Dreadstar® is copyright 2010 by Jim Starlin and is a registered Trademark of Jim Starlin.
Vanth Dreadstar was born on the planet Byfrexia, a harsh and frigid world located in the Vega system. Vanth's story begins when as a teenager he is forced to witness the brutal slaying and devouring of his parents at the hands of snow beasts. Stranded and miles away from any settlements, he would have died of exposure and starvation had he not found the Sword of Power created and left there long before by Lord Aknaton. The weapon gives Vanth wondrous powers allowing him not only to survive but to thrive.
Vanth's grief over his parents' deaths drives him temporarily mad and he declares a one man war against the snow beasts, hunting and killing all he can find. Since the beasts are the primary food source of neighbouring settlements these are soon almost decimated due to Vanth's actions. The settlers in their turn hunt the "Cold Man" bent on bringing him to justice before he obliterates their food supply and chances of survival. Vanth instead hijacks a ship and leaves the planet. Sometime later Byfrexia is invaded by the Zygoteans, an evil alien race in the process of conquering and wiping out the Milky Way. Vanth returns to Byfrexia to defend his people from the invasion. With his unique powers he singlehandedly sets back the Zygoteans' invasion plan, prompting the Byfrexians to name him leader of the rebellion.
Aknaton eventually returns to Byfrexia and finds Vanth, recruiting him as a bodyguard for three special beings Aknaton had a part in creating, Za, Juliet & Whis'Par, beings who are part of his plan to stop the Zygotean menace. Vanth leaps at the chance that there might be a plan to destroy the Zygoteans though he is shaken when Aknaton reveals the exact nature of the plan to him and the others. Aknaton has reasoned that since the Zygoteans are undefeatable and the death of the galaxy cannot be prevented the only remaining kindness is to make the end as quick and painless as possible. He therefore long ago created the Infinity Horn whose purpose is to destroy the entire Milky Way.
Appalled but convinced that Aknaton's plan is the only option, Vanth and the others agree. Fighting their way past an army of Zygoteans and their slaves (who have become aware of the plan and fight desperately to stop it) they journey to a cavern on the planet Dreamsend. As Aknaton and Vanth hold off the Zygoteans outside Za, Juliet, and Whis'Par enter the cavern and together sound the Infinity Horn destroying the entire Milky Way. Just in time Aknaton uses his mystic powers to encase himself and Vanth in a bubble of force and throw them into intergalactic space.
A million years later the force bubble crashes on a
planet named Caldor in another galaxy where almost immediately Aknaton goads
Vanth into shooting him in a fit of rage and guilt over the obliteration of the
Milky Way. Mortally wounded Aknaton confesses that he goaded Vanth into killing
him because he cannot live with the guilt over what he has done. As he dies he
tells Vanth that he saved him and brought him here because this galaxy (later
identified as the Empirical Galaxy) is at a point where it might or might not go
the way of the Milky Way developing Zygoteans of its own. Aknaton wants Vanth to
change the destiny of this new galaxy or failing that find the Infinity Horn and
give this galaxy the same mercy killing given the Milky Way.
Vanth instead tries to live a pastoral existence on Oedi's planet of peaceful cat-people but his peace is disturbed by the arrival of Darklock who wants him to get involved in the conflict between the two major forces in the galaxy, the Monarchy and the theocratical Instrumentality. Vanth refuses until the war comes to his planet wiping out most of the population. Oedi survives and joins them; Willow and Skeevo join later, though the team is in place for the first issue. Dreadstar takes the side of the Monarchy against the evil Lord High Papal of the Instrumentality but his team end up becoming fugitives when the Monarchy falls and go to great lengths to try to uncover a traitor in their midst.
Eventually the Church of the Instrumentality invade the Monarchy's home planet thanks to a traitor's help and ends the war. With the destruction of the Monarchy the book enters a second phase in which the Lord High Papal hunts down Dreadstar. He does this rather quickly and soon there is a huge battle between Vanth and the Lord High Papal. However not only does Dreadstar lose but the Lord High Papal shatters his soul sword which was the only thing keeping Dreadstar young and alive. Without it Dreadstar begins to age rapidly. We learn that the sword is actually a sentient being and it merges with Dreadstar to save his life and give him super-powers. They continue the fight against the Church but discover that they have a traitor in their midst. In the middle of figuring out who the traitor is Oedi seemingly dies and Doc Delphi disappears into another dimension. At their lowest point the Lord High Papal hunts them all down and captures them.
But one of the Lord High Papal's agents Ultra Violet switches sides when she finally starts to believe that Dreadstar is not the mass murderer he's accused of being and everyone seems to be double and triple crossing everyone else. Dreadstar and company escape their execution, Oedi turns up alive, the traitor is revealed (and the answer to who it is turns out to be extremely clever) and the Church is overthrown. The Lord High Papal escapes setting up another fight to the finish in which Vanth kills his enemy but is severly wounded. The entity from the sword that bonded with him heals him but when he wakes from his coma he finds that two years have passed.
Awakening in the aftermath of the war; a bureaucracy where those with extraordinary powers like himself are commissioned as policemen to track down others of their kind. Oedi, Willow, and Ultra Violet who are outcasts for different reasons are kept away from public view because people don't want to be reminded of the bad days. Violet is depressed because of this and because the new world is in some ways, worse than the old one and eventually commits suicide. The abuses of the government dovetail with what Willow has found out about the corruption in the system. Willow who has never been comfortable with her telepathy and blocking the thoughts of others out so much transfers her mind to the central computer and takes over the government. Vanth can't believe she would do it and tries to stop her but he's too late. She tells him that she's much happier and can do much more good but he has lost another friend. In quick succession he loses Violet, Willow, and Syzygy (who dies in issue when he defeats the Twelve Gods of the Instrumentality).
At this point Vanth begins drinking too much and contemplating suicide. In a brief fantasy scene he shoots himself but then decides instead that he needs a new purpose. Before he can quit he and the rest of the bounty hunters are fired by Willow who is trying to clean up the corruption of the previous regime. She has Skeevo arrested while the rest of the group goes to a bar. While they contemplate their futures Dreadstar simply says he's going to break Skeevo out of jail, steal a ship and leave the galaxy. This excites everyone and with Willow surreptitiously helping Dreadstar, Oedi, Skeevo and two new crew members Teuton and Iron Angel are off for more adventure.
Stranded in a nonfunctional ship between galaxies the crew finds a baby floating in space who quickly grows to maturity. He brings it on board and strange things begin to happen. Iron Angel is immediately suspicious of it and wants to kill it but Skeevo of all people saves the baby and adopts it. Junior grows incredibly fast, begins talking quickly and develops an attraction to Iron Angel who never trusts him and wants nothing to do with him. As the crew grapples with this development they receive a distress signal from a lonely planet. On this planet resides Lord Palafox who once ruled the entire galaxy until his son rebelled against him, seized power and exiled him. Palafox appeals to Dreadstar to help him regain his throne and after some debate among the crew Dreadstar agrees. They help Palafox gather allies until he is ready to launch a full-scale attack on his son. In the end Palafox's son is defeated (although not killed) and Palafox has regained his power.
Vanth realises he has made a terrible mistake and has a breakdown. He understands that the carnage Palafox is unleashing on the galaxy is largely his fault and his mind can't handle it. He shuts down but then as he dreams of his dead wife and the life he no longer has, he snaps and starts killing the soldiers who are searching for his crew with wild abandon. His attempts to make it right lead into the second grand arc of the book. Junior switches to Palafox's side when it becomes clear that Dreadstar and his crew are turning against the new emperor and Palafox conjures up a sword of power so that they can battle the new rebels. Dreadstar tries to stop Junior from grabbing the sword because he understands that it is not unlike his own sword that was destroyed years before except evil. Of course Junior gets the sword which ultimately leads to his downfall because he can't forget his love for Iron Angel and give himself over to the sword. The sword like Dreadstar's was is sentient, female, and rather jealous. Junior was supposed to love it but by becoming mortal he opened himself up to mortal emotions and his love for Iron Angel ultimately destroys him.
Junior it turns out is the last remnant of the Twelve Gods of the Instrumentality who were destroyed in and he thought that by becoming mortal he would learn how to get his revenge on Dreadstar. Instead his love for Angel prevents him from killing her which brings the wrath of the sword down upon him. He kills himself rather than kill Angel but his soul drags Angel's with him as it departs leaving her body a shell. It's a horrible fate and one that spurs Dreadstar to the next phase of his adventure. The instant Junior departs he resurrects the Lord High Papal who fights Vanth again before being forced to flee.
A few years later the Lord High Papal reappears with Dreadstar's daughter who apparently slays him. By the final issue however Dreadstar is alive and back to his old self.
|Vanth Dreadstar possesses an enchanted sword that provides him with a number of superpowers. He can absorb the sword into his body, and retrieve it when needed. The sword can repel energy blasts, and even redirect them towards an enemy. The sword also gives Dreadstar the strength of twenty men, enhanced reactions, and allows him to rapidly heal from virtually any bodily wound. The sword also grants him immortality and the ability to speak and understand any language he hears.|
Darklock is a high bishop and assistant treasurer of the Instrumentality’s mystical order of Vieltoor but abandons the priesthood because the fates have chosen him to take part in a more important quest. To prepare himself for this future labour he seeks out and gains vast powers but these powers cost him an eye, an arm, two legs and the woman he loved. Cybernetics replace four of his losses. Darklock is sent by the fates to a planet called Caldor there to meet and prepare Vanth Dreadstar for the day he will force peace on the two superpowers of the Empirical Galaxy, the Monarchy and the Instrumentality who have been fighting each other in a war that has lasted for two hundred years. Syzygy Darklock is a powerful sorcerer.
Willow is a cybernetic telepath, a rare kind of telepath who has the ability of sensing and commanding computers and robotic devices as well as sentient minds. She uses a "seeing-eye monk" named Rainbow as her eyes via telepathy. Willow is a mine worker who is rescued by Dreadstar and stows away on his ship. Syzygy figures out that she is a latent telepath and tutors her in the use of her powers. He discovers that she was raped by her father when she was very young and this has kept her from realizing her true potential.
After the Papal's defeat Willow eventually chooses to take over the new government's main computer renouncing her body and leaving a copy of her own personality to travel with her friends to a new galaxy in order to have new adventures. The fate of the original Willow in her new guise as the sentient government computer is never revealed; her travelling copy however eventually decides to take over the soulless body of a later recruit Iron Angel initially in order to help against a resurrected Lord Papal. She decides to keep that body and begins to romance Vanth Dreadstar anew. While in Iron Angel's body she becomes pregnant with Vanth's child.
Oedi is the last of a race that had been bred to be warriors but turned out to be peaceful farmers. He wanted nothing more than to live quietly on Caldor his home planet, but that life ended when the Monarchy ships killed his entire race. The only survivors were Dreadstar, Oedi and Syzygy they decided to put a stop to the war by becoming a wild card in the middle. Along the way they picked up other recruits with the same ideals as them. He begged Dreadstar and Syzygy to take him with them when they left, and he became an accomplished warrior. Even though Dreadstar is the hero Oedi is the soul of the little group of rebels and when it appears that he dies (he doesn't) the team loses some of its coherence.
In the aftermath of the Papal's defeat, Oedi finds himself running the department where those with extraordinary powers like are commissioned as policemen to track down others of their kind.
Zirco had four bionic limbs, a metal skeleton, hydraulically enhanced
muscles and silicon-reinforced skin. This granted her
Claudia was identified as a perfect subject for the
Lord Papal's cyborg soldier program. Church agents posing as rebels killed
her husband. Having no one else to live for Claudia agreed to turn herself
over to the Church. A week after the procedure was completed Claudia woke up
Years later she joined the Empirical galaxy's
Special Forces Unit hunting down paranormal war criminals in the aftermath
of the Instrumentality's defeat. Following a training session where she
disabled three combat bots in two seconds Iron Angel met Vanth Dreadstar who
had just revived
Ultimately Willow transferred her mind into Angel's body and helped Vanth drive off a resurrected Papal. Vanth and Willow later have a daughter which is stillborn, but a portion of the power within Vanth's sword combined with a portion of Vanth's power as well as Iron Angel's power, hide within the infant (who was named Kalla) nurturing her. By the end Claudia was now in some way part of the sentience within Vanth/Kalla's sword.
Skeevo is a freebooter, thief and smuggler and provides a great deal of comic relief throughout the series. He remains with the group right up until the end of the final mini series.
Kala is kidnapped by the Papal as an infant and raised by him to destroy Vanth. She wields his soulsword and is tricked into impaling him with it. Eventually she rebels and joins with her true father against the Papal.
At the start of the series in the Empirical Galaxy Lord Papal is granted ‘all the power he needs’ to fight off Vanth and his team by his gods. It’s hard to say if the extreme power he was granted pushed him to become a maniac or if the tendencies already existed. In his zeal to capture or kill Vanth and Syzygy Lord Papal sends nuclear weapons to destroy the city of Chichano filled with millions of people. To show the extent of his depravity Lord Papal blames the nuclear explosion on rebels and the next day states that they have apprehended those responsible and sentenced them to death. It fails of course but the event continues to come up as the Papal naturally blames Dreadstar for it. He uses this propaganda to prosecute the rebels later but also to turn two survivors a brother and sister into energy-powered agents for his cause. The sister Violet begins to have conflicting feelings about her missions almost immediately and eventually turns on the Church. In another subplot Dreadstar builds a robot "messiah" to counteract the Church's influence. In their first major showdown the Papal brutally defeats Dreadstar and 'breaks' his soul sword. In the second showdown however the Papal is finally killed.