The Darkhold is a mystical book that features in Marvel Comics.
The Darkhold, also known as "Shiatra Book of the Damned" or "the Book of Sins", was a magical book created by the evil Elder Gods Chthon. Its origins were traced to long ago when Earth was a beachhead in a war between cosmic entities. The ancient gods fought one another and died leading to them becoming remembered in distorted memory. Among those was the greatest of their number namely Chthon who was believed destroyed but in fact he had entered into a slumber. Prior to his sleep, his wisdom was transcribed on flesh then on stone and finally onto paper to become the Darkhold that was bound by Morgan le Fay during the era of King Arthur and Merlin.
One account held that Chthon first wrote the book within the Darque Hold that were cavern chambers deep inside Mount Wundagore. (Mighty Avengers v1 #22)
At some point, a mutated variation of the book was created that was transcribed by the elder monks of Lewoc. (Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural v1 #1)
Around the 12th century, Giacomo Montesi became the only priest with access to the ancient occult knowledge of the book. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #13)
Modred the Mystic came to be corrupted by the power of Chthon where he sought to reassemble the Darkhold by transcribing it on his flesh and using it to summon the god of chaos. To stop him, the Knights of Wundagore assembled where they called upon Quicksilvers aid though the New Men were killed whilst Pietro Maximoff was turned into a vessel for Chthon. Within his new body, he sought to control the effects of his Chaos Cascade in altering the reality of the world whilst Modred remained at Wundagore as the living Darkhold text. Meanwhile, the soul of Pietro Maximoff became trapped within the empty book that once contained the verses of the Darkhold. (Mighty Avengers v1 #22)
The mine owner Gleason had arranged for the FBI to trap the serial killer Carnage at his abandoned facility only to reveal that he intended to meet Kassidy who was prophesized in the Darkhold texts. They believed he was the Red Slayer that was said to be the one who would awaken Chthon once more. The Darkholders believed Cletus Kassidy's blood would sanctify the Shiatra and attempted to murder him. However, his blood infected the cultists and they were possessed by the Carnage Symbiote whereupon they killed Gleason. (Carnage v2 #4)
Around this time, the Cult of the Darkhold were operating in the Scottish Highlands after being summoned there by a creature they worshipped which had been freed from a fracking operation with them battling Captain American and Union Jack. (Captain America: Steve Rogers v1 #9) Baron Zemo later had the Darkhold that was needed for HYDRA as they usurped control of America whilst following the leadership of Supreme Leader Steve Rogers. (Secret Empire v1 #0)
It was considered an ancient text of chthonic mysteries and contained the wisdom of Chthon. The passages of the Book of Sins were filled with spells of power and the hidden wisdom of the dark realm (Carnage v2 #4) The Darkhold's black letters were considered the ultimate book of black magic. (Marvel Comics Presents v1 #145)
There were numerous passages in the book such as:
- The Malachy Prophecy: "A child born of no man, and of a woman marked by sin; Daughter becomes mother; Then will the dark return begin!" (Marvel Comics Presents v1 #145)
- "When the Red Slayer spills blood on sacred stone, he who sleeps shall wake and what walked once will walk again." (Carnage v2 #4)
A spell of fertility was present within the book that could be used to sire a child but this could lead to the offspring being the offspring of the Darkhold's creator. (Marvel Comics Presents v1 #145)
- The Darkhold was created by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog where it made its first appearance in Marvel Spotlight v1 #4 (June 1972).
- In Marvel Zombies Handbook v1 #1 (2007), the Darkhold received an entry within the entry book with it being noted as one of the four Cornerstones of Creation.
In other media
- In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Darkhold was referenced in the live-action television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where it first appeared in the episode "Meet the New Boss". The book when opened appeared to be blank but words began to manifest on its pages to corporeal readers in their native language. It was sought out by many parties over the years with the likes of the Red Skull, Nick Fury and others searching for it. Scientists from Momentum Labs named Joseph Bauer and his wife Lucy Bauer discovered the book and began to use its knowledge to help in their research into creating matter from nothing. The lab technician Eli Morrow became obsessed over the power that was offered by the Darkhold and turned on the research staff where he activated a machine that turned the staff into ghostly beings. He then assaulted Joseph in an attempt to get the location of the Darkhold and put Bauer into coma. Meanwhile, the ghostly research staff freed one another but were trapped in an incorporeal state with them seeking out the Darkhold to restore their physical forms and continue their work. Lucy Bauer's ghost form revived her husband Joseph in order to find the books location and killed him as a side effect from her touch. The ghosts were, however, unable to read the book in their incorporeal state and thus Lucy Bauer freed Eli from South Ridge Penitentiary to read the book for her.
- In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, the Darkhold appeared in the Facebook video games Special Operations - Eclipse Phase mission. It was stated to had been in the possession of the Hellfire Club at their London headquarters. Doctor Strange needed it in order to complete a mystical enchantment to return the Sun after a magical eternal Eclipse was brought to the world by an alliance of Dracula and Mephisto.
- In Marvel Heroes, the Darkhold was an available item in the MMORPG video game.
- Marvel Spotlight v1:
- Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1:
- Mighty Avengers v1:
- Carnage v2: