Whizzer (comics)

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Whizzer
Avengers-vol3-5.jpg
The Whizzer (in black and yellow) appears with the Squadron Supreme on the cover of Avengers vol. 3, #5 (June 1998). Art by George Pérez.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Frank (I): USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941); Sanders (II): The Avengers #69 (Oct. 1969); Stewart (III): The Avengers #85 (Mar. 1971)
Created by II & III: Roy Thomas and John Buscema
In-story information
Alter ego (I) Robert Frank; (II) James Sanders; (III) Stanley Stewart
Team affiliations Squadron Supreme
Abilities Superhuman speed
Marvel Comics Alternate Universes
Marvel stories take place primarily in a mainstream continuity called the Marvel Universe. Some stories are set in various parallel, or alternate, realities, called the Marvel Multiverse.

The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Worlds 2005 designates the mainstream continuity as "Earth-616", and assigns other Earth numbers to each specific alternate reality.


In this article the following characters, or teams, and realities are referred to:

Character/Team Universe
Robert Frank Earth-616
James Sanders Earth-616
Stanley Stewart Earth-712
Stanley Stewart Earth-31916

Whizzer is the name of several fictional characters that appear in publications published by Marvel Comics. The first character debuted during the Golden Age in USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), and was reintroduced in Giant-Size Avengers #1 (Aug. 1974). A second villainous version debuts during the Silver Age in The Avengers #69 (Oct. 1969), and a second heroic version debuting in The Avengers #85 (Feb. 1971).

Publication history[edit]

The first character named the Whizzer first appeared during the Golden Age of comics, and later appeared briefly during the Silver Age. The second, villainous version appears in the final panel of The Avengers #69 (Oct. 1969), the first chapter of a three-issue storyline by writer Roy Thomas and penciller Sal Buscema. The story arc introduced the supervillain team the Squadron Sinister, whose four members were loosely based on heroes in DC Comics' Justice League of America, with the Whizzer based on the Flash.[1]

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Golden Age[edit]

Silver Age[edit]

Main article: Speed Demon (comics)

The Squadron Sinister are created by the cosmic entity the Grandmaster to battle the Avengers, who are the champions of the time-traveling Kang. The Whizzer, James Sanders, battles Avenger Goliath, but the fight is interrupted by the Black Knight. The Avengers eventually defeat the Squadron, who are abandoned by the Grandmaster.[2] The Squadron reappear in the title The Defenders, reunited by the alien Nebulon. The villains receive greater power in exchange for the planet Earth, and create a giant laser cannon in the Arctic to melt the polar ice caps, thereby covering the entirety of the Earth's surface in water. The Defenders prevent the scheme and defeat the villains (and Nebulon); Namor the Sub-Mariner humiliates the Whizzer.[3]

Afterward the Whizzer and his two remaining teammates are teleported off world by Nebulon, returning with an energy-draining weapon. The Squadron Sinister plan to threaten the Earth again but are defeated once more by the Defenders and the Avenger Yellowjacket.[4] The character has another brief encounter with several members of the Avengers, who seek a way to separate the Power Prism of Doctor Spectrum from fellow Avenger the Wasp.[5] The Whizzer disassociates himself from the Squadron Sinister and adopts a new costume and alias, Speed Demon.

Bronze Age[edit]

Roy Thomas and penciller John Buscema created an alternate-universe team of heroes called the Squadron Supreme, who debut in Avengers #85 (Feb. 1971). After an initial skirmish with four Avengers, the teams unite to stop a common threat.[6] The characters including the Whizzer, whose name is Stanley Stewart, were identical in name and appearance to the Squadron Sinister, which caused confusion in Marvel's production department, as the covers of The Avengers #85 and #141 (Nov. 1975) "cover-blurbed" appearances by the Squadron Sinister, when in fact it was the Squadron Supreme that appeared in both issues. As a result of exposure to the mutagenic effects of a fogbank of unknown nature, Stanley Stewart possesses superhuman speed, stamina, and reflexes. When moving at subsonic speed, the Stewart Whizzer can create cyclones (by running in circles); run up walls and across water. The character has limited immunity to the effects of friction (Stewart wears goggles to protect his eyes), although still generates normal fatigue poisons. As a result, Stewart must consume large amounts of calories and rest after using his superhuman speed powers extensively.

The heroic Whizzer and the Squadron Supreme have another series of skirmishes with the Avengers engineered by the group the Serpent Cartel, but eventually team together and prevent the use of the artifact the Serpent Crown.[7] The character and his teammates briefly feature in the title Thor, when the evil version of Hyperion attacks the Earth-712 version and then Thunder God Thor.[8] The Squadron are mind-controlled by the entities the Over-Mind and Null the Living Darkness, but are freed by the Defenders and aid the heroes in defeating the villains.[9]

The character features with the Squadron Supreme in a self-titled 12-issue miniseries (Sept. 1985 - Aug. 1986) by writer Mark Gruenwald.[10] The series also explains why there are the Squadrons Sinister and Supreme are similar: the Grandmaster creates the Squadron Sinister modelled on the already-existing Squadron Supreme of the Earth-712 universe.[11] Gruenwald, Ryan, and inker Al Williamson created a graphic-novel sequel[12] which maroons the team in the mainstream Marvel universe. The Whizzer and teammates encounter the hero Quasar, and relocate to the government facility Project Pegasus. After another encounter with the Overmind and a visit to the laboratory world of the Stranger;[13] the Whizzer participates in a "speedster" race organized by Elder of the Universe the Runner [14] attempts (with the Squadron) to return to their universe [15] and with fellow members Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum battle the entity Deathurge.[16]

The entire Squadron Supreme appear in a two-part story with the Avengers that finally returns them to their home universe, where they disband for a time.[17] The Whizzer rejoins his teammates to aid the interdimensional team the Exiles.[18]

Modern Age[edit]

The Atlanta Blur from Supreme Power #5.
Art by Dan Buckley.

The mature-audience Marvel MAX imprint showcases the adventures of the Earth-31916 version of the Whizzer, the Atlanta Blur. Also named Stanley Stewart, the character is a young African-American man who develops super-speed as a result of exposure to an alien retrovirus.[19] He initially hides his ability, with the "Atlanta Blur" regarded as an urban legend,[20] but when Hyperion is publicly revealed Stewart also goes public,[21] becoming a celebrity with numerous endorsements. As the Blur, he reluctantly fights crime at the request of Nighthawk.[22]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Interview with Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails in The Justice League Companion (2003) pp. 72 – 73
  2. ^ Avengers #69 - 71 (Oct. - Dec. 1969)
  3. ^ Defenders #13 - 14 (May - July 1974)
  4. ^ Giant-Size Defenders #4 (1974)
  5. ^ Avengers Annual #8 (1978)
  6. ^ Avengers #86 (Mar. 1971)
  7. ^ Avengers #141 - 144 (Nov. 1975 - Feb. 1976) & #147 - 149 (May - July 1976)
  8. ^ Thor #280 (Feb. 1979)
  9. ^ Defenders #112 - 114 (Oct. - Dec. 1982)
  10. ^ Squadron Supreme #1 - 12 (Sep. 1985 - Aug. 1986)
  11. ^ Squadron Supreme #8 (May 1986)
  12. ^ Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (1989)
  13. ^ Quasar #13 - 16 (Aug. - Nov. 1990)
  14. ^ Quasar #17 (Dec. 1990)
  15. ^ Quasar #19 (Feb. 1991)
  16. ^ Quasar #25 (Aug. 1991)
  17. ^ Avengers/Squadron Supreme Annual '98 and the one-shot Squadron Supreme: New World Order (both Sept. 1998)
  18. ^ Exiles vol. 2, #77 - 78 (Apr. - May 2006)
  19. ^ Supreme Power #12 (Oct. 2004)
  20. ^ Supreme Power #3 (Dec. 2003)
  21. ^ Supreme Power #4 (Jan. 2004)
  22. ^ Supreme Power #12 (Oct. 2004)

References[edit]

External links[edit]