Dreadstar was the first comic series published by Epic comics, an imprint of Marvel comics in 1982. The comic was created by Jim Starlin and it ran for 12 issues before it moved over to First comics and then it ran for another 38 issues.
Dreadstar is in a universe far away. Magic is a great power there. Dreadstar came to this universe looking for a place of peace, but a war was in progress and his world's civilation was destroyed plus his wife. With the only other survivor a cat-man he joins up with a magic priest, a telepathic woman, and a gorilla type person who is a smuggler. They fight both sides wanting to put an end to the war.
He was born on the planet Byfrexia located in the Vega system. As a teenager he witnessed the slaying and devour of his parents by snow beasts. Many miles away from any settlements he was going to die of exposure and starvation if he did not find the Sword Of Power. The weapon gave him extraordinary power allowing him not only to survive but to thrive. Vanth's grief over his parents' deaths drives him temporarily mad and he declares a one man war against the snow beasts, hunting and slaughtering each one he can find. Since the beasts are the primary food source of neighboring settlements, these are soon almost decimated due to Vanth's actions. The settlers in their turn hunt the "Cold Man," bent on bringing him to justice before he obliterates their food supply and chances of survival. Vanth promptly hijacks a ship and leaves the planet. Sometime later Byfrexia is invaded by the Zygoteans, an evil alien race in the process of conquering and wiping out the Milky Way. Vanth returns to Byfrexia to defend his people from the invasion. With his unique powers he singlehandedly sets back the Zygoteans' invasion plan, prompting the Byfrexians to name him leader of the rebellion.Aknaton eventually returns to Byfrexia and finds Vanth, recruiting him as a bodyguard for three special beings Aknaton had a part in creating, Za, Juliet & Whis'Par, beings who are part of his plan to stop the Zygotean menace. Vanth leaps at the chance that there might be a plan to destroy the Zygoteans, though he is shaken when Aknaton reveals the exact nature of the plan to him and the others. Aknaton has reasoned that since the Zygoteans are undefeatable, and the death of the galaxy cannot be prevented, the only remaining kindness is to make the end as quick and painless as possible. He therefore long ago created the Infinity Horn, whose purpose is to destroy the entire Milky Way. Appalled, but convinced that Aknaton's plan is the only option, Vanth and the others agree.
Fighting their way past an army of Zygoteans and their slaves (who have become aware of the plan and fight desperately to stop it), they journey to a cavern on the planet Dreamsend. As Aknaton and Vanth hold off the Zygoteans outside, Za, Juliet, and Whis'Par enter the cavern and together sound the Infinity Horn, destroying the entire Milky Way. Just in time, Aknaton uses his mystic powers to encase himself and Vanth in a bubble of force and throw them into intergalactic space.
Unknown eons later the force bubble crashes on a planet named Caldor in another galaxy, where almost immediately Aknaton goads Vanth into shooting him in a fit of rage and guilt over the obliteration of the Milky Way. Mortally wounded, Aknaton confesses that he goaded Vanth into killing him because he cannot live with the guilt over what he has done. As he dies, he tells Vanth that he saved him and brought him here because this galaxy (later identified as the Empirical Galaxy, is at a point where it might or might not go the way of the Milky Way, developing Zygoteans of its own. Aknaton wants Vanth to change the destiny of this new galaxy, or, failing that, find the Infinity Horn and give this galaxy the same mercy killing given the Milky Way.
Powers and Abilities
Vanth Dreadstar's powers went through significant modifications throughout his adventures. Initially, Vance possesses an enchanted sword that provides him with a number of superpowers. He can absorb the sword into his body, and retrieve it when needed. The sword can repel energy blasts, and even redirect them towards an enemy. The sword also gives Dreadstar the strength of twenty men, enhanced reactions, and allows him to rapidly heal from virtually any bodily wound. The sword also grants him immortality, and the ability to speak and understand any language he hears.
Vanth's sword would later be shattered in battle with his archenemy, Lord Papal. Syzygy Darklock mystically bonded Vanth with the fragments of the sword, directly infusing him with all of the abilities he originally derived from the blade. In addition, his strength was at least doubled, he gained the power of flight, and the ability to channel his energy into a devastating "power fist". The upgrade in power level was accompanied by a change from a dark, cowled garb to a birght blue-and-yellow skintight uniform.
Some months later when next Dreadstar engaged Lord Papal in direct battle, he suffered near-fatal wounds that cost him some of his power. His strength was reduced to that of fifteen men, and he lost his flight and power fist abilities.