Rann (fictional planet)
|This article does not cite any sources. (October 2007)|
|Rann (fictional planet)|
|Notable characters||Adam Strange
|First appearance||Showcase #17 (Nov-Dec, 1958)|
Rann is a fictional planet in the Polaris star system (formerly the Alpha Centauri System) of the DC Comics Universe whose capital city is Ranagar. Rann is most famous for being the adopted planet of the Earth explorer and hero Adam Strange and for their teleportation device called the Zeta Beam. The planet Rann, along with her famous non-native son, first appeared in Showcase #17 (November–December 1958).
Natives of Rann
Natives of Rann, known as Rannians, are for all intents and purposes the same as Earth-based humans. However, years of reclusive living and apathy brought on by reliance upon their technologically advanced machinery resulted in a society which had stagnated. While entirely apt to continue for some time, Rannians found their gene pool to have deteriorated, resulting in a sterile culture. For decades, no children were born, until Adam Strange fathered a child with Alanna, daughter of Sardath, the man who invented the Zeta Beam. Their daughter, Aleea, remained on Rann with her mother.
Along with the humanoid Rannians, a sentient tornado also lived on Rann. First appearing in Mystery in Space #61, the tornado was a malicious entity named Ulthoon, the Tornado Tyrant of Rann. He was defeated after challenging Adam Strange while Strange was on Rann. After having lost to Strange, he contemplated the nature of good and evil, and decided that good was superior to evil. Following this, he split into two entities. One, a benevolent being, called himself the Tornado Champion. The other, a malicious entity, called himself the Tornado Tyrant. Both would encounter the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America before being merged into the android shell of the second Red Tornado.
Rann's prehistoric creatures, seen during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, are large, dinosaur-like creatures, albeit more exotic than the normal Earth varieties (such as four-eyed creatures).
In the 22nd Century, a descendant of Adam Strange, also named Adam Strange, will assist the future hero Space Ranger and his partner Cryll in defeating Yarrok, Wizard of the Cosmos. While originally a pre-Crisis tale featured in Mystery in Space #94 and 98, Hourman #11 confirmed the story as canon with a pair of statues honoring both the second Adam Strange and Space Ranger. The above Hourman issue also features the first appearance of Rann Prime and the Adam Stranger in the 853rd Century.
Among the many humanoid Rannians, several have stood out for their actions. Sardath, chief scientist of Rann, is noted as the inventor of both the Zeta Beam and the Omega Beam technology. His daughter, Alanna, is an energetic and fierce woman, the wife of Adam Strange and mother to the first Rannian (or more accurately, half-Rannian) child born in decades. That child, Aleea, represents the hope of the Rannian people to once again prosper rather than fade into extinction. Vath Sarn became the Green Lantern of the sector in which Rann is located.
The most famous pieces of Rann technology are Sardath's Zeta Beam and the resulting variations. The Zeta Beam is a teleportation device, which boasts an extreme long range capability that can transport a human-sized target over light-years of distance. The Omega Beam acts as a Zeta Beam for planetary sized targets.
The Zeta Beam has undergone several stages. At first, the effects of a Zeta Beam would only last temporarily, resulting in Adam Strange having to return to Earth, at the point where he last teleported (in the southern hemisphere, the only part of Earth where Alpha Centauri is visible). Later, Sardath improved the Zeta Beam so that the effects would become permanent. The amount of radiation which the Zeta Beam produces would also be reduced, as shown in the Rann–Thanagar War mini-series, when Tigorr of the Omega Men, having used an older Zeta Beam model, is shown to have a large amount of ambient radiation from the teleportation.
Zeta Beamers, highly coveted by other races like the Thanagarians, are few and far between. Most are situated on Rann; Adam Strange later received a personal Zeta Beamer from Sardath. Throneworld, home of Prince Gayvn (Starman), received a Zeta Beamer as a gift from Rann.
The term zeta beam (or zee beam, as young Aleea said) can also be used as a verb. When one uses a Zeta Beamer, one is zeta beaming, etc.
The Zeta Beam relies on clear line-of-sight in order to teleport; any sort of interference would produce disastrous results. This was shown in James Robinson's Starman, when a villain attempts to use the Zeta Beam, only to be crushed against a shell of darkness at greater than light speeds. JLA: The Nail also has a dead Adam Strange, killed when he was trapped in space by a force shield surrounding Earth. The worst example of a Zeta Beam malfunction is shown in 52, when a Zeta Beam redirected through a portal created by Mal Duncan essentially splintered into several different beams. One caused Supergirl to be transported to the 31st century; one caused Adam Strange, Starfire, and Animal Man to be transported to an unknown planet and caused Adam to lose both of his eyes; one caused Alan Scott to lose both of his eyes and gain one of someone else's (likely one of Adam's); one caused the Red Tornado to explode and some of his circuitry to fuse into Mal Duncan's body; one caused Firestorm and Cyborg to fuse physically; and one caused Bumblebee to shrink to six inches in height and Hawkgirl to grow to twenty-five feet. The beam also caused the heroes to be trapped in some sort of limbo for over a month, until Halo and the Challengers of the Unknown are able to locate and rescue them.
The Omega Beam was used only twice; once to teleport Rann into an empty parallel universe to hide it from Starbreaker, then again to return it to the DC Comics universe, albeit in the Polaris System. Unfortunately, all Omega Beams were destroyed in the course of their use.
Rann also utilizes various futuristic robots, flying cars, and the like. One notable mode of transportation on Rann is jetpack. Adam Strange himself would feature a jetpack as part of his standard costume. Blasters and other plasma weapons are commonplace. Sardath, as a parting gift, gave Adam an upgraded version of his standard costume which allows for interplanetary travel as well as hard-light plasma weapons.
Rann and Thanagar
When Rann was transported into Thanagar’s system, tensions between the old adversaries were already high. Matters were made worse with the intervention of Superboy Prime. Acting under orders from Alexander Luthor, Jr. he shifted Thanagar’s orbit closer to the sun, making the planet unlivable.
At first, Rann attempted to save as many of the Thanagarians as they could, with the assistance of the Omega Men and L.E.G.I.O.N. Sardath offered Rann as a refuge for the Thanagarians, but many, believing that the arrival of Rann in the system is what caused their planet’s destruction, would not take the assistance of their old enemy. Once as many of the willing as possible were evacuated, Rann found itself in a very tense situation. The planet was full of Thanagarian refugees, and ripe for war. The Cult of Seven Devils, a death cult which worshiped Starbreaker and Onimar Synn, seized the opportunity and started a war between the Thanagarians and the Rannians.
Rann found allies in the Thanagarian-linked heroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl and later the Thanagarian soldier Shayera Thal, known as Hawkwoman. Throneworld, with the Prince Gayvn/Will Payton Starman, also allied with Rann, as well as Tigorr and his Omega Men. The Warlords of Okaara, the Dominion, and Colu also allied with Rann. Mercenaries from Khund are eventually persuaded by Tigorr to fight for Rann, although they were dispatched by the Cult of Seven Devils to scour for Nth metal. Blackfire allied herself with the heroes of Rann after an attack on Polara resulted in a significant Thanagar loss. Thanagar received aid from the Psions, enemies of the Omega Men and of the Vega system in general. The shapeshifters of Durla and the Citadel, another Vega System menace, also allied with the Thanagarians. Blackfire and the Tamaraneans allied themselves with the Thanagarians initially, although Blackfire is merely playing both sides in a bid for power and a search for a new homeworld, the past ones being destroyed by the Psions, a Sun Eater, and Imperiex, respectively. The Khunds were originally hired by the Cult of Seven Devils to scour for Nth Metal, but were bought off by Tigorr and fought for the Rannian forces.
After fighting off both the Thangarians and the threat of a resurrected Onimar Synn, Rann found itself again in conflict when the Tamaraneans and Thanagarian remnants took over Polara, while a space-time rift appeared near the Polaris Galaxy. Rannian forces team up with Green Lanterns, Thanagians, the L.E.G.I.O.N. and many other spacefaring races in order to combat the rift.
Later Thanagar's orbit was corrected by members of the Green Lantern Corps and its surface was repaired through terraforming.
To defeat Synnar and Lady Styx, Rann's atmosphere was explosively discharged into outer space with Rann's entire population zeta beamed to a recently depopulated Throneworld.
During this time Throneworld is renamed New Rann.
The people of Rann's plight was soon resolved, by none other than Vril Dox. Dox, seeking to restore his reputation after Starro the Conqueror stole L.E.G.I.O.N. from him and used it to enslave its client worlds, zeta-beamed Rann into the Vega system, in the orbit previously held by the now destroyed planet Tamaran, and proceeded to terraform Rann and make it suitable to sustain life again.
The restoration of the planet Rann wasn't Dox's only reason for relocating it into the Vega system. First, by putting Rann into Tamaran's orbit, it restored the gravitional balance to the Vega system, which had been thrown off by Tamaran's destruction. Secondly, in exchange for restoring their planet, the people of Rann agreed to let Dox rebuild L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters on Rann. And with Rann now in the Vega System, the most lawless sector in the universe, due to the Guardians of the Universe's pact with Agent Orange, Dox now had the opportunity to fully restore his reputation by using L.E.G.I.O.N. to bring order to this choaotic sector.
Not everyone shared Dox's ambitious goal, as R.E.B.E.L.S. member Captain Comet compared Dox's dropping of Rann into Vega similar "...to dropping Israel into the Middle East." Comet's prediction seemed to be true when Tamaranian refugees, led by Blackfire, attacked Rann believing that since the planet was in Tamaran's orbit they had claim to it. The situation went from bad to worse when Vega's two new Green Lantern recruits arrived and attempted to end the violence, instead only intensified it.
The violence was ended when Vril Dox, who was offworld at the start of the conflict, arrvied with Thanagarian warships and stopped the fighting without bloodshed on any side. As it turns out, Dox was offworld negotiating an official end to the Rann–Thanagar War, using Rann's newfound distance from Thanagar and change in leadership on both sides as leverage.
Dox then went on to mediate the tension between the Rannians and the Tamaranians by proposing that the Tamaranians live on Rann's uninhabited southern continent. Blackfire, who had gained a newfound respect for Dox and understood her people's desire to stop wandering the stars, and the Rannians who wished to avoid another costly war and understood the Tamaranians' desire to find a new home, agreed to the arrangement.
- Commander Arcturus Rann from the Marvel comic the Micronauts is named after Rann.
- Manotaur, a character on the DC's Kingdom Come mini-series is depicted wearing Rannian armor and set of weapons.
- An alternate version of Rann appears in the Wednesday Comics strip "Strange Adventures", written and drawn by Paul Pope and inspired more by Barsoom than the typical portrayal. This version of Rann is portrayed as primitive in comparison with main continuity, with Ranagar comprising a town of reddish stone buildings. The Ranagarians wear "heroic fantasy" costumes and warpaint, and their main mode of transport is riding dogs. Sardath is a village elder rather than a scientist and the Zeta Beam is a natural phenomenon that Adam Strange can sense. Beyond Ranagar, Rann is home to non-humanoid civilisations, some of which are hostile to the Ranagarians.
In other media
- Rann featured in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Mystery in Space!". Batman and Aquaman travel to Rann to stop a Gordanian invasion force. In the episode "Four Star Spectacular!", "Adam Strange in Worlds War" Kanjar Ro planned to vaporize all sentient life on Rann then conquer the universe. Strange and a stray dog managed to defeat Kanjar Ro. Strange used his Energi-Rod to teleport Kanjar Ro and an active Negaton Bomb to a nearly deserted planet.
- The planet Rann and its natives appear in the second season of the animated serie Young Justice. The main storyline revolves around Adam Strange, Sardath and his daughter Alanna.