Orb (comics)

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The Orb is the name of two Marvel Comics supervillains who are primarily an adversary of Ghost Rider.

Publication history[edit]

The first Orb debuted in Marvel Team-Up #15 (November 1973) and was created by writer Len Wein and artist Ross Andru.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Drake Shannon[edit]

The Orb
Orb ghost.jpg
Cover art to Ghost Rider (vol. 3) #30.
Art by Richard Corben.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Team-Up #15 (November 1973)
Created by Len Wein
Ross Andru
In-story information
Alter ego Drake Shannon
Team affiliations None, Justin Hammer
Notable aliases None
Abilities Helmet is capable of powerful laser blasts. Can also project illusions and hypnotize people.

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.[1]

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.[2] He inflicted Roxanne Simpson with amnesia, and battled Ghost Rider once more.[3] He was later revealed to have been a pawn of "They Who Wield Power."[4] Alongside Madame Menace, he battled Ghost Rider once again.[5] 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.[6]

Agent of Zadkiel[edit]

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. He was born with a head that resembled a giant eye and was abandoned at a young age and grew up in a freak show.[7]

After performing a number of unidentified jobs, this Orb was hired to take down Caretaker alongside Blackout II, Death-Ninja and Doghead. The Orb was killed by the Caretaker, according to Blackout (his death isn't depicted on-panel),[8] but was in fact merely hospitalized with massive eye trauma.[9]

He is later one of the villains considered by Blackout and the Deacon to help them assassinate the Ghost Rider.[10] He was later broken out of the prison and began to work for Zadkiel.[11]During the climactic confrontation with the Ghost Riders, the Orb had the fingers of his left hand shot off and was again returned to the prison hospital as a cell-mate of the paralyzed Deacon.[12]

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.[volume & issue needed]

Orb was seen at the Manhattan Bar with No Name.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

In the wake of Uatu's murder in the 2014 miniseries Original Sin, Orb and Exterminatrix are discovered to be in possession of one Uatu's gouged-out eyes,[16] but after he is captured, he maintains that he did not commit the murder.[17] Doctor Strange and Punisher then take Orb to a satellite,[18] where Orb collapses due to the his body's absorption of the things he stole from Uatu's home.[19] As the storyline concludes, the Orb has merged with one of Uatu's eyes, which now resides in his chest.[20]

Powers and abilities[edit]

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.[volume & issue needed]

The second Orb used a Repulser ray gun. Unlike the original Orb, this Orb's head is an actual giant eyeball.[21] He claims to be able to talk by flexing certain muscles in his 'eye'/head.[volume & issue needed] He has merged with one of the eyes of Uatu, which now resides in his chest.[volume & issue needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marvel Team-Up #15 (November 1973). Marvel Comics
  2. ^ Ghost Rider #14-15 (October and December. 1975). Marvel Comics
  3. ^ Ghost Rider #28 (February 1978). Marvel Comics
  4. ^ Incredible Hulk #241 (November 1979). Marvel Comics
  5. ^ Ghost Rider #63 (December 1981). Marvel Comics
  6. ^ Solo Avengers #19-20 (June-July 1989); Avengers Spotlight #21 (Aug. 1989). Marvel Comics
  7. ^ Deadline #2 (July 2002). Marvel Comics
  8. ^ Ghost Rider #26 (Oct. 2008). Marvel Comics
  9. ^ Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #2 (November 2009). Marvel Comics
  10. ^ Ghost Rider #33 (May 2009). Marvel Comics
  11. ^ Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire #1-2 (October - November 2009). Marvel Comics
  12. ^ Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #5-6 (February - March 2010). Marvel Comics
  13. ^ Deadline #2 (July 2002). Marvel Comics
  14. ^ Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1-6 (July 2010-July 2011). Marvel Comics
  15. ^ Incredible Hulk #7.1 (July 2012). Marvel Comics
  16. ^ Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #1 (July 2014). Marvel Comics
  17. ^ Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #3 (August 2014). Marvel Comics
  18. ^ Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #4 (August 2014). Marvel Comics
  19. ^ Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #5 (September 2014). Marvel Comics
  20. ^ Original Sin #8
  21. ^ Ghost Rider #27 (November 2008), letters page. Marvel Comics

External links[edit]

  • Orb I at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  • Orb II at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe