cluster_race-various_forms.jpgcluster_race-various_forms-full.jpg"CLUSTER"

Classification: Articially created composite extraterrestrial race 

Location/Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    groups/colonies are sent to worlds throughout the Milky Way galaxy, at least;
    the Earth colony was located in Death Valley, California;
    colonies were based out of and traveled via large robot ships; they traveled smaller distants in their saucer ships

Known Members: None named

Affiliations: Unidentified creator race

Enemies: Jessica Drew (aka Spider-Woman), Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin), natives of other races they had encountered +/- defeated in the past. 

First Appearance: Spider-Woman III#7 (January, 2000)

Powers/Abilities: The "Cluster" are mass produced, pouring out as soft, warm liquid from nozzles within their robot ship's gestation chamber; basic forms then congealed from the liquid. 

    They initially lack any sort of intelligence or throughts beyond attacking or fighting.

    Mattie Franklin hypothesized that the various forms the creatures adopted represented the forms of natives of other worlds their "people" had visited.

cluster_race-form1.jpg

    They can merge into larger forms or split into smaller versions of themselves. Generally when assaulted they split into smaller versions, but they could merge at will. By merging multiple Cluster together, they could briefly adopt a massive rock-like form, but eventually they would split up and revert to their original forms.

cluster_race-form1-small.jpg    In swarms of their smaller forms, they could rapidly shift weight, possibly altering mass and volume at will, keeping others off balance; they can even force superhumanly strong beings in a specific direction...they generally directed opponents into their ship where they could be analyzed.

    Upon interacting with others, the Cluster could learn to mimic their speech and eventually communicate to some degree.

    The Cluster, or their ship, could disrupt electronic/digital transmissions.

        The ship contains a gestation chamber and some sort of battery/power center that uses alien corpses (presumably those who were tested and defeated by the Cluster)). Destruction of this battery/power center both rendered the Cluster inert and led the ship to self-destruct, leaving no remnants of itself or the Cluster behind.

Traits: The Cluster are apparently programmed to test other races for suitability for being conquered by their parent race. 

    The ship is some sort of robot, serving as a probe or scout; it drops onto a suitable planet and tests the local lifeforms. It then generates the Cluster, and if the natives were defeated by the Cluster organisms it created, then the parent race determined that planet was a good target to be conquered.

    The larger "mothership" sent out one or more saucer ships to allow the Cluster to cover large areas.

Type: Polymorphic artficial lifeforms
Eyes
: Variable
Fingers
: Variable
Toes
: Variable
Skin color: Variable
Average height: Variable

History:cluster_race-composite.jpg
(Spider-Woman III#8 (fb) - BTS) - The "Cluster" apparently were sent to numerous worlds to test them for suitability

    According to the "Cluster" themselves, they always won (conquered?/enslaved?/destroyed?)

(Spider-Woman III#8 (fb) - BTS) - The Cluster's ship arrived on Earth and based itself within remote desert portions of California's Death Valley to avoid detection.

(Spider-Woman III#7 (fb) - BTS) - Mattie Franklin, aka Spider-Woman, asked Morris Maxwell, who possessed a form of ultimate knowledge, where she could find a foe she could understand, and Morris sent her to Death Valley. Flown via plane by Jessica Drew (who had previously (and would in the future) used the alias Spider-Woman), Mattie arrived there and began searching by air.

(Spider-Woman III#7 - BTS) - Finding a disc pattern in the sand, Mattie investigated further and discovered a sand "whirlpool," from which she saved a desert lizard. Tentacles then extended from the whirlpool's center in pursuit of Mattie, and soon a discoid spacecraft emerged from that sand.in form of Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin)

(Spider-Woman III#7) - Meanwhile, one of the Cluster creatures ambushed Drew, who, like Mattie, had found her communication efforts blocked. Jessica fought back, but found her foe(s) split into two or more somewhat smaller warriors when struck. 

    Fleeing the giant disc craft, Mattie pulled Jessica out of the craft's path, but then attacked the creatures herself and found herself swarmed by smaller versions. They forced Mattie up into the aperture atop their ship, after which the craft converted into a flying saucer form and flew away. Jessica leapt after the craft and used her adhesive abilities to hold onto it as it flew away, eventually bringing them toward a larger, floating ship.

    Within the smaller craft, tentacles extended and pulled at Mattie's costume before withdrawing. When she called them "Peeping Toms," they began repeating her words. The smaller creatures merged into a larger creature, while a number of other larger creatures appeared and confronted her.

(Spider-Woman III#8) - Frustrated as the gathered creatures continued to parrot her words, Mattie charged one of them and demanded to know who they were and why there were here; but the creature swatted her away. When she attacked anew, instead of splitting apart again, the larger creature merged with the others that had arrived into a single, massive, rock-like creature. Dodging its assaults, Mattie fired a blast from her psychic spider-legs, which caused the creature to split apart again into multiple smaller, rocky creatures, which tore at her briefly before reverting to their previous forms. Another of the creatures then mimicked Mattie's form and then spoke independently, asking her why she fought as they (the "Cluster") always won. 

    As Jessica made her way into the ship, Mattie punched back her duplicate and rushed out a still open portal into what she figured was a gestation chamber and then another room with various alien corpses hanging from the ceiling. Jessica encountered the creature patterned after Mattie and mistook it for a transformed Mattie until it split apart when she struck it hard enough, and then transformed into a monstrous form. 

    When the Cluster swarmed over Mattie, she released an energy burst from her psychic spider-legs, which struck some vital part of the ship; as a result, the Cluster collapsed, and the ship began to fall apart.

Comments: Created by John Byrne, Bart Sears, and Randy Elliot.

    Their real name is unrevealed, but Jessica Drew thought of them as a Cluster, and she and Mattie went with the name. 

    It is definitely noteworthy that Mattie Franklin determined the purpose and nature of the Cluster. Her deductions may or may not be 100% accurate.

    We know nothing apparent the Cluster's creators...they may be one of many known or as yet unrevealed imperialistic races in the Milky Way or beyond.

    The Cluster claimed that no one ever won against them, but that may be rhetoric. There looked to be at least 24 (and maybe another 12 or so, based on the section of the image shown) races represented in the corpse center that served to power the Cluster.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Cluster have no known connections to


cluster_race-mothership.jpgmain ship

    Jessica Drew estimated that the mothership was "a couple miles across."

    The ship is apparently some sort of robot, serving as a probe or scout.

    The ship arrives on a suitable planet;
        whether these are chosen by programs, or whether the parent race sends them specifically/individually is unrevealed
.
        it is presumably designed for space travel via some means.

    The ship then generates the Cluster to tests the local lifeforms.

        The ship contains a gestation chamber and some sort of battery/power center that uses alien corpses (presumably those who were tested and defeated by the Cluster)). Destruction of this battery/power center both rendered the Cluster inert and led the ship to self-destruct, leaving no remnants of itself or the Cluster behind.

    If the natives are defeated by the Cluster organisms it created, then the parent race apparently determines that planet is a good target to be conquered.

    The larger "mothership" sends out one or more (it looks like there's another coming in at an opposite angle in the image shown here) saucer ships to allow the Cluster to cover large areas.

 

--Spider-Woman III#7 (8


 cluster_race-saucership-running.jpgcluster_race-saucership.jpgsaucer ship

 

    The larger "mothership" sends out one or more (it looks like there's another coming in at an opposite angle in the image shown here) saucer ships to allow the Cluster to cover large areas.

    The saucers transport the Cluster distances away from the main ship. The saucers can bury themselves under sand or other structures. The aperture at the saucer's top can spin rapidly, generating a powerful vortex that can pull beings that get within its range into the saucer. The vortex pulls objects and beings within reach of its aperture, through which it can extend tentacles to grab those objects or beings and pull them through the aperture. As an object or being reaches the aperture, the spinning disc rotates out of the way to allow entrance and then closes again thereafter.

    The saucers can also extend large tentacles from its sides to allow it to ambulate across surfaces. They can retract its tentacles and then fly through an atmosphere.

    When the larger ship instituted its self-destruct system, the saucer ships were apparently destroyed as well, leaving behind no trace.

 

--Spider-Woman III#7 (8


cluster_race-gestation.jpggestation chamber

 

    The "Cluster" are mass produced, pouring out as soft, warm liquid from nozzles within their robot ship's gestation chamber.

    Basic forms then congealed from the liquid.
   
    The chamber was controlled by the ship.

    It was powered by some sort of battery connected to the alien corpses that allegedly served as the templates for the Cluster's forms.

     Mattie escaped the saucer ship and entered the main ship's gestation center.

    She deduced its purpose...

    ...and then looked up to see the alien corpses suspended from and connected to some sort of power battery.

    When the ship instituted its self-destruct system, the gestational chamber was apparently destroyed as well, leaving behind no trace.

--Spider-Woman III#8

Note: Mattie Franklin guessed this to be a gestation chamber. 

    The true nature of the Cluster was hypothesized by Mattie...

    We don't know if it had additional or completely different purposes.



cluster_race-corpses.jpgcluster_race-corpses-more.jpgalien corpses

     These presumably represented alien races whom the Cluster had previously encountered and captured/defeated.

    They also apparently represented the forms the Cluster adopted in confronting/battling others.

    They appeared to be connected to some sort of power battery that animated the Cluster.

    Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin) entered the chamber containing these alien corpses and guessed at their significance. 

    When the Cluster attacked her anew, her psychic spider-legs fired an energy blast that apparently destroyed some key portion of the power battery-deal.

    The Cluster immediately deactivated, and the ship thereafter entered some self-destruct mode, leaving behind no evidence of the Cluster or the ships.

--Spider-Woman III#7 (8

Note: Mattie Franklin really just assumed these to be corpses. She didn't check to see if they were in stasis or do anything beyond observing them from a distance.




images: (without ads)
Spider-Woman III#7, pg. 8, panel 1-2 (saucer ship with tendrils);
        pg. 9, panel 1-2 (vs. Jessica Drew);
        pg. 16, panel 3 (swarming over Mattie);
        pg. 22, panel 2 (floating city & saucer)
    #8, pg. 4, panel 1-2 (various forms, closer and distant);
        pg. 5, panel 4 (composite form);
        pg. 10, panel 1 (Mattie form);
        pg. 13, panel 1 (gestational chamber);
        pg. 15, panel 4 (corpses hanging from ceiling; closer);
        pg. 18, panel 2 (corpses hanging; distant)


Appearances:
Spider-Woman III#7-8 (January-February, 2000) - John Byrne (writer), Bart Sears (penciler), Randy Elliot (inker/finisher), Ralph Macchio (editor)



 

Last updated: 12/28/14

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