|First appearance||Avengers #158 (April 1977)|
|Created by||Jim Shooter (writer)|
Sal Buscema (artist)
|Alter ego||Franklin Hall|
|Notable aliases||Master of the Fundamental Force|
Genius level intellect
Graviton (Franklin Hall) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Jim Shooter and artist Sal Buscema, he first appeared in Avengers #158, dated April 1977. Over the years he has mainly opposed the Avengers in their various incarnations.
Originally a gravity researcher, Franklin Hall gains the ability to control gravity; corrupted by this power, he becomes a supervillain using the name "Graviton". He is confronted and defeated by the Avengers as he tried to destroy the facility where he did his original research. In subsequent appearances Graviton seems to struggle with control of his powers and often loses because of this. More than one storyline has depicted Graviton's apparent death, only for him to return subsequently through various means. He later becomes part of Advanced Idea Mechanics' High Council as "Minister of Science."
Graviton has appeared in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Franklin Hall appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (portrayed by Ian Hart). His alternate identity of Graviton (assumed by recurring character Glenn Talbot) also appeared in the series, portrayed by Adrian Pasdar, with Hall himself becoming an unseen entity trapped in the gravitonium that Talbot has infused himself with.
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Fictional character biography
Franklin Hall is a Canadian physicist involved in an experiment in a private research facility in the Canadian Rockies. A mistake in Hall's calculations causes graviton particles to merge with his own molecules, and Hall later discovers that he can mentally control gravity. Hall at first tries to hide his newfound ability, but becomes tempted by the potential power, and donning a costume adopts the alias "Graviton."
When Graviton takes over the research facility and forbids all communications with the outside world, a fellow scientist sends a distress signal to the superhero team the Avengers. A furious Graviton then lifts the facility several thousands of feet into the sky and threatens to kill the scientist. The Avengers then arrive and attack but are all defeated when trapped in a gravity field. At Avengers Mansion a returning Black Panther learns of their plight and joins with the thunder god Thor, currently also on leave from the team, and the two head to the facility. As the Panther frees the captive Avengers, Thor battles Graviton to a standstill until he is tricked into thinking a fellow scientist he cares for has committed suicide. Graviton then panics and causes the entire facility to collapse on him, forming a giant stone sphere that is dropped into a river by the Avengers.
Graviton later reappears, although is suffering from amnesia and is flickering in and out of existence. Somehow guided to the female scientist he has feelings for, Graviton attempts to abduct her but is stopped by Fantastic Four member the Thing and the Inhuman Black Bolt. During the battle, Graviton describes himself as becoming a "living black hole" and morphs into a 50-foot (15 m) humanoid. Graviton is then attacked until he loses concentration, and then apparently implodes and is considered dead. Graviton is eventually able to reform his body, and decides to seek a bride. Elevating a Bloomingdale's store into the sky, he takes several women hostage until tricked by Thor. Thor then maroons a defeated Graviton in an alternate dimension.
Graviton is able to return when an anomaly opens a portal to Earth. Arriving in Los Angeles, Graviton attempts to unite all criminal elements under his leadership, but is defeated by the West Coast Avengers. Graviton was among the villains recruited by Mister Bitterhorn into Mephisto's Legion Accursed. They were used in part of a plot to kill the Beyonder with Mephisto's Beyondersbane weapon, but were delayed by the Thing until the weapon melted down. Graviton then recruits the supervillains Halflife, Quantum, and Zzzax as allies, but they are once again defeated by the West Coast Avengers. Graviton then defeats Spider-Man, and after a skirmish with the Fantastic Four, is defeated in turn by a cosmic-powered Spider-Man.
Graviton then attacks the Avengers again, but is defeated when they overload his powers, banishing him to yet another alternate dimension. He then sends out a distress signal, which is noticed by the villains Techno and Baron Zemo. Graviton is eventually freed and attacks the teams the Thunderbolts and Great Lakes Avengers, but is persuaded by Thunderbolt Moonstone to rethink his priorities. Desiring still more power, Graviton recruited a team of criminals and looted the city of San Francisco, until eventually defeated by the Thunderbolts – currently aided by Angel – with the use of technology from Machine Man, whose flight capabilities cancel gravity, allowing them to use arm-bands based on his technology to shut down Graviton's powers.
Banished once again to the same alternate dimension, Graviton becomes insane from the constant defeats and exile from Earth, and returns with the goal of total world conquest, accompanied by an adult-level P'tah named M'reel. Seeking revenge on the Thunderbolts, Graviton storms their headquarters to discover they have disbanded and been replaced by the group the Redeemers. Graviton kills almost the entire team before being defeated by a reformed Thunderbolts. Discovering that M'reel was channeling his power to create a dimensional warp enabling the P'tah to invade Earth a furious Graviton apparently dies stopping the alien invasion and saves the Thunderbolts.
Under unrevealed circumstances, Graviton returned to Earth once more and was rendered powerless long enough to be imprisoned on the Raft with other superhuman criminals. However, when Electro shorted out the Raft's defenses to free Sauron, Graviton and dozens of other inmates escaped, only to be confronted by the heroes who would soon organize as the latest incarnation of the Avengers. Although recaptured, Graviton evidently sustained a head injury that somehow greatly dampened his powers, making him much less powerful than at his previous encounter with the Thunderbolts. He also was more megalomaniacal than ever during his next escape, declaring himself capable of forgiving and punishing sins. The reorganized Avengers again fought him at Ryker's, and after wounding Captain America and Spider-Man, Graviton was downed and almost killed by an Extremis enhanced Iron Man.
After battling Iron Man once again, having been framed for murder by an associate of the Mandarin who possessed similar gravity-manipulating powers to his own – he uses his powers to trigger an aneurysm in his brain, concluding that he will never receive a fair trial and wanting to end things on his terms.
A 2010 storyline reveals that Graviton has a son with the same powers as he has, a criminal named Singularity, but he was revealed to be a normal child unrelated to Graviton, who had been brainwashed and mutated by the evil son of the Leader called Superior.
Graviton turns up alive as part of the new High Council of A.I.M. (alongside Andrew Forson, Jude the Entropic Man, Mentallo, Superia and an undercover Taskmaster) as the Minister of Science. When the Secret Avengers attempted to assassinate Andrew Forson, Graviton attacked them but was quickly stopped by an attack by sentient Iron Patriot armors led by the Hulk.
During the 2016 "Avengers: Standoff!" storyline, Graviton was shown in a training video for the S.H.I.E.L.D. Cadets working in the gated community Pleasant Hill being subjected to the Cosmic Cube-derived technology "Kobik", which turned him into a mild-mannered Pleasant Hill chef named Howie Howardson.
Powers and abilities
Franklin Hall was a normal human until empowered by an explosion that intermingled his molecules with sub-nuclear graviton particles generated by a nearby particle generator, which gave him the ability to manipulate gravitons (the subatomic particles that carry the force of gravitational attraction) and anti-gravitons (similar particles but with opposite force and spin of gravitons). Graviton could surround any person or object, including himself, with gravitons or anti-gravitons, thereby increasing or decreasing the pull of gravity upon it. Hall was able to manipulate gravitons for various uses, including the projection of highly concussive blasts, formation of gravitational force fields and levitation, and had also been proven capable of generating gravitational fields in various objects, making them attract any nearby matter (or individuals) not heavy enough or physically strong enough to resist. By decreasing the pull of gravity beneath him, then manipulating its direction of effect, he could fly at any speed or height at which he could still breathe. However, by using his force field generation capabilities he could also breathe in space. By increasing the pull of gravity beneath his opponents, he could pin them to the ground, having made them too heavy to move, or cause sufficient gravitational stress to impair the normal functioning of the human cardiovascular system. He could also cause an inanimate object (such as a 1-foot (0.30 m) diameter rock) to radiate enough gravitons to enormously increase its own gravitational field, able to attract nearby matter and energy.
By rapidly projecting gravitons in a cohesive beam, he could generate a force blast with a maximum concussive force equivalent to the primary shockwave of an explosion of 20,000 pounds of TNT. He could also create a gravitational force field around him capable of protecting him from any concussive force up to and including a small nuclear weapon.
On a large scale Graviton could exert his gravitational control over a maximum distance of 2.36 miles (3.80 km) from his body. Thus, the maximum volume of matter he could influence at once is 55.1 cubic miles (230 km3). He once exercised this control by lifting into the air an inverted conic frustum-shaped land mass whose uppermost area was 4 miles (6.4 km) across, and causing it to fly as though it were a blimp. He could also erect a gravitational force-field of similar proportions. Graviton could formerly perform as many as four separate tasks simultaneously – at one time, he not only lifted a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide land mass as high as cloud level above San Francisco, but at the same time also surrounded himself with a force-field, descended on a small rock, and hurled some policemen and a helicopter 10,000 miles (16,000 km) into orbit. Graviton could use his power at maximum capacity for up to eight hours before mental fatigue significantly impaired his performance, and considerably longer (up to eighteen hours) if he conserved his energy during that time.
He was somehow also able to bestow the power of self-propelled flight to at least 70 people independent from his location; however he was also able to take this power away with but a thought.
With time and training, his powers further advanced, even to the extent of levitating an island miles above ground level, exerting his power even while sleeping, somewhat reshaping mountains on the Moon, and demonstrating the ability to lift a small stone in China while residing in L.A., then depositing it in Australia through a victim's head just to see if he could do so. By separating himself from Earth's gravitational field and instead attuning himself to the incredibly stronger gravitational field of the Sun, he was able to cross the distance from Earth to the Sun almost instantaneously, where his individual force field proved strong enough to withstand the forces of the Sun itself, effectively simulating long-range teleportation. To return from the Sun to Earth he utilized the Sun's gravitational field as a form of slingshot device and was able to cross the distance to Earth within minutes.
Hall's single most ambitious display of power was when he held almost every Marvel hero in stasis, including the Fantastic Four, some of the X-Men and such physical powerhouses as Thor, Hercules, the Hulk and Namor, and began using his powers to try reshaping the Earth in his image.
He also had the ability to detect extra-dimensional-shifts and phased or invisible objects through his immediate awareness of gravitational fluctuation and while he was not able to invoke dimensional portals, he was at least able to close them. He could simulate vast superhuman strength and durability using gravitonic fields to surround his body, but he could not actually manipulate density or increase his physical strength.
Aside from his powers to manipulate gravity, Hall had a PhD in Physics and was intellectually brilliant, with expertise in advanced physics, including teleportation. His greatest limitation was that he was emotionally and mentally very disturbed.
In other media
Dr. Franklin Hall appears in season one, episode three of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled "The Asset", played by Ian Hart. He is a Canadian physicist who is abducted by his former partner, Ian Quinn, so that he can finish work on a gravity manipulator powered by a gravity-manipulating substance called gravitonium. Believing the gravitonium to be dangerous, Hall attempts to destroy the device. Phil Coulson tries to save Hall, but the latter is pulled into the gravitonium. The substance reappears later that season in the episode titled "Providence", when Hydra agents release it, while Hydra leader John Garrett gives the gravitonium back to Quinn.
In the season five episode "Inside Voices", it is revealed that Quinn was also absorbed into the gravitonium following Garrett's defeat, and has been arguing with Hall inside the substance ever since. Ruby Hale, a genetically-engineered agent of Hydra, invades a S.H.I.E.L.D. underground facility and infuses herself with 8% of the available gravitonium in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s possession. She fails to control the gravity-manipulating powers that she acquires, and kills one of Hydra's leaders, Werner von Strucker. Ruby is later killed by Elena Rodriguez, and S.H.I.E.L.D. recovers the remaining gravitonium. Later, when S.H.I.E.L.D. comes under attack by Remorath warriors sent by the alien Qovas of the Confederacy, Glenn Talbot infuses himself with the remaining gravitonium (along with Hall & Quinn's consciousness trapped within it) and becomes the MCU version of Graviton. Talbot uses his new abilities to kill the warriors before taking Phil Coulson to confront Qovas. Becoming increasingly narcissistic and unhinged under the corrupting influence of the gravitonium however, Talbot takes control of Qovas' ship and appropriates an alien costume that resembles Graviton's in the comics. As he meets the rest of the Confederacy, madness fully takes Talbot, and he murders the wisest leader to force his way into the alien group. Deliriously claiming that he can save the world from Thanos' invasion, Talbot kills his Hydra handler Hale, forces Coulson's cooperation,, and kidnaps Robin Hinton and her mother Polly to search for more gravitonium. He is defeated when Daisy Johnson enhances her abilities with the Centipede serum and blasts him into space, averting an alternate timeline where he proceeded to destroy the Earth in search of gravitonium.
Graviton appears in the two-part The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, episode "The Breakout" voiced by Fred Tatasciore. Physicist Dr. Franklin Hall was hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. so he could help them with their research and development of recreating the Super-Soldier Serum, but Hall ended up causing an accident that gave himself near-limitless gravitational powers. Soon after, when it became clear that he was now dangerous, Hall was put in an unconscious state and imprisoned at The Raft by Nick Fury. 10 years later, when a technological problem occurred at The Raft, Graviton was freed and planned his revenge on Nick Fury. This was interrupted by Thor, Wasp, Iron Man, Hulk, and Ant-Man who as a team fought Graviton. Following the defeat of Graviton, the fight with him inspired the superheroes that fought him to stay united as "The Avengers." It was also mentioned that Graviton was still unconscious when the mass-breakout started.
Graviton appears in Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher. He appears as a buyer for the organization Leviathan who plan to auction stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. During the final battle, he battles the Avengers but gets defeated by Hulk and Iron Man.
- Graviton appears as a boss in the Game Boy game The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- Graviton is a boss villain in the mobile game Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2.
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