Controller (Marvel Comics)

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Art by Sean Chen
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceIron Man #12 (April 1969)
Created byArchie Goodwin (Writer)
George Tuska (Artist)
In-story information
Alter egoBasil Sandhurst
Team affiliationsNew Enforcers
AbilitiesHighly skilled chemist and mechanical engineer
Superhuman strength and endurance
Flight via boot jets
Limited psychokinesis and telepathy
Mental force bolt projection via helmet
Mind control
Wields control discs
Ability to drain mental energy from controlled pawns to power & enhance exoskeleton and duplicate their abilities

Controller (Basil Sandhurst) is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an enemy of Iron Man.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Controller first appeared in Iron Man #12 and was created by Archie Goodwin and George Tuska.[2]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Basil Sandhurst was born in Kittery Point, Maine. Sandhurst worked as an electro-mechanical/chemical research scientist. His obsession with control brought his downfall as a scientist when his refusal to obey ethical restraints got him banned from most research facilities. Sandhurst was prone to fits of rage and in an attempt to calm him, his brother Vincent inadvertently triggered a lab explosion, crippling Basil. Vincent, guilt-ridden, outfitted Basil with an automated lab in which Basil bonded a super-strong exoskeleton to his body, powered by the cerebral energies from those around him using his slave discs.[3] As the Controller, he planned to invade and enslave New York City, but Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell foiled his scheme and left the Controller comatose.[4][5] The Controller eventually came out of his coma and took over the Pinewood Sanitarium. He created an improved set of equipment but was again defeated by Iron Man.[6]

Months later, he was released from prison by the alien Thanos, who upgraded his technology. Thanos promised the Controller rulership of Earth, and so he began enslaving dozens of operatives. He invaded Avengers Mansion and defeated the Avengers and Captain Mar-Vell, and abducted Lou-Ann Savannah. The Controller's egotistical displays endangered Thanos's security, and when the Controller failed to defeat Thanos's enemy, Captain Marvel, the alien left him for dead.[7] The Controller went underground for years, upgrading via Stark technology stolen from Justin Hammer, and eventually enslaved a cult. He set the Blood Brothers against Iron Man and Daredevil. Iron Man defeated him and imprisoned him in a vat of experimental plastic, but he escaped. Alongside one of the Blood Brothers, he fought Iron Man, but Iron Man defeated him once more and he was confined to the prison for supervillains called the Vault.[8] He eventually broke out of jail, only to be defeated by Iron Man again. During the "Acts of Vengeance," the Controller escaped from the Vault and at the behest of the Red Skull, he enslaved Namor the Sub-Mariner and set him against Captain America. He unsuccessfully attempted to control Loki at the behest of the Red Skull, and unsuccessfully attempted to aid the Red Skull against Magneto. He was ultimately defeated by Captain America.[9]

Revived by the world-conquering Master of the World, the Controller became the Master's pawn against the Avengers and Heroes for Hire. Abandoned after a later defeat, the Controller, in an ironic nod to his many hospitalizations, acquired his own clinic, where he influenced the wealthy to do his bidding. However, the Controller could not resist enslaving Tony Stark as well, leading to his latest defeat by Iron Man.

Returned to The Raft, the Controller escaped with dozens of others but was recaptured during a clash with the U-Foes and Avengers.[10]

During the "Secret Invasion" storyline, the Hood has hired him as part of his criminal organization to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Super-Human Registration Act. He appears as part of the Hood's alliance with super-powered heroes; the grouping is intent on defeating the Skrull invasion force of New York City.[11]

Maria Hill found the Controller holed up in the basement of a Futurepharm facility in Austin, Texas, while on orders from Tony Stark.[12] He had been abducting members of the local populace for months to bolster a new army and attempted to brainwash Hill as well. However, she resisted his efforts and freed his drones, sabotaging the entire operation.[13]

The Controller gave White Fang a new suit so that she could kill the Hood.[14]

The Controller later appears in Boston, assembling major crime families in an Italian restaurant. When the Avengers invade the restaurant, the Controller uses his control discs on the criminals as well as Captain America and the Wasp, but he is defeated by Thor. After the Avengers defeat the first wave of Leviathon monsters, the Controller tries to put a control disc on Thor, but he is stopped by Hercules.[15]

At the time when Tony Stark rebranded his company as Stark Unlimited, Controller infiltrated it while enslaving Bethany Cabe.[16] He set his sights on the virtual reality program called the eScape.[17] Controller proceeded to tamper with the eScape so that he can enthrall the minds of those who use it. Upon Tony discovering this and rescuing those that fell under his control, Controller facilitated the banned eScape users into re-entering it. Iron Man and his allies were able to trace Controller's location and head there to confront him. By the time they arrived, Iron Man found that Controller had consumed enough energy to grow in size.[18] Because of Controller's hacking, it damaged the Motherboard who served as the operating system. Motherboard proceeded to abduct Iron Man leaving the others underpowered against a giant-sized Controller. Andy Bhang was able to encode a signal to shut off the tampered interfaces. Upon returning to the real world, Tony hijacked Baintronics' factory to make a 3D print of the Godbuster armor which he used to defeat Controller.[19]

Controller later accompanied Korvac, Blizzard, and Unicorn in fighting Iron Man and Hellcat.[20]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Controller designed his armored exoskeleton, which is micro-surgically attached to his body from head to toe and grants him mobility, as well as superhuman strength and endurance.

He uses "slave discs" to control others, using the micro-circuitry in his helmet to drain cerebral energy from his victims to power his exoskeleton and magnify its strength and duplicate his victim's abilities. He has limited psychokinetic and telepathic abilities, the ability to control the actions of any one person wearing one of his slave discs, and the ability to fire mental bolts of force from his helmet. He can psionically control "weak-willed" subjects even without his discs. He flies via boot-jets and has employed image inducers, stun mists, and other technology as needed.[21]

The Controller originally used a mental wave Absorbatron to convert cerebral energies for use by his exoskeleton, though this device was rendered obsolete after Thanos improved the Controller's equipment. The discs now increase his physical attributes in geometric progression to numbers of victims wearing slave discs, and he was able to control the actions of all persons wearing the discs.

The Controller is a highly skilled chemist and mechanical engineer, with a college degree in chemistry and electrical and mechanical engineering.

Other versions[edit]

In the Earth X reality, Sandhurst was mentioned as one of the many who were killed when Norman Osborn rose to power.[22]

In other media[edit]


  • The Controller appears in the Iron Man animated series episode "The Armor Wars: Part 1", voiced by Jamie Horton. Using Iron Man's technology, he creates slave discs to mentally control his armor, which he uses on executives who visited the Center for Achievement and Bliss Spa. Once he learns of this, Iron Man defeats him and uses a negator pack to destroy his armor.
  • The Controller appears in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures animated series, voiced by Michael Kopsa. Introduced in the episode "Ready, A.I.M., Fire", Basil Sandhurst is a skilled scientist working for A.I.M. While helping them create MODOK, he works with Tony Stark to create his slave discs and a control helmet to become the Controller. Despite being defeated by Iron Man, Sandhurst reminds A.I.M.'s Scientist Supreme of his expertise and usefulness in completing the MODOK project to keep his leader from terminating him. In "Designed Only For Chaos", Sandhurst activates MODOK, who knocks him unconscious after foreseeing he will betray A.I.M. in pursuit of improving his slave discs. In "Uncontrollable", Sandhurst pursues the Hulk and Rick Jones in order to use them to take revenge against A.I.M., only to gain control of Iron Man in his Dynamo Buster Armor. Via Iron Man, he attacks A.I.M. and defeats MODOK, though with the Hulk's help, Iron Man's allies are able to free him from Sandhurst's control. In "Control+Alt+Delete", A.I.M. frees Sandhurst from the Vault so he can help them trap Iron Man in a virtual reality world called the Mainframe. Using this, he discovers Iron Man's secret identity and use of the Extremis serum and attempts to recreate it for A.I.M. However, Iron Man is able to use his Extremis abilities to hack the Mainframe and shut it down. Waking up in an A.I.M. facility, Sandhurst takes control of War Machine to fight Iron Man, but the former is able to fight the disc and overload Sandhurst's helmet. Following the fight, Iron Man and War Machine hand over an amnesiac Sandhurst to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Wells, John (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-1969. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 270. ISBN 978-1605490557.
  2. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  3. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 66. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  4. ^ Iron Man #13. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 136. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  6. ^ Iron Man #28. Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ Captain Marvel #28, 30. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Iron Man #88-91. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Captain America #365-367. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ The New Avengers: Most Wanted Files.
  11. ^ Secret Invasion #6. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Invincible Iron Man #11
  13. ^ Invincible Iron Man #13. Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ Dark Reign: The Hood #3. Marvel Comics.
  15. ^ The Avengers Vol. 7 #1.MU. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ Tony Stark: Iron Man #1. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Tony Stark: Iron Man #6. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Tony Stark: Iron Man #7. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Tony Stark: Iron Man #8-11. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Iron Man Vol. 6 #3. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ The New Avengers: Most Wanted Files.
  22. ^ Earth X #5. Marvel Comics.

External links[edit]