The Vishanti are a group that features in Marvel Comics.
Long ago, the Vishanti battled the wickedness of Shuma-Gorath. However, they later became no longer concerned with the evils of the world and left the protection of Earth to its champions. (Marvel Premiere v1 #5) At the dawn of humanity, a traveller who later became known as the Aged Genghis sought mystical knowledge with this and immortality being gifted to him in exchange for him serving his masters the Vishanti. They bid the Aged Genghis to preside over a mystical contest to determine the Earth's Sorcerer Supreme with this being called once every century. (Marvel Graphic Novel v1 #49)
At some point, the three Rings of Compulsion were created that were mystic relics with the use of all three allowing one to command the Vishanti regardless of their worthiness. In 915, Tsar Simeon the First's mystics discovered the existence of the three rings of tremendous power with a magical map showing their placements around the world which was located in the Ukase of the Rings. (Doctor Strange: Season One v1 #1)
Sofia di Cosimo of the Il Museo Della Mitologia Antica in Rome later discovered the existence of the rings of compulsion that could command the Vishanti and sought out the Ancient One when she was attacked by mystical creations of Baron Mordo who sought the power. She later met the Ancient One's apprentices Stephen Strange and Wong who took part in the quest where they sought out the three rings that had been wielded by different people around the world. Stephen Strange used one to banish spectral entities but being compelled by a mortal angered the Vishanti and whilst he could have commanded them to heal he hands he decided not to do so. After finding the third ring, Baron Mordo struck with Wong attempting to wield the three rings and the power of the Vishanti to battle the evil servant of Dormammu. However, Wong's lack of mystical skill meant that he did not have the Vishanti protect him from Mordo's onslaught with him taking over Wong and enslaved the Vishanti to his power. It was only Stephen Strange who managed to finally evoke the power of the Vishanti that freed them and helped defeat Mordo. Rather than use the rings, Strange gave them to the Vishanti as he finally accepted his role as a disciple of the Ancient One. (Doctor Strange: Season One v1 #1)
The time of the Vishanti once more came to pass where they had a mystical tournament fought among the various masters of the mystic arts for the coveted title of Sorcerer Supreme. Thus, the Aged Genghis fulfilled his role in calling forth the summons for all sorcerers to arrive at the Temple of the Three. Among those that attended this gathering were the reigning Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange and the Latverian monarch Doctor Doom. (Marvel Graphic Novel v1 #49)
Stephen Strange called upon the two remaining members of the Vishanti when Agamotto battled Galactus in his home dimension. Their intervention convinced Agamotto to stop further fighting and to return his relics to the Sorcerer Supreme for use in saving the Multiverse. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #43)
The coming War of the Seven Spheres brought about upheaval in the mystical planes leading to many ancient agreement being abrogated. In this time, the Vishanti were to face their counterparts in this conflict with these being the Trinity of Ashes who were assigned as their opposing force in the predestined cyclical conflict. When Doctor Strange was attacked by Ygothic Cyclopeans, he called upon the Vishanti who spirited him to safety where they told him about the coming war in heaven and that they had need of mystical warriors thus he was summoned to join them in the plane of combat for the conflict that was to last five thousand years. Stephen Strange refused the calling thus angering the Vishanti who sought to forcibly claim him for the war with him escaping from their dimension. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #48)
The Vishanti took Strange to aid them in the war where they slowed his aging so that only a year would pass for his physical form whilst he fought in the decades long conflict. During this time, he consulted their library to learn new sources of magic such as catastrophe magic. Upon the completion of his service, the Vishanti returned Stephen Strange to Earth four months after he was taken from his home. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #80)
It was claimed that they were responsible for casting Agamotto out from their ranks. (New Avengers v2 #6) Afterwards, Agamotto claimed that the Vishanti were no more and he sought to reclaim his All-Seeing Eye. (New Avengers v2 #5)
However, they later called the mystical tournament to decide the Sorcerer Supreme which was Stephen Strange's third such mystical trial. Though he defeated his foes, the Vishanti decided that the post of Sorcerer Supreme could no longer be held by a mortal and instead chose the Asgardian god Loki. This was because they sensed that the god had sought to change and forge a better path for himself thus leading to the Vishanti believing he had potential. As a result, Stephen Strange was stripped of his position but was thanked by the Vishanti for his service. (Doctor Strange v1 #383)
They consisted of undying beings whose true form was beyond a mortal minds comprehension and could lead to them succumbing to insanity. However, they were able to take on fleshly guises in order to spare a mortal's sanity. (Marvel Premiere v1 #5) Only those that were deemed worthy of them were capable of evoking their power. (Doctor Strange: Season One v1 #1) In their plane of origin, there was not much hope from hiding from their sight with their defeat by mortals being impossible inside their own dimension. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #48) No evil magic users could bear to see the symbol of the Vishanti and were not able to recreate it. As such, the signal affected evil sorcerers in a manner similar to how crucifixes did to vampires. (Doctor Strange v2 #43)
Numerous items of power were attributed to them such as the:
- Hand of the Vishanti : a magic item that could be used to locate another person. (Amazing Spider-Man v2 #42)
Their skills allowed them to slow the aging of those in their service so that they could fight wars that lasted decades yet only age a day. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #80)
The first law of the Vishanti stated that, "With great power, there must also come great responsibility." (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #43)
Once a century, the Vishanti had arranged for a contest of sorcery to be conducted on Earth to determine the Sorcerer Supreme. This was a trial to acknowledge the skills of the best magic user that was to take the role with a boon granted to another of the participants by the victor. All participants had to take part of their own free will with none being forced to enter the contest as this would be against the Way of the Vishanti. (Marvel Graphic Novel v1 #49)
It was known that they possessed their own libraries that contained great mystical knowledge. This contained magic along with mathematics that taught a reader different mystical arts. (Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme v1 #80) On Earth in the lands of Indonesia they had a structure known as the Temple of the Three that was a site for their mystical tournaments to decide the one worthy to be the Sorcerer Supreme. (Marvel Graphic Novel v1 #49)
- Agamotto :
- Hoggoth :
- Oshtur :
- The Vishanti were created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko where they were first mentioned in Strange Tales v1 #115 (December 1963) and made their first appearance in Marvel Premiere v1 #5 (November 1972).
- In What If? V1 #18 (1979), an alternate version of the Vishanti was shown in the story. The Ancient One performed a ritual that made Hamir, Wong and Victoria Bentley into avatars of the Vishanti during a battle against Dormammu and the demons disciple Stephen Strange. After being summoned, the Vishanti stated that they would not fight the mystics battle for him but told him what to do next.
In other media
- In Avengers Assemble, the Vishanti were mentioned in the animated television series Secret Wars season in the episode "The Eye of Agamotto" Pt. 2.
- In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, the Vishanti were referenced as being deathless and eternal in the setting of the Facebook video game. One item attributed to them was the Lost Page of the Vishanti that could be used by the player characters.
- In Marvel Heroes, the Vishanti were referenced in the setting of the MMORPG video game. One of Doctor Strange's abilities was the Seal of the Vishanti and the item Talisman of Hoggoth referenced Hoggoth as a member of the group.
- Strange Tales v1:
- Doctor Strange v2: