Art by Paco Medina.
|First appearance||Daredevil #49 (February 1969; as Starr Saxon)|
Daredevil #54 (July 1969; as Mister Fear)
Marvel Two-in-One #47 (January 1979; as Machinesmith)
|Created by||Stan Lee (writer)|
Gene Colan (artist)
|Alter ego||Samuel "Starr" Saxon|
|Team affiliations||Masters of Evil|
|Notable aliases||Mister Fear|
|Abilities||Scientific and robotic genius|
Ability to transfer mind into other machines
Machinesmith (Samuel "Starr" Saxon) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He specializes in robotics, and is able to make convincing robotic doubles of other superhumans. His own mind was ultimately transferred to a robotic body.
The character first appeared in Daredevil #49 (February 1969), and briefly appeared as a character to have used the Mister Fear identity shortly thereafter in Daredevil #54 (July 1969). The character first appeared as Machinesmith in Marvel Two-in-One #47 (January 1979).
His robotic features looked nothing like his human ones, and it was not established until later in Captain America #249 (September 1980) that Machinesmith and Starr Saxon are the same character. Barry Windsor-Smith has stated that back the character was supposed to be presented as gay in Daredevil #50; however, the early art was not good enough to get the point across. Other issues have since revealed the character's sexuality more directly, such as Captain America #368 and Iron Man #320.
Fictional character biography
Starr Saxon was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but his family was living in Queens, New York by his teenage years. At 14 years old, he discovered an abandoned Doombot in a NYC subway tunnel, and snuck the robot home piece by piece to deconstruct to learn robotics. His original efforts saw to his use of robotics and engineering abilities to be a professional criminal robot maker and construct a variety of androids to be used as assassins for hire/personal gain. At some point during this period, he constructs a facsimile of Magneto and a variety of robotic "mutant" drones who went on to battle the X-Men. Magneto's robot appears several times over the years, believing itself to be the true Magneto until being destroyed by a Sentinel. As of this writing, his employer(s) for the robot's creation is unrevealed.
In his first actual appearance, Saxon is hired by Biggie Benson to kill Daredevil. Saxon dispatches a powerful android to do so, and to commit a series of crimes in New York. He discovers Daredevil's secret identity, and kidnaps Karen Page (Daredevil's girlfriend). He blackmails Daredevil into allowing him to escape. Deciding to confront Daredevil directly, Saxon murders Zoltan Drago and steals the man's costume and weaponry. As "Mister Fear", he challenges Daredevil to a public duel in New York City. He rigs Daredevil's billy club to release fear-gas pellets, and begins a crime spree. However, Saxon battles Daredevil and loses, breaking his neck in a fall from a flying hovercraft platform.
Saxon's robots find his dying body and transfer his brain patterns and consciousness into a computer, from which he could control a variety of android bodies. Now calling himself the "Machinesmith", he is hired by the Corporation agent known as the Carnation to defeat the Fantastic Four. He dispatches his robots to subdue the Thing to be brainwashed into destroying the Fantastic Four. The Thing encounters Jack of Hearts instead and is defeated and Machinesmith is then revealed to be a robot.
When Captain America and Nick Fury have an encounter with Baron Strucker, Captain America defeats Strucker who is revealed to be a robot, controlled remotely by Machinesmith who plots to destroy Captain America. He comes to despise his artificial life, but his programming prevents him from committing suicide. Machinesmith sends the Dragon Man to kill Captain America but the attempt is unsuccessful.
Machinesmith is hired into the Red Skull's exclusive employ, for whom he served as his primary scientist/machinist and member of the Skeleton Crew. On several occasions, Machinesmith undertakes various the Red Skull's field missions, usually confronting Captain America.
As per the Red Skull's orders, he sets mechanisms in S.H.I.E.L.D. Central against Captain America and Fury. As per the Red Skull's orders, he next activates the Sleeper robot, and attempts to liberate the other robots impounded on Avengers Island. He then assists Mother Night in an attempt to bug the Avengers headquarters, and he battles and overpowers the Vision. Alongside the Skeleton Crew, he later battles the Schutz-Heiliggruppe.
A portion of the Machinesmith's consciousness is eventually captured (assumed to be Saxon's entire consciousness), and enslaved by Tony Stark under Kang the Conqueror's thrall.[volume & issue needed] Machinesmith later claims to have easily recovered the lost fragment which he re-assimilated.[volume & issue needed]
When the Red Skull is blasted apart by Kubekult's Cosmic Cube destruction, Machinesmith enacts a series of protocols dictated by the Red Skull to kill Captain America and plunge the world into nuclear holocaust. Machinesmith is defeated.[volume & issue needed]
Machinesmith later appears in Madripoor, having captured Captain America and deactivated the Super Soldier Serum in his foe's body. It was Machinesmith's intent to reverse-engineer the Super Soldier Serum to sell to various military officials. Captain America is able to regain the enhanced physique and defeats Machinesmith, trapping his consciousness inside a robotic body that he could not wirelessly transfer himself out of. At the end of the issue, Machinesmith was revealed to be an expendable pawn of the mysterious Shadow Council. But Machinesmith is resurrected a year later by Sharon Carter to discover how Captain America was consistently reverting to a weaker form, bargaining for his freedom. Machinesmith confessed to having been in league with Captain America's old comrade Codename: Bravo and revealed that Captain America was infected with nanotechnology that mimicked red blood cells. Unbeknownst to Machinesmith, Carter had infected him with a virus that wiped away his memories eliminating him as a threat.
Machinesmith is later paroled after helping the U.S. government hack into Latveria's computer network. He moves to Miami and gets a menial job performing at children's birthday parties, before he is asked by Grizzly to help Scott Lang with Cassie Lang's rescue from Cross Technological Enterprises. Machinesmith agrees on the condition that Lang gets him a job at Ant-Man Security Solutions as stable employment will help keep his parole officer off his back.
As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event, Machinesmith is temporarily hired by Augustine Cross to hack into the Power Broker Inc. database so that the Cross family could steal its algorithm to be used to create a Hench App knock-off called "Lackey" since Darren Cross refused to invest with Power Broker.
Powers and equipment
Starr Saxon originally had a genius intellect, but no superhuman powers. He is one of the most gifted robot designers in the world, and has vast experience in cybernetic and bionics.
After breaking his neck, his consciousness began to occupy a robot duplicate of himself, programmed with his complete brain patterns, and capable of self-motivated, creative activity. His robotic materials, design and construction provided him with a number of superhuman capacities, including superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility and reflexes.
Machinesmith exists as a living, cybernetic-system program (artificial consciousness), which is equipped to transmit its program along an infrared laser beam into virtually any electronics system at will; thus he can transfer from one robotic body to another within .25 seconds. Machinesmith can even place his personal program (personality) into multiple bodies at the same time, though the number of complex motions he can make his automata perform simultaneously is limited. His physical properties vary in accordance with the robot form he is inside. Certain robots possess superhuman capacities such as telescoping arms and legs, explosive launchers, special infrared or telescopic eyes. He has yet to inhabit a robot body greatly superior to a standard human-mimicking robot's capacity. If an electronics system shuts down before he has a chance to project out of it, he can be trapped inside of it. Machinesmith is a genius at creating complex behavioral programs and bionic systems.
Machinesmith has also created a vast arsenal of weaponry, defense systems, and surveillance devices, whose specifications are constantly upgraded.
- Conroy, Mike (2004), 500 Comic Book Villains, Barron's, ISBN 0-7641-2908-2
- Captain America #368
- Daredevil #49-52
- Daredevil #54-55
- Marvel Two-in-One #47-48
- Captain America #247-249
- Captain America #368, flashback
- Captain America #351
- Captain America #354
- Avengers #324-325
- Captain America #390-391
- New Warriors (vol. 4) #11
- Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #2-4
- Captain America (vol. 6) #8-10
- Ant-Man Vol. 2 #4
- Astonishing Ant-Man #2
- Secret Empire: Brave New World #1