Like its brothers, Shuma-Gorath was originally one of the many nightmares that plagued the first daemons in the earliest days of Creation. They were physically manifested in the spaces between universes as a memory-echo of those nightmares. Back then, they were known only as the "Many-Angled Ones" and were not considered separate beings, until they finally managed to create their own individual identities and personalities.
When Shuma-Gorath finally gained its own identity, it slipped through a fissure in time and space and ended up on Earth-616, where it took control of the planet during the Jurassic Age. During that time, Shuma-Gorath created Quoggoth, his disciple for a time, until he came to believe himself more powerful than his many-angled master. Quoggoth rebelled against his master, but Shuma-Gorath defeated Quoggoth, sealing him away inside an ancient sepulcher before sinking it into the ocean as punishment for his betrayal. Presumably, no one would be able to find the sunken sepulcher, but centuries later, Magneto would prove Shuma-Gorath wrong by returning the island to the surface and using it as a base.
Shuma-Gorath’s identity was first revealed by the dark priestess Ebora, servant of Sligguth. She explains to a confused Doctor Strange that in the long-forgotten eons of Earth, Shuma-Gorath was all, and obedience to its will was the wish of all creatures. Its name was “whispered in reverence by every living thing.” According to Ebora, as the eons passed, Shuma-Gorath yearned for rest, taking refuge within the vaults of Earth itself to dream and lie in wait until the time came for its final awakening. It is revealed that sometime during Shuma-Gorath’s rule on Earth, the Vishanti attempted to defeat it, yet they were unsuccessful.
However, Shuma-Gorath would have its reign ended by Sise-Neg, the time-traveling sorcerer from the 31st Century who would eventually recreate the Marvel Universe. Sise-Neg was reluctant to fight Shuma-Gorath directly, as it would absorb his magical energy from him, so Sise-Neg put Shuma-Gorath into a slumber as it was devouring the human ancestors, sending it to a far-off dimension.
During the Hyborian Era, Shuma-Gorath managed to enter our world once again. However, this era was marked by abounding sorcery and tremendous warriors, including Conan, who once or twice came to face the creature. During this time, Shuma-Gorath made enemies with Crom the Grim God, one the most powerful Hyborian gods, who used the power from the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath to seal him under a mountain that came to be known as Crom's Mountain. Several attempts were made by the creature to escape; however, by the pre-Cataclysmic era, it was banished by Crom, who once again used the power of Shuma-Gorath's Iron-Bound Books.
Many eons later, Shuma-Gorath attempted to renew its reign of terror on Earth by using the Ancient One’s mind as its gateway. It employed a number of gods and demons as servants to destroy Doctor Strange, as he was a hindrance to Shuma-Gorath’s plans. However, Strange defeated every one of Shuma-Gorath’s servants. As he was traveling from the planet Kathulos, which he had just destroyed, Doctor Strange was finally spoken to directly by Shuma-Gorath: “So thou knowest the essence of Shuma-Gorath, eh, Doctor Strange? Aye—evil! Ancient, timeless…patient…evil! And Shuma-Gorath doth know thee.” Shuma-Gorath revealed to the doctor that it awaited his return to Earth.
Finally, Shuma-Gorath’s voice bubbled forth from the Ancient One’s brow, and a negative image of the Ancient One burst forth to taunt Stephen Strange, foretelling that the entire Earth will succumb to evil. Not long after, Shuma-Gorath sucked Doctor Strange into the Ancient One’s mind, dragging him into an endless abyss and then taunting him with Dormammu’s image, admitting inferiority to Shuma-Gorath’s power. Just as Strange resisted the images, Shuma-Gorath finally revealed its true form, clenching the struggling doctor in its tentacled grasp and feeding off the energy Strange exerted to free himself. However, Strange managed to disentangle himself after Shuma-Gorath focused on destroying Strange’s thought double. Racing toward the Ancient One’s ego, Doctor Strange murdered the Ancient One (as was the Ancient One’s will), thus preventing Shuma-Gorath from fully entering the universe and leaving it stranded in its home dimension.
Nevertheless, Shuma-Gorath once again was able to assault the Earth due to Doctor Strange destroying all of his magical artifacts in order to save his comrades from the sorcerer Urthona. Destroying these artifacts in effect destroyed the magical barriers that kept the Old Ones from entering Earth's dimension. Aware that the magical barriers were eliminated, Shuma-Gorath commanded the Old Ones to begin their assault on Earth. - the Water Elemental, Erlik Khan, Nightmare, and Ghaszaszh Nyirh were included in this assault. The actions of the Old Ones forced Strange to take innocent lives to save his own, corrupting Strange in the process and preventing him from using his usual White Magic. Thus, he was forced to accept tutoring from the Ancient One's wicked rival, Kaluu. Strange's confrontations with some of the Old Ones allowed him to amass black magic power that eventually enabled him to surpass his previous level of power to a large degree. Even still, the Old Ones spanned the entire globe, and as they wreaked havoc around the Earth, Strange and Kaluu assembled an army of sprite demons to fight against them. Realizing that they could not hope to prevail unless they cut off the source of the assault, Strange and Kaluu decided that they had to confront the source of the Old Ones directly. Strange followed Kaluu toward Shuma’s home dimension located 1,000 dimensional planes away from Earth. However, upon reaching the 998th plane, the evil energy overpowered Kaluu and began to kill him. Fortunately for Strange, he was unaffected by the realm's alien energy as the amount of black magic coursing through his body brought him to a level of power that even surpassed his former master, the Ancient One.
It was then that a floored Kaluu revealed with a mouth full of foam that the energy in Shuma’s lesser realm made the demons that attack Earth, Mephisto and Satannish, look like “mice in a great temple”. Strange continued the journey alone to face Shuma-Gorath but found himself in the dimension of the chaos lord Arioch. This long-haired demon armed with a sword and chain armor revealed itself as being as powerful as it wished to be, and not even finite. Strange could not hope to stand up against that power, and so he defeated the chaos lord by merging his body with it and losing much of his identity in the process. After the fusion with the chaos lord he made his way to Shuma-Gorath’s Chaos Dimension.
Shuma-Gorath welcomed Strange/Arioch and revealed to him that he was ruler of hundreds of dimensions. Strange used his magic to match the chaos demon in size and a grueling battle began. Shuma-Gorath struck Strange with its tentacles, revealing to him that he was in the process of turning into a lord of chaos himself. Shuma told Strange that should he defeat him he will eventually succumb to the evil energy and turn into Shuma-Gorath, and with that he created a replica of the planet Earth and proceeded to surround the replica in a ring of fire which harmed the real Earth.
Shuma-Gorath, sure of its victory, declared “You cannot be the preserver and the destroyer in one aspect, Strange! You cannot be Vishnu and Shiva with the same sweep of the hand! There is simply no way you can win!” Doctor Strange decided that he would choose the path of Shiva the destroyer and hurled Shuma’s own magically generated image at it. It appeared that at long last Shuma-Gorath was annihilated. In order to prevent himself from one day becoming a new Shuma-Gorath, Strange pierced himself with one of Shuma-Gorath's tentacles and killed his ego, just as he did to the Ancient One.
Doctor Strange returned to the dimension where he left Kaluu and attempted to go back to Earth, but the power emanating from him that he absorbed from Shuma-Gorath caused a massive explosion that prevented Kaluu from opening the gateway back to their reality. Kaluu revealed to Doctor Strange that that power would destroy galaxies just by Strange being in the vicinity, and so Strange was forced to release some of that power before moving on. The power absorbed from Shuma-Gorath was so vast that even after Strange released enough energy to return to a lower dimensional plane, Strange almost caused Kaluu to "die like a leaf in a bonfire" by merely blocking Kaluu's strike with his forearm - Kaluu had attempted to make Strange release his infinite power and return to normal.
Shuma-Gorath was not permanently defeated, as after Strange bled out all of the energy gained from the battle with Shuma-Gorath it all reformed back in Shuma’s realm and the demon was revived. Shuma-Gorath made its way to Earth once again in a severely hungry state when the sorcerer Nicholas Scratch deceived the Fantastic Four into reciting an incantation from a book that brought the monster to their world. It easily defeated the Fantastic Four even in its horribly weakened condition and found itself in an off-panel battle with Doctor Strange once again as he transported them both to Stonehenge. Shuma-Gorath was once again banished back to its dimension but not before it almost killed Stephen Strange.
On Earth-10011, a world where the unspeakable influence of Shuma-Gorath and its brothers Kthl, Yot-Soter and Nyerlathortech, was much greater than in most other universes, the legendary Kree hero known as Mar-Vell was dying of cancer. When news of his terminal illness broke out, the distress felt by Mar-Vell's friends and the global populaces who adored him created an immense wave of empathic trauma that was felt by all of the Many-Angled Ones. And when they felt it, Shuma-Gorath and its brethren reached into the dying Mar-Vell's mind and offered to solve the problem, Mar-Vell was almost too eager to accept their offer and gave unto them his mind, his body and his very soul. In order to "justify" their invasion, they urged Mar-Vell to join hands with his comrades. By doing so, they were able to infect and transmute those closest to Mar-Vell with their influence and set Earth-10011 on the path to devastation.
After Mistress Death was obliterated via a ritual called the "Necropsy", Shuma-Gorath and its brethren were able to smash down the doors separating them from Earth-10011 and fill the entire reality, transforming it into the nightmarish Cancerverse. But one universe was not enough to satisfy their needs, the Many-Angled Ones needed more space to fill and so their pawns on Earth-10011 began thinking of ways they could give Shuma-Gorath and the others what they desired the most.
For a great deal of time, the option of expanding into other realities was not available, that is until a war between the Kree and Shi'ar on Earth-616 literally ripped the very fabric of time/space apart and opened a multidimensional fault-line through the Multiverse with Earth-616 sitting naked, defenseless and all too ripe for the picking on the other side. Adam Magus, who learned of the Cancerverse and its masters via unknown means, struck a deal with Shuma-Gorath's people that would grant the demon and its ilk entry into the Marvel Universe.
For several months, Adam Magus filled several worlds under the control of his Universal Church of Truth with as many of his followers as he possibly could, and then on the day of reckoning he teleported all of the planets to the base of " The Fault" and detonated them. The nearly infinite amount of belief energy Magus had sacrificed to Shuma-Gorath and its ilk was so great that it tore The Fault open even wider until there was barely even a parsec of space separating Earth-616 from The Cancerverse. As the two realities went to war, the Many-Angled Ones patiently waited for their puppet, Mar-Vell, to capture Thanos of 616 and carry out the Necropsy once again. Shuma-Gorath and its ilk were eventually summoned in a merged form back to The Cancerverse, directly over the site where the first Necropsy rite had been preformed, where they found Mar-Vell preparing to carry out the last stage of the ritual.
Things, however, did not go as they had planned. When Mar-Vell struck Thanos with the Infinity Sacrificial Blade, he accidentally allowed the Mistress Death of Earth-616 into The Cancerverse, who slaughtered Mar-Vell and in turn destroyed the entire universe. Mar-Vell's death had crippled all of The Many-Angled Ones save for Shuma-Gorath itself, who left its brethren for dead and high-tailed itself back to The Chaos Dimension.
Sometime later, while recovering from its defeat at the hands of Mistress Death, Shuma-Gorath found itself being brought back to Earth-616 itself for the first time since the Nicolas Scratch incident by the power of the legendary Spear of Destiny. With the aid of its minions, Arnim Zola and The Battle-Axis, Shuma-Gorath nearly succeeded in his plan to consume all of reality only to end up being stabbed in the eye with The Spear of Destiny by The Vision and forced back into the rift bridging the gaps between its Universe and ours
Most recently Shuma-Gorath, along with Elder Gods such as Chthon and Set, were seen gathered together within an area of The Living Tribunal's Infinite Embassy called The Devil's Advocacy, which is nearly identical to the Christian version of Hell. It is also where The Living Tribunal has placed the throne of the true Satan to keep it and the power it is imbued with from falling into the wrong hands.
Ebony Maw, one of Thanos' generals, took control of Doctor Strange's mind during Thanos' invasion of Earth, during that time Maw forced Strange to tear down the barriers between Earth-616 and the Chaos Dimension. Once they were down, Shuma-Gorath appeared in downtown Manhattan before the new Mighty Avengers and proclaimed that the Earth was his. Shuma-Gorath starts destroying things around him and grabs Luke Cage, taunting him before Blue Marvel bursts through his eyeball, downing the demon temporarily. Blue Marvel asks what the demon is and Spider-Hero responds "Shuma-Gorath. Or the smallest part of it - like a fingernail scratching at our reality. Trying to tear through." Spider-Hero then says that in about two minutes Shuma-Gorath's physical manifestation will reform and that they need to disrupt its astral self before Shuma-Gorath gets too big of a foothold on Earth (which would give Shuma-Gorath more of its true power).
Shuma-Gorath suddenly reforms and possesses a horde of civilians, causing tentacles to burst out of their mouths. A plan is devised by the Mighty Avengers that amplifies White Tiger's amulet with the chi-energy of all Manhattan before the White Tiger Force is unleashed from it. The White Tiger Force tells the manifestation of Shuma-Gorath that the Earth is his and proceeds to eat it, ending the threat of Shuma-Gorath on Earth for the time being.
Powers and Abilities
Upon his inception in Marvel Comics by the author Steve Englehart, Shuma-Gorath was portrayed to be the most magically powerful evil god within the Marvel universe. Shuma-Gorath is most powerful in its home dimension as it is omnipotent in every sense of the word, being the realm itself. It is not quite as powerful in its lesser realms and even less so in a realm not belonging to it, yet even in one of its lesser realm its power was stated to make the powerful demons Mephisto and Satannish look like “mice in a great temple”.
Shuma-Gorath is able to travel dimensions freely, invading alternate dimensions and conquering then absorbing them. Shuma-Gorath has revealed that it is ruler of hundreds of dimensions including The Cancerverse.
When Shuma-Gorath is summoned, only the merest fraction of its essence gains a foothold into the realm it is summoned to at first, as it takes time for Shuma-Gorath's full essence to traverse across realms from its home dimension. This means that Shuma-Gorath is summoned at the tiniest bit of its true power, explaining how lesser beings are able to put up a fight against Shuma-Gorath on Earth. Even with so little of Shuma-Gorath's true power being summoned, it is still able to overwhelm others and requires great effort for it to be banished or destroyed.
Shuma-Gorath can phase through objects, levitate, turn into liquid and shape shift into any form it so desires. It also has incredible reality warping powers; however the full scope of its reality warping ability is still unknown.
Unlike many demons, Shuma-Gorath generates its own magical energy without having to gather it from another source. However, it is able to draw magical energy from others if it so chooses. Shuma-Gorath is able to feed off of any kind of energy and drain it from others whether it be magical in nature or otherwise.
Shuma-Gorath has incredible telepathic power and can communicate with and control minds from dimensions away. It can also lend its power to other entities or sorcerers if it so desires. Shuma-Gorath has also been shown to summon hordes of demons to attack enemies if it does not feel like going through the trouble doing the job itself.
Shuma-Gorath has been shown to shoot energy blasts either from its gigantic eyeball or its tentacles. Shuma-Gorath has no real weaknesses to speak of and has only been harmed by the most powerful magic spells and cosmic abstracts. It is unknown whether it can actually be destroyed permanently seeing as how it reformed after what appeared to be certain destruction.
It also has a rubbery and armored hide giving it additional defenses from attacks. Shuma-Gorath’s intelligence pushes omniscience and it could possibly rank among the smartest entities in the Marvel Universe.
Shuma-Gorath’s power is so formidable that it has a variety of chaos lords and other such gods, demons, and sorcerers that willfully do its bidding.
At some point Shuma-Gorath and the Vishanti (Oshtur, Agamotto, Hoggoth) became enemies and fought through unknown circumstances.
The power Doctor Strange absorbed from Shuma-Gorath was potent enough to be capable of destroying galaxies just by being present.
The time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg did not want to attempt to destroy Shuma-Gorath for fear of losing energy, even after he had absorbed near everything in the Marvel Universe.
Shuma-Gorath gained quite the popularity as one the oddball playable characters (along with Blackheart) in Marvel Super Heroes. It appeared later in Marvel vs Street Fighter as a playable character, made a cameo appearance in X-Men vs Street Fighter and was a playable character again in Marvel vs Capcom 2 as well as a Limited Edition DLC, along with Jill Valentine of Resident Evil fame, for those who preordered Marvel vs. Capcom 3 through Gamestop, as well as Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 as DLC.
Its Hyper combos are Hyper Mystic Smash in which it hurls a bunch of spiked-balls made from its flesh at the enemy and Chaos Dimension in which it envelops the enemy and drags them to the center of the screen in the air. It then expands into a bubble and explodes, sending the enemy hurtling toward the ground.
- Shuma-Gorath is referenced in the The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Night in the Sanctorum."