Master Menace

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Dr. Emil Burbank, also known as Master Menace, is a fictional Marvel Comics character. Two different versions of the character appear in two separate (but related) continuities, Squadron Supreme and Supreme Power.

Squadron Supreme[edit]

Master Menace
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (mentioned) Avengers (vol. 1) #147 (May 1976); (as Burbank) Thor (vol. 1) #280 (Feb. 1979); (as Master Menace) Squadron Supreme #6 (Feb. 1986)
Created by Roy Thomas and Wayne Boring
In-story information
Alter ego Emil Zebediah Burbank
Team affiliations Squadron Supreme
America Redeemers
Notable aliases Master Menace
Abilities Genius level inventor,
Powered armor
Various weapons

Master Menace is an analogue of Lex Luthor with elements of Doctor Doom.[citation needed] This Master Menace is a supergenius inventor and is gifted in numerous fields of physical science. He usually wears a suit of powered armor with an arsenal of built-in weapons, which enables him to fight superhumans on a more equal basis (especially his nemesis, Hyperion).

Publication history[edit]

Master Menace first appeared in Thor (vol. 1) #280 (February 1979), and was created by Roy Thomas and Wayne Boring.

The character subsequently appears in Squadron Supreme #6-8 (February–April 1986), #10-12 (June–August 1986), Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe (1989), and Squadron Supreme: New World Order (September 1998).

Master Menace received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89 #5.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Originally, Hyperion encountered Dr. Emil Burbank (a.k.a. Master Menace) on Earth-712 (sometimes called "Earth-S"). In his first appearance, he battled Hyperion while the hero was filming a movie directed by Burbank's brother, L.L. Burbank.[volume & issue needed]

Burbank claimed that exposure to Hyperion's "flash vision" caused his hair to grow wildly (whether this is true or not remains speculative); the origin of his enmity pastiches the Silver Age Luthor, who blamed Superman for his baldness.[citation needed]

On this occasion, Burbank worked with the evil Hyperion of the mainstream Marvel Universe, and held captive the visiting Thor. Burbank was taken captive but later found himself in an interdimensional vacuum as he attempted to escape confinement.[volume & issue needed]

It is unclear what happened to Burbank between his capture by Thor and the time the extradimensional Overmind took control of President Kyle Richmond (a.k.a. Nighthawk) of Earth-712, home of the Squadron Supreme and through Richmond that Earth's United States of America. While the Squadron concentrated on rebuilding America, Master Menace (as he now called himself) concentrated his efforts on conquering the Middle East. He gave shelter to three of Nighthawk's enemies: Remnant, Pinball, and the Mink. He sent the Mink, Remnant and Pinball to Earth-616. Master Menace pulled Hyperion through the interdimensional gulf and revealed his true origins. He supplied the Redeemers with a way to reverse the brainwashing technology of the Squadron.[volume & issue needed]

In Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe, Emil Burbank aged fifteen years after going into the 41st century with Scarlet Centurion to build a device to stop the Nth Man.[volume & issue needed]

In Squadron Supreme: New World Order, Emil Burbank is a wheelchair-using old man, at the mercy of large, multi-national corporations and using the Squadron's own Utopia technologies.[volume & issue needed]

Supreme Power[edit]

Emil Burbank
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Supreme Power #18
Created by J. Michael Straczynski
In-story information
Team affiliations Squadron Supreme
Abilities Superhuman intelligence

This version of Emil, as with the previous version, is based on Lex Luthor. In DC's Post-Crisis continuity, Luthor was a young genius who arranged the death of his parents in a car crash and began his empire using the life insurance policy that he took out on their lives. In DC's Pre-Crisis continuity, Luthor had a sister named Lena, and in the Superman novels written by Elliot S! Maggin, used multiple identities. Emil Burbank's origin is a combination of both interpretations of Lex Luthor.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Emil Burbank is a man with many aliases and possibly the greatest intellect on the planet. He has Doctoral Degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Metallurgy, Psychology, Economics and literature from three different universities. As a child, he sexually abused his older sister by drugging her unconscious with chemical compounds, eventually leaving her in a permanent catatonic state. At 18, his parents died in a car accident, which he arranged and boasts about even while trying to say it was an accident. Emil is noted for malicious and homicidal retribution against those he feels have wronged him. A school bully and a professor who accused him of cheating were both caught in fires started by Emil.

After Emil agrees to work for the government, General Alexander sends Emil, Nuke, Arcanna, and Shape to apprehend or destroy Hyperion. While fighting Hyperion, Arcanna's quantum powers, Nuke's radioactive blast, and Hyperion's flash vision combine to create an effect that sends them all to an alternate reality, where Hyperion and most of the other heroes wage war against Earth's governments, to "save" humanity. However, the "alternate" reality is actually the same reality, only years in the future. Emil and Hyperion are the only two members of the Squadron aware of this information after the five are returned to the correct time stream.[1]

Emil was to be on the covert operations team after Hyperion's return to America, but after Mark informs reporter Jason Scott of the project and gives him a list of the super-humans working for the government, the U.S. President gives a press conference and announces the formation of Squadron Supreme.

The team is sent to Uganda to apprehend John M'Butu, a fast-rising tribal leader gifted with a powerful verbal suggestion ability, who calls himself the Voice. Burbank reveals that he has developed counter measures to defend himself from everyone on his team, except for Hyperion and Doctor Spectrum. Before Amphibian attacks him, he defeats her with a powder he designed to kill her by suffocation.[2]

On a mission codenamed "Long Walk", to take down insurgents of the Ilam Province in Iran, Emil developed technology that disrupts the functionings of the inner ear, incapacitating the soldiers, who Emil then proceeded to shoot. After Edith Freiberg found a little girl whose mother had been stoned by relatives for the perceived dishonor of being raped, Edith, using Emil Burbank as a translator, finds the relatives and buries them up to their necks. She then gives the girl a steel bar with which to kill them. After "Long Walk", Emil Burbank is at the conference to act as a bodyguard.[3]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Emil Burbank was recruited to the Squadron because he was tested by the military and found to have been exposed to the retrovirus that had been released from Hyperion's spacecraft and bestowed superhuman abilities on numerous people around the world. Even though Emil's enhanced intellect is a direct result of the retro-virus, Emil denies it, insisting that his genius is his own doing.

Though not displaying any physical super powers, Emil demonstrates that he can defend himself in combat situations by the use of certain types of technology.[4]


  1. ^ Supreme Power:Hyperion #1 - 5 (2005 - 2006)
  2. ^ Squadron Supreme vol. 1, #1 - 3
  3. ^ Squadron Supreme vol. 1, #4 - 6
  4. ^ Squadron Supreme #4

External links[edit]