Real Name: Joseph Rambo

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Thief; former insurance investigator

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Tinkerer (Phineas Mason), Toy;
former roommate Calvin C. Bryer

Enemies: Delmar Insurance Company, Kublai Khan, Machine Man (X-51/Aaron Stack)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Bug (just like the epithet "Binary Bug," this sobriquet was given only in narrative captions; see comments)

Base of Operations: His Park Avenue penthouse in New York City;
   formerly his shared loft apartment in New York's Lower West Side

First Appearance: Machine Man I#11 (October, 1979)

Powers/Abilities: Although he possessed no inherent superhuman abilities, Joseph Rambo was provided with several devices from the Tinkerer to further his criminal pursuits, including his flying bug-pod, which he used for transportation. The left gauntlet of his costume could fire electrical blasts with enough voltage to stagger an adult man at nearly point-blank range. Other offensive weaponry he carried included his techno-breaker and his sonic blaster.

Binary Bug's only defensive capability was to exude a thick smoke from his right gauntlet -- the only apparent function of this vapor was to obscure the vision of others in the area surrounding him.

Height: Unrevealed (6'; by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed (180 lbs.; by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Brown

(Machine Man I#11 (fb) - BTS) - Joseph Rambo previously worked for Delmar Insurance as an investigator; but after being discovered tampering with the company's computers, he was subsequently fired. The angry Rambo swore to get revenge for being terminated, so he met with the Tinkerer, who designed and created several technological weapons and a computer/flight pack for the former insurance investigator.

(Machine Man I#11 (fb)) - The Tinkerer's creation Toy presented the completed equipment to Rambo when he went to pick it up. Using these devices, Rambo began his criminal career against Delmar's wealthy clients, while simultaneously hoping to bankrupt and thereby destroy his former employer.

(Machine Man I#11) - On the Binary Bug's first outing, he attempted to steal millions in bonds from his former boss Byron J. Benjamin's wall safe; his crime was interrupted by Machine Man, but he used one of his offensive weapons against the living robot and managed to escape.

   Binary Bug broke into the Delmar building's computer room; after connecting his costume to Delmar's computer, he downloaded and transmitted information about the company's wealthy clients into his bug-pod's computer.

(Machine Man I#11 - BTS) - Two of Delmar's clients--Evanier and Rotsler (see comments)--were victims of multi-million dollar robberies committed by the Binary Bug.

(Machine Man I#11) - Binary Bug next raided James Anderson's social event that was under the protection of Delmar Insurance. He escaped with millions of dollars worth of diamonds and artwork. But upset because Delmar was still in business, Rambo decided to commit one more big robbery on Kublai Khan, another of Delmar's clients -- this robbery was one he had been avoiding because it was so dangerous, but if he succeeded, Delmar would be totally destroyed.

   The Binary Bug flew to Xanadu, the dirigible headquarters of Kublai Khan, with the intent of stealing his valuables. However, Khan's wealth was spared from theft by the arrival of Machine Man, who had discovered Binary Bug's true identity and criminal pattern after conducting an investigation. Binary Bug used another of his offensive weapons against the living robot, then fled.

   With Machine Man in pursuit, the battle between the two moved outside of the volatile confines of the dirigible, but soon afterward Binary Bug was killed after he accidentally flew into some power lines.

Comments: Created by Marv Wolfman and Steve Ditko.

Yet another character that had a designation in exposition but went without an official code-name within the actual story (One of these days I'm going to list as many of these nameless guys as I can --Kyle).

The Tinkerer could have specifications for Binary Bug's devices, so another person could take up the identity... for the right price, of course. This probably isn't going to happen, though.

Maybe it already did -- Binary Bug's appearance/powers are kind of similar to the Neutralizer and the Human Computer; maybe the Tinkerer has been supplying weapons to these two guys as well.
--John Kaminski

Or the other way around: Maybe the Neutralizer technology was sold to the Tinkerer and he used it to build the Binary Bug suit. Read the Neutralizer profile and learn why this is more plausible. Damn flashback stories!
--Markus Raymond

Speaking of devices, let's see... a green costume, electrical glove blasts, smokescreens, thrown gimmick weapons, and smokescreen-creating flight all sound similar to Spider-Man's foe, the Green Goblin. Maybe the Tinkerer got his hands on the designs for some of the Goblin's technology. Intentional or not, the parallels are there and could lead to a Goblin/Tinkerer confrontation. The Spider-Man similarities don't stop here though: Spidey's original artist/co-creator, Steve Ditko, was also the artist for this story, and Machine Man had a hate campaign directed toward him like Spider-Man.

It was mentioned that the Binary Bug stole "four million from Rotsler" -- perhaps this was Bill Rotsler. -- Ron Fredricks

Profile by Kyle Sims. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

Binary Bug has no known connections to:

Joseph Rambo, the Binary Bug, has no known connections to:

Binary Bug's bug-pod

Binary Bug's means of transportation, this bulky, removable pod served a number of functions. Once harnessed upon his back, the pod could be used for flight, leaving a gray exhaust trail in its wake.

Linked to a sound sensor wired on the Binary Bug's costume, the pod contained a computer that could run random numerical combinations in order for the Bug to crack combination safes.

By using a wired interface on his costume, the Binary Bug could connect directly to other computer systems and transmit information directly to the pod's computer  The pod's computer may have been able to bypass computer safeguards, and more than likely could store information downloaded from other computers.

The bug-pod's most deadly weapons were probably its twin tracer missiles that it launched.

--Machine Man I#11

Binary Bug's techno-breaker and sonic blaster

These were two hand-held throwing weapons used by the Binary Bug.

The first one he used was the techno-breaker -- it could confuse and eventually short out any machine, including robots, via an electrical field. The Bug used it against Machine Man during one of his robberies. The device ensnared the living robot and disrupted his mechanical system until Peter Spaulding pulled it from him.

The second weapon looked exactly the same as the techno-breaker -- it was the sonic blaster, which not only could disorientate its intended target, but it could cause physical harm as well. When the Binary Bug was attempting to rob Kublai Khan, he used this device against Machine Man -- believing that it was another techno-breaker, Machine Man had prepared himself for that weapon. But the sonic blaster struck him and temporarily disrupted Machine Man's stabilizers, causing him to lose his balance.

--Machine Man I#11

images: (without ads)
Machine Man I#11, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Binary Bug)
Machine Man I#11, p13, pan2 (Joseph Rambo)
Machine Man I#11, p3, pan4 (Binary Bug fires electrical blast at security guard)
Machine Man I#11, p9, pan5 (Binary Bug connected into Delmar Insurance's computer system)
Machine Man I#11, p17, pan3 (death of Binary Bug; Machine Man (background))
Machine Man I#11, p2, pan1 (on rooftop, Binary Bug disengaged from bug-pod)
Machine Man I#11, p5, pan1 (fleeing Binary Bug clamps himself back into bug-pod)
Machine Man I#11, p17, pan1 (Binary Bug fires tracer missiles from bug-pod)
Machine Man I#11, p4, pan5 (Binary Bug hurls techno-breaker)
Machine Man I#11, p4, pan6 (techno-breaker ensnares Machine Man)
Machine Man I#11, p16, pan1 (sonic blaster thrown at Machine Man)
Machine Man I#11, p16, pan2 (activated sonic blaster strikes Machine Man)

Machine Man I#11 (October, 1979) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils/inks), Michele Wolfman (colors), John Costanza (letters)

First posted: 10/08/2002
Last updated: 03/06/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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