Killraven grew up on an Earth that had been conquered by the Martians. When he was young his mother was killed trying to escape to safety with him. Killraven was captured by the human sympathisers who had killed his mother and turned over to the slave pits. Once Killraven grew up he was forced to become a gladiator after years of living in ignorance of humanities past to the point where he was still unaware of how the Martians had come to rule. A man named Keeper Whitman supervised his training as a child, while he underwent twenty years of indoctrination, when it came time for him to graduate to the adult arena he had a device implanted in Killraven's skull that would allow the Martians to share in his sensory and emotional experiences during gladiator combat.
Killraven was psychically manipulated into agreeing to participate and earned his names from the cheers of the crowds urging him on to kill. After five years of consecutive victories a member of his own gladiatorial school, the Spartans, challenged him during a match and Killraven began to experience greater doubt in regards to why it was necessary for him to kill to live. Around this time he earned the trust of M'Shulla when he urged him to play dead during combat so he would not have to kill him, a decision he knew would lead to punishment. Old Skull, a brain damaged gladiator trainer, had told Killraven some things about what the world had been like before, leading Killraven to become more rebellious and resistant. After six years of fighting in the arena he refused to continue and was exposed to powerful mind control in an effort to placate him but his telepathic resistance manifested.
The manifestation of this power allowed him to be able to fight back against his captors and to lead a band of other gladiators in his arena near Chicago to freedom who would go on to take up the name Freemen. Some time after their escape, and shortly after raiding a martian facility, they happened across a group of human sympathisers trying to capture a young boy named John in Manhattan whose mother they had just killed. Killraven led his people against the sympathisers, called Martian Hunter-Slaves or 'Keepers', and chose to take the young boy with them as he would die on his own and his circumstances reminded him of his own young life.
John led Killraven and his compatriots to his bunker home where he, his mother and grandfather had lived, the only survivors from what had originally been a several hundred large group. John's adoptive grandfather had been listening in on the Keepers radio communications and had learned about Killraven and his peoples attacks against the martians and their sympathisers facilities. Upon learning that killraven knew little about their history the old man showed him their computers records regarding the invasion. While Killraven and his people were learning the base was attacked by the Keepers who had tracked them by their stolen bugged weaponry. Killraven and the Freemen forced them to retreat but then had to escape themselves when a Martian gas weapon was fired into the base. John's grandfather showed them to a rocket powered bullet train they could use to escape but chose to stay behind to operate the train for them while requesting they take John with them. Moments after their escape they were captured by a bounty hunter named Mint Julep.
After capturing him Mint Julep had his mind scanned to learn more about him, including his training and how he was able to escape the Martians. Killraven's telepathic resistance freed him from the mind probe as it had before. Mint Julep revealed that she wasn't planning on just handing him over and hoped that instead they might come to a mutually beneficial arrangement in her quest for further power. Killraven listened to her offer but denied her as he believed she would only replace Martian rule with her own equally corrupt one. After denying her he was led away and managed to escape his guards and then free Volcana Ash. Killraven freed the rest of the Freemen and together with Volcana's help they were able to escape. Volcana was taken down by Mint Julep though who took her with her, prompting Killraven to promise he would rescue her.
Killraven and his people spent several days lost in the wilderness with Killraven still insistent on rescuing Volcana. Old Skull and John attracted the attention of a massive mutated fish which used to be a human being and Killraven had to intervene and kill it to save their lives. The creature had been created by scientists working out of Old Washington which Mint Julep had told Killraven about and which they made their way to. Killraven, Old Skull and John snuck close and blended in to see what they could find and learned that the people were enslaved by a warlord calling himself Lucifer who lived in the White House and demanded massive tributes of food as payment for supposedly keeping the Martians away.
Killraven easily handled Lucifer's men by himself and learned that Lucifer kept the local populace scared and cowed to control them so he could have whatever he wanted and that the Martians left them alone because Lucifer did business with the Keepers. Killraven exposed the truth of Lucifer, that he was in reality just an aging, ugly fat man with no real fighting skill who'd grown dependant on his fighters and the people being too afraid to rise up against him. The locals turned on Lucifer when they learned the truth and beat him to death. Killraven was disheartened to learn that all people who lived free weren't like him, seeking to free others and live alongside one another harmoniously. One of the locals showed Killraven to where Lucifer brought some of their crops and food and discovered a cave network with Martian technology, an underground citadel that he believed Volcana may have been brought by Mint Julep and where he, Carmilla and M'Shulla were attacked by a three headed monster.
Working together the three of them were able to fell the beast called Cerberus. While it's third head, a human man grafted onto it, still lived he told them that he had once been a scientist working for the Martians until he spoke up against them and was turned into a monster for it. The scientist confirmed that Mint Julep was below in the citadel but warned them against entering which they chose to ignore. Upon infiltrating the citadel they found Mint Julep and Killraven attempted to convince her to join up with them while he had her lead them to Volcana. When Killraven found Volcana being experimented on by human scientists and a Martian in its Tripod he was enraged and rushed in to save her, finding a weak spot on the Tripod so that he could kill it. killraven freed Volcana who was grateful and surprised at the rescue.
As they were making their escape Killraven made mental contact with a Martian mind through his implant and experienced memories of Mars. Carmilla was concerned that this contact might have allowed the Martians to learn Killraven's location and with the citadels entire martial force coming for them Killraven freed the prisoner experiments from their cells to fight with them. Volcana removed Mint Julep's slave collar believing she was holding back, removing a slave collar was punishable by death and Julep proved Volcana right by finding an escape route that Killraven chose not to use as he had found Martian weaponry capable of destroying their tripods and he and the Freemen used it to fight the forces in the citadel. A creature named Grok helped them to escape and they chose to bring him along with them. After their escape Volcana took Killraven to a lake as she was unsure if she would be able to control her powers while 'distracted' by their first kiss.
Killraven and the Freemen had stayed in Washington, the villagers he had previously helped were grateful to him and he also felt responsible for them. Killraven's reputation also meant that other pockets of survivors had been drawn to him and set up camp in the area despite the heavy snowfall. The Martians began a physical attack on the village settlement at the same time the Siren named Skarlett began a psychic attack on Killravens mind with the help of eight other Sirens, attempting to convince him that he loved her and wanted to return to the citadel with her.
Killraven was able to resist once again and broke free and found himself under attack by Keepers seeking to capture him. Killraven defeated them easily and saw smoke rising from the village, when he reached it he found more dead Keepers and learned that the Freemen and villagers had fought against the attack with the Martian technology that John had gotten working for them and had all survived. Hawk, one of the Freemen, celebrated their victory and believed they could do it again and defeat all the Martians which Killraven argued against as they had only caught them by surprise this time and now the Martians would know what weaponry they had.
John discovered a computer within one of the tripods that had information about their weapons cache and largest stronghold, the Chicago citadel that Killraven had escaped from. Killraven led the Freemen to the Citadel with the knowledge of how to turn the Martians own gas weapon against them to wipe out the Martians inside the Citadel without harming their technology but was concerned about the human slaves and whether they would be able to free them first, something that he pledged to do anything he could to achieve. Hawk suddenly turned on them, knocking out Volcana and M'Shulla before attempting to murder Killraven whose Martian blades he deactivated. Killraven managed to take him down by having to kill him but was then himself knocked unconscious by Grok while distracted by approaching Keepers who told him he had walked into a trap.
Grok revealed himself to be a Martian who had been modified to survive on the surface of the Earth and who was capable of controlling minds and that that was why he had been imprisoned in the cells of the citadel they rescued him from. Grok had implanted the idea to open the cells in their minds and then done the same to John so he would believe he had come up with the strategy to hit the citadel himself. Grok had also been the one to neutralise Killraven's weaponry and urge Hawk to attack to soften Killraven up while he summoned the Keepers so he could deliver him personally with greater ease as he could not control Killraven's mind, something he had tried before when Killraven experienced Grok's memories of Mars.
Grok attempted to communicate with the Martians who would only speak to him through a slave. Killraven tried to talk M'Shulla and Volcana free of his control and managed to free M'Shulla when Grok sent him to kill him. Killraven fought Grok before the tank containing the Martians broke from Volcana's powers being directed against it and found that Volcana had also been freed so Grok could concentrate on his mission to prove his superiority and be accepted.
killraven told them to escape while he went after Grok to avenge Hawk's death. After a gruelling battle Killraven was able to deal Grok a death blow and contemplated doing the same to the helpless Martians who had reactivated his weapons so he could fight Grok but ultimately decided that as they were no threat to him killing them would be murder which would diminish him. The Martians communicated with Killraven, telling him some of the logic behind their coming to Earth and that they had found his honour and compassion worthy of further consideration. Killraven left the citadel as did all the captive slaves other than those the Martians used to speak to humans as they had touched the Martians mind and seen beauty there. Killraven considered the change this had wrought and the possibility that one day it might be possible for them to coexist. Killraven returned to his people prepared to continuing to live.
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