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Merlyn (Marvel Comics)

Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Captain Britain #1 (1976)
Created by Chris Claremont
Herb Trimpe
Fred Kida
In-story information
Alter ego Merlyn
Team affiliations Captain Britain Corps
Notable aliases Merlin, Myrdh, the Magus, Myrrdin and many more
Abilities Immortality, vast magical powers

Merlyn is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. He claims to be the Merlin of British Legends (see Identity) and served for many years as the Omniversal Guardian, a function his daughter Roma took from him. Though the Merlin character first appeared in earlier comics, Merlyn first appeared in Captain Britain #1 (1976).


Merlyn is but one of several characters in the Marvel Universe claiming to be the Merlin of legend. Combined with the fact that Merlyn is also a habitual liar and manipulator, it is nearly impossible to determine which actions were done by Merlyn and which by other Merlins.

The profile at the end of the Die by the Sword trade gives his first appearance as Young Allies Comics #11 (1944), explicitly linking the modern version with the earlier, legendary, version. However, that Merlin appears to be only one aspect of Merlyn, as the profile states "Evidence suggests Merlyn and his daughter Roma are physical amalgamations of all their interdimensional counterparts, presumably with access to the combined knowledge and skills of the entire gestalt." Other characters have also passed themselves off as Merlyn as "His legendary reputation has led others, Merlin Demonspawn, Space Phantoms, stage magician Joe Cooke and a time traveler known as the Doctor, to impersonate him, further confusing matters."[1]

This page only deals with the confirmed actions of Merlyn.

Fictional character biography

Merlyn was born on an alternate earth as a member of a race of immortal, powerful beings. He became the student of Necrom, his world's Sorcerer Supreme. Necrom asked Merlyn and his fellow-student Feron to assist him in a magical ritual. Feron would contact the cosmic Phoenix Force on Earth-616 and using the Phoenix an alignment would be created between parallel universes. This assignment would be marked with a tower in the same place on every Earth in the Omniverse. According to magical principles, such an alignment would create a matrix of nearly endless magical energy. Necrom desired the power of the Phoenix for himself though and he attacked Feron. Feron, his powers enhanced by the Phoenix, battled his master and Merlyn used the opportunity to jump into the Matrix, taking its power for his own. Necrom wounded the Phoenix and escaped with a small part of it. The Phoenix left Feron and Feron stayed behind on Earth-616, dedicating his life to asking the Phoenix for forgiveness.[volume & issue needed]

Merlyn travelled to Otherworld and established himself as Omniversal Guardian, safeguarding the total of all universes in existence. With the powers of the Matrix, Merlyn dedicated himself to protecting the universe and finding Necrom. Necrom hid and planned for the next few centuries, changing the part of the Phoenix Force that he had stolen into the Anti-Phoenix. Merlyn founded the Captain Britain Corps, a group of matrix-powered superheroes based on each Earth in the omniverse. Merlyn sent his best agent, Sir James Braddock, to Earth-616 to father a hero. James' first son, Jamie Braddock, was unsuitable for Merlyn's purposes, but the twins Elizabeth and Brian both were. Merlyn chose Brian to become Earth-616's Captain Britain and he would be pivotal to Merlyn's plans.[volume & issue needed]

Over the years, Merlyn manipulated Brian to become a stronger and wiser hero. He partnered Brian with the Black Knight, another of Merlyn's champions, to teach him more about magic. Merlyn used Brian to stop Mad Jim Jaspers, a reality warper who threatened the fabric of the multiverse itself. Merlyn seemingly died in the battle between Jaspers and the Fury. Merlyn was buried and Roma took over as Omniversal Guardian.[volume & issue needed]

Merlyn faked his death though and hid, even from his daughter. In secret he manipulated his daughter and Captain Britain to form Excalibur, a team of superheroes, who would become his weapon against Necrom. Excalibur would take the tower that was part of the Matrix as their base, not knowing the true meaning of this building. Necrom resurfaced and fought Excalibur. In the battle, Rachel Summers killed Necrom and Merlyn appeared to congratulate Excalibur. Excalibur was furious at Merlyn for manipulating them and endangering them all. Roma, also disappointed in her father's callous behavior, assisted Excalibur in destroying their tower and by extension the Matrix. Merlyn left in rage at losing his source of power.[volume & issue needed]

Merlyn and Roma both met occasionally on Otherworld, but Merlyn didn't retake his position as Omniversal Guardian, trusting his daughter to protect the Omniverse. He was nowhere to be seen when Mastermind took over Otherworld or during the House of M. He reappeared in X-Men: Die by the Sword (published in 2007) where he attempted to get revenge by sending agents to attack Captain Britain and teaming up with the revived Jim Jaspers. During this fight Merlyn attacked and killed Roma but was eventually defeated along with all his forces by a combined Excalibur and Exiles and then disappears. However, before making his escape the last remaining shard of the Fury entered Merlyn's body without him knowing.[volume & issue needed]

With Merlyn being the physical amalgamation of all his interdimensional counterparts, this allowed Merlin to remove the shard of the Fury while taking his other counterparts' madness out with it, which allowed Merlin to take control away from Merlyn.[2]

Powers and abilities

Merlyn has vast magical abilities and is immortal. He can create illusions, change his shape, observe other realities, raise the dead and manipulate energy. Sometimes he uses advanced technology to help him.


  1. ^ Profile in X-Men: Die by the Sword trade paperback
  2. ^ Paul Cornell (w), Leonard Kirk (p), Jesse Delperdang (i). "The Guns Of Avalon" Captain Britain and MI: 13 3 (September 2008), Marvel Comics

External links

  • Merlyn at the Comic Book DB
  • Merlyn at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  • Merlyn at the International Catalogue of Superheroes