Real Name: Dherk
pre-Cataclysmic and modern eras (likely the Hyborian era through the pre-modern era as well, though the exact time period in which he revived in unrevealed; additionally, since we know Dherk spent "decades" inert due to exhaustion, we can't confirm any time period in which he was not specifically seen)
Occupation: Caretaker of the Pangea's climate control equipment, scientist
Group Membership: Pangean Atlanteans
Affiliations: Aerians of Pangea's Aerie Shalan, Buth,
Children of Dis, Vaninor Dharan (see comments), Garvan, Gorankian tribe, Ka-Zar (Kevin,
Lord Plunder), Pangea's united tribes, Shanna the She-Devil (Shanna, Lady Plunder),
unidentified friend and son; unidentified other Atlantean and Pangean Atlantean allies;
a memory aspect of Mele of the Botor;
formerly Belasco (mentally enslaved and/or re-programmed by him) and Leanne and the Lemurans (and the Pterons and Tubanti) while he was under Belasco's influence, Mother and numerous other unidentified MTR series and other robots, and presumably Kamuu (see comments)
Enemies: Belasco, Bhadwuans, Cerberus robot of Pangea's "Inferno" thrill ride, Charon robot of Pangea's "Inferno" thrill ride, griffin, Kamuu, Leanne, Mother, N'Garai, Sep
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Dherk of Atlantis, "the Undying One"
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly the tower of Vaninor Dharan, Pangea, Antarctica;
formerly Aerie Shalan, Pangea, Antarctica;
formerly Atlantea, Pangea, Antarctica;
formerly Nahgen island, Pangea, Antarctica;
formerly Atlantis (pre-Cataclysmic)
First Appearance: Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (September, 1981)
Powers/Abilities: As an android, Dherk possesses superhuman strength
(presumably enhanced human, lifting perhaps 1-2 tons), speed (running at perhaps
50-100 miles per hour), and durability. While his form was significantly more
resistant to trauma than a human body, Dherk's outer "skin" could still be torn
or ripped, and his parts shattered by sufficient force. When badly damaged,
Dherk could still animate his body; he could even, with great effort, control
his severed limbs, or animate his body even when his head had been severed.
While he could move his hand, for example, a distance from his body, his hand
possessed no vision of its own, and it was blind once it left Dherk's line of
Whatever Dherk's level of strength and durability, he was strong enough to dismember himself.
Dherk's form was at least on one account referred to as fusion-powered, which gave him nearly limitless endurance.
On occasion, Dherk wore a pair of wings of Aerian design. He wore these as a harness, with each wing strapped over each of his arms. The exact speeds, distances, and heights he could cover are unidentified, but he was never seen to fatigue in android form, and his top speed in the wings presumably exceeded his superhuman running speed. At minimum, the wings allowed him to fly over bodies of water and other obstacles that would significantly slow him at ground level.
Dherk is skilled in the science,
technology, and medicine of ancient Atlantis and Atlantea in Pangea;
additionally, he has further augmented some of technology with that of the
Aerians of Aerie Shalan. He is experienced in constructing and maintaining
robotics, and in maintaining Pangea's extensive climate control equipment. He
developed the hibernation chambers that could preserve a living being for untold
millennia; in some circumstances, a being within the chamber could send out a
mental projection that could view the world, interact with others, and become
solid for brief periods of time; becoming solid drained the life energy from the
being in the chamber, with potentially fatal consequences with excessive use.
Utilizing Aerian technology, Dherk helped engineer the Resurrection module,
which could restore even mortally wounded subjects.
Dherk was experienced with the technology and techniques of sending the minds of other beings into someone suffering from madness; those sent could help the victim reintegrate his or her mind, but the travelers were at risk of becoming trapped and/or dying in the victim's mind.
Dherk was reasonably skilled in playing the syrinx, a musical instrument also referred to as Pan-pipes.
After a period of time of being trapped in the hibernation chamber, Dherk a being became able to generate a mental projection that could view the world (at least several miles away), interact with others, and become solid for brief periods of time; becoming solid drained the life energy from the being in the chamber, with potentially fatal consequences with excessive use.
Height: Approximately 6'0" (he looked to be halfway
between the 5'10" Shanna and the 6'2" Ka-Zar)
Weight: Approximately 350 lbs. (original organic form approximately 200 lbs.; we don't actually know his android form was heavier than his organic one, I was just ASSuming the metal was heavier)
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 (fb) - BTS) <Prior to 18,000 BC> - Dherk worked with or at least had knowledge of the Atlanteans who developed methods to re-integrate/cure a splintered mind. As the problem was complicated, they found that the process was more dangerous for the doctor than for the patient; the cure involved a psychic trip into the mind of the lost soul, and the nightmares inside that soul could potentially destroy the sojourner.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 (fb) - BTS) - After a close friend of
Dherk's accidentally killed his own son and went insane with grief, Dherk and
two other scientists used the above method to search for Dherk's friend's true
self in the plethora of madness the man had created to buffer himself.
Dherk escaped with his life, but the other two scientists were trapped within the man's brain; tortured, they never escaped, and their sanity was destroyed. The patient shortly thereafter committed suicide, and the two scientists whose minds were trapped inside him died with him.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk headed a team of Atlantean scientists who predicted the destruction of their world. For this, Atlantis' enraged ruler banished Dherk to Pangea, its most remote outpost/resort.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - Pangea was maintained by a squad of specially programmed robots. Amongst the original robots was/were one or multiple 2500 LV series MTR caretaker robots, specializing in robot maintenance and animatronics.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk participated in, witnessed, or otherwise knew of efforts to capture griffins, with over 25 men being slaughtered in the process.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (fb) - BTS) - In Pangea, Dherk secretly began work on his hibernation chamber, hoping to save all of Atlantis. He completed an early prototype on Nahgen island.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - In the Pangean realm of Atlantea, Dherk was assisted by the 2500 LV series MTR caretaker robot he designated Mother.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb)) - Mother helped Dherk construct another prototype hibernation (cryogenic?) chamber.
(Ka-Zar I#19 (fb) - BTS) - At some point (see comments),
Vaninor Dharan, the "last great warlord of many-splendored Atlantis," came to
Pangea and established a tower base from which to observe the empire he served
sink beneath the waves and to watch a new world rise up.
His sole companion there was Dherk.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (fb) - BTS) <18,000 BC> - Dherk was in the process of testing another prototype hibernation chamber near Nahgen island when the Great Cataclysm occurred. Energy backlash from Atlantis' ruined energy plants caused a malfunction, and Dherk was trapped within the chamber; but somehow it continued feeding Dherk information, and so while he helplessly sank into a frozen sleep, he witnessed Atlantis' destruction.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - Most of Pangea perished in the Cataclysm as well.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - After the Cataclysm, people fled the centers of civilization for the surrounding forests and countryside, and Pangean society crumbled.
(Ka-Zar I#19 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, "millennia ago" (see comments), Vaninor Dharan died.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - Mother kept Dherk within the chamber until it could devise a way to bring him safely out of it.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - Mother continued maintaining the robots as best she could and salvaged repair parts for herself as the other caretakers broke down around her. Eventually, Mother was the only robot left to maintain the continually disintegrating machinery that controlled Pangea.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (fb) - BTS) - < "Centuries" (or millennia?)
later> - The chamber's faulty mechanism lurched into another phase, and Dherk
awoke to a half-life, able to send a mental projection of himself to relatively
nearby locations for short periods of time, but only able to manifest himself in
solid form at great risk to his hibernating form's life energy.
Dherk discovered that Pangea, at least, still existed with some alteration, though Atlantis was long gone.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk tried his best to help Mother maintain the machinery, but as it continued to fail, it became harder for Dherk to maintain his mental projection of himself in solid form. Exhausted by the effort, Dherk slept sometimes for decades.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#4 - BTS / Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (fb) - BTS) <In recent years> - When Shanna O'Hara/Shanna the She-Devil briefly switched minds with Leanne via the thought transfer device (operated by Sep) in the Atlantean temple on Nahgen island, she drew Dherk's attention. He learned her memories, and her thoughts were influenced by his memories, causing her delusions.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6) - While Shanna's mind had been damaged
following exposure to the Aerian Sep's thought transfer device, and after Ka-Zar
had been nicked by a Morhah (giant scorpion-creature)'s stinger, Dherk watched
Shanna from the shadows; she saw him, but she and Ka-Zar dismissed this as
Later that night, Dherk played some Pan-pipes, awakening Shanna from her sleep and drawing her to find him. Dherk introduced himself and told her how she came to his attention. She was happy to learn that she might not be going mad, but was surprised when she reached for him and her hand passed through his intangible form; he soothed her by explaining he could make himself solid for brief periods, and in such fashion he kissed her passionately. He then explained his history to her before having to return to his hibernating form, but he asked to see her again the next night, persuading her with another kiss before vanishing.
The following morning, when Shanna used a thrown rock to take out a bird for breakfast (the feat of which she imagined would have impressed Dherk), she was caught off guard and charged by rhinoceros-like creature; taking solid form again, Dherk pulled Shanna up into a tree for safety and bade her good morning, kissing her yet again. When he asked her to go for a swim, however, Shanna declined, admitting her attraction to him, but telling him she was committed to someone else. Having experienced her memories, he reminded her that Ka-Zar had held and kissed Leanne; Shanna told Dherk to shut up and tried to slap him, but her hand passed through his mental projections. As she left, Dherk admired her fire and passion, considering that after thousands of years of wandering and searching that he may have found someone worthy of his love.
When Shanna found Ka-Zar unconscious, Dherk explained that Ka-Zar was dying from the Morhah's poison; telling her there was no cure, he encouraged Shanna to come with him. Though Shanna was unwilling to give up on Ka-Zar, Dherk encouraged her to follow him to her body, and he could connect her to a second thought machine there. Despite Dherk's promise of immortality, Shanna decided to seek help from the Aerians, and Dherk bade her farewell, vanishing.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6 - BTS) - Zabu pulled the makeshift stretcher carrying Ka-Zar until he was wounded slaying a pterodactyl-creature that attempted to fly off with Shanna.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#6) - After hours of pulling the stretcher,
Shanna began to run out of energy, and Dherk appeared again, informing her that
Ka-Zar would be dead in 6 hours; Dherk offered her an antidote if she promised
to give herself to him body and soul, and she agreed to do whatever it took to
save Ka-Zar. Dherk led her to his chamber, though he could not help her without
perishing himself, and he was even spending a dangerous amount of time in his
mental projection. After four hours, however, Shanna was exhausted and
collapsed, and Dherk reluctantly spent the next hour carrying her to his
chamber. As the air within revived her briefly, Shanna urged Dherk to bring Ka-Zar
there as well, which Dherk did in another hour's time (including administering
the poison's antidote), during which his body perished.
Recovering, Ka-Zar checked Dherk's form and found him recently dead. Ka-Zar then revived Shanna, who was sad to find Dherk dead. Ka-Zar realized she had known him, and Shanna said she'd explain on the way back to the injured Zabu.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#7 - BTS) - Shanna admitted to Ka-Zar that Dherk had kissed her, and that he had initiated the kisses, but that nothing more had happened; he was jealous, and suspected more may have gone on. The two quarreled, and she challenged him about his relationship to Leanne.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb)) - After Dherk's death, Mother
brought him to her lab. She built an android in his likeness, then used the mind
transfer machine to channel his knowledge, memories, and feelings into that
Perhaps, as speculated by Ka-Zar, realizing she couldn't stop the refractors from falling apart and returning Pangea to a hostile, frigid waste, she remade Dherk into a being that could survive any climate.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - Appreciating that Dherk's mechanical body would not be compatible with Shanna's living one, Mother attempted to supply Dherk with the next best thing, and she began building an android version of Shanna.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 - BTS) - Seeking to investigate the secrets of the ancient Atlantean technology (and perhaps hoping to learn more of the man with whom Shanna had bonded), Ka-Zar led Shanna back to Dherk's base, though they left Zabu back in the cave they had stayed in because he was still lame from the pterodactyl wounds. Upon entering the floor of the cryogenic chamber, however, they found Dherk's body missing.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8) - Finding some fluid leaking from a wall
of circuitry, Ka-Zar had Shanna push buttons on a control panel until the wall
swung open, and they followed a corridor to find Dherk seemingly alive and
connected to numerous wires from the surrounding equipment. As Ka-Zar approached
Dherk, he and Shanna were attacked by laser blasts from Mother, who apparently
saw the two visitors as infectious organisms in the tidy world she was trying to
prepare for Dherk.
Ka-Zar tried to take out the robot with a rock hurled from his sling, but the rock shattered against a force field, and Ka-Zar and Shanna fled from continued laser-blast onslaught -- during which time Ka-Zar noted that the robot was targeting them and not Dherk, and wondered about Dherk's involvement -- into another chamber, after which the door slammed shut, sealing them in there.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 - BTS) - Ka-Zar reasoned the room to be
the nerve center of both this local hibernation chamber and the one on Nahgen
Island, and he and Shanna began watching a series of video tapes (advanced
technology circa 1981!), which showed them maps of ancient Earth, more
detailed maps of Pangea, and images showing Dherk and Mother designing the
chamber and his becoming trapped in it. When they looked for the next tape,
however, they found it missing, while air began being sucked out of the room.
Seeking an air vent, Ka-Zar shattered a water pipe that swiftly flooded the
room, and only after the room was nearly full could the two of them force open a
door and escape.
Investigating further, they found a partially constructed robot version of Shanna. They were attacked again by Mother.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (fb) - BTS) - "Awakening" on the table, covered with wires, Dherk heard the sounds of laser fire and rushed to investigate.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#8) - Seeing what was happening, Dherk
ordered Mother to stop. When it turned and fired on him, he destroyed it with a
laser pistol. After Dherk speculated that Mother had been driven insane by the
efforts to maintain Pangea and told Ka-Zar and Shanna what had happened. Ka-Zar
thanked Dherk for saving "his woman," a point which Dherk contested, though
Shanna protested that she should have a say in the matter. Laughing and agreeing
that Shanna was right, Dherk offered to take Ka-Zar upstairs where they could
use medical supplies to mend Ka-Zar's right arm (burnt by Mother's lasers);
spying the missing tape within Mother's rubble, Ka-Zar had Dherk bring them
somewhere else they could play it.
Upon playing the tape, however, Dherk realized he had died and that he existed as the android built by Mother. To prove the matter, he tore the flesh from his right forearm, exposing the machinery beneath. As Dherk resignedly headed out, he helped Ka-Zar figure out that Pangea had originally been designed as a resort; Dherk further explained that the Savage Land had served as a game refuge and stock area where interesting genetic experiments were conducted. When Dherk headed out to fix the refractors that kept Pangea livable, Shanna offered to come with and help.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9) - Dherk guided Ka-Zar and Shanna in resealing a damaged console as part of the maintenance on the massive light refraction machines that held the frigid Antarctic waste at bay. When steam suddenly burst forth from a damaged pipe, Shanna dodged, bumping Dherk over the edge. Ka-Zar caught Dherk's hand, but Dherk urged him to let go as he could safely land, while Ka-Zar and Shanna narrowly escaped the pipe as it exploded. Unharmed by the steam and metal fragments, Dherk closed down the pipe, and the trio discovered the corpse of a beast-man from within the pipe. They then investigated a chamber revealed by the explosion, and found a number of tiny mythological creatures held in chambers, including a unicorn, minotaur, and a griffin. Shanna was intrigued with the tiny griffin, despite Dherk telling how over 25 people had been slain trying to capture a griffin. Dherk didn't get the reference when Ka-Zar suggested the griffin's name was probably Merv, and Shanna lingered to watch the griffin.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9 - BTS) - Intrigued, Shanna stole the tiny little griffin and put it in her knapsack after Dherk was out of sight.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9) - Feeling the machines were now manageable by him, Dherk sent Ka-Zar and Shanna on their way.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9 - BTS) - Dherk did some research and learned that the scientists who had built the climate control machine had experimented with a shrinking technique, and that the tiny animals they had seen were once full-sized beasts in Pangea's zoo. The magnetic field within their glass kept them small and virtually immortal.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk discovered that the griffin was missing and headed out after Ka-Zar and Shanna.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9) - The morning after their departure,
Dherk caught up to them and angrily demanded to know where it was, swatting Ka-Zar
aside and holding Shanna high in the air. When Ka-Zar came back with his knife,
Shanna admitted to her theft, but when she went to her knapsack, she found the
griffin had torn its way free and escaped. After Dherk explained what he had
learned, they heard a small creature cry and then saw the larger griffin flying
into the air with a small dinosaur's corpse. Shanna tried to convince Dherk to
head back to his machines while she and Ka-Zar would try to catch the creature
when it next stopped to feed to prevent it from getting larger. He refused,
noting they would get killed trying to stop the griffin and would need his
power; he further noted he had no idea how big the griffin would get.
Dherk, Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Zabu tracked the griffin for the next three days, running through the underbrush and finding progressively larger slaughtered prey, eventually including a mastadon (or mammoth, I can't tell). Finally, Shanna collapsed in fatigue, and Ka-Zar agreed that they needed a rest, hoping that since the griffin had recently fed, it would rest, too. As they slept, Dherk acknowledged that they (Ka-Zar and Shanna) were only human.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9 (fb) - BTS) - Figuring the griffin would return to the site where it had been captured, Dherk traveled there, to the base of Mt. Flavius, Pangea's only active volcano. Dherk dug a deep pit, covered it with a net, and then covered the net with grass to conceal it; he apparently intended to use himself as bait, figuring he was safe and that the griffin wouldn't recognize him as non-organic until it was too close.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#9) - Having encountered the griffin twice
in the meantime and having been given wing apparati from the Aerians to grant
them flight, Ka-Zar and Shanna -- joined by Buth and a few other Aerians --
caught up to the griffin as it approached Dherk. Explaining his reasoning, Dherk
tackled Shanna away from inadvertently landing on his trap, then held her as the
griffin indeed crashed into the pit. Shanna said she was so happy that she could
kiss him, and Dherk acknowledged there was no one to see them, but then the
griffin flew back out of the trap, dragging the net with it. The griffin tore
apart the net as it flew, but its distracted flight also brought it directly
above the volcano; Ka-Zar shattered the creature's eye with a rock launched from
his sling, and, paralyzed by pain, it fell into the volcano and was destroyed.
Ka-Zar flew away with Dherk before the volcano erupted and opened a fissure at
its base, where Dherk had stood.
After the volcano quieted down ago, Dherk joined Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Buth in investigating the unnatural fissure, at the base of which they found an obvious entrance portal, above which was inscribed, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here"; from the entrance emerged a sinister laugh.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#10) - With a puzzled frown, Dherk stared at
the entrance, ignoring Buth's question of whether he knew anything about this
place. The quartet entered the portal, seemingly finding the bowels of Hell and
riding the boat of "Charon" across a black lake. After Ka-Zar and Dherk figured
that the boat was being pulled by a chain attached to an underwater winch, Ka-Zar
decapitated the robot Charon, and after the headless robot attacked Ka-Zar, it
was cast into the water by Dherk, Buth, and Shanna. Dherk vaguely remembered a
thrill-ride from the original Pangean amusement park, closed long before he was
born due to nearby volcanic activity; he speculated that they were in that very
ride. When they arrived on the opposite shore, Dherk found a series of tickets
made of the ancient alloy Trulon. Shortly thereafter, the group took a ride in a
wind tunnel, then encountered an organic version of Cerberus, the three-headed
dog. Dherk rushed forward to oppose the creature, but it snatched him in its
jaws and cast him into a murky crevasse.
The others, joined by Zabu, slew "Cerberus" and continued on to the city of Dis.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#12 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk was recovered by Belasco or some of his agents. Belasco initially tried to mesmerize Dherk until discovering he was an automaton, after which he ("shall we say") reprogrammed Dherk to serve him.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#11) - Ka-Zar -- having been traveling with Zabu, Shanna, and Buth before they were each separated and incapacitated -- entered Belasco's chambers, only to be assaulted by Dherk. After Dherk hurled Ka-Zar against a computer screen, Belasco appeared, instructing Dherk to treat their guest gently before introducing himself to Ka-Zar.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#12) - When Belasco taunted Ka-Zar with
intending for the mesmerized Shanna to mother his children, Ka-Zar lunged at
him, but Dherk swiftly stopped him, pinning his dagger-wielding hand with one
arm and suspending him off the ground by his hair with the other arm.
Soon after, Belasco demonstrated his power over Ka-Zar's allies by ordering Dherk to open himself completely to them...starting with the chest cavity. Dherk proceeded to tear open his chest cavity, and then to rip off his left arm, tear off both legs, rip off his right arm (his severed hands "magically" -- figuratively or literally? possibly due to Belasco's magic vs. the mechanical parts being able to act even when separated from his body? -- continued to follow the planned destruction), and lastly to tear off his head, until all that remained was a lifeless heap of twitching scrap metal.
However, when Belasco locked Ka-Zar in a freezing chamber and took Shanna upwards towards the surface to perform their wedding ceremony, Ka-Zar's pounding at the window caused Dherk's head to hum to life, and his original memories returned, allowing him to overcome Belasco's programming. Using every ounce of his flagging will, Dherk caused one of his hands to move towards the freezing chamber. As Dherk's hands couldn't see, Ka-Zar's voice helped guide Dherk to direct the hand to the switch box and release Ka-Zar. Dherk advised Ka-Zar to leave him there for now so he could stop Belasco; he asked that Ka-Zar not forget to come back for him after he was through saving the world.
Ka-Zar foiled the ceremony, preventing Belasco's "Elder Gods" (N'Garai) from coming to Earth; as punishment, the demons set Belasco aflame and cast him into a chasm below.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#13 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk was reassembled, after which he traveled to Aerie Shalan alongside Buth, the Aerians, and some of the Children of Dis (beings within the Inferno resort with Mt. Flavius).
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29 (fb) - BTS) - Belasco influenced Dherk, drawing him to find a gemstone (also sometimes referred to as bloodstones) near Mt. Flavius, the one from Beatrice's pendant. Dherk collected the stone, thinking it merely a beautiful gemstone that reminded him of Shanna. He further used an ancient Atlantean jeweler's apparatus to cut the gemstone and forge a ring.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 (fb) - BTS) - Dherk's research, experience, and knowledge allowed him to further develop the Resurrection Module, which was the height of Aerian science.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 (fb) - BTS) - Zabu traveled to Aerie Shalan in search of aid for the gravely injured Ka-Zar (by assaults involving Ramona Courtland). While Buth accompanied Zabu to find Ka-Zar, Dherk feared the worst and began to prepare the Resurrection Module.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27) - When Buth brought Ka-Zar back to
Aerie Shalan, Dherk explained how they would have to calibrate the module to Ka-Zar's
rate and metabolic function...after which they would have to pray.
Soon after, Buth returned with Shanna -- who had been driven mad by recent events, including the near death of Ka-Zar and exposure to psychotropic drugs -- who soon fainted. Dherk explained that Ka-Zar's vital signs had stabilized, though he correctly theorized that Ka-Zar had apparently died and been revived by a crude, temporary, stopgap method, which was about to give out. Feeling that -- if fate were on their side -- they might heal Ka-Zar permanently, Dherk further explained that the next 24 hours would tell the tale. Dherk additionally noted that, at worst, as long as Ka-Zar's mind was intact, it could be transferred into a mechanical body.
With regards to Shanna, Dherk related the massive risks associated with the Atlantean treatment for insanity, but acknowledged that she would likely remain insane without the treatment. Both Buth and Dherk were willing to risk their own lives in hopes of saving Shanna, and Dherk further explained that despite Ka-Zar's physical ailment, he could join them as well; Dherk also explained that -- despite his own android nature -- his mind could make the journey, and that, Zabu's intelligence and loyalty would be an asset that might outweigh the risk of damage Zabu might cause due to his lack of understanding of the nature of their environment.
Soon after, Dherk prepared the equipment, and he, Buth, Ka-Zar, and Zabu laid prostrate on tables by Shanna, each wearing a mind-transfer headpiece connected to a main unit to be controlled by Garvan, Dherk's chief assistant and a top Aerian scientist. Just before Garvan directed the transference, Dherk instructed Buth and Zabu that they would meet at the waterfall at the entrance to the Savage Land, believing Zabu would help them find Ka-Zar, at which point they could explain to him what was happening.
Within Shanna's mindscape, Dherk, Buth, and Zabu met at the waterfall as planned, and Zabu swiftly led them to Ka-Zar, where they saved Ka-Zar from a lethal Ramona manifestation before explaining the nature of their quest. Their efforts to locate Shanna within her mindscape were aided by her memory of Mele of the Botor/Tree People. Mele guided them to the "Land of Memories," where they witnessed several of Shanna's tragic life experiences.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 / Ka-Zar the Savage#28 (fb) - BTS) - Belasco drained the energies of Aerie Shalan and other nearby locations to enhance the power of the renegade Aerian Sep's machinery and revive the unconscious Leanne. This threatened the equipment that maintained the others' presence in Shanna's mind.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27) - Dherk explained their subsequent experiences, noting that Mele vanished as Shanna remembered his death (but that he would live again in her mind once she was well). He further explained that Ka-Zar was dead in Shanna's mind, but as they approached her shrine to Ka-Zar, they were attacked by black serpentine manifestations.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 / Ka-Zar the Savage#28 (fb) - BTS) - Another power drain occurred.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27) - Dherk, Buth, Ka-Zar, and Zabu
overcame the serpent creatures, then continued on until they found Shanna's
mental self imprisoned in a nightmarish tower; Dherk warned that something kept
Shanna locked in that tower and that whether it was guilt or otherwise, it may
take a dangerous shape in her mind. After a manifestation of Nekra attacked and
Zabu destroyed it, Buth flew up to the top of the tower while Ka-Zar and Dherk
ascended the stairs.
Shanna felt momentary hope when Buth told her Ka-Zar was alive.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 / Ka-Zar the Savage#28 (fb) - BTS) - Another power drain occurred.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27) - The most recent surge so sufficiently depleted the power that Ka-Zar's mental manifestation weakened as did his body. Sensing this, Shanna's anxiety increased markedly, and she was attacked by a manifestation of Leanne, a former rival for Ka-Zar's affections; realizing her anxiety was risking Ka-Zar's life, Shanna was able to use an existing key to free herself from her own prison. When Buth tried to help Shanna by attacking the Leanne manifestation, Dherk tackled him, explaining that this was Shanna's battle and that she must fight and win herself to reclaim her sanity. Shanna rescued Ka-Zar and carried him back towards the waterfall, where they would be safe, and when she briefly faltered, Dherk explained that they could delay the Leanne manifestation to buy Shanna some time. After this, however, Dherk became concerned that Garvan should have rescued them all by now, as Shanna's mind had been restored to reasonable sanity.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27 (fb) - BTS) - Just then, the skies above Aerie Shalan cleared, and, with full power restored to the machinery, Garvan ordered the alpha-particle projector to be positioned and used on Ka-Zar, restoring Ka-Zar to life.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#27) - As Ka-Zar stabilized, he joined Shanna, Buth, Dherk, and Zabu -- at Dherk's urging -- to assault the Leanne manifestation, which they destroyed. As Shanna's brainwaves normalized, Garvan had the sojourners returned to their bodies. Dherk thanked Garvan, who cautioned him to wait until everyone was back...and when they were, Ka-Zar proposed marriage to Shanna.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29 (fb) - BTS) - Belasco continued to cause tremors and unpredictable weather.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28) <Two weeks later> - While he, Shanna, Ka-Zar, and Zabu rested by the Gorhan sea, Dherk was surprised that Ka-Zar and Shanna seemed somewhat depressed despite their miraculous recovery. Dherk questioned Ka-Zar about this, and Ka-Zar noted that he felt Shanna had been avoiding him -- and Shanna had been, as she was confused by her frustration with Ka-Zar's previous affair with Leanne as well as that she had let that bother her normally independent self. Regardless, Ka-Zar told Dherk he was going to need a ring to formalize his proposal to Shanna; Dherk was pleased and offered his congratulations, but they were distracted by a sudden earthquake.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28 - BTS) - Dherk rushed off to check Pangea's environmental control machinery. His control center's instruments pinpointed the source of the tremors as the catacombs beneath Mt. Flavius, but he remained confused as to why the instruments had not predicted the tremors and bizarre weather.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28) - Within the catacombs beneath Mt. Flavius, Dherk noted that the heat was so great that only his android body allowed him to survive it. He further determined that Mt. Flavius was primed to blow and to flood Aerie Shalan with lava; his detector could tell him when the eruption would occur, but he could not present it. He reasoned that the Children of Dis who lived within the catacombs would be OK when the volcano blew as they had secure hiding places down there, but that the surface dwellers would not survive. Nonetheless, he resolved to do what he could to avert the disaster and then to mobilize the Aerie in case he couldn't. Discovering the ring he had made and forgotten but thought would be perfect for a ring for Shanna, Dherk then noted that the tremors were occurring with greater frequency, and he rushed back to the Aerie at super speed.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29 (fb) - BTS) - Belasco implanted within Dherk the idea of how to handle Mt. Flavius' impending eruption.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28 (fb) - BTS) - Back at the Aerie, Dherk arranged an emergency meeting of the Aerian high priestess Wend's advisory council to decide a course of action in the face of impending doom. Ka-Zar and Shanna were also present.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28) - Explaining that he did not know how
or why, Dherk warned that Mt. Flavius was about to erupt, and that if they were
not prepared, Aerie Shalan would be inundated with lava, forcing an evacuation,
and the entire Pangean ecological balance might be disrupted. He then explained
his plan to set an explosion at a designated point at Flavius' base that would
create a crude vent, enabling them to channel the lava southerly, into a nearby
uninhabited canyon. He warned, however, that the only route to the target area
was through the already treacherous catacombs, which had been substantially
weakened by the recent tremors, and the effects of a further explosion on the
escape route would be unpredictable.
The council voted unanimously in approval. With Dherk unable to go as he was the only one who could repair the delicate and intricate climate control machinery, and Buth having sustained a broken leg in a recent storm, Ka-Zar agreed to go; with Shanna so upset with him recently, he felt there was nothing to stay there for anyway. Dherk then gave Ka-Zar the ring he had made, and Ka-Zar was grateful, but feared he might not need it after all.
Still frustrated and confused, Shanna insisted she go with Ka-Zar, and Buth informed them that their mechanical wings were ready, as was the explosive, which he gave them.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28 - BTS) - Upon reaching Mt. Flavius' catacombs, Ka-Zar and Shanna broke out Dherk's map; in the process, Shanna found the ring, and realized that Ka-Zar really did care about her. They set off the bomb and escaped just before they were flooded, and Dherk's plan was successful. Recovering from the explosion, Ka-Zar formally proposed, and Shanna accepted.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29 (fb) - BTS) - As Shanna had already been an agent of Belasco's link to the Earthly plane, her receipt of ring (and the gem it contained) completed his bridge back to Pangea.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28 - BTS) - The next day, Dherk was present as Ka-Zar and Shanna returned and announced their engagement.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#28) - Donning a pair of wings, Dherk flew over the Gorhan sea and realized that some of the lava had backed through the tunnels and out into the Gorhan from beneath the ocean's waves. Cursing his carelessness, Dherk hoped the ecological damage would be minimal. He found Naghen Island almost entirely below sea level, and on the island, he found Sep badly scalded by the lava-heated waters. Sep told Dherk he had waited because Belasco had restored "her" to life and had told him to wait.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29) - As Dherk pushed the artificial wings to their limit as he rushed back to the Aerie to warn everyone of Belasco's return, Belasco caused a giant hand to form out of the ocean waters and pull Dherk into the water, where a powerful undercurrent pulled him through an undersea cavern and passageways before dumping him on the bank where Belasco and Leanne awaited. Despite Dherk's insistence that he would never let Belasco to take complete control of him again, Belasco stared into his eyes and mesmerized Dherk.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29 (fb) - BTS) - Belasco apparently returned to the Aerie with Dherk, and Belasco replaced Wend and took her form.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29) - Alongside "Wend," Dherk visited Ka-Zar and Shanna shortly before their wedding. Dherk assured them that Pangea was fine, with only very minor damage in the Gorahn. During the ceremony, Dherk stood with Buth just below the altar, while "Wend" officiated the wedding. However, the ceremony was interrupted by Leanne, at which point, Belasco retook his own form; as Dherk restrained Ka-Zar and Leanne held Shanna, the assembled forces of the Lemurans, Pterons, and Tubanti (all having been manipulated into following Leanne, who had allied with Belasco as he had promised she could rule Pangea by his side) arrived and overwhelmed the Aerians. Dherk subdued Ka-Zar with a sleep-inducing Aerian nerve pinch, Leanne (her abilities enhanced by Belasco's power) flattened Shanna, and Belasco took out Shanna's step-daughter, Leila, when she attacked him. Belasco teleported away with Leanne, Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Leila to his subterranean base, while Dherk grabbed Buth by the broken leg.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29 - BTS) - Ka-Zar and Shanna wounded and banished Belasco, but not before he reverted Leanne to her comatose state after she had turned against him upon realizing his true nature and goals.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#29) - Shortly after Wend married Ka-Zar and Shanna (because they might not have another chance in the coming battle), Dherk led a group of Tubanti, Lemurans, an Pterons to confront them at spearpoint at the edge of a cliff.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#30) - Still deranged from Belasco's influence, Dherk told Ka-Zar (who held the comatose Leanne), Shanna, Wend, and Leila that they were prisoners of Pangea's allied forces. He ignored Ka-Zar's explanation regarding Belasco and told him to save his breath for the trial. After struggling with Dherk, Ka-Zar cast Leila into the jungle and had her run away, after which both Ka-Zar and Shanna were knocked out by Tubanti, and Wend was captured by a Lemuran.
The captives were placed on trial by "Pangea's allied forces," which culminated in an arena battle, but Dherk snapped out of Belasco's hold, and waited for a time to free everyone. He rushed into the arena and removed a blinding helmet from Ka-Zar, after which Ka-Zar freed Zabu and some of the Aerians. The Botor/Tree People (led by Leila) then arrived and joined the battle to aid the Aerians, but swiftly changed sides to oppose anyone allied with Ka-Zar, who had inadvertently slain their ruler, Mele. To stop the fight, Ka-Zar pretended to threaten to kill Leanne, which ultimately led to peace talks. Though unsure of how things were progressing, Dherk pleaded with those present to unite as their peoples did during the first Pangean war; he further advised them that they had no enemies now save confusion and indecision. Ultimately, the Lemurans, Botor, Tubanti, and Pterons agreed that Ka-Zar's presence was exacerbating the relationships between the tribes/races, and they demanded he leave Pangea forever; upon hearing this, Ka-Zar sought the opinions of Dherk and Wend.
(Ka-Zar the Savage#31) - Dherk was present at the Pangean
Peace Council meeting when Ka-Zar returned following being attacked by Pterons
serving the inciter Phangor. Though the revelation of this attack seemed to sway
the Pangeans against the Pterons, Ka-Zar angrily departed. Dherk urged the
others to stand as one and uncover the common enemy, as their ancestors had done
many millennia past; Dherk then shared the details of the First Pangean War, and
the story inspired the others to unite as Dherk had advised.
The Botor representative insisted that the terms of peace for his people would include the exile of Ka-Zar, who had already departed and kept leaving, heading back to the Savage Land.
(Avengers I#257 - BTS) - The Savage Land and Pangea were destroyed by by the Deviant Jorro (in the guise of Terminus); see comments.
(Ka-Zar#19) - From within the tower of Vaninor Dharan (see comments), Dherk recalled his past with Dharan. As he noted the changes occurring that threatened Atlantis, the many clues added up in a way that only his cold, fusion-powered brain could understand. Realizing what and who were causing the changes, Dherk resolved that, unlike Dharan, he would not let history take its course; he would interfere and change the destiny of the Savage Land. However, he was then confronted by a pair of Bhadwuans (descendents of the original Atlantean builders of Pangea) who cursed him as a dangerous abomination as they noted they would not let him meddle in the affairs of the breathing. Having thought the Bhadwuans to all have been dead, Dherk was blasted out of the tower just after he turned and recognized his attackers. He fell silently for a full minute before landing on the rocky ground below.
(Ka-Zar#20) - While Zira of the Bhadwuans counseled Shanna, warning her that Ka-Zar was the cause of the Savage Land's problems, Dherk, barely holding his shattered form together, came to warn her that "they wanted to kill Ka-Zar," but Shanna left with Zira before Dherk could reach them.
(Ka-Zar#20 (fb) - BTS) - A member of the Gorankians or another tribe located Dherk crawling through the mud and began dragging him back to the rest of his tribe.
(Ka-Zar#20) - The Gorankian brought Dherk before the rest of
his tribe -- noting the finding of the "Undying One" being so sick as a bad omen
-- and rushed to bring him to the Elder. Dherk stopped the tribesman, insisting
that what he had to say couldn't wait. Dherk told the tribesmen that the
Ones-Who-Dwell-Beneath (the Bhadwuans) were not dead, and that they had come
back and wanted to kill Ka-Zar. Though the tribesmen were OK with that option,
Dherk reminded them that though they worshipped the Bhadwuans as gods, they had
done nothing all of the times the people of the Savage Land were threatened,
while it was Ka-Zar who had helped them in each case.
When the Bhadwuans confronted Ka-Zar, ultimately the people of the Savage Land refused to let them kill him, though Ka-Zar, Shanna, and their son, Matthew, did leave the Savage Land for a time. As they left, Dherk told Ka-Zar that he, and the entire land, would miss him. Ka-Zar thanked Dherk, gave him his knife, and asked him to look after the place while he was gone.
Comments: Created by Bruce Jones, Brent Anderson, and Carlos Garzon.
Given that Dherk was banished from Atlantis for predicting its impending demise, it would seem that the emperor banishing Dherk would have been Kamuu. However, Dherk could have been further ahead of his time and was perhaps banished by Kamuu's predecessor...or his predecessor's predecessor, etc.
Ka-Zar estimated the world maps in the tapes he and Shanna viewed as being of the known world circa 12,000 BC, which would place them in the Hyborian era, 6000 years after Atlantis sank. If they were made by Dherk or his technology after Atlantis sank, that's all reasonable, but if it is meant to be records from before Atlantis' fall, then Ka-Zar or someone got the date wrong by at least six millennia.
Though not seen, Dherk must have survived the destruction of the Savage Land by the Deviant Jorro (in the guise of Terminus) in Avengers I#257 (1985). Perhaps he escaped (or was brought) extradimensionally (to the realm of M'rin and C'jime) like those who returned in Uncanny X-Men Annual#12 (1988) after the High Evolutionary restored the Savage Land via the life force of Garokk. But we don't know that...
Ka-Zar the Savage#6 consistently referred to "hibernation chambers," while #8 consistently called them cryogenic chambers. He doesn't look to be frozen, but rather in some form of stasis, so I've stuck with hibernation.
On at least one occasion, Dherk
referenced/invoked "Gods." Given that Dherk was from pre-Cataclysmic Atlantis,
it would seem likely that his gods would include the likes of Valka, and
possibly Holgar, Honan, and Hotath. Other gods worshipped in the pre-Cataclysmic
era include: Anu, Bishru, Black
Erlik, Golgor, Great Scorpion,
Jaquari, Ka, Kaa-U, Kodatha, Kulthas,
Syndra, Vramma, White Wolf,
I'm sure there's a more complete list on the Appendix somewhere, but I couldn't find it. If you have it, please send it my way.
Errata/unintentional ret-con in the 1998 Ka-Zar stories
It's hard to determine at what point Dherk was the companion of Vaninor Dharan. Given that the text said that Dharan came to Pangea to observe Atlantis' sinking, it would seem likely that he came there shortly (days, weeks, months?) before the Cataclysm.
However, the text then goes on to state that his sole companion was "an android he named Dherk...an unaging thing that walks the Savage Land even today." It also refers to Dharan as Dherk's creator, and, in a quote Dherk recalled, Dharan referred to Dherk as "my clockwork friend," and said he envied how Dherk could "walk the eons, to see what noble and grand plan will shape our planet."
Those statements are compounded in Ka-Zar#20, where Dherk tells the Gorankian tribe (or whoever) that "the Ones-Who-Dwell-Beneath built me" (referring to the Bhadwuans, the descendents of the Atlanteans who constructed Pangea)
Those references are in direct contradiction to Dherk's established history. Dherk was an Atlantean human who came to Pangea and became trapped in a hibernation chamber during the Great Cataclysm. Eventually (untold centuries (possibly millennia) later), Dherk became able to release a mental projection of himself to interact with the outside world. Dherk existed in this state for an extended period of time (presumably millennia, as well). It was only in the modern era, after he exhausted his life force saving Ka-Zar and Shanna, that his body died; after this, Dherk's mind was transformed into an android body.
I hate the "Everything you knew is wrong option," and can't see any reason to discount the details of Dherk's past history, which was shown repeatedly in the Ka-Zar the Savage series. I say the creators of the 1997-1998 Ka-Zar series misunderstood Dherk's true nature (the same way they called the people of Aerie Shalan the "Jeriens"; and the way Dherk was called Dherek); BUT, we still have to think of a fix...
Also, wouldn't Dharan's tower have been completely destroyed when the Jorro-controlled Terminus duplicate destroyed the Savage Land? Maybe it was somehow restored?
Thanks to Darci for some grammatical review and corrections!
I wonder if Dherk ever met Zhered-Na...
Profile by Snood.
Dherk should be distinguished from:
images: (without ads)
Ka-Zar the Savage#6, pg. 10, panel 2 (playing syrinx);
panel 3 (face);
pg. 18, panel 6 (dematerializing);
pg. 23, panel 6 (carrying Shanna);
pg. 24, panel 1 (hibernation chamber);
#8, pg. 5, panel 2 (android form charging);
pg. 10, panel 4 (Mother caring for Dherk in hibernation chamber);
pg. 18, panel 1 (full/main);
pg. 19, panel 1-3 (Mother remakes Dherk as an android);
panel 5 (Dherk exposes android nature);
#12, pg. 8, panel 1-6 (Dherk tears himself apart);
#28, last page, panel 3 (wings)
Ka-Zar#19, pg. 5, panel 2-3 (Dherk blue cloak and face + medallian);
#20, pg. 15, panel 4 (damaged/skeletal face);
pg. 21, panel 4 (damaged/skeletal body)
Ka-Zar the Savage#6 (September, 1981) - Bruce Jones (scripter, co-plotter), Brent Anderson (penciler, co-plotter), Carlos Garzon (inker), Danny Fingeroth (assistant editor), Louise Jones (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#7 (October, 1981) - Bruce Jones (scripter, co-plotter), Brent Anderson (penciler, co-plotter), Jerry Bingham (penciler, co-plotter), Carlos Garzon (inker), Louise Jones (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#8 (November, 1981) - Bruce Jones (writer), Brent Anderson (penciler), Carlos Garzon (inker; misspelled Garion in this issue), Louise Jones (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#9 (December, 1981) - Bruce Jones (writer, co-plotter), Brent Anderson (penciler, co-plotter), Carlos Garzon (inker; misspelled Garron in this issue), Louise Jones (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#11 (February, 1982) - Bruce Jones (writer, co-plotter), Brent Anderson (penciler, co-plotter), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Louise Jones (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#12-13 (March-April, 1982) - Bruce Jones (writer), Brent Anderson (penciler), Armando Gil (inker), Louise Jones (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#27 (August, 1983) - Bruce Jones (writer), Armando Gil (penciler & inker), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#28 (October, 1983) - Mike Carlin (writer; based on an idea from Bruce Jones), Armando Gil (penciler), Mike Mignola (inker), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#29 (December, 1983) - Mike Carlin (writer), Ron Frenz (breakdowns/pencils), Armando Gil & Co. (finishes), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#30 (February, 1984) - Mike Carlin (writer), Mary Wilshire & Ricardo Villamonte (pencilers), Carlos Garzon. (inker), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Ka-Zar the Savage#31 (April, 1984) - Mike Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (penciler), John Beatty (inker), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Ka-Zar I#19 (November, 1998) - James Felder (writer), Kenny Martinez (penciler), Anibal Rodriguez (inker), Paul Tutrone (assistant editor), Matt Idelson (editor)
Ka-Zar I#20 (December, 1998) - James Felder (writer), Kenny Martinez (penciler), Anibal Rodriguez & Rodney Ramos (inkers), Paul Tutrone (assistant editor), Matt Idelson (editor)
First Posted: 07/19/2014
Last updated: 07/18/2014
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
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