Unleash the Beasts: Xemnu
The original Hulk brings telepathic trouble to the Marvel Universe!
One of the best things about looking through these monster stories that preceded the super hero-filled Marvel Universe as we have come to know it is seeing some of the prototypes that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby eventually turned into icons. Take 1960’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #62 for instance. The title blurb screams, “Here comes…THE HULK!” While the huge orange beast on the cover might not resemble the Jade Giant—who officially debuted two years later in 1962’s INCREDIBLE HULK #1—it’s fun to see how they went from one monster to another.
In the earlier story plus its follow-up in issue #66, Xemnu landed on Earth because he’d run out of fuel. There he met a young man named Joe Harper who the alien immediately possessed with his telepathic powers. Xemnu did the same to the entire planet in an effort to rebuild his ship. When the project neared completion, the alien freed Harper who immediately sabotaged some important systems which zapped the alien into unconsciousness. After waking, Xemnu returned to Earth and tried getting revenge on Joe, but the young man used a mirror to bounce his foe’s mental abilities back at him, seemingly destroying the beast in the process.
After that, the alien’s consciousness traveled the galaxy until it found an American astronaut named Richmond Wagner and took control of his body. Back on Earth the invader parlayed the man’s intense popularity into a kids show that he used to brainwash children in an effort to take them back to his planet to aid in repopulation. He would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those pesky Defenders as seen in the pages of MARVEL FEATURE #3. This issue solidified his appearance as a furry white creature with wild eyes and a metal skullcap while also pitting the creature against the real Hulk for the first time.
The two would battle again in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #5 when Xemnu seemingly resurrected several of the monsters we’ve already discussed in an effort to defeat the gamma-irradiated hero. The Titan appeared here and there over the next few decades, appearing briefly in BEYOND! and as one of the Phalanx Select in Annihilation: Conquest. Later, in HULK #30, Impossible Man imported the white giant to battle the Red Hulk. Xemnu easily used his mental abilities to make Red Hulk punch himself in a face, but things got more interesting when the other Hulk entered the fray.
Seeing an opportunity for even more entertainment value, Impossible Man first brought more monsters into the battle and then combined the two gamma guys into Compound Hulk. Not to be outdone, Xemnu brought his own Hulk clone Kluh into the picture and the real fight got under way. Great fisticuffs ensued!
Like a few of the other classic monsters, Xemnu has carried on through the years thanks to his massive powers, unique presence and connections to The Hulk. He’s carrying those over into MONSTERS UNLEASHED as we speak and will probably keep popping up well after.
Finally, we close out Unleash the Beasts with an iconic synthesis of big monsters and super heroes in FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
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