Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
There is no honor among devils, just ask: Zarathos
Appearances in Heroclix: Wheels of Vengeance,
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight #5 (August 1972)
Team Affiliations: N/A
Powers/Abilities: Virtual immortality; Superhuman strength; Healing factor; Elemental powers
Created by: Roy Thomas – Gary Friedrich – Mike Ploog
Zarathos lays beneath the earth for eons in an inert solid physical stone form. Then, one day an Indigenous American sorcerer named K’Nutu summons Zarathos to protect his tribe. Zarathos continues to protect the tribe and defeat their enemies in exchange of a steady supply of souls to consume. This arrangement proves so beneficial that a large cult builds up around Zarathos which draws the attention of Mephisto. Mephisto decides that Zarathos is growing too strong and is drawing souls away from the Lords of Hell and confronts the demon, defeating him through deceptive means.
For his crimes, Zarathos is trapped in the Netherworld to serve Mephisto for centuries, because Zarathos remains too powerful to be caged. Mephisto allows Zarathos to return to earth from time to time but only to be bound to human souls. Zarathos is eventually bound to Johnny Blaze resulting in the Ghost Rider. Zarathos occasionally manages to take control of the composite form and indulge himself and eventually is even separated from Johnny on Earth by the Crimson Mage, though they are eventually reunited.
Zarathos is able to influence the Ghost Rider more and more, causing the hero to becoming increasingly violent. This also sets the stage for a confrontation with Blaze over control of the body. Mephisto allows the battle to take place as a ruse to tear Johnny’s soul from his body. Without a human soul to tie the body to Earth, Zarathos is incredibly weakened. In a desperate ploy, Zarathos is able to split the soul crystal and release Johnny Blaze’s soul. Seeking a freedom of sorts, Zarathos transfers his essence into the crystal, freeing Johnny Blaze from Mephisto’s curse and ending that Ghost Rider.
When the Beyonder becomes so enraged that he decides to end humanity, he strikes a bargain with Mephisto that pits Mephisto’s champion, Spider-Man, against the Beyonder’s, Zarathos. Zarathos fails to corrupt Spider-Man and is returned to the Soul crystal.
Zarathos returns some time later when the Midnight Sons form. He allies with the demon mother Lilith when she is able to fool him into believing he is her son. When his memory returns and he realizes she is using him to gain the Medallion of Power, he leaves. He gains enough power to absorb the new Ghost Rider into himself but this assault weakens Zarathos. He remains weak enough that Blade is able to defeat him and transform him back into stone. Zarathos remains dormant once again until he reconstitutes himself inside of Johnny Blaze. At this point, the two are able to make peace with one another.
Blaze eventually has Zarathos exorcised which leads the demon to bonding with a new female host. Eventually, Zarathos leaves her and is rebound with Blaze. The two eventually travel to Hell and take Mephisto’s throne for themselves.