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Marvel-ous Monday: Who Is Korath the Pursuer?

CR: Marvel

Korath the Pursuer, yet another misguided Kree soldier causing problems for Earth and its heroes.  We first saw Korath (portrayed by the very talented Djimon Hounsou) in the 2014 release of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  If you think back to his somewhat minor role in the film, there are very few moments that stick out.  Outside of his attempt to retrieve the orb before being beaten out by Star-Lord or his death at the hands–literally–of Drax, Korath really didn’t receive much development on screen.  At first look, you may even think of him as a low-ranking soldier who bends to Ronan’s commands; however, upon a more substantial view based on the Marvel comics, the character of Korath the Pursuer is not your ordinary subordinate. No. Korath the Pursuer is a self-made cybernetic warrior with a vast intelligence of genetics.  Although he does not have deep storylines in some of our favorite comic book series or franchises, his brief MCU portrayal did not do his character justice.  Notwithstanding the fact that the character is rather minor and supportive in the comics, the MCU-version of Korath appeared weak and timid, which are not traits possessed by any notable Kree.  Luckily, Korath will be back, along with his bud Ronan the Accuser, in Captain Marvel, and, much like his Kree brethren, I hope the MCU gets it right this time.

                               Marvel

For starters, let’s briefly discuss the character’s background.  Frankly, that won’t take long because there isn’t much.  As I mentioned earlier, Korath is a highly intelligent Kree geneticist. It is due to his ability to genetically modify soldiers where he gets superpowers himself.  Although his powers are a bit basic in comparison to other heroes/villains, they should not be disregarded for argument’s sake.  For example, he is like any other Kree in that he possesses superhuman strength and durability.  In addition to the basics, Korath is known for being a master tracker by locating individuals by their unique brain waves.  In terms of weaponry, all Kree are highly combative with their bare hands, but his weapon of choice is a set of batons.  These batons generate electricity, so he can stun his opponent into submission.  Now, this style of power, or more specifically a person’s/weapon’s ability to shock someone, is a popular one among Marvel lore (i.e. Black Widow, Electro, Stinger, Thor, Storm, etc…), so Korath’s batons are nothing special in comparison to some uses of electricity.  In some earlier versions of the character, Korath even possesses the ability to fly by way of electricity, which is a bit more unique.

How did he get the nickname “the Pursuer”?  Well, as mentioned earlier, the character really doesn’t have much backstory, but there are some plausible connections to be made.  First, he was in charge of the Pursuer Project, which was a Kree program that genetically modified its soldiers to make them cyborgs. Such story line lacks repetition and development, but a reference to the said project is made infrequently. Another reason for the moniker could be reliant on his ability to track people based on their brain frequencies, so pursuit is easy.

                         Marvel

So what is Korath known for in the comics? Not too much. By default Korath’s Kree bloodline puts him in the middle of some notable wars with the Skrulls and the Avengers.  His most memorable story arc was probably in the Kree/Shi’ar War.  As with most 1990s Marvel storylines, there are a lot of moving parts and characters within these wars, so I won’t go into them all.  Korath’s presence in this specific storyline is often secondary, but it is important to note that Korath is a relatively new character, as he first appeared in 1992.  One characterization flaw to note is that he never really acts on his own, so his presence is more of a foil for bigger baddies. (His MCU presence is no different if you think about his role in GotG.) For example, he is often associated with a villain group called the Starforce.  Such connection with the Starforce also explains his close relationship with Ronan the Accuser, as he is also a member.  Perhaps most notably, Korath attempted to assassinate Lilandra Neramani, a Shi-ar Empress, with Starforce during the Kree/Shi’ar War, but such an attempt failed.  For those who don’t know much about the character, Lilandra is often associated with the X-Men, so her involvement in the MCU is nonexistent.

The Marvel universe is a VERY large place, and there are so many groups to track.  We’ve met some alien races, and Captain Marvel will likely introduce us to more groups in the MCU.  I would bet that Korath will be a bit more important this go around, and his presence will likely show how some Kree leave the race to pursue a more radical path to greatness.  We know he ends up with Ronan the Accuser looking for Infinity Stones at Thanos’s request, and we know he ultimately dies at the hands of Drax the Destroyer.  I, for one, hope his role in Captain Marvel will showcase his fighting ability with those awesome batons.