COMET MAN

Real Name: Dr. Stephen Beckley

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Astronomer, astrophysicist;
    former astronaut

Group Membership: Comet Men

Affiliations: Fantastic Four (Crystal, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel/She-Thing, She-Hulk, Thing), Fortisquians, Max, Nick Fury, Starcore One crew (Dr. Peter Corbeau, Alexander Hilary, Talia Kruma, Colonel Mikhail Kutuzov)

Enemies: Bridge (David Hilbert),  Captain Marvel (Genis), Hulk (Banner), the Nuwali, Superior

Known Relatives: Ben Beckley (son), Ann Beckley (wife, deceased), Jack Beckley (father, deceased), unnamed mother (deceased), John Gallagher (aka Superior, brother, deceased), Rosemary (sister), Lou (former brother-in-law)

Aliases: none

Place of Birth: somewhere in Florida

Base of Operations: mobile throughout the Universe aboard the Comet Ship;
    formerly Cape Canaveral, Florida;
    formerly the Colony Fortisque, Sector 22

First Appearance: Comet Man#1 (February, 1987)

Powers/Abilities: Beckley has superhuman strength (Class 25). He can project sphere of concussive energy from his hands. He had telekinesis, which he uses to fly (at great speeds), or to levitate other objects or beings. He has superhuman durability, enabling him to survive the heat of atmospheric re-entry uninjured, and he can heal rapidly from bullet wounds. He can generate force fields around himself and others, and he can survive in the cold vacuum of outer space unaided.

    He can teleport himself over great distances, even from the surface of the Earth into outer space. He does not have complete control over this ability. It is triggered subconsciously when he is in danger. He can use the ability consciously via a psi-amplifier device given to him by Reed Richards. He can teleport into the presence of another being by concentrating on that being, even if he does not know where that being is. Apparently he psionically scans the area into which he is teleporting to avoid materializing within a solid object.

    He can project a portion of his own subconscious into the mind of another human or into an animal. He can then read the memories of that being, experience any sensations that being does, and also influence the thoughts and emotions of that being, directing its behavior. He refers to this as "thought pitching." He also apparently has an increased capacity for feeling emotions.

    Beckley's entire body has been re-created, and it is unclear whether he is subject to the effects of aging or conventional disease, or whether he still needs to eat or drink. He does not appear to need to breathe.

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

History:
(Comet Man#5 (fb)) - Stephen Beckley is the son of United States Air Force Colonel Jack Beckley and his wife. Neither he nor his sister Rosemary, nor even his father, were aware that his mother had had a Jack's first child while Jack was serving in a military operation, and had given it up for adoption.

(Comet Man#1 (fb) - BTS) - Stephen became an astronomer and astrophysicist. He and his wife, Ann, had a son, Benny. Stephen and Ann were the creators and heads of the Edmond Project, a joint effort between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)) to investigate comets and related phenomena.

(Fantastic Four I#197 - BTS) - Stephen's knowledge of sunspot activity and the flaring of the Van Allen Belt was essential in Reed Richards' solo space flight to regain his lost powers.

(X-Men: The Return) - It was May and Colonel Mikhail Kutuzov was involved in a conversation with Colonel Mikhail Kutuzov and Dr. Peter Corbeau and Dr. Stephen Beckley; Beckley wanted use of the array for his work on the Edmund Project. Kutuzov pointed out that Beckley's presence was only a courtesy to NASA and refused the permission. They were interrupted by Talia Kruma and Alexander Hilary, who alerted them that an alien ship had emerged from behind the sun and was on course for Earth.

(Comet Man#1) - As the culmination of the Project, Stephen piloted a ship, Spaceball Firewatch, to observe Halley's Comet at close range. However, Beckley was unable to compensate with the comet made an unexpected sudden right angle turn, and both he and his ship were utterly consumed in the energy tail of the comet. Seconds later, however, he was re-created by Max, the alien piloting the ship that had been thought to be the comet. As the module that reformed Beckely was calibrated to Fortisquian (Max's race) standards, he was granted superhuman powers in the process. Max offered to train Beckley in his new powers, but he declined, preferring to return home and reveal he was still alive..

    Stephen revealed his existence to his old friend, David Hilbert, who was actually an agent of the Bridge and served the Superior. Under the Superior's direction, Hilbert convinced Beckley that his existence must remain a secret for reasons of national security until he had been thoroughly tested. After preliminary testing, Hilbert then drugged Stephen and brought him to the Bridge for advanced testing, as their prisoner.

(Comet Man#2) - Beckley broke free from his restraints and inadvertently slaughtered the Bridge troops when one of them shot him in the abdomen. Teleporting to safety, he managed to expel the bullet from his body while dreaming. He awoke in his father's fishing camp, where he learned of his thought pitching ability and used it to acquire a meal. After completely recovering, he returned home, only to find his apartment completely vacant.

(Comet Man#3) - Bridge agents paid off Beckley's former landlord to play their hostage so that they could re-capture him. However, en route to Bridge HQ, they ran into a fighting mad Hulk, who shattered their transport vehicle. After nearly being killed by the Hulk, Beckley managed to use his thought pitching ability to calm the Hulk and transform him back into Banner.  However, when a Mandroid tried to subdue Banner/Hulk, he reversed the transformation. After swatting the Mandroid, the Hulk teleported away. The public appearance drew the attention of Reed Richards (an old friend of Beckley).

(Comet Man#4) - Reed brought Beckley back to Four Freedoms Plaza where they tested his powers to help him gain control of his teleportational and psychic abilities in hopes of locating his wife and son. Using Reed's psi-amplifier, Beckley first consciously triggered his power, but he ended up in the shower with the She-Hulk, which didn't go over too well with the Jade Giantess. After the misunderstanding was cleared up, Beckley again tried the psi-amplifier, this time focusing on finding Ann. He was successful, but the result was not what he had anticipated. Ann had been killed in the process of trying to escape the Bridge, and Stephen teleported into her coffin with her rotting corpse.

(Comet Man#5) - Reed and the Thing located Beckley as he flew screaming through the air and then plunged to the ground. They connected Beckley with Nick Fury of SHIELD, who told him the truth about the Bridge and the Superior. He then used Reed's psi-amplifier to locate his son Ben, who had been nearly killed by the Superior's efforts to duplicated Stephen's powers in him. Beckley used his powers to save his son, completing the power duplication in the process.

(Comet Man#6) - Beckley confronted Hilbert, who had turned against the Superior, and who informed him of the Superior's plot try to capture Max and his Comet ship. Stephen teleported aboard Max's ship, planning to save Max from the Bridge agents, but instead he merely watched as Max slaughtered the agents. His plans foiled, the Superior detonated a nuclear weapon which had been planted aboard the Comet Ship, but Max and Beckley teleported away in time.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#50/2 (fb) - BTS) - Stephen traveled with Max to the Colony Fortisque, where he received further training in his powers. The Fortisquians sought to train Beckley as one of their Comet Men, but they feared that his human behavior might contaminate their own, so they sent him into space in another Comet Ship to conduct the training.

(Fantastic Four I#315) - Beckley and Max discovered the Fantastic Four (and Master Pandemonium) on the planet Arcturus IV, and they flew to the surface to meet up with them. Upon learning they were stranded, Max demonstrated the teleport device that made a path to Earth, sending them all to the Savage Land (which was, at the time, covered in snow).

(Fantastic Four I#316) - In the Savage Land, Beckley and Max met up with a number of others seeking to learn the secrets of the Beyonders, including Ka-Zar, Shanna, and the US military. They were present when Crystal and the Human Torch ripped open a steel platform to reveal the name Beyonder on one of the generators below the Savage Land's surface.

(Fantastic Four I#317) - Beckley was transported  to a Fortisque interstellar base along with Max and the Fantastic Four when Max activated a series of transports. They confronted the Nuwali, who had teamed up with agents of AIM to learn the secrets for themselves. Stephen helped the others to defeat the Nuwali.

 (Marvel Comics Presents I#50/2 (fb) - BTS) - Max and Stephen split up from the Fantastic Four, heading into orbit around Earth's moon.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#50/2) - Stephen returned to Earth and contacted Reed Richards in hopes of learning the location of the Superior. Unable to find him, he instead headed to his sister's old house, where he was almost run over by his drunken ex-brother-in-law, Lou.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#51/2) - Beckley learned that his sister Rosemary had divorced Lou and taken up with a new man. Lou gave him the man's address in Connecticut, the estate of John Gallagher. Stephen arrived there and was reunited with Rosemary and his son, Benny. Gallagher easily recognized Stephen as the Comet Man, but Stephen, having never encountered the Superior in person, had no idea was actually face to face his enemy.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#52/2) - Stephen tried to use his thought pitching power to try to communicate with Benny, who had been in a relatively unresponsive state since being a victim of the Bridge's experimentation. His efforts were successful and he introduced Benny to Max, who revealed to him that Gallagher was the Superior. Stephen's powers protected him when Gallagher turned his gun on him, and he quickly overpowered the Superior and prepared to kill him.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#53/2) - Stephen stopped himself just short of killing the Superior, who then pulled his spare gun on Stephen and his family. Beckley then witnessed as Benny used his own powers to take his revenge, forcing Gallagher to turn his gun on himself and blow his head off.

 

(Captain Marvel V#7 (fb) - BTS) - Stephen again lost contact with Benny somehow. He again returned to space with Max in his Comet Ship.

 

(Captain Marvel V#7) - When Benny began using his powers again, Stephen sensed him again and returned to Earth. Stephen rushed to the Hollywood Bowl to greet Benny, who instead attacked him with his full power in an effort to destroy him. At the same time, Genis, aka Captain Marvel, had a vision of Benny using his powers to destroy all life on Earth. In an effort to prevent this, Marvel flew to Benny and attempted to kill him. Stephen fought to save his son, fighting Marvel in a battle that leveled half of the stadium. Marvel gained the upper hand against Stephen, but Rick Jones convinced Marv to let Benny live since he was just a child. Marv begrudgingly told Stephen to take Benny and get him out of there.

 

 

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark considered Comet Man as a potential Initiative recruit.

 

(Civil War: Frontline#8/3) - During an attempt by Cybermancer to prevent a bank heist three civilians were killed and Suzi was arrested by SHIELD agents. During the heist Comet Man was injured as well.

 

 

Comments: Created by Bill Mumy, Miguel Ferrer, Kelly Jones, and Gerry Talaoc.

The Comet Man received his name during a media report of his fight with the Hulk.

In the alternate world of Earth X, Ben Beckley was the Skull, who nearly took over the world.

While the involvement of Halley's comet is essential to the origin of the Comet Man, something has to be adjusted in order to squeeze the story into continuity. 1986, the year in which the initial story was told, is now several years before the modern age, and significantly before the events of this story (in which the She-Hulk was one of the Fantastic Four). So, either:

  1. Halley's comet's cycle is slightly different on Earth-616 than in the real world, such that its most recent pass by Earth occurred within the sliding timescale of the modern era, just a couple of years ago.
  2. It was another comet, with a similar schedule to above.
  3. Don't worry about such things and just enjoy the story.

Maybe Peter David could be convinced to bring Stephen and Benny back to tangle with the now psycho Captain Marvel?

Some of the titles of the Comet Man issues were taken from Classic Rock songs:

#2: "Try to set the night on Fire!" (Light my Fire; The Doors)
#3: "When the Truth is Found to be Lies" (Don't you want Somebody to Love?; Jefferson Airplane)
#4: "The Damage Done" (The Needle and Damage Done; Neil Young)
#5: "All your Love's in Vain"(Love in Vain: Rolling Stones (or a few others))
#6: "The Rest is Silence" (not sure; ?
 

Thanks to Jeremy Johnston for pointing out Comet Man's missed appearance in Civil War: Front Line. The way it looked Comet Man got injured in that scene. Maybe he worked with Cybermancer or maybe he joined the Initiative and tried to apprehend her and was injured by her. We will never know.
--Markus Raymond

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:

 


Ann Beckley

A former astronaut, she was mother of Benny and the wife and co-worker of Stephen in the Edmond Project. She had dated David Hilbert in the past. She was devastated when Stephen was seemingly killed aboard the Spaceball Firewatch. When the Bridge tried to bring her and Benny in for testing, she fought back and had to be drugged to be taken in. She tried to break out and was electrocuted on a fence, literally frying before her own son's eyes. She was buried soon after and some time later Stephen used his teleport power to home in on her location and was horrified to find himself in a coffin next to her rotting corpse.

 

--Comet Man I#1 (2d, 4(d)

 


Col. Jack and Mrs. Beckley

Jack Beckley and his fiancÚ conceived Jonathon just before he signed on to become a Naval aviator and was shipped out to the South Pacific. He was unaware that he was leaving behind a pregnant seventeen year old girl. The girl's family sent her off to Florida to have the baby, which was then put up for adoption. The girl returned home to New York and never told anyone her little secret.  Jack eventually returned home, married the girl, and had a son, Stephen, and a daughter, Rosemary, who grew up in the lap of luxury.

Jonathan one day confronted his true father, who looked him square in the eyes, told him he only had one son, and had him thrown out. Furious at the treatment he had received, and at the happiness of the rest of his "family," he plotted revenge against them, vowing to destroy the Beckley name in any, and every, way possible. Jonathan managed to sabotage Jack Beckley's plane, causing a crash that killed both he and his wife.

 

--Comet Man I#5 (5(fb)

 


Rosemary Beckley

The sister of Stephen and daughter of Jack and his wife, she never knew she even had an older brother (the Superior). She was married to Lou, but she left him when he began drinking heavily when they had to care for the nearly catatonic Benny. She was targeted by the Superior, who wanted to disgrace the Beckley family name, and attempted to do so by having a relationship with his sister. She was utterly appalled upon learning the truth and fought back against the Superior when he tried to use her as a hostage.

 

--Comet Man I#5 ([6], Marvel Comics Presents I#51/2-53/2

 

 


Lou

Rosemary's ex-husband, he began drinking heavily when they were forced to care for the nearly catatonic Benny Beckley while Stephen was missing. Rosemary left him, though he still wanted to be with her. While driving drunk he nearly ran over Stephen, but then told Stephen where he could find his sister.

 

--Marvel Comics Presents I#51/2 (52/2

 


images:
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update'89#2, p9, pan1 (Comet Man)
Comet Man#6, Cover (Comet Man flying)
Captain Marvel V#7, p, pan (Comet Man VS Captain Marvel (Genis) )
(Ann Beckley)
(Col. Jack and Mrs. Beckley)
Marvel Comics Presents I#51, p14, pan3 (Rosemary Beckley)
Marvel Comics Presents I#51, p10, pan2 (Lou)


Appearances:
Comet Man#1-6 (February-July, 1987) - Bill Mumy & Miguel Ferrer (writers), Kelly Jones (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Fantastic Four I#315-317 (June-August, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Keith Pollard (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#50-53 (bi-monthly May-July, 1990) - Bill Mumy & Miguel Ferrer (writers), Kelly Jones (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (#50-52) & Alfredo Alcala (#53) (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Captain Marvel V#7 (July, 2000) - Peter David (writer), Chris Cross (pencils), Anibal Rodriguez (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Civil War: Front Line#8 (November, 2006) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Lee Weeks (pencils), Lee Weeks & Nelson (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report (2007)
X-Men: The Return (April, 2007) - Chris Roberson (author)


Last updated: 09/29/13

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