Prester John and the Evil Eye of Avalon
This article is the third in a sequence of three. It goes :
- Prester John and the Evil Eye of Avalon 1/3. Start there.
- Prester John and the Evil Eye of Avalon 2/3.
- Prester John and the Evil Eye of Avalon 3/3. This here article.
Prester John returned in the 2012 volume of Defenders.
However, the events therein were eventually turned into an alternate timeline by Dr. Strange. Therefore, we can’t be certain that the new information applies to Earth-616The main Marvel Comics version of Earth..
It might apply when it occurs before the point of divergence. But as noted in our Prince of Orphans (John Aman) profile, it’s not that safe a bet.
So, let’s ignore the events – which retroactively never took place on Earth-616. And instead focus on the background information, which *potentially* applies to Earth-616.
In one universe, the Celestials are mad and broken. They are “driven by boredom and cruelty to hunt for anything that might surprise them”.
They invade other universes, and gradually erase them as they “leaf” through what they contain.
(Yes, it’s a metaphor.)
Once a universe is depleted, they move to the next.
… another universe
These Death Celestials are opposed by something called the Omega Council. They *seem* to be parallel versions of the individual who, in Universe-616, existed as Omega the Unknown (Model X3Z).
(This is implied in just one, stray thought of Doctor Strange. It’s *not* stated.)
These individuals are also called Presters. Or “Presters Omega”, due to the Ω symbol on their palm. Prester John is one such Omega.
The Council started when one Omega, incredibly enough, used his super-starship crewed by beast-men to kill a Death Celestial. There is an implication that this Omega may have been Prester John.
(Namely, the ship and crew look identical to a ship and crew Prester John once built and commanded at Wundagore, on Earth-11127.)
Promise you a miracle
Omegas have a reality manipulation technology, called Concordance Engines.
These scan the multiverse for miraculous events. Of special interests are universes where there was miraculously strong opposition against the Death Celestials.
Then they “cut” the miracle that happened in another reality, adapt it to the conditions of Reality-616, and “paste” that version so it occurs in Reality-616.
Earth-616 is where the Omega Council stockpiled miracles and wonders. If this account is correct, they are responsible for many of the fantastic things and people there.
(Yes, it’s a metaphor. About expiesFictional character heavily based on another character., public domain characters such as John Aman, archetypal genre narratives, seminal influences such as Verne or Wells, etc..)
Earth-616 would thus be a trap for the Death Celestials once they reached it.
There is a hazy implication that having multiple Concordance Engines running partially obscures Reality-616 from Death Celestials. To keep building up that arsenal. Perhaps having a Prester guarding each Engine helps with that.
The Concordance Engines look exactly like the one panel that Kirby drew of Prester John’s Avalon.
They also hide the very idea of a Concordance Engine from even the most powerful minds. It becomes inexpressible… unless in the vicinity of a Concordance Engine.
Each Engine is normally guarded by an Omega Prester, who crossed over to Earth-616. All have a garb similar to Prester John, and adopt the same haircut and moustache.
There are small differences between them. But with the helmet covering so much it can be hard to tell.
Known Engines :
- One below Wundagore Mountain. Wundagore Mountain is a major nexus of black magic, due to links with the Elder God Chthon. It also became a nexus of weird science thanks to the High Evolutionary. The Prester guarding it was still alive, but plunged into an unbreakable catalepsia – unless his Engine was in immediate danger.
- One was used as an engine by Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. From a Western point of view, Jules Verne’s novels are one of the Big Seminal Things in genre fiction. The Prester guarding this Engine had died, presumably during Namor the Submariner’s lifetime.
- One was hidden by John Aman by turning it into three brass frogs. Two of these small sculptures became known as the Frogs of Solomon.
Confederates of the Curious
During the early XXth Century the Confederates of the Curious — pulpsCheap, often lurid novels in the US during the 1920s and 1930s.-like, proto super-heroes — discovered the Concordance Engines, and the role of the Presters.
They likely weren’t the first.
Some Confederates, aboard Captain Nemo’s Concordance-Engine-powered Nautilus, gave their lives to kill the Death Celestial Pontus, deep under the ocean.
Impact on Prester John
During this storyline, Prester John :
- Displays deep understanding of the physics and mathematics of trans-reality travel. He may or may not have corresponding engineering skills. He’s at least capable of instructing advanced engineers to build trans-reality vehicles.
- Likely can manipulate reality to an extent… if he’s attuned to a Concordance Engine. Another Prester could shove a powerful being into another reality to get rid of him. But that’s more a property of an Engine than of a Prester.
*If* the implication about Omega the Unknown (Model X3Z) is correct, all Presters *might* be Protarian synthesoidsAn artificial being built using organic-like tissues, rather than robot-like hardware. with biospheric manipulation powers. But it doesn’t seem that likely.
During this storyline, the insane Prester John had come to consider Earth-616 a failure. He now only saw it as a loveless void – without a God to give it meaning and unity.
Johann therefore travelled to Wundagore, and convinced the New Men to follow him. They built a trans-reality spaceship.
The idea was to let Reality-616 be destroyed by a Death Celestial, and build a new universe — New Avalon, of course — that would be perfect and godly.
(This reflects the strong Christian themes in the 1970s stories of the New Men of Wundagore, Adam Warlock and the Man-Beast).
How much, if any, of this sequence, played out on Earth-616 ? We don’t know, mate.
One step beyond !
There’s another cosmic organisation called the Omegas. It was the original name of the Beyonders, as they were created by the Celestials during the First Cosmos.
When this is established in 2022 (in Defenders: Beyond) :
- Several Beyonders take a human form that is similar to that of a young, moustache-less Prester John. They look exactly like the Omega Council, and call themselves that once or twice.
- They use one Concordance Engine. It looks just like the Omega Council’s Concordance Engines, and thus just like the glimpse we had of Prester John’s Avalon.
There also have been cosmic incidents with Beyonders opposing and killing Celestials. This evokes the Omega Council seeking to destroy the Death Celestials.
Are the Omega Council members Beyonders ?
However, the Omega Council seen 2012 is clearly far less powerful than even a single Beyonder.
So my sense is that the Omega Council is a sort of weak echo of the First Cosmos’ Celestials’ Omegas.
The simplest theory is that the corrupt Death Celestials were careful not to create anything that could kill them. Then dispersed their creations across the multiverse.
In this take, the Omega Council are indeed the Omegas from one universe’s Celestials. So that explains the similarities. But they are as distinct from the Beyonders as the Death Celestials are from the Celestials, and have been neutered.
A weirder hypothesis is that Prester John did something impossible using the technology of fallen Avalon. He somehow travelled back to the First Cosmos, which inspired the Celestials to create beings and tech patterned after John.
Look, Sise-Neg did something vaguely similar. And it builds on the sense that there is *something* cosmic going on with John, but we can’t understand it because it’s too cosmic and time-travelly.
One last theory is that the two identical-looking Omega Councils are the same entities – the Beyonders.
*But* the Death Celestials had special defences against the Beyonders. This made the Omegas unable to directly engage these specific Celestials.
In the Fantastic Four: Grand Design alternate retelling, Prester John :
- Was an agent of the Order of the Shield. He was active after the Order splintered between the anti-Galactus and pro-Galactus factions, and belonged to the former.
- Was sent on a quest, and found a gateway to another universe – the land of Avalon.
- But he became enamoured with the Evil Eye’s power when he found it. And went on to carve a small empire for himself.
- The African (Eritrean ?) tomb where Wyatt and Johnny found him was all that remained of said empire.
- Prester John rejected the Evil Eye. He was supposed to save everyone with it, and had ended up losing it all.
Does any of this reflect events on Earth-616 ? We don’t know, mate.
Fraction described John’s personality as “nascent psychosis, ever-fragmenting, temporally aberrant”.
So in every appearance he’s the same person. But with random-looking obsessions and degrees of irrationality.
Or rather, they’re random-looking from the outside. They presumably make sense in the sequence *he* experiences events. Because time travel.
During this era, he seemed downright evil and conquest-hungry. He just wanted to reign at any cost, and overwrite Normandy, then Francia, then Europe, then the world with a fantastic reality.
He didn’t seem to understand the damage he might do to the timestream… or he knew enough to understand that he was just creating a new timeline.
Prester John seems convinced that he’s G*d’s gift to exploration. The kind of exploration that tends to be real bad news for the “discovered” locals.
He generally comes across as arrogant and self-righteous, but not in a loud, moustache-twirling fashion. It’s more of a pattern that soon emerges if one doesn’t share his mediaeval values.
For instance, he keeps not-that-consciously implying that foreign cultures and faiths are mistaken and inferior.
(He likely wouldn’t be racist in the modern sense, though. A man of his time would instead differentiate between Christians and Pagans. This played an important role in the Christian anti-slavery movements.)
A fairly quiet and thoughtful guy, who seemed to have a much more open mind. He liked being in Providence, and sought to defend this assemblage.
Apparently, he was now more focusing on interfaith dialogue, and studying comparative theologies and ethics.
Like most people in Providence, he greatly enjoyed being part of this near-utopia.
He still had a warrior’s honour, though.
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 06||Str: 04||Bod: 05|
|Int: 05||Wil: 05||Min: 03|
|Inf: 06||Aur: 06||Spi: 03|
|Init: 017||HP: 080|
Comprehend languages: 16
Animal handling (Horses): 04, Charisma (Persuasion): 07, Military science (Survival): 05, Occultist: 05, Vehicles: 04, Weaponry (Melee): 08
Area Knowledge (Avalon island), Near-Immortal, Scholar (Comparative religions, World History up to the early 1200s).
These come and go, hey nonny nonny.
Prester John often has Rage, Psychological Instability, Irrational Attraction and other psychological Drawbacks. It depends at which point of his subjective biography one meets him.
- Broadsword [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 06), Descriptor: Slashing, piercing].
- CHAINMAIL W/HELM [BODY 04, Blunting: 03, Enhance (Slashing, Piercing RV): 02 (cap is 08), Enhance (RV against Critical, Devastation and doubles): 03 (cap is 08), Enhance (Unarmed RV): 03 (cap is 10), Power Loss (Blunting drops to 01 against non Slashing/Piercing damage), Stealth penalty 2/3].
- SURVIVAL CHAIR [BODY 08, Flight: 05, Suspension: 12].
Prester John and the Eye’s stats include the Earth-11127 material.
Obviously, a lot of the stats are tentative. In particular “he seems fragile, so low Mental and Mystical RVs” could be completely off.
The Evil Eye
BODY 12, Attraction/Repulsion: 12, Disintegration: 26, Energy absorption: 10, Enhance (EV): 03 (cap is 25), Enhance (Occultist): 25 (cap is 50), Force wall: 25, Gliding: 00, Invulnerability: 26, Mental blast: 12, Bonuses & Limitations :
- Attraction/Repulsion only does Repulsion.
- Attraction/Repulsion can be Combined With Mental Blast, but both then only can deploy 10 APs.
- Disintegration prolly is limited to rock, soil, sand, metal, etc..
- Disintegration get monstrous APs since a/ it blasts through untold tonnes of ground within seconds (it took *minutes* for Wyatt and Johnny to fall all that way) and b/ to explain why the Eye keeps being classified as a mega-weapon.
- Energy absorption seems limited to magical and/or mystic-linked energy.
- Enhance (Occultist) can only engage as many APs as the wielder has APs of Occultism.
- Enhance (Occultist) likely is limited to certain themes of rituals. A bit like a Dimensional Energy spell, with Balor as the Entity.
- Enhance (Occultist) has an enormous cap to contribute to the “mega-weapon” thing.
- Force wall only to form a bubble. It is impervious to sound.
- Gliding doesn’t allow for horizontal traversal – only to slow down a vertical fall.
- Gliding is done by blasting at the ground below.
- Invulnerability covers the whole “split in six parts, disperses, etc.” process.
The Evil Eye (cont.)
The time travel thing is too hazy to quantify. It could send the Defenders from 1190-ish to 1970-ish, which is 33 APs of time.
The terraforming thing would use Disintegration, plus Matter Manipulation (for geographical features) and Dimension Travel (Summoning) (for creatures) – both with a plethora of modifiers. Plus mayhaps some Geoforce APs. I wouldn’t bother quantifying it, honestly. He just does it, and then it’s done.
The Force Wall APs assume that the Silver Surfer didn’t spend Hero Points, as per standard comic book superhero story HPs flow.
When does the Eye explode ? No data, aside from the 1966 safety accident. When he did it, the Black Knight seemed to be pumping Hero Points into it, so Pushing it hard might be a requirement as well as using full APs.
How powerfully does the Eye explode ? Hard to say. It seemed much like a A-bomb (Wyatt states that much), but the Torch only had his flame snuffed out even though he was mere miles away.
Something like Bomb: 22 with a Heat Descriptor could work. And also explain why the Torch wasn’t really harmed.
The Stone of Power
/STR/ 14 /BODY/ 11 BODY 26, Air control: 12, Detect (Exotic energies): 03, Enchant: 10, Flight: 02, Mental blast: 13, Paralysis: 25, Suspension: 05.
It is unclear what the Stone does to leave Earth. Could be Flight, Dimension Travel, Warp, Time Travel, whatever. Likewise it seems to have INT, WIL and perhaps others.
Ditto as to how it took control of Prester John’s mind, why it chose him, etc.. All we know for sure is that the influence was broken as soon as the Stone no longer was in contact with him.
Air Control seems limited to inflicting AoE damage.
Enchant is limited to increasing non-italicized BODY for worn or wielded equipment. But it can cover all such objects at once. As a Bonus, it also raises the caps of appropriate Enhance (EV) and Enhance (RV) Powers.
Paralysis seems to have three limitations :
- It can only be done once per person (or maybe there’s a long cooldown before hitting the same person again).
- The persons are stuck in place, but they can slowly move their arms, heads, shoulders, etc..
- A good jolt of pain will immediately break the effect.
Obvs, all of this is speculative. There just isn’t much material.
John of Providence
This version of Johann has Growth: 02 (Always On), plus an additional AP of STR. So that’s STR 07 BODY 07.
This is a conservative estimate. STR 08 or even higher is possible.
It’s possible that these come from his *conspicuous* red gemstone pendant. Which might have been Cytorrak-aspected, or maybe another form of Stone of Power.
He also had SPECIAL SCALE ARMOUR [BODY 08, Blunting: 03, Damage capacity: 02, Enhance (Kinetic RV): 01 (cap is 10), Stealth penalty 3/2, Recommended STR 05, Bonus: Damage Capacity has the Full Recovery with Infrastructure Bonus].
Possibly-future Prester John
That’s the version with the white moustache, wot chronoported in to reclaim the Eye from Mordred.
- Attraction/Repulsion: 06, limited to Attraction, limited to the Evil Eye.
- Awareness: 06 with the Transtemporal Bonus, limited to the Evil Eye. So he can sense important stuff that happens to the Eye, even if the artefact is in another era.
Source of Character: Yonder Marveille Comicks.
Writeup completed on the 28th of June, 2021.