Living Laser

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The Living Laser
The Living Laser (right) battles Iron Man on the cover of Iron Man #211 (Oct. 1986).
Art by Alex Saviuk.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Avengers #34 (Nov. 1966)
Created byStan Lee (Writer)
Art Simek
Don Heck (Artist)
In-story information
Alter egoArthur Parks
Team affiliationsLethal Legion
Legion Accursed
Mandarin's Minions
AbilitiesGifted research scientist
Genius level intellect
Miniature laser diode implants grant:
Energy absorption and projection
Invisibility via light refraction
Illusion generation
Limited telepathy
Three dimensional holographic image creation
Ability to achieve solidification and travel at light speeds

The Living Laser (Arthur Parks) is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck, the character made his first appearance in The Avengers #34 (November 1966). He would become a recurring enemy of Iron Man and plays a key role in the end of the "Iron Man: The Inevitable" mini series.

Arthur Parks started out as a scientist that invented small, wrist mounted lasers and used them for criminal pursuits. At one point he was a member of the Lethal Legion and at another point he was poised to take over the world due to his possession of the Serpent Crown, but is foiled by the Avengers. At one point it appeared that the Living Laser exploded in space, but in reality his body was transformed into photon form, making him an actual living laser.

Publication history[edit]

The Living Laser debuted in The Avengers #34 (Nov. 1966) as Arthur Parks, a scientist who created wrist-mounted laser units and a costume (writer Mike Conroy stated "Arthur Parks was a scientist sufficiently proficient to design laser projectors small enough to wear on his wrists, quite the achievement in 1966.")[1]

Following his appearance in the following issue, the Living Laser resurfaced in Avengers King-Size Special #1 (Sept. 1967). After an appearance in Captain America #105 (Sept. 1968), the character was part of the first version of the Lethal Legion in Avengers #78-79 (July-Aug. 1970). The Kree hero Mar-Vell encountered an android version of the Living Laser in Captain Marvel #35 (Nov. 1974). The real Laser reappeared in an extended storyline in Avengers #151 (Sept. 1976); #153 (Nov. 1976) & Avengers Annual #6 (1976).

After appearing as part of a pseudo Lethal Legion in Avengers #164-166 (Nov. 1977 - Jan. 1978), the character returned in Iron Man #152-153 (Nov.-Dec. 1981) and Iron Man #211 (Oct. 1986). The Laser featured in the Acts of Vengeance storyline in Quasar #6 (Jan. 1990) and reappeared in a new photon form in Iron Man #259-263 (Aug.-Dec. 1990) before returning in Quasar #30 (Jan. 1992) and Iron Man #289 (Feb. 1993).

Further appearances included the limited series Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's 11 #1-5 (Sept. 2007 - Jan. 2008) and New Avengers #35 (Oct. 2007). The character returned during the limited series Secret Invasion #1-8 (June 2008 - Jan. 2009), and made sporadic appearances in New Avengers.

Fictional character biography[edit]

As the "Living Laser", Parks becomes a mercenary and professional criminal. He develops an infatuation with the heroine the Wasp, and after he kidnaps her, he is forced to battle the superhero team the Avengers. He captured Hawkeye and Captain America by placing them in a ring of lasers before leaving, but they were able to contact another member who helped them escape. The Living Laser met the Avengers again when he tried to conquer a small South American country, who defeated and incarcerated the villain.[2]

The Laser, after breaking out of prison by creating a laser using parts teleported to him, reappears as part of a team formed by master villain the Mandarin after being teleported to his base, in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Avengers and conquer the world, he attacked Africa to try stealing diamonds, but was defeated by Thor and Hawkeye despite the robot Ultimo being transported there from a volcano.[3] As part of "Batroc's Brigade" (consisting of the Laser; the Swordsman and Batroc the Leaper) he participated in a battle against Captain America.[4] The Laser reappears as part of the first version of the Lethal Legion gathered by the Grim Reaper in a failed revenge plot against the Avengers.[5] There is an encounter between Kree hero Mar-Vell and an android version of the Laser.[6]

The Laser eventually acquires the artifact the Serpent Crown, and while controlling the living weapon Nuklo and a battalion of the US Army attempts to conquer the world, but is defeated by the Avengers.[7] He is then employed - along with fellow villains Power Man and Whirlwind - by Count Nefaria, who temporarily amplifies their abilities and sends them against the Avengers as the second Lethal Legion. The effect, however, is temporary and their combined abilities are drained by Nefaria (who in "powered" mode battles the Avengers until defeated by the Vision).[8]

Discovering that the amplification caused a build-up of energy in his body that is reaching a critical - and potentially fatal - level, the Laser seeks the aid of East German scientists, who offer to help by draining off the excess energy and using it to power a network of weapons satellites. The plan, however, is stopped by Iron Man and in battle with the hero, the Laser's energy levels build to critical mass. Although the Laser begs for help, Iron Man has no choice but to hurl the character into the atmosphere where he detonates and apparently dies.[9] Eventually revived, the Laser battles Iron Man once again;[10] and during the Acts of Vengeance storyline battles the hero Quasar.[11]

The Laser reappears in a new photon form, posing as the deceased Titanium Man while taunting Iron Man. The villain is eventually defeated and banished to an alternate universe.[12] He eventually escapes,[13] and mounts a new attack on Stark Industries. James Rhodes- Stark's friend and employee, currently acting as CEO and the new 'Iron Man' while Tony is apparently dead- tricks the Laser by offering him a position at the company before trapping him in a wide-beam communication chamber which disperses him across the Andromeda Galaxy, although Rhodes wonders if he did the right thing and even the Laser privately wondered if he would legitimately accept Rhodes' offer to return to a research role or just take it to destroy the company from within.[14]

The Laser returns as an employee of the Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) villain MODOK,[15] and later as a member of the criminal army formed by the villain the Hood.[16] The villain sides with the heroes during the Secret Invasion storyline in a pitched battle with the alien Skrulls,[17] and has a number of encounters with various teams of Avengers.[18]

Mandarin and Zeke Stane recruit Living Laser to join up with other Iron Man villains in a plot to defeat Iron Man. Upon receiving upgrades, Living Laser managed to break Tony Stark's repulsor arc causing him to go into cardiac arrest.[19]

During the "Opening Salvo" part of the Secret Empire storyline, Living Laser is recruited by Baron Helmut Zemo to join the Army of Evil.[20] Living Laser, Batroc the Leaper, and Whirlwind attack a haggard, bearded man in torn World War II army uniform who identifies himself as Steve Rogers. He is assisted by people that appear to be Sam Wilson and a Bucky Barnes with both his arms.[21]

During the "Search for Tony Stark" arc, Living Laser rejoined Hood's gang and assisted in the attack on Castle Doom.[22]

Powers and abilities[edit]

A gifted research scientist with expertise in laser technology and a Ph.D in physics, Arthur Parks began his criminal career using wrist-mounted laser projection units, and later implants miniature laser diodes into his skin which absorb energy. With the diode implants, Parks is capable of energy projection, light refraction for invisibility and illusion generation.

Parks's material body is eventually replaced by photons due to an overloading of the diode implants. By increasing the density of the photons comprising his form, Parks can achieve "solidity"; project photons as energy beams and create three-dimensional holographic images. The character also possesses limited telepathic abilities and can travel at light speed.

Other versions[edit]

What If?[edit]

The alternate universe title What If features a story which the character reforms and works at Stark Industries, with three different outcomes being presented.[23]

Heroes Reborn[edit]

In the Heroes Reborn universe, created by Franklin Richards, Arthur Parks was a successful businessman of Parks Fiberoptics, until he lost his company to Tony Stark. Parks, now broken and desperate, having left his wife Amy, used his own technology to transform himself and attack Stark in his own home. Stark learned why Parks was attacking him, and tried to atone for what he had done and convince Parks to stop his attack. Parks refused to stop so Stark in his Iron Man suit was forced to destroy his containment armor causing his laser form to dissipate, killing him.[24]

In other media[edit]


  • Living Laser appears in the Iron Man animated series, voiced by Robert Hays.[citation needed] He is shown as a servant to the Mandarin alongside MODOK, Hypnotia, Dreadknight, Blacklash, Grey Gargoyle, Blizzard, and Justin Hammer.
  • Living Laser appears in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episodes "Meltdown", "Fun with Lasers", "Technovore", "Designed Only for Chaos" and "Look into the Light", voiced by Louis Chirillo.[citation needed] This version of Arthur Parks is a former Maggia grunt who obtains a special vest - an untested Stark International prototype - that transforms him into Living Laser. Living Laser reforms upon learning Tony Stark, who had been trying to save Living Laser from his unstable body, and Iron Man were the same person and realizing Iron Man was only trying to help him. Living Laser sacrifices himself to stop MODOK. Laser is later revived by Justin Hammer.
  • Living Laser appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Nolan North.[citation needed] In "The Breakout" Pt. 1, Living Laser is shown as an inmate at the Vault when a mass breakout occurs. He burned through the door to the room of the inmates' confiscated gear and then joined with other Iron Man villains Crimson Dynamo, Blizzard, and the female Whiplash to kill their nemesis for good, but they were stopped with help from Hawkeye. He returns in the episode "This Hostage Earth" where he joins Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil and ends up fighting Iron Man. He is defeated when Iron Man uses his armor to absorb the Living Laser's energy form and release him into outer space. In the episode "Acts of Vengeance," the Avengers find Living Laser trapped in light form following Living Laser's encounter with Enchantress. Living Laser was incarcerated in Prison 42.
  • Living Laser appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Flight of the Iron Spider", voiced by Keith Szarabajka.[25] This version is a former employee of Stark Industries. Spider-Man, Power Man, Iron Fist, Nova, and White Tiger fight Living Laser downtown until Iron Man drives him off. When Living Laser later fought Spider-Man's team, Spider-Man shows up upon his Iron Spider suit detected Living Laser. During the fight, Living Laser escapes into the Iron Spider suit in a plot to defeat Iron Man. Iron Man is knocked out by Spider-Man's Iron Spider suit so that Living Laser can take over Iron Man's armor. While attempting to use Iron Man's armor to hack into Stark Industries' technology, Spider-Man (who had managed to get better control over the armor) arrives with his team. With some info from J.A.R.V.I.S., Spider-Man uses a shock in Iron Man's suit to drive out Living Laser. Spider-Man drives Living Laser into a molecular disruption chamber where Living Laser was scattered across several dimensions. One of them ended up in The Super Hero Squad Show universe where Living Laser was defeated by that reality's version of Thor.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Conroy, Mike. 500 Comicbook Villains, Collins & Brown, 2004.
  2. ^ Avengers #34-35 (Nov.- Dec. 1966)
  3. ^ Avengers King-Size Special #1 (Sept. 1967)
  4. ^ Captain America #105 (Sept. 1968)
  5. ^ Avengers #78-79 (July-Aug. 1970)
  6. ^ Captain Marvel #35 (Nov. 1974)
  7. ^ Avengers #151 (Sept. 1976); #153 (Nov. 1976) & The Avengers Annual #6 (1976)
  8. ^ Avengers #164-166 (Nov. 1977 - Jan. 1978)
  9. ^ Iron Man #152-153 (Nov.-Dec. 1981)
  10. ^ Iron Man #211 (Oct. 1986)
  11. ^ Quasar #6 (Jan. 1990)
  12. ^ Iron Man #259 - 263 (Aug. - Dec. 1990)
  13. ^ Quasar #30 (Jan. 1992)
  14. ^ Iron Man #289 (Feb. 1993)
  15. ^ Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's 11 #1-5 (Sept. 2007 - Jan. 2008)
  16. ^ New Avengers #35 (Oct. 2007)
  17. ^ Secret Invasion #1-8 (June 2008 - Jan. 2009)
  18. ^ New Avengers #46 (Dec. 2008); #50 (April 2009); Avengers: The Initiative #25 & 27 (Aug. & Oct.); #61 (March 2010) & #63 (May 2010)
  19. ^ Invincible Iron Man #513
  20. ^ Captain America: Steve Rogers #16
  21. ^ Secret Empire #4
  22. ^ Invincible Iron Man #597. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ What If? #63 (July 1994)
  24. ^ Iron Man Vol. 2 #3
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2016-04-05.

External links[edit]