Real Name: Zankor
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Skrull Deviant (pre-modern era))
Occupation: Captain in the Skrull military; spy
Group Membership: Imperial Skrull forces
Affiliations: Emperor Dorrek VII, Korya
Enemies: Alynn Cambers (unwittingly), Benjamin J. Grimm (unwittingly), First Line (Doctor Mime, Effigy, Firefall, Mr. Justice/Timothy "Tim" Carney, Morph, Pixie, Rapunzel, Walkabout/William Carmody), Reed Richards
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Jay Stevenson (human guise)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Hegemen, New York;
formerly unidentified location within the Skrull Empire
First Appearance: (Unidentified) Amazing Adult Fantasy#7 (December, 1961); (identified) Marvel: The Lost Generation#11 (April 2000)
Powers/Abilities: Like all Skrulls, Zankor could change his shape to duplicate the appearance of any person or object roughly the same volume as himself.
He received extensive training in infiltration and espionage and was considered a loyal and capable soldier who was regarded well enough to have direct contact with emperor Dorrek VII himself. Thanks to the encephalo-link, Zankor had in-depth knowledge of Earth derived from the memories of a number of captured humans.
Height: 5'4" (by approximation)
Weight: 120 lbs. (by approximation)
(Marvel: The Lost Generation#11 (fb) - BTS) - Skrull Emperor Dorrek VII had been planning an invasion of the planet Earth for quite some time. However, concerned about reports of mankind's early experiments with atomic fission, he was hesitant to launch the attack without sufficient information on the potential threat. Therefore, he dispatched a number of intelligence gathering missions to Earth. Only one of those expeditions reported back and even retrieved some humans for questioning. Based on information retrieved from their minds by Skrull scientists, Dorrek decided to send another team of infiltrators to Earth to see if there was any reason to cancel the planned invasion. He selected captain Zankor and (unbeknownst to Zankor) the female agent Korya to carry out this reconnaissance (see comments).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation#11 (fb) ) - Meeting with Zankor, Dorrek explained the mission to Earth and handed the captain an encephalo-link containing the memories of the human prisoners. Zankor was ordered to activate the link upon arriving in Earth orbit to assume the perfect disguise. Dorrek VII personally saw Zankor off, with the captain swearing to his emperor he would not fail him.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation#11 - BTS) - En route to
Earth, Zankor used his personal recording device to log a mission
update, in which he once again professed his faithfulness to Dorrek VII,
should his mission uncover any reason to cancel the invasion. When he
reached Earth, he followed his instructions to the letter and activated
the encephalo-link. As a result, the personality, physical form and
memories of one Jay Stevenson was imprinted on his mind. While he was in
the process of assimilating his new identity, Zankor's ship suffered a
sudden, unrevealed malfunction which caused it to crashed in the woods
of upstate New York, a few hours by foot near the town of Hegemen.
As Stevenson, Zankor hit his head and suffered temporary amnesia (see comments).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation#11) - "Stevenson" wandered
aimlessly through the woods and spotted the smoking debris of what
he recognized as a spacecraft. Curious, he entered the crashed craft and
found it empty. He spotted his recording device and, instinctively,
replayed his most recent log entry. Shocked to hear an alien talk about
plans of an invasion, he did not realize he was able to understand the
being in its native, otherworldly tongue.
Instead, "Stevenson" hurried to inform everyone about his discovery before the Skrull pilot might come back and stop him. Reaching a main road, he jumped in front of a passing car to get the driver to stop and take him along to the next town. When he told him of the invasion, playing back a conversation between Zankor and Dorrek, the driver immediately tossed "Stevenson" out of his car and drove off, calling him crazy.
Startled but undeterred, Stevenson walked for hours to reach the town of Hegemen where he immediately went to the local police station to report his findings. Pleading with the sergeant that he wasn't crazy, despite the fact he was in between jobs with no fixed address, Stevenson played back even more of the conversation between Zankor and Dorrek. Unaware he was the only one capable of understanding what was being said, Stevenson was shocked when he heard Dorrek order the captain to assume human form. As Stevenson pondered the implications of this, even suspecting the driver he'd just met might be the alien, the sergeant unceremoniously kicked him out of the station, thinking the whole invasion story was a prank by the local fraternity.
Worked up over the fact no one seemed to believe him, "Stevenson" wound up in a diner in upstate New York where he sat quietly in a booth by himself, replaying the recordings on his device. At the same time, Ben Grimm and his girlfriend Alynn Cambers entered the diner to meet some of their friends there. When Ben spotted the weird man playing strange noises on his radio, he and Alynn went over to check it out. Eager to share his story, "Stevenson" once again explained about the invasion. Instead of laughing it off, Ben instead told him to go see his friend Reed Richards at the local university, even giving directions to Reed's lab. Overjoyed, "Stevenson" ran off to meet Richards, figuring a scientist would surely believe him, unaware Ben simply figured he was a loon that would prove a welcome distraction for his roommate Reed.
"Stevenson" entered Reed's lab, just as he was experimenting with the impact of bullets on various surfaces. Quickly recounting his experiences and showing Reed the recordings, "Stevenson" ecstatic when Richards said he believed him. Moments later, however, he found that Reed had pulled the gun from his experiments on him. Though "Stevenson" initially figured the young student must be the alien, Reed then pointed out the obvious to "Stevenson": the fact he was the only one able to understand the alien language must make him the Skrull. The shock of this realization restored Zankor's memory, cursing his own stupidity for possibly being the only spy who unmasked himself.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation#11 - BTS) - After being taken in by the campus police, Zankor was taken to the authorities and was eventually transferred for questioning to the Carmody Institute in New England, headquarters of the First Line. There, despite the fact he was less than forthcoming, the First Line's leader Effigy (secretly the Skrull Velmax) learned of the Skrull's role in the upcoming invasion. Effigy promised the taciturn Zankor that preparations were already being made to counter whatever the Empire was planning. Effigy did wonder however why it seemed as if Zankor had come alone, when usually two operatives were sent out in case one of them failed (unbeknownst to all involved, around that time the female Skrull Korya arrived on Earth where she started manipulating wayward First Line member Yeti).
(Secret Invasion: Skrulls! - BTS) - Several years after his mission on Earth, Zankor received an entry in the Skrull Warbook files, comprised by Skrull Chancellor Kal'Du by order of queen Veranke. Kal'du couldn't help but pity Zankor's bad luck and noted he had become somewhat of a cautionary tale when it comes to using sleeper agents and spies for deep undercover missions.
Comments: Created by Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks).
Whether or not "Jay Stevenson" was a persona crafted by
the Skrulls to serve as a cover, or if he was based on one of the humans
the Skrulls kidnapped hasn't been revealed. Either explanation has no
major impact on the overall story.
It was also never explained what caused the ship to crash. It's a little too convenient to assume it "just sorta happened". A possible explanation might be that the use of the encephalo-link was so disorienting on Zankor that right in the middle of the imprinting process he lost control of his craft, which resulted in the eventual crash.
Maybe this is Skrullian logic, but... Zankor was sent to
Earth to check out if the invasion could commence. Shouldn't the fact he
did not return or even report back in be enough of a concern for the
higher ups in the Skrull army to reconsider? Or did Korya gather
sufficient intelligence to convince Dorrek and his generals to launch
the attack? Then again, the next time the Skrulls considered a
major offensive, Reed Richards managed to discourage them using some
random clippings from old monster comics (ahhh,
the early 60s).
Yeah, I can't explain why the Skrulls fell for the comic book pictures...except that that story was written as the first appearance of the Skrulls, and subsequent stories expanded on the overall Skrull Empire, but failed to recall/take into account that story.
But, I would indeed ASSume that Korya made the reports that got the invasion/attack launched.
The final fate of Zankor hasn't been revealed either. Just
what happened to the captain after Effigy was done interrogating him?
Was he killed? Or did the First Line bring him along when they went into
space to confront the approaching Skrull armada? He wasn't seen in the
final battle, but he could have been tied up in the back of whatever
craft the team used to reach their enemies. Or, was he simply handed
back to the authorities? If so, does that mean the American
government was aware of the existence of the Skrull threat well before
the modern era? It would possibly explain why they were so quick to
downplay and cover up the destruction of the fleet in orbit.
Still, select parts of mankind were most certainly aware of the Skrulls. Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards helped to design and build the Penance Council's flying fortress Vanguard using alien technology obtained from, among others, the Skrulls. By the by, it would be a fascinating bit of retro active continuity if it was revealed Richards and Stark got that technology from Effigy's saucer, that crashed in the New Mexico desert in 1947.
Zankor's story is either a retcon or, most likely, an homage to several similar stories in which an amnesiac alien in human form ends up exposing himself. The earliest version (by Lee and Ditko) appeared in Amazing Adult Fantasy#7 (December 1961). A, well, re-envisioned version, I guess we'd call it, still with Lee as writer but with Gene Colan as artist, appeared as a Tale of the Watcher in Silver Surfer#3 (December 1968). Version#1 was subsequently reprinted in not-yet-uncanny X-Men#90 (October 1974) and Version#2 in Astonishing Tales#31 (August 1975).-- Thanks to Snood and Ronald Byrd for this interesting bit of backstory.
Thanks to David A. Zuckerman for pointing out that it actually was Zankor in Amazing Adult Fantasy#7 as revealed in Secret Invasion—Skrulls!
Profile by Norvo.
Zankor should not be confused with
Captain Zankor was able to learn all he needed to know about Earth by using the Encephalo-link. This device allows the direct transfer of information and memories from one mind to another. Zankor based his covert identity of Jay Stevenson on knowledge gained from several humans that had been captured during one of the Skrulls' earlier visits to Earth. Skrull scientists were able to retrieve the necessary intelligence from the minds of these prisoners and placed it in the Encephalo-link that emperor Dorrek VII handed to Zankor before he left for Earth. Upon arriving in orbit over Earth, Zankor activated the device, which imprinted the personality, appearance and memories of one Jay Stevenson from Richboro, Pennsylvania on his mind.
--Marvel: The Lost Generation#11
images: (without ads)
Marvel The Lost Generation#11, p1, pan1 (main image)
Marvel The Lost Generation#11, p14, pan2 (as Jay Stevenson)
Marvel The Lost Generation#11, p21, pan2 (reveals himself)
Marvel The Lost Generation#11, p10, pan4 (encephalo-link)
Amazing Adult Fantasy#7 (December, 1961) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Silver Surfer I#3 (December, 1961) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Paul Reinman (inks)
Marvel: The Lost Generation#11 (April 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Last updated: 05/09/15
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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