Spotlight on the Shi’Ar
As Thor prepares to confront their gods, get to know the most famous faces of this alien race!
Following her kidnapping by the Imperial Guard, the Goddess of Thunder faces the gods of the Shi’Ar in MIGHTY THOR #16, due out on February 15.
Before writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman show us exactly why Jane Foster should “pray for mercy,” read up on some notable members of the Shi’Ar Imperium, the planet-spanning empire that brought war to Asgard and abducted Thor!
While none of the Neramani family showed their faces in the onslaught against Asgard, most Marvel fans likely recognize the most well-known member of the Shi’Ar. Lilandra, the often-friend of the X-Men and former betrothed of Charles Xavier, debuted in UNCANNY X-MEN #97 back in 1976 and served as their ally for years, as they assisted her in her on-again, off-again quest to hold the Shi’Ar throne. Sometimes her duties put her in conflict with Earth’s heroes, like that time she put Reed Richards on trial for saving Galactus and, of course, when she came for Dark Phoenix and pit her Imperial Guard against the X-Men. She died rebelling against Vulcan, the “lost” Summers brother who took over the Imperium for himself.
While his “panel time” pales in comparison to his little sister, Lilandra’s brother D’Ken served as emperor before she ascended. D’Ken proves noteworthy for two reasons: one, he killed Cyclops and Havok’s mother and set their father onto a course that led to his role as space pirate Corsair, and two, he sought to expand his power by finding the fabled M’Kraan Crystal, which would have proven deadly for the universe without the timely intervention of Phoenix. Lilandra opposed him and ultimately took his crown when his exposure to the crystal left him comatose. Years later, that pesky Vulcan would help wake him up, only to kill him after marrying his other sister…
And then you have Deathbird, the oldest Neramani sibling; she ruled the interstellar empire before D’Ken, but the Shi’Ar exiled her after she killed her mother and their fourth sibling, another sister. Deathbird and Lilandra would battle often for the right to rule. Outside of her family squabbles, the deadly damsel’s adventures have included a battle with Hawkeye, a romance with the X-Man Bishop, and even a stint as one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen, War. And, as noted above, her marriage to Vulcan led to his rule over the Shi’Ar until he apparently perished while battling Black Bolt and the Kree.
Traditionally led by Gladiator, the Imperial Guard serve the ruler of the Imperium, a group of super-powered aliens assembled from the planets under its authority. Some, like Oracle and Electron, come from the Shi’Ar homeworld, while others vary by race. The current Smasher, for instance, comes from Earth.
Gladiator, the current Majestor of the empire, led the team against Asgard in his quest to capture Thor. But the Guard’s rivalry with Earth’s heroes goes back decades; they served D’Ken and fought the X-Men in their first appearance, and later, after Lilandra became ruler, they fought the mutants for the life of the Phoenix. Other times they’ve helped our planet, such as during the Heroes Reborn event; when Earth lost the Fantastic Four and Avengers for a time, Lilandra sent some of her legion to our planet to serve as protectors.
After D’Ken killed Katherine Summers, mother to Havok, Cyclops, and Vulcan, Christopher Summers became Corsair and rebelled against his captors. He joined with several other Shi’Ar prisoners, including the catlike Hepzibah, the amphibian strongman Ch’od, and the cyborg Raza. Together with doctor Sikorsky, the team fought D’Ken’s rule and became strong allies of the X-Men, accepting several Earth heroes like Cyclops, Havok, Polaris, and even Carol Danvers—as Binary—as members over the years.
In X-MEN #23, Mister Sinister teased the existence of a third Summers brother—ultimately revealed as Vulcan. But before the truth came to light, many suspected D’Ken fathered a child with Katherine Summers, his concubine for a time—a child named Adam. The half-Shi’Ar dubbed “Adam-X” possesses the mutant power to ignite a person’s blood on fire. After a battle and subsequent team-up with the Cable-led X-Force, Adam saved the life of Phillip Summers, Cyclops and Havok’s grandfather, to whom he felt a kinship. Later an old ally of D’Ken, Eric the Red, told Adam his supposed origin, but this proved untrue with the introduction of Vulcan. While his background remains a mystery, we do know Adam remains one thing: X-Treme!
The Asgard-Shi’Ar War continues on February 15 in MIGHTY THOR #16 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman!
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