Tyrannus (comics)

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The Hulk vs. Tyrannus
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Incredible Hulk #5 (January 1963)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoRomulus Augustulus
Team affiliationsMoloids
Brotherhood of They
Notable aliasesDr. Tyrone
AbilitiesExtraordinary scientific genius
Psychic powers
Limited mystic knowledge of sorcery
Use of Roman and Deviant weaponry

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Tyrannus (real name Romulus Augustulus) is an immortal supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

Tyrannus first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #5 (January 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.[1] The character was inspired by Ayesha, the protagonist of H. Rider Haggard's 1887 novel She: A History of Adventure.[2]

Tyrannus has also appeared in Tales to Astonish #80 (June 1966) and #81 (July 1966), X-Men #34 (1967), Fantastic Four #128 (1972), Nova #5 (1977), The Incredible Hulk #127 (May 1970), #241-243 (1979) and #605 (December 2009).[3]

Fictional character biography[edit]

In the Roman Empire, Tyrannus claims to be a "sorcerer", but is actually a scientist far ahead of his time. He was exiled by King Arthur and Merlin to Subterranea, a network of caves and tunnels miles beneath the Earth's surface when he tries to conquer Britain. There Tyrannus discovers a race of orange-skinned semi-humanoid Subterraneans who are eager to find in him a new master to serve. He also discovers a pool of liquid which he drinks to maintain his youth through the centuries. The Subterraneans acquaint Tyrannus with examples and records of technology designed by the Deviants who were their original masters. Tyrannus' scientific genius enables him to master and improve upon the Deviants' scientific wonders over the centuries. Tyrannus becomes Emperor of the Tyrannoid Subterraneans and an aspiring conqueror.[4]

In the modern era, Tyrannus is finally ready to use this technology and the Subterraneans in conquering the surface world. He makes several attempts as well as fighting wars against the forces of a new arrival in Subterranea, the Mole Man.

Tyrannus woos Betty Ross underground and kidnaps her with his Tyrannoids. When the Hulk challenges him, he agrees to give her back on the condition that the Hulk performs a list of nigh-impossible menial tasks. However, eventually the Hulk completes the list and causes a lot of damage in the Kingdom, and Tyrannus is forced to honor his word.[5] Tyrannus is reverted to an old man when the Mole Man captures his "fountain of youth". Tyrannus uses the Hulk as a pawn by teleporting him underground and recapturing the fountain. Banner succeeds in teleporting himself back.[6] Tyrannus forces scientist Ralph Roberts to design a gigantic robot for him to use in his war against the Mole Man, but is defeated by the X-Men.[7] He decides to gain revenge on the Hulk by using advanced technology to temporarily drive him into destructive rampages. He uses the Hulk and the robot Mogul as slaves in his war against the Mole Man.[8] He later secretly allies with Kala against the Mole Man.[9] Tyrannus projects his consciousness into a Subterranean, who attacks New York City but is thwarted by Nova.[10]

In the guise of the aged Des, he became an ally of Prince Rey and the Keeper of the Flame of El Dorado, an immensely powerful cobalt energy "flame" that had been created in the Andes Mountains of South America by the Deviants and had been maintained by the people of the lost city of El Dorado. "Des" then captured the Hulk.[11] "Des" was then restored to his youthfulness, and killed Rey and the Keeper.[12] Tyrannus then merged with the Flame, allowing his consciousness to control the Flame.[13] The Hulk destroys the machinery from which the Flame arises, and the Flame, still infused with Tyrannus's consciousness, is hurled far into outer space.[14]

The Abomination's atomized body later merges with the disembodied mind of Tyrannus. This gestalt being attempts to force Bruce Banner to cure this condition, but the procedure goes wrong, leaving Tyrannus' mind in the Abomination's body and returning Blonsky to a normal human form.[15] Tyrannus briefly operates as the Abomination and attacks Wonder Man,[16] and Hawkeye,[17] until Ghaur and Llyra free Tyrannus from the Abomination's body and restore him to human form; Tyrannus then adopted the guise of Dr. Tyrone.[18] As Dr. Tyrone, he transformed a number of alcoholics and drug addicts into serpent men, and enslaved Spider-Man.[19] Tyrannus then battled Daredevil and Doctor Strange. He attempted to bring Set to Earth, but was attacked by Viper and swallowed by a serpent demon.[20]

Bruce Banner and Skaar later fight Tyrannus when he and the Tyrannoids attack Manhattan.[21] Tyrannus's energy sword reappears in Banner's possession during the funeral for Hercules. He gives the sword to Amadeus Cho when they are forced to battle Nightmare and Phobos.[22]

Later when he tried to acquire Pandora's Box he acquired the help of Betty Ross (the Red She-Hulk) to help him in this endeavor by tricking the Hulk into opening the casing of the powerful artifact by thinking Betty was trapped inside, thus releasing its energies in the process.[23] Later in the same story arc, Red She-Hulk is shown to not only run off with Tyrannus in her Red She-Hulk form but also sleeps with him,[24] although she eventually returns to Hulk after reconciling her rebellious Hulk instincts with her human desires.[25]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Tyrannus was granted superhuman longevity and youth after drinking from the Fountain of Youth in Subterranea; he is dependent on this fountain of youth to maintain his youth and immortality. He possesses various lingering psionic abilities after his merger with the cobalt "Flame of Life" in El Dorado, including telepathy, mind control of others, and the ability to drain the life force of others; these abilities have not been demonstrated in later appearances. He is an extraordinary scientific genius that Bruce Banner has acknowledged as superior to himself, and has achieved mastery of the advanced technology of the Deviants which he found in Subterranea, upon which he has made further advances. Tyrannus has limited mystic knowledge of sorcery.

Tyrannus often uses ancient Roman weaponry (e.g., swords and spears), but also has access to weapons created by Deviant technology, including guns projecting various types of radiation, and other advanced technological weaponry. He has designed other devices based on Deviant technology and his own innovations, which was manufactured by Subterraneans under his supervision. These include teleportation devices, flying vehicles, and gigantic earth-borers.

In other media[edit]


  • Tyrannus appeared in The Incredible Hulk portion of The Marvel Super Heroes episode "Enter Tyrannus" (his name was spelled "Tyranus" on the title card).[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

  • Tyrannus is a boss in 1994's The Incredible Hulk for SNES, Sega Genesis, SMS, and Sega Game Gear.[citation needed]
  • Tyrannus appeared in The Incredible Hulk for the Game Boy Advance.[citation needed] Despite his appearance in the game, he is not a boss.


  1. DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 386. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 978-1465455505. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. Molina-Muscara, Julio. "Tyrannus: Appearances in comics". marvelheroeslibrary.com. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  4. DeFalco, Tom (2006). The Marvel Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-7566-2358-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. Incredible Hulk #5 (January 1963)
  6. Tales to Astonish #80-81
  7. X-Men #34
  8. Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #127
  9. Fantastic Four #127-128
  10. Nova #5
  11. Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #240
  12. Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #241
  13. Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #242
  14. Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #243
  15. Incredible Hulk Annual #15
  16. West Coast Avengers #25
  17. Solo Avengers #12
  18. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23
  19. Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9
  20. Daredevil Annual #4
  21. Incredible Hulk #605
  22. Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #2
  23. The Incredible Hulks #626
  24. The Incredible Hulks #630
  25. The Incredible Hulks #635

External links[edit]

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