OZAK

Real Name: Ozak

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Dethan) (Pre-Modern era)

Occupation: Spy/saboteur

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Dethan ruler

Enemies: Craig, Les Gage, Earthlings in general

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The Changing Man" (in story title only); assumed the likenesses of a dog, Les Gage, and at least six unidentified humans

Base of Operations: Mobile on Earth;
   originally from the planet Deth

First Appearance: Tales of Suspense I#8/3 (March, 1960)

Powers/Abilities: Ozak (like other members of his race) was a green-skinned shapeshifter who could take on the form and appearance of other beings. In some instances, he used a small canister of gas to put those whom he impersonated to sleep.

Ozak traveled from his homeworld to Earth's orbit in a one-man spacecraft, then used a spacesuit to actually land on Earth.

Ozak could speak and read English.

Height: 6' (variable) (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Bald

History:
(Tales of Suspense I#8/3) - On his homeworld of Deth, Ozak was summoned before the ruler and given his mission for an upcoming invasion of Earth--the ruler of Deth wanted to establish a beachhead in the United States, and he ordered Ozak to undermine the country so it would not be able to repel their forces; but the ruler warned Ozak that if he failed to contact their homeworld as scheduled, the invasion plans would be cancelled.

   Ozak departed Deth in a spacecraft and traveled into Earth's orbit. Sending his spaceship to the Moon via remote-control, Ozak drifted down to the world's surface in his spacesuit and landed in the wooded outskirts near an American city. After hiding his spacesuit, Ozak took on the form of an Earthman and walked into the city.

   The disguised Ozak went to a TV studio and sneaked into newscaster Les Gage's dressing room; after rendering Gage unconscious, Ozak impersonated the newscaster, and as the broadcast began, he reported a false story about the country being on the verge of a civil war. Ozak's lies were transmitted to millions of people across the country, and as the TV station's switchboard was flooded with calls from concerned viewers, Ozak transformed into another person and sneaked away in the confusion.

   Ozak continued to use his power to impersonate many different influential politicians and military leaders, and he started rumors to instigate public unrest and cause Americans to distrust their officials. The country was being hurled into chaos as protests and riots broke out everywhere, and there were threats of armed rebellion.

   Meanwhile, when the real Les Gage revived, he went to a federal security office and claimed that he had been impersonated by an alien; Agent Craig believed Gage's story (since he thought it was the only way to explain all the unrest in the country), and was assigned to capture the alien.

   The civil disorder continued, and when Ozak read a newspaper report that a beloved elder statesman was about to make a televised speech to appeal for the return of law and order, Ozak saw it as the opportunity to bring about his final crushing blow to Earth. Ozak impersonated the statesman and went to the TV studio, where he planned to deliver a speech that would be far different than expected!

   But at the TV studio, Craig asked the disguised Ozak for the secret password that he had given to the real statesman a day earlier--Ozak didn't know the password, and his cover was blown! Dropping his disguise, the panicking Ozak returned to his natural form and ran out of the studio, with Craig in pursuit.

   Ozak hid in an alleyway, but saw that the area was completely surrounded by federal agents, and everyone was being stopped and questioned to make sure it wasn't him in disguise. Looking for a new identity to assume, Ozak glimpsed an advertising poster for HEROES! magazine, which featured a picture of a man and a dog--initially, Ozak was going to impersonate the man, but then he thought that humans would never suspect that he would turn into a mere dog, so he transformed himself into a perfect likeness of the canine instead.

   The disguised Ozak walked in plain view on the sidewalk, and no one even gave the "dog" a glance because they were all looking for a bogus human being. But then Craig spotted the "dog" and knew at once that it was really Ozak. As Craig seized him, Ozak reverted back to his true shape and was placed in handcuffs.

   The captured Ozak realized that there could now be no invasion of Earth, and with his mind seething, he could only wonder how Craig had seen through his disguise; then Ozak took another look at the poster and read the words on it that he had previously ignored--he learned that the heroic dog had been launched into space the night before, so it couldn't possibly have been on Earth! (see comments)

   The final fate of Ozak remains unrevealed.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Steve Ditko (artist).

Yeah, right, that's NOT just another dog that happens to look like the astro-mutt, so it's gotta be the alien! Must have been because Ozak also duplicated the dog's distinctive star-emblem collar, that's what probably gave him away! That Ozak, whadda dope!

And so the Dethans get to join the host of other shapeshifting alien races (Skrulls, Xartans, et al).

There's no proof that this story took place in Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel Universe) continuity, however it could easily fit in--Through the magic of retroactive-continuity, Ozak could be made into a Skrull instead (...much like what was done with the shapeshifting Martian from the story "Why Won't They Believe Me?" (@ Amazing Adult Fantasy#7/1) when it was ret-conned into the Skrull Zankor in Marvel: The Lost Generation#11).

Or maybe Ozak really was a Skrull--maybe the Dethans were a separatist offshoot of the main Skrull race (much like the Dire Wraiths), and being shapeshifters, they altered their "normal" forms (no large pointed ears or wrinkled chins) to distinguish themselves.

Those images of Ozak's impersonations--where half of Ozak's face is his human disguise--kind of foreshadow the art-technique Steve Ditko would later employ when he drew the half-Peter Parker/half-Spider-Man headshots.--Ron Fredricks

Profile by John Kaminski. Expanded by Ron Fredricks.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Ozak/"The Changing Man" has no known connections to:

Les Gage has no known connections to:

Craig has no known connections to:


Ozak's spacecraft

A one-man "flying saucer" spacecraft, it carried Ozak from his homeworld of Deth to Earth's orbit.

Ozak disembarked from his spacecraft in a spacesuit, then he sent his spacecraft to the Moon, via remote-control, where it would be safe from discovery until he needed it for his return.

Ozak then used his spacesuit to actually make a landing on Earth's surface (Presumably, the spacesuit had some form of limited propulsion).

--Tales of Suspense I#8/3


Dethan ruler

Seeking to invade Earth, the ruler of the planet Deth wanted to establish a beachhead in the United States; he sent Ozak on a mission to undermine the country so it would not be able to repel his forces. The ruler warned Ozak that if he failed to contact their homeworld as scheduled, the invasion plans would be cancelled.

Ozak was eventually captured on Earth, so presumably the ruler called off his invasion.

--Tales of Suspense I#8/3


Les Gage

A trusted television newscaster, he reported the day's events on NEWS PAGE with LES GAGE.

While Gage was in his dressing room, preparing for a broadcast, the shapeshifting extraterrestrial Ozak sneaked in and rendered Gage unconscious. Ozak then impersonated Gage and reported a false news story that spread fear and panic amongst the American public.

When he later revived, Gage went to the office of a federal security agency, where he claimed an alien had impersonated him.

--Tales of Suspense I#8/3


Craig

Craig (unrevealed if it was his first name or surname) was an operative for an unspecified American federal security agency.

Craig was in his superior's office when events of civil unrest began to spread across the country. Newscaster Les Gage came in and claimed he had been impersonated by a shapeshifting extraterrestrial (Ozak), who had delivered a fake news story on Gage's TV broadcast. Believing that Gage's claim was true, Craig was assigned by his superior to capture the alien.

Because the alien had been impersonating various military and government officials, Craig gave s secret password to an elder statesman so the statesman could verify his identity to the federal agent. But the next day, when the statesman came to a TV studio to deliver a televised speech, he couldn't provide Craig with the requested password, so Craig knew it was actually the shapeshifting Ozak in disguise; with his impersonation exposed, Ozak fled, and Craig pursued him, but the federal agent lost track of the alien.

Shortly thereafter, Craig spotted a dog walking on the sidewalk--he immediately recognized it as a dog that was currently in space, so he figured it had to be Ozak in disguise. Craig seized the "dog," who reverted back to his true form of Ozak, then he put the alien in handcuffs and took him into custody.

--Tales of Suspense I#8/3


Dog

Wearing a distinctive star-emblem collar (see comments), an unspecified breed of canine had just been launched into space with an astronaut for a one-year mission. The astronaut and dog were featured in HEROES! magazine, and they both appeared on a poster advertising that issue.

When the shapeshifting alien Ozak was being pursued by government agents, he glanced at the poster--ignoring the words on the advertisement, Ozak was initially going to impersonate the astronaut; but he chose instead to impersonate the canine because he figured humans would never suspect he had changed himself into a mere dog. Ozak became the perfect likeness of the animal, including its star-emblem collar.

But Craig saw through Ozak's disguise because he recognized the famous canine. Craig seized the "dog," who reverted back to his natural form of Ozak, and Craig placed the alien in handcuffs.

It was only after his capture that Ozak actually read the words on the poster and understood how Craig had seen through his disguise--Ozak had made the mistake of impersonating a dog that was currently on a space-mission, so it couldn't possibly have been on Earth!

--Tales of Suspense I#8/3


images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Ozak assuming a human form)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p2, pan7 (Headshot - Ozak)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p2, pan9-10 (in wilderness, Ozak assumes his first human form)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p3, pan9 (three of Ozak's human disguises as military officials and politicians)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p2, pan4 (Ozak's spacecraft traveling through space)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p2, pan5 (Ozak disembarks from spacecraft in spacesuit, while he sends his spacecraft to the Moon)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p2, pan2 (Dethan ruler assigns mission to Ozak)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p2, pan3 (in city on planet Deth, Dethan ruler speaks to Ozak)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p3, pan3 (in his dressing room, Les Gage gets struck from behind by Ozak)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p4, pan4 (Les Gage (left) claims to have been impersonated by an alien; Craig's uperior (background))
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p5, pan7 (Craig)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p5, pan4 (Craig searching for Ozak, as Ozak (disguised as dog) walks by)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p5, pan5 (Craig spots Ozak (disguised as dog))
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p5, pan2 (glancing at poster, Ozak decides to impersonate dog)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p5, pan3 (Ozak takes on form of dog)
Tales of Suspense I#8/3, p5, pan7 (after his capture, handcuffed Ozak reads words on poster and learns dog is currently in space)


Appearances:
Tales of Suspense I#8/3 (March, 1960) - unidentified writer, Steve Ditko (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)


First Posted: 07/10/2006
Last updated: 05/14/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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