ONE-MAN ZODIAC

Real Name: Darren Bentley

Identity/Class: Human crimelord, later magic-user

Occupation: Crimelord

Group Membership: Zodiac cartel

Affiliations: Thunderbolts gang;
    former pawn of Slifer and Satan/Mephisto

Enemies: Avengers (Black Panther, Captain America, Goliath (Clint Barton), Iron Man, Mantis, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Yellowjacket), Daredevil, Nick Fury, Ghost Rider/John Blaze/Zarathos, Rick Jones, Madame Masque, Kevin O'Brien, Stuntmaster, Satan/Mephisto, Taurus (Cornelius Van Lunt)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Aquarius, Zodiac, Zodiak (in the "next issue" blurb), Second Zodiac (see comments); Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Taurus, Virgo

Base of Operations: presumably Mephisto's Hell;
    formerly Manhattan, New York;
    San Francisco, California

First Appearance: (as Aquarius) Avengers I#72 (January, 1970);
    (One-Man Zodiac) Ghost Rider II#6 (June, 1974)

 

Powers/Abilities: As Aquarius, Bentley had no superhuman powers. He controlled the branch of the Zodiac crime cartel that operated out of San Francisco, California. He had above average fighting skills, but used no weapons.
    As the One-Man Zodiac, he could transform into a representation of any of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and would possess that sign's respective powers. For example, as Leo, he had razor sharp metal claws that could rend solid steel. As Scorpio, he possessed the Zodiac Key, which can fire powerful energy blasts. As Taurus he rode a motorcycle outfitted with various weapons. Many, but not all, of these forms were virtually identical to that of the original Zodiac cartel members.

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Unrevealed

 

 

History: (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#20: Zodiac (fb) - BTS) - Darren Bentley was a crimelord who became involved in the Zodiac crime cartel, and was hand-picked by Cornelius van Lunt (the group's founder and financer) for the position of Aquarius (his own sign). He was based out of San Francisco, California. As was the policy of the group, Aquarius ruled the entire organization when his sign dominated the calendar.

(Avengers I#72) - Aquarius was with the Zodiac cartel when they were infiltrated by Nick Fury (who impersonated his own brother, as Scorpio). "Scorpio" captured the Avengers and called in the other members of Zodiac to witness their defeat. Fury freed the Avengers, hoping to capture the members of Zodiac, but they escaped.

(Avengers I#80 (fb) - BTS) - Under the direction of Aries (Marcus Lassiter), Zodiac regrouped and began plotting their takeover of Manhattan.

(Avengers I#80 (fb) - BTS) - Cornelius van Lunt led Zodiac's efforts to build to steal the land from Red Wolf's father, leading Red Wolf to pursue van Lunt's agent, Jason Birch, back to Manhattan.

(Avengers I#80 - BTS) - Having learned something of Zodiac's activities, the Avengers prepared to oppose them, though they split into three groups, each pursuing a different agenda (unaware that all three were Zodiac related).

(Avengers I#81 - BTS) - Van Lunt's men shot down the Avengers' quinjet containing Goliath (Clint Barton), the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, and Red Wolf, and van Lunt appeared to drown when the artificial dam was destroyed in the ensuing conflict.

(Daredevil I#69 - BTS) - Zodiac backed the Thunderbolts gang, directing them to dupe other African-Americans into joining a seeming revolution against oppression, when they were really just common criminals; the Thunderbolts were defeated by the Black Panther, Daredevil, and William Carver.

(Avengers I#82 - BTS) - Aries led the forces of Zodiac to ambush the Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Quicksilver, and Thor), using gas to incapacitate then within Avengers Mansion, after which they were placed within stasis.

(Avengers I#82 - BTS) - Aries led the forces of Zodiac to take over Manhattan, entrapping it within a force field, and threatening to slay the entire population if they did not receive one billion dollars within 24 hours time. The Black Panther and Daredevil freed the imprisoned Avengers, and Aries was apparently slain in the ensuing conflict. The army captured Zodiac's mercenary soldiers, and the force field was deactivated. The rest of the Zodiac Cartel escaped capture.

 

(Iron Man I#33 - BTS, #34 - BTS) - The Zodiac Cartel, led by Capricorn, employed Spymaster and his Espionage Elite to destroy Stark Industries and to capture or kill Tony Stark.

(Daredevil I#73) - The Zodiac Key instructed Capricorn to bring others to the Ankh dimension to restore the Key's power through conflict.

(Iron Man I#35) - When Spymaster and his group failed, Capricorn reassigned him to capture Daredevil, which they did, obtaining Madame Masque in the process. Capricorn led Libra (see comments), Aquarius, and Sagittarius in traveling to Stark Industries, where they battled and overcame Iron Man, Nick Fury, and Kevin O'Brian with the aid of the Zodiac Key. The heroes were imprisoned alongside Daredevil and Madame Masque, and the Key instructed Capricorn to release Fury and give him the Key, which took control of his mind.

(Daredevil I#73) - Fury was mesmerized by the Key into using it to transport the heroes, the three Zodiac Cartel members, and Spymaster to the Ankh dimension, where they appeared before the Brotherhood of Ankh. The Law-Holder manipulated the heroes and villains into conflict, and Aquarius squared off against Nick Fury, but disagreement within the Brotherhood regarding Daredevil's reluctance to fight under duress led the Brotherhood to send them all back to Earth.

(Iron Man I#36 - BTS) - Daredevil, Nick Fury, Iron Man, and Madame Masque defeated Aquarius, Capricorn, and Sagittarius, who were taken away by the police, while Spymaster escaped; Aquarius managed to overpower Madame Masque, but was then knocked out by the combined efforts of Fury and Daredevil.

(Avengers I#120) - Aquarius participated in the Taurus-led Zodiac plot to prove their power by using the Star-Blazer to snuff out everyone in Manhattan born under the sign of Gemini (with Zodiac's Gemini protected by special means). When Gemini's twin, Damian Link, was captured by the Avengers, the other eleven broke into Avengers Mansion, used a hand-held Star-Blazer to overpower the Avengers (Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision) and Mantis, and to escape with Gemini's twin.
    When the Zodiac Cartel publicly made their threat, the Avengers located them and damaged the Star-Blazer, Taurus used its remaining energy to blast Mantis.

(Avengers I#121) - The Avengers attacked the Zodiac Cartel, but Aries (Grover Raymond) cast Mantis over the edge, and the Zodiacs fled in the ensuing chaos as they rescued her. Aries, frustrated with their near defeat, gathered Aquarius, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, and Scorpio to form a coup to overthrow Taurus. Libra elected to sit the conflict out, telling them that he wished to remain the balance; the others threatened to attack him if he failed to maintain his neutrality. When Aries contacted Zodiac's funder Cornelius van Lunt to design a weapon to oppose Taurus, he learned too late that van Lunt actually was Taurus; shortly after Thor led the other Avengers (Black Panther, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Vision) to the rebel Zodiacs in van Lunt's designated meeting place, they were all trapped within the room as it was sealed with a force field and launched into space.

(Avengers I#122) - Despite their shared danger, Aries led Aquarius, Cancer, Leo, Pisces, Sagittarius, and Scorpio to attack the Avengers within the orbiting death trap. Back on Earth, after Taurus revealed his actions to the remaining Zodiacs, Libra stole the Star-Blaster ship, used it to fly up to the orbiting trap, neutralize the  force field, and free its inhabitants. Back on Earth, Taurus convinced the renegades to join with him against the Avengers who would surely imprison them, but they were defeated nonetheless.

(Avengers I#123 - BTS) - The Zodiac Cartel, with the exception of Libra, were then turned over to the police.

(Ghost Rider II#7(fb)) - Bentley suffered from a rare lung condition, which had been exacerbated by of Taurus's space trap (during their last struggle). His doctors gave him one year to live. Bentley screamed out to the Heavens that he would revenge himself on van Lunt and all who had contributed to his coming death. Yes, he screamed to the Heavens--but his shouts were heard elsewhere! (Now THAT'S some snappy writing!).

Under direction from Mephisto, the demon Slifer approached Bentley and offered him the combined power of the Zodiac for one year. However, at the end of the year, his soul would be forfeit. Bentley gladly accepted.

 

(Ghost Rider II#6, 7) - Bentley, using various incarnations of the Zodiac, began to attack and either destroy or steal van Lunt (Taurus's civilian ID)'s holdings. His efforts brought him into conflict with the Ghost Rider and Stuntmaster. Bentley changed back and forth several times and held his own against Ghost Rider. However, when Bentley assumed the twelfth and final Zodiac form, Slifer reappeared and told Aquarius his time had come. Bentley argued that it had only been a few weeks, not a whole year, but Slifer revealed that it had been a whole Zodiacal year. Mephisto appeared and claimed Aquarius' soul.

Comments: Aquarius created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema. One-Man Zodiac by Gary Friedrich, Tony Isabella, and Jim Mooney.

Who'd have thought that the devil would try to trick/cheat a mortal out of his soul?

As an Aquarius, Darren Bentley was born between the dates January 20th and February 18th.

    On the cover of Ghost Rider II#6, it refers to the menace of the second Zodiac. I don't use those numeric-type clarifications anymore (whenever possible), because they're are too arbitrary, and everyone has a different system. However, at the time (and still, as of 3/18/2002), the Zodiac cartel would be the original Zodiac (I). The One-Man Zodiac would be II, and the android/LMD Zodiac would be III. This differs from almost every reference/description I've ever seen, which refers to the android/LMD Zodiac as II. See why I don't do this anymore?
    --And please do NOT e-mail to tell me what your numbering system is, and why it should be that way.

CLARIFICATIONS: Aquarius, the One-Man Zodiac, and the forms he took should not be confused with:

Satan/Mephisto


Appearances:
Avengers I#72 (January, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Sam Grainger (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Avengers I#80-82 (September-November, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Iron Man I#33-36 (January-April, 1971) - Allyn Brodsky & Gerry Conway (#35-36) (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil I#73 (February, 1971) - Allyn Brodsky & Gerry Conway (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Avengers I#120-123 (February-May, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Bob Brown (#120, 122-123) & John Buscema (#121) (pencils), Don Heck (#120-121, 123) & Mike Esposito (#122) (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Avengers I#124 (June, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Dave Cockrum (#124) (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Ghost Rider II#6 (June, 1974) - Gary Friedrich & Tony Isabella (writers), Jim Mooney (pencils), Sal Trapani (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Ghost Rider II#7 (August, 1974) - Tony Isabella (writer), Jim Mooney (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)


Last updated: 03/25/13

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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