Druid

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Doctor Druid, also known as Doctor Droom and Druid, is a fictional character, a supernatural monster-hunter in the Marvel Comics universe. Co-created by writer-editor Stan Lee and penciller Jack Kirby, he starred in his own continuing feature that debuted in Amazing Adventures #1 (June 1961) — predating Lee & Kirby's milestone creation The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961) and establishing him as Marvel's first superhero of the mid-1950s and 1960s period known as the Silver Age of Comic Books.

He starred in the miniseries Druid #1-4 (May-Aug. 1995), by writer Warren Ellis and artist Leonardo Manco, and co-starred with Ulysses Bloodstone and others in the flashback title Marvel Universe #4-7 (Sept.-Dec. 1998). There he was retconned as a member of the group the Monster Hunters, whose adventures took place at the crux between the "Age of Monsters" and "Age of Heroes".

Publication history

In his earliest five appearances, in Amazing Adventures #1-4 & #6 (June-Sept. & Nov. 1961), Doctor Druid was introduced as Doctor Droom. More a monster-story appendage than a serious attempt at creating a three-dimensional character in the manner of the upcoming Spider-Man or Fantastic Four, Doctor Droom vanished into obscurity for years after the series was re-titled and reformatted as Amazing Adult Fantasy with #7. He resurfaced in the 1970s as a guest character in The Incredible Hulk, where he was re-titled Doctor Druid to avoid confusion with the far more recognizable Doctor Doom.

Fictional character biography

Weird Wonder Tales #19 (Dec. 1976), an edited reprint of "I Am the Fantastic Dr. Droom" from Amazing Adventures #1 (June 1961). Art by Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko

Doctor Druid's real name is Dr. Anthony Ludgate Druid, although he usually refers to himself as Dr. Anthony Druid for effect. He is a psychiatrist and explorer, as well as a minor telepath and magician, specializing mostly in hypnosis and other feats of mesmerism. He has minor magical abilities that have varied over the years. He is also an expert on the occult, having been trained by a Tibetan lama who had come to the U.S. for medical attention (later retconned as the Ancient One,[1] the same sorcerer who trained Doctor Strange). Ludgate was later revealed to be a distant descendant of the real-life Amergin the Druid of the 10th century.

Doctor Druid remained on the sidelines for years. He eventually appeared again, and teamed with the Hulk against the Maha Yogi.[2] With the Avengers, he encountered the [Fomor]] and his ancestor Amergin.[3]

Doctor Druid some time later aided the Avengers in thwarting Baron Zemo and the fourth Masters of Evil's takeover of Avengers Mansion.[4] He joined the ranks of the Avengers shortly after helping to defend from this attack.[5] He battled a Dracula doppelganger in the realm of Death.[6]

His membership was tainted when he was mind controlled by supervillainess the Terminatrix (at the time impersonating the space pirate Nebula) into manipulating the team on her behalf. When "Nebula" was cast into Limbo, Druid followed, as he was still under her thrall. He eventually regained control of his own mind and returned to Earth, where, after learning his true origin, banished "Nebula" and became younger by magic.

Due to his actions as the villain's thrall, Druid was disgraced. He was briefly reunited with his former teammates while working with Doctor Strange during the Infinity War, and later became leader of the Secret Defenders. In that role, he was once again victimized by a villain's mind-control, this time by the demon Slorioth. Doctor Druid and the demon were defeated, Druid faked his own death, and the team disbanded.

Then, he abandoned his spandex costume and became even more of a real, traditional druid, a fact reflected by his taking on the simple name of "Druid", and the new nature of his nature powers, but he let his feelings of rage and power lust take him over, went insane, was betrayed by his allies, and was finally killed by Hellstorm, the putative Son of Satan.[7] Druid's ghost appeared later alongside the spirits of other dead ex-Avengers, confirming that Druid had in fact died this time. The Avengers later placed a memorial statue of him in the garden of Avengers Mansion.

Doctor Druid's son is introduced as one of Nick Fury's new recruits to fight against the Secret Invasion.[8]

Powers and abilities

Doctor Druid's latent mystical abilities were activated by the Ancient One. He has a variety of psionic abilities including: telepathy, enabling him to scan or project his thoughts to any mind on Earth; the ability to mesmerize minds less adept than his own, and can perform mass hypnosis. Doctor Druid's hypnotic abilities enable him to achieve numerous illusory effects, including invisibility, seeming transformation, and sudden seeming materializations. He has psychokinetic powers enabling him to levitate himself or other people and objects. Doctor Druid has limited precognitive abilities and can sense the presence of recent uses of magic and trace them to their sources.

Doctor Druid's druidic powers have a special vulnerability to iron, as did the powers of his ancestors. Iron tends to act as a "lightning rod" for the magical forces he employs, sometimes disrupting their effects.

Doctor Druid employs the mystical knowledge and skills of the ancient Druids. Through Earth magic rituals that may involve chants, runes, candles, potions, mystic symbols, and other such preparations, Doctor Druid can achieve various magical feats. These rituals tap the inherent mystical energies in natural objects and materials. Doctor Druid possesses various Celtic mystical artifacts as well. Doctor Druid can also call upon the Celtic war goddesses Morrigan, Macha, and Badb for mystical assistance. Doctor Druid also possesses various yogic abilities including control over involuntary functions of his body, such as his heartbeat, respiration, bleeding, and reaction to pain.

In his latest and last "incarnation", when he was called only "Druid", he has been seen manipulating fire and making a tree instantaneously grow in a person's stomach from the seeds of an eaten apple. These powers were nature-based (elements, plants, etc) as the druids of old worshipped nature.

Druid has earned an M.D. from Harvard, a degree in psychiatry, and extensive knowledge of occult lore, especially Celtic lore.

Original Doctor Droom appearances

"Dr. Droom" banner, Amazing Adventures #4 (Sept. 1961). Art by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers

Amazing Adventures

All reprinted in Amazing Fantasy Omnibus (2007). The previous reprints below were edited to reflect name-change to "Dr. Druid" plus other retcon

  • #1 (June 1961) — "I Am the Fantastic Dr. Droom"
Reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #19 (Dec. 1976)
  • #2 (July 1961) — "The World Below"
Reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #22 (May 1977)
  • #3 (Aug. 1961) — "Dr. Droom Meets Zemu"
Reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #7 (Dec. 1974)
  • #4 (Sept. 1961) — "What Lurks Within?"
Never reprinted outside Amazing Fantasy Omnibus
  • #6 (Nov. 1961) — "Dr. Droom Defies the Menace Called ... Krogg"
Reprinted in Giant-Size Man-Thing #3 (Feb. 1975)

Other versions

Marvel Zombies

An alternate universe version of Dr. Druid appears in the 2007 miniseries Marvel Zombies vs The Army of Darkness #3 (July 2007). Infected with the zombie virus, he visits Doctor Strange seeking help to stop from turning. With Strange having left to join the resistance, a ravenous Druid consumes Strange's assistant, Wong. The chainsaw-handed Ash Williams later kills Druid.

Other characters

Doctor Druid is not the subversive cult leader, Dredmund Druid, also known as The Druid.

Footnotes

  1. Avengers Spotlight #37 (Oct. 1990)
  2. Incredible Hulk #209-211
  3. The Avengers #225-226 (Nov.-Dec. 1982)
  4. Avengers #276 (Feb. 1987)
  5. The Avengers #278 (April 1987)
  6. West Coast Avengers Annual #2 (1987); Avengers Annual #16 (1987)
  7. Druid #4 (Aug. 1995)
  8. The Mighty Avengers #13 (July 2008)

References

Sources

  • Doctor Druid The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character, Doctor Druid of the Avengers and Secret Defenders