full bodyZA'KEN

Real Name:  Za'ken

Identity/Class:  Extraterrestrial alien (Shi'ar)

Occupation:  Adventurer, exile

Group Membership:  None known (see comments)

Affiliations:  Deathcry, Hercules, possibly K'rin

Enemies:  Majestrix Lilandra's Elite Guard, unidentifief members of the Imperium's ruling class

Known Relatives:  None

Aliases:  None

Base of Operations:  Presumed mobile

First Appearance:  (In shadow) Avengers I#398 (May 1996);
    (in full) Avengers I#399 (June 1996)

Powers/Abilities:  The full extent of Za'ken's abilities is unknown.  He is apparently a skilled fighter, good enough to take down two of Lilandra's Elite Guardsmen fairly quickly.  He has been shown to have a power to heal a badly injured person, but it is unknown if the source of said power is mystical, inborn (i.e. he's a Shi'ar mutant of some sort), technology based, or from some other source.  It is also unknown if he has any other powers besides the healing one.  He also carries two swords on his back, and a rifle, as well as other less-obvious weapons on his person, like knives and such.





head shotHistory:  (Avengers I#399 (fb) - BTS) - Little is known of Za'ken's history save that he was raised on the Imperial Homeworld Chandilar, and was exiled from the Shi'ar for several years 'with the highest bounty in all the Imperium' on his head after his parents were murdered to satisfy an unnamed demagogue's political agenda.

(Avengers I#398) - Za'ken arrived in the Sol System, either to find Shi'ar exile and Avengers ally Deathcry, or following the trail of Lilandra's Elite Guard on their mission to keep Deathcry from returning to the Imperium (possibly both reasons are true).  He found Deathcry and her Avenger ally Hercules in the Blue Area of Earth's moon, but not before two of Lilandra's Elite Guardsmen had shot down Deathcry's ship, stole a sacred holo-scroll from Deathcry, and beat the Shi'ar teenager nearly to death, the later of which he witnessed from too far away to reach them in time.

(Avengers I#399 - BTS) - Za'ken ambushed the two guardsmen on the way back to their ship, killed them, and retrieved the sacred holo-scroll.

(Avengers I#399) - Za'ken shot at Hercules, mistakenly believing him a threat to Deathcry's life.  He then revealed himself when Hercules challenged him to show himself, and convinced a wary Hercules that he was not the one who had attacked them (Herc had been knocked unconscious in the crash, and had only awakened a few minutes before Za'ken returned) and further convinced Hercules that he had the power to heal a dying Deathcry.  Hercules allowed the attempt, with the caveat that if Deathcry died, Za'ken would soon follow.  Speaking an ancient Shi'ar mantra, Za'ken performed a long-abandoned ritual to heal Deathcry's wounds and bring her back to the land of the living.  After returning the scroll to her, Za'ken then took Deathcry and Hercules to shelter in an abandoned citadel, where he revealed some of his backstory, and offered an excited Deathcry the chance to return home to the Imperium, and a chance to lift both of their sentences of exile.  Za'ken, Deathcry, and Hercules then left the Moon to journey to Chandilar.

Comments: Created by Terry Kavanagh & Ben Raab (writers), Mike Deodato (penciler), Tom Palmer (inks).

I'm guessing Za'ken and the Guardsmen's Caucasian appearance is a coloring error, since Shi'ar are normally a lot more golden than they were shown here.

The source of Za'ken's powers is unclear.  Apparently they were once a lot more common among the Shi'ar than they are nowadays.  Based on the reference to rituals and mantras as part of the healing process, I'm guessing his powers have more of a mystical/magical basis than a technological basis, or a 'derived from a mutant gene'-type basis.  And that he possibly belonged to a religious order that included 'warrior' as part of its adherents' services.  But calling him a Jedi Knight would cause all sorts of problems with the copyright laws, so his order has to remain unnamed until someone becomes interested enough in this guy to flesh out his backstory more.

I assume he's still out in space and still allied with Deathcry, acting as her protector and teacher.  At least that's where I'd place him.  And hey, a pseudo-Jedi group could be interesting, if given the right writer handling it.  At least in my opinion.

Profile by Elf with a gun


Za'ken has no known connections to

  • D'ken, Majestor of the Shi'ar Imperium before Lilandra @ X-Men I#103
  • or to anyone else with a similar name.

Elite Guard

Elite Guard

These two unnamed soldiers were members of Lilandra's Elite Guard (top fighters who sole purpose was to guard Lilandra and carry out her will), who were sent on a mission to retrieve the holo-scroll Deathcry's nanny K'rin sent to her, and to inform Deathcry of K'rin's fate.  They shot down Deathcry's spacecraft when they spotted it above Earth's moon, and when they found Deathcry and Hercules they took the scroll from Deathcry, gave her Lilandra's message, then (possibly without Lilandra's direct or implied permission) beat Deathcry to within an inch of her life and left her to die.  They were then ambushed and killed by Za'ken before they could leave the Moon.

--Avengers I#398






images: Avengers I#399, p10, pan11 (main image)

p11, pan8 (head shot)
p17, pan3 (powers)
Avengers I#398, p22, pan1 (Elite Guard)

Avengers I#398-399 (May-June, 1996) - Terry Kavanagh & Ben Raab (writers), Mike Deodato (penciler), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)

Last updated01/14/07

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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