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Bolivar Trask from X-Factor #206 (August 2010). Art by Valetine De Landro.
|First appearance||X-Men #14 (November 1965)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
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.
Fictional character biography
Bolivar Trask was an anthropologist who saw the rise of mutants as a threat to humanity. Bolivar was the father of Larry Trask, ironically revealed to be a mutant precognitive. Bolivar had realized this, and gave his son a medallion which suppresses his power. Bolivar is also the father of Tanya, a mutant whose ability to travel through time causes her to vanish but is 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 his son. 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 revealing 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.
To stop the Sentinels, Xavier summons the 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.
Recently in X-Force, Bastion having 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. Consistent with the remorse he had displayed at the time of his death, Trask killed himself after escaping Bastion's mental control.
Bolivar Trask's legacy
Bolivar Trask'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.
- 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.
"Age of Apocalypse"
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.
Civil War: House of M
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. Magneto confronts him on board the Helicarrrier. Trask summons Sentinels in self-defense, but they go into non-lethal mode as the ship is staffed with humans. Trask over-rides this, causing the death of many SHIELD agents. Magneto then throws Trask into a Sentinel beam, causing his disintegration.
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]
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Bolivar Trask is featured 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. He discovered the Savage Land's location, and dispatched to destroy Magneto's paradise by order from the President of the United States. 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] 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, during Angel's attempted saving, to drop into the heart of an explosion and is killed.
Another iteration of the character is also featured in Ultimate Spider-Man as the employer that stole the cancer cure project created by Edward Brock Sr. and Richard Parker. Because of being more interested in military applications, he deliberately crashed a plane carrying Edward, Richard and Mary Parker just to gain full control of his employees' project (which is legally his property). Based on the story from the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, Trask later hires Silver Sable and the Wild Pack to capture Venom (Eddie Brock Jr.) to experiment onto with Dr. Adrian Toomes's help, however, the Beetle abruptly brakes into Trask's facility which allows Venom to escape.
In other media
- Bolivar Trask appeared in the 1990s animated series, voiced by Brett Halsey. He 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.
- Colonel Bolivar Trask appeared in X-Men Evolution, voiced by John Novak. This version is a former member of S.H.I.E.L.D., and 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 apprehend mutant kind which he called Sentinels. In "Day of Reckoning" Pt. 1, Trask kidnapped Wolverine 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 were cleared, Trask was arrested and placed in prison. In "Uprising", S.H.I.E.L.D. superiors release Trask from prison so that he can continue his Sentinel project under Nick Fury's supervision so that the world would be ready for Apocalypse's threat.
- Bolivar Trask appears in Wolverine and the X-Men, voiced by Phil LaMarr. In "Thieves Gambit", he is shown as 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 a fight with Wolverine and Gambit, Bolivar and Dr. Zane escaped. In "Badlands", Trask ran a laboratory that Wolverine, Shadowcat and Forge infiltrated. When Wolverine ended up captured, Bolivar figured out about the mutant's adamantium skeleton, resulting in the Wolverine-type Sentinels that Professor X's X-Men encountered 20 years into the future. In "Backlash", Trask had managed to create Master Mold to create the Sentinels. He was with Senator Kelly, Warren Worthington II and Dr. Zane when they watch the Sentinels fight the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. In "Foresight", Trask ends up launching the Sentinels to Genosha under orders from Mystique (disguised as Senator Kelly) and later gets knocked out by Mystique.
- The character appears in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, played by Bill Duke. This version is the head of the Department of Homeland Security and has no connection to the Sentinels. He does appear connected with the ongoing adaptation of human weapons and tactics to mutant threats, however, seems to have no real hatred of mutants and is merely doing his job (as opposed to the original incarnation taking great pleasure in making deadlier weapons to use against mutants). Although Bryan Singer acknowledged this person was initially intended to be the film series' version of Bolivar Trask, the character could be a relative or someone completely unrelated.
- Bolivar Trask is alluded in the mid-credits scene of the 2013 film The Wolverine. Before Professor X and Magneto warn Wolverine of an upcoming threat to mutant-kind, a television at an airport security checkpoint displays an ad for Trask Industries.
- Bolivar Trask appears as a central antagonist in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, portrayed by Peter Dinklage. It can be assumed this version was born with achondroplasia due to Peter Dinklage's portrayal of the character. In the film, Trask learns mutants' existence through Charles Xavier's dissertation from Oxford University, provoking him to seek harnessing mutant powers for his weapon-making agendas. He does not seem to have a personal hatred for mutants, and only views them as a means to unite humanity and bring world peace. Mystique discovers that Trask conducts 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 the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Magneto from 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. Once that was done, the dystopian future was rewritten. As Wolverine is being fished out by Mystique posing as William Stryker, a newspaper article states that Trask was arrested for attempting to sell his technology to the Communists ever since the Sentinel program was cancelled. In Rogue cut version of film there is a mid-credits scene which shows Trask being imprisoned in a cell under Pentagon where Magneto was imprisoned for killing JFK.
- The character 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, Trask hires Silver Sable and the Wild Pack to capture Eddie Brock Jr. and later Peter Parker. After Peter is freed from the Carnage symbiote, Venom goes after Trask. Upon Spider-Man confronting Bolivar about info on Richard (and obtaining the files), 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 save Trask. Trask is later arrested by the arriving S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and later confronted in an offshore prison by Brock. Eddie as Venom finally kills Trask off-screen for what he made Venom do.
- Bolivar Trask is mentioned in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse in stage 4 concerning his Sentinels and how they have been changed to help protect New York from the forces of Apocalypse.
- The character is briefly mentioned in X-Men: The Official Game as taking over supervision of the criminal Multiple Man. He is also mentioned by Beast that he helped William Stryker create the Sentinels and Master Mold with HYDRA's backing.
- Bolivar Trask appears in the video game adaption of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, voiced by Bumper Robinson. Modeled after the version from X-Men: The Last Stand, 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) 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.
- Bolivar Trask's hatred of mutants is discussed in the non-fiction book From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books.
- Uncanny X-Men #59 (1969)
- Uncanny X-Men #15 (1965)
- Uncanny X-Men #16 (1965)
- X-Force (3rd series) #03 (2008)
- X-Factor #206
- Uncanny X-Men 57-59
- New X-Men #114-115
- Uncanny X-Men Annual 1995
- Age of Apocalypse #1. Marvel Comics.
- Civil War: House of M #3 (January, 2009)
- Civil War: House of M #5 (March 2009)
- Ultimate X-Men #87
- Ultimate Spider-Man #128 (January 2009)
- Hoare, James (May 14, 2014). "X-Men: Days Of Future Past director Bryan Singer talks X-Men continuity". SciFi Now.
- Kaplan, Arie (2008). From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books. Jewish Publication Society. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-8276-0843-6.
- Bolivar Trask at Marvel.com