Nothing in the Liberators' experience had exposed them to even the idea of machines communicating to each in anything other than English, much less to the concept of an organic machine, which is why their initial reaction was to assume that it was just random noise. The makers of Electro and the Dynamic Man were very much men of their time and place - America, in the late 1930s and early 1940s - and so were limited in their thinking; in the common argot of the 1990s, they were incapable of thinking outside of the box, of overcoming their cultural and biological preconceptions. Which is why those two androids communicated with the Liberators in English, and why their thought processes were extremely linear, working in 1s and 0s and almost instantaneously converting those into English, and why none of the Liberators, almost to a man and woman, thought that robots wouldn't automatically communicate or think in English.[1]

The being they were confronting was thus not only alien to Earth, but alien to their very way of thinking. The same held true of the being. A native of a planet in the galaxy M-97, a very long distance from the Milky Way galaxy, the being had extensive experience with alien races, and had traveled a great deal, both inside his own galaxy and to other neighboring galaxies, but it [2] had never traveled far enough from M-97 to encounter true humans; he had substantial experience interacting with humanoids, but never with natives of the planet Earth. The being was the ruler not just of its planet but of the surrounding systems. The race subsisted on the energies of others by infecting them with a virus which turned the stuff of their bodies into a techno-organic material like that of his race (whose name is untranslatable into English; one approximation might be "the Transformers") and then draining them of their life-energies; because of the ever-present danger of encountering a lack of sufficient resources, the race was expansionist, and slowly but surely took over and assimilated nearby planets, races, and civilizations.

The being that the Liberators were facing was the ruler of this race, not just by virtue of its power (for it was by far the most powerful member of its kind) but because of its attitude towards others (it saw all other beings and races as either enemies or food-sources, but was extremely intelligent and cunning in its tactics and strategies). Its rule was vicious and long-lived, for it had survived at the top of its civilization for centuries, brutally destroying all challengers. It was infamous across M-97 and surrounding galaxies, and its name always provoked fear and hatred. Although its name was, naturally, in the language of its race, by an odd coincidence the sounds were similar to a word in English, which is how he became known, decades later: as the Magus.

[1] The third of the Liberators' androids, Marvex, was not made by human hands, nor thought in human terms, although this was something most of the Liberators were not aware of; Marvex was very quiet, even for an android, and although he followed orders very eagerly and was quite agreeable in conversation, the press and immediacy of affairs and battles during the war left few of the Liberators with the time or inclination to do any serious pondering about those teammates they knew relatively little about and who did not make much effort to become known to them. The truth was that Marvex was the creation of fifth-dimensional beings who were inimical to humanity, and had made him to be the first of an entire army of androids who would infiltrate human society, and when the time came, overthrow it from within. Marvex found that humans were a good race of beings, superior in morals and ethics to his creators, and so helped destroy the invasion plans, closing the warpgate between their home dimension and Earth. He then began to fight crime, in order to make Earth a still better place for all humans. However, ashamed of his past, and frightened that his memory banks might have hidden or embedded subroutines that would take control of him in the future, Marvex did not discuss his past with the other Liberators, who were generally too caught up with current events to even think of inquiring about him, a state of affairs he found quite acceptable.

[2] Given that the being was an organic robot, applying purely biologically-based designations such as "he" or "she" would be not just inaccurate but reflective of linguistic biases. Mechanical and techno-organic beings rarely have any use for a dualistic division of roles, that simplistic opposition being left for biological organisms, many of whom themselves found other ways in which to bear children, through three or six or ten sexes. The race to which this being belonged had only one sex, although one member of the race, decades later, would refer to himself, in conversation with certain Americans, as "he." Each member of the race spawn, usually in large numbers, and are raised in a "creche" (the nearest English word, although the concept, in the mechanical and telepathic language of these beings, encompasses a much wider range of meanings than the simple English word). On reaching a certain age the "children" are forced to battle their parents; those who kill their parents acquire the right to survive, which is the only means by which members of the race are allowed to join the greater civilization.

This has the added benefit of acting as a brake on the growth of the race's population, in effect forcing them to have zero percentage growth. This is an important consideration for mechanical and "artificial" races, who in eons past have shown themselves capable of literally unchecked growth. The legend, in both the Known Universe and the Unknown Galaxies, of the Berserkers - biological-hating robots programmed by a long-dead and forgotten race to destroy all forms of life - has been repeatedly shown to be more fact than legend, with a tendency towards reproducing themselves without stopping. Likewise, only a scant 14,000 years ago the Axi-Tun, in an obscure asteroid field in a small system in the Ring Nebulae, made the mistake of ignoring various wards, guardian systems, and warnings, and unearthed a series of vaults in 24 moon-sized asteroids and planetoids, thus awakening the 010301, who had plagued the universe 10 millennia ago. The robotic, life-hating 010301 went on a rampage, setting out to destroy the universe reproducing themselves in numbers capable of achieving that task, and were only imprisoned with the greatest of difficulty and with the deaths of countless hundreds of thousands of beings.

Author's Notes: The information on Marvex's origin is, more or less, as given in his first appearance, in Daring Mystery Comics #3. I've altered a couple of minor details, to make his origin more realistic and less Golden-Age-goofy, but on the whole it's the same.

The information on the Magus is also as given, from both his entry and that of his "son," Warlock, in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Information on the Magus' race, however, is mostly my creation, since the X-writers didn't do much, as far as I know, to detail his race.

Go back to Liberators #25