Monark Starstalker

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Monark Starstalker is a fictional Marvel Comics character, created by Howard Chaykin and first featured in Marvel Premiere #32 (October 1976).

Origin[edit]

Originally from an alternate future timeline (Earth-7643), Monark Starstalker was a rigger (a pilot whose nervous system is linked to the ship's computer for better control) during a space war. An attack on Monark's ship fried his nervous system, destroying his senses and memories. Monark's stricken vessel drifted until found by an alien race known only as the Technos, who restored his senses through a golden mechanical falcon called Ulysses.[volume & issue needed]

Seven years later, with the war ended, Monark Starstalker made a name for himself as a bounty hunter. Spinning tall tales to impress women about how his injuries were caused by a near collision with a nova (which only his superlative pilot skills managed to avoid), Monark crafted a more fitting origin tale to complement his fearsome reputation.[volume & issue needed]

Recently, Monark Starstalker has appeared in the mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth-616), battling members of the revived Nova Corps. It has not been revealed whether or not this is the same Monark from the alternate future timeline.[volume & issue needed]

Powers[edit]

Due to the damage sustained by his nervous system, Monark seems to be immune to pain and weapons that affect the nervous system, like his own Vortex pistol. Since he has no functioning eyesight of his own, he depends on the robotic bird Ulysses for sensory input. With Ulysses's augmented eyesight, Monark can see remote locations and beyond the field of vision available to a normal human. Ulysses can also cloak Monark from detection by machines and increases his reaction speed. The bird can also be[1] used to attack opponents, although this puts Monark at considerable risk since damage to the falcon would leave him at the mercy of his injuries.[volume & issue needed]

Monark Starstalker is a quasi-sentient nanotool constructed by the Technos Group in another star system.[volume & issue needed] Although he initially believed himself to be a bounty hunter who employed nanotech, Monark is in fact nanotech running a bounty hunter program. Because he has only recently learned of his true nature, Monark's full conceivable range of capabilities is unknown. It has been seen that, when physically damaged, his construct form will temporarily shut down and rebuild the damaged areas. A hole straight through his stomach was rebuilt in moments. Presumably, Monrak does not require food, water, air, sleep or possibly rest of any kind. His physical abilities seem to be roughly peak human.[volume & issue needed]

Monark Starstalker can employ his personal nano-cloud in numerous ways. It can expand around Monark to make him invisible to the naked eye or ranged detection, or alter his appearance behind an animated full-body hologram, disguising him as someone else. Even while visible, the nano-cloud makes Starstalker tough to get a handle on—it neutralizes enhanced vision and targeting software, and distorts perception and reaction time. When Monark is in motion, the nano-cloud makes the light reflecting off his body a few instants slower than the body itself. This means he's already moving before anyone registers it, and opponents will always end up striking out at where he was a moment earlier, not where he is now. The nano-cloud also has sensory functions. The cloud can extract information from any direction Starstalker causes it to expand, and then feed all that information back to him. This allows him to "see" in all directions at once, over greater distances, around corners or through solid objects. The nano-cloud is also electromagnetically compatible, enabling it to absorb information encoded on electronic mediums, or transmit and receive information along radio signals or other scanning beams. It can also function as a nano-virus, inhibiting the functions and processing power of computerized systems. This can happen within the cloud's normal range of expansion or Starstalker can "pitch" some nano-particles at a target so that they operate over a greater distance and independently of the main cloud around him.[volume & issue needed]

Monark employs other items based on his nanotechnology as well. His sidearm is a vortex pistol that zaps bounties into unconsciousness without permanently harming them. He carries a sword forged from nano-assemblers that gives it a molecule's-width edge able to slice through virtually anything. Finally, Starstalker works with a cybernetic falcon-drone named Ulysses, who is capable of flight in atmosphere or space. Ulysses has at least some governing power over the nano-cloud, although it's difficult to say how much considering Monark only recently learned of his true nature. It's possible Ulysses and Monark are two parts of the same "batch" of nanotech, or Ulysses may be a "handler" sent by the Technos Group to monitor the "Starstalker Series Nanotool" in the field. Whatever the case, Ulysses has independent sensors that can share and exchange data with Monark and the nano-cloud. He has energy shields which he can materialize to protect Monark Starstalker from a short distance away. At least before Monark learned his true nature, Ulysses was responsible for governing Starstalker's repair functions when he was unconscious.[volume & issue needed]

Monark's arsenal includes a nano-sword whose monomolecular edge can make short work of most materials, as well as a 'Vortex Pistol', which causes blindness, nausea, and vertigo.[2]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Once he was a rigger, his nervous system hardwired to his ship. On a routine patrol, he was attacked by hostile forces and was forced to flee through the core of a nova. His escape came with a high price. The ship was struck by massive amounts of the star's energy which flowed through the connecting agents at his wrists and spine, frying his nervous system, senses and memory. Another ship would eventually take him on board, but the doctors gave up on restoring him. However, beings he refers to as the Technos – presumably technologically based creatures – repaired him and gave him an artificial nervous system in the form of a cybernetic falcon-drone named Ulysses. Together with his android falcon, Monark Starstalker hunts the universe for some of the vilest individuals alive.[3] His first known activity came on the planet Stormking, a perpetual icy world. There, he intended to hunt down and capture Kurt Hammer. After befriending local sheriff Bob Hightower and visiting Triplanet Metals Inc. vice president Emanuel Shaw, he met Robin Goodfriend. While visiting with her at her home, Shaw and Hightower were killed by Hammer, who escaped with his girlfriend, Brigid Siebold in front of the town of New Canaan's populace. When the populace informed Monark Starstalker of where Hammer had gone, Starstalker tracked the man down, utilizing Ulysses to enable him to hit a seemingly hidden Hammer. Firing at Ulysses, Hammer inadvertently triggered and avalanche, burying Starstalker. Thinking him dead, Hammer then began trying to kill Ulysses, not noticing Monark Starstalker digging himself out until it was too late. While Starstalker intended to keep Hammer alive to carry his girlfriend back to town, Hammer died on the long trek back to town. Informing the citizens of this, Starstalker asked them to make sure his claim for the kill was registered and tell Goodfriend he was leaving. Starstalker then made his way out of town, not wanting to deal with the townspeople (who had cheered the death of Shaw, yet were shocked when Hightower was killed) any more.[volume & issue needed]

After the Shi'arKree war had resulted in the creation of The Fault, a long lost Nova Corps starship, the Resolute Duty, suddenly reappeared, carrying a Nova Centurion, several droids and one dangerous captive. Zan Philo had been missing for thirty-five years, but still held the Corps's values above all, bringing justice to whatever universe he found himself in. Even though he already had a live prisoner in tow, there was one who escaped his notice. Monark Starstalker, known to Philo, had stowed away with every intention of bringing Zan's prisoner to the proper authorities himself because of the high price on his head. Using his Nano-swarm to disguise himself as Nova Centurion Fraktur, Starstalker ambushed Nova and Philo, proving to be more than a match for both of them. Even the added firepower of Morrow and Irani Rael couldn't turn the tide in their favor. To make matters worse, Starstalker's arrogance coupled with the immense damage done to Worldmind by his Nano-swarm allowed Ego to regain control of the Corps temporary base of Nu-Xandar as a group of Mindless Ones, following Philo through The Fault, attacked the starship, attempting to free their imprisoned leader.[volume & issue needed]

While the Nova Corps had their hands full dealing with each catastrophe, Starstalker decided not to help since there was no money in it. His mind was soon changed when the Mindless Ones cut the main power to the Resolute Duty, allowing their leader to escape captivity. The monster set his sights on Starstalker, who was guarding the cell along with Irani, and blasted a hole through Starstalker's torso. What happened next was a complete surprise to his companion. Starstalker's body began to repair itself and Ulysses watched over it, preventing any outside aid, claiming the warranty on the Starstalker model would be null and void by the Technos Group.[volume & issue needed]

After the repairs were finished, Starstalker came online and Irani told him he was a Nanite Construct, which apparently was unknown to him. Realizing he knew less about himself than previously thought, Starstalker's free will suddenly outweighed his need for money. He helped Nova carry out his plan to rid them of both the Mindless Ones and Ego, and told Nova in this universe he was free, no longer subjected to the whims of others, and he was going to explore his new home and "live a little."[volume & issue needed]

Effect on comics[edit]

Monark Starstalker's first appearance in Marvel Premiere #32 (1977) is notable for its departure from then-standard six-panel grids and heavy exposition.[citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Marvel Premiere #32 (Oct 1976)
  • Nova Vol. 4 #29-30 (Sept-Oct 2009)
  • Wolverine: The Best There Is #7-12 (June-Dec. 2011)

References[edit]