Real Name: Oltnam
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Contraxian)
Occupation: Commander of the Survivalists;
Group Membership: Survivalists
Affiliations: Formerly Varga
Enemies: Jack of Hearts, Kaina, SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division; esp. "Dum Dum" Dugan, Nick Fury, and William Martins), Sun Priestesses (including Mother Superior), Varga
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Commander, Spy;
formerly Freeman Smythe"
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly a Survivalist base on Contraxia, Elidra system, Milky Way galaxy;
formerly associated with the Hart Estate in New Haven, Connecticut
First Appearance: (As Smythe) Jack of Hearts#1 (January, 1984);
(revealed as Contraxian) Jack of Hearts#2 (February, 1984);
(real name revealed) Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry (December, 2008)
Powers/Abilities: Oltnam was a large man and likely possessed above average strength.
He was experienced with blaster weapons and sword (possibly an energy weapon), and he was a skilled espionage agent.
He was willing to lie and murder (even religious leaders) for his own goals, which included not only survival of his species but also personal power
Height: Unrevealed (he looked to be perhaps 6'8" or taller; the 6'1" Nick Fury barely hit his shoulder)
Weight: Unrevealed (perhaps 275 lbs. or greater)
Eyes: Unrevealed (he typically wore some form of colored glasses or visor, obscurring his eye color; perhaps this indicates his eyes were a light color and light sensitive...or not)
Other Distinguishing Features: Like all Contraxians, the left half of Oltnam's body is a dark purple color; it is unrevealed what, if any, variations in terms of ability and/or limitations are resultant in this pigmentation.
(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Oltnam was one of the Survivalists, a group of Contraxians who diverged from the majority of the population in that they were willing to sacrifice other worlds and peoples to save their own.
(Jack of Hearts#1 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) - Years later, Contraxian emissary to Earth Marya's actions had led to the empowerment of the her human-hybrid son, Jack of Hearts.
(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - Believing Jack of Hearts had the power to save Contraxia's sun, Oltnam plotted to spy on Project Hart (which monitored and sought to control Jack's power).
(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#5: Jack of Hearts entry) <Several months before the main story> - As "Freeman Smythe," Oltnam became the trustee of Philip Hart's estate, managing Jack's financial affairs; however, five years from Jack's father's death, 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 competency 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) - As "Marcy Kane" (secretly Kaina of Contraxia, who had been sent to monitor Jack and who had fallen in love with him) arrived at the Hart Estate, "Smythe" confronted SHIELD agent William Martins (posing as the Hart Estate butler, but actually the science officer supervising Jack of Heart's containment), noting that Jack's recent suicide attempt might be adjudged incompetent. SHIELD commander Nick Fury then arrived, revealed SHIELD's involvement to "Smythe, and noted the situation to be a matter of national security.
(Jack of Hearts#1 - BTS) - Released from his power-neutralizing Neutro-Mist, Jack of Hearts drove off Survivalist saucers attacking the Hart estate.
(Jack of Hearts#2) - "Smythe" was present as Fury arrived at the Hart Estate, and, as Fury and Martins discussed the alien attacks, "Smythe" gathered a cannister of neutro-mist.
(Jack of Hearts#2 (fb) - BTS) - Oltnam linked up with Varga, warning him of Jack's great power.
(Jack of Hearts#2) - After Jack fought off armored Survivalists, Oltnam reminded Varga of his warning.
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, but Varga had one of his agents (possibly Oltnam...he looked big, anyway) transported Kaina aboard his (Varga's) ship.
Jack fought back, crippling the Contraxian forces, who fled back to the Mothership. Jack followed, seeking vengeance, but Kaina convinced him to come aboard peacefully to save her people.
(Jack of Hearts#3) - As the Survivalists, Kaina, and Jack arrived on Contraxia, Varga claimed they 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 agreed to scientifically determine how they could 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. As they departed, however, Oltnam advised Varga that the Priestesses would let their world die, when the means existed to save it. After a female Survivalist added that she was sure their people would rethink their honor as the day of doom approached, Oltnam continued that, at that time, a stronger hand would be needed to ensure Contraxia's survival than the Priestesses could survive; Varga agreed, noting that they would have to consider a choice between morality and necessity.
Later, distantly viewing as the Sun Priestesses revealed that it would almost certainly cost Jack his life if he tried to save their sun, Oltnam terminated the contact with Varga's approval, and he advised Varga that honor was a luxury afforded only to the living, and that unless they acted, all Contraxia would soon be a planet of the frozen dead.
(Jack of Hearts#3 (fb) - BTS) - Varga was persuaded to capture Jack and force his compliance.
(Jack of Hearts#3 - BTS) - Survivalists attacked Jack and Kaina. As the neutro-mist's effect faded, Jack sent Kaina away, and he lashed out at the Survivalist attackers.
(Jack of Hearts#3) - 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. Appreciated that Kaina had been telling the truth, Oltnam 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.
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#4) - As Varga suffered pangs of guilt, Oltnam assured him it was better than "witnessing our entire world laid out cold on a mortuary slab." After a brief argument about their previous code of honor, Varga voiced that his conscience would only be appeased when Kaina revealed that it was the Survivalists who slew the Priestesses of the Sun. Oltnam advised that Varga might be suffering the pangs of conscience for quite some time, and he revealed that Kaina was also aboard the ship bound for the sun.
(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. 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 the Survivalist 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 and boarded his shuttle to save both Kaina and Jack, Oltnam pulled his sword and ambushed Varga, striking him down from behind with his sword and then jettisoning the shuttle so Varga might die along those he sought to save.
(Jack of Hearts#4 - BTS) - Varga freed Jack, who sent Kaina away in the shuttle, still resolved to sacrifice himself to save Contraxia. Soon after, Varga succumbed to the sun's heat, and Jack dove directly into the sun and released his full power, restoring Contraxia's sun. Surviving even this, Jack headed back to Contraxia.
(Jack of Hearts#4) - Oltnam was pleased to note that Contraxia would live, and that "only fools would bemoan that their lives were purchased with a half-breed's blood!" However, one of his agents then noted Jack's survival and approach. Oltnam led futile missile and other assaults against Jack, but -- paying neither them nor their assaults any heed -- Jack passed them by en route to Contraxia, not caring as his immense heat incinerated them all and destroyed their ships.
Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo and George Freeman.
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. In the Jack of Hearts series, he was only called "Smythe," "spy," or "Commander" (after he slew Varga).
Oltnam is pictured in additional images with various costumes in the profiles for Varga and the Survivalist sub-profile (inconcluding his incineration) in the Contraxians profile.
Profile by Snood.
Oltnam should be distinguished from:
images: (without ads)
Jack of Hearts#1, pg. 11, panel 7 (as Freeman Smythe, chest up);
pg. 12, panel 2 (as Smythe, legs up; size comparison to Martins);
#3, pg. 6, panel 5 (Contraxian face);
pg. 14, panel 5 (beret and dark cloak; shoulders up);
panel 6 (beret and dark cloak; from behind);
pg. 15, panel 3 (beret and dark cloak; holding Kaina);
pg. 21, panel 1 (full; distant; convincing Contraxians to sacrifice Jack);
#4, pg. 9, panel 5-6 (angry face, pulling sword behind Varga's back);
pg. 11, panel 1-2 (sword drawn, striking down Varga);
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 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: 11/07/17
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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