Prior to Kallark becoming the Preator of the Imperial Guard known as Gladiator who had been trained under the tutelage of Deathbird, Lilandra's evil sister, he was a promising young cadet warrior of a proud bloodline back on his home planet Strontia. A powerful race that values nothing above honor and duty who have sworn their loyalty to the Shi'Ar throne having been saved by the then Emperor from the Wraith Plague.
He was part of an elite group of young males and females of his race who under went a series of Trials in a contest which would allow them to have their psionic-fueled abilities be enhanced to Gladiator levels. The Elders of these Strontian's would inform the 10 cadets who where elevated to Gladiator level that the Emperor of the Shi'ar T'Korr was looking for new members for his Elite Imperial Guards and only one of them could take the position. T'Korr gave them a final test a mission to see if their professed loyalty was indeed without question by ordering them to return to their home and slay their Council Elders. Kallark however proves the only one to be able to adhere to the command of the Majestor no matter what, even if he doesn't agree with the order given and does his duty.
Defeating his fellow Gladiator's when they falter in their mission, fights his own people and kills the Elders who raised him, leaving Strontia to destroy a Shi'Ar Starcracker that was pointed at the Strontian sun which would have been activated and destroy their sun had Kallark not completed the mission. He returns to Emperor T'Korr who then makes him the leader of the new Imperial Guards known as Gladiator.
Gladiator was created by Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum. Gladiator first appeared in October 1977 in The X-Men #107, the character shares several similarities with DC Comics Superboy and Mon-El, not only in their nearly identical power sets but also in their niche as heroic role model and leader of their respective interplanetary teams, Marvel Comics Imperial Guard and DC Comics The Legion of Superheroes. He was also Marvel's homage to Superman.
Major Story Arcs
Gladiator versus the X-Men
His first encounter with the people of Earth was when the previous ruler of the Shi'ar Empire, the mad Emperor D'Ken, ordered the Imperial Guard to fight the X-Men. He later fought the X-Men again in the matter of the fate of Jean Grey who was possessed by the Phoenix Force and became the Dark Phoenix. Once time he fought the Fantastic Four (mistaking them for the shape-changing alien Skrulls) and on another occasion he came looking for the X-Men to help him fight against the Phalanx; this second time, his aggressive arrival led him to blows with the X-Men's Cannonball (Sam Guthrie).
Recently, he attempted to acquire the Uni-Power which was traveling from host to host for aid against Krosakis, he found it with Invisible Woman, and was able to convince it to aid him. Krosakis eventually caught up with Gladiator as he tried to leave Earth with the Uni-Power. Silver Surfer assisted Kallark, and Kallark placed Krosakis under custody.
After his empress and friend Lilandra was under the control of Charles Xavier's mutant sister Cassandra Nova she ordered the destruction of all mutants on earth and Gladiator knew something was wrong he had never seen her act liked this, but not knowing that she was under mind control he obeyed her by trying to destroy the place with the most mutants in it, the X-Men Mansion. While during his attack he defeated Wolverine and the Beast. Gladiator was confronted by the fellow guards men smasher who was able to convince the guard of the true threat, gladiator finally realized something was wrong and told Wolverine and Beast sorry for what had happened and asked them if they could help him free Lilandra. Gladiator returned to earth under the command of the empress on a mission to capture the cosmic Uni-Power and bring back to where it belonged. After a battle with Invisible Woman, who had been possessed by the uni power and transformed into Captain Universe, the Uni-Power was transferred back to Gladiator so he could rush the Invisible Woman to Los Angeles to help prevent an impending tsunami.
After that Gladiator invited the Uni-Power back to the Shi'ar empire so it could be evaluated.The uni power however was captured by Krosakis a energy consuming warlord who absorbed the Uni-Power but the Silver Surfer sensed the Uni-Power distress and battled Krosakis and saved the Uni-Power and Krosakis prisoners.
Gladiator and his fellow Imperial Guards first encounters the human mutant Gabriel Summers aka Vulcan aboard a Shi'ar War bird in the inner realm of the Shi'ar Empire. Upon ordering the captain of the ship to stand down after its recent treasonous acts of destroying both the Shi'ar Stargates and their maintenance crews or face the wrath of the Imperial Guards. He however soon finds that his Guard members are not prepared to face the Wrath of Vulcan as the youngest and the most powerful of the Summers brothers lay waste to several of the Imperial Guards seriously wounding other's till Gladiator, gets a directive transmitted to his implant from Vice-Chancellor K'tor who has plans for Vulcan, thus empowering his belief that he is untouchable and destroys Gabriel's left eye with a powerful blows which subdues him then orders the other astounded Guards to imprison him in spite of Vulcan having hurt, maimed and killed many of them.
When Gladiator next encounters Vulcan it's at the latter's wedding ceremony to Deathbird with the Shi'ar's Emperor D'ken back as majestor of the Shi'ar. The Wedding Ceremony is cut short as Lilandra's Shi'ar Military faction accompanied by the Starjammers versus that of her brother who is joined by the Imperial Guards. Gladiator is quick to lead the charge but is fended of by Polaris till she can no longer contain him. He then makes short work of Raza, Korvus and Rachel before apprehending Lilandra.
Only looking on as Vulcan throws Charles into the M'kraan Crystal and little later as D'ken is deciding on Lilandra's fate looks on as Vulcan kills him and ascends to become Emperor Vulcan of the Shi'ar Imporium. Having received confirmation from Deathbird that Vulcan is indeed their new Emperor but before he can get into action he is stunned by Korvus attack on him. After fighting off Korvus, Gladiator orders the Imperial Guard to with draw accompanying the Empress.
The Imperial Guard and Gladiator serve Emperor Vulcan but do so with great reluctance. They hate him and would sooner kill him were he not the Emperor. The reluctance of Gladiator in offering no stance on any matter and only engaging the enemy when ordered to do so. Gladiator however proves no match against the Eldest of the Scy'ar tal who breaks his forearm and toss him out and away from Scy'ar tal ship with ease. In the next battle against the eldest he works together with Vulcan and Havok to defeat the Eldest. He later engages Korvus and Rachel on order of Vulcan to kill them but Rachel proves why she is the star-child fighting him to a standstill before casting him aside to safe Korvus. With the Scy'ar tal defeated Gladiator and the Imperial Guard sent out in the frontline with one Imperial mandate which is the expansion of Shi'ar Empire.
In his home back on Asteroid Haven, Gladiator receives a visit from Lilandra, whom he shows to care for in spite of what he must do. Unaware that while Lilandra is distracting him Rachel is taking the much needed information on the rest of the Starjammers whereabouts from his mind before they both flee prior to him catching them.
On the prison planet Kr'nn, Gladiator snatches Havok with every intention killing him, when he sees his cousin Xenith. Angry at seeing her free, he demands to know what Vulcan has done, but wastes no time waiting for answer as he releases Havok and goes after his cousin in a rage. Their battle is fierce, and Xenith, who genuinely seems to match Kallark in power, reveals that the reason for her hatred towards him is because he sided with the Shi'ar over her. She also hints at being aware of secrets that Kallark was keeping from the Emperor. Their fight is halted by Deathbird who demands that Gladiator serve the Emperor and set aside his personal issues and deal with the Starjammers, who at the time were besting the Imperial Guard in battle. Before either of the Strontians can engage them, the Starjammers withdraw and escape.
Vulcan later replaces Gladiator with Xenith on the front lines of the war, taking Gladiator with him on his quest to find Lilandra and the Starjammers.
War of Kings
Serving under Emperor Vulcan for the Imperial Guard of the Shi'ar empire, Gladiator led the assault against the Inhumans. As Crystal of the Inhuman Royal Family was about to marry Ronan the Accuser in order to unite the Inhumans with the Kree, they were attacked by Gladiator and the Imperial Guard. Gladiator took on Black Bolt and was able to defeat him with some help from White Noise. The Guard also captured Princess Lilandra who was with the Kree and Inhumans. Ronan also fell as he tried to help Crystal but was double teamed and taken out. Gladiator said that they have made their statement, and the Imperial Guard left. As they left, Medusa shouted that the Shi'ar would pay for what they have done, with their blood.
After having captured Lilandra, Gladiator and the Imperial Guard faced of against the new batch of Nova Centurions. The centurions were quickly defeated when his cousin, Xenith, showed up. She informed him that the Emperor ordered him to return to present Lilandra to him. Gladiator quickly left, clearly showing his dislike for his cousin and her presence.
Gladiator shows more internal conflict and walks a fine line in doing his duty for the Emperor he personally dislikes while still protecting Lilandra from the Emperor's wrath. Later, when the Starjammers accompanied by the a faction of the Guardians of the Galaxy attacked his ship to extract Lilandra he was taken out of the fight by Rocket Racoon aided by Marvel Girl until he saw through their trick. He quickly defeats the rest of their team and captures Lilandra before she can escape. She pleads with him again, asking him to serve for the good of the Shi'ar, rather than to serve whatever madman was on the throne. Another Imperial Guard interjects her plea and demands that Gladiator does as the Emperor ordered and kill Lilandra and the others.
Kallark apparently makes his choice and turns on the Guard and the Shi'ar, killing Smasher in the process. Kallark commits himself to helping Lilandra regain her throne by escorting her and the Starjammers back to the Shi'Ar throne world. When he is referred to as Preator by councilor D'Bek, he states that he can no longer claim that title, having sided with Lilandra over the one who currently sits on the throne. D'Bek is quick to assure Kallark that the title will soon be his again.
Kallark proves to be fiercely protective of the Lilandra while she makes her bid to reclaim her Imperial throne. When Lilandra's bid reaches a critical state, with riots from sympathizers of Lilandra fight against Vulcan loyalists, he defends Lilandra when the Shi'Ar Death Commandos attack Lilandra as she tries to consolidate her power by appearing before the temple. He takes down several members, but realizes to late that they were mere distractions. He turns to find that Lilandra received a fatal shot from a hidden assassin, and cradles her seemingly dead body in his arm and grieves.
He attacks Darkhawk when the assassin is spotted by Rachel, not knowing that he was possessed by one of the Raptors at the time he attacked Lilandra, determined to make him pay for his hand in her death. However, just as Kallark is ready to deliver the killing blow, having grabbed Darkhawk by the throat, they are bombarded from above and Darkhawk escapes.
Kallark turns his grief to pure rage as he tears his aggressors apart limb from limb. When he turns on the Secret Order and the Araki Sequence, one of the most oldest and noblest lines of the Shi'Ar genetic lines, Araki is protected by Black Cloak, one of the most powerful members of the Death Commandos. Underestimating Black Cloak in his rage, the Death Commando gets the upper hand on him, dealing him a terrible injury. But before Black Cloak can capitalize on Kallark's vulnerability, he is killed by Rachel Grey in retribution for the murder of her entire family on Earth. Kallark doesn't rest or hesitate, as he goes after Chancellor Araki and kills him without mercy.
Emperor Kallark of the Shi'Ar
Kallark, still in a fit of depression and melancholy at the useless death around him, and still grieving over the loss of Lilandra, picks up the Imperial Scepter and walks out of the temple in a daze. The city, and most of the throneworld, is still in the throes of tearing itself apart as Kallark numbly stares at the madness resulting from Lilandra's death. The people then notice Kallark carrying the scepter, and turn to him, pleading for guidance, and calling him Majestor. Kallark took upon the role of the leader of the Shi'ar Empire and resigned his previous post of Majestor of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Although at first it was difficult for Kallark to conform to life as a King and not a member of the most elite fighting force in the Universe he has been able to to do so with the strength and courage of a true leader.
Despite the deaths of both Vulcan and Black Bolt in the War, the Kree and the Inhumans are ultimately declared the winner. Gladiator is allowed rule over the Shi'ar, but he is as subject of Queen Medusa of the Inhumans. Kallark accepts this outcome. His biggest issue with becoming Majestor is the boredom of political rule as opposed to the action of leading the Imperial Guard. The end of the war also resulted in the detonation of a massive bomb that ripped a hole in space-time which became known as the Fault. The rip in the universe became a major threat to the Shi'ar Empire.
Realm of Kings
On the planet Izumbard, (where the Shiar Imperium's ships and other supplies are made), they have announced their independence from the Imperium. So Gladiator sends his Imperial Guard to the shipyard to destroy them. The team consists of Warstar, B'nee, Titan, Electron, Flashfire, Neutron, and Plutonia. Gladiator himself than goes with them. The mission is a success. Unknowingly, it's revealed Talon was disguised as Councillor Araki and brainwashed the real one into remembering nothing that evening. Gladiator then assembles a team to go into the Fault and examine what kind of threat it represents.
After the team goes into the Fault they run into more than they expected and need help. Gladiator goes to help them, and discovers Talon was there. At first he was displeased with Talon being there but Talon convinces Gladiator that he is there to help and that he has two Raptor amulets and that it would help their fight greatly but he would need two volunteers to become Raptors and the process would be permanent. Plutonia and Mentor volunteer to become a Raptor to help.
The Thanos Imperative & The Annihilators
Gladiator is recruited by Cosmo along with the greatest powers in the universe to make a main assault on the true threat of the Fault: the advancing evil of the Cancerverse. Led by that universe's corrupted Lord Mar-Vell, they plan to kill death and infect the universe with endless, cancerous life like their own universe. This team of Annihilators would attack Mar-Vell and his corrupted Revengers head on. After the death of Mar-Vell and the destruction of the Cancerverse, the team determined they should remain together to prevent any other threats to the galaxy. The team would be met by the Spaceknight Ikon who led them to Galador to face the returning threat of the Dire Wraiths. The next threat they faced with the Universal Church of Truth and the return of the evil Magus. This brought them to Earth. Gladiator attempted to counteract their belief energy with his own Strontian belief strength and unknowingly gave the Magus a vessel to possess. The team was able to take down the possessed Galdiator, who survived their attacks, attesting to Gladiator's incredible invulnerability as well as his resolve.
Avengers Vs. X-Men
Gladiator and his armada of Shi'ar cruisers had come to Earth to put a stop to the Phoenix Five. The Phoenix Five however were at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and the stakes got even higher for Gladiator. To Protect his son, Kid Gladiator above all else he fought Cyclops, Namor and Colossus with assistance from Warbird. However with the Phoenix Force's power flowing through their veins Gladiator had trouble fighting 1 let alone 3. Colossus and Namor beat up and broke down Gladiator until a powerful optic blast from Cyclops put Gladiator out of the fight for good. His near corpse of a body was taken away by Warbird to the medical ward for immediate assistance. Later on in bandages Gladiator tells his son Kubark they will be leaving the school and Earth forever. Kid Gladiator however wishes not to run from a fight. Gladiator tells him that he is to always obey his father, emperor and only wants to keep him safe.
With anger and a hint of sorrow Kubark agrees and accompanies his father. Before departing Gladiator has Warbird stay on Earth with the X-Men and the school for her to fulfill the true potential he sees in her. Safely on their way back to home to Chandilar, Kubark looks down at the Earth one last time.
Powers and Abilities
Gladiator is an alien whose race is called Strontians. Strontians are very long lived and have many physical attributes which are greater than that of the human race. Some Strontians however are chosen to undergo a process called the "Gladiator procedure" in order to be selected as the representative of the Strontian race in the Imperial Guard.
Gladiator is the last of his race and the last Strontian to have undergone the process making him of the most powerful in the history of his people and also one of the physically strongest beings in the Marvel Universe. Some of the abilities that Gladiator has displayed are:
Kallark possesses vast amounts of super human level strength and is considered to be one of the most physically powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. The limits of his strength are unknown but to date he has been seen performing feats such as carrying massive spaceships across vast distances with very little effort, overpowering the likes of Colossus, Wonder Man and the Thing with ease and rivaling Thor in brute strength. Gladiators strength depends on his level of confidence.
When Gladiators fully believes in himself and his abilities his strength is matched by very few beings in the Marvel Universe. If he doubts in his abilities however his strength will drop significantly.
Gladiator's flight speed was measured at one hundred times the speed of light, the highest recorded speed of any character.
Gladiator’s unique physiology allows him a vast amount of stamina. Gladiator has the ability to exert himself at physical peak for several days before fatigue toxins begin to impair him. From deep space missions that Gladiator has been spent on it is apparent that he is able to go very long periods of time without having to eat, sleep or breathe. This helps him especially when he has to do interstellar travel.
Gladiators physiology grants him an advanced musculature that is much more dense that that of humans. He is able to survive in space unaided, take energy bolts with little effect, falls from great heights, as well as engage in combat with beings such as Black Bolt, Hulk and Thor and remained unharmed. Gladiator’s invulnerability also gives him the ability to survive in the core of a Sun with no discomfort. Gladiator was once able to withstand the harmful effects of a supernova.
He has also been able to withstand energy blasts from Vulcan. Gladiator’s invulnerability is dependent on his level of confidence. The more confidence he has in himself the lesser likely it is that he will be susceptible to harm. But if Gladiator were to begin to doubt himself his level of invulnerability drops significantly.
Gladiators’ physiology allows him great movement, balance, and body coordination that is beyond the capability of any human being. One of Gladiators strongest feats of balance is when he was able to hold the entire Baxter building without it collapsing on itself although Reed Richards believes that Gladiator has a device in his belt that allows him to hold objects of great weight without them crashing down on themselves.
Gladiator’s physiology grants him reflexes that are far greater than those of any human being. He is able to dodge comets, planets and other celestial matter while flying in space while moving at speeds beyond light and even while traveling in hyperspace.
Gladiator has the psionic ability to defy gravity. He is able to fly at speeds beyond that of light and enter into hyperspace when traveling over vast distances. Gladiator has displayed the ability to use his flight in the vacuum of space as well as survive in it unaided.
Gladiator is capable of firing powerful beams of heat from his eyes that are also accompanied by a strong concussive force. The maximum temperature of which his heat beams has never been recorded but has shown to be as powerful as the core of Stars. Gladiator’s heat vision was so powerful that when he directed it at the Hulk while he was in an enraged state it began to burn away at his very skin.
The temperature and force level of Gladiators heat beams is dependent on his confidence. If Gladiator doubts in himself or his abilities the power behind his beams drops significantly.
Gladiator has the ability to see objects over vast distances as well as look at an object and see its components down to the molecular level. It is unknown however if Gladiator has the ability to see through objects.
Gladiator’s physiology grants him the ability to inhale large amounts of air within his lungs and expel it in a hurricane like force. He also has been seen to have the ability to drop the temperature of his opponents when expelling chill like winds famously known as “Freeze Breathe”.
Gladiator has been shown to have strong psychic defenses that defend his mind against telepathic assaults. These defenses however are not able to defend against all telepaths and he is still susceptible to attacks from telepaths of a high order. It is unknown whether or not this ability is inherent to Strontians or if it was a part of the training he received as being a member of the Imperial Guard.
Gladiator has been seen to be an advanced hand to hand combatant and on more than one occasions has shown to been mentioned to be one of the skilled combatants in the entire Shi’ar Empire. Gladiator has been seen in the past to train members of the Imperial Guard and also guards who work directly with the Emperor of the Shi’ar Empire.
Many of Gladiators abilities are directly related to his level of confidence. When Gladiator doubts in himself or his abilities the level of his strength, invulnerability, speed, and heat vision drops considerably.
Gladiator has also been seen to be susceptible to certain amounts of radiation.
Although it has not been confirmed Reed Richards has theorized that Gladiator uses a device located in his belt that allows him to lift great weight without them crushing down on itself. This was seen when Gladiator lifted the entire 35 story Baxter building that the FF4 resided in with little effort and without destroying it.
Gladiator's confidence can be effected by mind manipulation however he was able to overcome self doubt as the result of an illusion by Rocket Racoon and Rachel Grey, who is an omega level telepath. This suggests he has overcome this weakness.
- Height: 6'6"
- Weight: 595 lbs.
- Hair: Dark Blue
- Eyes: Blue/Red
- Skin Color: Purple/Indigo
Earth 295 - Age of apocalypse
He appears leading the Imperial Guard (as usual) serving emperor D´ken, They fight against Gambit and the Externals along with Starjammers leading by Deathbird (emperor´s exiled sister). He allied with prelate Richter so they can prevent them to steal M´Kraan Crystal.
He has the same powers as in Earth 616.
- Gladiator appeared in X-Men: The Animated Series during Season 3's Phoenix Saga adaptation, voiced by Richard Epcar (controversy exists over who exactly did the voice, as the original actor was apparently uncredited and replaced). He first appears in "The Phoenix Saga, Part 3: Cry of the Banshee," where he arrives on Earth to apprehend the fugitive Lilandra at the behest of Emperor D'Ken. He immediately demonstrates his strength by casually hurling the Juggernaut into the ocean. In "The Dark Phoenix, Part IV: The Fate of the Phoenix," Gladiator and the other members of the Imperial Guard are sent by Lilandra to face the X-Men in a Trial of Combat to determine whether Jean Grey lives or dies. During the battle, Gladiator faces Rogue, whom he eventually defeats after a fierce struggle. A robotic duplicate of Gladiator also makes a cameo appearance in the Season 2 episode "Mojovision," predating the appearance of the real Gladiator.
- Gladiator appears in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Dave Wittenberg, as a boss during the Fourth stage of the game. He is among the Imperial Guard that works for Deathbird (after she overthrew Lilandra). Unlike the others, however, he was not loyal to Deathbird, or an active part of the conspiracy to overthrow Lilandra, but his loyalty was to the throne. He has special dialogue with Iceman and Sabretooth (whom he mistakes for Wolverine).
- Gladiator was featured in ToyBiz's X-Men action figure line during the 1990s.
- Gladiator was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Eaglemoss Publications included Gladiator in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
- Bowen Designs released a Gladiator statue and bust.
- Hard Hero produced a Gladiator statue.
- Gladiator was featured in the Marvel Universe line from Hasbro.
- Hasbro produced a Gladiator figure as part of a special The Thanos Imperative-themed Marvel Legends box set, which was released as an SDCC exclusive. The Gladiator figure from the box set was later rereleased as part of the Marvel Legends Apocalypse Build-a-Figure wave.