Appearing in "Serpent Rising"
- Atra (First appearance)
- Phraug (First appearance)
- Kull (Recap)
- Conan (Recap)
- Thoth-Amon (Recap)
- Naga (Recap)
- Paul Destine (Recap)
- Namor (Recap)
- Krang (Recap)
- Viper (Recap)
- Hugh Jones (Recap)
- Hellcat (Recap)
- Serpent Squad (Recap)
- The Ancients (Recap) (unnamed)
Races and Species:
- Serpent-Men (Recap)
- New York State
- Congress of the Crowns (First appearance)
- Quantum Bands
- Spider-Man's Web-Shooters
- Eye of Agamotto
- Cloak of Levitation
- Orb of Agamotto
- Cosmic Cube
Synopsis for "Serpent Rising"
With the alarms blaring at Project PEGASUS, Quasar -- the head of security -- leads staff to the source of the alarm. He arrives at the secure room where the Serpent Crown was being stored since the Thing brought it there. Opening the security door, Quasar is horrified to discover that the crown is no longer in the stasis field that was keeping it secure. As Quasar puzzles who had the authorization to get at the crown, the hero is suddenly attacked by the guards. Despite his efforts to fight them off, one of the guards manages to secure the Serpent Crown on Quasar's head. This instantly puts him under the thrall of the ancient demon known as Set.
Meanwhile, at the Baxter Building, the Thing has the evening to himself and plans on spending it eating snacks and watching a boxing match. Just as he is sitting down the phone begins to ring. When he answers it there is no answer, but suddenly the image of Quasar projects itself over the phone before the line is cut out. Finding this suspicious, the Thing decides to use the Fantastic Four's communicator to reach out to Project PEGASUS. Quasar answers the call and assures the Thing that there is nothing wrong. The Thing tries to go back get into the boxing match but can't shake the idea that there is something fishy going on. Unable to think of anything else the Thing decides to make a personal visit to Project PEGASUS instead. At that moment, Spider-Man rounds up some thieves who have stolen a bunch of video games. As he webs up the crooks, he suddenly sees the image of a large serpent sliding into the nearby alley. He goes to check it out but finds nothing there. Confused by what he has seen, Spider-Man suspects that it was some kind of mystical vision he decides to go see Doctor Strange.
At Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, Spider-Man is greeted by Wong who takes him to see Doctor Strange. After hearing about Spider-Man's strange vision, Doctor Strange agrees to probe his mind with the Eye of Agamotto. There he sees an image of Spider-Man with a great serpent wrapped around him. Strange explains that Set has made a claim for Spider-Man's soul. Strange explains that after their recent encounter with the Serpent Men. When Spider-Man was bitten by one of the Serpent Men, it put the wall-crawler in tune with Set. Fearing that Set may be attempting to return to Earth, Doctor Strange tracks the point of origin with the Orb of Agamotto. This alerts them to the situation going on at Project PEGASUS. He tells Spider-Man that his presence is pivotal to the battle ahead and invites him to come along. Elsewhere, the Scarlet Witch and her husband the Vision are watching a movie when suddenly, Wanda sees an image of a serpent. Rushing out of the theater, Wanda is followed by her husband who asks what's wrong. Wanda explains that her past encounter with the Serpent Crown. Telling him that she needs to investigate this alone, the Scarlet Witch tells her husband to rally the Avengers if he doesn't hear from her in 24 hours.
Elsewhere, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man go to a car rental place to get a car to drive to Project PEGASUS. When Spider-Man asks why Strange doesn't just teleport them there, Strange explains that he needs all of his mystical strength to battle Set. Using his mystical powers to cast an illusion that makes them look like normal customers so they can rent a car. Along the way, Doctor Strange sends his astral form into the past to learn. He returns moments later with everything they need to know. He explains that Set was one of the Elder Gods that was born eons ago and dominated the world. When the new gods came to destroy the old, Set was among the few that managed to flee into another dimension. He fathered other demons such as Demballah, Sligguth, Jormangand, and they gave rise to the Serpent Men. He goes on to say that when mankind came into dominance, the Serpent Men were driven back by the warrior king known as Kull. In response, the followers of Set created the Serpent Crown, which allowed Set to take control of those who wore it. The first known person to wear the Serpent Crown was the alchemist known as Atra. The led to the fall of Atlantis and Lemuria, however, some of the Serpent Men who survived were later vanquished by Conan the barbarian, who slew their leader Thoth-Amon.
This was not the end of the Serpent Crown however, it was recovered centuries later by the first members of the Atlantean race. The crown soon fell in the hand of Naga who used it to subjugate the people of Lemuria. However, a rebellion stole the crown from Naga, encased it in metal and hid it in the ice of the Antarctic. There is was recovered in the 20th Century by the man known as Destiny, who used it to attack Atlantis, however, the Crown's true form was revealed and got back into the hands of Naga. From there it passed on to Warlord Krang, to Viper, then to Roxxon. By this time, the Avengers had discovered that there was a Serpent Crown in every reality in the multiverse. After disposing of a second Serpent Crown in the ocean, it was recovered by the Serpent Squad and merged with the one worn by Roxxon's Hugh Jones. Set's scheme, in this case, was foiled thanks to the Thing and the Scarlet Witch. After that, the Thing turned the Serpent Crown over to Project PEGASUS for safe keeping, leading to the current crisis. With the explanation over, Spider-Man is sure they can stop Set again, but Doctor Strange warns the wall-crawler not to get too confident.
Meanwhile, the Thing arrives outside Project PEGASUS in the Fantastic Four's Pogo-Plane. From there he forces his way into the facility where he is confronted by a Serpent Crown possessed Quasar. A battle breaks out, but despite his strength, the Thing is easily overpowered by Quasar's energy bands. By this time, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange arrive at the scene. Exiting the car, Strange sends his astral form into the facility to track down the crown, asking Spider-Man to watch out for his physical body. No sooner is Strange's essence gone are the pair attacked by an army of Project PEGASUS guards. Spider-Man easily defeats this horde, but once the battle if over he notices that someone has made off with Doctor Strange's body. Before he can begin his search he is joined by the Scarlet Witch and the pair steal into the facility to find Strange and the Serpent Crown. Inside, they find a massive room where PEGASUS head, Myron Wilborn uses the facilities dimensional cannons to extract Serpent Crowns from across the multiverse. Many of the staff, as well as the captured Thing and Doctor Strange, have been forced to wear these Crowns, making them thralls of Set. Set's scheme is to force the human race to become Serpent Men or perish. Spotting Spider-Man and the Scarlet Witch, Quasar approaches them with two crowns. Directed by the spirit form of Doctor Strange, the two heroes attempt to prevent their possession by Set. However, the Scarlet Witch is captured and a crown placed on her head. Spider-Man manages to slip away to regroup and figure out how stop Set's goals for world domination.
By this point, the Set thralls begin removing their crowns and placing them into a pile until it forms a massive Serpent Crown of immense power. Doctor Strange's astral form uses his magical powers to destroy the crown placed on the Thing's head and set him free. He does the same to the Scarlet Witch. However, both are consumed by Set. Meanwhile, Spider-Man manages to pull the Cosmic Cube, which is being used to power the dimensional cannons. Spider-Man is swallowed as well. However, the three heroes manage to unite in the massive Serpent Crown and use the Cosmic Cube to destroy it. However, Set's essence is still free to continue his conquest. This is quickly stopped when Doctor Strange adds his power to his comrades and the Cosmic Cube. Through sheer force of will, they banish Set back to his dimension and free all those under his thrall. In the aftermath of the battle is over, but it came at the price of draining the Cosmic Cube of its power.
Doctor Strange goes through a great deal of Set's history over the eons. The facts are:
- The birth of Set is explained here, and is explored in more detail in Thor Annual #10, Silver Surfer Annual #2, as well as Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #9 and 11.
- The birth of the Serpent Men was explained in more detail in Savage Sword of Conan #149. This is also when the details of Kull destroying the majority of the Serpent Men as well.
- Conan's destruction of Thoth-Amon and the Serpent Men was documented in King Conan #4
- Naga's possession of the Serpent Crown is explored in further detail in The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9.
- The theft of the Serpent Crown from Naga was explored further in Sub-Mariner #10.
- The full story of Destiny's time with the Serpent Crown are found in Sub-Mariner #1.
- While Naga's repossessing the Serpent Crown and being defeated by the Sub-Mariner occurred in Sub-Mariner #9-10 and 12-13.
- Krangs recovery of the Serpent Crown and his working with Viper happened in Captain America #181.
- The Avengers encounter with a Serpent Crown from another reality was documented in Avengers #141-149.
- The recovery of both Crowns by the Serpent Squad and the defeat of Hugh Jones at the hands of the Thing and Scarlet Witch occurred in Marvel Two-In-One #64-67.
- "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is playing at the movie theater Wanda and Vision are in.
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