A mystical artifact
of incredible power published in Marvel Comics
. The Serpent Crown first appeared as Helmet of Power in Tales to Astonish #101
in 1968 and later in its true form in Sub-Mariner #9
The Serpent Crown is a helmet possessing immense mystical power and linked to the Elder God, Set. Appearing as a crown made of seven inter-woven snakes, the Serpent Crown was created by a race called the Serpent Men, who were worshippers of Set, and alchemists from the continent of Lemuria. In creating the Serpent Crown, they endowed it with power which gave the wearer the ability to read and control the minds of others, to levitate themselves as well as other objects, to create illusions, create destructive bolts of energy, and super-human strength. They gained these powers because the crown was directly linked to Set, so nearly all who wore it fell under Set's sway and became his pawn.
Soon after the crown was created, the continent of Lemuria was sunk beneath the waves and the crown was lost for a time. It was rediscovered by worshippers of Set in the land of Stygia and fell into the hands of the greatest of Set's worshippers, the wizard Thoth-Amon. Thoth Amon used the crown (which he called the Cobra Crown) to take control of a nearby kingdom and thereby put himself at odds with the Hyborean warrior Conan the Barbarian. Conan defeated Thoth-Amon, who later challenged Conan again and met with defeat a second time, this time losing the Crown.
Years later, the Serpent Crown was found by one of the Deviants, a genetically altered off-shoot of humanity. The crown came into the hands of their emporer Naga who used its power to give himself unnaturally long life. Naga also used the crown's power to enslave the population which he controlled for many years. Eventually, a group of Naga's people stole the crown from him and encased it in another substance to reduce the influence of Set if one came into contact with it. They fled Lemuria and set up a civilization in Antarctica. These people became known as the Ancients and they lived in Antarctica for many years until their city was buried in an avalanche, killing the Ancients and burying the crown.
In the early 20th century, a man named Paul Destine went in search of the city of the Ancients aboard the ship the Oracle commanded by Leonard McKenzie, who would later become the father of Namor, the SubMariner. Destine found the city, but triggered another avalanche and was buried. Having sustained life threatening injuries, Destine spotted the Serpent Crown, which now no longer appeared to have serpents on it and therefore, was called the Helmet of Power, and donned it. The Helmet helped Destine mentally heal his injuries and increased him physically as well. Destine allowed his party to believe him dead and went into suspended animation, allowing the Serpent Crown to continue to increase his power.
Upon awakening, Destine renamed himself Destiny, believing he was born for greatness and began using the helmet's power to take pot shots in the form of underwater earthquakes at the water breathing Atlanteans who lived in the area of Antarctica. When the prince of Atlantis, Namor came to investigate, Destiny destroyed the capital city of Atlantis, killing the king and his daughter. Destiny and Namor fought and Destiny mentally defeated Namor. Rather than killing his foe, Destiny made Namor fly to New York, wiped him memory, and caused him to live as a homeless man for many years. (Astute comics readers will remember it was in this state that Johnny Storm, the Human Torch and one fourth of the Fantastic Four, found Namor and returned his memory to him in Fantastic Four #4). Destiny returned to suspended animation to continue the increase in his power.
Destiny awoke years later and returned to the United States. He used the Crown's power to sway others to him and entered the race for the president as a third party candidate. (Interestingly enough, a relatively successful third party candidate did run in 1968 in the form of George Wallace. Wallace who ran on a pro-segregation platform for the American Independent Party took four southern states. The undertone of this storyline is that only through the use of an evil eldritch device could people be convinced to vote for some people.) Namor, who had years prior regained his memory, attacked Destiny and the two fought. Destiny was able to defeat Namor and threw him from a building, but Namor's strength and natural toughness allowed him to endure the fall. Destiny snapped at this point, believing that he was superior to Namor and now no longer needed the Helmet's power. Throwing it from him, Destiny stepped from the building and abruptly found out in a rather terminal fashion that he could not survive the fall as Namor had.
Namor returned to Atlantis with the Helmet of Power and removed the outer shell that the Ancients had given it revealing its true form of the Serpent Crown. Namor's love, the lady Dorma, donned the crown and was taken control of by Set. Set used Dorma to spread his influence coming into conflict with Namor. Namor took the crown from Dorma and put it on to learn of its origin. Set attempted to sieze control of the Sub-Mariner, but Namor resisted and was able to take the crown off and attempted to dispose of it.
The Serpent Crown was recovered by a Lemurian who brought it back to the emporer Naga. Naga was still alive, having been granted long life by the crown. He used the crown to convince Namor that Naga had killed Dorma and nearly defeated Namor, but was betrayed by one of his companions and buried in an undersea crevice.
Years later, the Serpent Crown came into the possession of the Atlantean warlord Krang. Set ordered Krang to give it to the Viper, a villainess who was leading the second Serpent Squad. The Serpent Squad then kidnapped Hugh Jones, the head of Roxxon Oil, who they then made wear the crown so that he would fall under Set's influence. This brought the Serpent Squad into conflict with Captain America who was able to knock the crown for Jones's head and into a nearby sewer.
Jones soon recovered the crown and used it and a counterpart from alternate Earth to enslave all of Washington, D.C. This brought Jones into conflict with the Thing, the Scarlet Witch, and the hero knownas Stingray. The three were able to break Jones's control and capture the crown, which they turned over to a special facility known as Project: Pegasus.
Soon after its arrival, however, the crown took control of the staff and began using the technology of the facility to recover additional counterparts from other alternate realities. Eventually, the crowns all merged into one huge crown and began to use its incredible power to open a way to allow Set to come to Earth. Set's plans were opposed by Spider-Man, the Thing, the Scarlet Witch, and Doctor Strange. They were able to use the power of the Cosmic Cube to destroy the crown completely and completely banish Set from the earth.