Classification: Technology (terrestrial)
Creator: Dr. Robert Bruce Banner
User/Possessors: US Air Force, Leader (Sam Sterns)
Mesa hideout, New Mexico;
formerly Astra Island, probably Pacific Ocean (see comments); Gamma Base, New Mexico
First Appearance: (hidden under tarpaulins,
unidentified) Tales to Astonish I#63 (January, 1965);
(seen, identified) Tales to Astonish I#64 (February, 1965)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Absorbatron was designed to absorb the entire force of a nuclear explosion. It was never used, so exactly how it worked was unrevealed, but it was said to be able to absorb the power of the bomb; since it was said that this would make the user safe from any atomic attack, it presumably had to absorb all the effects of the detonation, including the heat, radiation, and blast wave.
(Tales To Astonish I#64/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Absorbatron was created by Bruce Banner for the US Army in an effort to provide a defense against nuclear attack by absorbing "the impact" of the blast.
(Tales to Astonish I#63/2) - The Leader plotted to steal Banner's nuclear secrets, and to this end sent in a spy, the Chameleon, to Gamma Base in New Mexico to gather intelligence. The Chameleon reported back that Banner's newest invention was being transported by train to another base, hidden from prying eyes under some tarpaulins, so the Leader sent one of his synthetic Humanoid robots to steal it en route. With the Leader watching the mission through the Humanoid's eyes, the robot descended from a helicopter to board the train and decoupled the car carrying the Absorbatron, but while the Humanoid was trying to release the covers so the Leader could view his prize, the Hulk (Banner's secret alter ego) intervened. During the subsequent battle the Absorbatron was knocked loose and the Hulk shoved it off the side of the train car to prevent it impacting against a tank also riding on the car. However, the army swiftly arrived to recover it.
(Tales To Astonish I#64/2
(fb) - BTS) - The device was transported to the small,
deserted Astra Island for testing, which Banner was sent to supervise
under the watchful eyes of Major Glenn Talbot. Informed of this by
Chameleon, the Leader decided to seize the renewed opportunity to
learn the secrets of Banner's invention and sent more Humanoids to
invade the island, avoiding notice of the U.S. Navy light cruiser
stationed nearby by walking along the ocean floor.
(Tales To Astonish I#64/2) -
In a bunker on the island Banner prepared to test his device against
an atomic explosion the cruiser was to set off, but an argument with
Talbot triggered Banner's transformation into the Hulk. Racing outside
the bunker to avoid changing in front of Talbot, Banner became the
Hulk, and when Talbot spotted the behemoth he shut the bunker's blast
doors to prevent the creature reaching him. Unaware that moments later
the Hulk was drawn into battle with the newly arrived Humanoids,
Talbot remotely lowered the Absorbatron into a titanium-shielded
underground shelter to protect it from the Hulk.
(Tales To Astonish I#65/2 - BTS) - The battle between the
Hulk and the Humanoids led to the Hulk taking a prolonged journey away
from Astra Island and the USA; Banner's absence necessitated the
Absorbatron test being delayed.
(Tales to Astonish I#68/2) - Banner returned to Gamma Base, and the Absorbatron test was rescheduled. Again learning of this, the Leader seeded Astra Island his Humanoids to Astra Isle in powdery form and then enlarged them to full size after the arrival of Talbot and Banner. The Humanoids easily overwhelmed Talbot and then rendered the Hulk unconscious via gas.
(Tales to Astonish I#69/2) - The Leader then arrived himself and transported both the Hulk and the Absorbatron back to his desert base via a magnetic attractor-beam on his ship. However, the Hulk revived before the Leader had time to examine the Absorbatron, and with some remnant of Banner's memories telling him the Leader must not be allowed to have the Absorbatron, the green goliath hurled a huge steel bar at the nuclear device, destroying it. It was never rebuilt.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and George Bell.
The Absorbatron was a
pinky-purple color when first depicted in Tales to Astonish I#64, but a
far more somber gray in its two subsequent appearances; no in-story
reason is provided, so it's presumably an art error.
In Tales to Astonish I#63 we're given the
impression that Banner's invention on the train is a bomb; thus it's
easy to assume that the Absorbatron, introduced the next issue, is a
different invention, except that the Chameleon confirms otherwise in his
report to the Leader. Tales to Astonish I#64 mentions that the Hulk
protected Banner' nuclear invention from the Humanoid, and the very next
page the Chameleon states that the army still plan to test "his nuclear
device" on Astra Island. It seems likely that Stan Lee hadn't decided
what the invention did until the second of the issues.
We're not told which ocean Astra Island is
in, but since nuclear bomb tests tended to happen in the Pacific, that
seems the most likely option.
Profile by Snood.
The Absorbatron should not be confused with:
Tales to Astonish I#68/2, p6, pan1 (main image, surrounded by miniscule Humanoids)
Tales to Astonish I#64/2, p4, pan4 (Astra Island, with Absorbatron on raised platform)
Tales to Astonish I#69/2, p2, pan2 (view of different side of Absorbatron)
Tales to Astonish I#69/2, p3, pan3 (Leader transports Absorbatron)
Tales to Astonish I#69/2, p8, pan5 (Hulk hurls a steel bar)
Tales to Astonish I#69/2, p9, pan1 (and Absorbatron goes boom)
Tales to Astonish I#64/2, p5, pan1 (Absorbatron: also comes in pink)
Tales to Astonish I#63/2-64/2 (January-February, 1965) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils), George Bell (inks)
Tales to Astonish I#68/2 (June, 1965) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Mikey Demeo (inks)
Tales to Astonish I#69/2 (July, 1965) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks)
First Posted: 10/02/2001
Last updated: 10/02/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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