What the D'ast? Stone Men of Saturn
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
I had in truth read about these beings but had forgotten all about their menace by the time I returned to comics in 2005. In keeping with the true mission of this column, I introduce these Marvel gems to you now.
The Stone Men of Saturn, aka the Kronans, are a military dictatorship whose attempts to expand their empire have met with limited success. Around 3,000 B.C., their Earth invasion force in Mesopotamia was repulsed by Gilgamesh (the Eternal known as the Forgotten One) and the time-traveling Captain America!
In recent times, the Kronans established an outpost on Lapetus, a moon of Saturn, earning them the dual identity of the “Stone Men of Saturn.” An invasion force which included brothers Korg and Margus landed in Norway, but their arrival was witnessed by Dr. Donald Blake (Thor’s human form). Blake fled from the Kronans and discovered in a nearby cave the hammer Mjolnir, which caused him to rediscover his true identity as Thor. (This cave was, BTW, the same cave in which Gaea gave birth to the Odinson!) Thor overpowered the Kronans and their greatest weapons, and the Kronan fleet fled Earth, fearful that there could be others as powerful as Thor.
One of the fleeing vessels crashed into an asteroid and was separated from the fleet, stranded alone in space. Unable to make repairs, the crew placed themselves into suspended animation. When the asteroid was visited by the ship Star-Jammer (no, not that one!), piloted by Thor and his fellow Asgardians while on a quest, the Kronans awoke and attempted to steal the Star-Jammer. Thor overcame the Kronans, destroying both their ship and the asteroid. Another Kronan vessel which numbered Korg and Margus among its crew was likewise stranded, and eventually conquered a Kree settlement in order to repair their ship; however, the ship was caught in the Great Portal, a space warp which brought them to the planet Sakaar, and the crew was separated in the crash.
Kronans were also involved in the consortium of extaterrestrials who attempted to negotiate the rights for the biography of Rick Jones, hoping that the book would reveal how Jones had once used the Destiny Force to halt the Kree-Skrull War, but the book was of no use to the assembled buyers. The Kronan mercenary Zardok served as a member of the Starblasters, an intergalactic band of pirates. He aided the Starblasters in the kidnapping of Kayla Ballantine, host of the Star Brand, and journeyed with the crew to the Stranger’s Labworld to have the Star Brand analyzed. But Kayla's lover Quasar assembled a team of Earth heroes to recover her, and the Russian god Perun apparently slew Zardok in combat. Some of the Kronans formed an alliance with the New Immortals, rogue creations of the High Evolutionary. They led an assault against his fortress at Mount Wundagore, but were defeated by Thor and the High Evolutionary's newest creations, the Godpack.
Back on Sakaar, the Kronans were fitted with pain-inducing obedience disks and made to serve the forces of the planet's ruler, the Red King. Margus and the other Kronans fought the disks, and suffered massive brain damage that made them virtual zombies. Korg was selected for training as a gladiator, and was placed in a team consisting of the Hulk, Miek, Hiroim, Elloe Kaifi, Lavin Skee and a Brood. Korg wound up having to combat Margus and his fellow Kronans in a training session, and was forced to destroy Margus and the others to save his own life.
The other gladiators who fought alongside Korg eventually chose to become “Warbound” after one of their number, Lavin Skee, was slain defending their lives. Acknowledging the Hulk as their leader, Korg and the other Warbound fought by his side in gladiator matches until the Silver Savage released them from their obedience disks. The Warbound became leaders of a rebellion, and ultimately toppled the Red King and installed the Hulk as the planet's new ruler. A trusted advisor to the Hulk, Korg was among the few who escaped Sakaar's destruction in a subsequent cataclysm; he and the other survivors later joined the Hulk's war against Earth.
It was wonderful to see Korg back in action. Perhaps we can see some of these Kronans along the way is the reformation of the Galactic Council is ever followed up.