Real Name: Aningan Kenojuak
Identity/Class: Human borderline mystic; former technology user
Occupation: Former shaman
Group Membership: Bantu tribe of Inuit
Affiliations: Formerly worshipped the frozen form of
Captain America, as well as the Inuit Gods, including
formerly Kang the Conqueror;
utilized/created Brother Bear
Enemies: Namor; formerly the Avengers
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Currently unknown;
formerly North of Bantu Junction, Alaska;
formerly the tribal village of the Bantu, between the Koyakuk River (Northwestern Alaska) and the Talkeetnas Mountains (Southern Alaska)
First Appearance: (Unidentified) Avengers I#4 (March,
Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (October, 1979)
Powers/Abilities: Aningan was the shaman of his people. Whether he had any actual mystical power, or merely possessed intuition based on a wealth of life experience, is unclear. He mixed medicinal potions, predicted game migrations, and cast runes that allowed him to perceive the world on a level somewhat beyond that of the average man.
Kang granted Aningan a necklace containing hidden advanced circuitry which produced a force field powerful enough to withstand the combined force of the Avengers, could fire destructive blasts capable of leveling buildings, could manipulate inanimate matter, and created powerful servants (such as Brother Bear) from energy. Aningan believed the necklace to be magical in origin, deriving power from a god.
(Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (fb) - BTS) - Aningan came to be shaman of the Bantu tribe.
(Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow) - In the autumn of a year in the early 1960s (see Comments), after over three decades of rule, Aningan could feel that his influence and respect was fading as the food supply he led his people after continued to dwindle. However, this all changed when he found a man frozen in the ice of the Alatna. Having no way of knowing that this was Captain America (in suspended animation after plunging into the icy waters in 1945), Aningan was nonetheless able to determine that, though frozen, the man was alive. Aningan reasoned that only a god could survive being frozen, and he similarly decided that the god had chosen these frozen waters for his home, and that they should not take his home from him. Under Aningan's guidance, the Bantu carved a seven foot long by three foot thick and wide chunk of ice and brought it back to their tribal village.
None of the Bantu shared Aningan's adulation of the frozen idol, but Aningan prayed in front of it for three days and three nights, and on the fourth day, providence answered in the form of a large herd of caribou less than a mile from the village. Still, none of the other Bantu credited this to the frozen idol, but then the salmon started running out of season, driven northward by a freak tropical current. After much feasting and celebration, the Bantu soon fell in line with Aningan's worship of their new god.
The following years were good for the Bantu. Weather was mild, and game was so plentiful that for the first time in memory there was excess enough to trade with the white man. Aningan's realm of power and influence grew, and regular prayer sessions were held in honor of the ice god he worshipped.
(Avengers I#4 / Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (fb)) - Namor the Sub-Mariner, having traveled north following a conflict involving the Avengers and the Hulk, encountered the Bantu. Irate over his lack of success, he took his anger out on the Bantu, mocking them for worshipping a man frozen in ice, and hurling their god into the waters of the Koyakuk river. As the frozen figure drifted south, its icy covering melted, and Captain America was recovered by the Avengers.
Aningan was unable to understand why his god had not brought down lighting to strike the heretic (Namor) dead. The Bantu, their faith shattered by these events, began to disperse.
(Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (fb)) - Three months later, Aningan left the Bantu, who seemed to have no use for gods or shamans any longer. Retreating into self-exile, he build an igloo as far from human civilization as possible, spending every possible moment in prayer -- to the ice god, to the bear god, to any god who might listen. As always, he prayed for but a single boon -- the power to take revenge on the god-stealer and restore faith to his people.
(Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (fb) - BTS) - Aningan's mumbled prayers were overheard by a time-traveling Kang the Conqueror (see Comments), who took an interest in the red, white, and blue figure mentioned within them. Discerning what had happened, Kang bemusedly posed as the Blue Totem, granting Aningan a powerful necklace, with which he could carry out his obsession.
(Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow) - Aningan traveled to Manhattan, confronted and overpowered the Avengers via his necklace and its creation Brother Bear, placed Captain America into stasis, and transported himself and Captain America back to Alaska, while sending Brother Bear to slay Namor. Aningan used the power of the necklace to recreate the icy covering about his god and prepared to return to his village, only to find that in the years of his absence, the tribal village had been built up into Bantu Junction, a relatively modern city well mixed with the white man. Furious, Aningan used his power to begin to level the city, hoping he could convince his former tribesmen to worship the ice god again and return things to the way they had been before the Great Sorrow.
Iron Man and the Vision traveled to Atlantis, warned Namor of Brother Bear's assault, and (after he had nearly been slain by it) convinced Namor of the reality of the threat. Namor then joined them in traveling to Alaska to assist against Aningan. The elderly shaman held his own against the combined assaults of the Avengers again, but once Namor arrived he focused his efforts on the object of his obsession. Aningan nearly killed Namor, but by focusing his powers on him, his own force field flickered out of existence, and the Vision ambushed him, rising up from the ground, tearing the necklace from him, and smashing it to pieces.
With the necklace destroyed, Aningan's powers vanished, as did Brother Bear. Aningan was taken to a prison in Bantu Junction, where he dejectedly told the tale of the Blue Totem who had given him the necklace. As the ice (actually a form of solidified energy) resisted all attempts to melt or otherwise destroy it, the Avengers tracked the energies of the necklace into an alternate future in the 39th Century, where Kang freed Captain America after being reminded of his own "prank" from some time ago. However, the Avengers also stumbled across and foiled another plot of Kang's.
(Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (ff) - BTS) - On the way home, Captain America stopped to visit Aningan, hoping to relieve his mental and emotional suffering.
Comments: Created by David Michilinie.
The story discusses Aningan finding the frozen form of Captain America in autumn of the early 1960's. That may be a topical reference, indicating that he had only found the frozen idol six months before the story in Avengers I#4, locking it into the modern era. However, it is also possible that he did find it in the early sixties, and that they literally had the idol for decades before Namor robbed them of it. That might explain why the leader of the worship above does not appear as aged as Aningan was described. There are plenty of stories of American Indians living well into their second century, so Aningan might have been forty or fifty (or younger) when he found the frozen idol. That would allow this story to fit into continuity for several more decades. Also, though his mystical abilities were minor, he still might have been able to use them to extend his life beyond what might be typical for his people.
I like the second idea, as it would make more sense for the way of life of the Bantu to have existed as described in the early sixties, rather than in the nineties or even the 21st century. Belief in their frozen god may have kept them living that way for decades. Once the god (and Aningan) left them, they could easily have progressed into the modern way of living.
Captain America was frozen for many decades, and exactly how long ago his frozen form was found and worshipped by the Bantu is irrelevant to his chronology.
I wonder if Aningan was one of the Inuit who worshipped the other "God in the Ice," Jack Frost, via the Iceworm.
The story (for the Avengers) takes place somewhere during the time when Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch believed themselves to be the children of Robert Frank. Wonder Man is conspicuous by his absence, perhaps meaning that the story took place right around Avengers I#150. The Avengers seemed less than surprised at the sudden reappearance of Kang after his apparent death, but perhaps their minds/memories were somewhat affected in both cases by the temporal energy (always a good out).
However, that does not mean that the events took place at the same time for Kang, who could have had this adventure at any point in his timeline b/t Avengers I#8 and his most recent appearance. In addition, there is also no evidence that this was not a renegade, robot Kang, or perhaps one of the Council of Kangs or Council of Cross-Time Kangs (with C's or K's, take your pick). I'm inclined to go with one of the other Kang incarnations, based on his behavior.
This story is awesome! I love the novels that follow continuity so closely. This story should totally be adapted to the Marvel Universe. I'll do my best.
The story is copyright Marvel Comics Group, it then says "All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books, and then its address.
I'm not sure if that means that Marvel can or cannot reproduce the material.
Alaska? Waitaminnit! I thought Captain America was dropped into the sea off the coast of England in 1945 when he was frozen, and I remember a story in Captain America I#218 that mentioned Newfoundland, so how the heck did he get all the way to Alaska?
Profile by Snood.
Brother Bear has no known connection to:
An energy creature spawned by Kang's technology, it was patterned after an Inuit deity, apparently the scion of Negafok and Sedna. It was strong enough to flatten Thor with a single blow and could take any punishment dealt out by Namor, the Atlanteans, and the Avengers. It could also track Namor anywhere on the planet. Once set on a mission, it could perform whatever actions were necessary to accomplish that mission, no longer requiring direct input or supervision from Aningan. A pair of mountains crashed on top of it by Iron Man and the Vision slowed it sufficiently that they could escape it, and it faded out of existence when Aningan's necklace was destroyed.
--Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow
Avengers I#4, p2 (first story page), panel 7
p3, panel 1 (ice god)
There are no pictures from his later appearance, but since a
picture is worth a thousand words:
Aningan is an elderly man, with a frail appearance one would expect from an aged Inuit or Native American accustomed to living in Northern Alaska. His face was wrinkled and worn, his hair was long and gray-white, and his teeth were gray. When using the gems, he was bathed in a sickly green glow. He wore a necklace of golf-ball-sized gemstones around his neck, the bottom of which dipped beneath his shirt. The gems would glow as he would touch/utilize them.
Bear Brother was twelve feet tall at the shoulder, covered with thick, matted fur, slick as if greased, and its head held eyes that were an empty, solid white. Beneath those eyes, a dreadful slash of a mouth opened in a perpetual snarl, exposing double rows of jagged, needle-tip teeth. The monster's entire body was bathed in a sickly green glow.
Avengers I#4 (March, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), George Roussos (inks)
Avengers: The Man who Stole Tomorrow (1979) - David Michelinie (writer)
Last updated: 09/04/11
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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