Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Brew's Crew: Xemu


(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)


By Byron Brewer



I love studying alien cultures.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning as writers have given us a good look at Kree and Shi’ar governmental intrigue with their works. But there is a long-ignored corner of alien life that has not been seen for awhile. It is the so-called “Fifth Dimension,” where Phineas ruled and where the tyrant Xemu the Merciless sought to reign.

Xemu is a would-be conqueror who has sometime ruled a world in the Fifth Dimension. On Earth-616, when a house building firm tried to establish a lot in the region of a portal to Xemu's dimension, one of Xemu's agents caused the houses to sink into the ground.

The Human Torch investigated, but had his powers sapped by an energy ray; he was then taken to the Fifth Dimension and imprisoned. Rebels led by the scientist Phineas freed the Torch, who helped them depose Xemu and allow Phineas to take his place. Along the way, as usual, Johnny Storm developed feelings for Phineas’ daughter Valeria.

Eventually, Xemu escaped and overthrew Phineas, determined this time to take over the Earth. He invaded Attilan and captured the Inhumans Royal Family. Xemu wished for Black Bolt to power his Thunder Horn's devastating sonic powers and cause Earth's governments to surrender to him. The Thunder Horn was described as a S.A.S.E.R. (Sound Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), a variation on a LASER, using sound as its power source and output. It could amplify the sound made by a normal human voice to destroy an entire mountaintop. Imagine if the Inhuman king bellowed in it, even a whisper!

Xemu forced Quicksilver to retrieve his wife Crystal, who was serving as a member of the Fantastic Four at the time. The FF overpowered Xemu's troops, and the Human Torch followed Xemu to the Fifth Dimension and recaptured him, allowing Phineas to resume his rule.

Byronically, it was Zemu’s powerful army in the Fifth Dimension that prevented Arkon and the Roxxon Oil Company from pulling the Fifth Dimension into a plot to pit three worlds of three dimensions against each other. Once Xemu was again overthrown, Arkon and Roxxon duped Phineas into allowing them access to his equipment, nearly destroying their planet in an inter-dimensional nuclear war.

Neither Xemu nor the Fifth Dimension, to my knowledge, have been seen since Roy Thomas was writing Fantastic Four. Wonder what is up with these beautiful blue-skinned extra-dimensionals?