Classification: Alternate Reality (Reality-691) extraterrestrial aquatic semi-humanoids
Location/Base of Operations: Centauri IV, the fourth planet out from the "B" star in
the Alpha Centauri system of the Milky Way galaxy;
formerly Arima (now destroyed), third planet from the "A" star in the Alpha Centauri system of the Milky Way galaxy (see comments)
Habitat: (Centauri IV) 69% of surface covered with water, temperate climate
(Arima) 95% of planet's surface was covered in water (now destroyed)
Gravity: (Centauri IV) 102% Earth
(Arima) 210% of Earth (now inapplicable)
Atmosphere: (Centauri IV) 99% Earth density
(Arima) 188% Earth density (now inapplicable)
Known Members: unidentified female
Estimated population: Unrevealed. The Arima that existed in Reality-616 during the late 21st century had a population of 75 million but there's no way to determine if this Arima was inhabited by a greater or lesser number of Alphans.
Affiliations: Yondu Udonta (Centaurian member of the Guardians of the Galaxy)
Enemies: Galactus (Galan)
First Appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (June, 1992)
Powers/Abilities: "Alphans" possess gills that extract dissolved oxygen from water and other (unspecified) adaptations that enable them to dwell beneath the sea.
"Alphans" have two hearts. The second heart acts as a back-up and only starts if the first one stops.
Like the Alpha Centaurians, the "Alphans" presumably have vestigial lungs,
useless remnants from a time before their land-dwelling ancestors migrated seaward. However, if the "Alphans"
had also once considered altering themselves to develop fully functional lungs, then they may have made far more
progress than their 616 counterparts and become creatures capable of living in either water or air.
However, no such ability to breathe air has yet been observed so it may be that they are able to survive with their heads out of water for only limited amounts of time.
At least some "Alphans" are able to swim through water at "an unbelievable speed," even while carrying other people who are the same size they are. It is not known if all Alphans are able to swim as swiftly while carrying objects of their own size and body weight.
Cultural Traits: Unrevealed. In the past, when their race's existence may have been threatened by their world's accelerating dehydration, the Alphans were probably self-centered and dispassionate survivalists but that may have changed once their planet was no longer endangered.
Eyes: Two (on head)
Fingers: Four (plus opposable thumb) with webbing between the fingers but not between the forefingers and thumbs
Toes: Three (may or may not be webbed)
Skin color: Grey (scaled) or dark green (scaled)
Average height: 6'1"
Type of government: Unrevealed.
In the past the Alphans are believed to have had a feudal government, one that was organized into small, interdependent kingdoms.
Level of technology: Unrevealed.
Alphans may have intermediate capacity interstellar spacecraft or they may have once had that technology but later abandoned it.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (fb) - BTS) - The Alphans are a water-breathing semi-humanoid race who originated on the planet they called Arima, which was the third planet out from the star known to Terrans as Alpha Centauri A.
The names by which the "Alphans" called their race and their home star have not been revealed.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (fb) - BTS) - Nothing has been revealed about the "Alphans" prior to the (Earth) year 3018 A.D. As such, it is impossible to say how similar their history is to that of their counterparts from Reality-616 (see the Comments section for some speculation about their history).
(Marvel Presents#4 text page) - "It was in the year 2940 that the first successful interstellar voyage was made—to Alpha Centauri—and the first terran interstellar colony was founded on Centauri-IV."
(Defenders I#26 (fb)) - "By 2960, (Terrans had) reached the nearest star-system to (their) own and established (their) first friendly contact with an alien race," the blue-skinned humanoids who were native to the planet that the Terrans had named Centauri IV.
(Marvel Super Heroes II#18 (fb)/Defenders I#26 (fb)/Marvel Presents#4 text page/Guardians of the Galaxy I#26 (fb)) - In the year 3006, the starship carrying Major Vance Astro landed on Centauri-IV after a voyage that had lasted for 1,018 years (having launched from Earth in 1988). The Centaurians and the human colonists gave him a hero's welcome, but he felt that his journey had been made a farce. Major Astro chose to deal with his situation by completing his original (now-obsolete) mission of cataloging Centauri IV's flora and fauna.
(Marvel Presents#4 text page) - "In that same year, the Centauri-IV colony was attacked and destroyed" by the Brotherhood of Badoon.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#12: Yondu entry) - With the first evidence of hostilities, Astro took Yondu aboard his survey ship and set out for the nearest known planet in the Centauri trinary star system but they were quickly captured by the Badoon.
(Marvel Two-In-One I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Yondu was believed to be the last of his "race of barbarians."
(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual I#2/3 (fb) - BTS) - Unbeknownst to outsiders, at least one Centaurian tribe secretly survived the Badoon genocide of their race because the rock surrounding the cave in which they hid was laced with the mineral known as trillite (or yaka), a substance which blocked radio waves (and Badoon scanning equipment).
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (fb) - BTS) <3018 A.D.> - The surface of Arima was covered by a planet-wide ocean. The Alphans lived in (at least) one major city, whose buildings had been designed to resemble giant seashells of various types.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#24 - BTS) - After the Keeper (formerly the Silver Surfer) arrived on Earth and encountered the Guardians of the Galaxy, "Eon" (actually Era) also arrived and warned them that Galactus was "on to three inhabited worlds in the Centauri system."
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (fb) - BTS) - Above Arima, Firelord stood in the way of Galactus, refusing to allow him to approach the planet.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25) - When the Keeper and the Guardians arrived in the Alpha Centauri system, Firelord was still barring Galactus from feeding on Arima but the world-devourer soon ended the stand-off by defeating Firelord with a flick of his finger. However, Guardians Starhawk, Charlie-27 and Talon then took over the task of distracting Galactus while the Keeper headed to Arima.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (fb) - BTS) - Aboard Drydock, Yondu consulted with Anthos and learned that the Keeper would be transporting the Alphans from their planet to Centauri IV. Anthos also told Yondu that his people were still alive.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25) - Beneath Arima's planet-wide ocean, the Keeper found the underwater city and then concentrated all of his Power Cosmic directly through the Quantum Bands in order to surround the entire city with a shield of golden energy. The Keeper then quantum-jumped both himself and the city to a vast ocean somewhere on the nearby planet Centauri IV.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25) - While teleporting down to Centauri IV from Drydock, Yondu somehow became caught up in the Keeper's quantum-jump and materialized deep beneath the surface of the ocean and in the vicinity of the transplanted Alphan city. As Yondu's lungs nearly collapsed under the pressure, a female Alphan with green skin spotted him and realized that he was in danger of drowning. The female reacted instantly, grabbed Yondu and then swam upwards at incredible speed, dragging Yondu to the air above in time to save his life.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#25) - When the Keeper had the weakened Galactus at his mercy, "Eon" appeared and persuaded the Keeper to help Galactus. The Keeper reluctantly agreed and attached Galactus to his Elemental Converter, enabling Galactus to restore himself by feasting on Arima (presumably leaving the planet a lifeless husk incapable of supporting life).
Soon afterwards, Yondu encountered a tribe of living Centaurians and was overjoyed by this confirmation that he was not the last survivor of his race.
(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual I#2/3 - BTS) - Several hours later, when the other Guardians traveled to Centauri IV to meet with Yondu, he informed them that he was going to stay on his homeworld and that his first task would be to make a treaty between the Centaurians and their new neighbors, the Alphans.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#44 (fb) - BTS) - In 3019 A.D., for reasons which have never been revealed, the planet Centauri-IV and all of its inhabitants (except for Yondu Udonta) were seemingly transformed into (or replaced by) the planet "Alpha Centauri IV" and its inhabitants from Reality-9445. As a result, Yondu suddenly found himself on a version of his planet whose history had seemingly been altered so that the Badoon had invaded and conquered his world in the 21st century.
In this world's 31st century, there were relatively few "pure" Centaurians still alive and they were greatly outnumbered by a race of Badoon/Centaurian hybrids who had come into being after the invading Badoon army had killed most of the male Centaurians and carried off most of the young female Centaurians for breeding purposes. After years of (forced) breeding, the first of these hybrid Centaurians with Badoon features had been born and proved to be very prolific. Additionally, the planet itself had suffered as the way in which the Badoon had plundered its natural resources had caused so much pollution that the water-breathing Alphans had become extinct long ago.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#44-46) - When the Guardians of the Galaxy traveled to Centauri-IV to recruit Yondu for a mission they were shocked when he revealed how his world had been altered by their recent actions in the 21st century of Reality-616. They were even more shocked when the other Starhawk, Stakar, showed up. As the two Starhawks began to quarrel, the Hawk God also arrived and punished them by fusing them together at their hands.
The now-joined Starhawks agreed to travel back in time to 21st century Moord in Reality-616 to retrieve Yondu's dagger and thereby restore Centauri-IV's disrupted history to the way it had been. After arriving on Moord at the correct moment in time, the Starhawks destroyed the dagger before the Brother Royal could acquire it and then immediately left to travel back to the 31st century.
(Guardians of the Galaxy I#47) - After returning from their mission to 21st century Moord, the joined Starhawks traveled to Alpha Centauri IV and confirmed that its history had been restored to the way it had been. They found that Yondu's race was pure once again, that the Alphans were no longer extinct, and that Centauri-IV was thriving instead of polluted, observations which seemingly proved that they had been successful.
Neither the Alphans from Reality-691 nor their new homeworld have been seen since.
Comments: The "Alphans" were created by Jim Valentino and Steve Montano.
Based on the Alpha Centaurian race created by Roy Thomas, Marie Severin and Jay Hawk.
The environmental data listed for Arima and Centauri IV was accurate for the Reality-616 versions of those planets as they existed during the late 20th century. However, the conditions on Centauri IV and especially Arima may have been much different a thousand years later and in an alternate timeline.
Sexual dimorphism and/or
If all Alphan females shared the facial features of the one who rescued Yondu, then that would mean that the Alphan race exhibits some sexual dimorphism. Additionally, if the dark green skin of that female was not unique, then that could mean that the Alphans also exhibit sexual dichromaticism, a form of sexual dimorphism in which the genders of a given species differ in coloration. However, if male Alphans can also have dark green skin and females can have gray skin, then the species would not be sexually dichromatic.
Distorted reality/Altered timeline
According to Yondu, in the alternate timeline of Reality-9445 where the Badoon invaded and conquered Centauri-IV almost a thousand years before they did in his timeline, the planet's "natural resources were plundered and polluted with impunity. Hardest hit were the water-dwelling Alphans who became extinct long ago!" This statement is a bit odd because, in Reality-691, the Alphans weren't transplanted to Centauri-IV until one year earlier, in 3018 A.D., just before their homeworld was consumed by Galactus. The only way that they could have died out "long ago" is if, in Reality-9445, they had been transplanted much earlier. However, since the Badoon/Centaurian hybrids were dominating the planet by then and already polluting it so badly, why would the Alphans been willing to migrate to a world that was clearly lethal to them? It sound like the writer knew that the Alphans lived on Centauri-IV but was somehow unaware of how recently they had moved there.
Alpha Centauri in the real world
Alpha Centauri is the brightest star in the southern constellation Centaurus and the third brightest star in the night sky. Originally believed to be a single star, Alpha Centauri was discovered to actually be a visual binary star (a binary star whose two components orbit each other at a distance which is great enough for them to be observed as a double star in a telescope) in 1689, almost a century after "it" was named Alpha Centauri by German astronomer Johann Bayer. As a result, the two component stars became known as Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, and the main binary system itself was known as Alpha Centauri AB. However, within the past five years, the International Astronomical Union has officially approved the usage in everyday conversation of the proper names Rigil Kentaurus and Toliman for the A and B stars, respectively.
At a distance of 4.37 light years, Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to Earth. The "A" star, the primary of the system, is a yellow main-sequence star that is about 10% more massive and 23% wider than the Sun. The "B" star, the companion star, is a slightly oranger star that has only about 90% the mass of the Sun and is 14% smaller in width. These two stars orbit a common center of mass with an orbital period of 79.91 years and since their orbit is moderately eccentric the distance between the two stars varies between 11.2 and 35.6 astronomical units (AU). The A and B stars are, respectively, more and less luminous than the Sun, and if seen independently would be the fourth and twenty-first brightest stars in the night sky (instead of the third).
A third star, Proxima Centauri, is believed to be gravitationally bound to the other two stars and may actually be orbiting them. If this is true, then Alpha Centauri AB and Proxima Centauri (sometimes referred to as Alpha Centauri C) would be a trinary star system, Alpha Centauri AB-C, with Proxima Centauri orbiting Alpha Centauri AB at a distance of about 15,000 AU and taking between 100,000 and 500,000 years to complete one orbit. At a distance of 4.24 light-years, Proxima Centauri is the closest known star to the Sun and, as a red dwarf, is only about 12% as massive and 14% as wide as the Sun (or about 129 times as massive and 1.5 times as wide as Jupiter). This star is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from Earth and even from any planets orbiting Alpha Centauri AB it would be a very faint (fifth magnitude) star.
The stars in the Alpha Centauri trinary system are all believed to be slightly older than the Sun. Being very Sun-like, Alpha Centauri A and B will eventually (in about 5 billion years) both become red giants and then white dwarfs. In contrast, Proxima Centauri, as a red dwarf, will last for 4 trillion years before becoming first a blue dwarf and later a white dwarf.
Although astronomers have claimed to discover planets orbiting around each of the three stars, so far only two planets orbiting Proxima Centauri have been confirmed to exist. Proxima Centauri b is a rocky exoplanet orbiting the star at a distance of about 0.05 AU which makes its year only slightly over 11 Earth days long. Proxima Centauri c is a super-Earth or mini-Neptune that is believed to be about seven times as massive as Earth and orbits its star at about 1.49 AU so its year is about 1,928 Earth days long. Neither planet seems likely to be habitable.
Alpha Centaurians in the MU
The following is a list of all relevant references to the Alpha Centaurians who exist in the Marvel Multiverse (at least, in Realities 616 and 691). These references are listed in order of publication.
1. Sub-Mariner I#17-18 (September-October, 1969) - The first appearance of a race of aquatic
semi-humanoids whose home planet orbited the twin suns of Alpha Centauri in a figure-eight orbit. For "countless
ages," that planet's water vapor had been slowly escaping into space; but in recent ages the dehydration process
had accelerated so that their cities were beginning to be exposed to the burning rays of the twin suns. To prevent
their civilization from being annihilated, the aliens had sent out many expeditions to planets that had vast
quantities of water and had used their funnel-disk technology to atomize hydro-oxygen liquids and teleport them
across space to the home planet. Namor saved Earth by reversing the spin direction of the funnel-disk, causing it
to drain water from the alien home planet instead, leaving its cities burning in flames.
2. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#1 (January, 1983) - The "Alien Races" pages contained a quarter-page profile on the aliens from Sub-Mariner I#17-18 who had now been named "Alpha Centaurians." Their homeworld was identified as "Arima" and was the third planet from the sun in the Alpha Centauri A star system. A notation stated that the Alpha Centauri trinary star system boasted other worlds with intelligent life (i.e. the Centaurians and the Centurii).
3. Guardians of the Galaxy I#24 (May, 1992) - Eon stated that Galactus was "on to the three inhabited worlds in the Centauri system." It would later be revealed that this "Eon" was actually Era, the evil son of the real Eon (who was deceased).
4. Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (June, 1992) - The omniscient recap mentioned the "three inhabited planets in the Alpha Centauri system." The third planet from the 'A' star was identified as Arima, and its inhabitants were the water-breathing Alphans. Centauri IV was described as "the only other world with an ocean in this sector." The Keeper transported the Alphans to Centauri IV, Galactus consumed Arima, and Yondu was reunited with a tribe of cave-dwelling Centaurians who had also survived the Badoon genocide. The third inhabited planet was not seen, and its name was not mentioned.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy I#44 (January, 1994) - In an altered timeline in which the Badoon had invaded and conquered the Alpha Centauri solar system in the 21st century, the homeworld of the Centaurian race was plundered of its natural resources and polluted with impunity so that the water-dwelling Alphans became extinct long before the early 31st century.
Alpha Centaurians from Reality-616 versus Alphans from Reality-691
Although the Alpha Centaurians from Reality-616 and the Alphans from Reality-691 are meant to be alternate reality counterparts, there seem to be some differences between their species and their worlds. Of course, these apparent differences may simply be due to the fact that very little information has been provided about either of these races/worlds. Still, it might be worthwhile to examine these variations in more detail.
All of the Alpha Centaurians depicted in Sub-Mariner I#17-18 have the same basic appearance: gray-skinned with "handlebar mustaches." Since their words implied that they were male, it could be that all of the members of this race who appeared on panel happened to be males but it could also be that the species is not sexually dimorphic and so both males and females would look the same (at least, to a casual observer). In contrast, the only female Alphan ever depicted does look significantly different from the only male Alphan ever shown (see main image). So, how might these differences be explained?
1. All male and female Alpha Centaurians share the same basic appearance, one that is shared by all normal male and female Alphans. The female Alphan with dark green skin was actually a mutant member of her race whose appearance was atypical.
2. All male and female Alpha Centaurians share the same basic appearance but Alphan males and females have significantly different appearances. If true, then this would mean that the evolutionary paths taken by the two species were slightly different, resulting in one species being sexually dimorphic while the other was not.
3. The male Alpha Centaurians and the male Alphans both have the same appearance, as do the as-yet-unseen female Alpha Centaurians and the female Alphans. This would mean that both versions of this species were sexually dimorphic. Of course, if the only female Alphan ever depicted actually was a mutant, then this hypothetical "normal" female form shared by both species has not yet been depicted.
NOTE: The image to the right is what was in Yondu's mind when he spoke of making a treaty with the Alphans. The fact that the Alphan appears to be a male with dark green skin is inconsistent with the gray-skinned male from the main image. This could be interpreted as evidence that ALL Alphans, regardless of gender, can have skin that is either gray or dark green. Or it could just be a mistake by the colorist.
Arima-616 versus Arima-691
Okay, so much for any differences that might exist between the Alpha Centaurian and Alphan races. Now, what about their homeworlds? The homeworld of the Alpha Centaurians (Arima-616) has a "figure-eight" orbit around the two main stars of the Alpha Centauri trinary system, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. Additionally, this planet has long been subjected to a dehydration process whereby water vapor was continually escaping into space, prompting the native race to use drastic measures to prevent their home from drying out. Actions taken by Namor the Sub-Mariner to defend Earth in "1969" seemingly left Arima-616 drained dry. In contrast, the homeworld of the Alphans (Arima-691) was described only as being the "third from the 'A' star" in the Alpha Centauri triple-star system and as of 3018 A.D. it had a worldwide ocean (until the planet was consumed by Galactus). So, how might these differences be explained?
Before continuing, it might be helpful to speculate as to the real-world reasons for these differences. Based on the fact that he used the names "Courg" and "Bledsoe" in his first storyline, writer Jim Valentino had clearly read the information about Alien Races that had been presented in the Official Handbooks. However, I suspect that he had relied entirely on that data and had not actually read the stories in which those alien races had appeared. This would explain why he depicted Courg as a low-tech world when members of the Courga race who had previously been seen were part of an interstellar organization. This would also explain why Mr. Valentino knew that the homeworld of the Alphans was Arima, a planet that was third from its "A" star, but his story did not mention its more significant characteristics of being in a "figure-eight" orbit around the stars Alpha Centauri A and B and the fact that it had been reduced to an arid wasteland by the end of Sub-Mariner I#18. This is important because, if he was unaware of those facts, then he could not have written the story he did with them in mind. In other words, the differences were unintentional and not the result of some creative choice.
Okay, now that that is out of the way, what sort of "in-universe" explanations could there be for these differences between Arima-691 and Arima-616? Here are three possibilities that I have considered.
Theory #1: The two Arimas have been different since they first formed out of their respective protoplanetary disks. In Reality-616, Arima orbited the "twin stars of Alpha Centauri" in its bizarre and unexplainable figure-eight orbit, but the Arima in Reality-691 only ever orbited Alpha Centauri A and, as a result, was not subjected to the same level of dehydration that afflicted Arima-616. Since there's no evidence either for or against it, this idea is possible but it seems unlikely that a divergence that occurred so far back in time wouldn't have also affected the evolution of the native lifeforms.
Theory #2: The two Arimas have both always had the same figure-eight orbit and the same dehydration problem and both planets tried to save themselves by stealing water from other worlds and, like Arima-616, Arima-691 was left arid and devastated by the way that Namor thwarted their attempt to steal the oceans of Earth-691. However, at some point after that deadly encounter, those Alphans who survived were somehow able to "aquaform" Arima-691 back to being an inhabitable water world. Exactly how the Alphans could have accomplished this feat, I have no idea, but it could have happened.
Theory #3: The two Arimas always had the same figure-eight orbit and the same dehydration problem but the ways in which they tried to solve this problem differed greatly. While Alpha Centaurians from Arima-616 resorted to stealing water from the oceans of other worlds, the Alphans from Arima-691 found another way to save their planet, one which did not require that they devastate other worlds. And maybe that solution was for them to CHANGE their planet's orbit from the figure-eight around the twin suns to a more conventional ellipse around only Alpha Centauri A? Admittedly, the idea of moving a planet is a bit out there but there are a number of races in the Marvel Universe who have managed to accomplish this feat, among them the Rigellians (with their Space-Lock device) and the Pegasusians. Maybe the Alphans were able to hire Sphinxor and the Prime Movers of Tarkus to "nudge" Arima into a better orbit?
Of course, actually moving their planet would be their ultimate solution, one that could require a great deal of preparation before it could be undertaken, and so there would have to be an intermediate solution, one that provided short-term protection from the accelerated dehydration. One rather simplistic idea that occurred to me was building several large mirrors in space and putting them in orbits that would keep them between Arima and its two suns. To my surprise, when I checked Wikipedia I found that such a concept, known as a space sunshade, had actually been proposed decades ago. While such a project could be difficult and expensive even with modern-day Earth technology, one would expect that a race capable of building interstellar spacecraft could find such sunshields far easier to build, especially since they had a far more urgent motivation than Earth currently does.
In conclusion, I believe that any of these three theories could explain the differences between the arid early 21st century Arima-616 with its figure-eight orbit and the Arima-691 from the early 31st century with its worldwide ocean and an orbit that may (or may not) have only been around a single star. Of course, the chances of any of them being established as "fact" are slim since it seems highly unlikely that the Earth-691 timeline will be revisited in any future Marvel comic.
A few thoughts about this whole "figure-eight orbit" idea
Although the concept of an alien planet with such an orbit sounds very much like something from science fiction, the truth is that science says that such an orbit would be impossible, at least for any significant length of time, because it would be SO VERY HIGHLY UNSTABLE. Since gravity is a manifestation of how matter curves space-time, a commonly-used visualization of such a distortion involves placing a mass on a trampoline. When smaller masses are then rolled across the trampoline, their paths are altered by the way the fabric is curved and they are seemingly pulled towards the larger mass at the bottom of the indentation in the trampoline.
In the case of binary stars, the gravities of the two stars can be considered as being two different indentations in the fabric of space-time. A planet that orbited just one of the stars would be wholly within one of the indentations and therefore could have a stable orbit. Similarly, a stable circumbinary planet would be one that orbited around two stars at a distance from the stars that was significantly greater than the distance between the stars. In contrast, a planet in a figure-eight orbit would have to pass back and forth between the two indentations every time its orbit brought it between them, with the transfer taking place at the exact point where the two indentations are just touching each other. In order for such an orbit to be stable, the planet would have to pass through the exactly right position in space every time it passed between the stars. However, in the real world, planetary orbits, even stable ones, are NEVER exactly the same each time around because they are influenced, however slightly, by the gravitational pull of other planets in their planetary system. Furthermore, the distances between the two components of a binary star constantly change as they orbit each other and that would mean that the transfer point would be constantly shifting as well. The orbit of Alpha Centauri AB is moderately elliptical, with the distance between them varying between about 11.2 AU and 35.6 AU.
So, based on these facts, a figure-eight orbit IS possible but would be so HIGHLY unstable that it could not possibly last long enough for an environment capable of supporting life to evolve on the planet, let alone any sentient native lifeforms. And yet, Arima is just such a planet and it does exist in the Marvel Universe. This raises the question of HOW it could possibly exists.
In general, there are three possible reasons why Arima could exist. The first explanation is that the laws of physics in the Marvel Universe are different from those that exist in the real world. While this is certainly possible, I find the idea of changing the laws of nature for an entire fictional universe simply to make it possible for this one planet with its odd orbit to exist is an example of overkill, like using a nuke to get rid of a mosquito. A more targeted explanation would therefore be preferable.
If we accept that Arima's orbit really should be too unstable to endure, then we can logically conclude that there must be something unusual acting to stabilize its orbit. If we assume that this stabilizing influence is natural, then the second explanation would be that there is something about Arima's composition that is responsible for this exceptional stability. As it happens, the Marvel Universe contains a number of materials that don't exist in the real world. For example, Vibranium is a rare metallic ore that can absorb sound waves, vibrations and kinetic energy, and can be used to stabilize the flight of missiles. Another such ore is Yaka, also known as Trillium, a sound-sensitive "living metal" that can be found only on the planet Centauri-IV. Given that Arima and Centauri-IV are both part of the same planetary system, it would not be unreasonable to speculate that Arima itself might also contain some other material with unusual properties that could somehow act to stabilize an unstable planetary orbit. In fact, given that Vibranium, although it does not occur naturally on Earth, is known to exist on other planets, one could speculate that maybe a significant portion of Arima's core was actually composed of this ore. Admittedly, this explanation does seem a bit convenient and therefore implausible but it's definitely better than not explaining an impossible orbit.
The third explanation is that Arima's orbit is being stabilized by something artificial. This is perhaps the most plausible explanation because phenomena that defy natural laws do so either because they are not actually defying those laws or because something UNnatural is responsible. The idea that Arima's impossible orbit was actually being artificially maintained could be explained in several ways. One possibility is that Arima could be an artificially-created planet, essentially a planet-sized spaceship, one whose "orbit" around the twin stars of Alpha Centauri is actually a powered course that it has been following for thousands (or millions or billions) of years. If this were the case, then the increasingly-dehydrated environment of Arima could have been the result of a flaw in the flight computer that controlled Arima's course around the suns.
On the other hand, if Arima was actually a natural planet and not a spaceship, then some outside (alien) influence must have either created the "figure-eight" orbit or at least chosen to do something to stabilize the pre-existing highly-unstable orbit. This stabilizing agent, which presumably was either on or within the planet, could have been a technological mechanism (like the Sagittarian Planet-Destroyer that could affect a planet's rotation) or a mystical artifact of some kind or even a living being, a long-lived entity who had been entrusted with (or condemned to) the task of using its powers to keep Arima on its odd orbit.
Of course, all of these possibilities are nothing more than speculation since there has never been an "official" attempt to explain how such an impossible orbit could have remained stable for the billions of years that would have been required for intelligent life to evolve on the surface of Arima. Sadly, since it has been OVER FIFTY YEARS since the homeworld of the Alpha Centaurians has appeared in any story, it seems that the Powers That Be at Marvel are in no rush to solve this mystery. Ah, well, maybe someday some writer will have his characters visit the Alpha Centauri system and take the time to establish certain "facts" that have remained unconfirmed. For example, when Namor reversed the action of the funnel-disk that was stealing Earth's water, did he truly doom Arima and its people? Or did the Alpha Centaurians either escape offworld or find some other way to save their planet? Is the planet Centauri-IV really the fourth planet out from the star Alpha Centauri B? Given that "Centauri-IV" is the Earth name for that planet, what do the native Centaurians call their homeworld? For that matter, what is the name by which the "Centaurians" know themselves? And what about the Centurii? Is their home planet of Centuri-Six really in orbit around Proxima Centauri? Or is Proxima Centauri system actually an anti-matter star system in which positive-matter beings could not possibly exist? Inquiring minds want to know! And some of us have been waiting for answers for decades.
Although the -616 adventures were published in the 20th century, the sliding timescale has moved them to the 21st century.
This profile was completed 7/13/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Donald Campbell.
The "Alphans" from the planet Arima in Reality-691 are the counterparts to
The "Alphans" have no known connections to
A female member of the Alphan race who lived on the planet Arima in the early 31st century. Nothing about her life has yet been revealed, including her name. Her physical appearance was similar to that of the only other Alphan yet seen in that they were both hairless humanoids who had large pointed ears and scaled skin. However, their appearances differed in that her skin was dark green instead of grey, she lacked the ridge on the upper lip that looked like a gray "handlebar mustache" that the male possessed, and she instead had two long "eyebrows" (that may have been fins) that ran from above her eyes and extended sideways beyond her temples. Additionally, while Alpha Centaurians did not have any webbing between the digits of their hands, this female had webbing between the fingers of her hands but not between her thumbs and forefingers. Since her feet were never depicted on-panel, it's impossible to say how many toes she had on each foot and if they were webbed or not. However, the male with dark green skin who appeared in Yondu's thoughts had three toes with webbing between them that made his feet resemble flippers.
Although the female was only wearing a black thong-type swimsuit, the front of her upper torso was never visible so it's impossible to tell if she, like many other female aliens, had "Non-Mammal Mammaries" or not.
One day, in the (Earth) year 3018 A.D., Galactus arrived in the Alpha Centauri star system with the intent to consume the planet Arima. It has not been revealed if any of the Alphans were aware of his arrival and the danger that he posed to them. If not, then this female was just going about her everyday life while, far above her planet, Galactus was opposed and his plans were delayed, first by his former herald Firelord, and then by several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
While the Guardians were keeping Galactus occupied, the Keeper descended beneath Arima's planet-wide ocean and used his Quantum-Bands to encase the underwater city in a giant ovoid of golden energy which he then quantum-jumped from Arima to Centauri IV. The female apparently wasn't in the city during the quantum-jump but she was close enough to be within the energy shield.
When the city arrived on Centauri IV, it was deep beneath the surface of an ocean. The female and a gray-skinned male were already outside the city when they spotted Yondu Udonta, a Centaurian whose attempt to teleport to the surface of his homeworld had interacted with the quantum-jump and caused him to materialize far below the surface. As the female watched Yondu struggle to breath as his lungs nearly collapsed due to the pressure, she realized that he was an air-breather who was drowning. Reacting instantly, the female grabbed Yondu and, swimming at incredible speed, pulled him up to the open air above.
The female and her rescuee reached the surface in time, and Yondu gasped in great gulps of air. As he tasted the sweetness of his homeworld's air, Yondu realized that he was home and that he had made at least one new friend in the Alphan female.
What the female Alphan and Yondu did next has not been revealed but she may have helped him reach shore far more quickly than he could have by swimming on his own.
And that's about all that has been revealed about this female Alphan.
--Guardians of the Galaxy I#25
In the year 3018 A.D., the surface of Arima was covered by a planet-wide ocean. The Alphans apparently lived in a single city whose buildings had been designed to resemble giant seashells of various types. Alternatively, the "buildings" may have been ACTUAL giant shells which the Alphans had salvaged and relocated to form their city.
The image to the left is the only source of information about the city and it doesn't reveal much. The shell-like architecture is clearly very different from the more conventional style of the buildings that existed on Arima-616 in the 21st century but that may simply be the result of how the architectural style evolved over the course of a thousand years. The fact that the people of Arima-691 were apparently no longer facing an ongoing environmental catastrophe that threatened their civilization could have also influenced how they built their city.
When Galactus arrived in the Alpha Centauri system to consume Arima, he was confronted by Firelord and then, after dealing with his former herald, he was engaged in battle by the Guardians of the Galaxy. While the world devourer was thus delayed, the Keeper (Norrin Radd) traveled beneath the ocean to the underwater city where, with an incredible display of willpower, he concentrated all of his Power Cosmic directly through the Quantum Bands to encase the city in a shield of golden energy and then quantum-jumped both it and himself to a vast ocean somewhere on the nearby planet Centauri IV.
Although it is known that both the Keeper and the city arrived in that vast ocean on Centauri IV, no images of their arrival have been provided nor have any details about what happened to the city afterward. Given that the Keeper's purpose was to save Arima's life forms, it can be presumed that he took precautions to avoid killing them in the process of relocating them. In this case, that would include making sure that the city was delivered to a location (and depth) on Centauri IV where the water pressure would be similar to that in which it and its inhabitants had existed while Arima. We can also only presume that the Keeper was able to find a level area of the sea floor upon which to deposit the city so that it wouldn't break apart when it "landed" in its new location.
Note: One thing about this storyline that bothered me is that previous issues had stated that the Keeper had voyaged to worlds threatened by Galactus and saved their populations by removing ALL sentient beings as well as all flora and fauna in order to ensure successful transplantations on other, uninhabited planets. However, in the case of Arima, the only action that the Keeper was shown to take was to quantum-jump a single underwater city from Arima to Centauri IV. Judging by the number of alien fish that are visible outside his energy shield, the Keeper clearly did not save all the fauna on Arima. Furthermore, since Arima's surface was covered by a planet-wide ocean and the Alphans could (theoretically) live anywhere, I consider the idea that ALL of the Alphans lived in that one city to be highly unlikely.
Sure, maybe the Alphan population was small enough that they could all have lived within a single city made up of only about twenty shell-buildings. And maybe there was some deadly hazard in the ocean against which the city was the only protection. However, since that's only speculation on my part, the story as written left me with the distinct impression that the Keeper had only saved a small percentage of the Alphan population. And for a character with a reputation for saving everybody, saving only some seems almost like a failure or at least not a triumphant success. This seemingly-limited success negatively affected how heroic I perceived the Keeper to be.
--Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (Guardians of the Galaxy Annual I#2/3 - BTS)
images: (without ads)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#25, page 26, panel 2 (Alphans)
page 13, panel 3 (Galactus and Firelord above Arima)
page 26, panel 3 (female Alphan pulling Yondu)
page 26, panel 4 (female Alphan rescuing Yondu)
pages 34-35, panel 4 (Galactus consuming Arima)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#2, page 32, panel 4 (Alpha Centaurian)
Guardians of the Galaxy Annual I#2, page 49, panel 2 (male Alphan?)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#25, page 26, panel 6 (female Alphan and Yondu at the surface)
pages 22-23, panel 2 (Alphan city)
Guardians of the Galaxy I#25 (June, 1992) - Jim Valentino (writer/pencil artist - the toast of Ol' Marvel), Steve Montano (inker - the boast of Ol' Marvel), Craig Anderson (editor - his post is Ol' Marvel)
Guardians of the Galaxy Annual I#2/3 (1992) - Jim Valentino (script), Matthew Jorgensen (pencils), Andrew Pepov (inks), Craig Anderson (edits)
First Posted: 09/07/2021
Last updated: 09/06/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
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