An outer space army has come to earth to kill X-Men! Gladiator is here to snuff out the Phoenix Force and rescue his son. Wait until he finds out what Wolverine did to Kid Gladiator? Nick Bradshaw is bringing the cosmic conflict to life in Wolverine and the X-Men #13. Marvel.com revealed some of Bradshaw’s kinetic and color packed pages.
Remember the first time you saw Gladiator and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard? I was a very young geek. Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin had already blown my mind with what would become the Dark Phoenix Saga. As I opened Uncanny X-Men #137 to see my favorite heroes on an alien spacecraft surrounded by Empress Lilandra and her Imperial Guard. This elite squadron of the most powerful alien warriors dedicated was led by a muscle-bound alien with mohawk. Gladiator (real name Kallark) was created by Claremont and Dave Cockrum. He had an array of powers like Superman and carried a noble air. Gladiator remains one of the coolest creations I ever saw in a comic book.
Gladiator has fought with and against the X-Men to protect the universe from the Phoenix. Emperor Kallark now leads the Shi’ar Empire and his son is at Wolverine’s school – protected by Warbird. The Phoenix is back on Earth. Gladiator and his alien army have come to save his son and take on the Phoenix Five.
The tease for this issue also promises to reveal more about Warbird’s past. This is my favorite X-book. Jason Aaron has been knocking my out with each issue. Nick Bradshaw’s art has an Art Adams vibe.
This Avengers vs X-Men tie-in chapter comes out in July. Gladiator beat down Colossus in the Dark Phoenix Saga but a Phoenix powered Colossus may be the warrior’s biggest challenge. Here’s hoping Kallark survives!
A post-thought: given the cosmic direction Marvel movies are going maybe we’ll see the Shi’ar Empire in an Avengers sequel or if a Guardians of the Galaxy movie happens?