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PRINCE GARETH of SPARTA

Real Name: Gareth (family name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Reality-791) extraterrestrial (Spartan) human(oid) (see comments)

Occupation: Prince of the Realm, Protector of the Realm, Grand Admiral of the Fleet;
   (secretly) treasonous conspirator, would-be conqueror

Group Membership: Leader of the conspiracy that plotted to stage a coup d'état against Emperor Jason

Affiliations: Kyras Shakati (deceased) of Cinnibar, Sith-lord Rruothk'ar (deceased) of the Ariguan Confederacy, Dirac, Arak (deceased), Arion (deceased), slavers, household guard (including a torturer named Tikos)

Enemies: Emperor Jason, Kip Hölm and the Scania of Windhölme, Meredith Quill (deceased), Sandy and the people of Pryd'ri (destroyed), Ship, Star-Lord (Peter Jason Quill), and the people of the other planets his hired slavers had depopulated

Known Relatives: Emperor (name unrevealed, father, deceased), Emperor (name unrevealed [possibly Eson], brother, deceased), Emperor Jason (nephew), Peter Jason Quill (aka Star-Lord, great-nephew)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: The Imperial Chalet on the continent of Marathon on the Imperial homeworld of Sparta;
    Also, mobile within the Spartan Empire, an interstellar empire which encompasses "the better part of a galaxy" and which (allegedly) may be located in the outlying systems of the Greater Magellanic Cloud OR somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy (see comments)

First Appearance: Marvel Preview#11 (Summer/June, 1977)

Powers/Abilities: As a Spartan, Prince Gareth's physical abilities were approximately the same as those of a Terran/human of maybe half his age (as measured in Earth years). The only known difference between the two humanoid races is that modern Spartans, thanks at least in part to their advanced medical technology, have a longer potential lifespan than Terrans, one in which 130 (Spartan) years is barely middle-aged. So, although Gareth was at least 60-90 (Spartan) years old, he was still physically and mentally fit enough to out-duel a Terran/Spartan in his thirties.

    Prince Gareth was a master duelist. He claimed that he was one of only two men capable of defeating Rruothk'ar, champion of the Ariguan people, in single combat.

Paraphernalia/Weapons: Prince Gareth had two personal weapons which he kept with him at all times. One was a golden dueling sword with a blaster secretly built into it (making it an illegal weapon under Spartan law) which he carried in a scabbard which he wore on his left hip. The other was a small throwing knife whose blade was poisoned and which he kept hidden up his left sleeve.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eyes: Grey?
Hair: Black on top, white on the sides and lower back (formerly all black)

History:
(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Prince Gareth of Sparta was born into the royal family that currently rules the Spartan Empire. This empire is a hereditary monarchy so being a son of an emperor made Gareth part of the line of succession to the throne. Unfortunately for Gareth, the order of succession is based on primogeniture which means that the emperor's eldest son and his descendants take precedence over his siblings and their descendants. As a result, the fact that Gareth was a younger son meant that not only was his claim to the throne secondary to that of his older brother but it would be further superseded by those of any descendants of his brother that were born.

(Conjecture/extrapolation) - At some point, Gareth's father died (or abdicated) and Gareth's older brother succeeded him as Emperor. Prince Gareth would then have become heir apparent to the throne.

(Conjecture/extrapolation) - At some point, Gareth's brother sired a son, Jason, who then became heir apparent. Prince Gareth would then have been relegated to second in line for the throne.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - An ambitious man, Prince Gareth rose in rank to become Grand Admiral of the Imperial Fleet and Protector of the Realm. Some of the soldiers who served with the prince became very loyal to him (including some who were not involved in the later conspiracy).

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Prince Gareth was able to establish a relationship with Kyras Shakati, first among the merchant lords of the planet Cinnibar who ruled the commerce of the Spartan Empire, and a man whose power was said to rival that of the Emperor himself.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - As imperial heir, the young Prince Jason had his pick of the beauties of ten thousand worlds but none of them captured his heart. Prince Jason came to hate court life and so he "fled" to deep space to pursue his heart's desire to explore. Presumably, Prince Gareth (secretly) favored this situation since it reduced the chances of Jason siring an heir of his own.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) <Earth year 1960 A.D.> - War broke out between the Spartan Empire and the Ariguan Conferedacy, and the emperor (Gareth's brother) summoned his son home from his explorations (which were on the other side of Ariguan space). Unfortunately, a malfunction en route forced Prince Jason and his felinoid companion to crash-land their scoutship on Earth. Jason's companion died in the crash and Jason was apparently unable to even send a message to Sparta to advise them of his status and location.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) <Earth year 1961 A.D.> - After a year's absence, Prince Jason managed to return to the Spartan Empire in his repaired scoutship with its jury-rigged drive. However, the war against the Ariguans was going badly and Prince Jason was needed to help fight it.

(Conjecture/extrapolation) - At some point, Gareth's brother died (or abdicated) and Prince Jason succeeded him as Emperor. Since Jason had no (known) offsping, Prince Gareth would then have become heir apparent to the throne.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Over a period of 12 (Earth) years, the balance of the war began to slowly tip in favor of the Spartan Empire. It was presumably during this time that Prince Gareth's pride caused him to increasingly resent the idea that he would live his life in his nephew's shadow. Prince Gareth came to believe that, as Protector of the Realm, the throne was his by right. However, Gareth was VERY careful to keep his true feelings a secret so as to preserve his nephew's trust in him.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) <Earth year 1973 A.D.> - Eventually, Jason realized that if he couldn't get away from his duties for long enough to go to Earth himself to bring Meredith Quill and their son to Sparta, then he could ask his trusted uncle to do so for him. Gareth accepted the task, stating that it would be his pleasure to bring Jason's "wife and heir" to Sparta. Gareth then accused Jason of being a "romantic devil" and stated that he hadn't thought Jason had it in him.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb)) <Earth year 1973 A.D.> - Instead of going to Earth, Gareth traveled to Kyras Shakati's palace on Cinnibar where, apparently in the presence of the Ariguan Sith-lord Rruothk'ar, he explained the situation and commissioned the murders of "the woman and her whelp." When Shakati then speculated that, after a suitable interval, his nephew would meet with an untimely accident, Gareth replied, "Precisely."

(Marvel Preview#4 - BTS/Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) <Earth date August 11, 1973 A.D.> - Rruothk'ar and at least one other Ariguan who had traveled to Earth in a small craft landed in the woods near the Quill cabin. Seemingly by coincidence, their landing was witnessed by Peter Jason Quill, who ran to get his mother and bring her to the landing site. When Rruothk'ar and a second Ariguan left their ship, they saw Meredith and Peter watching them, and Rruothk'ar immediately fired on them with an energy weapon, killing Meredith instantly. For some reason, the two Ariguans then boarded their ship without killing Peter. They swiftly departed Earth, leaving Peter kneeling beside his mother's smoldering corpse.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) <Earth year 1973 A.D.> - Gareth may have been informed that both targets had been eliminated or he could have received an accurate report. Whatever he actually knew, Gareth went to Jason and told him that Meredith Quill had died in childbirth and that their son had died with her. Jason was so devastated by their loss that he never loved again and never married. Presumably, Prince Gareth was secretly quite satisfied with this result.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Under Emperor Jason's leadership, the Spartan Empire defeated the Ariguan Confederacy. A holo-painting was created to commemorate his victory.

(Marvel Preview#4 - BTS) <Earth date February 9, 1990 A.D.> - The Master of the Sun transformed Peter Jason Quill into the Starlord.

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - As the thirtieth anniversary of Emperor Jason's coronation approached, preparations for the planned coup d'état to replace him with Prince Gareth came closer to being realized. To provide financing for the coup, Shakati acquired an Imperial Fleet transport and hired a mercenary cadre to crew it for slaving operations. These slavers attacked an unspecified number of worlds, exterminating almost all of their populations, enslaving the few survivors, and then using unspecified means to render those planets uninhabitable.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Following their extermination/enslavement of the Scania of Windhölme but before they could start the process that would render the planet uninhabitable, the slavers were confronted by Starlord and Ship, his sentient starship/companion. The slaves, led by Kip Hölm and Sandy (a native of Pryd'ri , previous victims of the slavers), took advantage of the confusion caused by Starlord's battles aboard the slavers' starship to rise up against the slavers, resulting in the death of almost all of them. The only known survivor was the Anubian Lord Dirac who somehow managed to avoid the slave revolt and secretly fled to Cinnibar to warn Shakati.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Several days later, after having used Kip's psychic talents to identify Shakati as the person behind the slavers and then having traveled to Cinnibar aboard Ship, Starlord, Kip and Sandy confronted Shakati in his floating palace. Through use of a telempathic crystal, Shakati learned that Starlord was the presumed-dead Peter Quill but he (and his bodyguard Arak) were both killed by Sandy before he could relay that information to Dirac who (with Arak's twin, Arion) fled again, this time to Sparta to warn the prince.
   Meanwhile, back on Cinnibar, Ship was (just barely) able to protect Starlord, Kip and Sandy from the multi-megaton fusion explosion generated when Shakati's palace self-destructed. As a result, Starlord was able to study the data that he had previously downloaded from Shakati's now-destroyed computer banks and from it learn that the profits being made off the stripped worlds were being used to finance a coup d'état that was intended to replace the current emperor with his uncle, Prince Gareth.

(Marvel Preview#11) - As Ship approached Sparta, they were jumped by an Imperial hunter-killer group who were looking for Ship and determined to prevent her from reaching the Imperial Homeworld. After a brief but furious battle, Ship sustained a critical amount of damage and Starlord had Kip and Sandy eject in Ship's lifeboat. Aboard one of the ships in the task force, Prince Gareth was informed that a madcap blizzard over Thrace was causing them to lose track of the intruder starship as it crashed on Sparta but that they still had a hard contact on the lifeboat. Gareth ordered that the lifeboat was to be followed down and its occupants were to be taken alive for questioning. He reminded the officer that "the emperor will of course be told there were no survivors" so that he would believe the incident was closed. Gareth also ordered that, as soon as the weather cleared, a single cohort of his household guard was to be sent Thrace to find the starship "whatever the cost."

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - As ordered by Prince Gareth, Kip and Sandy were captured and secretly brought to Gareth's private wing of the Imperial Chalet on Marathon. Once there, torturer Tikos began working on the boy.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Three days later, after the blizzard had blown itself out, the search parties finally began to look for the alien starship. An officer found the starship but was immediately captured by Starlord before he could warn anybody. Under hypnotic questioning, the captive provided an outline of the planned coup d'état, and revealed that the occupants of the lifeboat had been taken to the Chalet and that they had been interrogating the boy for three days but so far he wasn't talking.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - Later that day, Starlord rescued Kip and Sandy from Gareth's torture chamber, apparently unaware that Dirac was watching them from the shadows of an upper level.

(Marvel Preview#11) - Presumably alerted by Dirac, Prince Gareth and Sith-lord Rruothk'ar confronted Starlord and the two captives whom he had just freed on a balcony on Sky Level 4 of the Imperial Chalet. Gareth introduced himself and his companion and described them as being the trio's executioners. Starlord reacted quickly, giving the information about the coup to Kip and telling him and Sandy to take it to the emperor while he gave them a chance. Starlord then savagely attacked Rruothk'ar, whom he'd recognized as his mother's killer, and, after a fierce duel, he impaled and killed the Ariguan. Prince Gareth admitted that he was impressed by Starlord's victory over Rruothk'ar, stating that he knew of only two men who could have defeated the Ariguan in single combat and that he (Gareth) was one of them. The prince then declined to surrender to Starlord and the two men began their own duel.
   As they fought on a ledge a mile above the ground, Starlord asked why Gareth, who had honor, wealth, position and more power than any man had a right to have, couldn't have been content with that. Gareth replied that he was a proud man, that it didn't suit him to live his life in his nephew's shadow, and that the throne was his by right! When Starlord asked about the worlds destroyed and the people who had been slain and slaved to finance his takeover, Gareth simply replied, "What of them?" Infuriated by this callous response, Starlord proclaimed that those people had been living beings whose lives were precious, to them if to no one else! Gareth took advantage of Starlord's loss of concentration and impaled him through his upper right arm, forcing him to drop his sword. With his enemy disarmed before him, Gareth revealed that he knew of Starlord's flying powers and warned that his sword had a blaster built into it (something forbidden by Spartan law). Gareth announced that he was going to kill Starlord but first he wanted to see his face, then used his sword to remove Starlord's mask...only to find himself looking at a younger version of his own brother's face! Staring in shock, Gareth apparently realized who Starlord was and he muttered, "N-No! It can't be--!" Although not understanding Gareth's reaction, Starlord nevertheless took advantage of it and knocked his sword out of his hand, taking it for himself. When Starlord then implied that he was now going to do the killing, Gareth called his bluff, stating that, although Starlord once may have had murder in him, that was no longer the case. Acknowledging the truth of those words and stating that, alive or dead, Gareth was finished, Starlord was distracted by an approaching group of people and turned away from Gareth who instantly slipped a knife from his sleeve and threw it into Starlord's back. Revealing that the blade was poisoned and that, once he threw Starlord's corpse off the balcony, it would be his word against Kip and Sandy's, Gareth gloated that they simply wouldn't be believed and that Starlord had failed. Screaming out "NO!", Starlord reacted instinctively and hurled the sword at Gareth, impaling him through the chest. Realizing he was doomed, Gareth pulled the sword from his body and spoke his final words as he staggered backwards:

It seems...I've...underestimated you...my friend. I'll...not make that mistake...again...But you've won a...Pyrrhic victory, Star...Lord, for as I...die ...my poison...kills...you...too...

Gareth then fell backwards over the ledge and dropped to the ground a mile below.

(Marvel Preview#11) - As Starlord knelt on the floor, trying to relax and let his body handle the poison, he was surrounded by three Imperial troopers who had witnessed the death of the prince. One pointed out that, fair duel or not, he was "for the High Jump" for murdering a prince of the realm but another, stating that he had served with the prince, declared that the scum who killed him didn't deserve a trial and suggested that they kill Starlord immediately. At this point, Ship arrived and mentioned that she could level the mountain and escape. As Starlord told her there had been enough blood shed that day, Kip arrived with the emperor. As the troopers saluted, Starlord found himself looking at an older version of his own face and asked, "But...who are you?" And Emperor Jason replied, "Peter Jason Quill...I am your father."

(Marvel Preview#11 (fb) - BTS) - Once the information in Starlord's data pack was confirmed, the Imperial Guard moved against Gareth's mercenaries and the fleet took up positions along the truce line to prevent any Ariguan mischief. Within a few hours of Gareth's death, the conspiracy was smashed.

(Marvel Preview#11 - BTS) - In the aftermath, Emperor Jason told Peter, Kip and Sandy about his past: how he had met Meredith Quill when he crashed on Earth, how they had fallen in love, why he had left his beloved pregnant with a mindlock on her memories, and what he now knew Gareth had done. Unfortunately, as the emperor expressed how happy he was that his son had been returned to him, Peter stated that, as Starlord, he had the universe and didn't need to be shackled to a throne. Then, after suggesting that if Jason wanted a son and heir he should adopt Kip, Starlord flew away, and he and Ship left to roam the stars.

(Starlord, The Special Edition#1 - BTS) - About seventy years later, in the emperor's palace overlooking the imperial capital Calyndriar on Sparta, Kip Hölm told his three children the story of how he and their mother (Sandy) and their adopted grandfather (Jason) first met, and of the man who had brought them together: Star-Lord. After the story was finished and the sleeping children had been put to bed, Emperor Jason announced that he was going to abdicate in favor of Kip at the next day's council meeting. However, later that night, Starlord returned and told his father that he had missed him and wanted them to get to know each other. Accepting his son's offer, Jason left his imperial seal ring and Peter left Starlord's helmet behind, and they and Ship flew away to find their destiny.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin.

    By the way, just to make it absolutely clear, the fact that the events depicted in the framing sequence from Starlord, the Special Edition#1 take place about 70 Spartan years after Gareth's death means that they occur in a possible future of Reality-791, and thus have not actually happened yet. I've chosen to include them in this profile just to show that Gareth's desire to keep Jason and Peter apart was finally thwarted.
--Potential futures primarily apply to the mainstream Marvel Universe...Reality-616. The timeline seen Star-Lord in the Special Edition is the future of Reality-791. If another variation occurs, then that will just show a divergent version. We have seen that a few times with the characters in 2099 AD, in which we have the Manifest Destiny issue showing 1000 years forward into that timeline, Reality-928. We have since seen other divergent versions of that reality, like Reality-6375 (shown in the Exiles series). The same is true where we see that Killraven's timeline is the same as the Guardians of the Galaxy, in Reality-691. If we see stories involving events diverging from that future, that just means there are divergent realities.
--Snood

STAR-LORD and his place in the Marvel Universe

   Discerning readers may have noticed that certain "facts" presented in this profile are not exactly in accordance with those which have appeared in Official Handbook-style texts. Specifically, I have listed the name of Gareth's race and empire as "Spartan" instead of "Spartoi" and questioned the ideas that his brother's name was Eson and that the Spartan Empire is located within the Greater Magellanic Cloud. These differences, while being speculative, are not meant to subvert the "official story" but rather to point out certain canonicity questions which have remained unanswered for a long time.

   The problem stems from the fact that, initially, Starlord was NOT meant to be part of the "mainstream" Marvel Universe. His creator, writer Steve Englehart, has been quoted as saying that Peter Quill "wouldn't fit in the MU." This idea that Starlord's adventures were non-canon is supported by the fact that none of the costumed characters or alien races from Earth-616 appeared in any of his "classic" stories. Also, the time frame was wrong. While most "in-continuity" stories published in the 1970s were set in that time period, Peter Jason Quill wasn't transformed into the Starlord until 1990. Therefore, although Peter may have existed on Earth-616 in "1976" as a runaway from a state orphanage, his adventures as Starlord, like those of Deathlok or Killraven or the Guardians of the Galaxy, were, at best, set in a possible alternate future of the mainstream MU.

   For over twenty years, Starlord's relationship to the MU remained undefined, and the 1996/97 miniseries (featuring Ship working with a new Starlord after Peter Quill had disappeared 12 years earlier) did nothing to help. It was not until the 2000 Inhumans miniseries that things began to change. One of the major guest characters in that miniseries was Prince Jason of Spartax, heir to the throne of the Spartoi Empire. By the end of that mini, Prince Jason had been banished to wander among the stars with his Soulship but not before the precognitive Delphos had a vision in which she saw Jason might eventually crash on Earth where he would fall in love with a woman who would give him "a human child, destined to be a Lord among the stars!" These revelations seemed to officially connect Starlord to the Marvel Universe but they also acted to displace his existence completely from the late 20th Century and into the 21st Century. So, the end result was that Starlord was now definitely part of the mainstream MU but only in one of its potential futures. Worse yet, the fact that Peter hadn't/wouldn't become Starlord until he was 29 years old meant that at least 30 "Marvel Years" would have to pass before the "present-day" MU would catch up to Peter's possible future and, as a result, Starlord could not have appeared as part of the contemporary MU until stories published sometime between 2090 and 2120!!!

   However, this idea that Starlord existed entirely within a potential future of the MU only lasted until 2004 when writer Keith Giffen included ex-Starlord Peter Jason Quill as a supporting character in his Thanos series and in the subsequent Annihilation miniseries. Obviously, having an adult Peter Quill exist in the early 21st Century of the MU contradicted the idea that he hadn't even been born yet, and two competing theories sprang up to explain this discrepancy, both of which involved time travel. One theory was that Peter was born in the 21st Century where he grew up to become Starlord but eventually traveled back in time to the late 20th Century in some adventure that hadn't been published yet. The other theory was that it was Jason of Spartax who had somehow traveled back in time from the 21st Century and crashlanded on Earth-616 in the year 1960 where he subsequently sired Peter who grew up to become Starlord in 1990. Eventually, the idea that Jason was the time traveler came to be the favored explanation, and it was made "official" when it was mentioned in the Star-Lord profile page which appeared in the Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files one-shot (October, 2006). However, this time travel idea never appeared in any published story and so never received "canon" status (an arbitrary classification, especially since the Files were in-universe profiles compiled by the Worldmind--Snoood). Furthermore, even that aforementioned Star-Lord profile was careful to use the word "apparently" on several occasions, suggesting that the time travel theory was, at best, only a hypothesis.

   Most recently, Star-Lord's status with regard to the MU underwent yet another change when writer Brian Michael Bendis presented his "streamlined and updated" version of Star-Lord's origin in issue #0.1 of his new Guardians of the Galaxy series. As many continuity-lovers like myself had feared, this Bendisized origin differed significantly from the "classic" origin from the 1970s. In fact, BMB's version is SO different that it is essentially a re-imagining of the earlier origin. Normally I would be absolutely incensed by such a drastic revision but in this case I see it as something of a blessing in disguise. It seems to me that the differences between the two origins are so extreme that it's impossible to believe that they were both connected to the same character. Trying to force both origins to be about the same individual would be like taking the two versions of Commander Adama from the two Battlestar Galactica series and insisting that they were both the same character, existing within a single fictional continuity. It simply isn't at all believable.

   Accordingly, the only reasonable explanation is that these origins actually refer to two DIFFERENT characters or, to be more precise, two different versions of the same character. And this being the Marvel Multiverse, such similar-but-different characters are usually other-dimensional counterparts of each other. If this idea has any validity, then the "re-imagined" Star-Lord, the one who has appeared in stories which were definitely set in the "mainstream" MU, would exist in Reality-616 while the "classic" version of the character, the one who appeared in all Starlord stories published in the 20th Century, would exist in another reality entirely. Since these alternate Marvel Universes are usually named using a number which is derived from the publication date of their first appearances, I would suggest that the original Starlord's "home reality" should be named Reality-761 (since Marvel Preview #4 was cover-dated January, 1976) but apparently this possible alternate reality has been "officially" designated Reality-791 instead (the designations are not that cut-and-dry, as a review of the listings will show relatively few matching that particular system, which is, in itself, based on a false assumption. The ways of Merlyn, Roma, and the Core Continuum designation remain mysterious...--Snood) in Star-Lord's most recent profile in Star-Lord: The Hollow Crown.

   In support of the theory that there are two Starlords, here is a list of eleven of the differences which I have noticed between the "classic" and the "new" origins:

  1. Year when Jason/J'Son crashed on Earth: 1960 => "30 years ago" (currently, that would be 1983)
  2. Number of alien travelers: Two (one died in the crash) => One
  3. Duration of Jason/J'Son's stay on Earth: Over a year => A matter of days
  4. Meredith remembers that Peter's father (Jason/J'Son) is an alien: No => Yes
  5. Location of the Quill home: A cabin in the Colorado Mountains => A two-story house in rural Colorado
  6. Year of Meredith Quill's death: 1973 => "20 years ago" (currently, that would be 1993)
  7. Location of Meredith's murder: In the woods => On her own front porch
  8. Alien assassins: Ariguans (reptilians with tails) => Badoon (reptilians without tails)
  9. Fate of aliens who killed Meredith: Returned to space => Killed by Peter Quill
  10. When Peter learned that his father was an alien: When he met him after becoming Starlord => Realized it after finding his father's alien weapon
  11. How Peter obtained the Element Gun: It was a gift from the Master of the Sun => He found it in his mother's belongings, an unique Spartax weapon that J'Son had left with Meredith as a "romantic" momento.

   In my opinion, there is no plausible explanation which could reconcile these two origins into a single narrative. Accordingly, I can only hope that the "Two Star-Lords" theory will be made "canon" in the near future.

    The basic premise in the Marvel Universe is to fit together stories and events, often by different writers and sometimes spanning decades, into one coherent whole. Often explanations are need to explain how a character got from point A to point B. Initially the premise was that the Star-Lord who first appeared in the Thanos series was indeed classic Star-Lord, and that his father was Jason from the Inhuman series. There was as-yet, no in-story explanation to resolve this, so some possible or "presumptive" explanations were offered.
     If Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning had remained writing the Guardians, I believe an in-story explanation would have been provided at some point...they regarded this as "classic Star-Lord." With the Bendis-reimagination, the handbook profile defines some of the major contradictions and identifies "classic Star-Lord" as likely being from alternate Reality-791.
 --Snood

"Spartans" vs. Spartoi

   It was my belief that there seem to be two versions of Star-Lord in the Marvel Multiverse which prompted me to use the the name "Spartan" for Prince Gareth's race and empire, simply in order to more easily differentiate between the "Spartans" of Reality-791 and the "Spartoi" of Reality-616. In the original stories, the name of the race who ruled their interstellar empire from the planet Sparta was never mentioned. The only reference was when the sensor officer aboard the slaver starship identified Starlord as reading as "Imperial/human" and that isn't conclusive. The idea that their race-name was "Spartoi" originated with the 2000 Inhumans miniseries and it was in the 2006 Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files one-shot that it was stated that their small empire existed in the outlying systems of the Greater Magellanic Cloud. Perhaps more importantly, the Bendisized origin of Star-Lord makes it clear that the "J'Son of Spartax" who fathered the 616 version of Peter Jason Quill is apparently a completely different person from the "Jason of Spartax" who was childless as of that 2000 Inhumans miniseries. In my opinion, this makes it doubly unlikely that any "facts" revealed about "Jason of Spartax" and his world MUST also apply to "Jason of Sparta" who (apparently) isn't even his counterpart. That's also why I don't feel compelled to claim that Gareth's brother's name was Eson.

   Speaking of King J-Son, he rules a Spartax Empire which is apparently located in the Milky Way galaxy (as opposed to Emperor Eson's Spartoi Empire in the Greater Magellanic Cloud). So, if J-Son is the 616 counterpart to Gareth's nephew Jason, then that could mean that the Spartan Empire in Reality-791 is also located in the Milky Way.

Humanoid or "Human"

   Discerning readers may have noticed is that I have identified Gareth as being an Extraterrestrial (Spartan) "Human." Normally, all alien races in the MU who "greatly resemble human beings in physical characteristics" are defined as being "Humanoids." This term is used, even for those races who are "virtually indistinguishable" from humans, because the Official Handbook's Glossary states that "Only a normal Earth human being can properly be termed human." However, an exception may be made if an "alien" race can be shown to actually share a common ancestry with "Earth humans" and I believe that a strong case can be made in this instance.

   First, the term "Human" is used several times within the story presented in Marvel Preview#11. The sensor officer aboard the slaver starship identified Starlord as reading as "Imperial/Human." Later, when Kip was trying to connect with Sandy, she stated that they were "nothing alike" but Kip countered by saying, "I'm human, Sandy. Just like you." It's worth noting that although Kip is identified as being one of the Scania, a race of which Sandy is definitely not a member, their both being human is supported by the fact that they will later have three children together. Also, in a later story in Marvel Preview#18, Starlord met the current inhabitants of the planet Redstone (who were colonists brought in from "the Twelve Worlds") and learned from one of the Beastmen that Redstone's original inhabitants "were human, just like you, from the same COMMON STOCK which is so prevalent in the universe."

   Second, many of the "alien" names that appear in that issue are identical to names from Earth. Sparta, Marathon and Thrace are all locations in the ancient Greek world. Kandahar is an ancient city in Afghanistan. Scania is the name of a province in Sweden from which the terms Scandinavia and Scandinavians were derived. Jaeger is a German word meaning "hunter." The Kraken is a legendary sea monster from Norse mythology. Jason, Sandy, Gunnar, Marie, Gareth, and Kip are all names which have been and are being born by Earth people. And finally, the word "Christos" was used as an exclamation twice while "Astarte's Crown" was used once.

   Third, the very existence of Starlord (aka Peter Jason Quill) is proof that "Spartans" and "Terrans/Humans" are genetically compatible, and this fact in turn implies that they share a common ancestry. In the real world, the only matings which produce viable offspring are those between two individuals from the same species OR from two closely-related species (like horses and donkeys or lions and tigers or cattle and yaks) but any matings between more distantly-related species cannot produce offspring. Thus, when one considers that an alien species would have an entirely different evolutionary history from any Earth species, it makes the chances of them having genetics that are compatible with Earth humans astronomically low.

   Of course, real world "truths" do not necessarily apply to the Marvel Universe. However, while some fictional continuities (especially Star Trek) have embraced the idea of different alien species being able to reproduce with each other, the MU has been rather restrained on this subject. In fact, aside from Star-Lord, I can only think of four other characters who are the results of matings between members of two different species: Jack of Hearts (Jack Hart - human and Contaxian), Hybrid (Jimmy Marks - human and Dire Wraith), Abigail Brand (of S.W.O.R.D. - human and ???), and Hulkling (Teddy Altman - Kree and Skrull). Oh, and there's the whole "Pink Kree" race but that's another story.
Actually, there's a few more (if you think of more, let me know, and I'll add them in)--Snood

   Before examining the possibility of a common ancestry shared by the Spartans and the Terrans, for the sake of thoroughness I should at least mention three other possible explanations for how beings from two different planets could perhaps successfully interbreed with each other and produce a child.

  1. While the odds of it happening would seem to be astronomically low, it is not absolutely impossible that two species could "just happen" to be genetically compatible. After all, the Marvel Universe contains so many QUINTILLIONS of star systems that there must be as least the slightest of chances that at least one alien race might be "close enough" to Human to be able to produce viable offspring. However, I'm not going to just assume that the Spartans must be that theoretical/hypothetical species.
  2. Medical procedures involving genetic manipulation could make it possible for two otherwise-incompatible species to successfully interbreed. For example, in the Star Trek universe there are several mentions of how medical help was required in order for some of the various hybrid characters to be born. However, since Meredith's Quill's pregnancy seemed to be unplanned, I would discount the possibility that Peter Jason Quill was conceived through such means. Also, I find the idea that Prince Jason, when he went off to explore the universe, might have brought along the technology that would enable him to impregnate females of other species that he might encounter to be a bit...icky.
  3. It's possible that some species in the Marvel Universe are, somehow, inherently capable of interbreeding with other species. While I find it hard to believe that such a "universal genetic compatibility" is something that would evolve naturally in any species, it could be the result of genetic engineering, either by the species themselves (possibly in an attempt to prevent their race from dying out) or by some alien influence. And if aliens were responsible, then the obvious suspects would be the Celestials who, over the course of millions of years, have performed genetic experiments on the natives of many different planets. While never mentioned, it's not impossible that they somehow made it possible for some (or all) of the descendants of their test subjects to be able to interbreed with each other. This theory could explain how, seemingly without any (known) medical intervention, Hybrid (a Human/Dire Wraith hybrid) and Hulkling (a Kree/Skrull hybrid) were successfully conceived. However, despite how intriguing this idea might be, I have never seen this theory expressed anywhere else, and definitely not in any published story, so it is currently nothing more than fanfic.

   Okay, back to the idea of a common ancestry for Humans and some aliens. This concept appears in many fictional continuities, especially science fiction TV shows, and is usually depicted in one of these three ways:

  1. Humans originated on Earth but millennia ago some aliens arrived, captured a group of them, and took them away to other planets where they were resettled. If the aliens were hostile, then the abducted Humans might find themselves being used as slaves, soldiers, test subjects or food. On the other hand, sometimes the aliens were benevolent beings who had noticed that a particular cultural group was in danger of extinction (due to either natural phenomena or aggression from other cultural groups) and had transplanted them to a new world where they could develop in safety.

  2. Long ago, in prehistoric times, there existed a Human civilization that was more advanced than that of present-day Earth. These Ancient Humans used their superior technology to travel among the stars and colonize a number of alien planets, forming an interstellar state. Unfortunately, something happened (like a cosmic disaster or a civil war) that caused the entire civilization to completely collapse into barbarism. In the ensuing struggle to survive, all knowledge of their technology and history was lost. Now, millennia later, the Humans of Earth have rebuilt their societies somewhat but are no longer aware of the Humans on those lost colonies who, for their part, either don't remember that their ancestors came from another world or have no idea where their original homeworld is located. 

  3. In the distant past, millions or billions of years ago, there existed a race of humanoid beings who decided to seed the then-uninhabited planets of the galaxy with the potential for life. These "seeds" may have also been programmed to direct the evolution of life on each planet towards a humanoid form.

   It's interesting to note that, while these scenarios have occurred quite often in science fiction TV series, especially in both the Star Trek and Stargate franchises, they don't seem to have played much of a part in the Marvel Universe. Sure, the Celestials and the Kree both came to Earth and experimented on humans but neither race relocated their test subjects to other planets. Similarly, the fact that the Celestials are known to have manipulated humanity's development since back when only man-apes existed is solid evidence that Humans evolved on Earth (and thus cannot be a lost colony). Also, although the historical record of Humanity's existence is incomplete, enough of it has been revealed that it shows that Humans have (probably) never been capable of space travel prior to the 20th Century (so Earth cannot be the homeworld of a fallen interstellar civilization).

   However, one concept that HAS appeared before in the MU is the idea that Humans (and other races) exist because of an ancient humanoid race. This idea was mentioned in Thor I#215 (September, 1973) when a sentient crystalline alien known as Xorr the God Jewel claimed that, as of six million years ago, its parent race (later named as the Xorri) had "already spawned a thousand lesser races: the Kree, Mankind, Skrulls" and that "All humanoid races began in our genes." While interesting, this idea has never been developed or verified and is officially regarded as "questionable" and I can't say that I disagree. For one thing, Xorr was clearly insane and delusional so its claim about the Xorri could simply be megalomania on its part. Also, exactly how the Xorri "spawned...all humanoid races" was not made clear but the fact that their entire civilization was centered on "one lone planet" suggests that they didn't colonize other worlds. So, maybe this is a case of seeding alien planets with genes that would lead to the evolution of humanoid lifeforms? Only the Watchers know for sure.

   So, to summarize the situation, there is no solid evidence for how Spartans and Terrans could interbreed. Xorr's claim is officially questionable and the idea that it is part of the genetic engineering done by the Celestials is only fanfic. In the absence of any other explanation, the "common ancestry" theory wins by default (Don't see the other options as being ruled out, though, particularly since the Xorri information has seen print -- even in what you call "canon" (a comic book story) -- and not been contradicted--Snood). Unfortunately, since there is no published story which presents this explanation, I am forced to...speculate. Yes, this means that my theory is also "fanfic" which is why I have limited it to the Comments section of this profile. So, Reader Beware: The theory presented in the following paragraphs is NOT in any way official and I am not presenting it as such. It's just the best that I could come up with.

Common Ancestry Theory: Millennia ago, members of an alien race visited the planet Earth and, for their own purposes, collected a large number of human beings as specimens. Wishing to have a continuing supply, they took care to acquire a sufficient number of humans to maintain a minimum viable population. Relocated to a planet (or planets) elsewhere within the Milky Way galaxy, the humans were fruitful and multiplied. Being naturally aggressive and devious, the humans began to secretly plot to overthrow their alien abductors. Eventually, after centuries, this goal was achieved: the aliens were either driven away or wiped out by the humans who now ruled the alien world(s) to which they had been transplanted so long before.
   Not knowing (or, possibly, not caring) where they originated, these alien-born humans began to build their own civilization(s). Understandably, based on their past experience, they were very concerned about the threat posed by aliens, either the race that had previously oppressed them or a new enemy. Accordingly, the humans were strongly motivated towards making sure that they were able to defend themselves and they concentrated on greatly increasing their populations (to provide enough warriors) and on developing advanced technology (for weaponry). Eventually, the people of the planet Sparta (possibly named in memory of a long-lost ancestral home from Earth?) became a technologically-advanced society that was capable of interstellar travel. Still concerned about possible hostile alien action, the Spartans embarked on an energetic colonization program, spreading their people across as many planets as possible so as to minimize the chances that their race could be wiped out by an alien attack.
   Over time, some of the human populations became less militaristic than their ancestors had been. Seeking to establish their own societies, these groups of humans left their "homeworlds" and colonized still more planets, eventually developing their own civilizations. In time, all these human civilizations eventually encountered alien races and, for the most part, managed to co-exist (or at least tolerate) them. As more time passed, the memory of the common ancestry of the various "races" of humans faded as it became more politically expedient for each planet to divide all humans along the lines of "Us" versus "Them."
   By the end of the 20th Century (by Earth reckoning), there were a number of human civilizations existing on numerous planets out there in the galaxy. In Reality-791, the largest alliance of human worlds was the Spartan Empire which was based on the planet Sparta and ruled by Emperor Jason. This empire is currently in the midst of a long-standing conflict with the non-human Ariguan Confederacy, one which erupted into war back in 1960 A.D. but which has since cooled down to an armed truce.

   Okay, this is my fanfic explanation for why the Spartans, the Scania and some of the other races in the early Star-Lord adventures appear to be identical to Caucasian human beings from Earth. Personally, I think it's a pretty good theory but it does have one LARGE weakness, namely the amount of time that it would take for a small population of humans to increase their numbers enough that they could control multiple planets. When you think about it, it took about 50,000 years for the number of Homo sapiens on Earth to increase from virtually nothing to the current 7 billion. On the face of it, if the Spartans had begun with only a few thousand transplanted humans, then we would expect that it would have taken them a similar amount of time to populate only one world, let alone a whole empire of planets. If true, then the only way that the Spartans could be as widespread as they are would be if their ancestors were taken from Earth at a much earlier point in history than my theory suggests - which would really gut my idea that many of the "alien" names were taken from Earth since the humans would have had to be abducted at a time BEFORE those names were used on Earth in the first place.

   On the other hand, my pessimism is based on certain assumptions which may be inaccurate. For one thing, Homo sapiens started out as a species of hunter-gatherers and so it took 40,000 years for our population to grow to 5 million. Then, following the dawn of agriculture, it took only 9,800 years for that number to increase to 1 billion. And finally, since the industrial revolution, there has been a population increase of 6 billion in only 200 years. However, humans who had been transplanted to another planet would have started with a knowledge base that included agriculture and, if they obtained technology from the aliens, they could have had access to medical and food-production techniques that would have made a much higher growth rate possible. And that's not even including the possible use of "science fiction" types of advanced alien technology, like the progenation machine as seen in the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor's Daughter." Or maybe they "acquired" some alien technology which enabled them to place a time acceleration field around the entire Spartan star system, thereby causing time to pass inside the field at a far faster rate than "normal time" outside the field. In this way, Sparta could experience thousands of years of growth and development while only a few years passed in the "outside" universe. Of course, these ideas are even more speculative than my common ancestry theory so I'm not going to promote them too vigorously.

   Second, I've also been assuming that a planet's population has to reach that of modern-day Earth before they could even begin to consider colonizing other planets and that's certainly not be the case. The factor that determines when a species can start colonizing is not the size of its population but its technology. If my hypothetical rebellious humans had managed to seize stardrive technology from their alien abductors, then they could conceivably have begun spreading out among the stars within a relatively short time after gaining their freedom.

   Finally, one thing which makes this "transplanted humans built an interstellar empire in only a few thousand years" theory more plausible is the fact that a similar series of events has ALREADY HAPPENED. Remember the origin of the Kree/Skrull War? Long ago, the scientifically-advanced (and pacifist) Skrulls came to the planet Hala and offered its inhabitants, the humanoid Kree barbarians and the Cotati plant-people, membership in their empire. A contest proposed by the Skrulls to determine which race would represent Hala to them ended VERY badly when the Kree, believing that they were going to lose, wiped out first the Cotati and then the Skrull delegation. Using the technology they took from the Skrull starship, the Kree began to build their own interstellar empire and it was only "decades later" that they first attacked the Skrulls. And if the Kree could accomplish such a feat, then surely Humans could do it as well.

   Alright, enough is enough. When I started writing about this topic, I thought that I would be able to present some proof that my theory that the "Human" aliens who appeared in those classic Star-Lord stories probably shared a common ancestry with Humans from Earth. Unfortunately, that has not happened. The problem it that, although I have been able to present several possible explanations for why the similarity MIGHT exist, the closest that the stories themselves ever come to explaining it is that reference to humans being a "common stock" which is so prevalent in the universe. Without any canon solid evidence from the stories, any attempts on my part to provide a reason why things are as they are can never be anything more than sheer speculation. In the end, the only "facts" we know about Prince Gareth's race is that their external appearance is identical to that of Caucasian humans from Earth and their genetics are SOMEHOW compatible enough that a mating between a Spartan and a Terran can result in a viable offspring. Until such time as some definitive in-story explanation is provided, any attempts to account for this impossibly-close resemblance can never be anything more than mere fanfic. So, I am now going to stop trying to prove my common ancestry theory (but I still think it's the best explanation).

    It all seems reasonable to me (and well thought out and presented, and there's nothing to directly refute it), but I think it is just humanity being egocentric that leads so many writers to make so many races that appear essentially human. The same is true in other, non-Marvel, comic book realities (take a look at Superman), as well as movies, TV series, and any other fictional reality. The Xorri is the closest thing to any confirmation to common stock, and I'd say Kip's remarks about being human just meant they were so close in physique, emotions, etc. Though maybe Claremont (he of the eternally dangling plotlines) will someday reveal exactly what you are saying...
     I'd also consider when comparing terminology that these races almost certainly do not speak English, and everything we are hearing from them is their language translated into ours, or into something familiar to us.
    So, we'll consider them as separate races until proven otherwise.
 --Snood

Timeline

   I thought of trying to create some sort of chronology of Gareth's life but found it impossible to do so, at least not with any certainty. The problem stems from the fact that Gareth's actions affect two different worlds, Earth and the Spartan Empire, and each has their own dating system. Unfortunately, there has so far not been any information provided which would enable anyone to coordinate these dating systems so as to construct an accurate chronology.

   First, the only actual dates provided come from Marvel Preview#4 and they are all from Earth's Gregorian calendar. As a result, while we may know that Gareth's attempt to have Jason's wife and heir killed took place in August of 1973, we have no way of knowing what the corresponding Spartan/Imperial date was for that action.
   Second, while there are no Spartan dates provided, there are several periods of time and ages mentioned. Using information from the framing sequence in Starlord, The Special Edition#1, we can calculate that Kip, Sandy, Peter and Gareth all first met each other about thirty years after Emperor Jason's coronation. Of course, this period would be measured in Sparta years, not Earth years, so that "30 years" could represent a significantly longer or shorter period of Earth time. Also, exactly when Jason became emperor has never been revealed. Was it immediately after he returned from Earth? That would make it 1961 A.D. Or maybe he didn't become emperor until just before he asked Gareth to retrieve his family from Earth, which would be in 1973 A.D. It's even possible that Jason's coronation did not occur until sometime after Peter became Star-Lord in 1990 A.D.

   Although it is currently impossible to produce a definitive timeline, we can indulge in some unofficial speculation by inserting various values/dates into the framework of what we do know and seeing what scenarios result.
   Scenario #1: Let's assume that a Sparta year is exactly equal to an Earth year and that Jason became emperor immediately upon his return to Sparta. Using these variables, Jason and Peter's first meeting would have occurred, over Gareth's dead body, in the Earth year 1991. An interesting result but I dislike it for two reasons. First, it is unlikely that any two planets would have years that were exactly the same length. Second, it seems to me that the Peter Quill who appears in Marvel Preview#11 has a significant amount of experience at being Star-Lord, something that (I think) it would have taken Peter more than a single year to accumulate.
   Scenario #2: Leaving the years at the same length, if Jason became emperor in 1973, then that would push Gareth's year of death back to 2003 A.D. That would give Peter over a decade's worth of experience at being Star-Lord.
   Scenario #3: Still leaving the years at the same length, if Jason didn't become emperor until the same year that Peter became Star-Lord, then Gareth is still alive and his fatal confrontation with his great-nephew won't occur until 2020 A.D.
   Scenario #4: Let's assume that 1 Sparta year equals 1.2 Earth years and that Jason was crowned in 1961. With these variables, Kip, Sandy and Peter all met for the first time in 1997 A.D.
   Scenario #5: Leaving 1 Sparta year equal to 1.2 Earth years, if Jason wasn't crowned until 1973, then Gareth was killed in 2009 A.D.

   These first five scenarios have all assumed that a Sparta year is greater than or equal to an Earth year in length, but what if it's shorter? In that case, we would have to take into account the fact that Peter did not become Star-Lord until 29 Earth years after Jason returned home. Consequently, we would have to start counting backwards from the future end of that 30 year period.
   Scenario #6: If 1 Sparta year equals 0.8 Earth years and Peter first met Jason in 1990, only months after becoming Star-Lord, then Jason's coronation took place no earlier than 1966 A.D.
   Scenario #7: Leaving 1 Sparta year equal to 0.8 Earth years, if Jason's coronation was in 1973, then it was in 1997 A.D. that Star-Lord finally met and killed the alien who murdered his mother.

   While it's been interesting figuring out when the event depicted in Marvel Preview#11 could have taken place, it's still only speculation, and will remain so until such time as someone makes an "official" decision to establish fixed dates for these events.

Imperfections

   The story from Marvel Preview#11 (as reprinted in color in Starlord, The Special Edition#1) is one of my all-time favorite "space opera" comic book stories...but it's not perfect. One major problem that I have with it is that most of the major alien characters are "identical-to-Caucasian-human" humanoids. However, there are other weaknesses. For one thing, the profits from the slaving operation were supposedly being used to finance the planned coup d'état against Emperor Jason but, considering the expenses involved, I just don't see how there could be any profit. After all, Shakati had to acquire an Imperial Fleet transport and some star-fighter attack craft, equip them with fuel and supplies, and hire a first-rate mercenary cadre to crew it. And then there's whatever weapon they used to transform the planets which they had targeted into dead husks. All of these things must have been very expensive and it's hard to see how the income generating by selling a few thousand pre-adult slaves could possibly be enough to generate a profit.
   Of course, it's possible that the "profits made off the stripped worlds" were not limited to the income from the selling of the slaves. Maybe most of those profits actually came from the exploitation of the natural resources from those planets once their populations had been...removed? It could even be that the Spartan Empire had laws which prohibited outside interests (like Shakati) from salvaging the resources of dead worlds as long as any of the native population was known to still exist. This could explain why the slavers really rendered their conquests uninhabitable, something which seemed to me to be incredibly wasteful if it was just to remove all evidence of their genocidal slaving operation. However, this possible explanation is just more speculation on my part. The story itself doesn't show or mention any illegal activity other than the genocides and the slave-taking.

   Most of my problems with the story in Marvel Preview#11 stem from the fact that Chris Claremont's ret-conned origin for Peter Quill doesn't mesh exactly with Steve Engelhart's original back-story for the character. Here's a list of differences that stand out to me:

  1. 1. In Marvel Preview#4, Peter is apparently the son of Meredith Quill and her husband, Jake. Despite Jake's murderous rantings, there is no evidence that Peter is the result of an affair between Meredith and some other man. The reason why Peter is different (he has a special destiny) is attributed to the fact that he was born during a planetary alignment similar to that which once shone above a babe born in Bethlehem in 7 B.C. With these words, Engelhart seemed to be drawing a parallel between Mary, Joseph and Jesus and Meredith, Jake and Peter...but maybe I'm reading too much into it. Anyway, Marvel Preview#11 reveals that Peter isn't actually Jake's son. Instead, he's the product of a love affair which Meredith had with an alien whom she had rescued from his crashed spaceship. The reason why she seemed to truly believe that her husband was her son's father was because Prince Jason had put a mindlock on her memories of him and their relationship.
       As retcons go, this one isn't bad but it does seem a bit contrived. Jason claimed that he placed the mindlock on Meredith "for safety's sake" but exactly how it was supposed to protect her is never explained. As things turned out, the mindlock actually endangered her since it was the fact that she couldn't remember Jason which led her to marry her childhood sweetheart, Jake, who turned out to be an insanely jealous husband who plotted to kill her child as soon as it was born. Even though Peter survived, the physical and emotional aftereffects of that night haunted Meredith for the rest of her life.

       Also, I would really like to know if the idea that Jake was not Peter's biological father was something which Claremont made up or if it had always been part of Engelhart's plan for the character.
    Maybe there's a divergent reality Star-Lord in which Jake was the father? (or Star-Lord-791 is the divergent version of that one...)--Snood
     
  2. In Marvel Preview#4, Meredith's death is basically the result of bad luck: Her son just happened to see an alien spaceship land in the woods and when he brought Meredith to see it as well, the aliens spotted them and killed her, presumably to get rid of an unwanted witness. The fact that they didn't kill Peter is an odd oversight but otherwise insignificant. However, Marvel Preview#11 revealed that the Ariguans actually came to Earth specifically to kill both Meredith and her son. This discrepancy leads to several unanswered questions.
    A) Since Kyras Shakati knew that the targets were Humans living on a planet of Humans, why did he send assassins who were so obviously alien to do the job? Why not employ an assassin who was a member of the "indistinguishable-from-Human" Spartan race instead? A Spartan could have easily infiltrated the town to learn where Meredith lived without attracting any attention, something that an Ariguan could NOT have done.
    B) It seems like an awfully big coincidence that the only Humans to see the Ariguan ship land just happened to be the two Humans whom the aliens had come to kill. Sure, they probably homed in on the site where Jason's ship had crashed years earlier, which would have greatly improved their odds, but it was still quite a stroke of luck that Peter was the only person to see their ship land. Also, since he couldn't have counted on being so lucky, how exactly did the Ariguan Rruothk'ar plan to find his targets? After all, it's not like he could have just walked into town and asked the townspeople to direct him to where Meredith Quill lived. Well, maybe he had a scanner which could remotely detect Spartan DNA or something?
    C) Since Rruothk'ar's mission was to kill both Meredith and her son, why did he leave Peter alive? Emperor Jason claimed that Rruothk'ar "botched it" by killing Meredith but missing her son. However, both Marvel Preview#4 and Marvel Preview#11-FB clearly show that Rruothk'ar only fired at Meredith and not at Peter, even though the boy was in plain sight, standing beside his mother. Given the situation, I can only think of two possible reasons for why Rruothk'ar failed to kill Peter: either he simply didn't realize that the boy was one of his targets OR he did recognize him but for some reason he CHOSE to not kill him.
       Okay, this whole "just didn't recognize his target" idea doesn't work for me. After all, someone as pragmatic as Shakati would not have sent an assassin all the way to Earth without making sure that he would be able to locate the people he was supposed to kill. Besides, even if Rruothk'ar truly did not realize that Peter was Meredith's son, he should have killed Peter anyway, just because he was a witness to Meredith's murder. So, that moves us back to the "chose not to kill Peter" idea. Given that Rruothk'ar did not seem to have any problem with gunning down Meredith, why wouldn't he have been just as unconcerned about killing her son? The only reason that I can think of is that it may have been because of some sort of Ariguan cultural prohibition. Maybe Ariguans consider it dishonorable to kill (unarmed) pre-adults who pose no threat to them?

Profile by Donald Campbell.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Prince Gareth of Sparta has no connections to

The "Spartans" have no connections to

Additionally, the "Spartans" and the "Spartan" Empire and the planet Sparta in Reality-791 have no confirmed connections to

Tikos has no connections to


Imperial Chalet

The Imperial Chalet is a huge building built around and into one of the mountain peaks that form the continental spine of the continent of Marathon on Sparta. One of its upper levels (Sky Level 4) is a mile above the ground.

The Imperial Chalet is fully equipped to handle the large number of support staff who attend to the emperor's needs and security. Aside from the imperial quarters, the chalet also features multiple shuttle bays for transports, barracks for imperial troopers, and a throne room. The chalet presumably also includes significant defenses against attack, communications facilities capable of reaching throughout the empire, and sensors capable of monitoring Sparta's solar system.

The Imperial Chalet serves as a "home away from home" for the Spartan Emperor (like the country retreat named Camp David does for the president of the United States of America).

One whole wing of the Imperial Chalet was reserved for Prince Gareth. He used the privacy which this afforded him to secretly house an entire army (that was loyal to him) in the chalet without anyone in the rest of the chalet being aware of their presence. This army included Prince Gareth's household guard who were forbidden by Imperial law to even be on Sparta.

Gareth's wing also featured a "chamber of horrors" where Tikos used torture when questioning captives on Gareth's behalf.

 

--Marvel Preview#11


Sparta

A planet with an Earth-like environment, Sparta has four continents, two of which are named Thrace and Marathon. Thrace sometimes experiences blizzards which last for days and has been described as being "a million square miles" in area (but this was [almost certainly] an exaggeration). Marathon features a range of majestic peaks which form its continental spine, and the Imperial Chalet is built into and around one of those peaks.

Sparta has (at least) four natural satellites which orbit it closely. It has not been revealed if any of those moons are habitable.

As the (presumed) planet upon which the Spartan species evolved and from which they rule their interstellar empire, Sparta is also known as the Imperial Homeworld and the Imperial Throneworld. The planet (or the region of space where it is located) may also be known as Imperial Center.

The city of Calyndriar (not shown) is the Imperial Capital, and the emperor's palace is built on a ridge overlooking the city.

As the capital of the Spartan Empire, Sparta is constantly guarded against hostile aliens by elements of the Imperial Fleet. When Starlord's Ship was detected approaching Sparta with presumed-hostile intent, a task force consisting of starfighters, destroyers, frigates, and a fast battlecruiser was quickly assembled to prevent him from reaching the Imperial Homeworld.

Sparta is ruled by a code duello, a set of rules governing one-on-one combat. As part of these rules, nobody (except the emperor and his personal guard) is allowed to carry any weapon with a reach longer than a man's arm. Accordingly, swords are the most common weapon used in dueling. Prince Gareth violated this rule by using a sword which had a blaster (secretly) built into it.

By law, Prince Gareth's household guard was not allowed on Sparta. Since Gareth's treasonous plans were not then known, this prohibition probably applied to the personal guard of any heirs to the throne and not just to Gareth's men.

Although its size was never specified, the Spartan Empire was described as "a state that sprawled across the better part of a galaxy." Exactly how an empire this large would fit into either the Greater Magellanic Cloud (where the Kree Empire existed) or even the Milky Way Galaxy has never been explained.

 

Note: Although John Byrne and Terry Austin drew a beautiful picture of Sparta and its moons, the laws of physics make it impossible for such large masses to orbit so closely together. In the real world, the gravitational forces exerted by the various bodies would tear one or more of them apart. So, either this image isn't meant to by taken literally or the laws of physics in that solar system are different than in the real world.

 

--Marvel Preview#11; Starlord, The Special Edition#1

 


Tikos

Tikos was the jailor/torturer in charge of Prince Gareth's "chamber of horrors" when Kip Hölm and Sandy were secretly captured by Gareth's men and brought to Gareth's private wing of the Imperial Chalet. Tikos chose to concentrate on Kip first and worked on him for three days but "the boy" refused to talk.

After three days without success, Tikos was reprimanded by Arion, who called him a brute. Arion mentioned that the Mind-Ripper which was on its way from Kandahar would "rip his secrets from him" but, in the meantime, he would use finesse to break down the resistance of both captives. Arion chose to start with the girl, to repay her for killing his twin brother Arak on Cinnibar, but the sudden appearance of the presumed-dead Starlord in the chamber stopped the questioning of Sandy before it began. Tikos immediately moved to protect "Milord Arion" but Starlord knocked him out with a single punch while Kip used the distraction to wrap his legs around Arion's throat, snapping his neck and killing him instantly.

With Arion dead and Tikos unconscious, Starlord, Kip and Sandy left the torture chamber without noticing that Lord Dirac had been in the shadows of an upper level, watching what transpired below.

 

 

As can be seen from the image to the right, Tikos was a Spartan male who apparently didn't get much exercise (since the way he went down so easily shows that his stomach seemed to be more flab than muscle). Still, at least he chose to outfit himself in the traditional (stereotypical?) torturer's garb (i.e., shirtless with a black hood).
    --I'd counter that he was physically well-muscled, but wasn't much of a fighter...and not used to any foe who might fight back. And/or maybe he just had a "glass jaw."--Snood

 

 

Note: Admittedly, Tikos is such a minor character that he probably doesn't deserve his own sub-profile but he is the only one of Prince Gareth's minions who had been named but hadn't been profiled yet.
--Sure he deserves a sub-profile...everyone deserves at least that!!!

 

 

 

--Marvel Preview#11


images: (without ads)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 42, panel 1 (main image)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 47, panel 1 (headshot)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 52, panel 4 (younger self)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 52, panel 5 (conspiring)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 46, panels 3+4 (REALLY shocked)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 47, panel 6 (impaled)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 40, panel 1 (chalet)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, pages 34-35 (Sparta)
Starlord, The Special Edition#1, page 40, panel 5 (Tikos)


Appearances:
Marvel Preview#11 (Summer, 1977) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (penciler), Terry Austin (inker) and John Warner (editor)


Last updated: 03/07/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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