Jonathan Raven was born on an alternate future Earth one year before the sentient, octopus-like Martians invaded the planet and destroyed its nuclear capabilities. In 2006, when he was 5 years old, Jonathan escaped the aliens' second-wave attack of New York City with his mother and his brother, Joshua, only to be captured a short time later. The boys' mother was killed, and the brothers were separated. Joshua was pressed into the service of the Martians' Exterminators, the force responsible for the annihilation of dissidents, and Jonathan was trained as a gladiator to fight other humans for the alien's amusement, eventually earning the gladiatorial title of "Killraven" from the constant chanting of "Kill, Raven! Kill, Raven!" that accompanied his fights.
Jonathan made an unsuccessful escape attempt, for which he was relegated to rehabilitation under the supervision of Keeper Whitman and subjected to unusual experiments. Secretly, Whitman was dedicated to the aliens' destruction, and his treatments granted Jonathan the latent ability to project his consciousness into and control Martian minds, plus enhanced physical prowess that would guarantee his survival in the gladiatorial arena. Whitman also implanted extensive knowledge of human culture and learning into Jonathan's subconscious mind, but blocked his ability to access the information until necessary.
Jonathan eventually returned to the Gladiatorial Institute, where he met Old Skull and together, they defeated the ultimate gladiator Warr in Madison Square Garden. Together, they escaped their captivity and Killraven became leader of a Freemen resistance group, with which he captured the mayor of New York City, a Martian collaborator who escaped and publicly denounced Killraven. Jonathan also located and mortally wounded Keeper Whitman. The scientist told Killraven he possessed the power to destroy the Martians, but died before explaining how.
The Freemen made their way to Florida, and Killraven discovered his ability to project his consciousness into Martian minds. At Cape Canaveral, Jonathan was reunited with his brother, whom the Martians had transformed into the living psychotronic weapon Deathraven. His purpose: to destroy his brother and the Freemen. Using his psionic mind-control ability for the first time, Killraven took possession of a Martian commander's body and killed Deathraven. Following his success, Jonathan gained conscious access to the storehouse of information implanted years before by Whitman.
At some undisclosed time during his war against the Martians, Killraven separated from his Freemen and was briefly joined by Spider-Man who was travelling through time. Later, he was approached by X-51 from Earth-9997. X-51 was seeking out beings from alternate realities to be his "Heralds" to other realities to warn them of Celestial manipulation of these alternate worlds. In exchange for helping on this quest, Killraven was offered the opportunity to learn of a way to defeat the Martians with information from X-51's world. Killraven accepted and joined Bloodstorm of Earth-1298, Deathlok of Earth-7484, Hyperion of Earth-1121, Iron Man of Earth-8410, Spider-Girl of Earth-1122, and Wolverine of Earth-811, all promised their fondest wish for aiding X-51. Each member was split into a group of two and sent to a specific reality to pass on the information to that realities Reed Richards.
Killraven and Deathlok were sent to Earth-1124, A world ruled by Sat-Yr9. Upon their arrival in this world they were confronted by a battalion of Sat-Yr9's royal guard, and the two warriors decided to fight these guards as opposed to surrendering. Eventually they were overwhelmed by sheer number and eventually surrendered. They were brought to a very apathetic Sat-Yr9, who was more interested in Killraven than their warning which wouldn't effect her world for another thousand years. Giving into her seductions, Killraven stayed on Earth-1124 while Deathlok returned to the Watcher's moonbase on Earth-9997.
Killraven, would eventually return to Earth-9997 shortly after when his fellow Heralds were being attacked by Watchers from various alternate realities who were attempting to execute the Watcher of Earth-9997 for whom they felt was responsible for the events that led to the death of the Celestial that grew in that Earth's core. The battle was won by the Heralds when X-51 transported the Watchers to various Earths to be seen by the people who lived on those realities, making them guilty of the same crime they accused Watcher-9997 of. Killraven then accompanied X-51 and the other Heralds to the surface of Earth-9997 to seek out their wishes.
While on Earth-9997 Killraven and his companions aided the New York police in answering a civil disturbance call occurring at the old Baxter Building. They arrived and intervened in a battle between the Guardians of the Galaxy and residents of the Negative Zone. The Guardians were tricked into traveling back in time by Mephisto, who orchestrated things in their own reality so that they would find an incomplete copy of the diary written by Isaac Christians of Earth-9997 detailing the events of that occurred on Earth-9997, prompting them to travel into the past to figure out what caused the mutations so that they could use it to defeat the Badoon, an alien race who had conquered the universe in their timeline/reality.
Once meeting the Guardians, Killraven was informed that their home reality was similar in that it also was invaded by Martians. Knowing this was enough for Killraven to know, feeling that if there was hope for one reality to defeat the Martians than there was a way he could win in his home reality, and he soon returned to his own reality and his own destiny.
Killraven accidentally ended up on Earth-616 after Kang the Conqueror broke the timeline sending multiple beings to modern day. Killraven aided the Avengers in stopping the threat, but was trapped in their reality as well.
Raven was later found by the Winter Soldier in Broadmoor Hospital, as a mental patient. Barnes was investigating a recent Martian invasion in London, as well as other invasions made periodically over the decades.
Powers and Abilities
- As a result of experiments performed by Keeper Whitman, Killraven possesses enhanced reflexes, strength and stamina.
- Keeper Whitman has also implanted a number of artificial memories within Killraven, potentially giving him an encyclopedic knowledge of pre-invasion humanity. The memories have proved difficult to access at will, however, and often have holes in the information. In most subjects Killraven is only capable of general recollections, such as "(President) Kennedy, I know that name."
- Keeper Whitman's experiments have given him a form of clairsentience. This manifests as the psionic ability to project his consciousness into Martian minds. The ability has proven difficult to control, occurring at random more often than at will. Killraven has been able to see and feel what a Martian experiences, but has only been able to control the affected Martian once. It was eventually determined that only Martians are affected because the power is weak, and Martians are easier to target due to their natural affinity for telepathy. The sensations are strongest when Killraven kills a Martian, meaning that he too feels the pain of their death.
- Killraven has years of gladiatorial training and experience, making him a master of most melee weapons, particularly swords and his silver stars. He has demonstrated an ability to engage multiple enemies simultaneously.
- Killraven initially wore the weapons harness he used as a gladiator, but discarded it in favor of a simple set of armor and chainmail looted from a destroyed museum. Killraven also usually wears a metallic headband, and set of metal arm bands made from a flexible metal alloy.
- Killraven has been known to use many weapons as they become available, but he most often relies on his proto-edged sword, a blade he looted from a partially-destroyed museum.
- Though Killraven seems to have discarded most of the gear from his gladiator days, he has maintained a cache of "silver stars." The five-pointed throwing stars have razor-sharp edges, and can be primed to explode on impact. Killraven initially kept the stars on the waist of his gladiatorial weapons harness, but now keeps them on a strap across his chest.
- Killraven most commonly travels via his Serpent Horse, a mutated creature resembling a horse with reptilian characteristics, which he tamed after escaping from the Martian Masters.
- Several Killraven strips were partly redrawn and re-lettered to create the character Apeslayer in Marvel UK's British Planet of the Apes title.
- If Jim Valentino would have kept writing the Guardians of the Galaxy, he would have made Killraven join the team in his 50s and forming an attraction to Yellowjacket. It would also be revealed that he was the son of Franklin Richards.
- A five issue miniseries was planned for the character created by Robert Kirkman and Rob Liefeld for 2008, but never saw the light of day.
- 65 appearance(s) of Jonathan Raven (Earth-691)
- 10 minor appearance(s) of Jonathan Raven (Earth-691)
- 2 mention(s) of Jonathan Raven (Earth-691)
- 49 image(s) of Jonathan Raven (Earth-691)
- 8 quotation(s) by or about Jonathan Raven (Earth-691)
Links and References
- Killraven at Wikipedia
- Marvel Directory
- Comic Book Artist #3 (Winter 1999): Neal Adams interview
- The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Earth-Killraven
- Marvel Chronology Project - Killraven & Co.
- The Warren Magazines Interviews: Don McGregor