Varnae was an human or a Giganthopitacus. sorcerer. Varnae served in the cult of the Darkholders under Thulsa Doom. Injured due to the actions of King Kull of Valusia, a dying Varnae was transformed into a vampire by sorcerers of pre-Cataclysmic Atlantis. He allegedly was the last survivor among the vampires created in Atlantis before the Great Cataclysm, and ruled over Earth's vampires.
Hyborian Age (10,000 BC)
Antiquity and Biblical Times
In 2000 BC, in the region known as Sumeria; Varnae forced a mystic named Aamshed to create a ritual which would make the vampire lord into a god. However, he could not complete the ritual as it must be done on his homeland and Atlantis had sunk beneath the ocean.
During the age of Vikings; Varnae traveled to the new world and attacked a Norse colony in North America turning the settlers into Vampires. A young girl escaped and prayed to the gods for help and Thor answered the call and battled the hordes of Vampires and eventually facing the first vampire himself. He was able to drive off Varnae and destroyed the vampire settlers by directing sunlight at them leaving only the young girl alive.
In 1459, tired of his ages-long existence, Varnae chose Dracula as his successor as lord of Earth's vampires, and imparted much of his supernatural power to him by forcing Dracula to drink his blood. Varnae then committed suicide by exposing himself to direct sunlight.
In 1591, the young girl arrived at the English colony of Roanoke which will one day be part of Virginia. She was revealed to be a vampire and turned all the 121 settlers into vampires leaving only one message carved into a tree "Croatoan".
However, years later, Marie LaVeau, desperate for vampire blood, had kidnapped Dr. Strange's friend, Morgana Blessing, and his brother Victor, and was holding them in a mansion outside New Orleans. She had put up magical shields which prevented entry to the house and demanded that Dr. Strange hand over the "Vampiric Verses," a spell from the Book of the Vishanti, the "white magic" counterpart to the Darkhold; as such for every spell within the Book of Sins, there is an antithesis within the Book of the Vishanti. Since the Montesi Formula had originated in the Darkhold, the spell to create vampires was contained within the Book of the Vishanti. Strange was about to deliver the spell-page to LaVeau when reason reasserted itself and he forever banished the page from the earth plane. LaVeau, possessing the Darkhold, invoked a spell contained within for resurrecting the Lord of the Vampires. When the incantation was completed, she prepared to sacrifice Morgana Blessing as the touchstone, but Brother Voodoo's servant, Bambu, jumped in the way and was himself slain. His corpse rose, transforming itself into the reborn Varnae. Varnae scoffed at LaVeau's offer of an alliance, and attempted to feast on Blessing, but was confronted by Dr. Strange. The Sorcerer Supreme and the Lord of the Vampires battled, Varnae changing shape and revealing he had formerly sought to be Sorcerer Supreme before he became a vampire. Strange cast an "incantation of oblivion" on Varnae, making the undead mage relive his oblivion of 5 centuries. Embracing (un)life again, Varnae fled, claiming with Strange he finally had a reason to live: A worthy foe.
Varnae brought Blade, the vampire hunter to his base in Rhode Island. He threatened him with the return of Dracula. The Nightstalkers came to help Blade. They used the Exorcist Gun against him but did no harm. He ordered Taj Nital to slay the day-walker, forcing him to kill his former allies. Hannibal King's willpower was put to the test when he was ordered to kill his friends, he impaled himself to save his team. Frank Drake overpowered the gun and rushed at the vampire. It exploded destroying the house and everyone inside.
Varnae possesses a variety of superhuman attributes common to vampires. However, many of these powers were much higher than that of any other vampire, with the possible exception of Dracula.
- Vampirism: Varnae has the ability to transform others into vampires by draining them of enough of their blood to cause their physical death. During the process, an unknown enzyme in Varnae's saliva would enter the body and transform the remaining blood into a liquid called Ichor. As a result, an individual would rise from this death-like state after a period of 3 days.
- Superhuman Strength: Varnae possesses superhuman strength greater than that of any other known vampire and was capable of lifting approximately 7 tons.
- Superhuman Speed: Despite his great size, Varnae can run and move at speeds greater than even the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Stamina: Varnae's musculature generated less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a human being. He could exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue began to impair him.
- Superhuman Agility: Varnae's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels beyond the natural physical limits of even the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Varnae's reaction time was enhanced to a level beyond the natural physical limits of even the finest human athlete.
- Immortality: As long as Varnae ingests fresh blood on a regular basis, he is functionally immortal in the sense that he is immune to aging and all known Earthly diseases and infections.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: If injured, Varnae is capable of rapidly healing damaged tissue sustained from mild to moderate injuries much faster than an ordinary human. Injuries such as severe burns and lacerations healed completely within a few hours. He is, however, incapable of regenerating missing limbs or organs.
- Hypnotism: Varnae was capable of mentally enslaving most ordinary humans by maintaining eye contact with them for only a few seconds. However, exceptionally strong-willed individuals could fight the effects of his hypnotism.
- Telepathy: Varnae is capable of communicating and even mentally controlling any other vampire, with the exception of Dracula, even across great distances. Varnae's hold is particularly strong over other vampires that he himself has been responsible for creating. Varnae can also use his telepathy to mentally communicate with or control certain animals, such as bats or wolves.
- Shapeshifting: Varnae is capable of altering his appearance to variable degrees, although he seldom uses this ability. He is capable of transforming himself into a giant bat, wolf, or assume the form of mist. Varnae is also capable of altering his height and weight to an unknown degree. However, he is capable of reaching a height of at least 25 feet.
Varnae possesses extensive knowledge of extremely ancient arcane and mystical lore.
Varnae possesses all of the typical vulnerabilities of vampires:
- Sunlight: Varnae is extremely vulnerable to sunlight and exposure to direct sunlight, such as what caused his first death, will cause his body to incinerate within a matter of seconds.
- Silver: Like all vampires, Varnae is severely allergic to silver. If injured by a weapon composed of silver, Varnae takes considerably longer to heal from injuries from other substances.
- Religious Icons: Varnae could also be affected by various icons of a religious nature. However, Varnae was only vulnerable to religious icons associated with gods worshiped in his time. Unlike other vampires, Varnae was not affected by crucifixes, the Star of David, or any other icon of any religion in practice today.
- Impalement: Varnae can be killed by having a wooden stake driven through his heart. For some unknown reason, a wooden stake interrupts the mystical energies, and even the Ichor, flowing through his body, resulting in death. However, if he were staked and the stake was later removed, Varnae will return to life.
- Beheading: Varnae, like all vampires, can also be killed by having his head completely severed and removed from the vicinity of his body.
- Homeland Soil: Varnae, like all vampires, is forced to line his coffin or sleeping area with dirt taken from his homeland. Otherwise, he would be unable to travel more than 100 miles from the place of his birth. In addition to this, Varnae likes to fill his stone coffin with the blood of his victims.
- Blood: Varnae is also forced to regularly consume the fresh blood of living individuals in order to maintain his life and vitality. Otherwise, Varnae will steadily weaken to the point where he will enter a comatose state.
- In the notes of History of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #1, it is stated that, before being transformed, Varnae was an "Atlantean Gigantopithecus." This would explain his ape-like appearance (though other ancient vampires, such as Verdelet, had the same form). Given Varnae has been mentioned as having been an human on several occasions, it is unknown whether this information is an error or a retcon, or if "Gigantopithecus" is more of a description than a classification.
- Varnae's name is based on the vampire novel Varney the Vampire, although Varney would later enter in Marvel continuity (mentioned in the Book of the Vishanti).
- The name "Croatoan," allegedly used by the Native Americans to designate Varnae, is presumably a reference to the Roanoke Colony, the Lost Colony, whose people (more than a hundred) mysteriously disappeared, and where was found carved on a palisade the word "CROATOAN", and "CRO" on a nearby tree.
- Varnae is the first known possessor of the Book of the Vishanti.
- 14 appearance(s) of Varnae (Earth-616)
- 8 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Varnae (Earth-616)
- 2 minor appearance(s) of Varnae (Earth-616)
- 1 mention(s) of Varnae (Earth-616)
- 9 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Varnae (Earth-616)
- 12 image(s) of Varnae (Earth-616)
- 2 quotation(s) by or about Varnae (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Varnae (Earth-616)