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Marvel Universe 

Taurus (Cornelius van Lunt)

 

Universe
Marvel Universe

Real Name
Cornelius van Lunt

Aliases
None

Identity
Secret, known to the authorities

Citizenship
U.S.A.

Place of Birth
Unrevealed, presumably New York City

First Appearance
Avengers #72


New York businessman Cornelius van Lunt started a lucrative career in legitimate real estate dealing, but he later branched out into various criminal endeavors. An ardent believer in astrology, van Lunt amassed a fortune under the guidance of his personal astrologer. Van Lunt invested that fortune in the formation and outfitting of a nationwide criminal network, known as the original Zodiac, including a hand-picked elite group of twelve leaders. Van Lunt and the Zodiac leaders were interested in ruling humanity, through economic and political domination, just as they believed the astrological zodiac governed humanity's fate. Van Lunt took on the role of Taurus, after his astrological sign. He was originally the only member of the Zodiac who knew the true identities of all the other leaders, and he long concealed his own identity beneath his zodiacal persona.

As Taurus, van Lunt participated in the first recorded activities of the original Zodiac, including their initial clashes with the Avengers. Van Lunt was also with the group when a Zodiac crime scheme led to a confrontation with Nick Fury, Daredevil, Iron Man, and the villain Madame Masque. All of them were transported to the dimension from which the powerful Zodiac Key originated, although the Key's creators, the Brotherhood, returned the people to Earth.

Van Lunt, as Taurus, assumed leadership of the Zodiac, recruiting a new Aries and a new Scorpio as they were lost as a result of their own scheming. Van Lunt later embarked upon a scheme to display Zodiac's power with a so-called "Star-Blazer" device, powered by some manner of "stellar energy," to kill all the people living in Manhattan born under the sign of Gemini. However, the Avengers destroyed the Star-Blazer. An internal power struggle then occurred in which six of the Zodaic leaders turned against van Lunt, who induced the rebellious leaders and the Avengers into a death trap. But they survived, and the Avengers succeeded in defeating and capturing van Lunt, the Zodiac leaders loyal to him, and the dissident Zodiac leaders. The charges brought against the Zodiac leaders by the Avengers put them behind bars, but most of them have had their sentences commuted and returned to their home bases. It was at this point that van Lunt, who had been Zodiac's financier from the beginning, instituted the system of rotating leadership. Following his horoscope, van Lunt would relinquish control over the group, rotating leadership from month to month according to the prevailing astrological sign.

Van Lunt, as Taurus, planned to compete in certain criminal activities with one or possibly more of the New York City-based families of the criminal organization called the Maggia. Learning of van Lunt's intentions, the Maggia somehow acquired the serves of the new Taurus, member of the android Zodiac and sent it to wreak destruction at van Lunt's new base of operations. Unable to defend himself against the android, van Lunt contacted James Rhodes, then secretly operating as the hero Iron Man, to defend van Lunt's property. Although Rhodes managed to defeat the android, thereby saving his life, van Lunt regarded Iron Man as a threat to Zodiac's future pans. Deducing Rhodes' identity of Iron Man, van Lunt contacted Aries and Aquarius and assigned them to attempt to assassinate Rhodes. They failed, however, and were captured.

At some point the android Scorpio infiltrated the original, human Zodiac organization. He arranged the ambush in which the android Zodiac killed all of the remaining human Zodiac leaders except van Lunt, who fled and sought the services of the Avengers’ West Coast branch to confront and defeat the android Zodiac. Van Lunt had since become an expert in astrology, and with his extensive knowledge, the Avengers were able to confront the android Zodiac, stopping their crimes at every turn. Ultimately, the LMDs were only defeated after everyone was transported to the Key's native dimension, at which point the androids ceased to function. The Avengers were sent back to Earth.

Van Lunt, while the Avengers were in the Zodiac Key's dimension, had escaped to attempt to rebuild his Zodiac Cartel. Instead, he was tracked down by the Avengers’ Moon Knight, operating on his own motives. In the final battle inside a private plane, Moon Knight was pushed outside, but van Lunt, not knowing how to save himself, perished in the resulting plane crash.


Contributors: Danny Waah!

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