contraxian_race-contraxiacontraxians-ohotmuCONTRAXIAN race

Classification: Humanoid extraterrestrial race 

Location/Base of Operations: Contraxia, third planet from the sun in the Elidra star system, Milky Way galaxy

Known MembersCodabac, Kaina (aka Marcy Kane), Marya (aka "Marie" Hart) and her ancestors, Mother Superior, Priestesses of the Sun, Oltnam ("Freeman Smythe"), Survivalists, Varga unidentified Contraxian on Rus; unidentified emissary slain by unspecified race on unspecified world
   
Jonathon "Jack" Hart (Jack of Hearts; hybrid);
    estimated population (presumably including colonists  from outer worlds): 17 billion
contraxian_race-contraxia-village

Type of government: Theocratic matriarchy (worship of the sun, as guided by the Sun Priestesses)

Capital City: Unrevealed

Languages: Unrevealed;
    the Contraxians indeed spoke a foreign language; Jack's computer-like mental processing ability apparently  allowed him to swiftly master this, as he understood everyone he encountered, and the Sun Priestesses noted that he was speaking their language when he first arrived on Contraxia.

National Defense: Unrevealed

Places of Interest: Temple of the Sun, Jack of Hearts' ancestral home

Affiliations: Philip Hart, Jack of Hearts

Enemies: Unidentified extraterrestrial race;
    they treated Jack of Hearts as an enemy for a time;
    SHIELD (
Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division; esp. "Dum Dum" Dugan, Nick Fury, and agent William Martins) battled the Survivalists when they came to Earth to take Jack of Hearts by force;
    the Corporation may have been responsible for the death of "Marie" Hart, and a group led by Simon Maris inadvertently caused the empowerment of Jack of Hearts, making them both somewhat enemies and allies of the Contraxians...though they had no idea the Contraxians even existed...they were just targeting the invention of Philip Hart.

First Appearance(Jack of Hearts/hybrid) Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#22 (March, 1976);
(Mary Kane/Kaina/full, posing as human, not identified as Contraxian) Spectacular Spider-Man II#32 (July, 1979);
    (Contraxians, armored, unidentified) Jack of Hearts#1 (January, 1984);
    (Contraxian race identified/seen, Jack revealed as hybrid) Jack of Hearts#2 (February, 1984)

Powers/Abilities: The Contraxians have no known superhuman abilities.

    The left half of Contraxians' bodies are darker hued, commonly some shade of purple to black; it is unrevealed what, if any, variations in terms of ability and/or limitations are resultant in this pigmentation.

    The hybrid Contraxian-human Jack of Hearts gained vast energy powers as a result of his hybrid-nature, genetic manipulation, and/or exposure to the Zero-Fluid, but this was not a native ability.

    Codabac is a mutant four-armed Contraxian.contraxian_race-overpopulated

    Members from other worlds in the Contraxian system apparently were adaped for their different worlds' natures, and they likely possessed some degree of increased abilities and/or limitations. Some appeared somewhat reptilian, and some wore space suits, including a transparent helmet over their heads.contraxian_race-mother&child

Level of Technology: Superior to Earth, including genetic manipulation, interplanetary crafts, interplanetary colonization, hyperspace travel, teleportation, energy analysis and manipulation, and holographic memory-story crystal devices. Among their starships were their saucers, the mother ship, the solar probe ship, Varga's shuttle, and a few other ships.

    Robot servants seem to be available to at least some. 

    Transport across the surface was accompished via a variety of vessels, including land-traveling craft, low-altitude hover vehicles (kind of like a Landspeeder on Tatooine), and higher-altitude hovercrafts

Traits: Contraxian have a religion centered around worship of the sun, at least formerly  led by the Sun Priestesses. They commonly refer to the sun (or the sentience within it, or perhaps a god of the sun) as Sol. They also have referred to "Heaven" and "Heavenly Hosts."

    A peaceful and enlightened race, the Contraxians have lived by a code in which they would not sacrifice other races or beings for their own survival; howerver, when threatened with extinction, they were able to rationalize sacrificing a being they felt might be deserving of death anyway. The Survivalist group was certainly willing to sacrifice others to save their world, though some members were pained by dishonoring themselves thusly.
    Most Contraxians value honor highly.

    The Contraxians looked down on half-breeds, consistently and contemptuously refering to them as such.

Type: Bilaterally symmetric humanoid bipeds
Eyes
: Two (on head; most images poorly showed ophthalmologic anatomy, but they appeared to have humanoid eyes in terms of the presence of sclera, iris, pupil, etc.)
Fingers
: Four (plus opposing thumb)
Toes
: Five
Skin color: (Right side) pink ("Caucasian") or brown; (left side)
darker hued, commonly some shade of purple to black
Average height: 5'10"contraxian_race-ships-other2contraxian_race-ships-other

History:
contraxian_race-snowcovered(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - Contraxia was an enlightened world, at peace with itself and others, governed by an elite body of Sun Priestesses.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - One day, the Sun Priestesses assembled the populace for an announcement. The Mother Superior announced that -- though she wished the solar winds told a different tale -- their sun was dying, and their world would soon follow.
    Varga was present during this announcement. 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - As the sun cooled, Contraxia's outermost colonies were abandoned. 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Jack of Hearts#3 (fb) - BTS) - Their innermost worlds became overpopulated by the myriad (see comments) of refugee races from the frozen outer worlds, and there were shortaged of food and shelter. 

    Nonetheless, the Contraxians bore their privations bravely, trusting in their Sun Priestesses to find a solution to their crisis.

(Jack of Hearts#3 (fb) - BTS) - Contraxia itself became a world of constant winter, where snow never stopped falling. 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - The Sun Priestesses considered finding habitable worlds capable of harboring them, but the worlds they found capable of supporting life were already inhabited. As their code forbade the destruction or displacement of another race even for their own survival, they declined this option.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - Considering that their rulers did nothing as their world died, Commander Varga questioned whether they must accept their own demise. 

    Traveling to the Temple of the Sun, Varga insisted he address the Priestesses with a plan to save their people; representatives from every world in Contraxia's system assembled to hear Varga speak. 

    After denouncing the Priestesses of the Sun's failure, Varge proposed they send out an expedition to seek out and find habitable worlds capable of harboring them.contraxian_race-council

    Reviewing their findings in this matter, Mother Superior reminded the people of their code of honor, which forbade them of committing genocide even to save themselves. When the people present voiced that survival thusly would cost them their souls, Varga bowed before the will of their people, and Mother Superior acknowledged him as a good man, asking him to find a moral means of survival.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - For a time, all of the Contraxians' efforts were turned towards locating some source of energy capable of revitalizing their cooling sun. 

    The Contraxians sent their scientists to every corner of the cosmos to seek such power.

    On some worlds, Contraxian emissaries met with disaster; in at least one case, an emissary was apparently slaughtered by natives of the worlds he visited.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Contraxian Matriarchy scientist female Marya traveled to Earth, specifically to monitor the energy research conducted by the wealthy and renown Philip Hart.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) <Approximately 30 years before the main story (see comments)> - Posing as human and going by the name Marie Giffen, Marya worked at Connecticut College on her Ph.D., her research funded by grants from Philip Hart.

contraxian_race-transport

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Suspecting Philips' energy research might save their sun, "Marie" aided Philip's experiments while earning her Ph.D in biophysics. 

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Philip and Marie fell in love.

(Avengers III#62 (fb) - BTS <Philip Hart's diary> / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Marie revealed her true identity and Contraxian nature to Philip.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#15: Contraxians entry) - Philip and Marie married, and -- via genetic manipulation --  had a son, Jack. Philip continued to bankroll Marie's research.

(Avengers III#62 (fb) - BTS) <Philip Hart's diary> - Philip studied Jack's physiology from his birth.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Philip and Marie soon realized Jack's half-alien physiology might become dangerously unstable.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entryAvengers III#62 (fb) - BTS) <Philip Hart's diary> - Philip secretly shifted most of his research efforts to seeking an energy-dampening agent that could save his son someday. Concealing their research even from Jack, whowas a seemingly normal young boy unaware of his alien heritage, the increasingly reclusive Harts were widely believed to be developing a limitless new energy source.

(Avengers III#62 (fb) - BTS) <Philip Hart's diary> - Philip designed the "Zero-Fluid" as a dampening agent to control Jack''s cellular activity, which would produce massive levels of energy. Without the fluid, Jack allegedly would have burnt out at an early age.
    Fearing that Jack might be taken away if the truth was known, Philip lied about his work, telling everyone the fluid he was producing was a fuel.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - As Jack grew up, rumors of the research being conducted by Philip and Marie Hart had the energy industry in turmoil.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Years later (see comments) the Harts had apparently made an incredible breakthrough, the discovery of a limitless energy source. 

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry/Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Marie tragically died in a fiery car crash.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - A grieving Philip shut down his laboratories and spent the following years (see commentsin seclusion, secretly researching Jack’s condition in the Hart Mansion’s private lab, spending his spare time in casinos where the lifelong gambler Hart indulged his love of playing cards. 

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Philip also collected antique and exotic suits of armor and may have modified some of his acquisitions with an eye towards developing a containment suit for Jack. Still unaware of his alien nature, Jack grew to young adulthood resenting his often absent parent. 

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry/Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) -  Jack was sent off to the University of New Haven where he became a poetry major. 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Kaina was assigned to monitor the Hart family following Marya's death and to obtain the energy source Philip and Marie had developed. 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - Traveling to Earth, Kaina established the identity of Marcy Kane, and studied science at the University of New Haven.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Jack met and became romantically involved with Marcy Kane; though this was part of the plan, "Marcy" fell in love with Jack.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) / Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#23/2 (fb)) - Philip Hart decided to share his Zero-Fluid -- reportedly a self-renewing, limitless energy source -- with humanity. Fearing a loss of their profits, the Corporation had Philip killed. When Corporation assasins tried to kill Jack Hart, he fled into his father's lab and was driven into a vat filled with Zero-Fluid. The energy mutated and empowered Jack, who became Jack of Hearts and avenged his father's murderers.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb)) / Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#22/2-24/2, 26, 29/3, 31-33, Incredible Hulk II#214-215, Iron Man I#102-113, Marvel Premiere#44, Defenders I#62-64, Marvel Two-In-One#48, Rom#12, Incredible Hulk II#278,279, Marvel Super Heroes: Contest of Champions#1; #2-3 - BTS) - While seemingly disappearing from his college career, Jack was active as a super hero.

(Spectacular Spider-Man II#32-34, 36,37, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual#1, Spec38, 42, 46, 54-56, 58, 61,62, 65, Amazing Spider-Man I#227, Spec66-68, Marvel Team-Up I#117, Spec69, Amz232, Spec76,78) - Marcy Kane studied in a PhD program at Empire State University.

(Marvel Team-Up I#134) - Jack learned the energy in his cells was killing him, and he was forced to work with SHIELD, establishing Project Hart to contain or cure him. During this time, he was reunited with Marcy Kane.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Varga sent one of his Survivalists, Oltnam, to Earth to spy on Jack.contraxian_race-survivalists-space_armor

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - As "Freeman Smythe," the Contraxian Survivalist spy became the trustee of Philip Hart's estate, managing Jack's financial affairs for 5 years from his father's death; after that, Jack would assume control, unless his competence was called into question.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Following Jack of Heart's suicide attempt (as his powers were out of control and seemed to be killing him), Smythe obtained a court order for Jack to be produced that his comptency might be determined.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - Varga decided to capture Jack, force him to use his powers to their maximum to save Contraxia's sun, and to take credit for saving his people.

(Jack of Hearts#1) - Marcy Kane visited Jack Hart at the Hart Estate in the rolling Connecticut hills, where he struggled, under SHIELD guidance, to control the energies within him. Smythe met with SHIELD agent William Martins (posing as a butler), the science officer supervising Jack of Heart's containment, noting that Jack's recent suicide attempt might be adjudged incompetent. Nick Fury then arrived, revealed SHIELD's involvement to Smythe, and noted the situation to be a matter of national security. 

    In private, Marcy told Jack that his mother's people had a greater understanding of his power than SHIELD. They were interrupted when Contraxian Survivalist saucers attacked the Hart estate, and Marcy shut down the neutro-mist generator that neutralized Jack's power so he could save himself. When Jack flew up and assaulted the ships, they recognized that he was the one they wanted, and Commander Varga gave the order to take him. Using some sort of neutralizer in combination with a laser, the ship blasted Jack, both paining him and causing him to realize they knew something about him to neutralize his power; he further appreciated that they were trying to capture rather than kill him. Blasting one of the ships and causing it to crash to the ground, Jack drove off the attacking fleet and then flew off with Marcy.

(Jack of Hearts#2) - Smythe was present as Fury arrived to discuss the situation with Martins. 

    Landing in seclusion, Jack insisted that Marcy tell him what she knew about his mother, and Marcy revealed that both she and Jack's mother were extraterrestrials, making Jack a hybrid. She then used a telecrystal to show him the world of his ancestors.

    As Fury and Martins discussed the alien attacks, Smythe gathered cannisters of neutro-mist.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - Oltnam linked up with Varga.

(Jack of Hearts#2) - When the telecrystal's visions reached the point of Marie Hart's death, Jack's powers surged and were detected by both SHIELD and the Contraxian ships under Varga's command, both of whom went after him. After Jack fought off the Contraxian ground troops, Varga sent saucers after Jack, and they engaged him in the town of Portsmouth. Kaina prepared to try to reason with Varga and tell him that Jack would willingly help them (although Varga's attacks made him question this), but Varga had Kaina transported aboard his ship, after which an armored warrior restrained Jack. Fury's troops arrived and blasted the warrior holding Jack, freeing him. 

    Jack fought back, crippling the Contraxian forces, but when he saw how the town had been harmed in the battle, he flew into the air and incapacitated the entire fleet. Varga's ship fled back to the Mothership, and Jack followed, seeking vengeance, but Kaina convinced him to come aboard peacefully to save her people.

contraxian_race-testing-jack(Jack of Hearts#3) - As Jack of Hearts approached Contraxia, the Contraxians were excited by the heat and light he radiated, seeing it like a new sun, and becoming exited that Contraxia might be saved. 

    They left their homes and sought answers from the Sun Priestesses, who confirmed that their sun remained as cool as ever, but that this might be one of their one returning with an energy source powerful enough to save their world. Soon, Jack landed and bowed before the Priestesses; Varga told them how he had dragged the "human" there so he could be forced to save Contraxia, but Kaina revealed Jack's mother to have been Contraxian, and that his human father had discovered the Zero-Fluid. Jack explained the Zero-Fluid as the source of his power and stated his willingness to try to save Contraxia's sun.

    As the Priestesses noted that they could use their advanced sciences in an effort to determine the means by which they might channel Jack's power to rekindle their sun, they arranged a vote in which the people voted to live with honor or not at all. The Survivalists, however, plotted to prepare stronger measures to ensure their world would live, with Varga prepared to consider a choice between morality and necessity. 

    Over the next few days, the Contraxians subjected Jack to "every conceivable test they could devise," with all the painful and exhausting tests confirming that Jack's powers were increasing with each second. They gave him a neutro-mist impregnated costume to control his power, and Kaina showed him the house in which his mother (and her matriarchal ancestors) grew up, as well as the crystal column, the memory of which stored his family history.

    After Jack viewed this, gaining reasons beyond saving Kaina to save Contraxia, the Sun Priestesses appeared, noting that they had determined that the power he possessed could not be extracted and that only he could wield it to save their sun; however, the price would almost certainly be his life. Though Kaina encouraged Jack to flee, he vowed to try to save Contraxia even if it killed him.

    However, the Survivalists -- distantly viewing this interaction but terminating the surveilance when the Sun Priestesses left the decision up to Jack -- resolved that they could not risk the decision to a "human" who had no reason to sacrifice his life, and they resolved to capture Jack and force his compliance. contraxians-crowd-condemn

    As Jack and Kaina attempted to enjoy a romantic night together, Survivalists scanned the building and attacked the pair after determining that Jack being out of armor meant he had temporarily neutralized his power by other means. 

    As the neutro-mist's effect faded, Jack sent Kaina away, and he lashed out at the Survivalist attackers, but Kaina ran into Vargas and Oltnam, who refused to believe that Jack had offered to risk himself to save their world. 

    When Jack descended from the tower, an armored Varga attacked him; while Jack held back somewhat, Oltnam appreciated that Kaina had been telling the truth, but nonetheless knocked her out, seeking to make it appear that the Survivalists had forced Jack to save them in hopes of furthering his own power agenda (including usurping Vargas' position as leader of the Survalists). 

    Oltnam then used SHIELD neutro-mist to de-power Jack and knock him out, after which he slew the Sun Priestesses as well. 

    Varga was appalled, but Oltnam argued that the people might have supported the Sun Priestesses' pacivity into death; he continued that they could tell the population Jack had refused to save Contraxia and had slain the Sun Priestesses himself. 

    With the end goal of saving Contraxia, Varga agonizingly agreed to this option, and when Oltnam related his version of events to the public, they agreed that the murderer Jack should be sacrificed to save them.

    Jack was rendered insensate and placed aboard a solar probe ship, shackled so that his power would be channeled into its systems and automatically unleashed once he entered their sun's orbit. 

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - To prevent Kaina from exposing the truth, Oltnam secretly had her placed aboard the solar probe ship as well.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - As the ship took off, Varga privately vowed that he would commit suicide for his dishonor once Jack had saved the sun.contraxians_race-sybaritic

(Jack of Hearts#4) - The Contraxians' initial celebration swiftly became a riot as, shocked by what they had done, they were swept from one sybaritic outpouring after another in an effort to mask their shame. 

    Some regretted the breaking of their moral code in sacrificing another to save themselves, while others celebrated, sustained by the thought that they would live. contraxians_race-looting

    As Varga suffered pangs of guilt, Oltnam revealed Kaina's fate; meanwhile, Kaina revived and greeted Jack aboard the solar probe ship, trying to explain that her people were indeed noble, though they suffered from manipulation by the Survivalists; while she did not excuse their actions, she prayed that, in time, the Contraxians would again tread the path of righteousness. 

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - Though having rationalized the sacrifice of the half-breed Jack of Hearts, Varga was unable to condone the murder of Kaina, a Contraxian born. Accompanied by Oltnam, Varga led a fleet of Contraxians ships through hyperspace in pursuit of the solar probe ship, intending to rescue Kaina.

(Jack of Hearts#4) - As Varga's fleet emerged from hyperspace, Oltnam denounced ventuing so close to the sun as madness. 

    When Varga confirmed his goal, Oltnam warned that Varga's honor would see them all dead, and when Varga turned his back, Oltnam pulled his sword. As the proximity to the sun became uncomfortable for Kaina, Varga boarded a solo shuttle, planning to save both Kaina and Jack; but Oltnam ambushed him, striking him down from behind with his sword and then jettisoning the shuttle so Varga might die along those he sought to save. 

    Varga soon docked with the solar probe ship, announced his intent to make amends, helped Kaina aboard his shuttle, and freed Jack from his shackles. Jack, however, sealed the shuttle and sent Kaina away to safety, leaving himself and the mortally wounded Varga aboard the solar probe ship. Jack told Varga that his sacrifice helped convince him Contraxia was worth saving, and soon after Varga succumbed to the sun's heat.contraxians_race-jacks_fiery_return

    As Jack began channeling his power into the sun, even the solar probe ship itself was vaporized by the intense heat, after which Jack dove directly into the sun and released his full power, restoring Contraxia's sun.contraxians_race-jacks_fiery_return-flood

    Soon after, Contraxia received renewed heat. The people rejoiced as the snow melted, and Kaina encouraged the people to praise sun's light and warmth, but to never forget he who had sacrificed his life to save them.

    Having survived re-powering the sun, Jack headed back to Contraxia. 

    As Jack approached Smythe and the Survivalists loyal to him en route back to Contraxia, Oltnam led the futile missile and other assaults against Jack. Paying neither them nor their assaults any heed, Jack passed them by, not caring as his immense heat incinerated them all and destroyed their ships. 

    As Jack approached Contraxia, his immense heat triggered cataclysmic changes, melting ice sheets and causing the seas to rise, sweeping away the cities, and he set aflame the great forests. 

    The survivors of this heat fled to high mountains, where they cowered before the arriving Jack, who struggled to contain his awesome power to avoid killing them all. 

    Kaina begged his forgiveness for her people, but Jack remained frustrated as his new power levels forbade any contact or relationship between him and Kaina; however, he ultimately decided he did not have the right to take away their lives, and encouraged them to regain their lost honor. He then departed for space.contraxians_race-jacks_fiery_return-firecontraxians_race-faces.jpg

(Quasar#39) - An unidentified Contraxian, presumably a scholar, was present in the region of the academic planet Rus when Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) arrived in search of further information on the Ultimate Nullifier. Like most present, he recognized the danger of the weapon and swiftly departed.

Comments: Jack of Hearts created by Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen, and Rico Rival.
    Contraxian race created by Bill Mantlo & George Freeman.

    The full adventures of Jack of Hearts are beyond the scope of this profile. Jack is in multiple Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe profiles, and he'll probably get his own Appendix profile as well some day...

    At the time I write this profile, Jack's appearances subsequent to the Jack of Heart series include: Quasar#15,16 - BTS,19,20, 27-29, Silver Surfer III#70,72,74,76-78,82, Silver Surfer An6, Cosmic#3-6, Cosmic Powers Unlimited#3, 3/2, Avengers Infinity#1 (fb), 1-4, Thor II#30, Maximum Security#2, Avengers III#35, MaxSec3, Av36,37, 38, Av56 (fb1), 49,50, 56, 57-60, 61, 62, 65-69, 73, 75, 76, 85, Marvel Zombies Supreme

    The "Playpen" energy dome that contained Jack of Hearts in Jack of Hearts#1 was confirmed as the same as the "Nursery" that contained Nuklo in Vision and Scarlet Witch I#2.

    Jack of Hearts#1 notes the Philip Hart to have met Marie in the mid-50s. This is obviously a topical reference due to Marvel's sliding timescale; as the story was published in 1984, it instead means that they met a little under 30 years before the main story.

    In the flashback as reviewed from SHIELD files in Jack of Hearts#1, Marie Hart was killed when Jack was at least 15, and he was sent off to school shortly thereafter. In the ret-con flashback in Avengers III#62, Jack says his mother died when he was a kid and he didn't remember her very well. Being a kid could be very subjective, but the OHotMU entry spelled out that over a decade occurred between Marie's death and Jack going off to college ("most of the next decade and beyond"). I'm not sure how to resolve those contradictions.

    "Sol preserve us." - worshipping the sun, the giver of life on their planet.
    When observing Jack's power's surging, Varga exclaimed, "Gods--!" You might take that to mean he and at least some other Contraxians worshipped multiple deities, beyond solely the sun. Anything else, is purely speculative.
    Varga also invoked the Heavenly Hosts.

    Myriad means a countless or extremely great number (in the past, it specifically referred to a unit of 10,000). Obviously, using the term myriad in reference to the races from the Contraxian system that system that occupied Contraxia as their sun cooled is a bit of hyperbole.

    Progress/change in comics is nice...what sucks is when writers disregard all evolution and reboot characters back to previous states...which is what happened with Jack...I really enjoyed his evolution as a cosmic hero until he got pulled back to Earth (around Avengers III#49) and was suffering from out of control powers as if he'd never left after Marvel Team-Up I#134. 

    Bill Mantlo obviously created both Jack of Hearts and Marcy Kane...I wouldn't think that he had planned them both to be aliens and to be connected right from the start, but I don't know, and sadly, we can't ask Bill because of his head trauma. Does anyone know if this was ever discussed anywhere?

    Thanks to Roger Ott for reminding me of the Contraxian appearance in Quasar#39, and for providing a cleaned-up scan of the OHotMU Deluxe Edition#15: Contraxians profile image.

    Colonizing multiple worlds in their system, as well as their advanced technology, etc., would make them seem to be a much older race than humanity; such changes could take place within the space of centuries, obviously, as -- at the time of writing this profile in 2017 -- we are less than 50 years from the first moon landing in the real world and are making plans to colonize Mars.

    Genetic manipulation produced the hybrid Jack of Hearts. I'm pointing this out because Donald Campbell often notes how two alien races should not be able to produce offspring. Apparently this is the case with Contraxians and humans, but science provided a resolution.

I had mixed feeling about the revelation of Jack Hart's alien heritage because, as you noted, lifeforms which evolved in two totally different environments should have incompatible genes that are incapable of combining to create viable offspring. Since the idea that "genetic manipulation" was not introduced (in the deluxe edition of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe) until several years after the initial revelation, I came up with my own theory to explain how humans and Contraxians could be "naturally" compatible.

My theory was that the Contraxians were, in fact, descended from Earthlings who had been transplanted to Contraxia millennia ago by some as-yet-unnamed alien race. I viewed their bizarre pigmentation patterns as evidence that they had been used as test subjects in genetic experimentation and theorized that the exact split between the lighter right halves of their bodies and the darker hued left halves of their bodies served some unspecified experimental purpose. This was also my personal theory for why the people of Cheron from Star Trek (like Bele and Lokai) had their half-white/half-black skin coloring. Anyway, these hypothetical aliens eventually departed Contraxia and the test subjects that they left behind were free to create their own society, including technology that was more advanced than that of modern-day Earth.

As the offspring of a normal Terran human male and a Contraxian female, Jack Hart was a hybrid, a special type of mutant, one whose unusual characteristics remained latent (like Namora's pink skin) until triggered by some external factor. In Jack's case, the trigger was his immersion in the Zero Fluid.

Anyway, that was my theory. I'm still fond of it (and wish it were canon) but I don't dispute the Official Handbook's explanation.

Interesting, and certainly possible. Of course, altering someone to have a dark half of the body shouldn't cause his or her children to share that trait, any more than losing an eye would cause one's offspring to have one eye...but, of course, if they were mutated at the genetic level to have genes to carry that trait -- which is probably a standard assumption in comics. -- that would do it...
--Snood

There is one aspect of Jack's origin that does bother me. As I recall, the Jack of Hearts miniseries implied that Philip Hart was unaware of the fact that his wife was actually an extraterrestrial and not a human woman. This would mean that any genetic modifications that "Marie Hart" had performed were done without his knowledge. However, I believe that the story in one of Jack's Avengers appearances retconned Philip Hart's reason for creating the Zero Fluid. While earlier stories had Hart creating it simply as a new source of energy, this Avengers story claimed that Philip knew of his (late?) wife's alien origin, that there was something inherently wrong with Jack's body due to his hybrid nature, and that Philip had actually created the Zero Fluid in order to stabilize Jack's genetic code (or something). Unfortunately, I can't remember anything more about this retcon, not even the issue in which it appeared, but I do recall that I didn't care for it.
--Donald Campbell

I'm not sure the Jack of Hearts mini-series implied he didn't know...it just was never revealed that he knew...I don't think it was hinted at one way or the other.

    After Rom used his Analyzer to see if Jack of Hearts was a Dire Wraith (Rom#12 (11/80), page 1) he says,"The youth id Human, but his body is composed of pure, incredibly explosive energy". The Rom#12 story contradicts Jack of Hearts being half-Contraxian. Plus the need to save their dying sun give the Contraxians a reason to lie about the Jack of Hearts being half-Contraxian. Aliens in sci-fi have altered themselves to look like other alien races and the Contraxians could have given themselves half-black bodies.
From John Holstein
    There is a an obvious difference between contradiction and ret-con. Human can often be taken to mean humanoid, and the Contraxians are certainly humanoid. Plus, the fact that Jack was permeated with energy may have distorted his readings. The point, in Rom's mind, was that Jack was not a Dire Wraith...I doubt he cared to analyze much beyond a superficial scan.
    Plus, that explanation is a much farther stretch, in my opinion.
--Snood

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS
The Contraxians should be distinguished from:


colonial "race"/sub-species?contraxian_race-colonial

contraxian_race-colonial-face

    Apparently one of the colony races from one of Contraxia's "system," these guys appear to be green skinned and perhaps somewhat reptilian or amphibious. They wore atmospheric suits and helmets, 33presumably indicating that their breathing requirements, at least, were different from standard Contraxians.
    We really don't know anything else about this or other races, so anything else is speculative. 

    It is unconfirmed whether the other races in the Contraxian system were native inhabitants of those worlds or perhaps genetically engineered from baseline Contraxians. However, the fact that the outer worlds were referred to as "colonies" makes the latter seem more likely.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - As the sun cooled, Contraxia's outermost colonies were abandoned. 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Jack of Hearts#3 (fb) - BTS) - Their innermost worlds became overpopulated by the myriad (see comments) of refugee races from the frozen outer worlds, and there were shortaged of food and shelter. 

--Jack of Hearts#2

Note: We don't know how many worlds are in the Contraxian system. Enough to exaggerate them as "myriad," apparently.

    One might argue that "system" might refer to an empire rather than a solar system, but the fact that they were all affected by a single sun pretty much rules that out.

    Other Colonials can be seen in this image above. The green one with the helmet may represent someone from the same sub-species as the one pictured above in this sub-profile.

 



contraxian_race-crystal_columnCrystal Column

     Contained within the matriarchal home of Marya, the Crystal Column stored memories as visual images and/or videos, presumably with audio recordings as well.

    It was activated by simply placing one's palm on the face of the crystal and shutting one's eyes.

    The information was projected directly into the user's mind, like a dream.

(Jack of Hearts#3 (fb)) - Via the Crystal Column, Kaina showed Jack of Hearts memories of his family history.

    After Jack viewed this, he felt a connection with Contraxia, gaining reasons to save the world beyond saving Kaina .

--Jack of Hearts#3

Note: It would seem likely that many familes -- although perhaps only the wealthy or of certain socio-political status -- possessed their own crystal columns.


contraxian_race-mariehart-youngercontraxian_race-mariehart-researchMarya

     The woman known on Earth as Marie was a Contraxian scientist/emissary sent out to find means of restoring Contraxia's sun. She is the mother of Jack of Hearts.

 

(Jack of Hearts#3 (fb) - BTS) - Marya grew up in the home in which her matriarchal line had lived for generations.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - This Contraxian female traveled to Earth, specifically to monitor the energy research conducted by the wealthy and renown Philip Hart.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) <Approximately 30 years before the main story (see comments)> - Posing as human and going by the name Marie Giffen, Marya worked at Connecticut College on her Ph.D., her research funded by grants from Philip Hart.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Suspecting Philips' energy research might save their sun, "Marie" aided Philip's experiments while earning her Ph.D in biophysics. 

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Philip and Marie fell in love.

(Avengers III#62 (fb) - BTS <Philip Hart's diary> / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Marie revealed her true identity and Contraxian nature to Philip.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#15: Contraxians entry) - Philip and Marie married, and -- via genetic manipulation --  had a son, Jack. Philip continued to bankroll Marie's research.contraxian_race-mariehart-older.jpg

(Avengers III#62 (fb) - BTS) <Philip Hart's diary> - Philip studied Jack's physiology from his birth.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Philip and Marie soon realized Jack's half-alien physiology might become dangerously unstable.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entryAvengers III#62 (fb) - BTS) <Philip Hart's diary> - Philip secretly shifted most of his research efforts to seeking an energy-dampening agent that could save his son someday. Concealing their research even from Jack, whowas a seemingly normal young boy unaware of his alien heritage, the increasingly reclusive Harts were widely believed to be developing a limitless new energy source.

(Avengers III#62 (fb) - BTS) <Philip Hart's diary> - Philip designed the "Zero-Fluid" as a dampening agent to control Jack''s cellular activity, which would produce massive levels of energy. Without the fluid, Jack allegedly would have burnt out at an early age.
    Fearing that Jack might be taken away if the truth was known, Philip lied about his work, telling everyone the fluid he was producing was a fuel.
contraxian_race-mariehart-newspaper-death.jpg

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - As Jack grew up, rumors of the research being conducted by Philip and Marie Hart had the energy industry in turmoil.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Year later (see note) the Harts had apparently made an incredible breakthrough, the discovery of a limitless energy source. 

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry/Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Marie tragically died in a fiery car crash.

--(Mentioned, as Jack's mother) Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#23/2;
(Named, as Marie) Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#6: Jack of Hearts entry)
(Identified and picture) Jack of Hearts#2

Note: Genetic manipulation produced the hybrid Jack of Hearts, presumably indicating that humans and Contraxians could not produce offspring under normal methods...or perhaps it just meant that Marie did something to potentially make Jake able to metabolize energy in hopes that he could bring an energy solution to Contraxia...or something else.

    Marya's real name, as well as the maiden surname of her human identity, Marie Giffen, was revealed in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry. Her maiden surname of her human identity is an obvious homage to Jack of Hearts art creator, Keith Giffen.

    In Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#23/2, Jack of Hearts seems to think the Corporation was involved with the death of his mother, as he starts his flashback to his father's death and his own empowerment with "...in a stinking chain that took my mother away from me years ago -- that waited until the day Jack graduated from college to take my father..."

    I believe the bottom right face in the picture of her ancestors below is the face of "Marie" in her normal/Contraxian appearance -- obviously it's some weird shading/color to the image.

    I only reviewed the Contraxian-related stories and profiles for this entry, so it is possible that Jack's mother was pictured or named earlier elsewhere. Let me know if you find anything along those lines.

    In the flashback as reviewed from SHIELD files in Jack of Hearts#1, Marie Hart was killed when Jack was at least 15, and he was sent off to school shortly thereafter. In the ret-con flashback in Avengers III#62, Jack says his mother died when he was a kid and he didn't remember her very well. Being a kid could be very subjective, but the OHotMU entry spelled out that over a decade occurred between Marie's death and Jack going off to college. I'm not sure how to resolve those contradictions.


contraxian_race-jack-ancestorsMarya's ancestors

     As viewed by Jack of Hearts through the Crystal Column in his mother's matriarchal/ancestral home.

    The images seen on the right summarize the history of his mother's family:

    "...a history that stretches back to the dawn of time on Contraxia, that leads forward to the most recent faces in <Jack's> family's line of descendency...his mother...and himself.

--Jack of Hearts#3

Note: The images in the two panels (partially obscurred by the image of him touching the Crystal Column) seems to show a Genghis Khan or other barbarian-type or some sort of horned/maned steed battling some knight with a shield. 

    On the far left, there looks to be a partially obscured image of a man in a spacesuit, possibly claiming some moon or planet in Contraxia's name.

    Towards the right, there is another male figure with an outstretched finger, possibly an actor, scientist, or politician, and possibly associated with the image of a space craft to the far right.

    In the second image, there is some fanged, reptilian-looking alien, possibly a member of a race that arrived on Contraxia at some point for unknown purposes, or perhaps one of the colonial races engineered to inhabit other planets in the Contraxian system. 

    There's an image of a floating balloon-craft, and another of a long haired man or woman holding what looks to be a pistol. It is unclear, but the person may be involved with the balloon and/or the fanged being.

    Towards the right, there is a face that is presumably Jack of Hearts' mother Marya in her normal/Contraxian appearance/garb.

    On the far right, it's hard to tell...there may be a mother ("Marie") holding Jack, with a male figure (Philip) in the background. Or, perhaps it's an unrelated figure standing atop a rock for some reason.

    It is unclear to me whether matriarchy in reference to Marya's family just meant the women were the dominant/ruling/leading figures in the family line, or whether they had no larger ruling role, local, national, or planetary?


contraxian_race-jack-ancestral_home

Marya - ancestral home

 

     This is the home in which the matriarchal line of Jack of Hearts' mother, Marya, lived from generation to generation.

    It contained the Crystal Column, through which Jack viewed his family history.

    Jack and Kaina spent some time here, with Jack vowing to use his powers to save Contraxia even if it cost him his life; not believing anyone would sacrifice themselves thusly, the Survivalists assaulted this home, capturing both Jack and Kaina.

--Jack of Hearts#3



contraxian_race-mothershipmothership

     The mothership carried a group of Survivalists, led by Commander Varga, to Earth, with the plan to capture Jack of Hearts and bring him back to Contraxia to force him to save their sun.

    The immense ship floated in the upper atmosphere, dispatching saucers carrying armored Survivalists to the surface as needed.

    After Jack overpowered and defeated the Survivalist saucers, he pursued them to the mothership. 

    When he prepared to attack the mothership, Kaina convinced him to accompany the Contraxians willingly back to Contraxia to try to save them.

 

--Jack of Hearts#2


contraxian_race-mother_superiorcontraxian_race-sunpriestesses-hovercraftMother Superior

    The leader of the Sun Priestesses who governed the Contraxians, she was slain with the other Sun Priestesses by the Survivalist "Smythe." 

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - One day, the Sun Priestesses assembled the populace for an announcement. The Mother Superior announced that -- though she wished the solar winds told a different tale -- their sun was dying, and their world would soon follow.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - The Sun Priestesses considered finding habitable worlds capable of harboring them, but the worlds they found capable of supporting life were already inhabited. As their code forbade the destruction or displacement of another race even for their own survival, they declined this option.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - At the Temple of the Sun, Varga addressed the Priestesses -- in a meeting attended by representatives from every world in Contraxia's system assembled to hear Varga speak. 

    After denouncing the Priestesses of the Sun's failure, Varge proposed they send out an expedition to seek out and find habitable worlds capable of harboring them.

    Reviewing their findings in this matter, Mother Superior reminded the people of their code of honor, which forbade them of committing genocide even to save themselves. When the people present voiced that survival thusly would cost them their souls, Varga bowed before the will of their people, and Mother Superior acknowledged him as a good man, asking him to find a moral means of survival.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - As Jack of Hearts approached Contraxia, the Contraxians, excited by the heat and light he radiated, sought answers from the Sun Priestesses, who confirmed that their sun remained as cool as ever, but that this might be one of their one returning with an energy source powerful enough to save their world. contraxians-sun_priestesses-death

    Soon, Jack landed and bowed before the Priestesses; Varga told them how he had drugged and captured the "human" so he could be forced to save Contraxia, but Kaina revealed the truth, and Jack confirmed his willingness to help.

    As the Priestesses noted that they could use their advanced sciences in an effort to determine the means by which they might channel Jack's power to rekindle their sun, they arranged a vote in which the people voted to live with honor or not at all.

    After the results of Jack's testing were received, the Sun Priestesses -- either projecting their images or teleporting there -- appeared before Jack and Kaina, noting that they had determined that the power he possessed could not be extracted and that only he could wield it to save their sun; however, the price would almost certainly be his life. Though Kaina encouraged Jack to flee, he vowed to try to save Contraxia even if it killed him.

(Jack of Hearts#3 - BTS) - Refusing to believe anyone would willingly sacrifice himself thusly, the Survivalists subdued and captured Jack and Kaina.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - The Survivalist Oltnam then -- apparently both fearing the Sun Priestesses would not force Jack to save Contraxia and also seeking to usurp power for himself -- slew Mother Superior and the Sun Priestesses.

    Oltnam convinced the appalled Varga that they could tell the population Jack had refused to save Contraxia and had slain the Sun Priestesses himself. 

    With the end goal of saving Contraxia, Varga agonizingly agreed to this option, and when Oltnam related his version of events to the public, they agreed that the murderer Jack should be sacrificed to save them.

--Jack of Hearts#2


contraxian_race-robotrobots

     At least some of the Contraxians seemed to have robotic servants.

    In this image, one seems to be assisting a man in donning his coat to enter the cold outside to investigate the approaching light and heat of Jack of Hearts.

    Another robot was used by the Survivalists to restrain Jack on Earth so they could capture him; however, arriving SHIELD agents blasted the robot in the eye; with a "Squeeeee," it released Jack's hands and collapsed on top of him.

 

--Jack of Hearts#3

Note:  We don't know for sure the figure in the image is a robotic servant...it could be someone wearing an exoskeleton or even a costume.

    If it is a robot, we don't know how prevalent such robots were...maybe the guy int the picture designed his own robot...or maybe they were available to the wealthy, etc.

    We have no idea of the abilities, intelligence, and/or limitations of the robots.

    Lots to speculate on based on its appearance, but almost nothing further to work on.


contraxian_race-ships1.jpgsaucers

     The saucers served as transport for the Survivalists from the mothership to the surface.

    They could fly, project energy blasts, and release the armored Survivalists for direct combat.

(Jack of Hearts#1) - Contraxian Survivalist saucers attacked the Hart estate, and Marcy shut down the neutro-mist generator that neutralized Jack's power so he could save himself. 

    When Jack flew up and assaulted the ships, they recognized that he was the one they wanted, and Commander Varga gave the order to take him. 

    Using some sort of neutralizer in combination with a laser, the ship blasted Jack, both paining him and causing him to realize they knew something about him to neutralize his power.

    Jack further appreciated that they were trying to capture rather than kill him. 

    Blasting one of the ships and causing it to crash to the ground, Jack drove off the attacking fleet and then flew off with Marcy.

(Jack of Hearts#2) - After Jack fought off the Contraxian ground troops, Varga sent saucers after Jack, and they engaged him in the town of Portsmouth. 

    Jack fought back, crippling the Contraxian forces, but when he saw how the town had been harmed in the battle, he flew into the air and incapacitated the entire fleet. Varga's ship fled back to the Mothership, and Jack followed.

--Jack of Hearts#1


contraxians_race-rus-scholarscholar on Rus

 

 (Quasar#39) - An unidentified Contraxian, presumably a scholar, was present in the region of the academic planet Rus when Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) arrived in search of further information on the Ultimate Nullifier. 

    Like most present, he recognized the danger of the weapon and swiftly departed.

Note: We don't anything about who this guy was.

    We don't have a name...

    We don't have any background information....

    We don't know why he was on Rus, beyond scholastic pursuits...

    We don't know when he got there...

    We don't know how long he stayed after Quasar's visit...

    We don't know if he was solely there as a student, or whether he was a teacher/professor, etc.


contraxian_race-scouts-slainscout slain

    On one unidentified planet, the Contraxian emissary sent there in hopes of finding a means to save Contraxia's sun, met with disaster.

    The unidentified extraterrestrial race present there captured and apparently slew the emissary.

 

--Jack of Hearts#2

Note: We don't have any more detail than is shown in this panel.

    The race had prominent processes extending from their eyebrow region, as well as snake-like vertical slit pupils, prominent fanged canine teeth, and spikes extending from the cheek bones. 

    They were likely primitive/savage and xenophobic...but maybe they were more developed and one specific act sent them into some religious or other frenzy?


solar probe shipcontraxians_race-solar-probeship-nearsun

 contraxians_race-probeship-takeoff

(Jack of Hearts#3) - Jack of Hearts was rendered insensate and placed aboard a solar probe ship, shackled so that his power would be channeled into its systems and automatically unleashed once he entered their sun's orbit. 

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - To prevent Kaina from exposing the truth (that the Survivalists had murdered the Sun Priestesses and framed Jack), Oltnam secretly had her placed aboard the solar probe ship as well.

(Jack of Hearts#4) - After Oltnam revealed he had placed Kaina aboard the probe ship as well, Kaina revived and greeted Jack. 

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - Though having rationalized the sacrifice of the half-breed Jack of Hearts, Varga was unable to condone the murder of Kaina, a Contraxian born. Accompanied by Oltnam, Varga led a fleet of Contraxians ships through hyperspace in pursuit of the solar probe ship, intending to rescue Kaina.

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - After Varga's fleet emerged from hyperspace, Oltnamstabbed Varga with his sword and jettisoned Varga in his shuttle so Varga might die along those he sought to save. 

(Jack of Hearts#4) - Varga soon docked with the solar probe ship, announced his intent to make amends, helped Kaina aboard his shuttle, and freed Jack from his shackles. 

    Jack, however, sealed the shuttle and sent Kaina away to safety, leaving himself and the mortally wounded Varga aboard the solar probe ship. Jack told Varga that his sacrifice helped convince him Contraxia was worth saving, and soon after Varga succumbed to the sun's heat.

    As Jack began channeling his power into the sun, even the solar probe ship itself was vaporized by the intense heat, after which Jack dove directly into the sun and released his full power, restoring Contraxia's sun.

--Jack of Hearts#3



contraxian_race-sunpriestessescontraxian_race-priestesses-templeSun Priestesses

 

     Led by Mother Superior and based out of the Temple of the Sun, the Sun Priestesses governed the Contraxians and led their worship of their sun.

    They were slain by the Survivalist Oltnam.

    The Sun Priestesses could teleport (or project images of themselves through which they could communicate).

    They also sometimes rode atop hover-platforms.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - One day, the Sun Priestesses assembled the populace for an announcement. The Mother Superior announced that -- though she wished the solar winds told a different tale -- their sun was dying, and their world would soon follow.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - The Sun Priestesses considered finding habitable worlds capable of harboring them, but the worlds they found capable of supporting life were already inhabited. As their code forbade the destruction or displacement of another race even for their own survival, they declined this option.

(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - At the Temple of the Sun, Varga addressed the Priestesses -- in a meeting attended by representatives from every world in Contraxia's system assembled to hear Varga speak. 

    After denouncing the Priestesses of the Sun's failure, Varge proposed they send out an expedition to seek out and find habitable worlds capable of harboring them.

    Reviewing their findings in this matter, Mother Superior reminded the people of their code of honor, which forbade them of committing genocide even to save themselves. When the people present voiced that survival thusly would cost them their souls, Varga bowed before the will of their people, and Mother Superior acknowledged him as a good man, asking him to find a moral means of survival.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - As Jack of Hearts approached Contraxia, the Contraxians, excited by the heat and light he radiated, sought answers from the Sun Priestesses, who confirmed that their sun remained as cool as ever, but that this might be one of their one returning with an energy source powerful enough to save their world. contraxian_race-sunpriestesses-full-rear

    Soon, Jack landed and bowed before the Priestesses; Varga told them how he had drugged and captured the "human" so he could be forced to save Contraxia, but Kaina revealed the truth, and Jack confirmed his willingness to help.

    As the Priestesses noted that they could use their advanced sciences in an effort to determine the means by which they might channel Jack's power to rekindle their sun, they arranged a vote in which the people voted to live with honor or not at all.

contraxian_race-sun_priestesses-headsbowed    After the results of Jack's testing were received, the Sun Priestesses -- either projecting their images or teleporting there -- appeared before Jack and Kaina, noting that they had determined that the power he possessed could not be extracted and that only he could wield it to save their sun; however, the price would almost certainly be his life. Though Kaina encouraged Jack to flee, he vowed to try to save Contraxia even if it killed him.

(Jack of Hearts#3 - BTS) - Refusing to believe anyone would willingly sacrifice himself thusly, the Survivalists subdued and captured Jack and Kaina.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - The Survivalist Oltnam then -- apparently both fearing the Sun Priestesses would not force Jack to save Contraxia and also seeking to usurp power for himself -- slew Mother Superior and the Sun Priestesses.

    Oltnam convinced the appalled Varga that they could tell the population Jack had refused to save Contraxia and had slain the Sun Priestesses himself. 

    With the end goal of saving Contraxia, Varga agonizingly agreed to this option, and when Oltnam related his version of events to the public, they agreed that the murderer Jack should be sacrificed to save them.

--Jack of Hearts#2



contraxian_race-survivalistsSurvivalists

    Only Commander Varga and Oltnam have been indentified.

    Oltnam, the Survivalist known on Earth as Freeman Smythe was never called by name by another Contraxian. He was called "spy" sometimes by Varga, and he was called Commander after he usurped leadership from Varga.

    Led by the Commander Varga, the Survivalists were a group of Contraxians who sought to save their world and people(s) from death as their sun progressively cooled.

    Survivalists varied in terms of honor and how far they were willing to go to save their people.

    Almost all were happy to sacrifice an alien or a half-breed to save their world. 

    Although it pained some, like Varga, to behave thusly, others, like Oltnam was willing to do whatever he felt necessary -- including slaying natives of his own race, killing the much revered Sun Priestesses, betrayal, and lies -- to save his world. Smythe, in particular, also sought power for its own sake.

 (Jack of Hearts#2 (fb)) - As Contraxia's sun cooled, Varga proposed they send out an expedition to seek out and find habitable worlds capable of harboring them. When the Sun Priestesses led a popular vote that reaffirmed their code not to harm others even to save themselves, Varga publicly bowed to the will of the people.

(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS) - Years later, after a Contraxian emissary to Earth's actions had led to the empowerment of the her human-hybrid son, Jack of Hearts, Varga apparently took a Mothership and a group of Survivalists to Earth's orbit. Varga sent one of his Survivalists, Oltnam, to Earth to spy on Jack as "Freeman Smythe."

(Jack of Hearts#1) - Varga sent armored Survivalists in saucers to capture Jack, but he fought them off.

(Jack of Hearts#2) - Detecting Jack's energy discharge, Varga led another group of Survivalists to capture him. When the Contraxian Kaina, who had become Jack's lover, attempted to reason with Varga, the commander had his agents blast with an energy beam the transported her aboard his command ship. contraxian_race-armored warriors2

    After Jack overpowered and defeated the Survivalist saucers, he pursued them to the mothership. When he prepared to attack the mothership, Kaina convinced him to accompany the Contraxians willingly back to Contraxia to try to save them.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - As the Survivalists, Kaina, and Jack arrived on Contraxia, Varga told them how he had captured the "human" so he could be forced to save Contraxia, but Kaina revealed the truth, and Jack confirmed his willingness to help.

    As the Priestesses noted that they could use their advanced sciences in an effort to determine the means by which they might channel Jack's power to rekindle their sun, they arranged a vote in which the people voted to live with honor or not at all. The Survivalists, however, plotted to prepare stronger measures to ensure their world would live, with Varga prepared to consider a choice between morality and necessity. contraxian_race-survivalists-masked

    Later, distantly viewing as the Sun Priestesses revealed that it would almost certainly cost Jack his life if he tried to save their sun, the Survivalists terminated the contact and resolved that they could not risk the decision to a "human" who had no reason to sacrifice his life, and they resolved to capture Jack and force his compliance. 

    As Jack and Kaina attempted to enjoy a romantic night together, Survivalists scanned the building and attacked the pair after determining that Jack being out of armor meant he had temporarily neutralized his power by other means. 

    As the neutro-mist's effect faded, Jack sent Kaina away, and he lashed out at the Survivalist attackers, but Kaina ran into Vargas and Oltnam, who refused to believe that Jack had offered to risk himself to save their world. 

    When Jack descended from the tower, an armored Varga attacked him; while Jack held back somewhat, Oltnam appreciated that Kaina had been telling the truth, but nonetheless knocked her out, seeking to make it appear that the Survivalists had forced Jack to save them in hopes of furthering his own power agenda (including usurping Vargas' position as leader of the Survalists). 

    Oltnam then used SHIELD neutro-mist to de-power Jack and knock him out, after which he slew the Sun Priestesses as well. 

    Varga was appalled, but Oltnam argued that the people might have supported the Sun Priestesses' pacivity into death; he continued that they could tell the population Jack had refused to save Contraxia and had slain the Sun Priestesses himself. 

    With the end goal of saving Contraxia, Varga agonizingly agreed to this option, and when Oltnam related his version of events to the public, they agreed that the murderer Jack should be sacrificed to save them.

    Jack was rendered insensate and placed aboard a solar probe ship, shackled so that his power would be channeled into its systems and automatically unleashed once he entered their sun's orbit. contraxians_race-survivalists-death

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - To prevent Kaina from exposing the truth, Oltnamsecretly had her placed aboard the solar probe ship as well.

(Jack of Hearts#3) - As the ship took off, Varga privately vowed that he would commit suicide for his dishonor once Jack had saved the sun.

(Jack of Hearts#4) - As Varga suffered pangs of guilt, Oltnam revealed Kaina's fate; meanwhile, Kaina revived and greeted Jack aboard the solar probe ship, trying to explain that her people were indeed noble, though they suffered from manipulation by the Survivalists; while she did not excuse their actions, she prayed that, in time, the Contraxians would again tread the path of righteousness. 

(Jack of Hearts#4 (fb) - BTS) - Though having rationalized the sacrifice of the half-breed Jack of Hearts, Varga was unable to condone the murder of Kaina, a Contraxian born. Accompanied by Oltnam, Varga led a fleet of Contraxians ships through hyperspace in pursuit of the solar probe ship, intending to rescue Kaina.

(Jack of Hearts#4) - As Varga's fleet emerged from hyperspace, Oltnam denounced ventuing so close to the sun as madness. 

    When Varga confirmed his goal, Oltnam warned that Varga's honor would see them all dead, and when Varga turned his back, Oltnam pulled his sword. As the proximity to the sun became uncomfortable for Kaina, Varga boarded a solo shuttle, planning to save both Kaina and Jack; but Oltnam ambushed him, striking him down from behind with his sword and then jettisoning the shuttle so Varga might die along those he sought to save. 

    Varga soon docked with the solar probe ship, announced his intent to make amends, helped Kaina aboard his shuttle, and freed Jack from his shackles. Jack, however, sealed the shuttle and sent Kaina away to safety, leaving himself and the mortally wounded Varga aboard the solar probe ship. Jack told Varga that his sacrifice helped convince him Contraxia was worth saving, and soon after Varga succumbed to the sun's heat.

    As Jack began channeling his power into the sun, even the solar probe ship itself was vaporized by the intense heat, after which Jack dove directly into the sun and released his full power, restoring Contraxia's sun.

    Having survived re-powering the sun, Jack headed back to Contraxia. 

    As Jack approached Oltnam and the Survivalists loyal to him en route back to Contraxia, Oltnam led the futile missile and other assaults against Jack. Paying neither them nor their assaults any heed, Jack passed them by, not caring as his immense heat incinerated them all and destroyed their ships. 

--Jack of Hearts#1

Note: Oltnam's real name, as well as the first name of his human identity, Freeman Smythe, was revealed in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry. Oltnam is obviously an homage to his writer/creator, Bill Mantlo, and Freeman to his penciler/creator, George Freeman.


images: (without ads)
Jack of Hearts#1, pg. 11, panel 7 (Smythe, human, face);
        pg. 12, panel 1 (Smythe, human, upper body);
        pg. 14, panel 2-3 (Marie & Philip Hart);
            panel 5 (newspaper reporting Marie's death);
        pg. 20, panel 1 (Jack vs. Contraxian saucers);
            panel 5 (Contraxian armored warriors);
    #2, pg. 5, panel 6 (Kaina, revealing her true nature, full);
        pg. 6, panel 4 (Contraxia, from orbit);
            panel 5 (city);
        pg. 7, panel 1 (Mother Superior);
            panel 2-3 (other Contraxian ships)
        pg. 9, panel 1-3 (representatives);
            6 (Mother Superior, face in profile)
        pg. 10, panel 7 (Contraxian scientist slaughtered);
        pg. 14, panel 2 (armored Survivalists);
        pg. 17, panel 1 & 4 (Survivalist robot restraining and laying atop Jack);
        pg. 18, panel 3 (Survivalist Walker-type assault vehicle);
        pg. 21, panel 4 (Mothership)
    #3, pg. 1, panel 1 ("myriad races");
            panel 2 (frozen lands);
            panel 3 (vehicles);
        pg. 2, panel 1 (mother & child);
            panel 2 (city);
            panel 5 (priestesses of the sun on hovercraft);
        pg. 4, panel 2 & 4 (sun priestesses face and full body);
        pg. 5, panel 2 (scientists testing Jack);
        pg. 6, panel 1 (Jack's ancestral home);
            panel 5 (crystal column);
        pg. 7, panel 1 & 3 (Jack's ancestors);
        pg. 8, panel 1 (Sun Priestesses, heads bowed);
        pg. 9, panel 2 (Survivalists);
        pg.10, panel 5 (Survivalists masked);
        pg. 12, panel 5-6 (Smythe in more formal outfit with hat);
        pg. 13, panel 1 (Varga with sword);
            panel 2-3 (Smythe hat/cape);
        pg. 14, panel 1 (Varga armored, mostly full);
        pg. 15, panel 1 (Varga helmet);
        pg. 17, panel 3-4 (Smythe slays Sun Priestesses);
        pg. 19, panel 3 (condemining Jack);
        pg. 21, panel 5 (solar probe ship)
    #4, pg. 3, panel 1 (sybaritic partying);
        pg. 4, panel 2 (debauchery)
            panel 3-4 (blue costumed guy);
        pg. 5, panel 2 (Varga & Smythe; full, distant);
        pg. 7, panel 3 (solar probe/ship);
        pg. 9, panel 1 (saucers);
            panel 2 (space suits);
        pg. 10, panel 1 (Smythe, sword raised);
            panel 4 (Smythe's shuttle);
        pg. 12, panel 5 (Varga's death);
        pg. 17, panel 5 (Smythe and Survivalists' deaths);
        pg. 18, panel 3-5 (Contraxia suffers from Jack's heat);
        pg. 19, panel 2 (faces observing returning Jack);
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#15: Contraxians entry (full body, underwear image)
Quasar#39, pg. 7, panel 2 (Rus scholar)


Appearances:
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu
#22 (March, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Keith Giffen (penciler), Rico Rival (inker), David Warner (associate editor), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#23 (April, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gil Kane (penciler), Rico Rival (inker), David Warner (associate editor), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Jack of Hearts#1-3 (January-March, 1984) - Bill Mantlo (writer), George Freeman (artist), Bob Budiansky (editor)
Jack of Hearts#4 (April, 1984) - Bill Mantlo (writer), George Freeman (penciler & inker), Eduardo Barreto & Hilary Barta (inkers), Bob Budiansky (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#15: Appendix: Alien Races: Betans entry (March, 1987) - Mark Gruenwald (writer/producer), Peter Sanderson (writer/researcher), Kyle Baker (penciler), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Gregory Wright (assistant editor)
Quasar#39 (October, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle (penciler), Harry Candelario & Mark McKenna (inkers), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5 (December, 2008) Jeff Christiansen (head writer), Madison Carter, Mike Fichera, and Stuart Vandal (coordination assistants), Sean McQuaid, Michael Hoskin, Stuart Vandal, Roanld Byrd, et al. (writers), Jeff Youngquist and Jen Grunwald (editors)



 

Last updated: 12/28/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:
http://www.marvel.com

Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Races