Art by Paco Medina.
|First appearance||(as Starr Saxon) Daredevil #49 (Feb 1969),
(as Mister Fear) Daredevil #54,
(as Machinesmith) Marvel Two-in-One #47
|Created by||Stan Lee
|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 (born 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 doubles of other superhumans. His own mind was later transferred to a robotic body.
The character of Starr Saxon first appeared in Daredevil #49 (Feb 1969), and briefly appeared as one of the characters to have used the Mister Fear identity shortly thereafter in Daredevil #54. 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 (Sept 1980), that Machinesmith and Starr Saxon are the same character.
Barry Windsor-Smith has stated that back in Daredevil #50, Saxon was supposed to be presented as gay; however, he admits that his early art wasn't good enough to get the point across. Other issues have since revealed his sexuality more directly, such as Captain America #368 and Iron Man #320.
Fictional character biography
Starr Saxon was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but by the time he was a teenager his family was living in Queens, New York. At 14 years old, he discovered an abandoned Doombot in a NYC subway tunnel, and snuck it home piece by piece, deconstructing it to learn robotics. His original efforts saw to his use of his robotics and engineering abilities to become 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 called The Demi Men who went on to battle the X-Men. The Magneto-Robot appears several times over the years, believing itself to be the true Magneto, until it was destroyed by a Sentinel. As of this writing, the individual(s) who commissioned Saxon for the creation of the robot is unrevealed.
In his first actual appearance, Starr 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 Daredevil's girlfriend, Karen Page. He blackmails Daredevil into allowing him to escape. Saxon decides to confront Daredevil directly. He murders the original Mister Fear and steals his costume and weaponry. As Mister Fear, Saxon 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, he 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 the Carnation to defeat the Fantastic Four. He dispatches his robots to subdue the Thing so he could be brainwashed into destroying the Fantastic Four. The Thing encounters Jack of Hearts instead and is defeated. Machinesmith is then revealed to be a robot.
Captain America and Nick Fury have an encounter with Baron Strucker. Captain America defeats Strucker but the latter 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 Dragon Man to kill Captain America but the attempt is unsuccessful.
Machinesmith is hired into the exclusive employ of the Red Skull, for whom he served as his primary scientist/machinist and member of the Skeleton Crew. On several occasions, Machinesmith undertakes various field missions for the Skull, 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 Nick 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 consciousness is eventually captured, (assumed to be Saxon's entire consciousness), and enslaved by Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. This happens when Tony is under the thrall of Kang the Conqueror.[volume & issue needed] Machinesmith later claims to have easily recovered the lost fragment and re-assimilated it.[volume & issue needed]
When the Skull is blasted apart by the destruction of the Kubekult's Cosmic Cube, Machinesmith enacts a series of protocols dictated by the 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 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 his enhanced physique and defeats Machinesmith by 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 his 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 rescue his daughter Cassie 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, Augustine Cross had temporarily hired Machinesmith to hack into Power Broker Inc.'s database so that Cross Technological Enterprises could steal its algorithm so that it can be used to create a Hench App knock-off called "Lackey" ever since Darren Cross refused to invest in it during his meeting 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 the complete brain patterns of Starr Saxon, 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 Machinesmith 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