The Gnobians were a race of alien wanderers who were devoted to sampling different cultures via empathic links with their people. During World War II, they came to Earth and landed in the Black Forest of Germany. Word of their existence reached the Nazi Party, and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker led his Death's Head Squadron to the town of Gruenstadt to find the creatures. After seeing the extent of their technology, Strucker ordered Gruenstadt wiped out to prevent word from spreading about his new find.
The Death's Head Commandos were opposed by Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos, who killed the Nazis but not before every man, woman, and child and Gruenstadt was killed. Strucker barely survived the encounter, and made his was back to the Gnobian mother. Strucker pushed the alien into healing him, but the psychic link between the two infected the Gnobian mother and all her children with Strucker's hatred and madness.
The Gnobians were entombed for more than fifty years by their Kree Sentry guard in an effort to fight off their madness. They were reawakened in modern times by Wilhelm Schmidt (the only other survivor of that night) and Werner von Strucker, in an effort to make amends for Baron Strucker's actions. Unfortunately, the Gnobians were still mad and infected with Strucker's Aryan dogma and hatred for Fury.
Adopting new identities as the Death's Head Squadron, the Gnobians warred against Fury and unified Germany until Nick Fury and his reunited S.H.I.E.L.D. agency learned the truth behind the Gnobians. Schmidt had preserved one Gnobian egg separate from the hive mind and Strucker's madness, named Lump, who telepathically communed with the Mother and temporarily restored her sanity. Realizing they were too dangerous to live, the Gnobian Mother and her children destroyed themselves before Strucker's madness took over again.
Powers and Abilities
- Receptive Empathy
- March 1994's Fury #1 one-shot revealed the real Gnobians' origin as constructs similar to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Life-Model Decoys created by Hydra scientist Arnim Zola. However, due to both the several continuity errors and contraddictions to previously established stories and the impossibility to adapt the issue to the Marvel Universe's Sliding Timescale, Fury #1 has not been considered canonical to Earth-616 by subsequent writers and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe staff.