Real Name: Merlin Ambrosius
Occupation: Wizard, prophet, advisor to kings
Legal Status: Citizen of Fifth Century Britain
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Merlin except as a semi-historical character of Arthurian legend.
Other Aliases: Merlyn, Merlinus (Latin name), Myrddin (Welsh name), Merlin Sylvester,
Place of Birth:
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: father (name unrevealed), Aldan (mother, deceased), three brothers (names unrevealed, deceased), Ganeida (sister, deceased), Rhydderch Hael (brother-in-law, deceased), Conaan (grandfather, deceased), Roma (daughter),
Group Affiliations: ally of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Base of Operations: The Starlight Citadel within Otherworld, formerly Camelot (now part of modern Cornwall)
First Appearance: (historical) Black Knight I #1, (recent) Strange Tales #134
History: Merlin is credited with one of the greatest wizards
known to the history of Earth. According to legend, he is said to be the son of a demon and the
beautiful virgin daughter of Conaan, King of Dyfed, an area of Wales. (Possibly
Conaan derived his name from the legendary Cimmerian king of ages past). It is
said that Merlinís birth was planned by Satan himself to bring into the world
a superhuman, half-demonic, half-human being to menace mankind. The demon took
the form of a handsome knight to seduce Conaan's daughter and impregnate her,
but when she realized that her seducer might be a demon, she consulted her
priest, who blessed her and had her drink holy water. She took a vow of chastity
and, after giving birth to Merlin, became a nun, thus, it is said, preventing
him from being born with an innate tendency to serve evil.
While Merlin was still a boy, Vortigern, king of Britain, failed repeatedly in his attempts to build a tower stronghold in the Welsh mountains, for the tower's foundations kept sinking. The king was told that in order to succeed he had to sacrifice a boy with no human father; therefore, his men found Merlin in the Welsh town of Carmarthen and brought the boy to the king. Merlin used his power to reveal that the true cause of his failure was a pool lying beneath the foundations, Vortigern's men then found the pool and the dragons emerged, one of which killed the other. Merlin saw this as an omen predicting the reign of King Arthur, who was as yet unborn.
While Merlin was studying magic and necromancy under Blaise, Vortigern was killed and succeeded as king by Aurelius, the son of King Constantine. Merlin swore never to harm his old master and encouraged him to write a book. The old mage soon retired to Northumbria to describe Merlin's deeds. It has been claimed that the occult stones that now make up Stonehenge once stood near the Preseli Mountains in Wales, and that Merlin advised Aurelius to bring them to their current site in Britain to serve as a tomb for Constantine's son, Pandragon. Merlin's magic allowed a party led by Aurelius's brother, Uther Pendragon, to move the tremendous stones. Modern historians, however, believe that Stonehenge was erected in its present location long before Merlinís time.
Uther Pendragon became king of Britain after his brother's death with Merlin as his mentor. He warred for many years against Gorlois, Duke of Tintagel in Cornwall, and became greatly attracted to the duke's beautiful wife Igraine. Merlin, knowing that a great ruler was destined to be the son of Uther and Igraine, agreed to unite Uther with her in return for the care of their firstborn child. Merlin used his magic to give Uther the appearance of Gorlois, and in this form Uther went to Tintagel and made love to her. Earlier that night, before Uther came to Igraine, the real Gorlois was killed in battle at Terrabil. Soon Uther married Igraine, who gave birth to Arthur. Merlin had Arthur brought up in anonymity by a knight named Sir Ector, and Merlin served as Arthur's tutor.
After Uther's death, Britain was torn by was over the succession of the throne. Merlin spent several years away from Camelot whole Arthur was raised, traveling to Jerusalem and converting King Flualis and his wife to Christianity. On his return, he had the nobles of Britain summoned to London for the Christmas season, promising a divine revelation as to the identity of the new king. There appeared a magic sword thrust through a steel anvil, into a marble block. Upon the anvil were inscribed in letters of gold: ďWhosoever pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise King born of all England.Ē Though many nobles unsuccessfully tried to free sword, it was Arthur, unaware of the inscription, who succeeded as Merlin had planned. Eleven-year-old Arthur was then crowned king.
For years Merlin served Arthur as his chief advisor and magical protector. After Arthur broke the magic sword in battle, Merlin took him to the lake where the faerie known as the Lady of the Lake, who gave Arthur the enchanted sword Excalibur. It was also Merlin who arranged on Arthur's request for the young king to marry Guinevere, although Merlin, with his prophetic powers, warned Arthur that this marriage would lead to disasters at Camelot, from which Arthur ruled.
Before his marriage, Arthur made love to Queen Morgause, unaware that she was his half-sister. Merlin warned him that she would bear him a son, Mordred, who would be responsible for the end of Camelot. Arthur tried to have the infant Mordred killed, but he was saved and raised in anonymity.
It was Merlin taught the arts of sorcery to another of Arthurís half-sisters, Morgan Le Fay. Morgan promised to become Merlinís mistress if he taught her magic, but she did not keep her word to him. Instead, she became one of Arthurís greatest foes.
According to most accounts, a short time after Arthurís marriage to Guinevere, Merlin fell in live with Nimue (or Vivian), who was daughter of Dyonas, one of the feudal lords of Camelot, who possibly served as priestess to the Lady of the Lake and possibly replaced her. Merlin revealed many of his mystical secrets to Nimue, but Morgan convinced her to imprison Merlin in an enchanted cave in order to be rid of him as Arthurís protector and mentor. Merlin is said to have fell into suspended animation in this cave, which was located in Cornwall. However, Merlin is known to have lived in Camelot after Mordred became an adult. Hence, he somehow escaped the cave before Mordred arrived at Camelot, or he was imprisoned by Nimue years after Mordredís arrival.
The adult Mordred came to live at Camelot, where he was euphemistically called Arthurís nephew. Merlin realized the great threat that Mordred and Morgan Le Fay posed to Arthur and intended to stave off the end of Camelot as long as possible. Years before, Merlin had the parents of the boy who would become known as Sir Percy of Scandia train Percy in all forms of combat. Merlin knew he would need a great warrior who could stop Mordred but whose identity would remain secret, so Mordred could not have him killed.
After the deaths of Percyís parents, Merlin sent a message summoning him to Camelot. At court, Percy, who had already become a knight, played the role of a timid fop upon Merlinís instructions so that no one would suspect how dangerous an opponent Sir Percy could be. Merlin then explained to Sir Percy that he was to become the champion of Camelot under the guise of the Black Knight and presented him an ebony blade which Merlin had forged from a meteorite and upon which he had placed enchantments. Over the following years, The Black Knight thwarted numerous plots against Arthur by Morgan and Mordred. After the Black Knight led Arthurís forces in a tremendous battle against the forces of Morgan and of Mordred which ended in Morgan and Mordredís defeat, Merlin cast a spell which prevented Morgan from physically existing in the dimension of Earth beyond the walls of her castle to which she had been entrapped.
Mordred, however, joined with his cousin, Agravaine, succeeded in revealing Guinevereís affair with Lancelot. This revelation threw England into a civil war, and Mordred openly began gathering armies to lead against Sir Arthur. Merlin directed the Black Knight to ride to Garrett Castle to plan stragedy with Arthur for the final battle against Mordred, but due to sorcerous menaces that attacked him along the way, the Black Knight was unable to reach the castle until after that battle had been fought. Mordredís forces had been aided by a malevolent cosmic entity called the Dragon of the Moon, and it may be assumed that Merlin played a major role in the dragonís defeat. During the Battle of Camlann, Arthur and Mordred mortally wounded each other. Before dying himself, Mordred reached Garrett Castle and slew the Black Knight from behind. Merlin appeared before the dying Black Knight and placed a spell upon him that would enable the knightís spirit to return to Earth whenever Mordredís spirit returned there to do evil.
Following the fall of Camelot and England falling to the Saxon invaders, Merlin traveled to Europe, where he was possibly confused with Wotan of the Germans and Vainamoinen of the Finns. At some point, he befriended a mystic named Feron and the two of them started studying the aspect of other dimensions. Feron managed to make contact with a cosmic being of great power, which he called the Phoenix-force. Necrom wanted to use its power to become a god, and Feron fought against him. Merlin meanwhile jumped into the energy matrix, which allowed it to manifest in trying to access control of it. Feron managed to defeat Necrom, imprisoning him deep into the Earth, but Merlin gained much more power in the process, allowing him to visit Otherworld, the realm of the Celtic gods, and establish a base which he called the Starlight Citadel where he could view and observe multiple alternate earths in separate quantum universes.
Merlin eventually sired a daughter, Roma, whose mother remains unknown, but she acquired just as much power in sorcery as he possessed, but he still remained much more powerful in the mystic arts than her. Together, they became aware of numerous alternate Earths, assigning each of them a number as they saw fit. From Otherworld, Merlin continued to guide the destinies of Sir Percyís descendants, notably Eobar Garrington and Dane Whitman who both posed as the Black Knight in their life times. Merlin returned Earth a few times and bestowed Brian Braddock with the power to become Captain Britain, the true champion of England. It seems he chose several individuals he chose worthy from various worlds with the same power and attributes, such as Linda McQuillan, who called herself Captain UK in her own reality. For reasons known only to himself, Merlin disguised his past by claiming to be a "star-born space traveler" who traveled the galaxies studying and aiding other life forms. Having helped Arthur create the joyous realm of Camelot, Merlin lamented he was unable for all his power to stop its fall. Merlin acted as an advisor to Brian as Captain Britain much as he had for King Arthur.
In Otherworld, Merlin also sided with proud and noble warriors called the Walkers trying to keep the balance of good and evil balanced that the forces of Mordred never gained control. He was aided several times by the spirit of Dane Whitman in the body of Eobar Garrington and by Captain Britain. During this time, Daneís body in the Twentieth Century existed as a stone statue until Merlin restored him to it. Merlin also encountered Doctor Who, a time traveler among several who had visited Camelot, employing his support in aiding Arthur and his knights to defend the last bastion of civilization from the forces of Catavolcus and his Neutron Knights in one alternate future of Earth.
Merlin meanwhile continued to influence Captain Britainís destiny from Otherworld, once choosing not to help him in that he would learn to help himself. He protect Captain UK from the Fury, but Roma eventually discovered he was not infallible, as they viewed several of the heroes in Captain UKís world killed by the Fury. The depression seemingly killed Merlin, and Roma called several of his colleagues, allies and confidants to his funeral, including King Arthur and the Captain Britain from several alternate earths, known collectively as the Captain Britain Corp. They cast his body through the Portal Perilous where it seemingly disappeared.
Shortly after Merlinís death, Modred the Mystic (not to be confused with Mordred, the illegitimate son of King Arthur) usurped the armor of Captain Britain, hoping to use it to contact Merlin so he could battle him. Modred blamed Merlin for having summoned him to the last days of Camelot. Despising what he saw as a corrupt sorcerer, Modred instead sought power through the Darkhold, which ended up corrupting him. It was for this reason that he wished vengeance on Merlin. However, Modred apparently had never learned that it was not the true Merlin he had hated back then. The one who had summoned him was actually an imposter who called himself Merlin Demonspawn in order to exploit the trusted allies of the true Merlin. Nonetheless, not knowing this, Modred tried to summon Merlin with Captain Britain's suit. When there was no response, Captain Britain convinced him that he himself must wear the suit to contact Merlin. With Braddock's solemn vow, Modred returned his suit and genuinely tried to summon Merlyn, to no avail. Furious, Modred went on a rampage, and was incapacitated by Captain Britain and Captain America. It was only after Modred was defeated that an image of Merlinís spirit and vanquished Modred to Otherworld.
Captain Britain, meanwhile, formed the group, Excalibur, and became lovers with the mutant, Meggan, who supposedly was part faerie. They both served as members of Excalibur through several adventures. When Meggan became possessed by a violent entity, Alistaire Stuart of the Weird Happenings Organization remembered that a strange old man called Myrd had predicted this occurrence some months back. He led Excalibur to Myrd's castle home, where they encountered ghostly apparitions. Finding Myrd, they pressed him for answers, but he claimed amnesia. With Meggan having escaped their custody, the team traveled to Braddock Manor with Myrd, where
Captain Britain consulted his computer to see if he could find out what was happening, but all it managed to tell them was that Myrd's castle was the center of mystical power surges. It was only at this point that Captain Britain heard Shadowcat call the old man Myrd, and he realized that Myrd was actually Merlin. Whether Merlin returned to life because of Modred or on his own is unrevealed, but still proving to be wily enough to conceal his identity, he revealed Meggan to be possessed by a number spirits, particularly by the spirit of the mutant known as the
Changeling. Driving him away, Meggan was released from her ordeal, but Captain Britain verbally attacked Merlin for not helping him in times when he needed him most. Merlin humorously ignored his rant since he did not feel the hero's anger was as real as Captain Britain made it to be.
Eventually, Captain Britain and Roma deduced between themselves that Merlin had long been behind the scenes of several events in Braddockís life, including the creation of Excalibur and jinxing Britain to curtail his individuality so that he would stay with the group. In actuality, Merlin was guiding Captain Britain and Excalibur to face off against Necromís escape and threat to the universe. He simply could not take them completely into his trust, they needed to discover some things on their own. Merlin revealed he had established the Captain Britain Corps to patrol the universe searching for his nemesis while restoring the energy matrix in secret to defeat him. When Excalibur fulfilled their destiny to destroy Necrom, Merlin and Roma both appeared before them, revealing that Merlin had allowed Meggan to be possessed to ready them for the battle. Using energy left behind from Necromís destruction, Meggan destroyed the tower in all its incarnations across the multiverse. Angrily, Merlin told them they had destroyed everything, and that without the tower the energy matrix would fade. As he moved to scold her, Roma moved to impede him, allowing Excalibur to afterward, disband and direct their destinies. This became a bit of a surprise to them since the group had decided for themselves.
Due to his mastery in of the mystical arts, Merlin is
considered one of the greatest wizards in Earth's history, his name held in
honor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a castle in Scotland with a
secret history of teaching young mystics.
Weight: 210 lbs.
Hair: Grey-white (Brown in his youth)
Strength Level: Merlin possesses the normal human strength level of a man of his height, weight and strength who engages in minimal physical exercise.
Superhuman Powers: Merlin possesses incredible mastery of the mystical arts, making him one of the most powerful sorcerers in the history of Earth. Strictly speaking, the ability to access magic is not a superhuman power. Only the ability to manipulate mystical energy lies in an Earth-born sorcerer or wizard, not the energy itself. However, each person is limited by their own amount of training, discipline, knowledge and enlightenment of the mystical arts. However, some human beings, like Merlin, Morgan le Fay, Stephen Strange and others, however, have greater potential for magic than others.
Merlinís magic, like that of most magicians, is derives from three major sources: personal powers of the mind/body/soul derived through developing oneís own psychic resources (mesmerism, astral projection, thought-casting, etc.), powers gained by tapping this universes ambient magical energy and employing it into specific effects (teleportation, illusion-casting, energy projection, etc.), and finally, powers gained through the tapping of extra-dimensional energy by invoking entities or objects of power existing in mystical dimensions tangential to his own. The latter mean of power is usually gained by the recitation of spells, either ritualized ones found in various mystical texts or by original spells invoking extra-dimensional assistance, usually deities within Celtic, Roman or Egyptian myth. Some of Merlinís spells are dependant on the size of the gesture or physical effort he puts into it; he can simply levitate his cloak by looking toward it, but in some cases, he must create elaborate motions for much more powerful spells.
Merlin was capable of a wide range of mystical abilities, such as the ability to create or endow enchantments or mystical properties on physical objects, firing bolts of energy equal to bursts of lightning, creating illusions for one or more witnesses, levitating immense objects, teleporting through dimensional barriers (such as from Otherworld to Earth) and to peer through the illusion of the world. He is incapable of being deceived, and likewise uses trickery and deception to get what he wants. He can see moments of the future far more accurately than most psychics and divine secrets from the past either by communing with spirits or by blocking out external stimuli and going into a brief trance. His mystical power is nearly infinite, almost on par with gods such as Odin and Zeus, but he does tire out after carrying out several spells in succession.
Merlin has also mystically slowed down his aging, granting him practical immortality. He is extremely long-lived.
Abilities: Merlin has an incredible memory for astronomy and arcane and divine lore. He is also a very capable manipulator capable of enticing others to carry out his desires without the use of magic.
Comments: This bio includes Merlinís appearances in Marvel Comics. It
is unsure if he has appeared in DC Comics.
Most Arthurian legends call Merlin the son of an incubus in the form of an ancient knight; some historians believe he was born from an incestuous relationship King Conaan had with his daughter. Conceivably, Merlin could also be the son of one of the Celtic gods, possibly Llyr or Lugh, whom the superstitious pagan Britons just thought was a demon.
In Merlin (1998), starring Sam Neil, Merlinís vision of two dragons was actually a premonition, the dragons representing Vortigern being overthrown by Arthur. The movie also shows that Excalibur was wielded first by Arthurís father and after he became unworthy of it, it became the Sword in the Stone for Arthur to claim. This scenario makes perfect sense, but I can't find a reference to support this.
According to some historians, Stonehenge was built over several stages over three hundred years near the Preseli Mountains in Wales in the 30th Century BC to be used as a solar calendar, but around 1600 BC, it was moved to its present location on the Salisbury Plain to be used as a sacred site by the Druids.
Question: What's the deal with that stuff from the Namor #62 flashback? My answer: it was a dream/vision Morgan Le Fay had to give her a reason to try and seize Atlantis. (Some historians believe Avalon was the Celtic equivalent of the legend of Atlantis.) If it turns out to be part of Marvel continuity and is not a vision, Myraddin and the characters connected to him are the past lives of the later Arthurian characters. Thatís my story and Iím sticking to it.
Merlin's Cave near Tintagil is rumored to be haunted by Merlin. He has variously said to be buried at Drumelzier in Scotland, under Merlin's Mount on the grounds of Marlborough College, at Mynedd Fyrddin and in Merlin's Hill Cave in Camarthen.
Merlin has also appeared or been named in the the TV-series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Wizards of Waverly Place, Mr. Merlin, MacGyver, The Time Tunnel and Lost In Space.
Merlin (Merlyn) is not to be confused with:
Peter Hunter, member of the Knights of Pendragon, self-proclaimed reincarnation of
Merlin, @ Knights of Pendragon I#8
Demonspawn, Merlin imposter exposed by Sersi at Camelot, @ Journey into Mystery
counterpart in the Amalgam Earth reality, @ Speed Demon #1
android in the alternate dimension of the Bermuda Triangle, @ Skull the Slayer#4
assassin foe of Green Arrow, @ Justice League of America #94
renegade member of the Oan race, Green Lantern #26
Last updated: 07/26/10
Back to Main Page