G.I. Robot, artist Ross Andru
|First appearance||Star Spangled War Stories #101 (February–March 1962)|
|Created by||Robert Kanigher (writer)
Ross Andru (artist)
Mike Esposito (artist)
|Team affiliations||United States Army Rangers
United States Marine Corps
|Notable aliases||Joe, Mac, J.A.K.E., J.A.K.E. 2, J.A.K.E. #6.1, Lord Job|
Built-in machine gun arm.
G.I. Robot is the name of a series of six fictional robots that appeared in comic books published by DC Comics. The very first G.I. Robot, nicknamed Joe, first appeared in Star Spangled War Stories #101 (February–March 1962), created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, with a second one named Mac in Star Spangled War Stories #125 (February–March 1966), by Kanigher and Joe Kubert.
The better known J.A.K.E. 1 first appeared in Weird War Tales #101 (July 1981), created by Kanigher and Pepe Morino Casaras. J.A.K.E. 2 first appeared in Weird War Tales #113 (July 1982), by Kanigher and Fred Carrillo.
A newer model of G.I. Robot, designed by fictional character Lex Luthor for use by the United States military, was introduced in Batman Confidential #4, by Andy Diggle and Whilce Portacio. Subsequently J.A.K.E. #6.1 appeared in Checkmate Vol. 2 #24 (May 2008), created by Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann.
Fictional character biographies
During World War II, "Joe" the G.I. Robot is handed over to a Ranger unit to be tested in the field. Humanoid, with smooth features, no mouth and a control panel on its chest, Joe is assigned a human "buddy", a Corporal named Mac. In three stories from Star Spangled War Stories #101—#103, Joe and Mac end up fighting "The War that Time Forgot" against prehistoric creatures (and a giant German robot soldier) on Dinosaur Island.
Star Spangled War Stories #125 introduced another G.I. Robot (this one with a visible mouth) nicknamed "Mac" and his human partner Reed as part of the war-era Suicide Squad, a "top secret Ranger outfit" specially trained for missions no ordinary soldier was expected to survive. In this story, the first G.I. Robot and its human buddy are described as having also belonged to the Squad but are missing in action. Mac sacrifices itself on its first mission to save Reed and another soldier from a Tyrannosaurus.
The next G.I. Robot is designed by Professor Thompson of MIT. In Weird War Tales #101, it is deployed to a Pacific island alongside the Marines to fight the Japanese military and placed under the control of Sergeant Coker. Although the robot is technically named "Jungle Automatic Killer - Experimental Number 1" (J.A.K.E. 1), Coker gives the robot the nickname of the G.I. Robot. Coker is skeptical of the robot's abilities, but it soon earns his trust.
J.A.K.E. 1 is destroyed in Weird War Tales #111 but is replaced by J.A.K.E. 2, which continues to fight on various Pacific islands, including Dinosaur Island. It later teams with the Creature Commandos. J.A.K.E. 2 and the Creature Commandos are presumed killed when the rocket they are riding to Berlin misfires and heads into deep space (Weird War Tales #124). The Creature Commandos are known to have survived, but J.A.K.E. 2's fate is unknown. The DC Comics Encyclopedia describes J.A.K.E. 2 as having survived into the 31st century. However, the Creature Commando later got in possession of an entire army of mass-produced J.A.K.E.s. It's still unknown whetever one of them is the original J.A.K.E. 2.
In Checkmate Vol.2 #24, a new G.I. Robot is revealed, with the designation J.A.K.E. #6.1. It is one of the organization's Rooks, a team of four elite operatives of last resort. Apparently constructed using the original World War II era programming, it has a new body made of components formerly used by the industrialist/murderer Maxwell Lord during a time when his consciousness was contained in an android form.
A new G.I. Robot of unknown origin appears in the 2008-2009 The War That Time Forgot miniseries written by Bruce Jones, where it is known as "Lord Job" but calls himself "Joe". This version can speak and has bright red eyes, but is otherwise of a similar appearance to the earlier models, particularly Joe. It has not been established from which time period it comes.
Powers and abilities
The G.I. Robots are all fully autonomous mechanical soldiers, capable of making decisions and adapting to changes in their environment. Joe responds to spoken commands as well as the sound of weapons fire and machines, and in situations where voice commands are impractical, to light signals flashed on its control panel. Mac responds similarly, but appears to be smarter, and has no control panel. No built-in weapons are apparent, but both are capable of using firearms like an ordinary soldier and can withstand direct fire from small arms.
J.A.K.E.s 1 and 2 are also armor plated models. Their left arms consist of a fully functional machine gun, which can fire both bullets, mini-torpedoes, and small anti-aircraft missiles. They can also fly for short distances thanks to small rockets in their boots.
J.A.K.E. #6.1, unlike its predecessors, can communicate verbally and appears to have a sophisticated artificial intelligence system, and is equipped with various weapons, including a minigun as its left arm, an automatic grenade launcher mounted on its right shoulder and magnetically accelerated anti-personnel caltrops deployed from its chest cavity. Its role during missions is to monitor its fellow Rooks, who are telepathically linked thanks to an alien DNA infusion derived from Starro the Conqueror. If J.A.K.E. determines the DNA is gaining control, it will terminate the link by killing its team-mates.
Lord Job is also capable of speech and has some degree of superhuman strength and resilience. He does however seem to be completely artificial, with no sign of a human will or even a fac-simile of same, unlike most of his predecessors. He has shown some tactical analysis and personal combat skills. He has suffered some damage before ever being seen. He has not demonstrated built-in weapons of any kind.
While J.A.K.E. 1 and 6.1. are unique beings, there currently exist a whole army of J.A.K.E.s 2, apparently sporting the same abilities and equipment of the original.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, G.I. Robot replaces Frankenstein and the Creature Commandos after they were deemed obsolete by Robert Crane's government services. In the modern era, era, Robert Crane revives G.I. Robot to eliminate Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown after they escape from the lab facility. During attacks the Creatures of the Unknown in Gotham City forest, G.I. Robot sprung at Frankenstein to subdue him again, but Creatures of the Unknown member severed G.I. Robot's head.
- G.I. Robot appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Plague of the Prototypes!" voiced by James Arnold Taylor. He and Sgt. Rock team up with Batman to stop Nazi soldiers. The character sacrifices his life to save Sgt. Rock from a landmine. He is given a full funeral.
- G.I. Robot appears in issue 6 of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comics.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "G. I. Robot", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 134, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Justice League: Generation Lost #15 (2011)
- Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 (June 2011)
- Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 (July 2011)