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Machinesmith

By Ronald Byrd

After discovering an abandoned robot of Doctor Doom’s within a subway tunnel, the fourteen-year-old Samuel “Starr” Saxon devotes himself to cybernetics. With the assistance of the criminal supplier known as the Tinkerer, he lands a commission to create a robot assassin, which brings him to the attention of the super-hero Daredevil. Saxon’s criminal efforts also include a stint as the super-villain Mister Fear, in which guise he dies. However, his robot servitors recreate his consciousness in computer form and download it into a robot body. In the new identity of Machinesmith, he continues his criminal activities until, in a temporary state of despair over his artificial existence, he manipulates Captain America into seemingly destroying his consciousness; however, he immediately revives in another body, “a changed robot,” and repents the effort. After a few months, Machinesmith returns to action as an employee of the Red Skull, supplying the criminal mastermind with robot servitors and serving his interests as a part of his team of operatives, the Skeleton Crew, in which capacity, of course, he again clashes with Captain America. He eventually leaves the Skull’s employ and takes to international terrorism, again encountering Cap.

Art by a young Barry Smith

Following his reappearance on the super-villain scene in the Red Skull’s service, Machinesmith demonstrated certain stereotypical gay mannerisms, including an apparent appreciation for the male form, albeit as related to robotic structure.

On one occasion, when he and the synthezoid hero known as the Vision deactivated each other in battle, a fellow Skull agent, Minister Blood, coming upon the sight of the two inert male humanoids, speculated that they might be having sex. Precisely how seriously writer Mark Gruenwald, the writer, intended this perspective to be taken is open to question, but the notion certainly makes Machinesmith unique in the annals of comicdom.

In Iron Man #320 (volume #1), Machinesmith makes a pass at Tony Stark. When Tony turns him down, Machinesmith says that he is still holding out for the Vision.

In addition to his inventive genius, Machinesmith, as a robot, possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and reflexes in his customary body. His consciousness can inhabit any electronic system, enabling him to inhabit a wide variety of robot bodies at will, including several duplicates of his usual body, many of which possess unique powers such as telescopic limbs, infrared vision, and such. For a time he frequently made use of the World War II-era robot known as the Sleeper, whose strength and endurance was even greater than his and which could emit repulsor rays from its eye-sockets.

Information on more recent exploits of Machinesmith may be found at Marvel’s entry.

Machinesmith first appeared as Starr Saxon in Daredevil #50, volume 1  and is outed in Captain America #368, volume 1.

All rights reserved Marvel Comics.

July 21, 2021
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