Arsenal (Marvel Comics)
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|First appearance||Iron Man #114 (Sept. 1978)|
|Created by||Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen|
Arsenal first appeared in a two-part storyline in Iron Man #114 (Sept. 1978) and Avengers Annual #9 (1979). The character made a final appearance in Hulk #282 (April 1983). The Arsenal "Alpha" unit appeared in Iron Man vol. 3, #84-85 (Aug. 2004).
Fictional character biography
In the final days of World War II, a group of Allied scientists led by Howard Stark developed "Project Tomorrow" and the creation of a robot called Arsenal; a prototype fighting unit to be deployed in the event of an Axis victory. The robot was also guided by an early computer program called "Mistress". When the Allies won the war, Arsenal was placed in storage. The robot was activated for a military demonstration during a worsening Cold War, but was never used.
The Avengers learn the origin of the robot from their government liaison, Henry Peter Gyrich. Arsenal reappears and captures Avengers Hawkeye and the Beast and stuns Yellowjacket with an electric shock. Yellowjacket, however, recovers and alerts the other Avengers, advising them that Project Tomorrow is directly beneath the mansion.
Guided by Mistress (who erroneously believes the Allies lost World War II), Arsenal defeats several Avengers, until confronted by Thor and the Scarlet Witch. On the verge of defeat, Arsenal apparently self-destructs while Iron Man confronts Mistress, who was programmed with the brain patterns of his deceased mother. Once Iron Man unmasks and explains that the Allies won the war, and that Mistress is simply modelled on his dead mother, the computer program wipes its own memory.
Arsenal actually faked its own destruction, and when She-Hulk and the Hulk visit Avengers mansion it attacks Edwin Jarvis, the Avengers' butler. Arsenal then incapacitates She-Hulk, and in a rage the Hulk pummels Arsenal until it is destroyed.
Iron Man eventually learns that only a "Beta" unit had been destroyed, and that an "Alpha" unit remained deactivated beneath Avengers Mansion. Homeland Security ask him to shut it down without informing the other Avengers due to the security risk it poses. Iron Man tracks the unit, but is unaware that the Avengers have followed him. The unit is activated when transmission codes are radioed to Iron Man, which results in a battle between the new Arsenal and the Avengers. Iron Man then realises that Arsenal was activated by interference with its signal, which was set to "inert". Iron Man occupies Arsenal while Warbird stops the source of the interference, causing Arsenal to deactivate. The unit is then dismantled.
Arsenal, fully reassembled and under control, is later used as a test for a group of Avengers recruits, under the pretext that it is out of control.
Powers and abilities
Both Arsenal units possess amplified strength and durability. The Beta unit also possesses air jets and inertia darts; can radiate an electro-stun field and project a high-intensity laser beam from its eyes. The Alpha unit possesses a flame-thrower, multiple gun systems and a toxic gas dispenser.
- Iron Man #114 (Sep. 1978)
- Avengers Annual #9 (1979)
- Hulk #282 (April 1983)
- Iron Man vol. 2, #84 - 85 (2004)
- Avengers Academy #2 (2010)
- Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #3
- Iron Man Noir #3 (August 2010)
- Arsenal at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Marveldatabse.com entry
- Marvel.com entry