Bolivar Trask in Professor Xavier and the X-Men #16 (February 1997). Art by Nick Gnazzo.
|First appearance||The X-Men #14 (November 1965)|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Full name||Bolivar Trask|
|Place of origin||New York City|
Bolivar Trask is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a military scientist whose company Trask Industries is well known as the creator of the Sentinels. He is also the father of Larry Trask and Madame Sanctity.
Fictional character biography
Bolivar Trask was an anthropologist who saw the rise of mutants as a threat to humanity. Bolivar was the father of Larry Trask, ironically revealed to be a mutant precognitive. Bolivar had realized this, and gave his son a medallion which suppresses his power. Bolivar is also the father of Tanya, a mutant whose ability to travel through time causes her to vanish but is rescued by Rachel Summers in a far future and become a part of the Askani under the alias Madame Sanctity.[volume & issue needed] Tanya's travels through time would result in property damage to Trask's land. This mysterious situation would only further cement his attitudes.[volume & issue needed]
Bolivar decides that humanity has to fight back against the mutants and develops robotic guardians for humanity, known as the Sentinels. Larry was shielded from the Sentinels' ability to detect mutants due to the medallion Bolivar had given his son. Bolivar publishes articles on the threat of mutants. One of these articles showed an illustration of mutant overlords keeping humans as slaves. This illustration would become a symbol for human/mutant relations and several years later Quentin Quire and his Omega Gang would base their appearance on this picture.[volume & issue needed]
Professor Charles Xavier invites Trask for a public debate on human/mutant relations. Xavier argues that mutants are just like humans and not evil, but that does not convince Trask revealing the Sentinels. But Trask and his scientists had apparently created a too adaptive, open-ended tactical/strategic programming, and as a result the Sentinels turn against him, claiming that they were superior to humans. The Sentinels left with Trask and brought him to his first creation, the Master Mold, who orders him to construct more Sentinels.
To stop the Sentinels, Xavier summons the X-Men. The X-Men fight the Sentinels, but Beast is captured. To reveal the X-Men's secrets, the Sentinels tell Trask to use a device to read Beast's mind. Trask discovers that the X-Men were mutants protecting humanity and realizes that he had been wrong. He helps the X-Men defeat the Sentinels by sacrificing himself to destroy the Sentinel's base.
Recently in X-Force, Bastion having been reactivated by the Purifiers has apparently resurrected Bolivar Trask through use of a Technarch to be part of a team of the world's foremost mutant killers. He was apparently given credit for the deaths of all mutants, being the inventor of the Sentinels, had the highest record of mutant kills: 16,521,618. Consistent with the remorse he had displayed at the time of his death, Trask killed himself after escaping Bastion's mental control.
Bolivar Trask's death would not be the end of the Sentinels:
- Master Mold would return and Bolivar's son Larry Trask, still unaware of his own mutant status (who had prophetic dreams), would follow in his father's footsteps and create new Sentinels to avenge his father.
- Later, Bolivar's nephew Donald Trask III would be recruited by the villain Cassandra Nova to gain control of a group of Sentinels in Ecuador. The machines, now varying in size, will not harm Trask DNA. They obey Donald's orders. However, once Nova is done copying all of Donald's DNA, Nova kills Donald and takes over the robots.
- Bolivar Trask has a brother named Simon Trask, the founder of Humanity's Last Stand.
"Age of Apocalypse"
In the 1995 storyline "Age of Apocalypse", Bolivar Trask married Moira Kinross and together they designed heavily armed Sentinels to fight Apocalypse. These Sentinels were better programmed and even capable of reasoning with mutants if they protected humans (their primary objective). Bolivar participates in a plan to bomb North American Apocalypse forces, though this would mean extensive civilian deaths.[volume & issue needed] He returns in the 2012 launched Age of Apocalypse ongoing series, as one of the leaders of the remaining human resistance. His daughter Francesca is a main operative in the X-Terminators (code-named "Fiend") alongside Prophet, Good Night, Horror Show, and Zora Risman aka DeadEye though she and Bolivar have a rocky relationship.
Civil War: House of M
In the 2008 miniseries Civil War: House of M, Bolivar Trask is sworn in as the Vice-President of the US and creates Sentinels to fight against Magneto in his rise to power. Magneto confronts him on board the Helicarrrier. Trask summons Sentinels in self-defense, but they go into non-lethal mode as the ship is staffed with humans. Trask over-rides this, causing the death of many SHIELD agents. Magneto then throws Trask into a Sentinel beam, causing his disintegration.
In the 2009 - 2010 miniseries X-Men Noir, Bolivar Trask is a multitalented doctor of anthropology, and sociology, who is also a pulp sci-fi writer, and a public proponent of eugenics, though not a racist, as his leading characters possess the "finest" qualities of different ethnic groups. He is the writer of the pulp sci-fi series, "The Sentinels", about a race of genetically superior beings in the year 2013 who protect humanity from the grisly deformed "Mutants". His characters include Stephen Lang, creator of the Sentinels; Callisto, leader of inadequates/muties; sentinel commander Bastion, perfect sentinels Nimrod and Rachel as well as the mad Egyptian En Sabah Nur.[volume & issue needed]
The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Bolivar Trask is featured in Ultimate X-Men as the architect for the US Government 'Sentinel Initiative', a response to Magneto's terrorist attacks on Capitol Hill. Initially, the Sentinels patrolled Los Angeles and then New York City, destroying any human containing mutant genes. However, these attacks ceased after the X-Men rescued the President's daughter from the Brotherhood of Mutants. He discovered the Savage Land's location, and dispatched to destroy Magneto's paradise by order from the President of the United States. This proved to be a foolish move when Magneto easily reprogrammed the chromium-built machines to destroy humankind. After a subsequent Sentinel attack on Washington, D.C., the Sentinel Initiative was shut down.[volume & issue needed] He has recently appeared in the Sentinels story arc of Ultimate X-Men, revealed as being employed by the Fenris twins to build the new Sentinels currently attacking mutants. This would suggest that the government no longer employs him, perhaps due to the failure of the Sentinel Initiative. Feeling horrified by all that he has done, he allows himself, during Angel's attempted saving, to drop into the heart of an explosion and is killed.
Another iteration of the character is featured in Ultimate Spider-Man. He is shown to be the CEO of Trask Industries and was the employer of Edward Brock Sr. and Richard Parker while they worked on the Venom suit as a cure for cancer. However, he later tricked the two to sign a contract that made the suit his full property and then he was deliberately responsible for the plane crash that killed Edward, Richard and Mary Parker, by manipulating Edward to steal a piece of the unstable Venom suit and try it on board, so that the suit would remain in his possession, despite it being incomplete and very dangerous. Years later, Eddie Brock Jr. ends up stealing the Venom suit for himself and becomes Venom. Later, after one of his researchers, Adrian Toomes, witnesses Venom fighting Peter Parker, Trask hires Silver Sable and her Wild Pack to find and capture Venom. After they deliver him to Trask, he and Toomes begin to experiment on Venom, but they are suddenly interrupted by an attack of the Beetle on Trask's facility, which allows Venom to escape.
In other media
- Bolivar Trask appeared in the 1990s animated series, voiced by Brett Halsey. This version is the Sentinels' creator and co-conspired with Henry Peter Gyrich and Cameron Hodge against mutants. But when Master Mold endangers Robert Kelly's life, he ultimately sacrifices himself to destroy his creation but survived unlike his comic book counterpart.
- Colonel Bolivar Trask appeared in X-Men Evolution, voiced by John Novak. This version is a former member of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a noted anthropologist and cyberneticist studying the process of genetic mutation. Trask concluded the mutants would one day replace humans as the dominant species on Earth if left unchecked. He decided to prevent this by designing an army of robotic guardians who would apprehend mutant kind. In the episode "Day of Reckoning" Pt. 1, he kidnapped Wolverine as a test subject for his Sentinel prototype. The Sentinel was able to defeat Wolverine. After his Sentinel prototype was destroyed and the X-Men were cleared, Trask was arrested and placed in prison. In the episode "Uprising," Nick Fury was ordered by his superiors to release Trask from prison so that he can continue his Sentinel project under Nick Fury's supervision. This way, the world would be ready for Apocalypse's threat.
- Bolivar Trask appears in Wolverine and the X-Men, voiced by Phil LaMarr. In the episode "Thieves Gambit", he is shown as a scientist working for Senator Kelly alongside Dr. Sybil Zane on the Sentinel Program's creation. Though the building it was being developed in was destroyed in a fight with Wolverine and Gambit, Bolivar and Dr. Zane escaped. In the episode "Badlands", Trask ran a laboratory that Wolverine, Shadowcat and Forge infiltrated. When Wolverine ended up captured, Bolivar figured out about the mutant's adamantium skeleton, resulting in advanced-type Sentinels that the future X-Men encountered 20 years later. In the episode "Backlash", Trask had managed to create Master Mold to create the Sentinels. He was with Senator Kelly, Warren Worthington II and Dr. Zane when they watch the Sentinels fight the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. In the episode "Foresight", Trask ends up launching the Sentinels to Genosha under orders from Mystique (disguised as Senator Kelly) and later gets knocked out by Mystique.
- Trask Industries is mentioned in the 2017 live-action series The Gifted as well as operating the Hound Program under Roderick Campbell and develop Sentinel Services.
- Bolivar Trask was included in the first draft for the 2000 film X-Men, written by Andrew Kevin Walker, but had to be removed for the film to be greenlit by the studio.
- A character with "Trask" as surname referred as "Secretary Trask" appears in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, played by Bill Duke. This version is the African-American head of the Department of Homeland Security who amicably works with Hank McCoy to monitor villainous mutants like Mystique.
- Trask Industries is alluded in the mid-credits scene of the 2013 film The Wolverine. As Professor X and Magneto warn Wolverine of an upcoming threat to mutants, a television at an airport security checkpoint displays an ad for Trask Industries.
- Bolivar Trask appears as the main antagonist in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, portrayed by Peter Dinklage. Learning of mutants' existence from Charles Xavier's dissertation from Oxford University, he was provoked into harnessing mutant powers for his weapon-making agendas as well as creating the Sentinel program. He does not seem to have a personal hatred for mutants and views mutants as a means to bring about world peace by uniting humanity against a 'common enemy', leading some to view him as insane and callous. Trask's inhumane and fatal experiments on mutants, including some of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, result in being a target by Mystique. In the original timeline, Mystique kills Trask in retaliation, resulting in both his martyrdom and a dystopian future where more advanced versions of Sentinels have pushed both mutants and humans to the brink of extinction. The future X-Men have the time-displaced Wolverine rally the younger versions of Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr to prevent Trask's assassination. The X-Men are able to spare Trask from his 'original' death but an ensuing fight as Lensherr tries to kill Mystique to ensure that Mystique cannot have another chance to kill Trask later, resulted in Lehnsherr, Mystique and Beast being witnessed fighting in public, prompting the approval of Trask's Sentinel program. At the subsequent unveiling, Trask is again targeted by Mystique, but the event gets attacked by Magneto who laced the prototype versions of the Sentinels with metal to turn against their creators. Mystique stops Magneto and prepares to kill Trask and stops only when Xavier persuades Mystique via telepathic conversation. By doing this and sparing Trask, history is rewritten: Mystique's stopping of Magneto's attack and leaving without causing any kind of further harm becomes a convincing demonstration to the world that not all mutants are against humanity and the U.S. cancels Trask's Sentinel program. Afterward, a newspaper article states that Trask had been arrested for attempting to sell his Sentinel designs to foreign countries (as he was trying to do before his 'original' death). A mid-credits scene in the Rogue Cut shows Trask incarcerated inside the cell that once held Lehnsherr underneath the Pentagon.
- The Ultimate Marvel version of Bolivar Trask appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by John Billingsley. The game continues on from the events of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, as Trask and Adrian Toomes attempt to re-create Venom suit. They hire Silver Sable's Wild Pack to capture Eddie, which they do after he is defeated by Spider-Man. Trask forces Eddie to test the suit for him by fighting Electro, whom he defeats him after Spider-Man's presence gives him an unusual amount of control of the suit. After informing Trask of this, he remembers that Richard Parker's DNA was used as the basis of the Venom suit, and concludes that Peter is Spider-Man and that getting some of his DNA should improve the suit. Trask then has the Wild Pack take Eddie to hunt Peter down, but he transforms into Venom and escapes. Later, Sable captures both Venom and Spider-Man and delivers them to Trask, but both break free, with Spider-Man being transformed into Carnage after he is injected with a makeshift sample of the Venom symbiote by Toomes. After Venom defeats Carnage and absorbs the symbiote from Peter's body, gaining complete control over the Venom suit, he leaves to exact revenge on Trask, but Spider-Man goes to warn him, leading Trask to attempt to escape via helicopter, which he doesn't know how to fly. After Spider-Man defeats Venom, Trask gives him some files revealing the truth about his and Eddie's fathers' death, before being arrested. He is later confronted in prison by Venom, who kills him off-screen.
- Bolivar Trask is mentioned in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, in regards to his Sentinels and how they have been changed to help protect New York from Apocalypse's forces.
- Bolivar Trask is briefly mentioned in X-Men: The Official Game, first when it is stated that he will be taking over supervision of Multiple Man, and later by Beast, who says that he helped William Stryker create the Sentinels and Master Mold with HYDRA's backing.
- Bolivar Trask appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, voiced by Bumper Robinson. Depicted as African-American, this version is shown researching the mutant gene for Symstemized Cybernetics Lab/SCL (Sebastian Shaw's company) and playing a key role in the creation of the Sentinels. In the game's continuity, worklogs accessed by the player as they search his base reveal that Trask initially did not have anything against mutants and simply took part in the Sentinel project for the scientific value. However, after witnessing a violent incident which involved a mutant test subject, he came to see mutants as a menace, believing that humanity could only be protected if mutants were eliminated, describing them as freaks of nature. In the game's story, Trask's hate for mutants is furthered after Wolverine slashes his left hand off in order to use his handprint to gain access to an area of the SCL facility. Trask later appears in the game's epilogue, in a not so distant future where the Sentinels rule the Earth. He is shown to have replaced his lost arm with a cybernetic one, and captured Wolverine, although he escapes and kills his men, whilst Trask flees.
- Trask Industries is alluded in The Amazing Spider-Man video game. A sign that reads "Trask Industries Sells the Suit" can be seen on the streets of Manhattan.
Bolivar Trask's hatred of mutants is discussed in the non-fiction book From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books.
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- Bolivar Trask at Marvel.com