Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Alternate future (Earth-691); Unique interstellar entity,
Occupation: Survival, Absorption of others beings and planets
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Karanada (components)
Enemies: Convent of Living Fire (Mother Superior), Godhead, Guardians of the Galaxy (Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex, Nikki, Starhawk, Yondu)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Planetary Man, Karanada/The Emptiness that Devours (actually refers to its components, see below)
Base of Operations: The Center of the Milky Way Galaxy, @ 3000 A.D. in the alternate future of Earth-691
First Appearance: Marvel Presents#4 (BTS, April, 1976), Marvel Presents#6 (August, 1976)
Powers: The Topographical Man is unfathomably large, possessing an arm-span of light years. Each of his hands contains a sun. His body contains its own atmosphere and numerous people exist on his surface. Much of its surface is covered by sandy deserts. It is the antithesis of life. It is incapable of movement, and feeds from the energy obtained by the Karanada.
History: Unrevealed. Karanada, an Alpha Centaurian term meaning "The Emptiness that Devours" apparently refers to both the Topographical Man and its component energy creations. For sake of description, Karanada will be used to refer to the component creatures.
The Topographical Man is described as being incalculably old, but its origins are unrevealed. Nikki, a Mercurian @ the 31st Century, escaped the genocide of the Badoon by fleeing in a family spaceship. Her ship ran out of supplies just outside of Earth's solar system, but she found a derelict ship, whose crew had been killed under uncertain circumstances. She was able to survive on the ship, and used it to find planets and hunt food. In her travels she found a large number of dead worlds, which had appeared to support life. She encountered and joined with the Guardians of the Galaxy, at which point they found the reason for the dead planets, and were consumed by Karanada.
The Guardians were transported to the surface of the Topographical Man, although they did not realize they were not just on another planet until Vance Astro used their ship to burrow through the surface, come out the other side, fly off into space and view it from a distance. Starhawk led the other Guardians to the Convent of the Living Fire, where Nikki performed the ritual of flame, merged with the Godhead, and assumed an immense astral form. This form then joined forces with the spirit of Vance Astro, who had been integrated within the Topographical Man as a result of a struggle with Karanada (see below). Acting in concert, Vance and Nikki's spirits and wills grew to the size of the Topographical Man, embraced him and destroyed it by forcing it to "engage in an act of love" which was violently opposed to its nature as the opposite of life.
Comments: Created by Steve Gerber (who else) and Al Milgrom.
I'm not going to try to get into any scientific explanation regarding the size of the Topgraphical Man, but it may be that he actually existed within a separate dimension, accessed by contact with a Karanada, with different laws of physics. Or not. Maybe he's merely large enough to span the distance between to binary stars. Who knows? It's Gerbertech.
If the Topographical Man is incalculably old, then he should also be around during the modern era, for some other space-faring heroes to encounter.
Eric Engelhard tells me that David Michilinie stated in an interview that the Topographical Man developed from the Living Monolith, after it became a giant, inert figure in space as a result of the Revenge of the Living Monolith Graphic Novel. That would work. Since the Guardians occur in an alternate future (regardless of whether a current storyline claims it to be the "true future"), there's no reason that the Living Monolith couldn't have just stayed in space, rather than being brought back to Earth to participate in Apocalypse's gathering of the Twelve.
Clarifications: The Guardians of the Galaxy of Earth-Guardians are not to be confused with the:
Mother Superior of the Convent of the Living Fire has no connection to:
Karanada has been described as the opposite of spirit. It is actually formed from a single grain of sand from the Topographical Man, and imbued with energy by him. It is insatiably hungry and sustains itself and feeds off of any and all things it encounters. It grows in size and power as it does so, until it survives on the energy of planets and stars, and eventually of exploding galaxies. A Karanada encountered and consumed all life in the galaxy in which Nikki had been living. It then consumed Starhawk, and then the rest of the Guardians flew directly into it to investigate. Once they were in, Vance Astro stayed to man the ship while the others investigated. He was then attacked by another miniature Karanada, which fed off his energies and threatened to consume him. However, his desire to live proved to be too strong and it shrunk back down to its original size and died. However, after he used the ship to exit the surface of the Topographical Man, he was attacked by another Karanada, which had taken on the appearance of Vance, prior to his space journey. Vance again used his force of will to overpower this one, but somehow exchanged forms with it. This caused him to be linked with the Topographical Man, and he joined forces with Nikki, who had gained power from the Godhead. Acting in concert, Vance and Nikki's spirits and wills grew to the size of the Topographical Man, embraced him and destroyed it by forcing it to "engage in an act of love". With the destruction of the Topographical Man, the Karanada were no more.
They are described as incalculably powerful. No physical force or type of energy attack can injure or even slow one. However, they cannot stand up to strength of spirit and determination, which can cause them to shrink back down to their initial size and power. Once one of the Karanada either is destroyed (or contained), another one can be formed. It is also possible that more than one of them can exist simultaneously. When a Karanada consumes living beings, they are transported to the surface of the Topographical Man. It can extend a long tendril-like tongue to grasp objects and beings and pull them into its maw. Surfaces which have come into contact with it gain an odor similar to mildew; people feel a freezing sensation.
--Marvel Presents#4 (6, 7
The Convent of the Living Fire religion based on the surface of the Topographical Man. They use a device to enter a "flame state" which activates a portion of the backbrain unleashing a reservoir of ordinarily untapped psychic energy. This converts them into pure energy and they appear to burst into flames. This form enters a union with the Godhead: the ultimate sensual experience, a joining with all of infinity. The woman's mind expands to the farthest reaches of the universe. Most women are content to remain in that state for the rest of their lives, which are drastically shortened by the vast expenditure of energy. These women usually last for only a few seconds and disintegrate upon returning. Those with the strongest sense of singular identity return to mortal form.
Starhawk convinced Nikki to undergo the ritual in order to directly oppose the Topographical Man. This effort was successful, and Nikki also succeeded in returning to mortal form, completely intact.
--Marvel Presents#6 (7
Mother Superior was a leader of the Convent of the Living Fire. She was one of the women who returned from the flame-state. She was then able to guide others through the ritual, although she always felt a certain sadness of never again feeling the ecstasy she had felt in the flame-state. She explained the ritual to Starhawk, who convicned Nikki to undergo it. She led Nikki through the successful process. Her fate is the same as those of the other inhabitants of the Topographical Man after its destruction.
Marvel Presents#4 (April, 1976) - Steve Gerber (writer), Al Milgrom (artist), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Marvel Presents#6 (August, 1976) - Steve Gerber (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Marvel Presents#7 (November, 1976) - Steve Gerber (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Bob Wiacek (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Last Updated: 08/01/02
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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