Real Name: Bartak
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Skrull) mutate
Occupation: Warrior, Spy
Group Membership: Skrull Empire
Affiliations: Former agent of Empress R'Klll and "Emperor" Karza
Enemies: Nova (Frankie Raye), Ronan the Accuser, and the original Silver Surfer
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Devil-Slayer (imposter), Silver Surfer, others impersonated
Base of Operations: Mobile throughout the known Universe
First Appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel#1: The Death of Captain Marvel (1982), (revealed) Silver Surfer III#14 (August, 1988)
Powers: Bartak initially possessed the traditional metamorphic power of the Skrulls, although he later lost this. After his enhancements, he possessed access to vast energy powers comparable or even superior to that of the true Silver Surfer.
History: Bartak initially was a spy for the Skrull empire, serving under Empress R'Klll. When the original Captain Marvel, the kree named Mar-Vell, lay dying on Titan, a number of heroes of Earth and other planets gathered to pay their respects. Even the Skrulls, the enemy of the Kree, sent a representative, General Zedrao, to pay respect to their greatest enemy. However, Bartak was also sent, undercover, to learn as much as possible from the Earth heroes present, in order to use that information against them at a later date.
Bartak chose the form of an Earth hero unlikely to appear, because of his presumed "extreme unimportance," Devil-Slayer. However, when Devil-Slayer actually did appear, Bartak was forced to act swiftly and took the form of the one being he knew could not appear: the Silver Surfer (who was imprisoned on Earth by the barrier of Galactus). Due to the somber nature of the occasion, few even questioned how the Silver Surfer could be threre. To those who asked, he told that he had been freed by Galactus. Bartak was long gone before any could question this.
Relatively few worlds knew of the true Silver Surfer's imprisonment, and liking the idea of being able to blame destructive acts on another, Bartak decided to continue the deception. He underwent a series of painful operations to grant him his own energy powers, in order to complete the deception. He was given a number of bionic implants which allowed him to utilize power beamed to him from a number of Skrull satellites.
Empress R'Klll was killed along with everyone of the Skrull Thoneworld, Tarnax IV, when it was consumed by Galactus. A great civil war broke out where several Skrulls sought the open role of Emperor. One of these would-be Emperors, Zabyk, set off the Hyper-Wave bomb which trapped all Skrulls in their present forms. Bartak became trapped in the form of the Silver Surfer, and so he continued to pose as him. Bartak joined with one of the final five would-be Emperors, Karza, and soon became his most effective weapon, being able to attack any Kree outpost with impunity for the Skrulls.
During a full scale war with the Kree, the true Silver Surfer had made a temporary truce with the then leader of the Kree, Nenora (who was, unbeknownst to almost any, a Skrull herself). However, when the Surfer left to investigate another event, Bartak destroyed a Kree starfleet, causing the Kree to seek vengeance on the Surfer. Shortly after defeating the Kree warrior Ronan in battle, the true Surfer was confronted by Bartak. Bartak succeeded in overpowering and incapacitating the true Surfer. Nova II, who had been accompanying the Surfer on his last mission was unable to distinguish between the two. Using the knowledge he had gained in his studies of Earth heroes, Bartak answered all of Nova's questions and began to overcome her doubts. He pretended to seek the source of "the imposter's" power, but then blasted Nova from behind and imprisoned her.
After explaining the truth to Nova, Bartak planned to bring her to Karza. However, Bartak was then confronted by the revenge-seeking Ronan, who had enhanced his own abilities to prevent a second defeat at the hands of the Surfer. Mistaking Bartak for the true Surfer, Ronan attacked him. Bartak was quickly overpowered by Ronan's enhanced abilities and considered explaining the truth to him. However, remembering the history of hatred between the Kree and the Skrulls, he decided to accept his fate, taking some pleasure in the fact that Ronan was actually failing in his goal of vengeance on the Surfer. Ronan then blasted him into nothingness.
Comments: Bartak was created by Steve Engelhart and Joe Staton. Although first seen in a story by Jim Starlin, Bartak was probably intended to be the original Silver Surfer in that story. It was not until someone remembered the Silver Surfer could not have been on Titan for Mar-Vell's death, that this was questioned.
Interestingly enough, if you look at page 40 of MGN#1 and page 19 of Surfer (third panel), the expression on Nightcrawler does look like he's surprised by what he sees. The positions are shifted, so that there could be two Devil-Slayers.
Carycomix theorizes: "Like the counterfeit Contemplator, I think he was really a Xartan hiding in plain sight! That is, by posing as a biotech-enhanced Skrull."
Clarifications: The Silver Surfer imposter should not be confused with:
The Skrull Emperor Karza should not be confused with:
First Posted: 09/16/2001 (?)
Last Updated: 09/30/2013
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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