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The Lurking Unknown's powers are entirely dependent on the emotions of its adversary. If it can generate fear in its foes, it possesses virtually unlimited raw power and is almost invincible. It is normally about 10' tall and possesses 4 arms. It can rise to Class 100 strength and become virtually invulnerable. However, if its foe manages to conquer his fear, the Unknown's power then fades, and it may even shrink down to miniscule size. Any foe not afraid of it can overcome it.
It does not possess any inherent ability to generate fear, but prefers to live off of its reputation, and stay hidden within shadows or darkness.
It can be summoned by a certain note, which it can sense even if it is light-years away or in another realm. It also once demonstrated the ability to generate flames from its fingertips.
The origins of the Lurking Unknown are...unknown...which is the way he likes it. It has a reputation as one of the most feared entities in existence throughout the universe and across various dimensions. He is most likely some form of extradimensional demon.
Based on the conversation of Odin and his Vizier, it is clear that the Asgardians have encountered the Unknown in the past, but this is not detailed.
Odin sought to test the worthiness of Jane Foster to wed his son, Thor. He granted Jane the powers of an immortal, but then sent her to face the challenge of the Unknown. Despite protest, Odin had his Vizier summon the Unknown. Jane Foster was then locked in a darkened chamber with the Unknown. She was instantly terrified of the monster lurking in the shadows, and cried for help from Thor. Thor burst into the room, and dispatched the Unknown. Jane was banished from Asgard for failing the test, and Thor was forbidden to continue to see her.
Minutes later, a Rock Troll struck the tuning fork that summoned the Unknown. It again appeared, and no longer filled with the fury of defending his loved one, Thor fully appreciated its size and might, and knew some fear. Thor began to fall under its power, but he was assisted by Sif. Together, they rallied and again fought off the Unknown, causing it to return to its realm.
The Unknown was summoned to the Halls of Fear, to join the other Fear-Lords in a plot to gain control of Earth. Each Fear-Lord revealed his origins, although the Unknown refused to reveal its "secret genesis." It did claim to have brought many worlds to their knees, and only to have ever met defeat in Asgard.
The Straw Man warned Dr. Strange of the actions of the other Fear-Lords. The Lurking Unknown was then sent to stop him. It set the Straw Man on fire, destroying his "grain body." Dr. Strange also recognized the feeling of despair in the room, and ordered D'Spayre to show itself. The Unknown was furious that D'Spayre was assisting him, and demanded that he be allowed to destroy Strange and Clea on his own. The struggle was evenly matched, until during the battle the two heroes became more angry than afraid, and the Unknown's power began to fade. It dwindled down to a tiny size, and Strange imprisoned the almost powerless Unknown within a magical shield.
First Appearance: Thor (1966) #136
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988)
#31 Journey Into Mystery (1952)
- 'A Gauntlet Hurled!'#32
- 'Silver-Tongued Devil'#33
- 'The Alexandria Quatrain'#38
- 'Fear Itself'
Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities (2007)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (2008)
- 'To Become an Immortal!'
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