Classification: Extraterrestrial (Charter Federation) starship
Creator: Unidentified engineers working for the Charter Federation
Captain Cymell (resigned),
First Officer Sh'Bleen,
Nanda crew members;
(Gigantauron) "Primal One" (actually a construct secretly controlled by Maur-Kon)
Crew Complement: Unrevealed
First Appearance: Shogun Warriors#19 (August, 1980)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The starcruiser Nightwind was an immense starship that was known as "the single most powerful ship in the Charter Federation." Whether it was also the largest and/or most massive Charter vessel has not been revealed.
The Nightwind was once described as a "huge cylinder" by Ilongo Savage but its actual shape is more accurately defined as being a right octagonal prism with rectangular sides. Although its actual physical dimensions have never been revealed, the starship was about three times as long as the Drone starship commanded by the false Primal One which had previously been shown to be longer than an ocean liner. Additionally, the width of the Nightwind was known to be only half of its length.
The Nightwind was composed of two main components: its external hull, which could separate into two unequal parts, and its internal symbiote, the planet-destroyer known as Gigantauron. Although both components could be operated independently, Gigantauron was said to be "crucial" to the function of the Nightwind itself, implying that the starship was significantly less powerful when its internal symbiote was not within it.
Aside from its command deck and the living quarters for its crew, some of the other features of the starcruiser Nightwind included its external defense shields, its internal defense systems, its meson-cannons, and its tractor-beam projector. There was also an engine station with a main switch that, if closed, would cause the entire ship to self-destruct.
The Nightwind and Gigantauron both contained life support systems that maintained environmental conditions within them that were suitable for various types of lifeforms. These systems maintained breathable atmospheres composed of the correct mixture of gases (nitrogen and oxygen) that were kept at the proper pressure. They also kept the ambient temperatures within the spacecraft at comfortable levels. By a remarkable coincidence, the artificial environments that were meant to sustain the Nanda, Lem and "Drone" crewmembers proved to be suitable for humans from Earth as well. Additionally, since beings within them did not experience weightlessness while in space, both the starcruiser and its internal symbiote clearly possessed artificial gravity fields that acted to pull people and objects "down" towards their decks. No details as to how this artificial gravity was generated have been provided but it was also suitable for humans from Earth.
The starcruiser Nightwind was capable of traveling across interstellar distances at an effective speed that was many times faster than light. This method of faster-than-light travel was accomplished by doing all the traveling within hyperspace, a dimension accessible from "real-space" (i.e., Earth's reality) where the laws of physics were significantly different from those of normal reality. Every interstellar voyage began and ended with the Nightwind generating rifts that allowed it to "slip" into and out of hyperspace. However, since the properties of this "hyperspace" have never been defined, it's not clear exactly how traveling through it reduced travel time so much. One possibility is that this hyperspace is somehow warped in comparison to Earth's dimension so that the distance between two points in the hyperspace was immensely shorter than the distance between the corresponding points in Earth's dimension. Another is that the Nightwind was able to use hyperspace as a way to make instantaneous jumps by entering hyperspace at one point in real-space and then immediately exiting at a different and far-distant point. Without more data, it's impossible to determine how long (i.e., minutes or hours or days) it took for the Nightwind to reach Earth from wherever it was when it received the request for direct aid from the Charter Federation.
While in real-space, the Nightwind was apparently propeled by some type of rocket engines that generated thrust. Twelve such engines were located at each end of the starcruiser and the crew could alter their ship's speed and course by choosing which rockets were active. The main image shows the twelve rear rockets firing to propel the starcruiser out of hyperspace while two of the forward rockets are being used to decelerate the craft into a stationary position alongside the Drone starship.
The energy source that powered the Nightwind has never been revealed but it presumably was extremely powerful.
The Nightwind seemingly possessed the technology to teleport beings from within it to nearby locations if they so desired. This capability was demonstrated just after the Nightwind exited from hyperspace into real-space. As it came to rest beside the Drone space station and even as the Primal One was narrating what was happening, Captain Cymell and Sh'Bleen suddenly appeared aboard the Drone starship surrounded by a nimbus of light and were being welcomed by the Primal One as part of its narration (as seen to the right). Oddly, this capability was not demonstrated again, and Cymell and some of her crew were later shown physically escorting the Primal One back to his space station via the (unseen) umbilical duct linking the two vessels. Whatever mechanism performed the teleportation was never depicted on-panel (or even mentioned), so its characteristics cannot be described.
Width: Unrevealed (but about half of its length)
Height: Same as width
History: Nothing has been revealed about the construction of the starcruiser Nightwind and only the most general information has been revealed about its capabilities or any of its missions prior to the one that brought it to Earth.
(Shogun Warriors#19 (fb) - BTS) - The Starcruiser Nightwind was the single most powerful starship in the Charter Federation.
(Shogun Warriors#19 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, a female Nanda named Cymell was chosen (perhaps by the Charter council?) to be the captain of the Nightwind.
(Shogun Warriors#19-20 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, a male Lem named Sh'Bleen became the first officer (and second-in-command) of the Nightwind. It has not been revealed if Sh'Bleen attained that position before or after Cymell became captain.
(Shogun Warriors#19 (fb) - BTS) - While commanded by Captain Cymell, the Nightwind was increasingly assigned missions in which it was used as a weapon to keep alien races that could potentially endanger the races of the Charter Federation from themselves reaching the stars. Cymell became dissatisfied with the fact that she and her ship were all too often being used as a mere police force instead of for exploration.
(Shogun Warriors#19 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the starcruiser Nightwind received a request for direct aid from the Charter Federation. This request had been transmitted by a member of the Charter race known as the Primal Ones who was then active on the planet Earth. In accordance with the rules of the intergalactic charter, Captain Cymell piloted the Nightwind to Earth's solar system.
(Shogun Warriors#19) - Aboard the Drone "space station" commanded by the Primal One, that entity and its Drone servants observed the arrival of the Nightwind as it slipped from hyperspace into real-space in close proximity to their starcraft. Seconds later, Captain Cymell and her first officer Sh'Bleen appeared (via teleportation?) on the Drone starship where they were welcomed by the Primal One. Cymell stated that, in accordance with the intergalactic charter, they had heard and responded to the Primal One's request for aid, then asked how they might assist it. The Primal One stated that its mission to strip the nearby planet Earth of its prematurely-advanced technology stood unfulfilled because the humans had been given the Shogun Warriors by the now-dead Followers of Light. Cymell replied that she had heard of the Followers and their "ancient epic battle with Maur-Kon's sorcerer-scientists for control over the Earth" and was aware of the robot sentinels known as the Shogun Warriors but had heard nothing of a proclaimed mission by the Primal Ones to interfere with Earth`s scientific progress. Cymell then stated that, since the Charter rules demanded complete and unquestioning assistance from one federation member to another, she had no choice but to put her starcruiser and its crew at the Primal One`s full disposal. When Cymell asked how the Primal One wished her to fulfill its request for aid, it replied that it was aware that the starcruiser Nightwind hosted a separate entity of awesome power that should suffice for its purposes. Shocked by the request, Cymell asked if that wasn't "too drastic for..." but the Primal One interrupted her, stating that nothing was too drastic for use against the Shogun Warriors. Cymell acquiesced, stating that she was bound by the Charter to obey, then ordered Sh'Bleen to disengage the external hull and convert the internal symbiote to operational mode. Sh'Bleen accepted her orders and relayed them to the Nightwind.
As Cymell, Sh'Bleen and the Primal One watched from the Drone starship, the starcruiser's outer hull split into two unequal pieces, with the larger portion rising away for the smaller part, then the smaller part also slid away from an eight-sided inner cylinder. Once it was floating freely, the internal symbiote began to mechanically change its shape, folding, opening and locking as it transformed into its new configuration as the planet-destroyer known as GIGANTAURON. Captain Cymell then informed the Primal One that Gigantauron had completed its emergence and was prepared for departure. When she asked if it would then board, the Primal One stated that it had no need for conventional boarding maneuvers because it would simply flow into Gigantauron and animate the weapon with its own pulsing life-force. And that's what it proceeded to do.
Left behind (on the Drone starship?) to watch the departure of Gigantauron, Sh'Bleen asked Captain Cymell if she was troubled by the Primal One's request. Cymell replied that she was troubled by everything, beginning with the question of whether they even had the right to interfere in Earth's sovereign affairs. When Sh'Bleen reminded her of the rules, Cymell confessed that she no longer believed in the Charter and perhaps she never had. Cymell then lamented how she now all too often found herself and her ship reduced to a mere police force denying the wonders at the heart of the unknown to others.
Aboard Gigantauron and on course for Earth, the Primal One placed one of the pendants stolen by its agents in the navigation-sensor in order to trace the current location of the Shogun Warrior pilot to whom it had belonged. Discovering that that location matched the site of its next target, the building where Reed Richards' advanced technology was housed, the Primal One locked Gigantauron on course for the Baxter Building.
(Shogun Warriors#19) - After arriving in the skies above New York City, Gigantauron
hovered in mid-air with its shadow falling over half the city. As the Fantastic Four and the three Shogun Warrior
pilots (Richard Carson, Genji Odashu and Ilongo Savage) noticed the gigantic vessel, it slowly began to revolve
(as if around an invisible gyro-axis) and transformed into its semi-humanoid robot form as it did.
Once it was complete, Gigantauron landed in the bay just south of New York City (Upper New York Bay?) and, as it towered over the city, the Primal One spoke through it, addressing both the Shogun Warriors and Reed Richards, and stating that both Combatra and the building which housed the Fantastic Four would be destroyed and that they had three minutes to evacuate. The humans were unwilling to submit, and they agreed to Genji's plan that two of them (Reed and Sue Richards) and the three SW pilots would operate the five vehicles into which Combatra could be converted. The allotted time expired just as Combatra launched from the roof of the Baxter Building, and Gigantauron fired an energy blast at it but missed when Combatra performed its five-way conversion-split. As the five modules and the Human Torch began to swarm around it, Gigantauron continued to fire blasts from its cannon-arms even as defensive laser-fire from a dozen points on its hull also targeted the Terran heroes.
As stray blasts caused some damage to parks in the area, the Invisible Girl had the idea of using the Earthmover module to get under one of its feet and attempt to topple so that one of the others could get inside and deactivate its gyro-stabilizer. However, Gigantauron moved one of its legs and stepped on her module before she could act. Inspired by Sue's strategy, Genji had the Human Torch burn a hole in its torso to that she (in the Delta-V module) and the Torch could get inside and find and destroy both its gyro and its power source. However, the breach was sealed by a more heat-resistant inner failsafe hatch after Genji entered, and the Torch was unable to follow her inside. Detecting that Gigantauron had been penetrated, the Primal One activated its interior defenses, which Genji soon noticed seemed to target the metal of her module. After setting the Delta-V on a course to seek out and crash into the greatest source of heat that its heat-seeking tractor-beam could detect (in the hope that it would be the power source), Genji ejected in her rocket-chair and set out on foot to find the gyro-stabilizer. Meanwhile, the Thing was able to radio the Air Force jets that had responded and convince them to hold off on attacking while the FF handled the critical situation.
Again speaking through Gigantauron, the Primal One announced that those who were fighting it were doomed to fail as it had already captured two of them. The Primal One then delivered an ultimatum, demanding that they surrender at once or it would unleash Gigantauron's full fury on the city. Fortunately for the people of NYC, Genji managed to find and unplug the gyro-stabilizer just as the Delta-V module impacted the main power source. With both the gyro-stabilizer and its power source deactivated, Gigantauron shut down and toppled over into the bay, landing just off the coast of Liberty Island. As the undamaged Earthmover bobbed to the surface, an explosion occurred on the side of Gigantauron from which the Primal One seeped out and flew away just as the Thing tore open a hole to let Genji out of the now-inert giant robot. Soon afterwards, the Delta-V module was pulled out from the robot and it turned out to be undamaged as well.
(Shogun Warriors#20 - BTS) - The five modules that made up Combatra were reassembled into the single Shogun Warrior.
(Shogun Warriors#20) - Back aboard the Nightwind, Captain Cymell was continuing to monologue to Sh'Bleen about how unhappy she was about the entire affair when, to their surprise, the Primal One suddenly appeared out of nowhere without, as Sh'Bleen observed, Gigantauron. The Primal One revealed that Gigantauron had failed and been defeated by but one of the Shogun Warriors and the Terrans known as the Fantastic Four. Cymell accused the Primal One of abandoning Gigantauron, but he replied that her estimation of its power had been greatly exaggerated and repeated that it had failed. Cymell countered by saying that he was the one who had failed because no machine could transcend its operator and stated that Gigantauron would have to be returned because it was crucial to the function of the Nightwind itself. The Primal One tried to convince Cymell to leave it in favor of using other weapons from the arsenal to destroy the Shogun Warriors, but an outraged Cymell refused to listen and ordered her tractor-beam crew to retrieve the missing component immediately.
Later, after the crippled Gigantauron was floating in space near the Nightwind, Cymell informed the Primal One that she had investigated Earth and come to the conclusion that the Terrans did not pose a direct threat to others at that time so she would not take further action against them. As she and three of her crew escorted the Primal One back to his space station, Cymell revealed that she was going to resign from the Charter but only after reporting his activities on Earth. However, before Cymell and her crew could leave, a Drone reported that Gigantauron had been followed by the Shogun Warrior Combatra which was preparing to attack. Disillusioned, Cymell relinquished command to the Primal One.
(conjecture) - By this time, presumably in reaction to the imminent threat, the two parts of the external hull had been rejoined but without the damaged symbiote inside.
(Shogun Warriors#20) - With the Primal One as acting commander, the Nightwind was swiftly prepared for combat, first with the activation of its external defense shields and then with the priming, activation and firing of its meson-cannons. However, Genji Odashu's piloting skills enabled Combatra to evade the cannon-blasts and enter the hollow axis of the starcruiser where a vulnerable point on the inner wall was soon detected, enabling Combatra to breach the hull and enter the starcruiser. Once inside, the Fantastic Four left Combatra and both groups soon found themselves battling the automated defenses and the Primal One's army of Drones. While Combatra slowly made its way to the Primal One's ship, the FF reached an engine station where Reed Richards almost closed a switch that would have caused the entire ship to self-destruct. Fortunately, some of the Nanda crewmen arrived in time to warn him of what would happen, and Richards used this information to coerce them into agreeing to take the FF to the Primal One.
After joining up along the way, the FF and Combatra were escorted aboard the space station and confronted the Primal One. Although Combatra initially seemed ready to destroy the evil alien, the humans were ultimately unwilling to kill it so the Primal One took advantage of their compassion and ordered its Drones to attack the Terrans and kill them all. However, the ensuing battle quickly came to an abrupt end when the Invisible Girl discovered a room from which Maur-Kon had been controlling the false Primal One and cut the power, causing the false Primal One to fade away and freeing the Drones from Maur-Kon's control. The Drones immediately dropped their weapons and explained how Maur-Kon had tricked, trapped and enslaved them while posing as a Primal One. Once Maur-Kon's true motive for trying to destroy the Shogun Warriors had been revealed and he had admitted to having helped Dr. Demonicus with his plans, Cymell ordered her crew to take Maur-Kon into custody and told the Terrans that she would see that he was dealt with when she when she returned to the Charter Council to resign her commission. The Terrans then returned home.
The Nightwind and Gigantauron presumably merged, and then the restored starcruiser and the Drone starship presumably left Earth's solar system for their respective ports.
Comments: Created by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe.
Although the word "symbiote" was used in these stories, the correct term should have been "symbiont." I learned this fact almost forty years ago by reading the apology at the beginning of the 1978 novel "Through the Eye of a Needle" in which the author Hal Clement explained how he had mistakenly used the wrong word when he wrote an earlier novel in 1950 and he was now correcting that error. However, it appears that, despite what he believed, Mr. Clement was not the first to make that mistake, and "symbiote" and "symbiont" now seem to be considered alternate spellings. So I guess that my long-held belief that Marvel had been misspelling the term used to describe the Klyntar is wrong.
Back in the late 1970s, I don't think that I was at all familiar with the whole giant robot/mecha genre from Japan. I had definitely never heard of the anime series which inspired the Shogun Warriors line of toys from Mattel upon which the Marvel comic book series was based. So why did I buy that first issue? I can only assume that it was the science fiction aspects of the series (i.e., the alien Sentinels who had been secretly guarding the people of Earth against the return of an ancient alien threat) that attracted me to the series. Anyway, I bought all twenty issues and enjoyed reading them but I wouldn't say that Shogun Warriors was a great comic book series and it certainly wasn't without its flaws, and the final two issues were no exception.
The final two issues were meant to wrap-up the series, and I suppose that writer Doug Moench did a decent enough job. The introduction of the interstellar Charter Federation of which the Followers of the Light and the Followers of Darkness had once both been members was interesting, as was the design of the of the impressively-massive starcruiser Nightwind and its internal symbiote, the planet-destroyer Gigantauron. Plus, two new alien races were introduced, neither of whom looked like Caucasian human beings. Even the revelation that Maur-Kon, the villain of the initial storyline, was actually the Big Bad who had secretly been responsible for almost every threat that the heroes had had to overcome throughout the entire series was, even though it seemed a bit too convenient, not a horrible idea. However, there were a few flaws in these final two issues and some of them had to do with the subject of this profile.
First, although it was pretty much required that the foes that the Shogun Warriors fought had to be somewhat like them (i.e., huge and/or mechanical and/or humanoid), the idea that a planet-destroyer like Gigantauron could transform into a giant semi-humanoid robot form seems a bit pointless. I mean, its starship-form, the one large enough to cast a shadow twenty blocks square as it hung ominously in the sky above New York City, would surely have been able to do as much damage as its robot form could have ever done, so why bother transforming into a walking weapon that must have been less mobile? I suppose it could be argued that being confronted by a giant robot might seem more threatening but it wouldn't be by much.
Second, given how immensely powerful Gigantauron was presented as being, the idea that this PLANET-DESTROYER ended up being so ineffective is somewhat implausible. Sure, there were a few factors that acted to diminish its capabilities. For one thing, as Captain Cymell pointed out, no machine could transcend its operator and the Primal One/Maur-Kon was definitely lacking in experience. Another limiting factor, and perhaps a more relevant one, was that Maur-Kon, in order to prevent the Nightwind crew from turning against him, needed to maintain his cover as a Charter member seeking to strip Earth of its prematurely advanced technology and that meant that collateral damage had to be kept to a strict minimum. Otherwise, Maur-Kon could have wiped out his enemies by simply using the energy-cannons to blast the Baxter Building (and the rest of New York City if necessary) into dust. However, despite these limitations, having a human single-handedly defeat Gigantauron strained my suspension of disbelief a bit too much.
Third, although Gigantauron was supposed to be gigantic, the way in which artist Herb Trimpe drew him in relation to New York City seemed just too big to be believable. I mean, I'm not familiar with New York City and it's a bit hard to determine relative sizes based on comic book images but, based on how Mr. Trimpe drew it standing in the bay to the south of NYC, I'd estimate that the giant robot was over 18 times as tall as the towers on what I believe was meant to be the Brooklyn Bridge. Since those towers are each 272 feet tall, that would mean that Gigantauron was over 4,800 feet tall! That's twice as tall as an average Celestial. And while I'll admit that there are artificial constructs in the Marvel Universe that are bigger, like some starships, things that walk on planets should not be that big. The stress that such a huge mass would have placed on its legs should have been enough to make them collapse under its weight, just as any human-built buildings of that height would collapse. Then again, when advanced alien technology is involved, including whatever anti-gravity mechanism made it possible for the starship form to hover in mid-air while transforming, maybe it shouldn't be unexpected that the limitations of conventional Terran technology might not apply.
Fourth, there's the fact that Genji Odashu was able to find the gyro-stabilizer within minutes inside a volume that she herself said could take her a week to search. Since it seems highly implausible that Genji just happened to breach the hull at a point that was so close to her target, I can only conclude this was a case of the writer having things Move at the Speed of Plot. In other words, Genji found the gyro-stabilizer so quickly because the story required her to do so.
Fifth, there is the effect that such a tall object falling over into a bay would have on those around (and inside) it. When objects are thrown into a body of water, some of that water is displaced in an energetic manner, and the larger the volume of the object, the larger the volume of water will be displaced by it. So when a giant robot that was nearly a mile tall fell over into Upper New York Bay, it should have displaced enough water to create mini-tsunamis that should have swamped any nearby shorelines (i.e., Liberty Island and the area of Manhattan Island known as the Battery). Similarly, a human being who had been somewhere within said mile-high robot should have experienced quite a ride as it fell, like being in a falling elevator, and should have experienced a potentially-fatal impact when the fall ended. And yet, there were no mentions of any on-lookers being harmed by said waves, and Genji survived completely unscathed.
This profile was completed 11/06/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Donald Campbell.
The starcruiser Nightwind has no known connections to:
The planet-destroyer Gigantauron has no known connections to:
Those members of the crew of the Nightwind who were assigned to monitor and control the starcruiser's tractor-beam. Obviously, only crewmembers who had been trained to operate the tractor-beam would have been assigned to this duty.
During the Nightwind's mission to Earth only three members of the tractor-beam crew were depicted on-panel and they, unlike most of the rest of the starcruiser's crew, seemed to belong to the same mechanical and/or cybernetic races of "Drones" as the crew of the space station commanded by the Primal One. However, unlike the "Drones" who had been enslaved by Maur-Kon and compelled to obey his Primal One construct, these "Drones" seemed to serve aboard the Nightwind as free beings.
After learning that the Primal One had abandoned Gigantauron on Earth, an outraged Captain Cymell activated the Nightwind's internal communications system and sent this message: "Tractor-beam crew: Locate and lock magnetic fix on our missing component and prepare to retrieve Gigantauron immediately!" The tractor-beam crew quickly complied and one of them used the intercom to send this message: "Tractor-beam primed, Cymell. Ready for retrieval of Gigantauron." Cymell then gave the order, "Then activate the tractor beam - - at once!" and her command was obeyed.
Once Gigantauron was safely away from Earth's surface, it was presumably this crew who used the tractor-beam to guide the crippled component's flight until it was floating in space alongside the Nightwind which was preparing to merge with it. However, Combatra's approach delayed that merger for a time.
--Shogun Warriors#20 (BTS in SW#19
Consisting of every part of the Nightwind that was not Gigantauron, the external hull was the starcruiser's true form. Its unusual shape as an eight-sided hollow cylinder was due to the fact that it had been designed to function primarily as a carrier for its internal symbiote. Although its exact dimensions have never been revealed, the image to the right shows that the width of the hull was about five times the height of Combatra, giving it a thickness of somewhere between 500 and 750 feet.
Contained within this "hull" were the command deck, the crew's living quarters, and all of the systems needed for the starcruiser to function, including those for life support, communications, external and internal defenses, navigation, and propulsion. The external defense shield emitters, the meson-cannons, the rocket engines, the tractor-beam projector and the engine station with the self-destruct switch were all located on this part of the Nightwind, as presumably were the mechanisms that generated the rifts between "real-space" and hyperspace, and the power source for the combined vessel. However, the fact that Gigantauron was said to be crucial to the function of the Nightwind itself suggests that the "hull" could not operate at its full capacity if its main component was not within it.
Apart from the systems mentioned above and those described elsewhere, most of the interior space within the Nightwind seems to have formed a labyrinth of corridors and ducts that ran the length of the starship. However, while some of these corridors were about 12 feet tall, there were also many other areas of the starship that were far less enclosed, including some in which a giant Shogun Warrior robot could stand upright. What purposes such large empty spaces served has not been revealed.
The Nightwind possessed self-repair systems that acted to maintain the integrity of its hull and to preserve the environment contained within it. When a hull breach was detected, these systems would be activated and the breach would be quickly sealed. The speed with which these repairs were made and the apparent lack of any involvement by the crew indicates that these systems were automated and presumably activated automatically. Whatever tools needed to make such repairs were presumably controlled by the starship's main computer or by localized dedicated computer systems.
Aside from its unique eight-sided appearance, the most distinctive attribute of the outer hull was how it could be disengaged in order to allow the internal symbiote to be deployed. The process began with the hull splitting into two pieces of unequal size. The larger section, which made up about five-eighths of the hull, would be the first to separate, moving away from the smaller section to which the symbiote was still attached. Then the symbiote would separate from the smaller section as well, leaving them both floating in space as it converted into it operational mode. The two sections of the hull would typically remain apart until Gigantauron had completed its mission and returned so that it could merge with the Nightwind. However, in certain emergency situations, like an imminent attack that would take place before all three components could be reassembled, the two hull sections could be rejoined without the symbiote. Multiple energy-weapons situated on the hull's inner wall were meant to defend the starship from any threats that might enter the hollow center during those times when Gigantauron was absent but these weapons were less powerful than the meson-cannons.
Although the Nightwind may have had the ability to teleport beings to and from it, it was also equipped with at least two airlocks (and probably more) through which its crew and other beings could enter or exit the starship. One of these airlocks was situated on the inner wall of the hull and, based on its position, was presumably meant to serve only as a passage between the Nightwind and Gigantauron when the symbiote was within its carrier. However, when the symbiote was absent, that airlock was a vulnerable point on the inner wall and was therefore heavily guarded against intruders. The other known airlock was on the outer side of the hull and was used to facilitate movement between the Nightwind and whatever starship was docked with it. If direct physical contact between the two starships was impractical, then an umbilical duct was used to connect the airlocks of the two starships.
When the Nightwind first arrived in Earth's solar system, its outer hull was intact (see main image) around the internal symbiote. Then, once Captain Cymell had authorized the use of Gigantauron by the Primal One, the external hull was disengaged and split into its two sections. These sections remained separated until after Gigantauron had been retrieved. At that point, all three components were about to merge back together but the Shogun Warrior Combatra was detected approaching and preparing to attack before that could happen. Since there was insufficient time to reintegrate Gigantauron with the Nightwind, the two hull sections were reconnected in order to provide a stronger defensive capability. However, the absence of its internal component left the joined hull vulnerable to being entered from within the hollow axis, as Combatra did by blasting its way in through the airlock in the inner wall.
Later, after the hostilities had ended and Combatra and its passengers had left to return to Earth, the sections of the external hull were presumably separated again, then rejoined with the symbiote once more within it. Only then did the Nightwind leave Earth's solar system.
Note: The unusual shape of this external hull makes me wonder how its artificial gravity worked. Specifically, was "down" in the same direction in all of its sections? Or did each of the eight facets experience "down" as a force pulling towards the central axis of the starcruiser? If so, then what was "down" in one facet of the hull would be in a direction that was 45° off from what it would be in the facets to either side of it, and people moving between facets would have to be careful to not lose their balance while making the transition. Does this have any relevance to the story? None at all, I just thought it was an interesting possibility.
external defense shields
Force fields that could protect the Nightwind from being damaged by certain types of attacks directed against it. Once activated, these external defense shields would surround the entire starcruiser. These shields were presumably generated by a network of shield emitters located at various points on the surface of the hull.
These defense shields were apparently only meant to protect the starcruiser against energy attacks, as in beams fired by directed energy weapons. They may (or may not) have been designed to protect the inner walls of its sometimes-hollow axis as well as the exterior of the starcruiser.
After learning that the Shogun Warrior Combatra had followed Gigantauron and was preparing to attack, a disillusioned Captain Cymell allowed the Primal One to take command of the Nightwind in order to destroy Combatra. The Primal One's first order as acting commander was that the Nightwind's external defense shields were to be activated. However, the shield were never seen repelling any enemy fire because Combatra never fired its energy weapons at the starcruiser's exterior. Instead, Combatra was able to enter the Nightwind's hollow axis without any resistance from the shields and, once inside that axis, its weapons were able to damage the inner wall, again without any observable resistance.
--Shogun Warriors#20 (BTS in SW#19
internal defense systems
Although the Nightwind's crew were sometimes armed with hand-held weapons or even cannons, the primary internal defenses were automatic (i.e., automated). The weapons that were part of this system appeared to be remote-controlled drones that could fire energy blasts at their targets. These drones were made of a metal that was less durable than that of the hull and thus could be smashed or melted far more easily than the hull.
These internal defenses came in at least two forms: purple heat-seeking destroyers that resembled flying tops and ground forces that looked like green tanks.
When the Fantastic Four and Combatra invaded the Nightwind, the FF mostly encountered the Primal One's army of enslaved Drones while Combatra was confronted by the automatic defenses. By using its rocket-fist to smash and its heat ray to melt, the Shogun Warrior made slow but steady progress through the Nightwind.
Note: Although I have used the term "drones" to refer to these unmanned mobile weapons that were remotely-controlled by the starship's computer, they should not be confused with the Drones who served Maur-Kon because the latter were members of a race of sentient robotic or cybernetic lifeforms.
Located at an engine station on the Nightwind, this main switch would cause the entire starship to self-destruct if it were ever closed. To prevent that from happening accidentally, this switch was part of a column that rose up out of a deep shaft and could not be reached...except by someone with really long arms.
When the Fantastic Four invaded the Nightwind, they traveled through the starship, battering the Primal One's army of Drones as they went. Upon reaching an engine station, Mister Fantastic spotted this main switch on the other side of a shaft that "must be a mile deep" and concluded that the shaft was seemingly perfect protection for the switch so he immediately reached across the shaft to grab its handle. As an armed robot emerged from a side door and began to fire on him, Mister Fantastic told the Invisible Girl that he couldn't stop so she would just have to protect him. As his wife and the Thing dealt with the robot, Mister Fantastic's hand reached the switch and he began to close it. At that moment, three of the starship's Nanda crewmen burst into the room and warned him that closing that switch would cause the entire ship to self-destruct. Mister Fantastic replied that that was just what he wanted it to do...unless they took the FF to their leader, the Alien Force known as the "Primal One." When the crewmen hesitated, Mister Fantastic again threatened to close the switch, so the Nanda submitted, telling him to stay his hand and stating that the Primal One was not their leader but that they would take the Terrans to him. Mister Fantastic found their reply acceptable and then returned the switch to its original position (as he was always going to do). The Terrans then left that room with the Nanda crewman to travel to the Primal One's starship.
Notes: This whole scene seems somewhat bizarre. Sure, the idea of starships being capable of destroying themselves is not a new one but usually they have safeguards to prevent them from being activated by unauthorized personnel. In comparison to something like requiring that certain specific command codes be entered into the main computer, placing a single switch on the far side of a deep shaft is massively INsecure. Furthermore, what if circumstances arose in which it actually became necessary to destroy the starship? Would the crew have to scurry around looking for something like a ladder that they could use to get across the shaft and pull that switch?
Mister Fantastic's behavior in this scene is also bizarre. I suspect that the intent was that Reed Richards, being a genius, had recognized the self-destruct switch for what it was and the fact that he appeared ready to pull it was all part of his plan to bluff the Nightwind's crew into taking them to the Primal One. However, as it was written, the scene portrayed Reed as someone who had found something that he thought was important and was going to close the main switch just to see what would happen. When I read it, Reed comes across as someone whose recklessness in fiddling with alien devices he didn't understand would have gotten himself, the rest of the FF and everybody else on the starship killed if those Nanda crewmen hadn't managed to enter the engine station and call out a warning just seconds before he could finish closing the switch. As I said, this was (probably) not what the writer intended but there's no evidence that Reed`s desire to close the switch was motivated by anything other than reckless curiosity and not part of a deliberate plan in which he was never going to actually close the switch.
Finally, the idea that the shaft "must be a mile deep" is such an exaggeration that it makes Reed look foolish for saying it. Sure, the Nightwind is massive but not large enough that ANY part of the ship could contain a shaft that long. Even a shaft that ran the length of the hull could not be that long.
Directed energy weapons that were mounted on the outside of the Nightwind's external hull. When not is use, these weapons were entirely within the starcruiser and therefore were not visible. When a cannon was about to be used, a square area of the hull would be opened (like a gun port) so that the cannon could be moved forward until most of it was extended out through the opening. It was only after a cannon had been "primed" in this manner that it could be activated and then fired.
When the Shogun Warrior Combatra was detected approaching the Nightwind and appeared to be preparing to attack, a disillusioned Captain Cymell allowed the Primal One to take command. After ordering the external defense shields to be activated, the Primal One then commanded that the meson-cannons be primed and activated and then, once the Shogun Warrior was within range, it ordered them to be fired. A volley of energy-beams were then fired at Combatra but its pilot Genji Odashu performed some abrupt evasive maneuvers that managed to avoid all of the blasts. Combatra was able to reach one of the ends of Nightwind, where the cannons couldn't target it, before they could be fired a second time.
A beam of energy emitted by a device on the Nightwind that was capable of exerting an attractive force on an external object. Once properly primed, an activated tractor-beam could then be used to pull a specific object towards the starship. No details are available concerning the upper limits on the range over which the tractor-beam could function or on the masses that could be moved by the beam but it is known that it was once used to pull Gigantauron from the surface of the planet Earth to a point in space that was hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Although it appeared that using this beam to retrieve Gigantauron from Earth's surface did not cause the Nightwind itself to be pulled towards the planet, it's possible that the starship did experience such a pull but used its engines to maintain its position in outer space.
The exact nature of the tractor-beam has never been revealed but it was visible to unaided human eyes. While observing it in action, Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) of the Fantastic Four described the tractor-beam as "some kind of awesome magnetic beam" but his impromptu analysis was never confirmed. The attractive force associated with the beam was directional and somehow did not extend beyond the object that was its target.
After the Primal One returned to the Nightwind without Gigantauron, Captain Cymell refused to abandon her starship's vital missing component. At her command, the tractor-beam crew located and locked a "magnetic fix" on Gigantauron. The tractor-beam was then primed, a process that involved a section of the ship's hull moving aside so that the beam projector's barrel could be aimed properly. Once Cymell ordered its activation, the tractor-beam immediately began to be emitted in a directed beam that widened as it moved away from its source until, by the time it reached its target, it was wide enough to encompass most of Gigantauron.
Once contact had been made with Gigantauron, the beam immediately began pulling on the fallen weapon with a force powerful enough to overcome Earth's gravity and accelerate it away from the planet within seconds. The beam was then used to guide the crippled Gigantauron into position near the Nightwind in preparation for its reintegration with its carrier. However, the approach of the Shogun Warrior Combatra caused that merger to be postponed until the hostilities with the Terrans were resolved.
--Shogun Warriors#20 (SW#19-BTS, SW#20)
The internal symbiote carried within the Nightwind was a gigantic planet-destroyer (or "planet-smasher") used by the Charter Federation against alien races that were considered to be threats, either actual or potential, to those races who were members of the Charter. Although the Nightwind was known to have often been sent on missions to deny non-Charter races access to space, it has not been revealed how frequently Gigantauron had to be deployed on those missions. However, given that the Primal One's request to use it was considered drastic by Captain Cymell, it seems likely that the planet-destroyer was rarely made operational and may have (almost) never been used.
Gigantauron could significantly change its shape in order to function in three different modes, each of which was designed to perform certain tasks. Its capabilities also differed depending on which mode it was in. Only two of these three modes were operational and it was only while in those modes that it functioned as a separate entity apart from the rest of the Nightwind.
Gigantauron spent most of its time in its non-operational mode during which it served as the backbone of the Nightwind. In this mode its shape was that of an eight-sided cylinder that fit perfectly between the two parts of the external hull that made up the rest of the starcruiser. It was only about 80% as long as the external hull which caused that hull to extend about 10% of its length beyond either end of the symbiote, leaving eight-sided recesses at either end of the starcruiser. This form of Gigantauron was unmanned and doesn't seem to have served as anything more than a passenger but Captain Cymell has stated that its importance to the function of the Nightwind itself was crucial and could not be exaggerated. It's possible that the presence of the symbiote somehow strengthened the structural integrity of the starcruiser or maybe the symbiote's power source was needed to enable the Nightwind to function at full power.
Gigantauron's first alternate form was that of a space vehicle capable of interplanetary travel. When the planet-destroyer was to be deployed, the Nightwind's external hull would be disengaged and moved away from the internal symbiote which would begin its conversion to operational mode. The cylinder would mechanically change its shape, with segments folding, opening and locking, until it had become an entirely different entity. As seen in the images to the right, this Gigantauron was a massive starship that was propelled by three rocket engines at its stern and armed with four large cannon capable of firing powerful blasts of energy. This Gigantauron normally required at least one person to be aboard it in order to pilot it but it could be piloted remotely (as when Maur-Kon used his remote-controlled false Primal One to control the starship). Despite its impressive offensive weaponry, the main purpose of this form may have been to enable the planet-destroyer to travel from the Nightwind's location in space to a target planet and to then land on it. This Gigantauron was equipped with a navigation-sensor that could identify and trace specific human auras. While in the process of landing on a planet, the starship could also hover in mid-air without using any rockets, indicating that some form of anti-gravity or magnetic levitation was employed.
Gigantauron's final form was that of a giant robot. Once its star-vehicle form was close to the surface of a target planet, the planet-destroyer would hover in mid-air and rotate until it was oriented vertically. It was during this rotation that its shape would change for a second time, from a starship to a giant semi-humanoid bipedal robot with two sets of "arms" that were energy-cannons. Part of this transformation involved the extension of two legs from out of the stern of the starship form, making the robot form twice as tall as the starship form had been long. This aspect of the transformation is puzzling since it seems very unlikely that any components that were as voluminous as the legs could have possibly fit within the starship-form's hull (perhaps they were telescoping?--Snood).
The giant robot form's major components corresponded to four parts of the anatomy of humanoids: a head, a torso, four arms and two legs. Since very few details were provided about how these components functioned, I have had to settle for providing descriptions of each of them.
As the forward section of the starship form, the "head" had been narrower than the rest of the starship, had been longer than it had been wide, had had eight sides of equal area and had had a single conical spike that pointed straight ahead. However, after its transformation this section had become shorter and wider, its spike had been withdrawn or enclosed, and the proportions of its sides had changed so that they were no longer equally-sized (i.e., those sides that faced forward and backwards were wider that the other six sides). Unlike the Shogun Warriors and other giant humanoid robots, there were no facial features on this "head" section. Although one would presume that this was the command module for this form of Gigantauron, this has not been confirmed. All in all, this section doesn't seem to have served any purpose except for being the "head" of the semi-humanoid robot form.
The "torso" section was what had been the main body of the starship. It retained its eight-sided configuration except for the two vertical ridges that had emerged from its left and right sides to serve as the sites where the energy-cannons were connected to the hull (after having shifted from the underside of the starship form). Additionally, the rearward fifth of the starship body somehow moved away from the forward four-fifths, extending the length of the body and leaving a narrower band that resembled a "waist" between the upper "torso" and the "hips" where the legs had emerged from the body. On the exterior of the hull there were over a dozen lasers that fired at objects that approached Gigantauron too closely, and the hull itself was protected by an automatic repair system that sealed any breaches with "inner failsafe hatches" that were more heat-resistant than the normal hull material.
The four "arms" were giant energy-cannons that were Gigantauron's primary weapons. As such, there were presumably the weapons that enabled it to be classified as a "planet-destroyer" and thus should have been extremely powerful. When in starship form, these cannons emerged from the sides of a long ridge that protruded from and ran along the underside of the hull. During the transformation into robot form, this ridge split into two halves, each of which migrated across the hull to new positions on the sides of the robot form. As part of that transformation, the cannons, which had been attached to the rearward part of that underside ridge, moved forward/upwards so that they now emerged from the upper torso. These "arms" were flexible without being jointed and could be moved so that they could fire in a range of directions.
The two legs telescoped out from what had been the stern of the starship form, where the three thrusters had been positioned. The diameters of the upper portions of each leg remained constant until their midpoints when they began to steadily widen until the ends of the legs were almost twice as wide as they had been when they emerged from the "hips." Having these wider circular "feet" was presumably meant to help the robot form keep its balance when standing or walking. There seem to have been round cavities in the bottom of each "foot" that could be used to capture targets by stepping on them. Since the legs had no knee-like joints, any walking was presumably accomplished by a sort of waddling motion: balancing on one leg enough to get the other leg off the ground, rotating the body so that the upraised leg moved in the desired direction, then lowering that leg to the ground so that it could be balanced upon while the other leg was raised and moved forward. No data has been provided about how quickly Gigantauron could travel by moving in this manner.
For the most part, only the most basic facts about the interior of Gigantauron were ever revealed. There was a command center from which the planet-destroyer could be controlled but nothing about its location was revealed. There were interior defenses that could be activated from the command center against any intruders who penetrated the hull and were guided by sensors attuned to metal. There was a gyro-stabilizer and a main internal power-source that, if both were damaged, would cripple Gigantauron and render it completely non-functional. There were inner failsafe hatches that would automatically activate to seal off any hull breaches within seconds of them being made. And there were walkways running throughout the "labyrinthine depths" that human-sized beings could travel along to reach various areas, including critical systems.
The far left image shows the Delta-V module flying inside Gigantauron while the near left image shows Genji Odashu, after having bailed out, walking on what almost looks like earth with something green and tree-like in the background. The image to the right is of Genji running along the walkways that led her to the gyro-stabilizer.
Information about how Gigantauron performed when the Primal One deployed it on the planet Earth against the Fantastic Four and the Shogun Warrior robot Combatra can be found in the main profile.
--Shogun Warriors #19-20
A critical component of the planet-destroyer Gigantauron, without which its semi-humanoid robot form was unable to maintain its balance and stand upright. This vital mechanism could be deactivated by pulling a three-pin plug from its socket, both of which strongly resembled plugs and sockets in use in contemporary Terran homes. Yes, really.
The gyro-stabilizer was about 10 feet tall and appeared to have the form of an upward-pointing triangular slab with a sphere hovering in mid-air above the apex of the triangle. There were two rings which constantly and swiftly rotated around the triangle and this whole device was situated on a circular base that floated about three feet off the floor. The three-pin socket mentioned above was located on the side of this floating base. The gyro-stabilizer generated a humming sound and a flashing light, both of which occurred at swift. regular intervals that coincided with the revolutions of the gyro. Genji Odashu suspected that touching the device in a wrong place could have gotten her killed and she may well have been correct.
When the Shogun Warrior pilots and two members of the Fantastic Four converted Combatra into its five separate weapon-forms, the Invisible Girl (Susan Richards) ended up piloting the Earthmover module that had been Combatra's lower torso. Sue soon had an idea that seemed crazy to her but that she thought might work. She radioed the other modules and spoke of how Reed had said (BTS) that the giant's movements had seemed to be governed by a gyro-stabilizer. Sue stated that she was going to use her module, which seemed to function mainly as a super-bulldozer, to test Reed's theory by going down to the bottom of the East River and getting under one of the giant robot's feet. She planned to try to topple the robot over in the hope that one of her allies would then be able to get inside and deactivate it while it was disoriented. However, Sue's attempt was thwarted when the leg she was about to attack moved and came down on her module. Fortunately, the extremely-durable module was not crushed, presumably because the Primal One had only wanted to capture her for use as a hostage instead of killing her.
Despite Sue's failure, Genji Odashu thought her strategy might have worked and she announced her intention to get inside and attack the robot at its power-source but did not see any way in, prompting the Human Torch to melt a hole through the hull. As Genji in her Delta-V module flew towards the hole, she asked the Torch to follow her because she would need his firepower for her plan to take out both the gyro and the power-source. However, the Torch was prevented from following when an inner failsafe hatch sealed the breach with a plating that even his nova-intensity flame couldn't burn through. Alone inside Gigantauron, the Delta-V module was soon targeted by the interior defenses. Realizing that the defenses were aimed against the module because their sensors were attuned to metal, Odashu decided to use it both as a decoy and as a weapon against the power-source. Odashu set the Delta-V on automatic so that it would be guided by its "heat-seeking tractor-beam" to the greatest source of internal heat which she hoped would be the main source of the robot's power, then bailed out. After landing her rocket-chair safely, Odashu set out on foot to try to find the gyro but worried that, given the size of the area to be searched, she realized it could take her a week!.
Fortunately for the people of the soon-imperiled New York City, the area where Odashu had entered Gigantauron just happened to be close to the gyro-stabilizer's location. After walking along the internal pathways for no more than five minutes, Odashu heard a humming sound up ahead of her and saw a flashing light. The fact that both were occurring at swift, regular intervals, like the revolutions of a gyro, spurred her into a run and she soon found that she was right. Facing the gyro-stabilizer, Odashu worried about how she might deactivate it without killing herself but soon spotted a simple plug in a socket on the side of the device. Odashu was relieved when simply pulling the plug took care of the gyro-stabilizer and her second objective was accomplished only seconds later when the Delta-V module completed its suicide run with a "dead-hit" on the main power source, causing the floor on which she stood to tilt as the depowered Gigantauron began to fall backwards into the bay.
Once Gigantauron was lying inert in the bay and the undamaged Earthmover module had bobbed to the surface, the Thing tore open a hole in the metal hull which just happened to be above Genji Odashu's then-current location within the robot. Odashu quickly climbed out and thanked Mr. Grimm, stating that she had feared that she might have been trapped in there for hours. Mr. Grimm replied, "Aw shucks! It wuz nothin' sweetie!"
--Shogun Warriors #19-20
The nature of the internal power-source that supplied Gigantauron with the energy it needed to function has never been revealed. The only things known about it are that it was the greatest source of heat within the robot, thereby making it possible for heat-seeking weapons to locate it, and that it could be destroyed (or at least prevented from supplying power) if an extremely-durable vehicle (like Combatra's Delta-V module) were to fly directly into it at high speeds.
Taking the existence of this power-source into consideration, one can conclude that the part of the Omniscient Narrative that describes Gigantauron as being "animated by the Primal One's life force" means that the Primal One was controlling the planet-destroyer but not actually powering it.
--Shogun Warriors #19-BTS (SW #20 - BTS
images: (without ads)
Shogun Warriors#19, page 3, panel 3 (main image)
page 3, panel 4 (Captain Cymell and Sh'Bleen appearing aboard the Drone space station)
page 13, panel 1 (Gigantauron standing over NYC)
page 17, panel 1 (Gigantauron falls)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 6, panel 1 (Gigantauron beside the Nightwind)
page 7, panel 3 (Combatra approaching the Nightwind)
Shogun Warriors#19, page 16, panel 1 (another view of Gigantauron's robot form)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 3, panel 4 (tractor-beam crew)
Shogun Warriors#19, page 5, panel 5 (external hull disengaging)
Shogun Warriors#20, page 8, panel 5 (Combatra entering the Nightwind's external hull)
page 7, panel 6 (external defense shields)
page 11, panel 3 (flying drones attacking Combatra)
page 11, panel 5 (tank drones attacking Combatra)
page 12, panel 6 (deep shaft)
page 12, panel 7 (Mister Fantastic pulling on the main switch)
page 13, panel 5 (Nanda crewmen warning about closing the switch)
page 7, panel 7 (meson-cannons activated)
page 8, panel 1 (meson-cannons firing)
page 8, panel 3 (meson-cannons missing)
page 3, panel 6 (tractor beam projector)
page 4 (tractor beam lifting Gigantauron)
Shogun Warriors#19, page 5, panel 6 (internal symbiote changing its form)
page 6, panel 1 (GIGANTAURON)
page 9, panel 7 (Gigantauron...in...space)
page 11, panel 2(Gigantauron hovering over NYC)
page 11, panels 5-7 (final transformation)
page 15, panel 3 (Delta-V flying inside Gigantauron)
page 15, panel 8 (Genji inside Gigantauron)
page 16, panel 4 (Genji on the walkways inside Gigantauron)
page 16, panel 5 (the gyro-stabilizer)
page 16, panels 6-7 (Genji pulling the plug)
Shogun Warriors#19-20 (August-September, 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Herb Trimpe (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
First Posted: 09/14/2021
Last updated: 09/11/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Items