PENNSU and TAE
Real Names: Pennsu and Tae
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial humanoid "gods"
Occupation: Being gods
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Their followers
Enemies: Beta Ray Bill, Desak, Hercules, Thor
Known Relatives: None (unless each other?)
Aliases: "The Powers"
Base of Operations: A pair of worlds located "hundreds of galaxies" away from Earth
First Appearance: Thor (Annual) 2001 [sometimes listed as Thor Annual Vol. 2 #2001] (March, 2001)
Powers/Abilities: Pennsu and Tae both possessed superhuman levels of strength and durability, enough for them to overpower Beta Ray Bill and Hercules in one-on-one battles. This indicates that their strength may have been Class 100+.
Pennsu and Tae both possessed some ability to control the amount of precipitation that fell on the planet inhabited by their followers. This amount could vary by their will, from gentle rainfalls to downpours that resulted in terrible floods. It is not revealed if they could control other aspects of weather (like wind speed). It's also unrevealed if the planet's dryness was caused by their choosing to withhold any rain or if the planet was naturally dry and rain only fell due to Pennsu and Tae's intervention.
Tae could fire beams of pink energy from his arms (at least, from his right arm) that could damage solid matter or kill living beings. Pennsu is presumed to possess this ability as well.
When acting together (with clasped hands), Pennsu and Tae
could create a powerful beam of pink energy that seemingly emanated from the ground of their
godly abode which they could then direct at their followers' planet. Once activated, this
beam of destruction would continue without any direct control or further energy input from
its creators, but their deaths might have cut off its energy. This beam of destruction could
travel between their two worlds, widening as it did so, and could shatter any solid objects,
like buildings or people, that it struck. Presumably Pennsu and Tae could target the other
planets in their star system with such beams, but this has not been confirmed.
Such energy beams could apparently be "swept away" by strong storms like the one which Thor summoned.
Pennsu and Tae presumably possessed some or many of the attributes common to other "gods." Pennsu and Tae probably both had extended lifespans, but whether this was due to them being extremely long-lived or to them being true immortals who ceased to age upon reaching adulthood was never established.
Tae's claim that he and Pennsu would "cultivate a new world (with) a new group of followers" implies that the duo had the capability to travel between worlds. This could mean that they could travel through space or between dimensions. However, it was never established if this was a natural ability they possessed or if they merely owned some sort of godly vehicle that could carry them to other worlds.
Traits: Pennsu and Tae were both cruel deities whose only interest in their followers concerned the amount of respect that they demonstrated by performing acts of piety. Aside from that, Pennsu and Tae were totally indifferent to the welfare of their followers, and thought nothing of allowing them to suffer and die from drought. When they were displeased, "The Powers" also punished their followers more directly, via destructive energy beams or terrible floods. All in all, Pennsu and Tae were megalomaniacs with godly powers.
Height: 6' (estimated)
Eyes: Two (solid white, sometimes red)
Skin: Pale blue
(Thor 2001 (fb) - BTS) - At some time in the past, under circumstances which have never been revealed, the goddess Pennsu and the god Tae came to be worshipped by the people who inhabited a certain planet located "hundreds of galaxies" away from Earth. It is not known if Pennsu and Tae originated on this planet or if they arrived from elsewhere and cultivated their followers.
(Thor 2001 (fb) - BTS) - Whatever their origin, Pennsu and Tae possessed the power to control that planet's rainfall, and their followers realized that it wouldn't rain if they didn't show that they truly worshipped "The Powers."
(Thor 2001 (fb) - BTS) - At some point it came to be that Pennsu and Tae required their followers to demonstrate their piety by collectively praying for two hours per day. Accordingly, every day at midday all work, commerce and other activities would cease and the people would gather together at a specific location where a religious leader would guide them in prayer for two hours.
(Thor 2001) - Eventually there came a time when a "relentless dryness" continued to envelop the land. The people prayed, but Pennsu and Tae did not "loosen the cleansing rains."
From their godly abode, Tae looked down on their followers and was amused that they were again begging for rain. Pennsu then asked how these "pathetic little creatures" could believe that they (she and Tae) would respond when their respect was so inadequate. Tae agreed that only two hours of prayer a day showed "insufficient piety" and Pennsu suggested that maybe they should give their worshippers what they wanted - in the form of a terrible flood to sweep them away. Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of an alien (Desak) who accused them of being "cruel jokers!" The alien stated that he traveled from world to world dealing death to gods and then attacked while declaring that their reign of terror would end now! Tae was unimpressed by this "crazed one" and fired a blast of energy from his hand at Desak, but the alien's pendant absorbed Tae's power blast and enabled him to fire an energy bolt back at them from his sword, throwing them both to the ground. Desak then grabbed Pennsu by her hair and, after delivering a brief speech about why they deserved to die, was about to kill her with his sword when he was knocked back by the hammer of Thor, a god who had just arrived with his two companions, Hercules and Beta Ray Bill, all of whom had come in search of Desak for reasons of their own.
Feeling that anyone who would defend such "reprehensible creatures" as Pennsu and Tae must be equally deserving of death, Desak attacked Hercules and then his friends. Briefly forgotten by the combatants, Tae decided that he had had enough of the would-be assassin and the petty mortals who defied them so he and Pennsu clasped hands and allowed their combined energies to build. Tae declared, "If it's DEATH they want...so be it! Let their souls be damned for eternity!" Pennsu agreed that the price for opposing them could be no less and the duo then created a huge beam of destructive energy that emanated from their world and targeted the planet of their worshippers.
As Desak pointed out what Pennsu and Tae had just done, an appalled Thor left Hercules and Beta Ray Bill to stop the two evil gods while he went to rescue the innocents below.
While Thor summoned a mighty storm and used it to sweep away the beam of destruction, inadvertently providing the people with a long-overdue rain, Pennsu and Tae fought back against the alien gods, with Pennsu stating that nothing could save their worshippers and Tae revealing that they would go on to cultivate a new world with a new group of followers. Gaining the upper hand, Tae began throttling Hercules for daring to interfere with them and Pennsu, while battering Beta Ray Bill, stated that their deaths, even if they were the most painful ever suffered, would not be enough for their transgressions.
With their foes defeated, Tae then said, "Now comes...the End!" And Desak, standing behind him with his sword drawn, replied, "Indeed."
Having saved the planet, Thor returned to the battlefield to help Hercules and Beta Ray Bill before they were overwhelmed. However, amidst the signs of a momentous battle, Thor found Pennsu and Tae lying there dead. He and Desak spoke briefly and Thor's actions and his words earned him a portion of Desak's trust, enough that he teleported away without further battle just before Hercules and Beta Ray Bill rejoined Thor.
Comments: Created by Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, and Al Vey, Karl Kesel and Scott Hanna.
The source and nature of Pennsu and Tae's godly abilities has never been revealed. They could have been true gods (i.e., supernatural beings like the Asgardians) or members of an alien race who naturally possessed great powers or mutants from an alien race whose members did not normally possess any powers or alien beings who had gained their "godly" attributes through the use of technology. It's even possible that Pennsu and Tae were simply powerful alien androids. Without more information, it's impossible to draw any conclusions. However, the fact that their beam of destruction emanated from their planetoid suggests that they were able to draw energy from that world. It's also possible that their world was the source of ALL of the energy which empowered their abilities but this is only speculation.
Normally, two different characters should each get their own profile or, if they did share a profile, then the main profile would be about one of them with a sub-profile about the other. However, in this case I've covered both characters in a single profile because, frankly, neither of them deserve a full profile. Plus, they're both so alike that I'd have to flip a coin to decide which character would get the main profile and which would get the sub-profile.
According to the Spirit of the Jewel, the "black souls" of every god Desak defeated would be imprisoned within the gem she had given him and would make their power his own. If true, then that would mean that the souls of Pennsu and Tae were absorbed into the gem after their deaths. However, that absorption was not depicted and thus cannot be confirmed. Also, although Desak presumably used his sword to kill Pennsu and Tae, that was also not depicted/confirmed and so it may be that he actually killed them by draining their life forces into his gem after he physically defeated them.
Pennsu and Tae both have what looks like circuitry on their skin on parts of their bodies but it's not clear if these are objects that they are wearing or something that is implanted in their bodies. This circuitry could be merely decorative or it could have something to do with their powers.
I believe that the first Marvel story to feature gods who were from Earth's dimensional reality but not from Earth itself was Thor II#1 (July, 1998), and those first "alien gods" to be introduced into the Marvel Universe were the Dark Gods of Narcisson. Prior to that issue, all other "gods" who had been encountered were either from Earthly pantheons or originated in other dimensions or were actually just powerful alien beings. The story in Thor 2001 introduced three more sets of gods and their worshippers, plus the new character of Desak and his anti-god crusade. For these reasons, I quite enjoyed Thor 2001.
However, there were two things about Thor 2001 which slightly diminished my enjoyment. First, all of these new races were overly humanoid. Sure, only Pennsu and Tae and their followers were identical to Earth humans (except for the colors of their skins) but the other two alien races were very human-like as well, with only slightly different facial/cranial features keeping them from looking exactly like us. Personally, for a first story to feature multiple alien gods, I would have preferred to see some deities who were really non-humanoid in their appearance, like giant insectoids or land octopoids. I would also have really liked to have seen at least one example of such an alien race and their gods having the same body shape, like races of human-sized insectoids or land-walking octopoids worshipping gods who looked like them. In that respect, Thor 2001 represents a missed opportunity, one that has so far never been fulfilled.
The second problem I have with Thor 2001 is the distinct lack of names provided. Sure, seven new characters (Desak Sterixian, his wife Almonnas, their daughter Loatia, their god Kronnitt, the Spirit of the Jewel, and Pennsu and Tae) are all named but none of their races or their worlds are. This makes it rather...frustrating...to talk about these races and worlds because one has to describe them (i.e., Desak's people, the world inhabited by Pennsu and Tae's followers) instead of just using their names.
Brother and sister, parent and child, or husband and wife? The nature of the relationship between Tae and Pennsu was never revealed. They could have been brother and sister, father and daughter, son and mother, or husband and wife. Then again, considering how "gods" often interact, their relationship could have been some combination of those three types of relationships. Ick.
Some online texts claim that Pennsu and Tae had the ability to "create new worlds and new denizens to worship them." This is not a totally inaccurate way to use the verb create but reading that phrase made me think of how the High Evolutionary physically created Counter-Earth. Tae's actual claim that they would "cultivate a new world (with) a new group of followers" seems to me to be more accurate since (I think) he meant that he and Pennsu would find another world and then guide/train/compel its inhabitants into being their new followers. Then again, maybe I'm just obsessing about word choices.
Although the various pantheons that make up the gods of Earth live in realms that appear to be "above" the planet Earth, those realms are actually located on planetoids within pocket dimensions that are tangential to Reality-616. The introduction of the Dark Gods of Narcisson and the revelation that their city, like Asgard, appeared to float over the planet inhabited by their worshippers caused me to assume that this was the normal situation for godly realms throughout the universe. However, the fact that Pennsu and Tae lived on a small planet that was apparently on the same dimensional plane as the planet inhabited by their worshippers suggests that my assumption was wrong. As a result, I now have no idea of how common (or uncommon) it is for gods to reside in mystic pocket realms that are dimensionally-adjacent to their worshippers' world. That's a topic that I would like to see explored in some future storyline.
The being who killed Pennsu and Tae, Desak, is known to exist in at least two timelines, the "mainstream" timeline (Reality-616) and the alternate "Reigning" timeline (Reality-3515), so there should be a profile for this pair of evil gods from each reality. However, since the two realities only diverged after they were killed by Desak, it can be safely presumed that their histories in the two timelines were identical and thus a separate profile on the Pennsu and Tae from Reality-3515 would be redundant.
Profile by Donald Campbell.
Pennsu has no known connections to
Tae has no known connections to
The beings who worshipped Pennsu and Tae were a race of humanoid aliens whose external appearance was identical to that of humans from Earth except for the colors of their skin. This race's name for themselves has never been revealed and neither has their name for their world. Their level of technology seemed to be significant since they lived in a large and advanced-looking city that was defended by automatic gun turrets, but it is not known if they were capable of space travel, even to the other planets in their solar system.
Although most of these people appeared to have skin that was light green in color, the religious leader clearly had blue skin. It's possible that these two skin colors occurred naturally among their population and that their religious leaders tended to be chosen from the blue-skinned segment simply because their gods both had blue skin. Another explanation would be that all members of this race normally had light green skin but that Pennsu and/or Tae had altered the skin color of the people chosen to be their intermediaries. A third possibility is that all members of this race had light green skin and that the religious leaders used artificial means (like skin dye) to make their skin blue in color. However, all of these explanations are merely speculative.
Although it is not known precisely how the ancestors of these people began to worship Pennsu and Tae, it's logical to presume that it was initially a pragmatic decision. Pennsu and Tae may have "cultivated" their followers, probably through a combination of rewarding those who obeyed them and punishing those who defied them. Those ancestors would have quickly realized that these gods possessed the power to control their planet's rainfall and that it wouldn't rain if they didn't show that they truly worshipped "The Powers." Under those circumstances, it seems likely that most of the people would have chosen to "convert" to worshipping these gods while those who refused would have been killed for their defiance by either the gods themselves or by their fellows who wished to avoid angering their new gods. As time passed, each succeeding generation would have become more and more indoctrinated until they all truly believed that it was the natural way of things for them to worship Pennsu and Tae in order to survive.
At one point, the gods decreed that their followers had to pray to them for two hours each and every day if they wanted to show an adequate amount of respect. Their followers obeyed and instituted a policy whereby all work, commerce and other endeavors would stop at midday and the people would gather together in the presence of a religious leader who would lead them in prayer as they thanked The Powers. During times of drought, these prayers included pleas for rain.
The last of these public prayer sessions began when the religious leader announced that midday had come and called upon everyone to bow their heads as one to thank The Powers. The leader reminded the people that they were suffering because relentless dryness still enveloped the land and that they must show The Powers that they truly worshipped them before they would loosen the cleansing rains! The religious leader was then interrupted by a voice from the sky which called them beings who crawled and humbled themselves as though they were little more than pets and declared that they must be freed from that overwhelming prison of thought that confined them and that their jailers must be removed! Looking to the sky, the leader and the people saw an alien humanoid (Desak) floating there, enveloped in the nimbus of light from the teleportation by which he had arrived. The startled religious leader exclaimed, "Sacred winds!" and stated that "Only the devil would speak so!" As the alien flew away, he stated that he was not the devil to them but was to those who treated the people with contempt. Alarmed by these words, the people called out that the alien mustn't take actions against their gods because they could not survive without their charity! As automatic gun turrets opened fire on the alien, he thought them mad for seeking to destroy him when he offered them freedom and mused aloud about how the negative effects of blind servitude could not manifest themselves more clearly!
Mere minutes later, when a massive beam of pink energy erupted from the home of the gods and began destroying their city and them, the people realized what was happening and cried out that Pennsu and Tae were displeased! Fortunately, another alien being (Thor) soon arrived and summoned a furious storm that swept away the beam of destruction and also, finally, brought rain. The people rejoiced that a new god had come to their rescue and they called out, "Let him be forever remembered and praised!" However, there is no indication that they ever saw that god again and he definitely did not call for them to pray to him or pay tribute.
Aside from their worship of Pennsu and Tae, two other elements of these people's belief system were mentioned. First, "Sacred winds!" was an expression of surprise that may indicate that the people had formerly worshipped natural forces (like wind). Second, the alien who spoke against The Powers was presumed to be "the devil" but it's unclear if the speaker had confused the alien with an actual being who was a rival to The Powers in their theology or if it was just a term which the people used to refer to non-believers.
What happened to these people after Pennsu and Tae were killed has not been revealed. It may be that, as Desak expected, they were able to survive and flourish without depending on their gods' charity. On the other hand, it may be that it was only the intervention of Pennsu and Tae that kept their planet habitable and that, with the gods dead, an unending drought began that caused their civilization to tear itself apart in a war for resources, one that left the entire race either dead or barely surviving on an arid, desert world.
-- Thor (Annual) 2001
Pennsu and Tae lived on a world which was located "hundreds of galaxies away" from Earth, "almost beyond the very notion of existence." This planet and the one on which their worshippers lived were two members of a group of (at least) five different planets that somehow existed in close proximity to each other. The names by which any of the five planets were known and the names of their star system and the galaxy within which it existed have not yet been revealed.
The world on which Pennsu and Tae lived seemed to be a pure natural wilderness unmarred by any signs of civilization. When observed from afar, the planet appeared to be covered with either dark green vegetation or grey rock. It also had areas of green grass and its own atmosphere with clouds. The planet also apparently contained within itself (or its core) a powerful source of energy, one which Pennsu and Tae were able to tap into in order to generate the beam of destruction that they directed towards the planet of their worshippers. When Pennsu and Tae were displeased, pink energy (like that of the beam) could be seen arcing, like lightning, amongst the clouds.
In contrast, the world inhabited by those who worshipped Pennsu and Tae appeared to be highly developed, with some (or all?) of its surface being covered by an immense city. The few images of that planet which are available show no sign of any natural growth and an atmosphere with clouds (presumably of pollution) close to the surface.
When Pennsu and Tae, angered by the "petty mortals" whom they felt had defied them, decided to kill them all and damn their souls for eternity, they activated a large beam of pink energy that crossed the void between the two worlds and began to destroy anything it hit, be it building or living being. Thor believed that the beam would decimate the entire planet if not stopped so he summoned a furious storm to sweep away the beam and his plan (somehow) worked. Also, the storm at last brought rain to the drought-stricken world.
Aside from the fact that none of their names have ever been revealed, the planets of this solar system seem to defy the known laws of physics in two ways. First, all five of these planets are depicted as being EXCEEDINGLY CLOSE TOGETHER. This is made especially clear by the image of the gods looking up at the planet of their worshippers which fills their sky. This is a problem because if two celestial bodies are closer together than their specific Roche limit then the gravitational pull exerted by one body on the other body will exceed the second body's gravitational self-attraction that holds it together and the second body will disintegrate. And judging by how close these planets appeared to be to each other, ALL OF THEM should have been torn apart into rubble by their respective gravitational fields. So, how these planets managed to survive in such close proximity to each other is certainly a mystery.
Second, in all of these three images of the worshippers' planet a definite curvature is visible, indicating that all of these views encompass a significant portion of the planet's 360 degree arc. On Earth, such a curvature would only be visible in images covering hundreds of miles. However, in all of these images there are individual buildings clearly visible as well. Taken together, these facts can mean one of only two things: Either the planet is normal-sized and the buildings are IMMENSE, or the buildings are normal-sized and the planet itself is relatively small (or even tiny). Since the only close-up views of the buildings make them look normal compared to their inhabitants who appear to be only slightly smaller than Desak, this supports the idea that the planets are considerably smaller than Earth or even Mars. And that in turn implies that the gravity on its surface should be much less than that of Earth as well. However, none of the alien visitors exhibited any evidence of finding themselves in a low-gravity environment. It's another muystery.
--Thor (Annual) 2001
Thor (Annual) 2001, page 36, panel 2 (main image)
page 27, panel 5 (head shots)
page 28, panel 1 (confronted by Desak)
page 32, panel 3 (preparing genocide)
page 36, panel 3 (The End!)
page 26, panel 4 (priest)
page 27, panel 2 (other worshippers)
page 26, panel 1 (worlds in space)
page 32, panel 4 (world vs. world)
page 27, panel 4 (Pennsu and Tae's view)
Thor (Annual) 2001 (March, 2001) - Dan Jurgens (writer), Tom Grummett (pencils), Al Vey, Karl Kesel & Scott Hanna (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last updated: 12/03/16
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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