The "Homo mermani" are in fact native to the planet Vodan; however, the history of their immigration to Earth, and other related origins, were lost, and unknown even to the likes of the Logomancer, though a few theories (some possibly cumulative) exist:
- Genetic manipulation: As the underwater breathing ability was found in both Inhumans and Deviants, it is speculated that it was scientifically bestowed upon humans by Inhuman or Deviant geneticists.
- Divine intervention: The Atlanteans credit Neptune who would have transformed them from air- to water-breathers.
- Natural evolution/adaptation: It is stated that 10,000 years ago, a genetic offshoot of man, Homo mermanus, evolved the ability to live underwater. The Atlanteans reject violently the theory of natural evolution of their species. A mere fraction of it's inhabitants survived after adapting their bodies to live under the sea as water breathers.
- Magical manipulation: According to Neptune himself, the few surviving Atlantean sorcerers used their powers to transform the Atlanteans into a water-breathing race.
- Instantaneous Adaptation: Another account stated a mere fraction of Atlantis' inhabitants survived after adapting their bodies to life in water, which they came to be able to breather in the direct aftermaths of Atlantis' destruction.
The First Atlantis
Atlantis itself had been a small above ground continent with many human settlements, when an event tens of thousands of years ago called the "Great Cataclysm" caused it to be submerged into the sea. 2,000 years later, a group of Homo mermani made the ruins of the human settlements in Atlantis their home and went on to develop a society there using as much of the material as they could scavenge from the wreckage.
War with the Great Old Ones
When the humans returned into the oceans as Homo mermanus, they woke up the ancient evil that dwelt there, the first rulers of Earth, hideous things that had built huge cities, worked uncanny magic, enslaved servants that lived and died in their dark glory. This evil had gone for a time when the stars had turned round in the sky.
500 years after the settlement of Atlantis, another group of Homo mermani left Atlantis to found their own city - this time in a part of the ruins of another continent submerged during the Great Cataclysm - Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean.
These "Lemurians" would discover the Serpent Crown in the ruins of their city, and through their leader Naga's exposure and extensive use of the ancient mystical device, they would become more serpent-like in appearance than their Atlantean cousins.
During the 20th century, the Atlantean race began to come into sustained contact with their human "cousins". These contacts have often been hostile, and have included many aborted invasions and even separate occasions when large numbers of Homo mermani were rendered comatose or sterilized for periods. During the Second World War the kingdom of Atlantis also fought against the Axis Powers in alliance with the Allied Powers.
However, not all interactions between Homo sapiens and Homo mermanus have been hostile: During the 1920s a Homo mermani female, Princess Fen of Atlantis mated with the human sea captain Leonard McKenzie, a union which produced the first human/Atlantean hybrid: Namor, the Sub-Mariner.
In this reality, the Atlanteans were terrorized by pollutants leading Namor to wage war against he surface world. However he was defeated by the combined efforts of the Fantastic Four and Avengers and soon learned that his own Warlord Krang manipulated the events of the battle and called off the invasion. Namor then came to the aid of Counter-Earth to protect it from destruction at the hands of Galactus.
Following the heroes of Earth-616's return to their own world, Counter-Earth was manipulated by the Dreaming Celestial causing geological disruptions that saw the Eastern United States flooded. Atlantis was then controlled by Dorma who renamed the nation to Atlan and invaded the flooded parts of North America, slaughtering many. Warlord Krang meanwhile was betrayed and killed by the Masters of Evil. Dorma eventually joined Dr. Doom's Generals a cadre of super-human world powers that sought to bring order to the endangered Counter-Earth. Together, they managed to pull Counter-Earth out of the pocket dimension it existed in and into Earth-616. After subsequent clashes with the Fantastic Four, Dorma and her comrades were locked away in the Baxter Building on Counter-Earth.
Breaking Free, Dorma returned to Atlan where she amassed a cache of nuclear weapons to blow up the surviving surface dwellers. However the reality jumping Proteus of Earth-58163 arrived and used his powers to raise Atlan to the surface causing every member of the Atlantean race present to suffocate. If there are any Atlantean survivors remains to be seen.
On Earth-772, Namor would win the heart of Sue Storm in a reality where the Fantastic Four would accept Spider-Man into their ranks. They would be married and Sue would become the first non-Atlantean queen of Atlantis and pregnant with his child. They would be accepted by the Atlantean people. A jealous Reed Richards would attempt to kill the people of Atlantis with a bomb that would eliminate the oxygen from the ocean. However, watching Sue give birth her child, Reed would change his mind and deactivate the device.
Atlantis would be targeted by the Skrulls who would be testing out cosmic ray emitting boxes to make the people of the Earth their slaves. A Skrull would infiltrate the kingdom with a device and the Sub-Mariner would blame this realities Fantastic Four, leading to a brief clash before they would learn the truth and foil the Skrull plot.
The past of the Atlanteans of Earth-9997 mirrors that of their Earth-616 counterpart.
In 2199 the discovery that the frigid oceans beneath the surface of the Jovian moon Europa were perfect for colonization by Atlanteans
Powers and Abilities
Amphibious Physiology: Most Atlanteans can only survive out of the water for about 10 minutes without artificial aid.
Superhumanly Acute Senses: Atlanteans are specifically adapted to living in the ocean. Atlanteans' eyes are capable of seeing with perfect clarity, even in the near-total darkness of the ocean floor. They are also able to hear and smell under the water as well as humans do on land.
Superhuman Strength: The average Atlantean can lift about 4 tons.
Superhuman Speed: Atlanteans can run and move at speeds greater than the finest human athlete. Their superior speed also extends into swimming and he can reach a top speed of about 30-35 miles per hour.
Average Strength Level
4 Tons.
Oxygen/nitrogen rich liquid atmosphere
It is not known precisely how many Atlanteans there are in the world today. The number is believed to be fewer than ten thousand, an extremely small figure when compared to the surface human population of more than six and a half billion. About two thousand live in the capital city of Atlantis and its immediate vicinity. Others live in small enclaves from pole to pole.
Type of Government
Level of Technology
Most Atlanteans live in caves on the ocean floor or the submerged portions of coral reefs. The inhabitants of the capital city of Atlantis live in the ruins of the ancient city of surface Atlantis. Because there can be no fire under water, the Atlanteans have lacked the capacity to forge steel or burn fossil fuel for energy. Because of the aquatic medium in which they live, they were also unable to isolate or mix chemicals. Consequently, the Atlanteans never developed a native technology beyond that of flint tool making. Swords and armaments used in warfare were largely salvaged from the ruins of surface Atlantis or sunken ships of human construction. It is only in the past century, through interaction with scientists of the non-human Deviant race, that any form of advanced technology was developed. Astronomy, chemistry, biology, and physics remain virtually unknown sciences. Medicine has remained primitive, with drugs unheard of and surgery impossible under water. No system of mass communication has ever been developed, nor any means of mass transit.
Atlantean government has traditionally been tribal, although the citizens of the capital city of Atlantis have adopted the stylings of a monarchistic republic from their long-dead surface predecessors. Besides an ancestral monarch, Atlantis has a Council of Elders, who serves as the judiciary and legislative branch of government. Atlantis has a standing militia who perform police functions in times of peace. Although the monarchy of Atlantis claims all Homo mermani dwelling in the Atlantic Ocean as its subjects, in actuality the monarchy neither provides services or protection nor demands tribute or recognition from those who live beyond one day swim from the capital city. Most Homo mermani continue to live tribally. The largest grouping of Atlanteans in the Atlantic Ocean outside the capital city are ruled by the barbarian warlord Attuma.
Atlanteans subsist on raw fish and seaweed. They are largely a hunter / gatherer society, who have made successful attempts to farm seaweed. In most of the Atlanteans tribes, male hunt for fish and females gather seaweed. In the monarchy of the Atlantean capital, society is stratified so that there is a special guild of hunters and gatherers who provide food for the entire population. This frees the rest of the society for other pursuits, such as the advancement of culture. The culture of the tribal Atlanteans remains primitive, with ritualistic dance and storytelling at its core. The culture of monarchic Atlantis is slightly more sophisticated, with its class or guild of entertainers. The religion of most tribal Atlanteans is pantheistic nature-worship. The state religion of monarchic Atlantis holds in reverence the Greek god of the sea Neptune, who once lived among the Atlanteans some two millennia ago before leaving them. The Atlantean Empire in many ways resemble the ancient Roman Empire at its zenith.
Atlanteans communicate by means of a limited range of high-pitched vocal sounds and elaborate "signing" gestures. A more varied spoken language is not possible due to the inherent limitations of sound transmission through water.
However, a spoken and written language exist. Please consult here our Atlantean Dictionary.
See the List of all known Atlanteans.
Description & special adaptations
Atlanteans possess twin gills located on their necks near the clavicle bone, which enable them to extract oxygen from the water. They possess physiologies far stronger and more durable than their surface counterparts, which enable them to withstand the vast water pressure at the ocean's bottom as well as the pressure changes encountered traveling from one depth to another.
Compared to the average air-breather, the average Atlantean is about ten times stronger. The average Atlantean can swim at a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour.
Atlanteans are warm-blooded, and their blood circulation is superior to that of land-dwellers, enabling them to withstand the near-freezing temperatures of the ocean depths with minimal discomfort.
Atlanteans have specially-adapted eyes possessing vision more sensitive to the green portion of the spectrum. This enables them to see more acutely in the dimly lit ocean depths.
Atlanteans need water in order to breath, and will suffocate in open air in about five minutes, though Fen, Namor's mother, used a potion that allowed her to breathe air for five hours, but eventually began to breathe air and underwater permanently.
Atlantean skin tends to be light blue in color, although certain individuals are darker.
Atlanteans possess residual body hair primarily on their heads, a holdover from their surface-dwelling ancestry.
Despite their various marine characteristics, Atlanteans are mammals: they bear their young live and care for them during infancy. Although rare, it is possible for an Atlantean and an air breather to mate. The physical characteristics such an offspring will inherit are subject to genetic chance. In the known cases of such matings, the offspring acquired the capacity to breathe in both air and underwater.
The life expectancy of an Atlantean is about 150 years.
Reproduction and Cross-breeding
The Atlanteans, as their cousins the Lemurians, have proved to be fertile with humans, and generate from those unions mutant hybrids, fertile or not.
Fertility of the Hybrids
As hybrids, Human-Atlanteans aren't all able to reproduce: Namora has been unable to reproduce with Talan, a pure-blooded Atlantean. She is then supposed to be a sterile hybrid, leading to her cloning in order to create a child.
But Namor has been shown in many realities to be able to reproduce with Atlanteans (Dorma, Abira), mutated humans (Susan Storm) or even aliens with the Plodex Marrina. Full list of known human-Atlantean hybrids
Many mutants and powered beings are born among the Atlanteans. Their true biological nature is quite unknown, but were stated to be Atlantean mutants Crosta by Juston's Sentinel, Attuma (Earth-2189) (by Namora), and Surf members Undertow, Sharkskin and Eel.
Those mutants aren't to be confused with the human/Atlantean hybrids mutants, which their mutancy is supposed or confirmed to came from an X-Gene, developed within the human genetics.
A rare Atlantean offshoot or subspecies with the inherent capacity for casting magic through song.
The few of whom to have made appearances to date were largely female. These waterbreathers are capable of surviving on dry land without the need of water filtration systems or conversion serum's which have been used to temporarily or permanently transform other mariner races into surface dwellers. Full list of known Atlantean Sirens
Their physiologies evidently adapted lungs as well as gills in order to carry their narcolepsy inducing tunes either on dry land or in the depths.
- Patrol Craft: Two-man, open cockpit, aquatic scout ship used by Attuma's army. Each patrol craft is equipped with an Atlantean Ray Cannon.
- Pincer Tank: Two-man, open cockpit, aquatic craft armed with a set of flexible pincer claws that can be used to grapple and entangle opponents. Used by Attuma's army.
Individual weapons and equipment:
- Body Armor: Atlantean soldiers wear body armor
- Ray Pistols:
- Ray Rifles:
- Heat Ray: One of Attuma's troops utilized a hand-held heat ray against Iron Man.
- Power Tridents: Project stun blasts.
- Water-Breathing System: When a non-amphibious Atlantean ventures into the surface world, he wears a sealed bubble helmet that covers his head and neck-gills. The helmet is designed to enable the wearer to see normally. A small cylindrical backpack recycles and renews the water. The system enables the wearer to stay away from the water for days before they suffer ill effects.
- One-Man Propulsion System: This is a small cylindrical platform that clamps to the user's feet. It is steered by flexing the feet and legs. It can maintain speeds of 75 mph for up to two-thousand miles in the water. It's usefulness in the air is limited to a short hop of 10 to 20 feet (i.e. enough to get onto a dock or the shore).
- Turtle Transports: These gigantic turtles are bred to carry troops on their backs across great distances. These turtles are amphibious and can function equally well in or out of the water.
- Air-Breathing Serum: Atlanteans have developed a chemical compound that allows normal breathing in air, while turning the flesh from normal blue to human flesh-tones and requires a separate serum to reverse its effects. Variations of this chemical allow air-breathing for 24 hours.
- Atlantis and the Atlanteans (as the continuation of ancient Atlantis, a location mentioned within the Cthulhu Mythos, were tied to the Marvel Comics version of the Mythos at occasions:
- The Lemurians were of an Atlantean sect worshiping the Elder God Set, that left Atlantis, and founded the kingdom of Lemuria.
- The Unforgiven Dead, led by Suma-Ket, worshiped the Old Ones, took control of Atlantis, and sacrificed Atlanteans to their dark gods for further power. They were themselves known as the Old Ones.
- The Aqueos, for a part vampirized Atlanteans and Lemurians, were created from Sh'g'th tissue, a formless substance used to create unholy life, by ancient "things", beings from the stars, and lived in R'llyeh, the "First Atlantis", the "Seventh World of the Ancients".
- According to Wolverine Atlanteans have a unique scent which he describes as being like 'sushi dipped in motor oil', which makes it easy for him to track them on land.
- 603 appearance(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 4 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 47 minor appearance(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 54 mention(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 13 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 58 image(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 548 representative(s) of Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Atlanteans (Homo mermanus)
Links and References
- Tales to Astonish #64
- Tales of Suspense #66
- Gruenwald, Mark & Sanderson, Peter (1985). Atlanteans. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition #1: Abomination - Batroc's Brigade pp. 38–39. New York: Marvel Comics.
- Gruenwald, Mark & Sanderson, Peter (1985). Atlantis. In Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition #1: Abomination- Batroc's Brigade pp. 40–41. New York: Marvel Comics.
- Atlanteans at Wikipedia