SKUNGE

Real Name: Skunge

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Laxidazian) humanoid mutate (Troll)

Occupation: Mercenary, space pirate, criminal/terrorist

Group Membership: Nebula's band of mercenaries (a.k.a. the Freebooters)

Affiliations: Gunthar, Kehl, Levan;
   formerly Gorth (deceased)

Enemies: Imperial Skrull Armada (commanded by General Zedrao); Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and the Avengers (Black Knight/Dane Whitman, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Hercules, Starfox/Eros of Titan, Wasp/Janet Van Dyne); Firelord (Pyreus Kril) and the people of Xandar

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Skunge the killer troll" (his name for himself); "little Skunge" (Levan)

Base of Operations: Currently somewhere away from Earth;
   formerly detained in the underground holding center beneath a prison in Lurton, Virginia, U.S.A.;
   formerly on the loose in the Alphabet City neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, U.S.A., Earth;
   formerly detained in a Skrullian prison (or the prison of an unspecified alien race) at an unspecified extraterrestrial location;
   formerly mobile aboard Sanctuary II in the Andromeda galaxy;
   formerly mobile aboard starships that were part of Nebula's mercenary fleet;

First Appearance: Avengers I#255 (May, 1985)

Powers/Abilities: Skunge is an experienced interstellar pirate and thief. He had some experience in armed and unarmed combat, and he carried a hand-held blaster pistol.

    Skunge is prone to bragging and taking credit for something in which he was only involved to a limited degree. He is easily angered if someone mentions his stature. 

   Skunge was originally an ordinary Laxidazian and, as such, looked like a normal human from Earth, including having four fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand and five toes on each foot.

   After drinking an illegal alcoholic and mutagenic beverage, Skunge was permanently transformed into a Laxidazian troll. In this form, he had pointed ears, three fingers plus an opposable thumb on each hand, and cloven hooves instead of feet (see comments).

Height: 4' 5" (approximately)
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed
Skin: Pinkish-white
Hair: Red

History: Very little about Skunge's past has been revealed. However, the fact that he was a Laxidazian troll does provide information about certain aspects of his early life. Specifically, Skunge was not part of the majority of Laxidazians who follow a strict moral code. Instead, Skunge was part of the minority who pursue decadent hedonism and he imbibed an illegal alcoholic and mutagenic beverage that permanently transforms those who drink it into mutates known as "trolls."

(Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - After the destruction of the Skrull Imperial Throneworld by Galactus triggered a civil war that tore the Skrull Empire apart, a female mercenary who called herself Nebula began to gather a great mercenary army whose warriors were outcasts of a thousand worlds from several galaxies, including the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy. Under Nebula's leadership, world after world fell to her army.

(Avengers I#255 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Skunge joined Nebula's mercenary force.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#9: Nebula entry) - Skunge, Gunthar, Kehl and Levan became four of Nebula's most trusted aides.

(Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Commander Nebula contacted Gorth, the governor of a Skrull colony, and offered to make him emperor if he would pay her price. Gorth agreed.

(Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Nebula tried to conquer the asteroid that was the base for the Skrull Imperial Armada. When its acting commander, General Zedrao, refused to surrender to her, Nebula tried to destroy the base but was unable to penetrate its defenses. Nebula left after vowing to return and reduce the base to dust.

(Avengers I#255 (fb) - BTS / Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - Nebula sent Skunge, Gunthar, Kehl and Levan to Earth's solar system to find Sanctuary II, the former ship of Thanos, reactivate its hyperspace drive, and bring it back to her. Gunthar and Levan were sent because Nebula believed that the fact that they were former underlings of Thanos would make them most useful for this mission.

(Avengers I#252 - BTS) - As part of his plan to empty Avengers Mansion so that he would be free to carry out his takeover of the world, the Vision told Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) that the Avengers deep space monitor had picked up some disturbing signals emanating from Sanctuary II, the starship that had once belonged to Thanos that the Avengers had left drifting beyond the orbit of Pluto. The Vision asked her to fly out to inspect the ship and report back to him. Monica agreed and soon started out on her 4.9 billion mile trip.

(Avengers I#255 - BTS) - "Seven hours" later, Captain Marvel arrived at Sanctuary II and was able to get past its automatic defense shields and into the giant starship. After making sure that the life support system was functional, Marvel turned back into her human form and checked out the starship's hyperspatial communications gear. Finding nothing that would have produced the signal that the Vision claimed had been detected, Marvel contacted Avengers Mansion and reported this to the Vision. After the Vision had confessed his deception and the reason for it and Marvel had spoken with Captain America, she ended their chat and left the communications chamber without noticing an alert that had begun to flash on a console behind her. The flashing light was accompanied by text on an indicator that read (in alien glyphs) "VESSEL DOCKING...SECTION C..."

(Avengers I#255) - After reaching Sanctuary II, the foursome were able to dock their vessel on one of its hangar decks. Soon afterwards, Captain Marvel just happened to come across that same hangar and began to wander through it. Skunge spotted her while her back was towards him and, after briefly thinking about waiting for his comrades, decided that the opportunity was too good to pass up and leapt at her while crying out, "YAA-HARR!" As he tackled the startled Captain Marvel below the knees, Skunge proclaimed, "Skunge the killer troll claims yet another -- victim?" but his words trailed off when his victim turned to light and flew out of his grasp, saying, "Sorry to disappoint you, short stuff, but I'm no one's victim!

    Being called "short stuff" enraged Skunge who declared that he had been going to go easy on her but no one made fun of his stature and got away with it, then he drew his hand weapon from his holster and opened fire, saying, "Eat blaster, girlie!" Seeing that the blaster shot had no effect, Skunge reconsidered his options and began to scramble away, asking if she couldn't take a joke, and was dismayed to see that the "dematerializin' dame" could fly, too. As Skunge began calling out for Kehl to come and help his "li'l buddy," Captain Marvel assumed her physical form right in front of him, grabbed the blaster out of his hand and him by the shoulder, and asked him what he was doing there and who "Kehl" was. Skunge replied that "toots" was about to find out just before the Taurian Kehl attacked, causing Marvel to lose her grip on Skunge. As Kehl prepared to attack again, Skunge called out to warn him that she could turn into light and Marvel then demonstrated that she could turn into lightning, leaving Kehl slightly stunned. With Marvel back in human form, Skunge called out to tell Kehl that she was physical again and that he should quickly get her, but Marvel responded by blasting Kehl through a bulkhead with a force beam, showering Skunge with debris as a result.

   As Kehl swore to make Marvel pay for making him look foolish in front of his little buddy, Gunthar and Levan arrived on the scene and Gunthar used his mind-thrust on the Taurian, inducing enough pain to make Kehl sink to his knees. Levan then began to smooth talk Marvel, asking that she forgive them for the unfortunate incident because Skunge and Kehl had overreacted when they found someone aboard a vessel that had once belonged to the "mad-god Thanos." When Levan asked the "boys" to apologize, Kehl quickly complied, and Gunthar told him that he could get up, and then, prompted by Gunthar, Skunge apologized as well. With the violence now over, Levan introduced himself and Gunthar to the alien who identified herself as Captain Marvel of Earth's Avengers. Skunge and Kehl remained silent while Levan and Gunther then told Marvel a story about how, several months earlier, their ship's navigational computers had malfunctioned and they had bounced from star to star until they had chanced upon Sanctuary II and had sneaked aboard, hoping to use its equipment to get their bearings and make repairs. Captain Marvel agreed to help them.

   Later, in another chamber, Gunthar told the captain that the navigation station he was operating should allow him to recalibrate their equipment without too much trouble. When Levan stated that he was opening a relay circuit to their ship and that Gunthar could transmit at any time, Skunge reacted to the code phrase by pulling out a small memory board and plugging it in at a console on the other side of the room. As planned, Marvel regarded what he was doing as suspicious and turned into light to speed to his side, making it possible for Gunthar to push a button that activated the starship's hyperspace drive, causing Marvel to turn human against her will. Skunge was then grabbed by Marvel who demanded to know what was going on but Gunther and Levan, with their weapons drawn, told her that threatening them would be unwise. 

    Marvel reminded them that their weapons couldn't hurt her, but Levan corrected her, stating that that was only when she was in an energy state but that the hyper-jump they had just taken after activating the hyperspace drive had left her body too disrupted to change for at least several minutes. When Levan then challenged her to let Skunge go or prove him wrong, Marvel released the Laxidazian. Levan and Gunthar then made her an offer, suggesting that she could join the mercenary force of which they were a part and that someone with her talents could go far in their organization. When Marvel replied that she would rather blow the starship to smithereens, Levan advised her not to do that because the hyper-jump had taken them to another galaxy and it would take her a few million years to fly home on her own powers.

(Avengers I#256 (fb) - BTS) - The four aliens locked Captain Marvel in a room to keep her out of their way and give her time to reconsider their offer.

(Avengers I#256) - Hours later, Skunge was waiting outside the room where Captain Marvel had been confined when Levan exited after bringing her some breakfast. Skunge asked if Marvel was "throwin' in" with them but Levan replied that she wasn't yet, then added that she would come around because they all did, eventually.

(Avengers I#257) - Later, as Nebula's flagship approached Sanctuary II, Skunge and Kehl escorted Captain Marvel to the command deck. Along the way, Skunge advised her to step lively because his buddy Kehl was still looking for an excuse to pay her back for blasting him through a bulkhead the other day. Kehl told Skunge that, with her powers gone, it wouldn't be much of a challenge but it would still be fun.
   Upon arriving at the command deck, Skunge called out, "Yo, Levan! Here's your little Miss High-and-Mighty!" Levan greeted Captain Marvel and asked her to forgive "little Skunge" because he was a Laxidazian troll and they were not known for their good manners. Skunge and Kehl then stood by silently as Levan seemed to make some progress at convincing Captain Marvel to join them. Later, after Nebula and Gunthar had arrived, Nebula fired a shot from her wrist-blaster that went right through Marvel and barely missed Skunge, provoking the shocked troll to exclaim that she had turned herself into light again! Skunge stayed out of the resulting conversation between Nebula and their captive.

(Avengers I#258-259 - BTS) - "Days" later, Skunge may have been aboard Sanctuary II as it approached the asteroid swarm in which the intergalactic staging base for the Imperial Skrull armada was located and, with Captain Marvel's inadvertent help, destroyed that base with anti-matter torpedoes.

(Avengers I#259 - BTS / Avengers I#260 (fb) - BTS) - Skunge was probably aboard Sanctuary II during the next week as it traveled to Governor Gorth's colony, wiping out the world of Xandar, its Champions and its people along the way.

 

(Avengers I#260 (fb) - BTS) - Wherever he was, Skunge repeatedly told his fellow mercenaries about how he had masterminded the capture of Sanctuary II.

(Avengers I#260) - Two days after Nebula had destroyed Xandar, as Nebula's mercenary fleet was awaiting the arrival of the Skrull Imperial armada, Skunge was aboard one of the many and varied smaller ships that were patrolling space for several thousand miles around Sanctuary II. Seemingly in command, Skunge, while sitting back in his chair with his legs crossed and a drink in one hand, told his subordinates to "Keep a sharp eye on those scopes, boys! The deep probes picked up traces of the ol' Skrull armada -- and we don't want any of those green-skinned pervos sneaking past us!" He then asked them, "Hey, did I tell you how I masterminded the capture of Sanctuary II?" and one of his minions replied that he'd done so only about a dozen times. Another minion asked him to give it a rest and then reported detecting a space-time fluctuation that indicated that something was headed towards them through sub-space. Now off his command chair, Skunge asked, "Where? Lemme see! Is it a ship? The armada?" but the minion replied that it was too small and now right in front of them. Skunge told his crew to "Latch onto it with a tractor beam! Nebula's gonna want to see this herself!"

 

 

 

(Avengers I#260 - BTS) - Skunge (or one of his minions) reported to Sanctuary II that the patrol craft had intercepted a message capsule from the Skrull armada, and that it was being brought to them. Skunge chose to do so personally and brought it with him on a shuttle.

(Avengers I#260) - After his shuttle had landed in Hangar Deck B, Skunge exited it carrying the capsule in his arms. When he spotted Nebula waiting for him, Skunge said, "Here ya go, Commander Nebula! I personally scanned this prize for explosives and such...Not a thing to worry about!" He then added, "Funny, though...I'd have expected something sneaky and underhanded from the Skrulls!" At that moment, there was a loud "POP" as the capsule opened up and a panicked Skunge threw it away from him, exclaiming, "Yeeow! It's alive!" Someone, either Levan or Nebula herself, called Skunge an idiot and told him that it was just the com-unit deploying.

   Skunge was not seen as Nebula listened to the message from the Skrull commander and Captain Marvel that called upon those aboard Sanctuary II and the other ships in the mercenary fleet to surrender themselves and their ships to the Imperial Skrull armada. Skunge was also not in sight when Nebula ordered all hands to prepare for immediate battle!

   In fact, Skunge was not seen AT ALL during the subsequent battle that ended with Nebula's forces surrendering to the Skrull armada and the Avengers, nor was he with Nebula, Gunthar and Kehl when the Beyonder inadvertently helped them avoid being captured by the Avengers and/or the Skrulls by teleporting them and a fully-equipped escape craft away from Sanctuary II to another galaxy.

(Avengers I#260 - BTS / Maximum Security#1 (fb) - BTS) - Skunge was presumably among those members of Nebula's mercenary army who were captured and imprisoned by the Skrulls for their crimes.

(Maximum Security#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Skunge was arrested for his crimes and sent to some unspecified prison. 

(Maximum Security#1 (fb) - BTS) - Sometime later, the Intergalactic Council voted that that the human race was to be contained on their homeworld and Earth's solar system was quarantined. To distract humanity from freeing itself, the council also decided to use Earth as a prison planet where the lawless, the unwanted and the untameable of the galaxies would be sent. Skunge, along with Gunthar, Kehl and Levan, were among those transmatted to Earth.

(Maximum Security#1 (fb)) - Once on Earth, Skunge, Gunthar, Kehl, Levan and two Froma ended up in the Alphabet City neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City where they came into armed conflict with the violent vigilante known as the Punisher.

(Maximum Security#1 (fb) - BTS) - Skunge may have been captured by human authorities and ended up imprisoned in a cell in an underground holding center beneath a prison in Lurton, Virginia.

(Maximum Security#1) - At S.T.A.R.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S.Agent watched video footage of the battle between the aliens and the Punisher in Alphabet City.

(Maximum Security#3 - BTS) - Skunge and the others were presumably among the aliens who were removed from Earth after the truth behind Maximum Security was revealed.

Comments: Created by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer.

   Exactly what happened to Skunge after the Imperial Skrull armada defeated Nebula's forces has never been revealed. While it seems likely that the Skrulls would have imprisoned him and the other captured mercenaries for their crimes and that he was in a Skrull prison when the Intergalactic Council decided to use Earth as a prison planet, it's also possible that he could have escaped or been released, and was then arrested elsewhere for other crimes by other authorities and sent to some unspecified non-Skrullian prison.

   I dislike the idea that Nebula's mercenary army were called the "Freebooters" because that name only appeared in the quarter-page entry on the Sarks that was presented in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#15...but what can you do? Appearing in a handbook does make it official.

   Skunge is the second of only three Laxidazians who have appeared in stories set in Reality-616 and been given names. The first was Pip the Troll (formerly Prince Gofern) from Strange Tales I#179 (April, 1975) and the third was Glib Arkanian from Captain Marvel III#1 (December, 1995). All three of them are male Laxidazian trolls and the only non-trollish Laxidazians yet seen have been Prince Gofern and a single palace guard who appeared in Pip's origin flashback in Warlock I#12 and the recap that appeared in Warlock and the Infinity Watch#11. Oddly, the trolls (aside from Pip) who appeared in those flashbacks were all depicted as having pale green skin while Pip, Skunge and Glib all have pinkish-white skin.

Skunge's height, fingers...and hooves?
   1. Skunge is short and has been shown to be easily angered if someone mentions his stature. It has not been established if all Laxidazians (and/or all Laxidazian trolls) are short or if Skunge is only short because his creators based him on Pip. Some of the trolls seen in Warlock I#12 did seem to be somewhat taller than Prince Gofern. I'm also not sure how tall Glib Arkanian is supposed to be.

   2. Laxidazian trolls are supposed to have three fingers plus an opposable thumb on each hand and multiple panels in Avengers I#255 clearly show him with that many digits on his hands (although, for some unexplained reason, the gap between his middle and third fingers is shown to be wider than the gap between his first and middle fingers). However, the three panels in Avengers I#260 in which his hands are visible clearly show him with FOUR fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand. Since the art team was the same on both issues, it seems odd that they drew his hands inconsistently. Sadly, I have not been able to think of any in-universe way to plausibly explain away this art error.

   3. The first story I read in which Pip appeared was Avengers Annual #7, the issue in which he died, and I didn't pay much (if any) attention to his feet. So, when entries on Pip in early volumes of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe stated and showed that he had hooflike feet, I had no reason to doubt them. And since Skunge was based on Pip, it was no surprise that his feet were clearly shown as hooves in all of his Avengers appearances. However, this may actually be a problem.

   While working on a profile of the Laxidazian race, I recently reviewed some more recent OHotMU profiles on Pip (like in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update#2) and found that it was now claimed that Pip's transformation had given him "hairy feet" and that "The hair around his feet hardens after growing to full length, giving his feet a cloven hoof-like appearance." This made me curious so I reviewed my reprints of the original Starlin stories and was surprised to see that, although his feet were never shown with toes, neither were they shown as being hoof-like. If anything, the way that Jim Starlin drew Pip just made it look like he was always wearing a pair of red slippers (or form-fitting boots) that covered his feet. Also, more recent Starlin-drawn issues (like Infinity War#4) clearly showed that Pip had two large toes on each of his feet.

   So, if the early OHotMU entries on which Skunge's design was based are wrong, then the fact that he is definitely depicted as having hooves would be a continuity error. The explanation that the cloven hoof-like appearance of trollish feet is due to hardened hair doesn't work because the hair on Skunge's legs clearly does not extend below his ankles. A possible answer to this problem might be found in the fact that it has only been ASSumed that the mutagenic beverage affects all Laxidazians in exactly the same way. Based on how varied the appearances of the other trolls seen in Warlock I#12 were, it seems not impossible that the grog could mutate some normal Laxidazians into trolls whose feet each had two hooflike toes instead of their original five "human" toes. And maybe other Laxidazians, like Prince Gofern, just got two large, hairy toes instead.

   Wow, that was an easy fix. So, one out of two.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Skunge has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Avengers I#255, page 21, panel 1 (main image)
      page 11, panel 6 (head shot)
      page 10, panel 1 (leaping to attack)
      page 10, panel 2 (tackling Captain Marvel)
      page 11, panel 1 (running from Captain Marvel)
      page 11, panel 3 (caught and disarmed by Captain Marvel)
Avengers I#260, page 5, panel 2 (Skunge in command)
      page 6, panel 4 (delivering the "prize package" to Nebula)
      page 6, panel 5 (panicking when it deploys)
Maximum Security#1, page 12, panel 2 (battling the Punisher in Alphabet City)


Appearances:
Avengers I#255 (May, 1985) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Mark Guenwald (editor)
Avengers I#256-257 (June - July, 1985) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (breakdowns), Tom Palmer (finisher), Mark Guenwald (editor)
Avengers I#260 (October, 1985) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema (breakdowns), Tom Palmer (finisher), Mark Guenwald (editor)
Maximum Security#1 (November, 2000) - Kurt Busiek & Jerry Ordway (storytellers), Al Vey, Will Blyberg, Paul Ryan, Chris Ivy (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


First Posted: 10/24/2022
Last updated: 10/24/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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