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Zom has vast mystical power, dwarfing that of adepts such as Dr. Strange, or even of extremely powerful beings such as Umar. However, his own power is far below that of a virtually omnipotent being such as the Living Tribunal. He uses his powers primarily to destroy everything around him. Apparently his long lock of hair acted as a mystic shield which protected him from the detection of more powerful mystic entities. The removal of this forelock awakened the "sense of evil which had slumbered for ages in the bosom of the mystics of mankind."
Zom was, according to his own words, "Created long ago" for no other purpose than to destroy. It is unknown who his creator was. After a presumably devastating rampage, Zom was imprisoned by several powerful magic users working together (including Dormammu, traditionally not a character prone to cooperating with anyone - although this was a long time ago). He was fitted with a "crown of blindness" and "manacles of living bondage", and trapped inside a huge amphora in another dimension by Eternity.
When Doctor Strange was confronted by Umar, years ago, her power threatened to overwhelm him. The Ancient One directed him to a distant dimension to retrieve Zom, as he was one opponent even she could not defeat. But while the ploy was successful in deflecting and banishing Umar, Zom now became the threat; in the end, the demon was dispatched by the Living Tribunal himself.
Following Zom's banishment, Strange magically stitched the Amphora back together and sealed it with a spell. A small fragment of Zom remained imprisoned inside the jar, which was kept safe by Doctor Strange; on one occasion, the "Zomling" managed to escape, but was eventually defeated and imprisoned again.
When faced with the unstoppable rage of the Hulk during "World War Hulk", Doctor Strange resorted to invoking Zom's essence into himself by drinking the contents of the amphora. Since the Zomling was said to grow back into the full Zom once it had gathered sufficient mystical energy, and Strange referred to it as the true Zom during the invocation, it seems that this process has now been completed. In the following issue it was referred that seven S.H.I.E.L.D-employed mystics stated that he did indeed channel Zom's powers, and he severely battered and damaged the Hulk, but was eventually beaten. According to writer Greg Pak, "In Strange's defense, he didn't release Zom in the flesh the way he did back in the day -- instead Strange channeled Zom's power through his own body. That's probably one of the reasons the Earth remains on its axis. (For now, anyway...)"
After Strange's defeat, the infernal entity resumed its mission to destroy the Earth dimension, and started by inhabiting Iron Man's discarded "hulkbuster" armour, to activate the latter's anti-matter doomsday device. Wong sought to recapture it into the urn, and was assisted by Hercules, Namora, the Angel, and Amadeus Cho. While it still proved too powerful to defeat, Amadeus managed to trick it into possessing his body, so the Angel could knock him out, and it was successfully resealed. Zom was referred to as severely depleted at the time.
In the second New Avengers annual, Doctor Strange was shot and ostensibly killed by the demon-empowered Hood, who was leading an all-out assault by about fifty super-villains on the doctor's house. Strange, however, rose again and manifested what appeared to be the power of Zom to despatch all his enemies (and friends) in one furious conflagration. After this, he left the Avengers and possibly the mortal plane to "relearn everything he lost", explaining he could not control the dark forces he unleashed.
First Appearance: Strange Tales (1951) #156
View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988)
Incredible Hulks (2010)
Incredible Hulks (2012)
Marvel Treasury Edition (1974)
New Avengers (2005)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A To Z Update (2010)
#1 Strange Tales (1951)
- 'Marlene Alraune to Zuri'
The Incredible Hulk (2000)
#111 The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition (1985)
- 'Warbound, Part 6'
#3 Weird Comics (1940)
- 'Cloak to Doctor Octopus'
World War Hulk (2007)
- 'Chapter 3'#4
- 'Chapter 4'
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