Real Name: Gorth
Occupation: Governor of an unidentified Skrull colony world;
Group Membership: Leader of a Skrull faction (his own colony world and Skrull worlds conquered by Nebula)
Affiliations: Unidentified aide; his world's population
formerly Nebula and her crew (Gunthar, Kehl, Levan,
Skunge, over 10,000 others unidentified; he only actually met Levan)
Enemies: Nebula, Zedrao and the Imperial armada;
presumably Karza, Kylor, S'Byll, and Yorak (see comments)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Emperor Gorth (a title he sought, but never actually achieved), Most High One
Base of Operations: Unidentified Skrull colony world in the Andromeda galaxy
First Appearance: Avengers I#259 (September, 1985)
a Skrull, Gorth presumably possessed all of the standard capabilities
and weaknesses of a normal member of the Skrull Deviant species.
Specifically, Gorth could alter his size, shape, and color through
mental concentration. Presumably Gorth was somewhat limited by his
Additionally, Gorth did not
demonstrate any significant combat abilities. he required "a moment" to
make himself a little larger and more physically imposing, presumably
his metamorph abilities were relatively minimal for a Skrull.
Though possessing aspirations of
power and seeking to intimidate others to gain respect, Gorth was
ultimately weak and cowardly.
According to Chancellor Kal'Du, Gorth neither deserved nor had the competence to rule as Emperor.
Height: Unrevealed (approximately 5'); variable
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 110 lbs.)
Eyes: Unrevealed; dark, perhaps black or brown; variable
Hair: None; variable
(The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#10: Skrulls entry) - The
Skrull Empire was governed by a totalitarian monarchy, with one supreme emperor or empress,
and a governor for each of the 978 member-worlds in the empire.
(Skrulls!: Gorth profile) - Gorth was governor of one of the outer colony worlds of the Skrull Empire.
(Fantastic Four I#257/Fantastic Four I#262 (fb) - BTS) - Galactus consumed
the Skrull Throneworld, Tarnax IV, killing all seven billion Skrulls who were there at the time, including
Empress R'Klll and her
(Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - After Throneworld's
destruction and the deaths of Empress R'Klll and Princess Anelle, chaos
and rebellion spread throughout the Skrull Empire. Seeking to fill the
power vacuum left by these deaths, all of the planetary governors
declared themselves emperors or empresses and rallied their forces to
bring the Empire under their personal control, and civil war broke out.
In only a few days, more Skrulls had been killed by other Skrulls than
had perished with the Throneworld.
(Skrulls!: Gorth profile) - Gorth dreamed of obtaining power and becoming Emperor.
(Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - Gorth arrived with the space pirate Nebula, who promised to make him Emperor.
Backed by a great mercenary army
with warriors from the Andromeda galaxy and beyond, Nebula brought down
Skrull world after world. However, even her forces failed to penetrate
the defenses of the "Prime Skrull star-base."
(Skrulls!: Gorth profile) - Via Nebula's support, Gorth became a contender for the title of Emperor.
(All-New Official Handbook of
the Marvel Universe A to Z#9: S'Byll entry) - Presumably via Nebula's
forces, Gorth warred against the forces of rival emperor-contender
S'Byll, and likely Karza, Kylor, and Yorak.
(Avengers I#259) - Begging forgiveness for the
interruption, Gorth's aide informed him that Commander Nebula had
arrived and sought an audience with him.
Having anxiously awaited Nebula's
arrival, Gorth instructed the aide to give him a moment before sending
her in, during which time Gorth -- having decided that he should start
presenting a more imposing image to his hirelings -- made himself
Nebula then entered alongside her
crewman Levan, greeting Gorth and telling him she had news of great
successes. However, when Gorth arrogantly demanded she address him as
Emperor and that she remember who pays her, an indignant Nebula
informed him that he had best remember what he paid her for, and she
then instructed Levan to cut him down to size.
Levan blasted Gorth, knocking him to the ground and causing him to
revert to his true size. Gorth argued that as she had promised to make
him emperor that it was only fair that he looked imperial. Unimpressed,
Nebula told him to save the shape-shifting for the underlings and that
he was nothing without her backing.
After Gorth cowered and admitted
this to be true, Nebula decided to get down to business. She led him to
his balcony and pointed out the immense ship Sanctuary II that she had
stolen. As his subjects stared agape at the immense craft, Gorth asked
what it was, and Nebula told him it was the weapon that would make this
backwater planet the next Skrull throneworld.
(Avengers I#259 (fb) - BTS) - Nebula brought Gorth aboard Sanctuary II and gave him a tour.
(Avengers I#259) - After Nebula noted how she had
picked up her flight squadron and had over ten thousand trained
warriors on board, Gorth noted how he had never seen such a ship, which
was nearly a small world unto itself, and he asked her to please show
They were interrupted by Levan,
who informed them that their probes had picked up traces of the
Imperial Armada (led by General Zedrao, in pursuit of Nebula).
Terrified, Gorth told Nebula she must return him to his palace at once
and then use her ship to lure the armada away from his world. Nebula
informed Gorth that she would be the judge of how best to fight the
As Nebula began to instruct Levan
to have Gunthar prepare something, Gorth grabbed Nebula by the
shoulder. She warned him to remove his hand from her person, but he
insisted that she had to listen: "My world has been spared thus far!
Stating that no one told her what she "must" do, Nebula blasted Gorth, apparently killing him.
Nebula then instructed Levan to
prepare a propaganda statement, noting that Gorth had died in battle
with the enemy.
(Silver Surfer III#2 / Silver Surfer III#6 / Silver Surfer III#13 / Silver
Surfer III#14 / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#10: Skrulls) - Eventually, there were five Skrull warlords who
contended for the role of Skrull Emperor (or Empress): Gorth, Karza,
Kylor, S'Byll, and Yorak.
(Skrulls!: Gorth profile) - The official proclamation noted Gorth to have been killed in battle.
(Skrulls!: Gorth profile) - Evidence eventually arose that Gorth was murdered by Nebula.
Comments: Created by Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer.
In the Skrulls! handbook, Emperor Kal'Du noted:
"What can we take away
from Gorth's failed attempt at gaining the throne is conviction that
only death and dishonor will fall upon any Skrull who would ever place
any of their allegiances to an an alien species, or place personal
glory before the glory of the Empire itself"
That statement is solid
political rhetoric. S'Byll obtained power with solid aid from the
Silver Surfer (Zenn-Lavian Norrin Radd) and Reptyl (unidentified
reptilian race). Almost every would-be emperor (just like most
politicians) seeks personal glory and believes he or she is the best
one to rule.
I did this profile in response to
a discussion with
a respected colleague, who is one of the most versed people on Marvel
Continuity of whom I know. In response to his concerns, and our
Why is Gorth one of the "five" Skrulls competing for Emperor? There are matters to be considered.
If Gorth died in Avengers I#259 (September, 1985), how could he
be considered a contender for the role of Skrull Emperor in Silver
Surfer III#6 (December, 1987).
For anyone who doesn't already appreciate this, "Marvel Time" is not real time.
- Peter Parker (Spider-Man) was 15 years old in 1962. Barring
alternate realities, Peter is not 72 years old. Most stories portray
him as being in his late 20's (some make his seem like early 20's, but
that's a bit too much, IMO).
- So, if he's 29, then that means that only 14 years have
passed since his first appearance, which makes each "Marvel Year"
equivalent to a little over 4 years real time.
- If you think Peter is closer to 26, that makes each "Marvel Year" equivalent to over 5 years real time.
- Further, Peter Parker's progression through high school
mean those first years occurred closer to real time, and the time
compression becomes even more significant. That's tougher to pin down,
as Peter and his associates could have been in advanced placement and
taken less time in high school, etc., but figure a minimum of 5 years
of real time equal to one Marvel Year.
- BTW, there was just great series called Spider-Man: Life
Stories (just came out in 2019) in which Peter ages in real time and is
involved in real time events, check it out.
- So, what's the purpose of this tangent? Despite there being
27 months between the publication of the issues discussed above,
there's MAYBE 5 months between the events, Marvel Time.
- Gorth's apparent demise in Avengers I#259 was part of a continued
story that rapidly led to the activation of the Hyperwave Bomb, which
threw the Skrull Empire into even further chaos.
- Perhaps due to Nebula's devastating results in Gorth's name, he was still considered a contender, and his death was uncertain.
- Did Gorth die?
- Death is SO OFTEN shown to not be true in the Marvel Universe --
survival; slaying of an imposter/robot/clone; whatever -- that it
should always be taken with a grain of salt...even in a normal human
mortal, let alone an alien shapeshifter.
- As a metamorph, it would have been easy for Gorth to adjust his
form to survive Nebula's attack and/or have made himself to appear to
be dead despite having survived. He seemed like more of a coward than a
strategist, but perhaps due to his cowardice, he may have had a planned
exit strategy to escape death. He wasn't incinerated, decapitated,
etc.; he was shot in the chest with a blaster weapon and assumed to be
dead. Have you ever seen a comic book character blasted and assumed to
be dead, but then turn up alive? Yes? 10 times? 100 times? 1000 times?
Probably depends on how many comics you've read, but if you've read a
lot, probably somewhere between the latter two numbers.
- One would think that Nebula would follow up solidly to ensure
her foe was slain, but she was both arrogant and in a time crunch to
oppose General Zedrao and the Imperial Armada
- If Gorth survived, Nebula's banishment by the Beyonder may have
given Gorth the opportunity to utilize a number of Nebula's mercenaries
to strengthen his position.
- I think that it is logical to assume not all of
Nebula's forces were on Sanctuary II during its
destruction...presumably, given Nebula's wisdom as a strategist, it's
likely that some were on other ships and never boarded Sanctuary II,
and some may have escaped its destruction.
- Kylor had a semi-profile in Silver Surfer III Annual#1 that
noted that Kylor was the first of the would-be emperors to fail...so
whoever was going by the title of Gorth was still active at the time of
Kylor's death in Silver Surfer III#13
- Assuming Gorth did die...
- He may have had a son or daughter, named after him (especially given his arrogance), and they may have succeeded him
- Given the metamorphic abilities and the general scheming nature
of most Skrulls shown in the comics, particularly through the
60's-80's, it is quite likely that another Skrull could have
impersonated Gorth thereafter.
- Again, Nebula's threat to the Skrulls was largely derived from
her large mercenary force, even before she acquired Sanctuary II.
- As mentioned above, I think that it is logical to assume not all of Nebula's forces were
on Sanctuary II during its destruction; it's likely that some were on other ships and
never boarded Sanctuary II, and some may have escaped its destruction.
- I'm sure some people (I'd say "many," but this is a continuity issue in a story 30 years old, so it's probably not too many that even car) would prefer that the matter was dealt with in-story rather than in a handbook.
- I 100% agree. My preference would be that Steve Englehart had
resolved the issue when he brought up the number of five contenders and
then only introduced four.
- I REALLY enjoyed Steve's run on the Surfer (and many other
series, and novels...), however, he never revealed the fifth contender
for emperor.Steve also does not provide new information when we request if for the handbooks.
- At the time the information was revealed in the handbooks, the plot was 20 years old and cold (over 30 years old now).
- In my honest opinion, it seems lazy and neglectful to not fill
such a plot hole with the most logical explanation. See above for the
- Some people feel that handbooks should be resources, rather than
sources, meaning handbooks should not reveal any new information. As a result, they automatically discount information from handbooks
- If there are clear contradictions, then certainly the original source
would generally outweigh the resource, unless there were problematic
issues with the source.
- As handbooks have consistently provided
clarifications and new information since 1982, I think this point is about as valid as a wish that the sun should be red. Wishes don't equal reality.
- The only
way to change this policy is to become chief-creative-editor at Marvel,
or to create your own fictional universe and make all the rules you
- Otherwise, "that's not how I want it to be" is not a valid argument to me.
- Given the above, presume data presented in comic stories, handbooks, files, etc. without
contradiction to be true until/unless revealed/retconned to be false.
- The Skrulls! files book did not list Gorth as one of the five.
- The Skrulls! editor chose to neglect all information revealed in the handbooks. Therefore,
unsurprising that he refused to allow the information about Gorth. It
was obviously not a conscious thought process, but rather an automatic
disregarding of the information.
- The Skrulls! book should represent the Skrulls' extensive
database, which would cover all information, including anything not
previously revealed in the comics.
- However, it failed to provide significant, basic information
available to the Skrulls, like the real name of the Sensational Hydra,
for example. Instead, it listed "Araki imposter, " "Contemplator
imposter," "H. Warren Craddock imposter," "Doc Samson's patient," and
numerous others. Would the Skrull Empire not know their names? Was it
classified information that the current Empress should not know?
- Even moreso than a handbook, a Files book representing the
in-universe government database of the race that sent all of the agents
should have complete information.
- Information wouldn't be excluded due to being classified, as Veranke was the Skrull Empress.
- I suppose it's possible that information may have been lost over
time due to the chaos of destruction of worlds, turnover of power, etc.
- I find it hard to believe an advanced technology wouldn't
have some sort of inter-Empire internet that would share all and
- Kal'Du was writing a report to earn Veranke's favor; it seems
clear from his info, that he has this massive pro-current-Skrull bias,
as perhaps she may have slain him if she didn't like it. Kal'Du
had enough bias that it may well be that they were not purely factual.
- While there is a level of information appropriate for
handbooks,etc., when you have an "in-story" files book like Skrulls,
which should access their entire database; as it was for the ruling
empress at the time, Veranke, there is no reason to exclude any
- I definitely enjoyed the book on many levels, but I was very
disappointed the lack of completeness of the Skrulls' records in this
- If you check the credits, you can see that most of the writers
were handbook writers; as such they clearly knew and had to exclude
certain information, presumably per the directive of Rhett Thomas.
- I concede that my arguments of "it should be this way" may seem to mirror arguments about how the handbooks should be.
- However, the difference is that Marvel's handbooks have
consistently been written from the perspective of being outside the
Marvel Universe and have added new information and/or filled in blanks
and/or clarified contradicting stories
- Files books have been consistently written from the
perspective of being in-universe, and depending on the in-universe
"writers," there are differing levels of information. This one had
access to the entire Skrull database.
- Insanely. Squandered. Opportunity. In my opinion, of course.
- Other contenders for the coveted "5th would-be Emperor" and/or other Skrulls active at this time
- Prince Dezan,
who didn't wish to rule and was considered a traitor to the Skrulls due
to his desire for peace, could have been considered a contender, as he
was allegedly the last living member of the royal family (Teddy
Altman/Dorrek VIII/Hulkling was young, and hadn't been created yet).
who was trapped in the form of and posing as a Kree; she was actually a
traitor to the Skrulls and sought to rule the Kree Empire
- Intelligencia, who didn't show up until 2000. We don't know when she was created, so she's a possibility
- General Zedrao, who was a military leader, but never really sought to rule the Empire
- The overweight queen from Fantastic Four
Annual#19; I need to do a profile on her, but I have always considered
her one of the top contenders that 5th spot.
- Raksor, who was also a warrior/espionage agent
(Kl'rt), who was and is a warrior, not a leader, was actually trapped
in Earth's Van Allen belts at the time the five would-be emperors were
discussed. He was restored by an agent of S'Byll and enlisted as her
- Zabyk, who set off the Hyperwave bomb and was
trapped within a suit of armor due to his subsequent inability to
metamorph out of it; it's hard to imagine he had much of a following
after taking away the Skrulls' greatest power.
- I'm sure there are others, but I'm going to cap
off the list here: Dezan, Intelligencia, and the overweight queen seem
to be the other reasonable options. Or someone new and not yet seen.
- Even at the time of the stories of the five would-be Emperors, none
of them seemed to really be serious contenders, besides S'Byll.
- What did Karza, Kyla, or Yorlak ever accomplish? Did they take
over multiple worlds, like Gorth's ally, Nebula did in his name? No
evidence to support that?
- Kylor was a distant second to S'Byll, and Karza and Yorak were even less prominent.
- Whoever was the fifth contender was apparently even less significant, as he/she was never even named in story.
- Maybe someday, someone will publish the lost Skrull would-be Emperor
story. It's been 32 years as of 2019, but stranger things have happened.
- If new information comes along that contradicts what has been
published in the handbooks, it will ret-con the info, just like any
Profile by Snood.
Gorth should be distinguished from:
- GOROTH, one of the Skrulls of Cadre K--Uncanny X-Men I#387
- GORTHA of the Hyborian era -
Sword of Conan#68
- I'm sure there's
at least one Gorath, but I can't find him/her/it in my notes...but no
connection to any other Gor-th-y characters...Skrull or otherwise...
Gorth was planetary governor of an unidentified colony world on the outer fringe of the Skrull Empire.
During the civil war that followed Galactus'
consumption of Tarnax IV, the Skrull Throneworld, Gorth's world was
spared from the conflict.
Gorth's subjects were astounded by Nebula's
Sanctuary II ship as they saw it on the edges of their world's
Note: None of Gorth's subjects were identified by name
Gorth was planetary governor of an unidentified colony world on the outer fringe of the Skrull Empire.
During the civil war that followed Galactus' consumption of Tarnax
IV, the Skrull Throneworld, Gorth's world was spared from the conflict.
Gorth's subjects were astounded by Nebula's
Sanctuary II ship as they saw it on the edges of their world's
Note: Gorth's world was not identified.
images: (without ads)
Avengers I#259, pg. 11, panel 3 (Gorth's world's capital city);
panel 4 (true form, seated);
panel 5 (growing);
pg. 12, panel 3 (cowering);
panel 6 (subjects);
pg. 2, panel 3 (face);
panel 4 (blasted);
I#259 (September, 1985) - Roger Stern (writer), John Buscema
(penciler/breakdown), Tom Palmer (inker/finisher), Mark Gruenwald
All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z#9 (November,
2006) - Jeff Christiansen (head writer), Chad Anderson, Chris Biggs,
Ronald Byrd, Madison Carter, Anthony Flamini, Michael Hoskin, Sean
McQuaid, Eric Moreels, Mark O'English, Albert Sjoerdsma, Stuart Vandal
(writers), Michael Short (assistant editor), Jeff Youngquist &
Jennifer Grunwald (editors)
Skrulls! (September, 2008) - Ronald Byrd, Michael Hoskin, Gabriel
Shechter, John Rhett Thomas, Stuart Vandal, Jeph York (writers), John
Rhett Thomas (editor), Cory Levine & John Denning (assistant
editors), Jennifer Grunwald & Mark Beazley (editors, special projects), Jeff Youngquist (senior editor, special projects)
First posted: 10/31/2019
Last updated: 11/08/2020
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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