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Comic Book / Killraven

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Killraven is a Marvel Comics series created by Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, and Gerry Conway. The character of Killraven first appeared in Marvel's Amazing Adventures series in 1973, and has appeared in multiple alternate realities since then.

In the future of Earth-691, Earth was invaded by the Martians from War of the Worlds in 2001, who successfully conquered the planet and subjugated humanity. Post-conquest, men are used only for breeding or gladitorial combat, while women are used solely to produce children for the Martians to eat. After escaping from the games, former gladiator Jonathan Raven (dubbed "Killraven") joins the freedom fighters in order to search for his lost brother Joshua.


Killraven contains examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Martians of Killraven's world are an Always Lawful Evil race.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Mint Julep, courtesy of Martian experiments while she was in the womb, which has left her with bright green skin.
  • Amazon Brigade: Mint Julep's Freewomen.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Old Skull has a rather child-like nature and often refers to himself in the third person. It's unclear if this is due to some sort of mental deficiency or if there's some other factor at work.
  • Arc Welding: Eventually, it turned out Killraven's timeline and that of the original Guardians of the Galaxy are one and the same. The second volume would return the favor by having John show up in one alternate reality actually leading a version of the Guardians.
  • Arc Villain: Skar is about the only one of Killraven's adversaries who actually lasts more than one or two issues.
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  • Bad Future: On June 26th 2001, the Martians returned for round 2, having taking steps to prevent their previous defeat repeating itself. Of course, the march of time in our world means this future looks little outdated now.
  • Barbarian Hero: Killraven's character design is more than a little reminiscent of a red-headed Conan the Barbarian.
  • Big Bad: The Overlord, the Martian responsible for convincing his race to give Earth another try, and who rules Earth.
  • Breeding Slave: An even more disturbing than usual version of this - those babies? They're food for the Martians.
  • But Now I Must Go: Volcana helps Killraven and his gang for a few issues, then takes off to continue her search for her sister.
  • Cain and Abel: Killraven and Deathraven.
  • Canon Immigrant: Killraven is eventually introduced in the mainstream Marvel universe, preceded by his mother.
  • Captain Ersatz: Apeslayer, a character created for Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes title, is literally just Killraven with his serial numbers filed off. Strips from the Killraven series were even re-drawn and re-lettered outright.
  • Cargo Cult: Killraven and M'shulla happen across one who worship... Kelloggs mascots, and are totally willing to kill and die to protect their "treasure", even after Killraven tells them he's got no interest in taking it.
  • Cool Horse: The Serpent Stallion, Killraven's preferred mount of choice.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Killraven and his Freedom Fighters, though the 'crazy' really only tends to come out in crossovers.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Killraven was already a deadly gladiator when he was brought to Keeper Whitman, who further enhanced his physical prowess and added in a few little extras to boot.
  • Evil Counterpart: Deathraven, who was created by the Martians to... well, kill Killraven. He's actually Killraven's long-missing brother Joshua.
  • Failed Future Forecast: Since the original series was made in the 70s... yeah, there's more than a few.
    • TV was replaced in the 90s by the "mural phonics system" (live your own adventure!). Cars were replaced as well.
    • Thermonuclear power became mankind's fuel source of choice, which big oil went along with.
    • There were manned NASA missions to Mars in the 90s, and one female astronaut, who isn't Sally Ride.
    • Cattle farming died off in the 90s thanks to changes in food production technology.
  • Fantastic Racism: Killraven really, really hates Martians. It's not hard to see why, of course, but it does make him a bit intractable when it comes to exploring any other options in dealing with enemies other than Kill 'Em All.
  • Fiery Redhead: Volcana Ash, the Freedom Fighters' redheaded ally, as well as Killraven himself.
  • Filler: Issue #33, which it freely cops to in the opening page.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: John thinks Joshua's been brainwashed by the Martians, but Joshua sets him straight. He likes being their wolf-man servant, and he's totally happy to kill his little brother.
  • Future Imperfect: Abounds, thanks to the Martians taking pains to eliminate human civilization.
    • The Freemen find the Golden Arch, but they and the humans who live there have no idea what it is, thinking it must be an old religious site... and not just a former fast food place.
    • M'Shulla makes a quip about "bringing home the bacon", even though neither he or Killraven know what that means.
  • Gladiator Games: The Martians hold these and young Killraven comes of age in them, being forced to fight against other humans (including his own friends) for the amusement of his alien captors.
  • The Grotesque: Grok, the deformed, ape-like clone of Carmilla Frost's father.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Carmilla starts out as an extremely unwilling servant of the Martians, and sides with Killraven first chance she gets, but this leads to a bit of tension between the two of them.
  • Human Hard Drive: Killraven was secretly implanted with an encyclopedic knowledge of pre-invasion human history and culture. Unfortunately for him, he was never trained to access all that information at will, so it mostly comes up in unhelpful recollections or is spotty and incomplete.
  • I Die Free: Keeper Whitman turns out to have been not such a fan of the Martians as he claimed.
  • Jerkass: Hawk, who gets increasingly nasty and sullen as events go on.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Carmilla stretches out the mystery of just who Gork is for months. Eventually John yells at her about this... at which point she reveals the truth with no fuss.
  • Les Collaborateurs: After finally meeting up with Deathraven, Killraven learns that Joshua has become a collaborator with the Martians.
  • Lost Superweapon: Super is a bit of a stretch, but Killraven has a habit of picking up useful weapons from old destroyed museums, including his blue chainmail and proto-edged sword.
  • Living Weapon: Killraven was turned into a living silver bullet against the Martians by Keeper Whitman, but most of his true potential is held back by a mental Restraining Bolt that Whitman didn't get around to bothering how to disable before being killed.
  • Mama Bear: The fight between Killraven's gang and Morning Prey happens because they unthinkingly killed her babies.
  • Neat Freak: Atallon, overseer of Lifedeath. Just before killing him, his former captives make sure to dirty him up good, as a final insult.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: One issue has John mind-linking with a young Martian who's beginning to experience doubt and uncertainty. Unfortunately, John's actions in that issue cause it to hate humans, a fact John knows.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Overlord plans on having John gruesomely tortured to death and broadcast to every human slave. John's stoic defiance and following escape just gives humans a symbol of hope.
  • Not Worth Killing: Skar runs into a human living in a wreck while on his hunt for Killraven, but after hearing the man talk decides it'd be crueler to let him live.
  • Punny Name: One of Killraven's allies is a plant-human hybrid named Mint Julep. Another is named Volcana Ash.
  • Purple Prose: Doc McGregor's narration particularly.
  • Psychic Powers: Killraven has weak ones that are attuned to Martian minds.
  • Rated M for Manly: Part of the reason for the character's obscurity, sadly.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: Killraven's not a ninja, but his most recognizable character design has a bandolier with star-shaped shruiken. He's quite handy with them.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Killraven's first outfit looks... well, like a male stripper's.
    • Carmilla apparently does lab work in a bikini and panties. She keeps it up after joining the Freemen, only at one point changing up to a cloak when in the middle of winter.
  • Survivalist Stash: The Freedom Fighters have these.
  • Third Eye: Killraven has one, though he doesn't know it. He thinks it's a scar on his forehead as it's usually closed.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted: He's called Killraven for a reason.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Amazing Adventures #34. It's Hawk.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Killraven and his "brother" M'Shulla.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Martian occupation ends when Killraven unleashes a zombie virus among humans and human infants, effectively poisoning the Martians' food supply.


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