strange, allowing him to easily defeat him. He sent him to the Dark Dimension where Mordo was forced to fight Strange again when he returned home. Clea helped Dr. Strange gain the upper hand by unleashing the Mindless Ones in order to keep Dormammu busy long enough for Strange to bind Mordo and his minions in molecules. Mordo sent one his minions to do his bidding, channeling his mystical powers through him. Mordo's minion was easily defeated. Mordo arrived shortly after to find that his opponent had escaped. Baron Mordo kidnapped the unconscious body of the Ancient One, and transported him to the Dark Dimension, and was now being held hostage along with Clea. Strange was then told to duel Mordo for their freedom. Mordo lost the battle from the Dark Dimension. Fed up with Mordo's constant bungling, Dormammu transported Strange, Mordo, and the Ancient One to the Dark Dimension. During a battle with Dormammu, Strange was blasted in the back by Mordo. Furious that Mordo would interfere in an honor battle against Dr. Strange, Dormammu banished his minion, but it was too late and Strange defeated the demon, forcing him to swear not to ever invade his dimension.
Mordo soon escaped from his prison and teamed up with a group of mystics freed after the defeat of Zom. They formed a group known as the Circle Sinister. Dr. Strange tracked down the Circle to their meeting place where he battled Mordo. However, Strange was able to convince Mordo to help collect all the evil mystical essence, via a rite of Exorcism. In order to collect all the fragments together, they must be contained in a human host, a role which Mordo agreed to take. After the exorcism is complete, and all the evil power unleashed by Zom is collected into Mordo's body, Mordo turned on Strange, striking him down. Easily overpowering Dr. Strange with his newfound power, Baron Mordo banished the Doctor to another realm. Strange returned with the Staff of Polar Power and battled Mordo, the staff absorbing Mordo's excess mystical powers in the process then banished him to another realm.
Impersonating Doctor Strange
Mordo took over the identity of Dr. Strange when the original was powerless during a battle at the Sanctum. But Strange regained his powers from the Ancient One. He then attacked his imposter once more, and easily defeated him. Unmasking him, Strange finds that his imposter is none other than his mortal enemy, Baron Mordo.
Destroying the World
Baron Mordo had been at the Sanctum since he went insane. Probing his dreams, Strange found that Mordo was being terrorized by Nightmare. However, before Strange could stop Nightmare, Mordo became unconscious, severing the link to Nightmare's realm. Strange seeked the aid of the Aged Genghis, but found that he had gone completely insane due to Nightmare's machinations as well. As Mordo awoke from another nightmare, Mordo himself reached out to the Aged Genghis in his astral form. Mordo regained his mind and invaded the world which Eternity had sent Strange, attacking him with the very madness Mordo was infected with. Clea arrives to attempt to help Strange; however, Mordo had engulfed the world with his madness causing it to destroy it in the process. Mordo robbed the San Gabriel Archives at the Vatican. Strange learned Mordo was now free, and also learned that Lord Phyffe was now working for Mordo who intended to cast a spell to open the Seven Gates of Chaos, which will ultimately destroy the Earth itself. Mordo offered Phyffe a new home in the new universe that Mordo intends to create once he succeeds. Phyffe was killed in a car accident, but was resurrected by Mordo, who then transformed Phyffe into a new form which he christened Asreal, and sent him after Strange. Mordo then sent Man-Thing to kill Doctor Strange. He gathered together thirteen people as a sacrifice to the Chaos Demon. However, Jennifer Kale and Man-Thing worked together to defeat Mordo.
Mordo returned and spied on his old enemy. He attacked him at Morgana Blessing's apartment. Mordo's powers had been boosted to near infinite levels by his time away from Earth. Mordo seemingly defeats Dr. Strange. He then turns his attentions to Morgana and is about to kill her when he is attacked by Morgana's cat. This cat is in reality possessed by the astral form of Dr. Strange, who uses the moment of distraction to unleash the full force of his power, casting a mighty spell that seemingly destroys Baron Mordo, and restores everything to normal. Morgana approached her cat the next day, but it was really Mordo in disguise. Mordo had survived the battle, killed her real cat, and taken its place so that he may sneak into Strange's Sanctum. Mordo attacked Clea and Wong, and the attack got the attention of Dr. Strange who was easily stopped by Mordo, who teleported away with Morgana and Clea as his prisoners. He traveled back to England in 1943. He and Mordo are taken prisoner by that era's Dormammu. Viscount Heinrich Krowler used his grandson, Karl Mordo, as a pawn to achieve great mystical power. Casting a spell on the young boy that would send all his mystical knowledge back into the past for his grandfather to utilize, he would use his mystical influence to help boost Adolf Hitler's bid to power so as to become second to the Nazi leader himself. When the adult Mordo would traveled into the past, he had played into his grandfather's plan who overpowered him and would use his magical might to assist Dormammu, who hopes to gain access to Earth in it's past during a time when Doctor Strange was not around to stop him. When Krowler asked Dormammu to spare his grandson, Dormammu refused, and transformed Mordo into his most basic mystical form. Using Dormammu's past-incarnation's own power against his present self, Strange casts a love spell through his body, connecting it to everyone in the room destroying the spell and seemingly destroying Mordo and Dormammu, while also driving Krowler mad in the process.
Baron Mordo discovered he had cancer and made deals with anyone he could to find a cure. Mordo attacked Strange and stole his soul. Doc reverses the spell and traps Mordo and the kidnapped Sara Wolfe in a tiny soul sphere. Mordo had promised a soul to both Satannish and Mephisto for a cure, so Strange had to battle them both. Mordo talked Sara into freeing him from Doc's basement. When freed he knocked out Strange and Clea. Mordo, Doctor Strange, Clea, and Umar fights Dormammu. Umar tricks Dormammu into ruling part of the Dark Dimension (over the Mindless Ones) while she and Baron Mordo rule everything else. After sometime, Clea deposed Umar and Baron Mordo, only to unleash Dormammu.
Baron Mordo discovered he had cancer. It is not clear whether Astrid Mordo was born before or after Mordo's magical studies, but he apparently instructed her in magic. When he later became ill, she attacked Doctor Strange. Attempts to heal this failed, and he returned to Tibet to seek forgiveness from everyone, including Strange. He was forgiven, and died at peace.
Baron Mordo was picked at some point in the past by the Collector, among others, when he settled a bet with the Grandmaster. The Collector teamed up Red Hulk with Tiger Shark, Baron Mordo, and Terrax against Hulk, Namor, Doctor Strange, and Silver Surfer. Eager for revenge on his counterpart, Red Hulk agreed to take part in the fight, dubbing his team "The Offenders". Mordo confronted Strange and Dormammu but was killed by Rulk along with all the other participants. They were all resurrected and sent back to their timelines with no memories.
Later, Mordo located to South America. He helped an army of followers kidnap Monet St. Croix's father, Cartier, in order to make her come to him, and giving her energy to cure his cancer. Confronted by M and her teammate of X-Factor Guido Carosella and targeted by the M.R.D.'s bombers, he agreed to teleport the heroes and Cartier to X-Factor's hideout, in exchange for Monet's energy once the teleportation done. M tricked him into believing he killed X-Factor and was cured, and let him go, half crazy.
Apparent Death and Return
After his corpse was seen by Kang in Brazil, where Thor's magical axe was being held, apparently killed by that weapon, Baron Mordo returned, empowered by Dormammu, and with the objective to kill Doctor Strange on his superior's behalf.
When Manhattan became surrounded by Darkforce following Hydra's takeover of the United States, Baron Mordo was appointed as Manhattan's caretaker, taking up residence in the Sanctum Sanctorum. In addition, he had the Elder God Pluorrg stand guard outside the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Baron Mordo had the ability to tap this universe's infinite store of ambient magical energy and manipulate this to a variety of effects. The skill derived from three major sources: personal powers of the mind/soul/body, powers gained by tapping the universe's ambient magical energy and employing it for specific effects, and finally, powers gained through the tapping of extra-dimensional energy by invoking entities or objects of power existing in tangential mystical dimensions. (The latter means of power is usually gained by reciting incantations.) Some of these effects included:
- Magic Energy Blasts: Forming magical energy bolts with a high degree of potency and control.
- Force Field: He can erect energy shields or screens with a high degree of invulnerability to both physical and magical damage.
- Astral Projection: The art of astral projection, the mental ability to separate the astral self-the sheath of the soul, or life essence-from his physical self, and in this form traverse through space unbounded by physical laws but fully retaining human consciousness. The astral form is invisible, intangible, and incapable of being harmed except by the most rigorous of mystical means. The astral form only possesses those magical powers residing in the sorcerer's mind: thought casting, psychokinesis, etc. He has such mastery that he can remain in astral form for up to 24 hours and even more before there is corporeal deterioration of his physical form. The physical form is quite vulnerable to attack when the astral form is absent. If harm were to befall the physical form while in astral form, the astral form would be stranded in the wraith-like state. While the astral form is absent, the physical form remains in an inert death-like trance.
- Thought-Casting: He is capable of Thought-casting over short or vast distances in a manner virtually identical with telepathy. The entire Earth was within the reach of the Ancient One's mind, providing he knew where to contact the specific mind he is seeking. He could simultaneously communicate with more than a dozen minds at a time.
- Teleportation: Utilizing local magical energy to teleport across the face of the Earth or into a mystical dimension (certain higher dimensions beyond height, width, depth, etc. where the physical laws can be based on magic rather than science). Oddly enough, teleportation within a dimension is more taxing than teleportation between dimensions. Such expenditure of energy leaves all sorcerers mystically debilitated for a varying length of time, making teleportation a dangerous and seldom used ability. Physical teleportation across time rather than space is the most power-draining feat of them all.
Aside of the above mentioned manipulations he had been known to use spells capable of:
- Opening dimensional gateways
- Illusions: he can create life-like illusions.
- Hypnotism: he can mesmerize others
- Materialization: he can summon objects, elements, and beings.
- Necromancy: Mordo also dabbled in necromancy-- magic of the dead. He once used the spell book of Cagliostro, but since lost it, and later possessed occult books of his father's and those that were owned by Viscount Crowler.
Expert Occultist/Expert Magical Knowledge: During his studies, Mordo has become an expert awareness on cults, and the extra dimensional entities they worship.
Human Factor: Another weakness is that Mordo, despite all his spells and magical training, is only human physically. Hence, if not taking proper care or defenses, Mordo can be overpowered by mere blows, energy attacks, or gas. He still must eat, sleep, and breathe in order to survive.
Astro-Limits: Such is the skill and mastery of Mordo that he is capable of spending up to 24 hours upon the astral plane, before he must rejoin his ethereal form with his physical one, lest he succumb to corporeal deterioration leading to bodily death, and eternal suspension as a spirit. The physical form remains in an inert, death-like trance, vulnerable to both physical and magical forms of harm while the astral form is absent. If harm were to befall his physical form while he was in his astral form, he would be stranded in his wraith-like state. According to Baron Mordo the intense atomic radiation of the sun's core can change the composition of astral forms.
- The Book of Cagliostro: Originally penned by the mystic Cagliostro is an account of Cagliostro's personal history, and a collection of mystic knowledge gathered from numerous sources, including passages of the Darkhold, notes from 31st century sorcerer Sise-Neg. Followers of Cagliostro were entrusted with guarding the book, which was passed down through the generations. It was passed down to Lilia Calderu. Calderu would eventually be seduced by Karl Mordo, who then assaulted her and stole the Book of Cagliostro.
- 113 appearance(s) of Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 9 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 27 minor appearance(s) of Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 22 mention(s) of Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 5 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 63 image(s) of Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 9 quotation(s) by or about Karl Mordo (Earth-616)
- 15 item(s) used/owned by Karl Mordo (Earth-616)