If you were to ask Tony Stark, aka the Iron man, what he thinks about magic, his answer will be this one: “Magic, it does exist, it’s just another form of science I haven’t gotten around to understand yet” His words, literally, because this is what it is magic in the Marvel Universe; something tangible, part of life not of everyone, but of few chosen ones. It’s a world where myths, magic and religion cross paths with reality, a world where the God of War, Ares, fathers a mortal son and decides to live the life of a mortal to keep him safe, a world where the Tree of the worlds from the Asgardian Legends is growing in the middle of desert, close to absolutely nothing, a world where visiting the underworld isn’t everyday occurrence but close to (just for the record- a group called the New Mutants went there twice in few months’ time) while walking around Heaven is a bit harder (just the Fantastic Four went there once, just to discover that God liked to appear like Comic Creator Dikto).
In developing this story, I made my best to stay as close as possible to the real history of every single character, especially the ones not related to the Mentalist, even if you have to understand that the ever-growing movie franchise did have a certain influence (Jonny Blaze/Ghost Rider has been featured in two movies) and that, between reboots, and different directions taken by the single authors and even just mere retelling of the same story, with years and years of continuity accumulated, there can be inconsistencies and a characters that happen to have two or three origins (for example, it’s unclear if the Rider is actually a weapon of Hell or one of the Heavens), and let’s not talk about authors that just don’t do their job and do a story like they want without considering the character’s history, making him be at the same time in different places, and being extremely different, a work that should be done by Editors as well, but that, in the name of sales, turn a blind eye (recently, Daimon has been spotted like a sort of PI of the supernatural in New Orleans, with long hair and a tattoo on the back instead of the scar on his chest, and in hell as his father’s substitute like a tricky devil, and on Earth like a merciless, bald assassin trying to get rid of Blackheart in any possible way and as a redhead sorcerer helping the avengers to battle a sorcerer called Agamotto, desperate to save the life of Jericho at any cost), and sometimes we even have few characters who have the same name and it’s unclear who’s who and if they are connected at all.
The two brothers, Daimon Hellstorm and Blackheart, has been created 16 years apart; Daimon’s fist appearance was in 1973, in Ghost Rider (vol. 2) #1(by Gary Friederich and Tom Sutton ); Son of Satan, who produced an heir under the guise of a common human being, and a mortal woman drove insane by the later knowledge of having birthed two Antichrists (Daimon himself and his sister, Satana), Daimon spent almost his entire life fighting his dark side, first even trying to take the vows, and then through the love of his wife, patsy, who will later kill herself, drove mad by the idea that Daimon would bring the destruction upon the world.
Even if not a hero at 100%, Daimon has always been showed fighting “the good fight” and doing his best to help people out, was it as a PI of the occult, or trying to get the souls of , killed by Katrina, to rest; recently, he has been helped twice the group of heroes known as the Avengers (a movie where Amanda Righetti, aka Van Pelt, will have a part in, as an agent of the organization called SHIELD), first, by performing an exorcism on a powerful demon and witnessing the birth of the new Sorcerer Supreme, aka Jericho Drumm aka Doctor Voodoo, the second time, only few months later, he was again at their side, seeing, this time, the fall of Jericho Drumm, and his death. (Visual Characterization: David Tennant- Doctor Who, Much Ado About Nothing, Casanova)
When we talk of his half-brother, instead, things get a little more complicated, since, actually, two sons of Satan bear the name of Blackheart, both sons of the devils as incarnation of evil and perversion saturating the world for centuries; the destiny of the first one, rebellious creature that wanted the power of his father for himself, and appeared in Daredevil #270 (1989) is currently unknown (he was last seen 10 years or so ago, mystically trapped in the basement of the organization called “The Hellfire club” (active in the real world as well, until the 19th century) by, among the others, Margali SZardos, Daimon Hellstorm and Doctor Strange.
A different destiny awaits, though, the other Blackheart, genetically engineered by a cult of followers of Satan himself, son and descendant of the most evil and twisted human beings who ever populated the Earth, he was first spotted in Ghost Rider: Heavens on Fire #1 (2009, by Jason Aaron, Roland Boschi, Christian Nauck and Dan Brown) as a child who seemed to have the ability to grew quicker than the average humans, because of a real connection with Satan or because of some gift of some demons following him around to help him bring Hell on Earth, is still unknown. What we do know is that he is still at large, living in sin and trying to bring his father’s realm among men.
Considered his dreams and the fact that he did get old in the blink of an eye, the Blackheart who took the name of Timothy Carter is, in this universe, the second one, even if in current continuity he has never been rescued on time by Doctor Strange or brought to live with him as a student of the mystic arts.
Speaking of the last member of the Winding ways… little is known about Margali Szardos, if not for the fact that she is one of the most powerful witches of the whole history of humankind; it’s not clear how old she is, like it’s not clear if she is actually good or evil, since she has walked the line many times, like when she tried too kill her step-son, Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler of the group of the X-Men, considering him responsible of her son’s death, Stephan, who had been seduced by the dark arts ( and not by the Blackheart like here), or when she turned to the good fight to keep away Blackheart from the world (even if she had allied herself with him time before to kill the other possessors of the power of the winding way). She does possess the ability to get possession of other bodies, like she does here with Van Pelt, and she has been, until recently, the keeper of the soul-sword, that gives, with it, power over the underworld realm of Limbo. Which side she is really, and currently, on, is still unknown, even recently she seems to have definitely chosen the path of redemption, and it was hinted that she may had been one of the mystics in fight for the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, speaking of which….
There are been many Sorcerers Supreme in the history of humankind, probably from its down, and in the 20th century, the chosen one, keeper of artifacts such as The cape of levitation and the Mystic Eye of Agamotto, has been a man named Stephen Strange (created in Strange Tales #110, in 1963 by comic legends Stan Lee and Steve Dikto), a brilliant surgeon that, after an incident lose part of his hands mobility. In search of a solution, he started to travel the world, and practiced the Mystic Arts under the guide of the Ancient One.
Once gotten the mantle, and his hands back fully, he turned into the marvel Universe’s surgeon and doctor, taking care, along with fellow assistant Wong (that in the last apparitions seems to remember a bit Cho) and on/off girlfriend Night Nurse, of the injured superheroes, especially the one with secret identities, keeping following, though, the vow of not abusing his powers, something he dared to do only once, while fighting the Hulk and his “warbound”… a mistake that costed him his ability to perform surgeries once again, and the loss of title of Sorcerer Supreme, inherited, time later, by New Orleans native Jericho Drumm, aka Brother Voodoo, recently deceased in the pages of New Avengers, the same book, and team, Stephen is still a member of, even if with inferior powers.
He can also be spotted from time to time in the pages of various books, like the titles of the X-Men franchise, where he teaches magic and sorcery to half mutant/half faery Megan (who, unaware of her nature at first, ironically took the nickname Pixie), who’s currently in possession of a self acclaimed “soul dagger”, a small soul-sword made with a tiny piece of her soul by mutant and sorceress (and keeper, for a while, of the soul-sword and, hence, ruler of Limbo, alongside the demon Belasco) Illyana Rasputin.
Strange can be spotted having conversations with the teen ager witch boy Wiccan, mutant and sorcerer from the group of the Young Avengers. (Visual Characterization: Strange, Pierce Brosnamm- After the Sunset, 007, Reminghton Steel; Megan, Allison Scaglietti- Warehouse 13, Smallville)
As for the Ghost Rider, angel with a blazing skull running for the world on a heavy metal bike (a horse in the Old, Wild West), played by Nicholas Cage/Nicola Coppola in Ghost Rider and in Vengeance of the Ghost Rider: as I write this note, the Ghost Rider is, for the first time, a woman, after Jonny Blaze, former stuntman and even before that circus and carnie performer, has willingly renounced to that power, a power, of unsure nature, he gained after he made a deal with the devil to keep his father safe (which, let me tell you, didn’t worked as he planned, making him escape his old life- a life where, in this universe we just discovered and red about, he has worked alongside Patrick Jane ). Once gotten older, Johnny turned into a collector of souls and a punisher of evil and sinners, able to condemn living human beings to eternal damnation through a mere look into the eyes of his victims. Like for many other fantasy inventions, though, how it works is still unclear, in fact, where once it was stated that the Rider could condemn to damnation everyone he looked into the eyes (“because there’ s no man completely avoid of sin”), it seems that right now he could actually choose who needs punishment, even if Alejandra doesn’t seem interested at all in that, preferring merely to be a “sister in destruction”… too bad former Ghost Riders Johnny Blaze is high on her tail, divided between happiness for having gotten rid of the Curse (that destroyed everything he held dear, his wife Roxanne and their children included) and the idea of having unleashed an incontrollable power of destruction upon the world. What will happen? It’s still unknown. (Visual Characterization: Nicholas Cage- Ghost Rider 1&2, National Treasure)
Meanwhile, if we want to talk about the inhabitants of Asgard, nominated at the end with the cameos appearance of Hela (Goddess of death) and Valkyrie (or, at least, one of them- in the Marvel Universe, we have “the” Valkyrie, named as such, and then the entities, females warriors trusted with the duty of brining brave warriors to the land of Valhalla) and the names of Loki and Thor, it’s either the comic book, where they are actually higher, god-like, powers, and the movie-verse, developed recently by Shakespearian actor and director Kenneth Branaghan, where, since Asgard is a city situated up in the Sky, they are just extremely powerful aliens from another quantic string, à la Superman. Just know that everyone of them has a counterpart in the North Myth, even if, like with the Greek Gods, familiar relations are quite hard to follow- so, yes, Hela is the mistress of Hel, with a single L, goddess of Death, and can give such a gift like the return of the soul , and Valkyrie works alongside her bringing the fallen heroes and warriors to rest in Valhalla….
Whatever you are interested in knowing a little bit more about these characters, Wikipedia and the Site www.marvel.com provides a large amount of detailed fictional biographies, including, for the aficionados, details of the most important issues concerning each character, otherwise, stop here, and I hope you enjoyed the ride (no pun intended… ride, rider… you know… never mind.) and…. All is left to say is thank you, and I hope I’ll see you around for more stories on fanfiction.net and here on live-journal, and, I hope, to next year and a new big bang, let’s hope….