LEM race

Classification: Extraterrestrial semi-humanoid/serpentine

Location/Base of Operations: Lemista, the sixth planet out from the sun in the Atianti star system in the Milky Way galaxy

Estimated population: 40 million

Known Members: Kruggar, Sh'Bleen

Affiliations: The Charter Federation

First Appearance: Shogun Warriors#19 (August, 1980)

Powers/Abilities: Some Lem possess the ability to "hear" the psychic screams of the dying. Whether this ability is psionic or mystical in nature has not been revealed. Some of these Lem are sensitive enough that they can detect mass deaths as they occur hundreds of thousands of light-years away.

   Some Lem possess the potential for great sorcerous abilities. In the alternate timeline known as Reality-691, a Lem named Krugarr succeeded Dr. Stephen Strange as Sorcerer Supreme of their reality in the early 31st Century.

Special adaptations: Lem have tails instead of legs but can stand and traverse in a semi-upright position. They often use their arms to brace themselves and help keep their upper body raised above the floor/ground.

   Although their faces lack mouths and nostrils, Lem are able to eat (allegedly through "special mouths in their chests") and breathe and they can somehow communicate verbally (but exactly how they do so has not been revealed). It has been speculated that they must be able to generate sounds (vibrations that propagate as mechanical waves of pressure and displacement through some medium such as air or water) using something other than the vocal cords possessed by many other species but exactly how they do this has not been revealed.

Type: Semi-serpentine
Eyes: Two
Fingers: Two (plus opposable thumb) (see comments)
Toes: Inapplicable
Skin color: Red
Hair: None
Average height (or should it be length?): 4' 9"

Type of government: Representative council
Level of technology: Superior to Earth

History:

(Shogun Warriors#20 (fb) - BTS) - Like all other (future) members of the Charter Federation, the Lem race was violent in its (relative) infancy but they eventually saw the light and triumphed in peace. Accordingly, they were later invited to join the Charter Federation.

(Shogun Warriors#19 (fb) - BTS) - A Lem named Sh'Bleen joined the Charter Federation's space service and eventually rose to become the first officer (and second-in-command) of the single most powerful ship in the Charter Federation, the starcruiser Nightwind. While holding this rank, Sh'Bleen served (at least for a while) under the command of a female Nanda, Captain Cymell.

(Shogun Warriors#19) - Responding to a request for aid from a member of the Charter race called the Primal Ones, the Nightwind arrived in Earth's solar system. Sh'Bleen accompanied Captain Cymell when she boarded the Drone space station and met with its commander, a being who appeared to be a Primal One (but which was actually an artifical entity being remotely controlled by the Myndai scientist/sorcerer Maur-Kon). This false "Primal One" claimed that his mission was to strip the planet Earth of its prematurely advanced technology, especially the Shogun Warriors, which had been entrusted to human pilots by the now-deceased Followers of the Light. Since the Charter rules in such matters were clear, Captain Cymell put her starcruiser and crew at the Primal One's full disposal. When the Primal One demanded the use of the Nightwind's major weapon, Cymell briefly protested that using it was too drastic but then ordered Sh'Bleen to disengage the Nightwind's external hull and convert the internal symbiote to operational mode. Sh'Bleen acknowledged her command and set in motion the emergence of the planet-destroyer known as Gigantauron. Sh'Bleen stood beside Cymell and watched as the Primal One flowed into and took control of Gigantauron. As they watched the planet-destroyer depart, Sh'Bleen asked Cymell if she was troubled by the Primal One's request and Cymell replied that she was troubled by everything, beginning with the question of whether they even had the right to interfere in Earth's sovereign affairs. Sh'Bleen reminded her of the rules regarding any Charter race's objection to a prospective planet's incursion but Cymall cut him off, saying that she no longer believed in the Charter and that she too often found herself and her ship reduced to a mere police force denying the wonders of the universe to others.

(Shogun Warriors#20) - Back aboard the Nightwind, Captain Cymell and Sh'Bleen studied a hologram display of the Shogun Warriors and discussed recent events. In response to a sudden burst of energy entering through the hull, Sh'Bleen identified it as the Primal One, returning without Gigantauron. When the Primal One claimed that Gigantauron had failed because Cymell had greatly exaggerated its power, Cymell was outraged and ordered her tractor-beam crew to retrieve Gigantauron immediately. Later, after Cymell had decided to discontinue the Nightwind's participation in the Primal One's mission, she and three of her (Nanda) crew began to escort the Primal One back to his space station, leaving Sh'Bleen behind on the Nightwind. As a result, Sh'Bleen was not involved in the subsequent battle with the Shogun Warrior Combatra and the Earth heroes known as the Fantastic Four which ultimately revealed Maur-Kon to be the true enemy behind the false Primal One.
   Once Maur-Kon was exposed and his control over the Drones was broken, Captain Cymell ordered her crew to take him into custody and she promised that she would see that he was dealt with when she returned to the Charter Council to resign her commission. The Nightwind and the Drone ship (presumably) soon left.

   What happened to Sh'Bleen after Captain Cymell resigned from the Charter (assuming she actually DID resign) has not yet been revealed. Maybe he replaced Cymell as captain of the Nightwind?

(Quasar#39 (fb) - BTS) - A Lem named Kruggar discovered that he could somehow "hear" the psychic screams of living beings as they died. He eventually joined the Mourners, a multi-racial religious order dedicated to the commemoration of all things in the universe (including galaxies, stars, planets, planetary populations and individuals of cosmic note). His abilities enabled him to serve as one of their Listeners, beings who could locate where living beings were in the process of dying so that the Mourners could travel there to bring honor to those who had died.

(Quasar#35 - BTS) - Kruggar was presumably aboard the Mourners' starship, the Mourning Star, when it was near the Kree homeworld, Hala, during their disrupted memorial service for the fallen Kree killed by the detonation of the Nega-Bomb.

(Quasar#39) - Later, while the Mourning Star was still in Kree space, Kruggar sought out Fath to inform him that he'd found the next mourning site and that it was in the Advinter system in the Milky Way galaxy. Fath then introduced Kruggar to their two guests from Earth, Her and Makkari, and revealed that Kruggar was one of their Listeners. In an argumentative mood, Her asked Kruggar how they found new races to mourn, and Kruggar replied that Listeners like himself could hear the psychic screams of the dying. When Kruggar then confirmed that he was hearing such screams even as they talked, Her became more upset, ranted about how the Mourners did nothing to help the dying or to at least try to stop whatever was killing them, and accused them of celebrating death in the guise of honoring the dead before flying away.
    Later, the Mourning Star completed its starjump to the Advinter system, engaged its cloaking field and entered into orbit around the planet Scadam where the native population was being destroyed by the warships of the mysterious Black Fleet. Unable to just stand by and watch the slaughter of the Scadamites, Her left the Mourners' starship and began to attack the Black Fleet.

   Kruggar was presumably BTS aboard the Mourning Star when it remained in orbit around Scadam (Quasar#40, 41-42-BTS), entered warp space to avoid the the shock wave from a massive burst of Starbrand power released by Kayla Ballantine which obliterated all but one ship of the Black Fleet (Quasar#43 (fb)-BTS), returned to Scadam orbit once the danger was past (Quasar#43, 44-BTS), departed the Advinter system without Her (Quasar#45), and dropped Makkari off on the planet Grosgumbeek (Quasar#47).

Comments: Created by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe.

   In the more than thirty years since Sh'Bleen first debuted there have only been two other Lem who have appeared in Marvel Comics stories. Of these three Lem, two are from Reality-616 and one is from Reality-691. As far as I know, no other Lem have ever been depicted, not even in alien crowd scenes like the intergalactic council, and none of the three have been shown associating with other members of their race. Here's a quick review of all three of them:

1. Sh'Bleen, the first officer of the Charter Federation starcruiser Nightwind, first appeared in Shogun Warriors #19 (August, 1979) but wasn't named until the following issue
2. Krugarr, the Sorcerer Supreme of Reality-691 in the early 31st Century, first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#1 (1991). His association with that reality's Stephen Strange (aka the Ancient One) began some considerable time before 2977 A.D. and lasted until Strange's death c. 3020 A.D. Since he is an extratemporal/dimensional, Krugarr will not be covered by this profile (except in this comments section).
3. Kruggar, a Listener for the multi-racial interstellar sect known as the Mourners, first appeared in Quasar#39 (October, 1992). Some fans have come to believe that Kruggar and Krugarr are actually meant to be the same character but this idea has never been confirmed, and I wouldn't like to see that theory made "canon" or "official."
    --And I see no reason that it would be--Snood.

   Despite the fact that members of this race have made so few appearances over the years, there are a couple of discrepancies which have cropped up. First, according to the Official Handbook, the Lem homeworld is the planet Lemista, sixth from the sun in the Atianti star system in the Milky Way galaxy. Although this planet has not yet been depicted in the "mainstream" MU, its Reality-691 counterpart has appeared in several stories but it has always been named "Lem" by the Omniscient Narrative. So, what's the deal? Did the writers responsible for the Krugarr stories simply get the name wrong? Or could it be that, long ago, the Lem races from these two realities happened to choose different names for their home planets?

 

   A second inconsistency involves the number of digits that the various Lem have on their hands. The image on the left is an enlarged view of panel 4 on page 3 of Shogun Warriors#19 and seems to show Sh'Bleen with two clawed fingers on his right hand grasping Cymell's shoulder. However, the image on the right, an enlarged view of panel 6 on page 6 of Shogun Warriors#20, seems to show (at least) three fingers in Sh'Bleen's curled-up right hand. With such contradictory evidence, it's easy to see why the quarter-page entry on the Lem in the Official Handbook stated that Lem have three fingers while the full-body scan, this profile's main image, clearly shows a Lem with four fingers plus a thumb.

   Things get more complicated with the first appearance of Reality-691's Krugarr. This character was created and drawn by Jim Valentino who (presumably) used information from the Official Handbook as his guide. As a result, Krugarr has always been depicted as having only two fingers and an opposable thumb on each of his hands.

 

   Finally, there's Kruggar from Quasar#39. The image on the left (from panel 6 on page 11) seems to show his right hand (the one on the left side of the image) as having three fingers and a thumb while his left hand (on the right side of the image) has four fingers and no thumb. Then there's the image on the right (from panel 1 on page 12) which clearly shows four fingers of his left hand clasped around his right bicep.

 

   So, what conclusion are we to reach from these facts? Krugarr has always only had three digits on his hands while the other two Lem seem to have had up to five. Is it due to the fact that they are from different realities? Did the Lem in Reality-691 evolve into a form with only two fingers and a thumb on each hand while the Lem in Reality-616 just happened to evolve into a form with two more fingers per hand? Or is it that all Lem in both realities normally have five digits but Krugarr is a mutant who was born with fewer fingers than "normal" Lem? Or maybe Krugarr is the normal one and Sh'Bleen and Kruggar are the mutants?

   Aside from their semi-serpentine body, the most striking part of the design of the Lem is the fact that their facial features are so subdued that they look more like masks than faces. First, there's the complete absence of a mouth. Next, there is only a slight bump or vertical ridge where a nose would be (on a human) and no nostrils. Finally, while all Lem have foreheads with distinct brow ridges, there are some differences in how visible their eyes are. Sh'Bleen and Kruggar both have eyes which appear as little more than two horizontal black slits located in the two slight, side-by-side indentations just below their brow ridges (but Sh'Bleen does have very prominent arching eyebrows) while Krugarr's eyes are quite visible but seem to be uniformly white, without the pupils and irises which are so apparent in the eyes of most other species.

   Finally, I have some thoughts about the idea that Krugarr and Kruggar are (meant to be) the same character. Sure, their names are VERY similar but I suspect that, to a Lem, "Krugarr" and Kruggar" might sound as different as "Smith" and "Smythe" do to humans. Aside from their similar names, each Lem exists in a different reality and a different time from the other. Sure, one could argue that Kruggar might one day travel from Reality-616 into a possible future of Reality-691 but there's no evidence of such a thing happening. Or maybe they are just other-dimensional counterparts of each other whose respective parents just happened to choose to give them names that were only slightly different? If that were the case, then both would have been born in the 20th Century so how could Krugarr-691 end up being the Ancient One's disciple in the 30th Century? One online fan source claims that the explanation is that the Lem species is extremely long-lived and that the 30th Century Krugarr may be over 1,000 years old. Of course, this being the Marvel Multiverse, there are other possible explanations (like time travel or suspended animation) which could account for Krugarr's apparent longevity. Also, the second story in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual#4 ("Future History Part III") has Ulig the Last Watcher claim that a number of prominent super heroes removed themselves from the War of the Worlds because they had determined that the Martian victory was inevitable and that "Among these reluctant precognitives was Dr. Strange, who journeyed to the planet Lem to begin tutoring the next Sorcerer Supreme, the aforementioned Krugarr!" While this seems to support the idea that Krugarr was alive during the time of the War of the Worlds, it's actually somewhat more ambiguous since it could also mean that Strange somehow foresaw that his successor would eventually be born on Lem, possibly centuries in the future, and so he decided that he might as well move to Lem immediately (especially since the Martians were soon going to completely conquer Earth).

   Personally, I would prefer it if Krugarr and Kruggar were NOT at all meant to be the same character but I guess the real question should be, what did Mark Gruenwald want? Did he intend for Kruggar to be Krugarr's younger self but just got the name wrong? Or did he create Kruggar with the intention that he was always a different person from Krugarr? Sadly, we'll probably never know.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Lem have no known connections to

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15, page 48, panel 2 (main image)
Shogun Warriors#19, page 3, panel 4 (Sh'Bleen)
Quasar#39, page 12, panel 1 (Kruggar full body)
Shogun Warriors#19, page 3, panel 4 (Sh'Bleen's hand on Cymell's shoulder)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 6, panel 6 (Sh'Bleen's curled hand)
Quasar#39, page 11, panel 6 (both of Kruggar's hands)
      page 12, panel 1 (Kruggar's crossed arms)


Other Appearances:
Shogun Warriors#19-20 (August-September, 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Herb Trimpe (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Quasar#39 (October, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle (penciler), Candelario/McKenna (inkers), Kelly Corvese (editor)


Last updated: 07/05/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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