The Serpent Crown was one of the most ancient and mightiest
objects of mystical power in the history of humanity.
It was a helmet made of an unknown material that was
designed to resemble a coiled, seven-headed serpent.
The Crown drew its power from its mystical link with
the primeval demon Set; anyone who wore the helmet was
granted tremendous superhuman abilities by Set. These
powers included the ability to read minds, the ability
to control the minds of others, the power to levitate
oneself and other persons or objects, the ability to
cast illusions, the power to project destructive bolts
of mystical energy, the mental ability to manipulate
matter and energy, and superhuman strength. (Apparently
not everyone who wore the Crown gained all of these
abilities. Presumably the number of powers one gained
from the Crown depended on the wearer's adeptness in
learning how to use the Crown's energies, the length
of time that the wearer wore the Crown, and Sets own
attitude towards the wearer.)
However, virtually anyone who wore the Serpent Crown
fell under the mental domination of Set. Only a person
with tremendous will power could free himself or herself
from Set's Crown-induced mental domination, and only
if he or she then immediately removed the Crown from
his or her own head. Anyone who has worn the Crown retained
a psychic link with it.
Counterparts to this Earth's Serpent Crown existed
on at least hundreds of divergent Earths throughout
the multiverse. All of these Crowns were mystically
linked with Set, who apparently is a multiversal entity.
Possibly Set was exiled from Earth before the divergences
that produced the multitude of Earths on which Serpent
Crowns were created.
Ultimately, the Serpent Crowns were to serve as the
means by which Set would return to physical existence
on one or more of the Earths of the multiverse. (Similarly,
another of these primeval demons, Chthon, created the
Darkhold as a means through which he could again manifest
himself on Earth.)
The history of the Serpent Crown therefore begins with
the origin of Set himself. Prior to humanity's existence,
and perhaps the existence of any other relatively complex
organic life on Earth, beings called the Elder Gods
arose on Earth. It is believed that the first of these
Elder Gods was the Demiurge, which coalesced from Earth's
biosphere (its fertile, life-supporting environment),
achieved consciousness, and later split into fertile
fragments, each one of which spawned a new being. These
Elder Gods, the spawn of the Demiurge, mostly consisted
of non-humanoid beings who degenerated over the passing
eons into demons who
preyed upon their own kind. Set, who manifests himself
in the form of an enormous serpent, was one of the most
powerful of these ancient gods/demons. He spawned other
serpent-like demons in turn, such as Damballah and Sligguth.
It might be speculated that Set was the patron god of
the dinosaurs and other reptilian life forms that dominated
the Earth during the Mesozoic Era. It is known that
Set spawned a mortal race of humanoid, sentient reptilian
beings that became known as the Serpent Men.
The only Elder God to escape degeneration into demonic
form was the benevolent, humanoid Gaea. Gaea is said
to have mated with a reincarnation of the Demiurge at
the peak of the Elder Gods' degeneracy, to create a
newer, more perfect race of gods. The first product
of their union was Gaea's offspring Atum, who slew most
of the Elder Gods. Atum did not attempt to harm Gaea,
who remains active on Earth today. To escape being slaughtered
by Atum, Set fled Earth's dimensional plane. However,
from the dimension in which he now dwelled, Set continued
to watch over and aid the Serpent-Men and, in later
times, his human worshippers on the many Earths that
diverged from the one he escaped.
The Serpent-Men preyed upon the nascent human race,
but humanity eventually became strong enough to prove
to be a deadly enemy to the Serpent-Men's race. The
greatest foe of the Serpent-Men before the sinking of
Atlantis was King Kull of
Valusia, who was formerly an Atlantean
barbarian. By Kull's time the Serpent-Men, greatly outnumbered
by the human race, had to use their shape-changing abilities
to disguise themselves as human beings and then infiltrate
human civilization in the hope of conquering it. Kull
was responsible for the deaths of large numbers of Serpent-Men
who menaced his kingdom.
Serpent-Men, who worshipped Set, formed an uneasy alliance
with the alchemists of Lemuria.
Working together, these alchemists and the Serpent-Men
created the Serpent Crown, which Set linked to his own
consciousness and which became a receptacle for his
At the time that the Serpent Crown was created, Lemuria
was ruled by the evolutionary offshoot of humanity known
as the Deviants,
who had made the Lemurian continent the center of their
empire. It might be speculated that the Serpent-Men
and the Lemurian alchemists formed their alliance and
created the Serpent Crown in a joint effort to overthrow
the Deviants' rule of most of the known Earth.
The first person to wear the Serpent Crown and wield
its power was Atra, the greatest of the Lemurian alchemists.
However, just as Atra was about to begin his conquest
of the known world, the Great Cataclysm occurred, a
worldwide catastrophe, that brought about the sinking
of both Atlantis and Lemuria. Most of the surviving
Serpent-Men died in the Cataclysm, and the Serpent Crown
itself was lost.
Following the Great Cataclysm human civilizations rose
again during the so-called Hyborian Age. During this
period the worship of Set centered in the land of Stygia,
which is today known as Egypt. The wizards of Stygia
who worshipped Set were practitioners of black magic,
and the greatest, most powerful, and most dangerous
of these sorcerers was the wizard Thoth-Amon. Thoth-Amon
came to possess a headpiece known as the Cobra Crown,
which vastly amplified his already mighty mental powers.
Like the Serpent Crown, the Cobra Crown resembled a
coiled serpent, although it was shaped differently than
the Serpent Crown, looking somewhat like a present-day
bishop's mitre. The Cobra Crown was also encrusted with
diamonds. Thoth-Amon intended to use the Cobra Crown
to bring thousands of men under his mental control so
that they would serve him unquestioningly as members
of his army of conquest.
Thoth-Amon formed an alliance with Duke Villagro, who
hoped to replace King Ferdrugo as monarch of the kingdom
of Zingara. Instead, however, Thoth-Amon cast a spell
upon Ferdrugo that placed him under his own mental control
and induced Ferdrugo to turn control of Zingara over
to Thoth-Amon himself. Outraged, Villagro seized and
donned the Cobra Crown and turned its power against
Thoth-Amon. Since Villagro was unskilled in using mystical
power, Thoth-Amon was able to use his own powers to
resist the Cobra Crown's might. Assisted by Menkara,
a priest of Set, Thoth-Amon overcame Villagro; however,
distracted by his mystical combat with Villagro, Thoth-Amon
lost control over Ferdrugo. Thoth-Amon recovered the
Cobra Crown only to discover that it had been "burned
out" and thus rendered useless by being utilized
by the unskilled Villagro. Thoth-Amon's archenemy, Conan,
the greatest warrior of his time, arrived and led soldiers
in support of Ferdrugo in battle against Thoth-Amon's
soldiers and defeated them. Thoth-Amon, however, escaped.
Many years later, Thoth-Amon, allied with the last
remaining Serpent-Men, made his last stand against Conan,
who had become king of the nation of Aquilonia. Together
Conan and his son Conn slew Thoth-Amon and the last
of the original race of Serpent-Men.
It may be theorized that Thoth-Amon's Cobra Crown was
constructed in imitation of the Serpent Crown, which,
presumably, was still lost beneath the ocean in sunken
Lemuria. The Cobra Crown rivaled the Serpent Crown in
sheer mystical power, but was inferior to it inasmuch
as it was destroyed so easily through misuse. It should
also be noted that neither of its wearers fell under
Set's mental domination, although possibly Thoth-Amon's
will was strong enough to enable him to resist it. Nevertheless,
the Cobra Crown was mystically linked with the Serpent
Crown, as demonstrated by the fact that Hugh Jones was
able to conjure an image of Thoth-Amon when he created
apparitions of past wearers of the Serpent Crown.
Long after Conan's time, a tribe of water-breathing
humanoids belonging to the race Homo mermanus migrated
to the Pacific Ocean, where they settled on the sunken
Lemurian continent. These water-breathers and their
descendants became known as the Lemurians; the other
members of the Homo mermanus race, who remained in the
Atlantic Ocean, are known as the Atlanteans.
(Also, the Deviant race now dwelled underground beneath
the sunken Lemurian continent.)
Eventually, one of the Lemurians discovered the Serpent
Crown amid the ruins of the pre-Cataclysmic civilization.
(Contrary to one account, the discovery of the Crown
occurred after the Lemurians had established their empire
in the Pacific, not during their migration there.)
The Crown was brought to Naga, the emperor of the Lemurians.
Naga donned the Crown and developed a strong link with
it; it soon began to transform him physically, making
his head resemble that of a serpent and causing his
skin to become scale like. Naga became a worshipper
of Set and adopted the seven-headed serpent represented
by the Crown as his imperial symbol. Naga wanted not
simply the power that the Crown granted him, but immortality
as well. His alchemists told him about certain sea creatures
who had virtually indefinite life spans. Naga had one
such creature captured, and his alchemists immersed
the Crown in this fish's vital fluids. As a result,
the Crown now gave Naga eternal life and youth as long
as he wore it or had it in proximity to himself.
Utilizing the vast power of the Serpent Crown, Naga
ruled tyrannically over his subjects for many centuries.
During this time the Crown's power mutagenically-altered
the water-breathing Lemurians, giving all of them scale
Finally, a rebel named Piscatos stole the Serpent Crown
while Naga was asleep. Piscatos and his companions had
used self-hypnosis to protect themselves from falling
under the Crown's sinister influence. Taking the Crown
with them, Piscatos and other rebels fled to Antarctica.
There they built a civilization of their own, which
lasted for an unknown number of years. The people of
this civilization, who became known by air-breathing
human beings as the Ancients, are said to have developed
telepathic powers. Perhaps they did so through studying
the Serpent Crown. However, the Ancients encased the
Serpent Crown within an unknown substance to reduce
its ability to induce individuals mystically to put
it on and fall under Set's control.
The civilization of the Ancients eventually fell into
decadence and finally came to an end when the Ancients'
city was buried beneath an immense landslide. It is
not known whether or not the Serpent Crown was responsible
for either the decline of the Ancients' civilization,
its physical destruction, or both. Nor is it known how
long the disguised Serpent Crown remained buried in
Ever since the Serpent Crown was stolen, Naga had many
of his subjects searching the oceans for it. With the
Crown gone, Naga was no longer immortal. However, enough
of the Crown's life-extending properties continued to
affect Naga so that he aged at a remarkably slow rate.
(Members of Homo mermanus age at a much slower rate
than air-breathing human beings do, but Naga aged more
Early in the twentieth century, Paul Destine, a carnival
mentalist who possessed actual telepathic abilities,
learned through research about the existence of the
Ancients. Hoping to find the site of their Antarctic
civilization, Destine joined an expedition to Antarctica
aboard the icebreaker Oracle, commanded by Captain Leonard
McKenzie, in 1920. There he and McKenzie found a highly
advanced dynamo, which had been built by the Ancients
and which was now entombed in ice. Destine broke through
the ice, intending to use the dynamo to increase his
mental powers. But by activating the device, Destine
unintentionally triggered an avalanche. Gravely injured,
Destine revived to see the disguised Serpent Crown,
which he later called the Helmet of Power, which had
been hurled near him by the avalanche. The Helmet greatly
increased Destine's psionic abilities, as well as healing
his injuries and transforming him into a larger, physically
stronger man. Destine did not return to the expedition
and eventually used one of the Ancients' devices to
place himself in suspended animation, during which his
powers continued to increase.
Decades later, Destine emerged from suspended animation.
He now called himself Destiny, for he believed it was
his fate to rule the world. Through his telepathic abilities,
Destiny learned that a civilization of water-breathing
Atlanteans now lived beneath the Antarctic ice. As a
test of his immense powers, Destiny triggered a series
of catastrophic earthquakes that threatened to destroy
the Atlanteans. The Atlantean Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner
confronted Destiny but was defeated by him. Destiny
then used his mental powers to destroy the Atlanteans'
Antarctic settlements, killing the Atlantean Emperor
Thakorr and Princess Fen in the process. (Most of the
Atlantean population, however, survived.) Destiny then
used his powers to compel Namor to fly to New York City,
to give him amnesia, and to dull his ability to think.
The result was that Namor spent years living as a derelict
until his memory and full mental clarity were restored
through the actions of the second Human Torch. As for
Destiny, after dispatching Namor to New York City, he
himself returned to suspended animation to increase
his powers still further.
After emerging from suspended animation, Destiny again
clashed with the Sub-Mariner. Destiny then made his
way back to the United States, where, under his true
name, he became a third party presidential candidate.
Using the Helmet's powers, Destiny rendered virtually
everyone who heard his speeches submissive to his will.
In his final clash with the Sub-Mariner, Destiny used
the superhuman strength given him by the Helmet to hurl
Namor from the roof of a building. Unable to accept
the fact that the Sub-Mariner's own tremendous superhuman
strength enabled him to survive the fall, Destiny went
wholly insane. Irrationally claiming he did not need
the Helmet, Destiny cast it aside and attempted to levitate
himself down to the street; instead, he fell to his
American legal authorities enlisted the Thing
to transport the Helmet of Power to a place where it
could be studied, but the Sub-Mariner managed to take
the Helmet to Atlantis instead. There the Serpent Crown
destroyed the casing that the Ancients had given it.
The Atlantean noblewoman Lady Dorma donned the Crown,
having fallen under its control, and she then spread
its influence over the rest of the populace of the capital
city of Atlantis. Namor took the Crown from Dorma and
donned it himself in an attempt to learn its secrets,
and, summoning all his will power, he overcame Set's
attempt to control him and cast the Crown from his head.
The Crown was soon carried off by Karthon the Quester,
a Lemurian who served Naga.
Karthon captured Namor and brought both him and the
Serpent Crown to Naga in undersea Lemuria. Naga was
by now ancient and partially senile, but he was still
cunning and dangerous. Regaining the Crown did not restore
Naga's youth, but he once more commanded its other vast
powers. Attempting to break Namor's spirit, Naga used
the Crown's power to create an illusion that Karthon's
sister, Myna, was Dorma, and then Naga engineered her
death. Karthon was infuriated upon learning of Naga's
deception. Naga used the Crown's power to create a great
chasm and compel the Sub-Mariner to hurl himself into
it. But while Naga watched Namor fall, Karthon struck
Naga dead from behind with his Sword. Namor saved himself,
and Naga and the Serpent Crown were swallowed up by
an undersea earthquake that the Crown itself had triggered
by creating the chasm.
Later, the Crown was recovered by the exiled Atlantean
warlord Krang, and commanded him to turn it over to
the second Viper, who then led the original Serpent
Squad. The Viper and her accomplices abducted Hugh Jones,
who was then president of the immensely powerful Roxxon
Oil Corporation and she placed the Crown upon Jones's
head in order to render him submissive to Set's control.
In the course of a battle involving the Viper, Captain
America, and the police, the Serpent Crown was lost
when it fell down into a sewer.
Another Serpent Crown existed on the alternate Earth
on which the team of costumed champions known as the
Squadron Supreme lives. On this Earth the Crown had
been worn in turn by the heads of a number of America's
most powerful corporations, and finally by a man who
served their interests and had become President of the
United States. As a result, these corporation heads
and their ally, the President, controlled that Earth's
America both politically and economically. Through the
Crown's power, the President of the Squadron's Earth
was able to communicate interdimensionally with his
ally Hugh Jones, who was still under Set's influence.
A number of the Avengers traveled to the Squadron's
Earth and captured its President's Serpent Crown. The
Crown briefly took possession of the mind of one of
the Avengers, the
Witch, but she succeeded in freeing herself from
its control. The Avengers persuaded the Squadron that
the government of the latter's Earth was corrupt, and
the President and his corporate allies soon lost power.
The Avengers brought the Serpent Crown to their own
Earth, where it fell into the possession of their enemy
the Living Laser. The Avengers recovered the Crown once
more and the Avenger known as the Vision
dropped it into the Pacific Ocean.
The Serpent Crown that was from the Avengers' own Earth
communicated its whereabouts to Jones, who had one of
his Roxxon employees recover it from the sewer into
which it had fallen. Jones also sensed the location
of the Crown from the Squadron's Earth and created the
second Serpent Squad, who found it for him. Now in possession
of two Serpent Crowns, Jones brought them together,
and they mystically merged into a single Serpent Crown
that possessed the square of the sum of the power the
two Crowns had separately.
Wearing this more powerful Crown, Jones took control
of the minds of the entire population of Washington,
D.C., including the entire United States Congress. Jones
also created ethereal manifestations of everyone who
had ever worn either of the two crowns. (Note: These
were not the actual spirits of the previous wearers
of the Crowns.) Jones was challenged by the Thing, the
Scarlet Witch, and the Stingray. The Scarlet Witch engaged
in mystical battle with Set himself on an astral plane,
enabling the Thing to seize the Serpent Crown from Jones's
head. The Crown then slithered down the Thing's arm
and assumed its normal form atop his head. But since
Jones still tried to exercise his link with the Crown,
the Crown did not exert its full influence over the
Thing, who was thus able to hurl it from his own head.
The Thing encased the Crown within thick wood, and turned
the Crown over to the energy research institution known
as Project: Pegasus for safekeeping.
But very soon a project technician fell under the Crown's
influence and donned it, thereby becoming enslaved to
Set. This technician placed the Crown upon a co-worker's
head, thereby enslaving him as well. Eventually, everyone
working at the Project, including its acting director,
Myron Wilburn, and its security chief, Wendell Vaughn,
alias Quasar, felt under the Crown's domination. Using
interdimensional teleportation equipment, Project personnel
transported Serpent Crowns from other dimensions into
their own. Thus most of the Project personnel got to
wear their own Serpent Crowns. The Crowns' influence
began to alter the bodies of some of the Project personnel,
causing their skin to become scaly, like a serpent's.
The ultimate plan of Set's slaves at Project: Pegasus
was to amass seven hundred and seventy Crowns. Once
they had done so, they placed all the Crowns together,
which then merged into a single, enormous Serpent Crown
of almost inconceivable power, whose heads could move
as if they were alive. Once this was done, then Set
himself could finally materialize on the Earthly plane.
Set planned to use Project Pegasus resources to turn
Earth's climate back into what it possessed in the Mesozoic
Era. Then Set would transform all human beings willing
to submit to his rule into Serpent-Men and would kill
all those who resisted.
Earth's sorcerer supreme Doctor
Stephen Strange and Spider-Man
joined the Thing and the Scarlet Witch in opposing Set's
slaves in the Project. Strange and the Thing and the
Scarlet Witch battled the enormous, animate Serpent
Crown to no avail, and the Crown devoured both the Thing
and the Witch. Spider-Man, however, located the Cosmic
Cube, the only power object at the Project that was
more powerful even than the gigantic Serpent Crown.
Spider-Man himself, bearing the Cube, which could transform
thoughts into reality, was swallowed by one of the Serpent
Crown's heads. Doctor Strange continued to fight on,
but then, on Earth, the enormous Serpent Crown exploded.
The Crown had been destroyed from within by the power
of the cosmic Cube, directed by
Spider-Man, the Thing, and the Scarlet Witch acting
together, all of whom emerged unharmed. All that was
left of the Crown were ten thousand normal-sized vipers.
Then, joining his will to those of his three allies,
all of whom directed their wills into the Cube, Strange
cast a spell of exorcism that exorcised Set's consciousness
from Earth's plane of reality As soon as the spell was
completed, the vipers collapsed dead. Moreover, everyone
who had ever been under the Crown's control was now
entirely free of Set's influence.
According to Doctor Strange, his spell has banished
Set from the Earthly plane forever. It is possible,
however, that although there is no longer any Serpent
Crown on Earth, Serpent Crowns may still exist somewhere
else in the virtually infinite multiverse.
First Appearance: (as Helmet of Power) TALES
TO ASTONISH #101 (as Serpent Crown) SUB-MARINER #9
Final Appearance: MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #5