Whizzer (Robert Frank)
|Publisher||Timely Comics, Marvel Comics|
|First appearance||USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941)|
|Created by||Al Avison (penciller; writer unknown)|
|Alter ego||Robert L. Frank|
Self-taught hand to hand combatant|
Superhuman speed and reflexes
The first Whizzer (Robert Frank) debuted in USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), published by Timely Comics. The character was created by penciller Al Avison and an unnamed writer. One source credits Stan Lee as that writer, but there are no other sources to support the credit. Timely published solo adventures of the Whizzer throughout the first half of the 1940s, then, in 1946, made the character part of the superhero team the All-Winners Squad in the final two issues of All Winners Comics. These were the character's last appearances during the 1940s.
Writer Roy Thomas reintroduced the Golden Age Whizzer in Giant-Size Avengers #1 (Aug. 1974). Two years later, in The Avengers Annual #6 (Nov. 1976), writer Gerry Conway reinterpreted the character's origin and history so that the "transfusion of mongoose blood" was not the source of the power, but the factor that "triggered a latent mutant ability". Thomas, in the World War II flashback series The Invaders #5–6 (March–May 1976), expanded on the character's wartime career as a sometime-member of the retroactively created superhero team the Invaders. Thomas later additionally made the Whizzer a full-time member of the home-front heroes the Liberty Legion, in Marvel Premiere #29–30 (April–June 1976). Neither team had existed in Timely Comics.
Fictional character biography
Robert L. Frank was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The origin of the Golden Age character begins while Robert Frank is on a trip to Africa with his father, Dr. Emil Frank, where Robert is bitten by a cobra. Dr. Frank saves Robert by a transfusion of mongoose blood, and soon discovers that his son has developed super-speed. Frank then decides to fight crime and eventually accepts the offer of Invaders member Bucky, who forms the superhero team the Liberty Legion to rescue the other Invaders, who have been brainwashed by the villain the Red Skull. When the Liberty Legion and Invaders eventually disband after World War II, the Whizzer joins the newly formed All-Winners Squad. The Whizzer afterward spent some years battling alcoholism and depression, and was, for some time, homeless in the Bowery section of Manhattan. He also works as a nuclear laboratory technician.
In the modern age, the Whizzer reappears as an aging hero who had married fellow superhero Miss America. The Whizzer encounters and briefly serves with the Avengers, who aid him in controlling his son Nuklo. He is reunited with Nuklo, but suffers a heart attack. At the end of this adventure, the Whizzer erroneously believes himself to be the father of the mutant twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.
The Whizzer was later duped by the Living Laser into battling the Avengers, and suffers a second heart attack. He then battled the Atlanteans and Namor alongside the Avengers. After a humbling defeat at the hands of the supervillain Count Nefaria the Whizzer retires.
He later returns to fight a final battle against an old war-time foe called Isbisa. The Whizzer dies after suffering a fatal heart attack while fighting Isbisa, but his sacrifice enables his son Nuklo to be cured of his excessive radiation level and begin a normal life. The Whizzer died believing Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were his children.
Powers and abilities
Due to a reaction between his latent genetic mutation and an injection of mongoose blood, Robert Frank has the ability to move at superhuman speed and has superhuman reflexes. He can create cyclones by running in circles, and can run up walls and across water. In his prime, he could attain speeds faster than he could in middle age, running at approximately 100 mph.
The Whizzer has learned a unique, self-taught fighting style that exploits the ability to move at superhuman speeds.
In the DC Comics/Marvel Comics jointly published Amalgam Comics miniseries, the Whiz is an amalgamation of the Robert Frank Whizzer and the Golden Age Flash, and is a member of the All Star Winners Squad. His sole appearance was in Super Soldier: Man of War #1 (June 1997).
- In Marvel Zombies 3 the zombified Whizzer appears alongside Speed Demon and Quicksilver chasing down Machine Man, before being killed after diving under Ghost Rider's bike, causing all four of the zombies to explode.
In other media
- An elderly, long-retired Robert Frank is featured in the "Six Forgotten Warriors" episodes of Spider-Man, voiced by Walker Edmiston. In this version, the Whizzer's powers are the result of an attempt at recreating the process that empowered Captain America in which he was among the five people (which included Black Marvel, Destroyer, Miss America, and Thunderer) to go through this process. However, their powers are limited in how long they can use them. In order to remedy this, special rings are used to activate their powers and ration them. After Captain America "sacrifices" himself to stop the Red Skull from activating his doomsday device, he and the other heroes take the keys and retire. Years later, he is shown tutoring a kid on how to draw the heroes of this time until Rhino comes and forces the key out of his possession. He joined up with the other heroes to fight both Kingpin's Insidious Six and Red Skull's forces.
- Robert Frank appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy", voiced by Robert Patrick. During World War II, Robert Frank as the Whizzer was a superhero alongside Captain America, Bucky, Miss America, and the Human Torch android. In the present, Robert Frank is a teacher at the Triskelion's S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. When Arnim Zola is reactivated, Spider-Man learns from Robert Frank's scrapbook that the Whizzer had fought Arnim Zola. During Spider-Man's fight with Zola's synthezoids, Whizzer arrives to help. Whizzer tells Spider-Man, Iron Spider, Agent Venom, and Power Man to target the ESP Box on Zola. Upon Amadeus Cho activating a signal in his Iron Spider armor, Zola loses control of the synthezoids, causing them to become unstable. Whizzer takes the opportunity to punch Arnim Zola. As the laboratory is exploding, Spider-Man gets Whizzer out of the laboratory. Whizzer later thanks Spider-Man for saving his life.
- "The Whizzer". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Source lists "Al Avison and Al Gabrielle" as that character's creator. However, USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941) at the Grand Comics Database lists Avison as penciler for the character's debut, and Gabriele solely as inker, not generally considered a co-creator position.
- "Stan Lee". Lambiek Comiclopedia. 2006-10-29. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved 2007-06-09.
- Marvel Premiere #29–30 (Apr.–June 1976).
- All Winners Comics 19 (Fall 1946) & #21 (Winter 1946–47), Timely Comics
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 18. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- Giant-Size Avengers #1 (Aug. 1974).
- Avengers #152 (Oct. 1976)
- Avengers #153 (Nov. 1976).
- Avengers #155–156 (Jan.–Feb. 1977).
- The Avengers 165 (Nov. 1977)
- The Avengers 173 (July 1978)
- The Vision and the Scarlet Witch 2 (Dec. 1982)
- Deadpool #0 (1998).
- Super Soldier: Man of War #1 (June 1997)
- Marvel Zombies 3 #3 (Feb 2009)