Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the alien who is only as strong as he thinks he is: Gladiator
Appearances in Heroclix: X-Men: Rise and Fall, Wizkids Marvel 19, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine and the X-Men, Galactic Guardians: Annihilators, Galactic Guardians, Wizkids Marvel 15, Mutant Mayhem
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #107
Team Affiliations: Imperial Guard, Annihilators
Created By: Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
Kallark is a Strontian born under Shi’ar rule. Strontians all have the potential for incredible power but require a devotion to a cause to activate it. The Shi’ar emperor fears a Strontian rebellion and orders Kallark and the other Strontians in the Imperial Guard to kill the Strontian elders. Only Kallark is devoted enough to carry out the order, earning the other Strontian guards his wrath as well. For this act, Kallark is named Praetor of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard.
Gladiator is a foe and friend of the X-Men, depending on what his Emperor or Empress order. He battles the X-Men over the fate of the Phoenix and aids them against a Shi’ar traitor, Lord Samedar. He pursues a group of Skrulls to Earth and battles the Fantastic Four, believing them to be the Skrulls.
By the time Gladiator returns to the empire, Deathbird has staged a coup and become the Empress of the empire. She orders Gladiator and the Imperial Guard to battle the Starjammers and Excalibur. Deathbird only orders a retreat once she learns her sister Lilandra is with the rebels. Gladiator is captured by Tyrant, the former herald of Galactus, that hopes to harness his power. Galactus stops his wayward herald.
Gladiator continues to be sent to Earth, to protect it after the Onslaught incident and to transform it into a prison. He seeks the X-Men’s aid in defeating the Phalanx. Though he later attacks them at the order of Lilandra, who is under the control of Cassandra Nova. He is instrumental in freeing Lilandra from Nova’s control.
Gladiator infiltrates the Kyln, an intergalactic prison and discovers an amnesiac Beyonder. He is then guided by the Living Tribunal and battles the Champion of the Universe to free a planet under the Champion’s rule. Gladiator later invites the Uni-Power to the Empire as a guest, though it is temporarily waylaid.
Gladiator captures Vulcan, the long lost brother of Cylops and Havok, after Vulcan decimates several Shi’ar settlements. Vulcan is freed by a Shi’ar rebel and takes the throne with the help of Deathbird. Gladiator continues to serve Vulcan, though he hates him. He serves Vulcan loyally while they expand the empire and destroy a race of ancient enemies, the Scy’ar Tal. Gladiator is pushed to his breaking point, however, when Vulcan orders him to kill Lilandra. He abandons his post and saves her. However, while attempting to return her to power, Lilandra is assassinated.
Vulcan battles the leader of the Kree, Black Bolt, and both are seemingly killed. In the ensuing power vacuum, Gladiator becomes the new emperor of the Empire. While emperor of the Shi’ar, Gladiator also joins the Annihilators and battles the Dire Wraiths as well as the Universal Church of Truth. Gladiator sends his son, Kubark, to Earth and enrolls him in the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. When the Phoenix returns to Earth, Gladiator speeds there to rescue his son. He battles the Phoenix Force Five and is handily defeated.
During the war against the Builders, Gladiator represents the Shi’ar on the Galactic Council. He also personally commands the Shi’ar fleet in battle. After the collapse and reemergence of the Omniverse, Gladiator is enraged when Black Panther’s Alpha Flight transforms Gladiator into a world creating force.