Classification: Extraterrestrial humanoids (Distant Past)
Location/Base of Operations: The planet Viscardi whose location has never been revealed (depopulated 12 billion years ago)
Habitat: Earth-like (presumably now inapplicable)
Gravity: Possibly Earth-like (presumably now inapplicable)
Atmosphere: Possibly Earth-like (presumably now inapplicable)
Known Members: Gara, Adron (deceased)
Estimated population: One (the population prior to the devastation triggered by the use of the Black Vortex has never been revealed)
Affiliations: The "Godhead" (a Celestial)
Enemies: Each other (due to the corruptive effects of the Black Vortex)
First Appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (April, 2015)
Powers/Abilities: (Originally) none revealed
(after exposure to the Black Vortex) Cosmic powers
Cultural Traits: Would-be explorers of the universe
Fingers: Four (plus opposable thumb)
Skin color: Patterns of purple and grey
Average height: 6' (estimated)
Type of government: Unrevealed
Level of technology: The Viscardi had rocket technology but none of the rockets they launched ever reached space.
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (fb) - BTS) <Twelve billion years ago; see comments> - The Viscardi were a sentient humanoid race who existed on a planet that they called Viscardi.
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point early in their cultural development, when they were still living in caves, members of the Viscardi encountered a giant humanoid figure that they came to call the "Godhead." Despite the fact that the Godhead never moved or spoke, the Viscardi realized (or, at least, believed) that it was a sentient being from somewhere other than their world and this led to them being absolutely certain that there was more to the universe than just their species.
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (fb) - BTS) - Inspired by their knowledge that there was more "out there" than just them, the Viscardi dedicated themselves to travelling beyond their world so that they could know the cosmos. Over the course of four generations, the Viscardi left their caves behind and developed the technology that they needed to build rockets that could carry their "star scouts" into space. Sadly, the first eight rockets that they built and launched all ended in failure (and, presumably, loss of life).
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1) - As their ninth rocket achieved liftoff from its launching pad on the ground in front of the feet of the Godhead, a crowd of Viscardi watched as an announcer spoke of how their hopes and prayers were going with the brave star scouts. Then, just as the rocket was almost past the Godhead and success seemed assured, catastrophe struck as the rocket exploded!
Watching the launch from a nearby ledge that faced the Godhead, a female Viscardi named Gara reacted negatively to this ninth failure and began to wonder aloud if her people, after having made it from the caves to the sky in four generations, had reached the "ceiling of the cosmos" and could go no further. After rejecting this as "impossible," Gara then made this impassioned speech to the Godhead:
"We know there is more out there than just us. We know there is more to the universe than just the Viscardi. We know because of you, Our Lord Godhead. You tower above us and never speak! Never concede our existence! Does our bravery not move you? Does our ambition not inspire you? I am Gara! I will live with the stars! Can you not hear me?! Have you never felt longing as we have? Have you never dreamed higher than your grasp? Do you not love us? We only wish to be closer to you...to know the cosmos."
Seemingly in response to these words, the Godhead then moved its head so as to look down at Gara, shocking the Viscardi. The Godhead then raised its right hand and, in a burst of energy, caused the artifact later known as the Black Vortex to appear in front of Gara. Gazing into its central mirror, Gara saw an image of her enhanced self looking back at her and asked if it was a gift, the answer to their prayers, the way to realize their potential, but the Godhead did not respond.
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (fb) - BTS) - Believing that it was what the Godhead asked of them, all of the Viscardi submitted to the Black Vortex and were imbued with cosmic energy. Unfortunately, over the following year their "once-noble race" was torn apart and annihilated from within.
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1) - One year after the advent of the Black Vortex, only two Viscardi, Gara and Adron, were left alive. As Gara knelt on the chest of the defeated Adron, he begged her to destroy the Black Vortex before it destroyed her as it had already done to the rest of their race but she refused and slew him. Gara then confronted the Godhead, this time as the last of the Viscardi, and asked if what had happened to her race was what it had wanted. The Godhead did not answer except by launching itself into space. Left behind with the headless body of her last kill and the Black Vortex, Gara asked how did it dare abandon them now and called for the Godhead to come back...but it never did.
TWELVE BILLION YEARS PASSED
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Omega#1 (fb) - BTS) - During this time, Gara, who remained alive as an Elder of the Universe, learned that the "Godhead" was actually a Celestial. Gara also learned that the Black Vortex could be used to remove the enhancements from anyone who wished to renounce their "cosmic mantle" but that those who did so would not be completely unchanged from how they had been before they had used the Black Vortex. The nature of this change was unpredictable and could be for the better or for the worse.
(Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Omega#1 (fb) - BTS) - Gara also came to believe that, since the Celestial had intended the Black Vortex as a gift, anyone who rejected its gift would earn its ire and it might come to hunt those who renounced their "cosmic mantle." How Gara came to this belief has not been revealed but it could be that she had witnessed others renounce their enhancements and observed what happened to them.
(Legendary Star-Lord#11 - BTS) - Gara used her staff to show members of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men her home planet, Viscardi, which had been destroyed 12 billion years earlier, as evidence of what the power of the Black Vortex would do if they tried to use it to save the planet Spartax and its inhanitants. Gara also mentioned that what happened to Viscardi wasn't even the worst-case scenario, as many planets had fallen faster and many empires had fallen harder.
Comments: Created by Sam Humphries, Ed McGuinness, Kris Anka, Mark Farmer, Jay Leisten & Mark Morales.
Color patterns on the skin of the Viscardi
One of the interesting things about the Viscardi is that each member of their race had both purple and grey skin that formed distinct patterns that were apparently unique to each individual. For example, the main image shows that the skin on Gara's feet (and at least part of her lower legs) and hands (and part of her forearms) was purple. Most of her legs and torso were covered by clothing that was various shades of grey but the skin of her throat, upper chest, shoulders and upper arms was a dark grey (which matched parts of her clothes). Gara's head and face were covered in grey skin with purple patterns on them. Or was it purple skin with grey patterns on it?
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these color patterns is how precisely delineated they were. On Gara's forearms, the boundary between the purple and grey skin was a smooth, curving line. The skin on her face and head was even more precisely divided between purple and grey, and the patterns were bilaterally symmetrical as well, with those on the right side of her face being the mirror image of those on the left side. As far as I know, this sort of precision does not occur in nature. It reminds me of the odd left/right split in skin color observed in the Contraxian race.
As shown in the image of the crowd, the skin of every Viscardi had purple and grey patterns and all of the patterns were different. The only elements that these patterns had in common were that they were bilaterally symmetrical and each Viscardi had a small circle in the middle of their forehead. This circle was usually grey in the midst of a purple pattern but could also be grey-on-grey.
To quote Mr. Spock, "There is no theory, from the basic work of Mendel to recent nucleotide studies, which would explain" the appearance of the Viscardi. If we accept this statement, then that would imply that their pigmentation patterns might be artificial. One possibility is that all Viscardi were born with only purple skin and all of the grey areas are colored after birth, either via skin dyes or extensive tattooing. A second possibility is that all Viscardi were born with pigmentation patterns determined by their genetic codes and that it was those codes that were deliberately manipulated in order to produce those patterns, with the obvious suspect being the Godhead. However, without more information, no definitive answer can be determined.
Age of the Viscardi
According to the Black Vortex storyline, the Viscardi existed as a sentient species 12 billion years ago and Gara is (or considers herself to be) a member of the Elders of the Universe. Although this idea is interesting and cannot be disproven, it is also somewhat problematic for two reasons. First, although some early texts described the Elders as having arrived in Reality-616 soon after the Creation Event, later "official" texts retconned them into being the last survivors of some of the universe's earliest races. The only Elder whose (unrevised) origin has been revealed is the Obliterator who claims that he was born about 5.5 billion years ago and that the other Elders were born at "approximately" the same time. If this claim is accurate, then that would mean that Gara was over twice as old as any other Elder. This idea strikes me as being a bit of an odd disruption to the background of the Elders, especially since it centers on a character who has only appeared in that single storyline and who will probably never be seen again.
The second problem I have with the Viscardi being sentient 12 billion years ago is how that idea is inconsistent with current scientific theories as to how long it takes life on planets in the real world to evolve to intelligence. While the earliest life forms on Earth are believed to have first appeared less than 1 billion years after the planet's formation, those life forms were microorganisms and it took another 3 billion years for more advanced life forms to appear during the Cambrian Explosion of 541 million years ago, with "modern humans" not appearing until several hundred thousand years ago. Based on what the Obliterator told the Silver Surfer and Mantis, life on his homeworld evolved along a similar path, albeit one that started when his planet formed 6 billion years earlier than Earth did. Of course, this assumes that life on all planets MUST evolve at the same rate as life on Earth and that may well not be the case. Still, the idea that life on the planet Viscardi could have evolved from microorganisms to sentient humanoid life in less than two billion years after the Big Bang which created the universe seems unlikely.
Aside from the length of time needed for sentient life to evolve, there is also the question of how long it would take for a planet to form and develop an environment that was capable of supporting such life. For example, Earth formed about 4.54 billion years ago but an ozone layer capable of protecting organisms that lived on land instead of in the oceans did not form until about 600 million years ago, so humanoid life couldn't have even existed on Earth during the first 4 billion years of its existence. Furthermore, terrestrial planets like Earth and Viscardi are composed of heavier elements (like oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, silicon, and iron) that weren't even present in the early universe in which most of the matter that existed was made up of hydrogen and helium atoms, with only trace amounts of lithium, beryllium and boron. All of the heavier elements, from carbon on up, only came into existence when they were created later by nuclear fusion reactions in the cores of stars or during supernova explosions. Since these heavier elements were dispersed into interstellar space only after aging or dying stars ejected most of their masses, it follows that several generations of stars would have had to live out their lives before there could be enough of the heavier elements in the interstellar medium to clump together as planets in the protoplanetary disks produced by newly-formed stars.
So, according to theory, it should have taken several generations of early stars living out their lives and ejecting much of their masses into space before there would be enough of the heavier elements present in molecular gas clouds to form a solid planet like Viscardi. And then, once it had formed, it should have taken billions of years before a habitable environment could have developed which was capable of supporting larger life forms (like the Viscardi). Considering these requirements, it seems HIGHLY UNLIKELY that the Viscardi could have existed as sentient beings 12 billion years ago, less than 2 billion years after the Big Bang (currently believed to have occurred about 13.8 billion years ago).
Of course, this opinion of mine is based on the assumption that the planet Viscardi and its inhabitants evolved naturally, without any influence by external forces. However, in this case a possible external influence is known to have been present in the form of the "Godhead" Celestial. With its vast Cosmic Powers, this Celestial could have created a habitable planet and caused its native life forms to rapidly evolve to sentience in a MUCH shorter period of time. Of course, Celestials have never been known to manipulate life in such a direct manner but I believe this is the most plausible explanation for how the Viscardi could have existed as sentient beings 12 billion years ago.
By the way, in the real world, astronomers have discovered an extrasolar planet which they believe to be about 12.7 billion years old. This planet, PSR B1620-26 b (nicknamed "Methuselah"), is gas giant 2.5 times as massive as Jupiter and is in a circumbinary orbit around two stars, a pulsar and a white dwarf. Its existence is evidence that planets could have formed rapidly, within a billion years of the Big Bang. It is believed that this planet originally formed in orbit around a Sun-like star (which is now the white dwarf) and that this star and the planet were only later captured into orbit around a neutron star (which was later sped up into a pulsar due to the mass transferred to it when the Sun-like star swelled to a red giant before shrinking to a white dwarf). Cool.
Profile by Donald Campbell.
The Viscardi race has no known connections to
Adron was a male Viscardi who lived 12 billion years ago on the planet Viscardi. Like the rest of his race, Adron submitted to the Black Vortex and his potential was realized, transforming him into a cosmic-powered mutate. However, possessing such cosmic power was very corrupting and caused all of the Viscardi to turn on each other.
One year after the advent of the Black Vortex, Adron and Gara were the only two Viscardi still alive. They battled each other and Adron was defeated. As Gara knelt on his chest with her weapon at his throat, Adron begged her to destroy the Black Vortex but Gara refused to do. Adron then reminded her that it had destroyed their race and begged her to stop before it destroyed her but Gara again refused to listen and slew Adron by vaporizing his head, thereby becoming the last of the Viscardi.
With Adron dead, Gara confronted the Godhead with questions and demanded answers. In response, the Godhead simply launched itself into space, leaving Gara, Adron's headless corpse and the Black Vortex behind on Viscardi.
Whatever cosmic abilities Adron's enhanced form possessed were never revealed. However, the fact that he was Gara's last foe implies that he was strong enough to defeat and kill anyone who had previously challenged him, suggesting that he was quite powerful indeed.
--Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1
Inspired by the presence of the obviously non-native Godhead on their planet, the Viscardi knew that there was more to the universe than just their race and were all passionately committed to one day leaving their planet and traveling amongst the stars so that they could know the cosmos. To that end, the Viscardi devoted themselves to developing the technology that they needed to accomplish their goal and over the course of four generations their race moved from the caves to the sky.
After developing rocket technology, the Viscardi began to build rockets that they hoped would enable them to send "star scouts" (astronauts) out into space. Unfortunately, their first eight rockets that they built and launched all ended in failure (and, presumably, loss of life).
As their ninth rocket achieved liftoff from its launching pad on the ground in front of the feet of the Godhead, a crowd of Viscardi watched as an announcer spoke of how their hopes and prayers were going with the brave star scouts. Then, just as the rocket was almost past the Godhead and success seemed assured, catastrophe struck as the rocket exploded!
As disappointing as this latest failure may have been, it triggered a far worse fate for the Viscardi. The failure of the ninth rocket caused one of them, a female named Gara, to make an impassioned speech to the Godhead which, to her shock, provoked a response from the massive alien. Aside from moving slightly, something which the Viscardi had never seen it do before, the Godhead also presented them with a gift in the form of the artifact known as the Black Vortex. By submitting themselves to the Black Vortex, Gara and all of the other Viscardi were transformed and imbued with cosmic energy.
What happened after their transformation has not been revealed. Since at least some Viscardi gained the ability to travel through space without need of spaceships, it seems likely that they abandoned their rocket program. On the other hand, Gara and Adron were both on Viscardi when she killed him so maybe, instead of using their powers to fulfill their racial dream of knowing the cosmos, the Viscardi were so corrupted by their newfound power that they all just stayed on their homeworld and killed each other until only Gara was still alive.
Note: For a time, at least one online website claimed that it was the Godhead who was responsible for the failure of the Viscardi rockets. However, I don't see any evidence of this in that story and can't find the website where I had previously found that claim.
--Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1
images: (without ads)
Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1, page 5, panel 2 (main image)
page 5, panel 3 (head shot of Gara)
page 4, panel 2 (crowd scene)
page 21, panel 1 (Adron being killed by Gara)
page 22, panel 2 (headless Adron)
page 3, panel 1 (rocket launching)
same image (close-up of rocket)
page 4, panel 3 (rocket exploding)
Appearance: (aside from Gara alone)
Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha#1 (April, 2015) - Sam Humphries (writer), Ed McGuinness (penciler), Kris Anka (additional pencils), Kris Anka, Mark Farmer, Jay Leisten & Mark Morales (inkers), Mike Marts (editor)
Last updated: 01/11/18
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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