February 20, 2011

Marvel Snapshot: Character Spotlight: Gladiator (Kallark)

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Written by: Billy
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Hey everybody, welcome back to another week, and another great character spotlight in Marvel Snapshot! This week, I’ll be shining the light on none other than Gladiator! Yes, that muscle bound, leader of the Imperial Guard is the subject of today’s column, so get ready for some space travel to the Shi’ar Empire!

Kallark was born not as a member of the Shi’ar race, but as a Strontian. Until fairly recently, not much about their race had been revealed, but the first time he was seen (UXM #107), we found out a lot about his fantastic array of powers. He was under the leadership of D’ken, and was carrying out whatever orders he gave. At the time, he was battling the X-Men, at the behest of D’ken, who were trying to save Lilandra from her evil brother.Β The X-Men were getting pounded pretty good, but then the Starjammers interceded and helped turn the tables. Next was another battle with the X-Men, but this time Lilandra was in control of the Shi’ar and the Imperial Guard, who had to fight the X-Men because of the Dark Phoenix, whom Lilandra had deemed too dangerous to live.

Gladiator had many adventures after the Dark Phoenix Saga, usually with some space-born threat like the Skrulls, or the Kree, but he even was dispatched to Earth by Lilandra to help protect it from threats after Earth’s heroes had been killed or displaced during the Onslaught storyline. In my opinion, the best Gladiator story to date has to be the continuing story of Vulcan. It starts with Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire, and Emperor Vulcan, then went to X-Men: Kingbreaker, then transitioned to War of Kings. All of these fantastic stories centered around the Shi’ar and Vulcan’s attempt to take over the Shi’ar, then the universe. This, for me, was the ultimate proving ground for Marvel’s cosmic scene, and showed the rest of the comic book universe why it is supremely better than the rest. You had more action, intrigue, big shocking moments, and the ultimate throw-down between two heavyweights in Vulcan and Black Bolt. I don’t know if any other story will ever surpass this time in the life of Kallark for me, but even if it doesn’t, I’m satisfied for a lifetime!

Check out my recommended reading list below, and some other cool pics of the leader of the Imperial Guard of the Shi’ar Empire!

Recommended Reading
The Dark Phoenix Saga – Tpb
Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire
– HC
X-Men: Emperor Vulcan
– Tpb
X-Men: Kingbreaker
– Tpb
War of Kings
– Tpb
War of Kings: Warriors
– Tpb
Realm of Kings
– Tpb

Billy Dunleavy



  1. Kristin

    Technically, if you want to go with when Vulcan started stirring up shit…that was in X-Men: Deadly Genesis. I rather enjoyed Genesis through Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire. I think I read the main War of Kings, but stopped shortly after.

  2. I’ve always like Gladiator. He is like a bad ass Superman who isn’t afraid to beat the shit out of you.

  3. Billy

    @Kris -yeah, but Kallark wasn’t featured in it though. I really enjoyed all of that but I know some people got peeved because they thought it was a retcon. I personally don’t, because it didn’t change anything per se, just added stuff.
    @Nick- As evident in that pic above where he incinerated that dudes dome. πŸ˜€

  4. Eli

    Holy smack do I love Gladiator! His recent storylines have been just fantastic, and that sequence where he incinerates that guy’s face with his eye beams was one of the greatest moments in any characters history. Not just for the face annihilation, but the revelation that came along with it, which was a LONG time coming.

    Great look at the real superman Billy!

  5. Billy

    @Eli- I know some people just immediately dismiss Kallark as a Supes rip off, but lets be honest. How many “newer” characters don’t resemble older ones in one way or another? To me, He’s way cooler than Supes, because he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. πŸ˜€

    • Ken

      He’s an intentional Superman homage. People who claim he’s a “rip off” have no idea what they’re talking about.

  6. Eli

    You’re exactly right Billy. And, has Superman done anything akin to what Kallark did there with disintegrating that guy’s face and everything?? I don’t mean the violence of that act alone, but what it signified. I don’t know for sure, but I’m seriously doubting it.

  7. Billy

    @Eli- Let us not even mention the fact that Kallark is Kallark 24/7. He doesn’t don a crappy pair of glassess and “fool” everyone around him all day either. LMAO! πŸ˜€

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