the PEOPLE of the WORLD CALLED HEAVEN
(both Cloudlanders and Giri-worlders)
Classification: Alternate Reality (Reality-791) extraterrestrial semi-humanoid technology-users
Location/Base of Operations: Heaven, a planet located in a star system whose location has not been revealed (but was probably within the Milky Way Galaxy)
Habitat: Presumably Earth-like
Gravity: Apparently Earth-normal
Atmosphere: Breathable by humans from Earth
Environment: Earth-like, divided between the Cloudlands above and the Giri-world below
Known Members: (Cloudlanders)
doomed lovers (names unrevealed, deceased),
white-haired Cloudlander (name unrevealed)
(Giri-worlders) attendant (name unrevealed)
Estimated population: Unrevealed (divided between an unknown number of Cloudlanders and an unknown number of Giri-worlders)
Affiliations: Star-Lord (Peter Quill), "Ship"
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight II#7 (July, 1980)
Powers/Abilities: The people of the world called Heaven have external appearances that are almost identical to those of light-skinned humans from the planet Earth. The primary difference is that members of this race can grow translucent wings (sometimes called "giri-wings") from their upper backs that, when fully grown, enable them to fly through the atmosphere.
The people of the world called Heaven can carry within them something that they call "giri" which they gain by performing certain good deeds. Their wings grow in size depending on how much "giri" they accumulate. Those with enough "giri" end up with full wings (about 6 feet from top to bottom) that enable them to fly.
Any Giri-worlders who attain enough "giri" to mount the final "steps of giri" and reach the Cloudlands are considered to have become Cloudlanders.
Cloudlanders can undergo some unspecified transformation that stops their aging process and gives them the blessing of immortality. These Cloudlanders are immune to death by natural causes and can only die as the result of accidents, executions or suicides.
Cloudlanders who have lost their wings can regain them if they receive a transfusion of the energies from multiple Giri-worlders. Once the energy transfer is completed, their wings will begin to regenerate and, growing at a highly accelerated rate, will be fully restored after only three days.
Cloudlanders can channel their personal energy into Giri-worlders, giving each of them a few more moments of life, but doing so will cost them their immortality.
Limitations: Giri-worlders are mortal beings who are unable to fly until their wings reach their full size, a process that normally takes years. Accordingly, some Giri-worlders die before they can receive functional wings.
Cloudlanders are unable to reproduce. This is presumably a side effect of their immortality but this has not been confirmed.
Cloudlanders who have sacrificed their immortality cannot regain it even if they are able to return to the Cloudlands.
Cultural Traits: The people of the world called Heaven, both Giri-worlders and Cloudlanders, conduct their lives in accordance with their concept of "giri."
Limbs: Six (two arms, two legs and two wings)
Fingers: Four (plus opposable thumb)
Skin color: Pinkish-white
Hair: Black, blond, brown or white
Average height: 6'
Type of government: Unrevealed but may be governed by some form of democracy
Level of technology: Advanced, but there is no indication that they have ever built starships capable of traveling to other star systems.
History: Since absolutely nothing about the origin of the world called Heaven and the winged humanoid race who lived there has ever been revealed, several possible origins will (eventually) be listed in the Comments section. For convenience's sake, this profile will assume that everything about this planet and its inhabitants, no matter how unusual, is natural in origin.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - The world called Heaven by its inhabitants possessed characteristics that were somewhat different from other planets in its reality. The most obvious of these differences was that some of the clouds in its atmosphere were tangible, permanent and capable of supporting considerable weight. These masses of clouds were like islands and continents that floated in the sky.
(conjecture) - A humanoid race evolved to intelligence on the surface of the planet that they would later come to call Heaven.
(conjecture) - Over time, members of this race evolved the ability to grow translucent wings from their upper backs.
(conjecture) - Over time, members of this race observed that the growth of their wings depended on them performing good deeds for one another. Their civilization developed a system of giri in which each good deed was considered to be a "step of giri."
(conjecture) - Eventually, members of this race accumulated enough giri that their wings became functional. After flying up to the clouds above, they discovered that the clouds were solid and permanent and could be lived on. These people named these clouds the Cloudlands and settled there, becoming a group known as the Cloudlanders.
(conjecture) - The surface of the planet came to be called the Giri-world and the people who lived there came to be known as Giri-worlders.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, a massive structure known as the World Palace was built in the Giri-world.
(conjecture) - At some point, the Cloudlanders discovered that if any of them left the Cloudlands, natural defense systems would be activated that would kill anyone who tried to reach the Cloudlands from the Giri-world simply by flying without "climbing the steps of giri."
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - Long ago, a male Cloudlander fell in love with a female Giri-worlder and came down from the Cloudlands to claim her. However, his departure from the Cloudlands caused the clouds to darken as an indication that the defense systems had been activated. Possibly unaware of the significance of the darkened clouds, the Cloudlander attempted to carry the Giri-worlder up to his home in the Cloudlands, but both of them were slain by the raw lightning generated by the defense systems. Their story became a legend and a cautionary tale on the world called Heaven.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - Also long ago, the people in the Cloudlands somehow conquered aging and were able to make themselves immortal, with death only occurring due to accident or execution (or suicide). However, a side effect of this "blessing of immortality" was that the immortal Cloudlanders were no longer able to produce viable offspring. Since the death of any one of them brought them all one step closer to extinction, they came to regard death as the greatest evil.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - At some point "eons" in the past, a male Giri-worlder named Thorn climbed the steps of giri and reached the Cloudlands where he became an immortal Cloudlander.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in the past, a female Giri-worlder named Shreen climbed the steps of giri and reached the Cloudlands where she became an immortal Cloudlander.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - Eons ago, Thorn came to believe that the only meaningful step of giri left to those who had taken the final step into the Cloudlands was to immediately share Heaven with the people of the Giri-world below. In order to achieve this end, he proposed building a bridge that would reach from the Giri-world up to the Cloudlands. Giving the Giri-worlders access to the Cloudlands would somehow enable them to also become immortal.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - The other Cloudlanders disapproved of Thorn's plan, feeling that such a bridge would threaten the very basis of their world. They also believed that immortality was meaningless without the proper reality in which to live it.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - The other Cloudlanders indulged Thorn's rebellion for eons without taking any action to force an end to it.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Shreen was chosen to become the Huntress. One of her duties was to carry out the punishment of righteous death upon Cloudlanders who had been sentenced to be executed but had somehow escaped dying.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb) - BTS) - Eventually, the Cloudlanders decided that they could no longer indulge Thorn's rebellion and, reluctantly and by the will of many, they decided to execute him. Thorn's wings were removed, and he was brought to the edge of the Cloudlands to be cast over the side and fall to his death on the Giri-world below. All of the Cloudlanders, including Shreen, gathered to witness the punishment of righteous death and to then take a step of giri by weeping for Thorn onto his lifeless form.
(Marvel Spotlight II#7) - However, an alien known as Star-Lord and his sentient starship Ship had just arrived at this planet and begun searching for life. Upon discovering the structures being supported by the oddly tangible clouds and the winged inhabitants who could fly, the two aliens chose to get closer to the nearest of the cities.
After seeing the wingless Thorn being thrown over the side of the cloud-continent, Star-Lord decided to intervene to save him and managed to fly down and catch Thorn before he could hit the ground.
Above in the Cloudlands, Shreen observed that the stranger had saved Thorn from the punishment of righteous death and was reminded that, as the Huntress, it was up to her to carry out Thorn's punishment. Shreen accepted her duty and began to descend from the Cloudlands.
On the Giri-world, Thorn observed that the underside of the Cloudlands had begun to darken from the loss of himself and one other. As Star-Lord began to ask what he meant, Ship called out a warning that enabled him to hurl himself and Thorn out of the path of an energy beam fired from above by Shreen. Using blasts of water and of air from his Element Gun, Star-Lord was able to force Shreen out of the sky and into a nearby cave and then created a wall of fire in front of the cave to temporarily trap her inside.
Star-Lord wished for Thorn to escape with him aboard Ship but Thorn refused to do so until he had repaid the step of giri that his rescuer had taken on his behalf. Once he had done this, by using some water from a pool in an act of cleansing Star-Lord, Thorn accepted Star-Lord's offer of escape if he could be taken to the World Palace where he could restore his wings.
While Thorn and Star-Lord talked during their journey aboard Ship to the World Palace within Ship, those Giri-worlders who had seen the darkening of the Cloudlands recognized it as a celestial sign that a Cloudlander had been cast down among them. Choosing to aid the unknown Cloudlander in regaining his wings, they began to walk to the World Palace. By the time Ship arrived, thousands of Giri-worlders were already there and entering the palace.
Within the World Palace, Thorn and the gathered congregation all donned strange domed helmets which, as an attendant explained to Star-Lord, allowed them to channel their energies into Thorn. Once the lengthy procedure was completed, everyone removed their helmets, and Thorn offered his gracious thanks to the drained congregation. Thorn then led Star-Lord to a back chamber meant to be a sanctuary of rest and contemplation where he could rest while his wings regenerated.
While they waited, Thorn explained that, by coming there to help him, the Giri-worlders had all sacrificed the giri they could have devoted to each other and had thus forfeited the opportunity to climb several steps closer to the Cloudlands. By choosing to restore his wings, they had delayed the time when they would receive their own wings and some would now be unable to do so before their deaths.. When Star-Lord asked if that in itself wasn't a good deed of giri, Thorn replied that it was but that it didn't count because it had been expended on one who in theory did not need it. Thorn then revealed that he had repaid them anyway by feeding the energies of his self into them even as they had fed their energies into him. As Thorn mentioned that, as the Cloudlands had darkened from the loss of his energy, he had now brightened the Giri-worlders, giving them each a few moments more of life, Star-Lord noticed that Thorn's wings had already begun to regenerate. Thorn confirmed that this was happening and stated that it would be three days before his wings were fully restored. When Thorn expressed his concern that Shreen might find him before that time had passed, Star-Lord said that he would stay to protect Thorn.
On the second day, as the Giri-worlders continued to stand vigil outside the World Palace, Thorn mentioned that he was growing impatient since, even if he regained the Cloudlands, his time there would be severely limited because he had sacrificed his immortality to repay the Giri-worlders. When this surprised Star-Lord, Thorn revealed that those in the Cloudlands had long ago conquered aging so there was no death above, except for accidents or executions. Thorn then sadly spoke of how the blessing of immortality had cost them any little ones so the death of one of them brought them all one step closer to extinction. When Thorn then declared that death was the greatest evil, a puzzled Star-Lord pointed out that the Cloudlanders had tried to execute him and Thorn replied that they had only done so reluctantly, after indulging his rebellion for eons, because they believed that immortality was meaningless without the proper reality in which to live it.
On the third day, an hour before sunset, Shreen was spotted approaching the World Palace when Thorn's wings were not yet ready to carry him back. When Star-Lord suggested that either Ship or he could carry Thorn up, Thorn revealed that, since the defense-systems had been activated, no one could enter the Cloudlands until the last step of giri had been mounted and he could enter of his own power with full wings. After telling Star-Lord about the legend of how long ago a Cloudlander who had tried to carry a Giri-worlder up to the Cloudlands had been killed by the defense systems, Thorn concluded that he would have to face the Huntress. However, when Shreen landed outside and called upon Thorn to come out and face his punishment, Star-Lord declared that he would face her in Thorn's place, Shreen accepted the off-worlder's challenge and declared that it would be a fight to the death.
Surrounded by a crowd of watching Giri-worlders, the two began to fight, but Star-Lord's speed of flight and his skill at using his Element Gun enabled him to swiftly disarm Shreen and destroy her weapon. Confident that he had won without killing her, Star-Lord told Shreen to go home and leave that place in peace, but she explained that she could not because he had won and must now slay her. When Star-Lord refused to kill her, Shreen stated that she had to fight to the death but that since he had taken a step of giri by sparing her life, she would repay him by sparing him the necessity of committing murder by slaying herself. and then, before anyone could react, Shreen dove off the causeway and onto a stone spike, fatally impaling herself.
Although everyone was shocked by this sudden death, Thorn told Star-Lord that he had to repay Shreen by laying her to rest so he used his Element Gun to form an earthen burial mound around her body. However, when Thorn then told him that he had to complete the step by weeping on her grave, Star-Lord refused, stating that he couldn't weep for her because she had tried to kill Thorn. In response, Thorn revealed that, since Shreen had sacrificed herself for Star-Lord, there was no way for her to mount the steps of giri and that the defense systems would remain in force and block the way to the Cloudlands until her giri was repaid. Although Thorn declared that Star-Lord would have to sacrifice a small portion of grief or else no one would ever be able to fly to the Cloudlands again and that Shreen and all above would have wept for Thorn if he had died, Star-Lord insisted that he just couldn't do it.
Hearing those words caused Thorn to realize that he had been wrong in his long-held belief and that the world called Heaven did have to be earned. Stating that the steps of giri were good to climb and so he would climb them one more time on behalf of the entire world, Thorn began to fly up towards the Cloudlands. As he had known would happen, the defense system reacted by sending bolts of raw lightning down at him. Fatally injured, Thorn used his dying effort to reach upwards, channeling the lightning back through his fingertips and into the underside of the Cloudlands, causing the clouds to burst as for his final act of giri the gods themselves wept from heaven onto Thorn's body as he fell in death. As it rained, only then did Star-Lord weep over Shreen's grave.
In the aftermath, as the rains stopped, a rainbow extended down from the Cloudlands to Shreen's grave. While the Giri-worlders celebrated that the way was now open again, Star-Lord boarded Ship and they quickly left, with some Giri-worlders waving goodbye to them. As they flew away, Star-Lord told Ship that they had learned much from this world called Heaven and that it was now time for them to use their new knowledge in mounting their own steps to the farthest stars.
Comments: Created by Doug Moench and Tom Sutton.
Although there are several instances in which Thorn speaks of Heaven as if it were just another name for the Cloudlands, on page 4 he does specifically introduce himself by saying that he is "fallen from the Cloudlands of this world called Heaven - - a world thriving on the system of giri." This is the only reference that makes a distinction between the Cloudlands and Heaven so I'm reasonably confident that Heaven is the name of the entire planet.
The dominant life form on this world called Heaven is a species of winged humanoids whose name for their race has not been revealed. Instead, this race has divided itself into two groups, the Giri-worlders and the Cloudlanders, based solely on whether or not they have climbed the steps of giri and reached the Cloudlands. It would have been nice (and more convenient) if this race had been given a specific name but that didn't happen.Additional comments pending...
Profile by Donald Campbell.
This world called "Heaven" has known connections to
The Cloudlands have no known connections to
A male Giri-worlder who seemed to lack any wings. He was present at the World Palace when Thorn came there to restore his wings. Once Thorn and the gathered congregation had donned strange domed helmets and were united in a common attitude of meditation, this purple-clad man spoke to Star-Lord, saying, "They channel their energies into Thorn." Star-Lord replied that it was like a biofeed mechanism, science as religion and vice versa.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
And that's all there is to say about this character. He was never named and I'm not even sure what he was actually supposed to be doing at the World Palace. I only gave him his own subprofile because he's the only Giri-worlder who ever said anything and was not just part of a crowd scene.
Long ago, a male Cloudlander fell in love with a female Giri-worlder. Eventually, the Cloudlander left the Cloudlands, came down to the Giri-world to claim her, and tried to carry her up to his home in the Cloudlands.
Unfortunately for them both, his departure from the Cloudlands had activated the defense systems, as indicated by the darkening of the clouds. Possibly unaware of what this meant, the Cloudlander and the Giri-worlder were slain in mid-flight by the lightning generated by the defense systems.
Their story became both a legend and a cautionary tale on the world called Heaven. Many years later, when the off-worlder named Star-Lord visited, Thorn told him this legend in order to explain why it was impossible for him or Ship to simply fly Thorn up to the Cloudlands.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7 (fb)
Note: It's worth mentioning that the story Thorn told does not make it clear if the doomed Cloudlander actually knew that there would be any consequences to him leaving the Cloudlands and trying to return. As such, this legend could be an account of how the Cloudlanders first discovered the existence of the lethal defense systems.
Although I've used the term "doomed lovers" to describe this couple, the fact that their story was so brief that it could be told in a single sentence means that it is severely lacking in details. For one thing, it presumes that the couple were actually in love with each other. However, the idea that the Cloudlander had come down to "claim" the Giri-worlder could also refer to an abduction of a female by a male who had fallen in love with her but whose love was not returned. This would make it a bride kidnapping (or bridenapping), a practice which has occurred on Earth throughout history. If so, then the fate of the female Giri-worlder was doubly unfortunate because she died as the result of actions taken against her will.
On the other hand, maybe the Giri-worlder was in love with the Cloudlander and willingly allowed him to try to carry her back to his home in the Cloudlands.
A Cloudlander whose name was never revealed, this white-haired individual was among the crowd who had gathered at the edge of the Cloudlands to witness the execution of Thorn. Instead, they all watched as Thorn was saved. Standing beside Shreen, he overheard her comment on how the stranger had saved Thorn from the punishment of righteous death, and replied, "Then it is up to you, Shreen. You are the Huntress - - You must go down and carry out Thorn's punishment!" Shreen accepted that she was the one who was to carry out the will of the many and left the Cloudlands.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
Note: Little has been revealed about this Cloudlander who only appeared in a single panel of the story. His name was not mentioned and even his gender was not really established since the only image lacked any gender-specific characteristics (like facial hair or mammary glands). Aside from having white hair, his face also showed signs of age (i.e., wrinkles around his mouth and crow's feet) that both Thorn and Shreen lacked. He wore a wide yellow collar around his neck and a circular yellow band (possibly a circlet) as headwear.
Based on the presence of this possible circlet and the fact that Shreen seemed to do what he told her to do, it's possible that he held some position of authority among the Cloudlanders. On the other hand, his statement about Shreen being the Huntress who had to go down and carry out Thorn's punishment may not have been a command but just him saying something that was common knowledge among the Cloudlanders, a fact that Shreen knew to be true. and that's why she seemingly obeyed him.
Since this person, Thorn and Shreen were the only three Cloudlanders to be shown in close-ups, it's impossible to determine if signs of age were common among their population. Based on Thorn's statement that some Giri-worlders die before they can receive their wings, it seems that it can take a long time for Giri-worlders to climb enough of giri-steps to grow their wings to their full, functional size. On the other hand, Thorn appeared to be young despite the fact that he claimed to have been alive for "eons" so maybe some Giri-worlders are virtuous enough that they receive their wings in less time than others.
A planet located somewhere within Reality-791. Although it is presumed to exist within the Milky Way galaxy, nothing has been revealed about the planetary system in which it exists except for the fact that it was in orbit around (at least) one yellow sun.
This world called Heaven possessed some characteristics that were significantly different from those of other known planets. The most obvious of these differences was that, although the outer layer of clouds were normal clouds (i.e., aerosols consisting of a visible mass of miniature liquid droplets, frozen crystals and other particles suspended in the atmosphere) like those found on Earth and on other planets, a thicker layer of clouds lower in the atmosphere were tangible, seemingly permanent and capable of supporting considerable weight. These masses of clouds were like islands and continents that floated in the sky.
Since Star-Lord appeared to be completely comfortable wherever he went on the planet, it would seem that its environmental conditions were very similar to those of Earth. Aside from that, there is very little information available about the planet as a whole since most of the attention was focused on either the planetary surface (known as the Giri-world) or the habitable layer of thick clouds (known as the Cloudlands) that floated in the lower atmosphere.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
Notes: These two images are among the few that show both the Cloudlands and the Giri-world at the same time. In the image to the left, there seem to be two yellow light sources in the sky. There's also a pale green circle right next to one of them that might be a very large planet orbiting that sun very closely. Also, the curvature of the planet's surface is clearly visible, suggesting that either the planet has a very small radius or the point of view is very high above the surface. Unfortunately, neither explanation is consistent with what was seen in the story.
The image to the right was from the cover instead of the story and contains some inconsistencies with that story. One of them is that the sun is depicted as being very large and pink. Another is that Star-Lord is shown saving one individual who is being pursued by six winged beings. A third is that those pursuers have colorful butterfly-type wings instead of the translucent wings of a very different shape that the Cloudlanders actually possessed.
The thick layers of "clouds" in the lower atmosphere of the planet called Heaven that were tangible, permanent (or at least long-lasting) and could support considerable weight. These masses of clouds were like islands and continents that floated in the sky. The exact nature of these "lands" were never established but the fact that they were described as "pink fleece" suggests that they may have had characteristics similar to those of woolen fibers. Or not.
Based on what little of the Cloudlands were actually observed by Ship and Star-Lord, the actual "land" appeared to be only about 6 feet thick. However, that was at the edge of a cloud-continent so the thickness of the cloud could have been much greater away from the edges and towards the interior.
Aside from the Cloudlanders, the only objects seen to be atop the clouds were the cities in which they lived. These cities seemed to extend to the edges of the cloud masses upon which they were built and included structures that were many stories tall. The cities all had a deeper pink color than the clouds on which they rested, and nothing has been revealed about the material out of which they had been built.
Since whatever these "clouds" were made of were almost certainly not actual land/soil, it seems highly unlikely that any types of food could have been grown in the Cloudlands. So what did the Cloudlanders eat? For that matter, where did they obtain the fabrics which they used to make their clothing or the components for their weapons or the materials for any of the objects they used in their lives?
The fact that cities existed in the Cloudlands suggests that these "clouds" were permanent. Alternatively, if they weren't permanent, then they dissipated at a very slow rate that gave the residents of the cities enough time to evacuate them before the "land" beneath them became incapable of supporting them any longer.
Similarly, it was never revealed if the Cloudlands were permanently located above certain areas of the Giri-world or if they could be blown about by the wind.
Aside from the attempt to execute Thorn, nothing about what it was like for the Cloudlanders to live in the Cloudlands was revealed in the story. Instead, the Cloudlands were just presented as an "alien paradise" where everyone enjoyed the blessing of immortality.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
The systems which defended the Cloudlanders from being approached by unauthorized individuals. They carried out their function by firing bolts of lightning to destroy them.
Very little has been revealed about the nature of these defense-systems or their origin. As such, it remains unknown whether they were a natural phenomenon or were constructed by some intelligence. Only three things were known about them for sure:
1. The defense-systems were activated whenever any Cloudlander left the Cloudlands. These activations were apparently triggered when it was detected that the "life" or the "energy" within those Cloudlanders had been "lost" by the Cloudlands. However, what exactly did the detecting has not been revealed.
2. Once the defense-systems were activated, the undersides of the Cloudlands darkened. This was presumably in part a warning that anyone who tried to enter the Cloudlands during those times would be killed.
3. The defense-systems would be deactivated once any imbalances of giri had been repaid. In some cases, the deaths of those who had been trying to enter the Cloudlands seemed to be enough to deactivate the defense-systems, with the deaths themselves apparently being considered steps of giri. Again, exactly what monitored whether the appropriate steps of giri had been taken was never revealed.
Although it was implied that the defense-systems would activate if anyone were to try to enter the Cloudlands by any method other than mounting the steps of giri, such an activation was never shown. Instead, the two times that they were shown to have been activated took place only after someone left the Cloudlands. One wonders what would have happened if Star-Lord had arrived at a time when the defense-systems had not been activated, visited the Giri-world and then tried to visit the Cloudlands.
The fact that the defense-systems were not activated when Ship flew down to the Cloudlands from outer space suggests that their purpose was solely to prevent unwanted intrusions from the Giri-world.
It's unclear how the defense-systems would have been deactivated if Star-Lord had not interfered. For one thing, suppose that Star-Lord had not saved Thorn by catching him. Would the Cloudlands still have darkened from the loss of his life and required that all of the Cloudlanders take a step of giri by weeping for him, from the edge of the Cloudlands down onto his lifeless form? Or would they not have darkened at all if Shreen had remained in the Cloudlands and not been forced to leave to carry out Thorn's punishment?
Similarly, what if Star-Lord had been able to repay Shreen's giri by weeping on her grave? Would that truly have been enough to deactivate the defense-systems and allow Thorn and anyone else who attained full wings in the future to mount the steps of giri and enter the Cloudlands? Does this mean that Thorn really could have lived if not for Star-Lord's inability to complete a step of giri by sacrificing a small portion of grief to repay her?
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
The actual surface of the planet called Heaven, it was known as the Giri-world because...uh...that was where the people lived who had to mount the steps of giri needed for them to gain full-size wings and thus be able to enter the Cloudlands above. Although not much of it was seen by Star-Lord and Ship, it was presumably similar to other terrestrial (rocky) planets. If so, then it would have had continents and mountains and oceans and lakes.
That being said, what could be seen by Star-Lord and Ship seemed to be quite barren, and consisted only of empty plains of purple soil dotted with vertical spikes of rock. These rock formations resembled stalagmites that rise from the floors of caves but, since they existed in the open air, they clearly must have been formed by a different process. Although there were pools of water on the surface, there weren't any signs of vegetation anywhere.
Similarly, although the only structure seen by Star-Lord and Ship during their visit was the massive World Palace, there were presumably other, smaller buildings in the Giri-world, ones in which the Giri-worlders lived and worked, but none of them were depicted.
Given that the Cloudlands were solid enough to block light, those areas of the Giri-world that were under the Cloudlands must have often been in shadow. Worse, if the Cloudlands were stationary, then the Giri-world beneath them would have existed in a perpetual sunless gloom.
As can be seen in these images, the bottom of the Cloudlands was not too far above the Giri-world. Further evidence can be found in the fact that Star-Lord barely managed to catch Thorn before he hit the ground even though he had dived out of Ship only seconds after Thorn had been thrown over the side. If the Cloudlands had been a considerable height above the Giri-world, then someone who could fly as fast as Star-Lord should have been able to catch him well before he got close to the ground.
As with the Cloudlands, nothing substantial about what it was like for the Giri-worlders to live in the Giri-world was revealed in the story. As far as could be seen, everyone seemed to spend their lives trying to perform good deeds so that they could accumulate enough giri to attain their full wings and thus gain the reward of the Cloudlands.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
A massive building located on the surface (a.k.a. the Giri-world) of the planet called Heaven, it was known to be the only place where Cloudlanders who had fallen could go in order to restore their wings so they could return to the Cloudlands. What other purposes it served, if any, were not revealed. The palace was hundreds of feet tall and large enough that it could contain thousands of people at the same time.
The World Palace was shaped somewhat like a cathedral, with a wide base that extended upwards into two main towers that were connected for much of their height. When observed from certain angles, the further tower could be hidden behind the nearer tower, making it look like the palace had only one tower. The several large entrances into the palace were lit by yellow light from within, and the entire exterior surface was a deep pink color, like the buildings in the Cloudlands above.
Like the rest of the Giri-world, the land around the World Palace appeared to be barren soil that lacked any vegetation. The only natural features were the large stone spikes that protruded upwards from the ground.
Surrounding the World Palace was a network of elevated causeways that sometimes seemed to be orange or pink in color but were most often depicted as yellow. Built to enable people to walk to the palace, over a dozen of these causeways that radiated out from the World Palace, and there were some causeways that crossed others at right angles. Some of the causeways seemed to be narrower than others but most of them were wide enough to allow several people to walk side-by-side. From what could be seen of them, all of the causeways were built above the surface of the planet. The lack of any signs of ramps leading down to the surface could suggest that the Giri-worlders had some reason to avoid making contact with the actual land around the World Palace.
The World Palace is known to have contained at least two rooms. One of them was a large round room with concentric rows of benches around the room. When a fallen Cloudlander needed to regain their wings, large congregations of Giri-worlders would gather to help them. Seated side-by-side on the benches, all of the Giri-worlders would don strange transparent domed helmets that were connected to conduits that led to another such helmet situated above an elevated receptacle where the Cloudlander would stand. Once everything was ready, the members of the congregation would all hold hands while the helmets united them in a common attitude of mediation. Combined with unspecified mechanisms within the hall, this would enable the Giri-worlders to channel their energies into the Cloudlander. The process would take a long time to complete and would leave the Giri-worlders in a drained state.
While connected in this fashion to the Giri-worlders, the Cloudlanders could choose to repay them by feeding their energies back into the Giri-worlders. Doing so would grant each of the Giri-worlder recipients a few more moments of life but the transfer would only take place if the Cloudlanders were willing to sacrifice their immortality as part of the process.
The other known room was located at the rear of the palace. A chamber of Spartan furnishings and great windows, it was meant to be a sanctuary of rest and contemplation. Cloudlanders who had received energy from Giri-worlders would go there to rest for the three days it would take for their wings to regenerate and be restored to their full functional size.
Given the sheer size of the World Palace, there were presumably other rooms within it but none of them were depicted in the story.
--Marvel Spotlight II#7
Marvel Spotlight II#7, page 14, panel 6 (main image - Thorn)
page 12, panel 6 (main image - Shreen)
page 2, panel 3 (a group of Cloudlanders)
page 8, panel 4 (Giri-worlders with wings in various stages of growth)
page 9, panel 1 (Giri-worlders channeling their energies to Thorn)
page 10, panel 5 (Thorn with partially-regenerated wings)
page 17, panel 1 (rainbow after Thorn's sacrifice)
page 9, panel 1 (attendant in the World Palace)
page 12, panel 2 (doomed lovers)
page 3, panel 3 (white-haired Cloudlander)
page 1 (Ship entering the atmosphere of Heaven)
cover (somewhat inaccurate image of Heaven)
page 2, panel 1 (Ship in the Cloudlands)
page 2, panel 5 (the edge of the Cloudlands)
page 3, panel 1 (another group of Cloudlanders)
page 16, panel 1 (defense-systems in action)
page 4, panel 1 (Star-Lord and Thorn on the Giri-world)
page 5, panel 2 (another view of the Giri-world)
page 8, panels 1-4 (two views of the World Palace)
page 10, panel 3 (another view of the World Palace)
page 11, panel 2 (Shreen and Ship near the World Palace)
Marvel Spotlight II#7 (July, 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Tom Sutton (artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)
First posted: 03/03/2023
Last updated: 03/03/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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