Bolivar Trask

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Bolivar Trask
BolivarTrask ByValentineDeLandro.png
Bolivar Trask from X-Factor #206 (August 2010). Art by Valetine De Landro.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Men #14 (November 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Team affiliations Sentinels
Purifiers
Abilities Genius-level intellect

Bolivar Trask is a fictional supervillain appearing in publications by Marvel Comics. He is a military scientist whose company Trask Industries is well known as the creator of the Sentinels. He is also the father of Larry Trask.

Publication history[edit]

Bolivar Trask was created by writer Stan Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #14 (November 1965).

Fictional character biography[edit]

Bolivar Trask was an anthropologist who saw the rise of mutants as a threat to humanity. Bolivar was the father of Larry Trask, who ironically is revealed to be a mutant precognitive. Bolivar had realized this, and gave his son a medallion which suppresses his power.[1] Bolivar's other child, Tanya, was also a mutant and her ability to travel through time causes her to vanish. Tanya would be rescued by Rachel Summers in a far future and become a part of the Askani under the alias Madame Sanctity.[volume & issue needed] Tanya's travels through time would result in property damage to Trask's land. This mysterious situation would only further cement his attitudes.[volume & issue needed]

Bolivar decides that humanity has to fight back against the mutants and develops robotic guardians for humanity, known as the Sentinels. Larry was shielded from the Sentinels' ability to detect mutants due to the medallion Bolivar had given him. Bolivar publishes articles on the threat of mutants. One of these articles showed an illustration of mutant overlords keeping humans as slaves. This illustration would become a symbol for human/mutant relations and several years later Quentin Quire and his Omega Gang would base their appearance on this picture.[volume & issue needed]

Professor Charles Xavier invites Trask for a public debate on human/mutant relations. Xavier argues that mutants are just like humans and not evil, but that does not convince Trask, who reveals the Sentinels. But Trask and his scientists had apparently created a too adaptive, open-ended tactical/strategic programming, and as a result the Sentinels turn against him, claiming that they were superior to humans. The Sentinels left with Trask and brought him to his first creation, the Master Mold, who orders him to construct more Sentinels.[2]

To stop the Sentinels, Xavier summons his X-Men. The X-Men fight the Sentinels, but Beast is captured. To reveal the X-Men's secrets, the Sentinels tell Trask to use a device to read Beast's mind. Trask discovers that the X-Men were mutants protecting humanity and realizes that he had been wrong. He helps the X-Men defeat the Sentinels by sacrificing himself to destroy the Sentinel's base.[3]

Recently in X-Force, Bastion (who has been reactivated by the Purifiers) has apparently resurrected Bolivar Trask through use of a Technarch to be part of a team of the world's foremost mutant killers. He was apparently given credit for the deaths of all mutants, being the inventor of the Sentinels, had the highest record of mutant kills: 16,521,618.[4] Consistent with the remorse he had displayed at the time of his death, he killed himself after escaping Bastion's mental control.[5]

Bolivar Trask's legacy[edit]

Bolivar's death would not be the end of the Sentinels:

  • Master Mold would return and Bolivar's son Larry Trask, still unaware of his own mutant status (who had prophetic dreams), would follow in his father's footsteps and create new Sentinels to avenge his father.[6]
  • Later, a relative of Bolivar named Donald Trask III would be recruited by the villain Cassandra Nova to gain control of a group of Sentinels in Ecuador. The machines, now varying in size, will not harm Trask DNA. They obey Donald's orders. However, once Nova is done copying all of Donald's DNA, she kills him and takes over the robots.[7]
  • Bolivar Trask has a brother named Simon Trask who is the founder of Humanity's Last Stand.[8] In the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode "The X-Factor," Simon Trask was attacked by Magneto for being a member of Humanity Now. Simon Trask is eventually found wrapped in a pipe by Iron Man before Magneto attacks.

Other versions[edit]

"Age of Apocalypse"[edit]

In the 1995 storyline, "Age of Apocalypse", Bolivar Trask married Moira Kinross and together they designed heavily armed Sentinels to fight Apocalypse. These Sentinels were better programmed and even capable of reasoning with mutants if they protected humans (their primary objective). Bolivar participates in a plan to bomb North American Apocalypse forces, though this would mean extensive civilian deaths.[volume & issue needed]

He returns in the 2012 launched Age of Apocalypse ongoing series, as one of the leaders of the remaining human resistance. His daughter, Francesca, is a main operative in the X-Terminators (code-named "Fiend") alongside Prophet, Good Night, Horror Show, and Zora Risman aka DeadEye though she and Bolivar have a rocky relationship.[9]

Civil War: House of M[edit]

In the 2008 miniseries Civil War: House of M, Bolivar Trask is sworn in as the Vice-President of the U.S.A. and creates Sentinels to fight against Magneto in his rise to power.[10] He is vaporized by his own Sentinels when Magneto throws him in the path of their weapons.[11]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Bolivar Trask debuted in Ultimate X-Men as the architect for the US Government 'Sentinel Initiative', a response to Magneto's terrorist attacks on Capitol Hill. Initially, the Sentinels patrolled Los Angeles, and then New York City, destroying any human containing mutant genes. However, these attacks ceased after the X-Men rescued the President's daughter from the Brotherhood of Mutants. Trask discovered the location of the Savage Land, and by the order from the President of the United States, he dispatched his Sentinels to destroy Magneto's paradise. This proved to be a foolish move when Magneto easily reprogrammed the chromium-built machines to destroy humankind. After a subsequent Sentinel attack on Washington, D.C., the Sentinel Initiative was shut down.[volume & issue needed]

Trask is also mentioned in Ultimate Spider-Man as the employer of Richard Parker and Edward Brock Sr. (the fathers of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Eddie Brock/Venom) that stole their cancer cure project (the Venom suit) because he was more interested in military applications. The implication, and Peter's theory, being that Trask deliberately crashed the plane carrying Peter's parents just to gain full control of the suit. He appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game which continues the story introduced in the comics (see below). He has recently appeared in the Sentinels story arc of Ultimate X-Men, revealed as being employed by the Fenris twins to build the new Sentinels currently attacking mutants. This would suggest that the government no longer employs him, perhaps due to the failure of the Sentinel Initiative. Feeling horrified by all that he has done, he allows himself to drop into the heart of an explosion and is killed.

Bolivar Trask later appears in a flashback in "Ultimate Spider-Man" #125 where he talks to a captive Eddie Brock about the symbiote in which he makes a deal with him in removing the symbiote with help from Dr. Adrian Toomes. However, during an experimental examination of Brock (as Venom) the Beetle abruptly broke into Trask's facility allowing Venom to escape.[12]

X-Men Noir[edit]

In the 2009 - 2010 miniseries X-Men Noir, Bolivar Trask is a multitalented doctor of anthropology, and sociology, who is also a pulp sci-fi writer, and a public proponent of eugenics, though not a racist, as his leading characters possess the "finest" qualities of different ethnic groups. He is the writer of the pulp sci-fi series, "The Sentinels", about a race of genetically superior beings in the year 2013 who protect humanity from the grisly deformed "Mutants". His characters include Stephen Lang, creator of the Sentinels; Callisto, leader of inadequates/muties; sentinel commander Bastion, perfect sentinels Nimrod and Rachel as well as the mad Egyptian En Sabah Nur.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • In the 1990s animated series, Bolivar Trask (voiced by Brett Halsey) is the creator of the Sentinels and was much longer-lived than his comic counterpart, returning for several episodes (one of which ironically featured him on the run from his own creations, along with Gyrich). Trask was introduced here in the second episode of this series. He was later seen sacrificing himself to destroy Master Mold, but survived his creation's destruction unlike his comic book counterpart.
  • In the animated television series, X-Men Evolution, Colonel Bolivar Trask (voiced by John Novak) is a former member of S.H.I.E.L.D., a noted anthropologist and cyberneticist studying the process of genetic mutation. Trask concluded the mutants would one day replace humans as the dominant species on Earth if left unchecked. He decided to prevent this by designing an army of robotic guardians who would police mutant kind — the Sentinels. Trask kidnapped Wolverine while he's chasing down Sabretooth to get to Magneto at the second season finale of the series, and uses him as a test subject for his Sentinel prototype. The Sentinel was able to defeat Wolverine. After his Sentinel prototype was destroyed and the X-Men's names were cleared, Trask was arrested and placed in prison. Bolivar Trask was later released from prison to continue his work on the Sentinel projects working under Nick Fury (who was given orders by his superiors to release Bolivar Trask from prison) so that the world would be ready for the eventual threat of Apocalypse.
  • Bolivar Trask first appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Thieves Gambit" voiced by Phil LaMarr. In the show, he is a scientist working for Senator Robert Kelly alongside Dr. Sybil Zane on creating the Sentinel Program. Though the building it was being developed in was destroyed in the fight with Wolverine and Gambit, Bolivar and Dr. Zane escaped. In "Badlands," he ran a laboratory that Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Forge infiltrated. When Wolverine ended up captured, Bolivar figured out about his adamantium skeleton resulting in the Wolverine-type Sentinels that Professor X's X-Men encountered 20 years into the future. In "Backlash," he had managed to create Master Mold to create the Sentinels. He was with Senator Kelly, Warren Worthington II, and Dr. Sybil Zane when they watch the Sentinels fight the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. In "Foresight," he ends up launching the Sentinels to Genosha under orders of Senator Kelly (who was really Mystique in disguise) and later gets knocked out by him.

Film[edit]

Bill Duke portrays a man named Trask in X-Men: The Last Stand. Here, he is the head of the Department of Homeland Security. While a holographic Sentinel does appear in the film as part of a Danger Room session, this Trask has no indicated connection to the Sentinels. However, he does appear connected with the ongoing adaptation of human weapons and tactics to mutant threats. In addition, this Trask seems to have no real hatred of mutants and is merely doing his job, as opposed to his comic book incarnation, who takes great pleasure in making deadlier weapons to use against mutants. Bryan Singer acknowledged that this man was initially intended to be the film series' version of Bolivar Trask, hence a continuity conflict with Singer's adaptation of the character in his film X-Men: Days of Future Past.[13] However since his first name is never mentioned he could be a relative or completely unrelated.

A more developed version of Bolivar Trask appears in the subsequent films. In the mid-credits scene of the 2013 film The Wolverine, a television at an airport security checkpoint displays an ad for Trask Industries, immediately after which Professor X and Magneto warn Wolverine of an upcoming threat to mutant-kind. Bolivar Trask appears in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past where he is portrayed by Peter Dinklage. It can be assumed this version of Bolivar Trask was born with achondroplasia. In the film, Mystique discovers that Trask has been conducting inhumane and fatal experiments on mutants, including some of her friends in the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. In retaliation, Mystique kills Trask resulting in both his martyrdom and a dystopian future where the Sentinels, which were initially created by Trask himself, have pushed both mutants and humans to the brink of extinction. The film revolves around a time-displaced Wolverine's attempts to rally Professor X and Magneto of the past to prevent this future from coming to pass. Though Trask is ultimately spared, the world is left with a convincing demonstration that not all mutants are against humanity and the Sentinel program is cancelled. Trask is later arrested and indicted for treason against the United States Government in attempting to sell his technology to Communists. These actions ended up averting the dystopian future as the result of his tarnished reputation.

Video games[edit]

  • Bolivar Trask appeared in the video game Ultimate Spider-Man voiced by John Billingsley. He appears as the CEO of Trask Enterprises. He alongside Dr. Adrian Toomes attempt to re-create the Venom suit. To do that, Bolivar Trask hires Silver Sable and her Wild Pack to capture Eddie Brock Jr. and later Peter Parker. After Peter Parker is freed from the Carnage symbiote, Venom goes after Bolivar Trask. Upon Spider-Man confronting Bolivar about info on his father (and obtaining the files about him), Venom attacks with Bolivar making his way to a helicopter...which he doesn't know how to operate as stated by Silver Sable. Spider-Man had to fight Venom to keep him from getting to Bolivar Trask. Bolivar Trask is later arrested by the arriving S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and later confronted in an offshore prison by Eddie Brock. As Venom, Eddie finally kills Bolivar Trask off-screen for what he made Venom do.
  • Bolivar Trask appears in the video game adaption of X-Men Origins: Wolverine voiced by Bumper Robinson and modeled after the Trask that appeared in the third film. He is shown researching the mutant gene for Symstemized Cybernetics Lab/SCL (Sebastian Shaw's company) and also helping to build Sentinels. In the game's continuity, worklogs accessed by the player as they search his base reveal that Trask initially did not have anything against mutants and simply took part in the Sentinel project for the scientific value. However, after witnessing a violent incident which involved a mutant test subject, he came to see mutants as a menace, believing that humanity could only be protected if mutants were eliminated, describing them as freaks of nature. He is seen in the future epilogue of the game in which the Sentinels rule the Earth (a la Days of Future Past). Notably in the game, he loses his left hand to Wolverine (similar to the losing of Weapon X's Professor Thorton's right hand), Wolverine requiring Trask's handprint to get through a door in the facility that he is searching, only to have it replaced with a cybernetic hand in the future.

Non-fiction[edit]

  • Bolivar's hatred of mutants is discussed in the non-fiction book, From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Uncanny X-Men #59 (1969)
  2. ^ Uncanny X-Men #15 (1965)
  3. ^ Uncanny X-Men #16 (1965)
  4. ^ X-Force (3rd series) #03 (2008)
  5. ^ X-Factor #206
  6. ^ Uncanny X-Men 57-59
  7. ^ New X-Men #114-115
  8. ^ Uncanny X-Men Annual 1995
  9. ^ Age of Apocalypse #1. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ Civil War: House of M #3. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Civil War: House of M #5. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #128 (January 2009)
  13. ^ Hoare, James (May 14, 2014). "X-Men: Days Of Future Past director Bryan Singer talks X-Men continuity". SciFi Now.
  14. ^ Kaplan, Arie (2008). From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books. Jewish Publication Society. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-8276-0843-6. 

External links[edit]