Posted by:
Byron Brewer

What The D'ast? Xemnu


(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 He welcomes both raves and opposing views.) By Byron Brewer [[wysiwyg_imageupload:93:]]He has been a king, a conqueror, a TV star, a Phalanx Select and a teddy bear. But mostly, he has been fun to watch and fun to read. Handled in both serious and humorous mode, there are few characters like Xemnu the Titan. Like Groot, he started his comic book life as one of those wonderful pre-Fantastic Four Jack Kirby monsters out to conquer the world until a fluke or foible in their nature turned the tide for the human race. Incredibly (pun to become clear in a second), when Xemnu started his comic book life in Journey into Mystery #62, he was known as the Hulk. That name was later changed after Dr. Robert Bruce Banner rescued teen Rick Jones from an exploding gamma bomb, and the two “Hulks” have tangled over the decades. Xemnu is one of the few survivors known of the Xem race. Originally his unnamed planet’s ruler, he was later placed in a cosmic prison for unspecified crimes against the universe. To see his monstrous appearance, one images Xemnu a slow, mindless alien. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is highly intelligent, with extensive knowledge of his world’s advanced sciences, especially genetic engineering. Thanks to his alien genetic structure, the Titan possesses great superhuman strength, enabling him to lift around 80 tons. He possesses superhuman stamina and durability, and, as mentioned before, is a gifted intellect. His main resource lies in his enormous, extraordinary psionic abilities, including telepathy, hypnosis, possession and levitation. These abilities enable him to effortlessly control millions or even billions of minds at a time, immediately inducing unconsciousness in crowds of people, or even putting mental blocks in the mind of Doctor Strange, then-Sorcerer Supreme. Byronically, the Hulk has proven immune to Xemnu's psionic possession. Xemnu can also project psionic concussive blasts of tremendous power (sufficient to stagger even the Hulk), animate unliving objects (including asteroids), and can create personal “atmo-spheres” (a protective sphere of psionic energy, which he can use to fly). If destroyed, he can inhabit another living being and transform it into a smaller copy of his original body. When the Xem first came to Earth, his starship was running out of fuel. He was revived by the human Joe Harper and used telepathy to dominate Harper's mind and the minds of every other human on Earth! He forced them to build him a new starship so that he could return home. As he departed, he released Harper from his telepathic domination and Harper sabotaged the ship's electrical systems, shocking Xemnu into a coma-like state. As the alien flew off, his mind control faded and his former servants forgot that he had ever existed. The alien returned a second time to Earth and encountered Harper; during this experience, his original body was destroyed. He traveled through space in a non-corporeal form, and over the years learned that his home planet had been wiped out by a plague. Returning to our world’s vicinity a third time, he took possession of astronaut Richmond Wagner’s body. When Wagner’s space shuttle arrived on Earth, Xemnu used his human host's popularity and his own telepathy to become the host of a children's television series. He used his mental power to place Earth's children under his thrall, planning to abduct them to repopulate his home world, only to be detected by Doctor Strange. Strange and his ally the Sub-Mariner were defeated by the alien, but Xemnu was in turn beaten by the Hulk in their first-ever clash. Xemnu then took possession of Amos Moses, mayor of small-town Plucketville, in an attempt to kidnap the townspeople to repopulate his home planet. The Defenders (including the Hulk) fought him, thus preventing him from using the townspeople to construct another starship. After a number of other failed plots, Xemnu fled Earth. In recent days, when Ultron tried to conquer the universe, utilizing his newfound contorl of the alien Phalanx, he and his minions infected many aliens, including Xemnu, with the Technarch virus. As a Phalanx Select (one afforded greater independence from the Phalanx collective), Xemnu accompanied fellow Selects Shatterax and Korath to the planet Terma to battle members of the Resistance. Failing to defeat the enemy, Xemnu and his comrades returned to Ultron who killed Korath as an example. Presumably after Ultron’s grand defeat, Xemnu and others were cured of the Phalanx infection and escaped. Where will Xemnu, this Titan who would be king and TV star, show his yeti-like self next? I cannot wait to find out. I just hope he is the aggressor, not a pawn.