Cover art to Ghost Rider (vol. 3) #30.
Art by Richard Corben.
|First appearance||Marvel Team-Up #15 (November 1973)|
|Created by||Len Wein
|Alter ego||Drake Shannon|
|Team affiliations||None, Justin Hammer|
|Abilities||Helmet is capable of powerful laser blasts. Can also project illusions and hypnotize people.|
The Orb is a fictional character, a Marvel Comics supervillain, primarily an adversary of Ghost Rider. Created by writer Len Wein, penciller Ross Andru, and inker Don Perlin, he first appeared in Marvel Team-Up #15 (November 1973).
Fictional character biography
Drake Shannon was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. An accomplished motorcycle stunt rider, he owned one-half of the traveling motorcycle stunt show which would later feature Johnny Blaze (who would later become Ghost Rider). The other half of the show was owned by Blaze's mentor, Crash Simpson.
While the partnership was initially amiable, the two men grew apart and eventually an intense rivalry developed. Neither wanted to work with the other, but neither wanted to sell their half of the show. To settle the dispute, the two men agreed to a lengthy race, with the winner receiving full ownership of the traveling show.
After many miles of neck-and-neck competition, Shannon deliberately swerved towards Simpson in an effort to force Simpson to crash. However, the maneuver caused Shannon to lose control of his motorcycle. While Simpson managed to remain upright and continue on with the race, Shannon slid 25 yards on his unprotected face. The accident left him hideously disfigured.
After his recovery, for reasons never adequately explained, Shannon was given a powerful motorcycle helmet by They Who Wield Power. The helmet, which was modeled to look like a giant eyeball, could hypnotize people. A later version could also shoot powerful laser beams from its "pupil".
Calling himself "The Orb", Shannon attempted to take over the traveling motorcycle stunt show which he had once half-owned. He put the lives of dozens of innocent people at risk, but informed Johnny Blaze (now the sole owner of the stunt show) that he would let them go unharmed in exchange for the sole ownership of the stunt show. Although Blaze capitulated, Shannon instructed his minions to kill the hostages anyway, so that no one would know how the ownership changed hands. At this point, Ghost Rider and Spider-Man teamed up to defeat him.
Becoming a professional criminal, he returned several times, always plotting to get revenge on the Ghost Rider. The Orb attacked Delazny Studios, and battled the Ghost Rider again. He inflicted Roxanne Simpson with amnesia, and battled Ghost Rider once more. He was later revealed to have been a pawn of "They Who Wield Power." Alongside Madame Menace, he battled Ghost Rider once again. At one point he also crossed paths with Hawkeye. The Orb battled Hawkeye, and alongside Hawkeye he discovered Plantman's mobile plant-growing factory, and was shot by Plantman's stimuloids.
A successor to the original Orb was present at a Manhattan chapter of the Bar With No Name, playing pool with Taskmaster and one of the Red Ghost's Super-Apes. After performing a number of unidentified jobs, this Orb was hired to take down Caretaker alongside Blackout, Death-Ninja and Doghead. The Orb was killed by the Caretaker, according to Blackout (his death isn't depicted on-panel), but was in fact merely hospitalised with massive eye trauma. In a later issue, he is among the villains considered by Blackout and the Deacon to help them assassinate the Ghost Rider. He was later broken out of the prison and began to work for Zadkiel. During the climactic confrontation with the Ghost Riders, the Orb had the fingers of his left hand shot off and was again returned to prison hospital, as a cell-mate of the paralyzed Deacon.
This second Orb was notable for the fact that he almost never stopped talking (much to the frustration of both his team-mates and his enemies), and that while he always boasted of his prowess with his repulsor ray, he never actually successfully hit anyone with it.
Orb was seen at the Manhattan Bar with No Name. It is unknown of this Orb is a recovered Shannon or the new one.
Orb appeared in the Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine mini-series, robbing a bank. He was sent skipping through time by some glowing diamonds. Eventually, he gained some understanding of time travel but was apprehended by the Minutemen before he could put this knowledge to use.
Another Orb appeared with a group of minions in eye-based masks, having just stolen the eyes of a group of people at a bank. Clearly insane, he claimed that he rolled around naked in eyeballs, regarding the eyes as 'windows to the soul' that he could gather power from before his rematch with the Ghost Rider. He claimed that he could see the true selves of the Hulk and Red She-Hulk when he looked into their eyes, describing Betty's conflicting relationship with her father and recognizing that a 'monster' was behind Hulk's eyes that wasn't the Hulk himself.
Powers and abilities
Drake Shannon is an athletic man with no superhuman powers. He is an expert stunt motorcyclist, and a capable hand-to-hand combatant. However, the Orb is criminally insane as a result of the accident which disfigured his face. As the Orb, he wears a helmet originally provided by "They Who Wield Power", composed of unspecified materials, containing specialized micro-circuitry, capable of firing laser blasts and hypnotizing victims. The Orb rides a motorcycle which he specially modified.
The second Orb used a Repulser ray gun. Unlike the original Orb, this Orb's head is an actual giant eyeball.
- Marvel Team-Up #15 (Nov. 1973)
- Ghost Rider #14-15 (Oct. & Dec. 1975)
- Ghost Rider #28 (Feb. 1978)
- Incredible Hulk #241 (Nov. 1979)
- Ghost Rider #63 (Dec. 1981)
- Solo Avengers #19-20 (June-July 1989); Avengers Spotlight #21 (Aug. 1989)
- Deadline #2 (July 2002)
- Ghost Rider #26 (Oct. 2008)
- Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #2 (Nov. 2009)
- Ghost Rider #33 (May 2009)
- Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire #1-2 (Oct.-Nov. 2009)
- Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #5-6 (Feb.-March 2010)
- Deadline #2 (July 2002)
- Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1-6 (July 2010-July 2011)
- Incredible Hulk #7.1 (July 2012)
- Ghost Rider #27 (Nov. 2008), letters page.
- Orb I at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Orb II at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe