WANDERERS

Membership: "Adam," "Eve," "Leader," "Mate," others (see comments)

Purpose: To survive

Aliases: Demi-Men, Deviants, Eternals, Pre-Men

Affiliations: Celestials (Gammenon the Gatherer), Doctor Stephen Strange, Gaea, Sise-Neg

Enemies: Serpent Men, Shuma-Gorath

Base of Operations: Mobile in the region around the Garden, somewhere on prehistoric Earth

First Appearance: (as Demi-Men) Marvel Premiere#14 (March 1974)
   (named) X-Men Annual I#13/3 (August 1989)

History:
(Marvel Premiere#14) - Over a million years ago a tribe of creatures, "Demi-Men" somewhere between apes and men, wandered into a region still inhabited with dinosaurs (see comments) and were attacked by the demon Shuma-Gorath. Brought back in time by 31st century sorcerer Sise-Neg, Dr. Strange became witness to the slaughter and tried to save the Demi-Men, but his power proved insufficient for the task. As the Demi-Men fell prey to the demon, Strange reminded Sise-Neg that the terrified hominids were his ancestors too, appealing to the future man's sense of humanity. Won over by Strange's argument, Sise-Neg banished Shuma-Gorath and used his powers to create a bountiful green haven for the two surviving Demi-Men.

 

(X-Men Annual I#13/3 (fb) - BTS) - Over the next few centuries Uatu the Watcher observed as the two survivors of the species on the evolutionary border between men and apes gave rise to an entire tribe of nomads, whom Uatu referred to as the Wanderers. The tribe migrated along the same route each year, traveling with the seasons, and each year eventually returned to the Garden.

   Around one million years ago, Set detected the approach of the Celestial's First Host, and that they would arrive on Earth somewhere near Sise-Neg's garden. Wanting his own people to take whatever gifts the Celestials might otherwise bring to the Wanderers, the Elder God instructed his Serpent Men to go to the Garden and pose as another Demi-Men tribe, the better to ambush and kill the Wanderers.

 

(X-Men Annual I#13/3) - When the Wanderers returned to the Garden during their annual migration, the then Leader and his mate discovered it now seemed inhabited by a tribe they had never seen before, one that looked have endured none of the world's hardships, as if all their worldly needs and desires had been catered for. The strangers' leader communicated to them telepathically (not that the two Wanderers knew that term), explaining that he was of the Tribe of Set, who provided his followers with food, warmth and eternal life. The stranger then offered to let the Leader and his mate join the tribe, and when the two Wanderers made it clear the offer interested them, the stranger explained that Set needed them to do two things for him; first, since Set wanted food, they must help the strangers murder their own tribe for Set to then devour; second, mighty beings from across the sky were coming bearing gifts, and the two Wanderers were to present the Tribe of Set to these visitors. Exchanging glances, the two Wanderers immediately realized that the strangers were evil, and rejected the offer violently, striking down the stranger. To their horror, when he collapsed to the ground his appearance changed, revealing his true visage as one of the Serpent Men. As the rest of the Tribe of Set dropped their disguises too, the Leader and his mate fled, howling for the rest of their own tribe to come to their assistance, which they swiftly did, driving the Serpent Men from the Garden.

   No sooner was the battle ended than the Wanderers witnessed the arrival of the Celestials' starship, escorted to their Garden by the goddess Gaea, who smiled at the Wanderers, encouraging them to accept the gifts the space gods were bringing. Emerging from the vessel, Gammenon the Gatherer gently scooped up the Wanderers and carried them into the ship, generating a feeling of blissful peace to calm his new test subjects. The envious Serpent Men approached to try and convince the Celestials to take them instead, but Arishem the Judge rejected their entreaties and violently drove them off. Within the ship the Celestials altered the genetic make-up of the Wanderers.

(Thor Annual I#7 - BTS) - The Celestials' arrival was witnessed by many hominid species and tribes (see comments).

(What If? I#23/2 / Eternals II#1 - BTS) - Gammenon the Gatherer inspected these "Pre-Men" to choose test subjects and rounded them up...

(Avengers I#339 -  BTS) - and back on the Celestials' ship the captives were genetically altered.

 (What If? I#23/2 / Eternals II#1 / X-Men Annual I#13/3 / Avengers I#339) - Three races of humanity were created - the immortal Eternals, the genetically unstable Deviants, and a third set intended to evolve naturally, carrying within them a latent gene for rapid mutation and superhuman powers. It is unrevealed whether the Wanderers ended up in one of these groups (and if so, which one) or were split up across all three.

 

Comments: Demi-Men created by Steve Englehart, Frank Brunner and Dick Giordano; Wanderers created by Peter Sanderson, Mark Bagley and Keith Williams.

   Unsurprisingly given they are prehistoric ape-men, none of them have names in the comic. I've unofficially dubbed the two founders of the tribe "Adam" and "Eve" because, in case anyone has somehow missed the allegory, their whole story is a take on the Garden of Eden; God (Sise-Neg) creates it for mankind, and the serpent (Serpent People) try to tempt them, or in this case, their descendants.

   To clarify - the Demi-Men are the species of ape-like hominids, but this profile is for the specific tribe, dubbed the Wanderers, which is why this entry uses the group profile format rather than the species. Talking of the species, we see the Celestials gathering and experimenting on apelike beings  in Thor Annual I#7, What If? I#23/2, Eternals II#1 and Avengers I#339; however, while these were definitely part of the same overall experiments to create Deviants, Eternals and implant in what would become man's ancestors the potential for superhuman mutation, the ape-men in those other stories look markedly different from the Wanderers in X-Men Annual I#13/3. Given we've been told that the Celestials experimented on at least a few hundred individuals, and the Wanderers' tribe was clearly nowhere near that numerous, the ape-men depicted in those other stories are likely members of other tribes, perhaps even other ape-men species. The difference in appearance could of course be just artistic license, so all of those experimented on could have been the same species, but the numbers still suggest more than just the Wanderers were taken to be experimented on. It'd be nice to think that the Celestials didn't break up families and tribes by turning on Wanderer into an Eternal and another into a Deviant, but I doubt the space-gods use those kinds of criteria to decide who went into what grouping. However, the very fact that Gaea made sure the Wanderers got transformed might imply they were the tribe who became Eternals, and it was the other tribes shown in the other stories, the ones seen to be fearful and who needed to be forcibly rounded up, who got the short end of the stick and became Deviants.

   Though they play no real role in the story, we see in Marvel Premiere#14 that the unidentified region the Demi-Men are in has multiple dinosaur species roaming around. Given that dinosaurs had mostly died out by one million B.C. the Demi-Men had either wandered into a region where dinosaurs had survived (not hard to believe, since on Marvel's Earth we know of regions of Africa and North America where this holds true, not counting the Savage Land in Antarctica), or had been brought there somehow. Since Set was a big proponent of dinosaurs and later targeted the Wanderers via his Serpent Men, perhaps he'd been somehow responsible for dinosaurs surviving in this region, at least until Sise-Neg modified the area and presumably wiped them out as part of the process of making it a safe haven for the Demi-Men.

   Since some of the Celestials' experimental subjects were transformed into Eternals, who are immortal, that presumably means that they could still be alive in the modern day. Maybe that Leader was Kronos, and his mate Daina, the parents of Zuras?

   This profile was completed 09/04/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Wanderers have no known connections to:


"Adam" and "Eve"

 

"Adam" and "Eve" were the only two Demi-Men to survive Shuma-Gorath's attack on their tribe, and thereafter moved into the green haven Sise-Neg created for them. Their descendants became the Wanderer tribe, and would continually return to the valley from which their forebears had sprung.

 

--Marvel Premiere#14

 


Leader and Leader's mate

  

The Wanderers's Leader and his mate encountered the "Tribe of Set" when they returned to the Garden, but violently rejected their offer to join the Tribe at the price of murdering their own people. They were later taken on board the Celestials' ship with the rest of the Wanderers and experimented on; which branch of humanity they ended up joining is unrevealed.

 

--X-Men Annual I#13/3

 


images: (without ads)
X-Men Annual I#13/3, p1, pan1 (main image - Leader and Leader's Mate enter the Garden)
Marvel Premiere#14, p15, pan4-5 (Sise-Neg creates the Garden and the surviving Demi-Men move in)
X-Men Annual I#13/3, p4, pan2 (the Wanderers battle the Serpent Men)
X-Men Annual I#13/3, p6, pan1 (the Celestials experiment on the Wanderers)
Thor Annual I#7, p15, pan3/What If? I#23/2, p3, pan2 ("pre-men" comparison)
X-Men Annual I#13/3, p2, pan4 (Leader)/What If?#24/2, p2, pan3 (Kronos) - same guy with a good shave?
Marvel Premiere#14, p15, pan5 ("Adam" and "Eve")
X-Men Annual I#13/3, p2, pan4 (Leader and Leader's Mate)


Appearances:
Marvel Premiere#14 (March 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Frank Brunner (pencils), Dick Giordano (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
X-Men Annual I#13/3 (August 1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)


First Posted: 09/06/2021
Last updated: 09/04/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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