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NANDA race

Classification: Extraterrestrial semi-humanoids

Location/Base of Operations: Nanda, the second planet out from the sun in the Particulus star system in the Milky Way galaxy

Known Members: Ambassador D'Melza (deceased), Captain Cymell, the Starcruiser Nightwind's crew members, Galactic Marathon announcer and spectators
Estimated population: 26 billion

Affiliations: The Charter Federation

Enemies: The Axi-Tun (when ruled by Lord Votan)
    (specifically enemies of the Nanda aboard the Nightwind): Lord Maur-Kon, his false Primal One, crew of the Drone starship (when they were controlled by Maur-Kon's energy-spell)

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

Powers/Abilities: None known. Most notably, the Nanda have wide, ovoid heads, with no external ear structures (see comments)

Traits: Nothing unusual

Type: Semi-humanoid
Eyes: Two
Fingers: Four (plus opposable thumb)
Toes: Five (see comments)
Skin color: Light green or yellow (and possibly light blue; see comments)
Hair: White/blonde (females only?)
Average height: 6'

Type of government: Representative council
Level of technology: Superior to Earth, faster than light travel

History:
(Star Masters#1 (fb) - BTS) - Approximately one million Earth-years ago, the Charter Federation was founded to ensure peaceful coexistence among the civilized worlds located in the Local Group of galaxies.

(Shogun Warriors#20 (fb) - BTS) - Like all other (future) members of the Charter Federation, the Nanda 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) - At some point in the past, the members of the Charter Federation decided that they should be allowed to deal with the threat posed to them by other (non-member) races who had developed advanced space-faring technology prematurely (i.e. before their civilizations had matured enough to have outgrown any violent tendencies). In such cases, Charter races were allowed to take action to interfere with the scientific progress of such planets and to limit their technology. Furthermore, Charter rules stated that any member who was asked to assist with such a mission by another member would have to provide "complete and unquestioning assistance."

(Shogun Warriors#19-20 (fb) - BTS) - In her youth, a green-skinned female Nanda named Cymell wanted to be an explorer who sought wonder at the heart of the unknown. In pursuit of the goal, she became a starcruiser captain and eventually was given command of the starcruiser Nightwind, the single most powerful ship in the Charter Federation. However, with her new position, Captain Cymell all too often found herself and her ship reduced to acting as a police enforcer, compelled by the rules of the Charter to deny those wonders to others, non-Charter races who were considered to be threats by Charter races.

(Shogun Warriors#19) - Responding to a request from a Primal One for direct aid from the Charter Federation, the Starcruiser Nightwind arrived in Earth's solar system. Captain Cymell boarded the "Drone" space station and met with the (false) Primal One who demanded that Cymell aid him in his mission to strip Earth of its prematurely-advanced technology, a mission which remained incomplete due to the actions of the SHogun Warriors which the now-dead Followers of the Light had given to certain humans. Cymell revealed that she had heard of the Followers (of the Light) and their ancient epic battle with Maur-Kon's sorcerer-scientists for control over the Earth and that she was aware of the robot sentinels known as the Shogun Warriors but that she had heard nothing of a proclaimed mission by the race of Primal Ones to interfere with Earth's scientific progress. Despite this, Cymell acknowledged that she was bound by Charter rules to put her starcruiser and crew at his full disposal. When the Primal One demanded the use of the Nightwind's internal symbiote, the planet-destroyer known as Gigantauron, Cymell protested that it was too drastic but again relented and allowed the Primal One to take control of her ship's major weapon. Watching it depart towards Earth, Cymell confided in her first officer, Sh'Bleen, that she was troubled by this mission and revealed that she wondered if they even had the right to interfere in Earth's sovereign affairs. When reminded of the Charter's rules, Cymell confessed that she no longer believed in the Charter and perhaps she never had.

(Shogun Warriors#20) - Later, Captain Cymell was still talking to Sh'Bleen about the shame and pain she felt in having to assist Charter members in denying the wonders of the universe to others when the Primal One returned to the Nightwind and claimed that Gigantauron had failed because Cymell had greatly exaggerated Gigantauron's power. Outraged that the Primal One had abandoned a crucial component of the Nightwind, Cymell ordered her tractor-beam crew to retrieve Gigantauron immediately. After Gigantauron had been brought into close proximity, Cymell told the Primal One that she had investigated Earth and come to the conclusion that it was a marginal case that could not reach the stars for at least decades. Cymell stated that, although its people were still violent, they were no worse than any other Charter race at that stage, and she predicted that the Terrans would either destroy themselves long before they could pose any threat to the Charter or they would "see the light and triumph in peace" as all other Charter members had done. Cymell then stated that, since the Terrans posed no direct threat at that time, it was not up to them to define their fate. Cymell revealed that she was planning on reporting the Primal One's activities and resigning from the Charter, and then she and three of her crew escorted the Primal One aboard his space station. However, before Cymell and her crew could leave, a Drone reported that Gigantauron had been followed by the Shogun Warrior Combatra which was preparing to attack. Disillusioned, Cymell relinquished command to the Primal One.

   After Combatra breached the Nightwind's hull and entered the starcruiser, the Fantastic Four ejected from the Shogun Warrior in a squib and made their way to an engine station. There Mr. Fantastic spotted a main switch on the other side of a deep shaft, apparently placed there to be protected. As he grabbed the switch and began to close it, three Nanda members of Cymell's crew burst in and one shouted that if he closed that switch the entire ship would self-destruct. Aware of this, Mr. Fantastic bluffed the crew, claiming that he would close the switch unless they took his team to their leader, the Primal One. One of the Nanda revealed that the Primal one was not their leader, but nonetheless agreed to take them to him, and Mr. Fantastic returned the switch to its original position (as he would have done anyway).

   On the space station, Cymell and three of her crew witnessed the arrival of the reunited group of Terrans. As Combatra seemed ready to destroy the Primal One, Cymell was disappointed that she had been sorely wrong about these "bloodthirsty savages from Earth," but Combatra's pilot refused to kill it. This display of compassion and an unwillingness to secure their victory in blood convinced Cymell that it was the Primal One who was solely responsible for the conflict. The Primal One then ordered the Drones to attack and kill them all, but the ensuing battle quickly came to an abrupt end when the Invisible Girl discovered a room from which Maur-Kon had been controlling the false Primal One and cut the power, causing the false Primal One to fade away and freeing the Drones from Maur-Kon's control. The Drones immediately dropped their weapons and explained that, like Cymell, they had responded to a call for aid from Earth from someone whom they had believed to be one of the Charter race known as the Primal Ones, but by the time they learned the truth they had been enslaved by an energy-spell which forced them to obey Maur-Kon. Cymell realized that Maur-Kon's entire motive had been false in that he had not actually sought to retard Earth's technology, but only wanted to take final vengeance on his ancient enemies, the Followers of the Light. Cymell then ordered her crew to take Maur-Kon 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.

 

(Quasar#58) - At the Galactic Marathon, a Nanda announcer declared that "The winner and fastest being in the Milky Way Galaxy (was) Makkari of Earth!" His words were simultaneously translated into a million different languages and broadcast to places you (the readers) wouldn't believe.

   Three Nanda (at least) were in the crowd of alien spectators seated in a stadium located on the planet beneath the finishing line of the race, watching the race on giant viewscreens.

(Star Masters#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, a yellow-skinned female named D'Melza was chosen to be the Nanda's ambassador to the Charter Federation. As a result, she relocated to the Hub, the mobile star station which was the center of the Charter's diplomatic operations.

(Star Masters#1 (fb) - BTS) - Ambassador D'Melza was aboard The Hub when it traveled to Earth's solar system so that the Charter could offer membership in their federation to the people of Earth.

(Star Masters#1) - When the Earth hero (and Protector of the Universe) Quasar came to The Hub to investigate the "WE COME IN PEACE" message that they had been beaming to Earth, Ambassador D'Melza met him at the docking bay through which he entered. D'Melza greeted Quasar, introduced herself, escorted him to the office of Peacekeeper-General Mduul, and then left them alone to talk.

(Star Masters#1 - BTS/Cosmic Powers Unlimited#4/1 (fb) - BTS) - Later, every living being on the Hub (except for Quasar) died, collapsing in the midst of whatever they were doing, after being exposed to the Axi-Tun's cosmic plague via the Hub's ventilation system. Ambassador D'Melza was presumably among the three million sentients who died.

(Cosmic Powers Unlimited#4/1 - BTS) - The Silver Surfer used his power cosmic to destroy the infection at a molecular level while leaving the "host bodies" undisturbed, thus neutralizing all traces of the lethal cosmic plague without destroying the thousands of infected corpses.

(Cosmic Powers Unlimited#4/1 - BTS) - Days later, after all the dead had been removed from the Hub, newly-elected representatives from the member worlds gathered at the Hub to finalize sanctions against the Axi-Tun. A new Nanda ambassador was presumably among them, but nothing about this Nanda has yet been revealed.

Comments: Created by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe.

   The Nanda were one of five new alien races created during the Shogun Warriors series. Oddly, none of the five species were actually named in any of those issues. It was not until they received quarter-page profiles in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#15 (March, 1987) that Cymell and Sh'Bleen's races were identified as being, respectively, the Nanda and the Lem.

   So far, a total of only twelve (or thirteen) different Nanda have ever appeared in Marvel Comics stories. Of them, the first seven (from Shogun Warriors#19-20) all had light green skin while the eighth (from Star Masters#1) had yellow skin. Of the four (or five) who appeared in Quasar#58, two had green skin, two others were in shadow so their skin color could not be determined, and the fifth one (if there was a fifth one) seemed to have light blue skin (unless he was actually a green Nanda whose skin color was distorted by a malfunctioning viewscreen).

   It should be noted that that Star Masters issue also featured a M'Ndavian who had green skin instead of the yellow skin which the only previously-seen M'Ndavian had. So, was this exchange of skin colors something that was planned, to show that alien races in the MU can have a range of skin colors (like Earth humans) and did not have to all be the same color? Or was it a mistake by the colorist, which the editors later decided would be easier to let stand than to explain away?

   Of the first eight Nanda seen, the two who were in positions of authority, Captain Cymell and Ambassador D'Melza, were both female. Does this mean that the Nanda culture is female-dominated? Or is their society one in which the genders are treated equally and Cymell and D'Melza attained their positions because they were the best qualified for them? It's also interesting to note that only 3 out of the 128 quarter-page profiles in the Alien Races Appendix in OHotMU Deluxe Edition #15 had illustrations showing a female of the species (clad in bra and shorts) instead of a male example, and those exceptions were the Mephitisoids (no bra as they were covered in thick fur), Nanda, and Sirusites. Of course, with some of the other 126 alien races, the question of gender is either inapplicable or impossible to determine by casual visual examination, but you get the point.

   Of all the Nanda seen so far, only Cymell had any hair on her head (aside from eyebrows and, presumably, eyelashes). Cymell's hair was (or seemed to be) white, grew from a small spot near the top of her head, and hung freely down her back to a point below her knees. Why only Cymell has been seen with hair has not been revealed. It could be that most Nanda naturally have hairless heads and Cymell is an anomaly. Or maybe all Nanda (or just all female Nanda) can grow hair on their heads but most choose to not do so because shaved heads are currently "in fashion" in Nanda society and Cymell is just a fashion rebel.
    Another possibility is that since the Deluxe Edition Nanda entry image didn't have any hair, that all further representatives were based on referring to that image.--Snood

   On a related topic, all the Nanda who appeared in Shogun Warriors#19-20 seem to have very long eyebrows that extend outwards far beyond their eyes. In contrast, all Nanda in later stories (like D'Melza) seem to have much shorter eyebrows that extend only slightly outward past their eye sockets.

   While most Nanda seem to have smooth chins, one was seen to have a very rough jawline. This could have been the result of a disfiguring injury or it could be a sign of age or that he was male. In the absence of any official explanation, we can only speculate.

   The most distinctive feature of the Nanda, the one that classifies them semi-humanoids instead of humanoids, is their oversized (by human standards) ovoid heads which are about three times as wide as a human head would be (based on body size). It should be noted that the green-skinned Nanda have facial features which are more widely spread out across the fronts of their heads while the face of the only yellow-skinned Nanda seen so far was situated within the middle third of the front of her head. Is this a "racial" difference between the green and yellow Nanda or just something which varies between individual Nanda? Also, Nanda facial features, even those which are wide, seem to be quite shallow compared to their human counterparts. When seen in profile, Cymell's nose looked small and non-protruding. Of course, it's possible that Cymell had a human-sized nose which just looked smaller in comparison to the rest of her head.

   All in all, the Nanda are a rather oddly-designed alien species, and their appearance prompts the obvious question of what exactly is in their heads. Do they have extra-large brains? If so, then their heads would be quite heavy and would require very strong necks to support them. On the other hand, perhaps much of the extra volume of their heads is occupied by a type of spongey bone that provides the Nanda with added protection against impacts. In that case their heads could be much lighter than they would appear. In any event, childbirth is very probably NOT a fun experience of Nanda women.

   The Nanda quarter-page profile mentioned above states that they have three toes on each foot, but the accompanying illustration shows a female Nanda with five toes. I've chosen to ignore the text and assume that Nanda have the same number of digits on their feet as they do on their hands. Of course, since no bare Nanda foot has ever been depicted in any published story so far, it can't be stated, with any certainty, how many toes the Nanda actually have on each of their feet.

   The OHotMU states that is was "the Nanda" who once sent a huge robot to Earth but I regard this information as unconfirmed. I imagine the Charter Federation to be something like Star Trek's United Federation of Planets, with many species working together, and the fact that a Nanda was in command of the Starcruiser Nightwind doesn't necessarily mean that the Nanda government was in control of that starship/weapon, but that's just my opinion and I could be wrong.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Nanda have no known connections to


The Nightwind's Nanda crew

   Although the Starcruiser Nightwind is an immense starship, nothing has been revealed about how many crewmembers are required to operate it. It's possible that the starcruiser and its internal symbiote are almost totally automated and thus only need a very small crew.

   In Shogun Warriors#20, no more than ten crewmembers were depicted aboard the Nightwind. Of those ten, the executive officer, Sh'Bleen, was a Lem and the tractor-beam crew was made up of (at least) three members of the " Drone"" race. The other seven crewmembers who were depicted were all green-skinned Nanda.

   In the image to the left, the four Nanda are Captain Cymell (wearing the cape) and the three armed Nanda who helped her escort the Primal One to his space station. Before they could return to the Nightwind, one of the Primal One's Drone crew reported that Combatra was approaching and preparing to attack, and one of the three guards suggested that they stay in the Primal One's craft until the Nightwind's defenses could repulse Combatra. Later, after Maur-Kon had been exposed and captured, it may have been these guards who took him into custody.

   In the image to the right, the three Nanda are those who encountered the Fantastic Four in the Nightwind's engine room, warned Mr. Fantastic that if he closed the switch he was holding the entire ship would self-destruct, and were then bluffed by him into leading the FF to the Primal One aboard his craft.

 

 

--Shogun Warriors#20 (SW#19 - BTS, 20

 


Galactic Marathon announcer(s) and spectators

 

   At the Galactic Marathon, a race to determine the fastest being in the Milky Way galaxy, a Nanda was seen on the viewscreen near the starting line when Makkari arrived. This Nanda appeared to have blue skin, something which has not been seen before. Who knows, maybe the tint controls on the viewscreen were set incorrectly?

 

 

 

 

   After the marathon was over, the race official who announced that Makkari of Earth was the winner and the fastest being in the Milky Way galaxy was a green-skinned Nanda.

 

   A crowd of alien spectators were seated in a stadium located on the planet beneath the finishing line of the race, watching the race on giant viewscreens. At least three Nanda were among the crowd. The one who is in the foreground has green skin but the other two are in shadow and their skin color cannot be determined.

 

 

Note: When the Nanda announcer was first seen on the viewscreen at the starting line (on page 5), his skin appeared to be blue but when he announced the winner (on page 16) his skin was green. Either Nanda can control the color of their skin or the color controls of the first viewscreen needed adjustment...or there were two different Nanda announcers, one with blue skin and the other with green skin?

 

--Quasar#58


images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15, page 51, panel 3 (main image)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 15, panel 3 (Captain Cymell)
Star Masters#1, page 9, panel 3 (Ambassador D'Melza)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 7, panel 1 (4 Nanda)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 13, panel 5 (+ 3 more Nanda)
Quasar#58, page 5, panel 4 (blue Nanda announcer)
Quasar#58, page 16, panel 1 (green Nanda announcer)
quasar#58, page 16, panel 2 (spectators)


Appearances:
Shogun Warriors#19-20 (August-September, 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Herb Trimpe (artist), Lousie Jones (editor)
Star Masters#1 (December, 1995) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Scot Eaton (penciler), Bob Almond (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Quasar#58 (May, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Peter Sanderson (co-plotter), John Heebink (penciler), Aaron McClellan (inker), Ralpha Macchio (sprinter)


Last updated: 06/17/14

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