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|First appearance||Runaways vol. 1, #13 (March 2004)|
|Created by||Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona|
The Gibborim are a group of fictional characters appearing in the comic book series Runaways, published by Marvel Comics. They were created by author Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona. Debuting in Runaways #13 (March 2003), in a flashback sequence, the Gibborim are the last known survivors of an ancient race of six-fingered giants who ruled Earth before humanity's dawn, called "elder gods" by Witchfire, and possibly servants of the Judeo-Christian God. Their apparent goal is to wipe the Earth clean of all humanity and reshape the realm to create a new Eden to make their "holy Father" proud. They were the evil benefactors of the Pride. Averaging a rough height of 100 feet (30 m), the Gibborim despise all humans.
In 1985, the Gibborim call together six couples, who consisted of alien invaders, time-travellers, dark magicians, mad scientists, telepathic mutants and criminals. The Gibborim informed the couples that they wished to turn the world into the same peaceful utopia it had been millions of years before, but did not have the strength. The Gibborim required the six couples' help ("a Pride") to wipe out the entire planet, and when they achieved their goal, six of the twelve who served them the best would be able to rule the world with them, while the other six would perish with the rest of the human race. The couples agreed, and formed The Pride. For 25 years the Gibborim had given The Pride wealth and had their powers enhanced so that they could rule over the entire City of Angels. Every year, The Pride gathered at the Wilder residence, using the excuse of an "annual charity fundraiser", while in reality, they would perform the "Rite of Blood", a ritual sacrifice of an innocent young female victim; the spirit of the victim would then be fed to the Gibborim in the "Rite of Thunder".
It is implied by Alex Wilder that the Gibborim are actually "children" of a far higher and even older power, their "old man", and tried to make this power proud of them by attempting to restore Paradise to Earth. The latest edition of the Official Marvel Handbook, after confirming the Gibborim are indeed "mystical" in nature, says it is unrevealed for how long the Gibborim has ruled the Earth before the dawn of humanity (and how this could be so, due to the presence of the Elder Gods, Celestials, alien visitors, and other beings of any purpose and diversity), and also says it is unclear if there were ever more than three of them. The Gibborim’s power faded over time, and they came to dwell in a "realm of slumber," the very same dimension they fled to after the Pride fell, until they moved underwater to mystically summon the six couples who would comprise the core foundation of their covert group. The Handbook also refrains from openly stating that the Gibborim are not dead, but rather gone to a "Limbo-like dimension," where they met Alex Wilder's spirit.[volume & issue needed]
"Gibborim" (גיבורים) is a Hebrew word derived from the Bible—see Gibborim (biblical). In modern Hebrew it simply means heroes (plural of "gibor" - גיבור), or in the Biblical context it may mean "tyrants".
After Janet Stein became pregnant during their third year as The Pride, The Pride agreed to end its struggle against one another. Each couple would instead ensure their child would receive one of the six places in the coming paradise, so The Pride's legacy could go on. Unbeknownst to the rest of The Pride, the alien Deans and the mutant Hayes had made a deal to murder the rest of The Pride and take the six places in paradise for themselves and their daughters, Karolina Dean and Molly Hayes. After 17 years in, the Rite of Thunder was interrupted by the children of the Pride. In response, the Gibborim killed all the members of the Pride, and they themselves ended up in the final explosion.
It was later revealed the Gibborim had survived the final explosion. Seeking refuge in a limbo-type dimension, a time-displaced Geoffrey Wilder made contact with them upon being placed in present day. They ask him to bring them a sacrificial soul in order for them to raise Alex and Mrs. Wilder from the dead, however this plan is foiled by the Runaways (although Gertrude ends up killed). Later, Chase Stein would contact them, striking a deal to raise his late girlfriend, Gertrude Yorkes, from the dead in exchange for an innocent soul. Chase attempted to offer himself (after realizing that he can't bring himself to kill another person), but ultimately failed, since the soul had to be unwilling. Without a soul, the Gibborim end up fading to a dimension of nothingness: merely white space which is revealed to be where Alex was sent after death. It is unknown if this is truly death, as it compromises other Heaven/Hell concepts in Marvel, as well as the entity Death itself. The absence of the Pride and anyone else is also enigmatic; the Gibborim's personal nature and origins is largely unknown, though, due to Alex's statements to them in the void, it is hinted they are religious, if extremely misguided, servants of the Heavenly Father or another higher being, himself. It is unknown whether the Gibborim fall under the category of supernatural creatures, Principalities, gods, or cosmic entities; however, certain Marvel writers appear to show that they are considered Elder Gods.
They have a cameo appearance briefly during X-Infernus when Witchfire tries to release the "elder gods", proving that their ancient age and domination over the Earth was because they were "elder gods" (erroneously mistaken sometimes for the actual Elder Gods of Earth), thus possibly on the same order as the Elderspawn.
The Gibborim also claim to be capable of resurrecting mortals, even after they have passed into the Great Beyond, whereas death gods and even some cosmic beings capable of obliterating entire worlds cannot, though they apparently require an innocent soul to do so. The Gibborim are also capable of restructuring the entire world and eliminating the entire human race if fueled with enough soul-energy, and can mystically generate fire intense enough to incinerate a human, teleport a dozen people from various locations and times to one location, dispel the dark spell of the Minorus conjuring bats, and all possess a high level of immunity to harm, be it physical or energy-based. They also enabled the Pride to rule Los Angeles, becoming the West Coast's dominant criminal organization, and can create enchanted rings and tomes of powerful functions. As "elder gods" of Earth who ruled it before humanity's dawn, and apparently once-servants of God, the Gibborim are theoretically capable of accomplishing anything desired if given enough power.[volume & issue needed]
There has also been various hints that the Gibborim were indeed intended to be actually Biblical beings, with the three of them calling the paradise they would create their "new Eden" and the Pride as their twelve "apostles"; additionally, the Gibborim expressed rage at the sight of Xavin (a Skrull): "Unclean wretch! Earth is a sacred temple! What gives an outsider like you the right to sully our Holy Father’s planet?", and Alex, whilst taunting the three of them within the void, believed that the Gibborim had only attempted to destroy humanity and purge Earth as an effort to make their "old man" proud.[volume & issue needed]
Despite the Gibborim's short appearances, their tenure in the series was positively received. Jason Cornwell of Comics Bulletin describes the characters as "a great influence to cold-blooded killers." Another reviewer, Shawn Hill describes the Gibborim as those that provide the entire motivation for the title again.
In other media
- In the Runaways TV series there is a religious cult called The Church of Gibborim that worships the species and is led by Karolina Dean's mother. Its practices appear to be based on the real life Church of Scientology.
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i). "The Good Die Young" Runaways 13 (March 2004), Marvel Comics
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i). "Live Fast" Runaways v2, 24 (January 2007), Marvel Comics
- Brian K. Vaughan (w), Adrian Alphona (p), Craig Yeung (i). "The Good Die Young" Runaways 14 (April 2004), Marvel Comics
- Cornwell, Jason (2004-08-11). "Runaways #17 Review". Comics Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Pride". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- X-Infernus #4
- Cornwell, Jason (2004-03-31). "Runaways #13". Comics Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- Hill, Shawn (2004-06-21). "Runaways #16". Comics Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-01-07.