Bolivar Trask is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #14 (November, 1965). He is the creator of the Sentinels.
Fictional character biography
Bolivar Trask was an anthropologist who saw the rise of mutants
as a threat to humanity. Bolivar was also the father of Larry Trask
, who ironically is revealed to be a mutant precognitive
. Bolivar had realized this, and given his son a medallion which suppresses his power. Bolivar's other child, Tanya, was also a mutant and her ability to travel through time causes her to vanish. Tanya would be rescued by Rachel Summers
in a far future and become a part of the Askani
under the alias Madame Sanctity
. Tanya's travels through time would result in property damage to Trask's land. This mysterious situation would only further cement his attitudes.
Bolivar decides that humanity has to fight back against the mutants and develops robotic guardians for humanity, known as the Sentinels. His son Larry was protected from the Sentinels' ability to detect mutants due to the medallion Bolivar had given him. 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.
Professor Charles Xavier invites Trask for a public debate on human/mutant relations. Xavier's arguments that mutants were just like humans and not evil did not convince Trask and he reveals the Sentinels. Trask and his scientists had apparently created an adaptive, open-ended tactical/strategic programming. Trask was not a very skilled programmer though and 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 his 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.
Bolivar's death would not be the end of the Sentinels though; Master Mold would return and Bolivar's son, Larry, still unaware of his own mutant status, would follow in his father's footsteps and create new Sentinels to avenge his father.
Later, a relative of Bolivar, Donald Trask, 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, she kills him and takes over the robots.
Recently in X-Force, Bastion (who has 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.
Age of Apocalypse
In the 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.
Ultimate Bolivar Trask
Bolivar Trask first debuted 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
. Trask discovered the location of the Savage Land
, and by the order from the President of the United States, he dispatched his Sentinels to destroy Magneto's paradise. 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.
Trask is also mentioned in Ultimate Spider-Man as the employer of Richard Parker and Edward Brock Sr. (the fathers of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Eddie Brock/Venom) that stole their cancer cure project (The Venom suit) because he was more interested in military applications. He is the main antagonist in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game which continues the story introduced in the comics (see below). 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 to drop into the heart of an explosion and is killed.
Bolivar Trask later pops up "Ultimate Spider-Man" #125 where he talks to a captive Eddie Brock about the symbiote.
- In the 1990s animated series, Trask is also the creator of the Sentinels, and was much longer-lived than his comic counterpart, returning for several episodes (one of which ironically featured him on the run from his own creations, along with Gyrich). Trask was introduced here in the second episode of this series.
- In the animated television series, X-Men Evolution, Colonel Bolivar Trask (voiced by John Novak) is a former member of S.H.I.E.L.D., 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 police mutant kind — the Sentinels. Trask kidnapped Wolverine while he's chasing down Sabretooth to get to Magneto at the second season finale of the series, and uses him 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's names were cleared, Trask was arrested and placed in prison. However, he was released early to continue his work on the sentinel projects, working under Nick Fury, so that the world would be ready for the eventual threat of Apocalypse. In the series, his main weapon is a gun that cannot allow mutants to move while stuck in a sticky green substance.
- A story arc in the first season of TV show The O.C featured a character named Oliver Trask, possibly a nod towards the Marvel character. This is more likely when you consider that another character in the series, Seth Cohen is an avid comic-book fan.
- Bolivar Trask first appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Thieves Gambit" voiced by Phil LaMarr. In the show, he is a scientist working for Senator Robert Kelly alongside Dr. Zane on creating the Sentinel Program. Though the building it was being developed in was destroyed in the fight with Wolverine and Gambit, Bolivar and Dr. Zane escaped.
- Trask appeared in the video game Ultimate Spider-Man voiced by John Billingsley. He appears as the CEO of Trask Enterprises. He, along with Adrian Toomes, attemptes to re-create the Venom suit and hires Silver Sable to capture Eddie Brock Jr. and later Peter Parker. After Peter Parker is freed from the Carnage symbiote, Venom goes after Bolivar Trask. Upon Spider-Man confronting Bolivar about info about his father, Venom attacks with Bolivar making to his helicopter...which he doesn't know how to operate as stated by Silver Sable. Spider-Man had to fight Venom to keep him from getting to Bolivar Trask. Bolivar Trask is later arrested and later confronted in prison by Eddie Brock. As Venom, Eddie finally gets revenge on Bolivar Trask for what he made Venom do.
- In X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, Trask was mentioned in stage 4, concerning his Sentinels and how they have been changed.
- In X-Men: The Official Game Trask is briefly mentioned as taking over supervision of the criminal Multiple Man.