Real Name: Dr. James Bradley

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Doctor at Mercy Hospital and other facilities, crimefighter, and/or Axis agent; former roboticist

Group Membership: Leader of Battle-Axis

Affiliations: (as Dr. James Bradley) Dr. Lionell, Mary Strong, formerly Professor Phineas T. Horton; (as Axis agent) fellow members of Battle-Axis (the Human Meteor, the Spider Queen, Strongman, Volton, Skyshark), the Golem, Aarkus the Vision

Enemies: (as crimefighter) Abbu ben Alla, Bumps Burke, Dr. Conn and his henchmen, Clive Howard and his spy ring (Dimout, Rocco, others), McNulty and Mirch, Dr. Ogden, Dr. Riek and his henchmen, the Surgeon, Blackie West and his henchmen, X2, unnamed insurance executive and accomplices, unnamed foreign agents; (as Axis agent) the Invaders (Captain America, the android Human Torch, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Miss America, the Whizzer, the Blazing Skull, the Silver Scorpion), the Golem (after he turned against Battle-Axis), Aarkus the Vision (after he turned against Battle-Axis)

Known Relatives: Mary Strong (fiancee)

Aliases:  Doctor Death (codename used as Axis operative)

Base of Operations: (as Dr. James Bradley/Doctor Nemesis) New York City; (as Doctor Death) a secret Nazi base beneath the Mojave Desert in California

First Appearance: (historic) Lightning Comics I#6 (published by Ace Magazines, cover-date April 1941); (Marvel Universe) Invaders II#1 (May 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Doctor Nemesis was a brilliant scientist in a variety of fields, as well as a highly trained physician and a good athlete and hand-to-hand combatant. While active as a crimefighter he carried a hypodermic gun full of "truth serum," which he used to extract information from criminals; it was his habit to leave prescription cards with scrawled messages at the scenes of his activities. While leading Battle-Axis, he used a larger gun capable of shooting anesthetic "hypo-darts" of "super-sedative" that could penetrate even chain-mail armor, and he had access to various advanced technology, such as the dimension-piercing machine created by Professor Enoch Mason.


History:  (Lightning Comics III#1 (fb/BTS)/Invaders II#3 (fb/BTS)) - Little is known about James Bradley's early life save that, during his medical studies, he was mentored by a Dr. Lionell, a physician who received medical honors during World War I. Completing his degree, Bradley entered the field of medicine, but he also became the "silent partner" of Professor Phineas T. Horton and worked with Horton on the creation of androids. The two men worked together on the android who would become known as the original Human Torch, while Bradley worked mostly alone on a second android.

  Bradley argues with Horton, while the Torch watches

                (Invaders II#3 (fb)) - In 1939, Bradley warned Horton against publicizing their work due to the unexplained phenomenon by which exposure to air caused the Torch to burst into flames; however, Horton sought money and publicity for his work and revealed his creation to the public. Outraged, Bradley dissolved their partnership and departed, taking with him the second, unfinished android. At some point during the next two and a half years he completed work on the second android, who (unaware of his true nature) briefly acted as the super-hero Volton from late 1941 to early 1942.


                (pre-Lightning Comics I#6) - Early in 1941, Bradley, now a doctor at Mercy Hospital and a co-worker of Nurse Mary Strong, decided to embark upon a career as a costumed crimefighter. Arming himself with a hypodermic gun and wearing a surgical mask over his face, he took the identity of Doctor Nemesis.

  From his Golden Age appearances

                (Lightning Comics I#6) - Called to the scene of a train wreck with Mary and other medical personnel, Bradley (already active as Doctor Nemesis but as yet unknown to the public) used his costumed identity to clear passenger Mack Keller of wrongful murder charges, exposing the true criminal, Bumps Burke. Burke.


                (Lightning Comics II#1) - Doctor Nemesis exposed the criminal practices of contractors McNulty and Mirch.


                (Lightning Comics II#2) - Doctor Nemesis prevented a trio of foreign agents from attacking an important government official at Mercy Hospital.


Dr.Bradley with his fiancee Mary                 (Lightning Comics II#3) - Doctor Nemesis stopped Blackie West and his gang from committing crimes with a knockout gas formula stolen from the murderered Professor Forte.


                (Lightning Comics II#4) - Doctor Nemesis exposed an automobile insurance scam managed by an insurance executive and his accomplices.


                (Lightning Comics II#5) - Doctor Nemesis uncovered an extortion operation run by Dr. Conn of Mercy Hospital.


                (Lightning Comics II#6) - While treating a malady at Camp Williams alongside several other doctors, Bradley discovered that the disease was being spread by the Nazi bacteriologist Dr. Riek; as Doctor Nemesis, he defeated Riek and his henchmen.


                (Lightning Comics III#1 (Ace Magazines, cover-date June 1942)) - While working at City Hospital on a cure for a "black plague" with Dr. Lionell, Bradley discovered that the criminal called the Surgeon was spreading the plague throughout the city via trained rats. Doctor Nemesis defeated the Surgeon and exposed him as Dr. Blackston, the superintendent of City Hospital.


                (Invaders II#3 (fb) - BTS) - Under unrevealed circumstances, Bradley was approached by agents of the Third Reich to become an operative of the Axis powers. Bradley, feeling that his talents had gone unappreciated and perhaps disillusioned by his encounter with the Surgeon, agreed to organize several other costumed crimefighters into a unit called Battle-Axis, whose purpose would be to manipulate the US into abandoning the war effort. Bradley embarked on "Project Mojave," an elaborate scheme whereby a device called an oscillotron would cause a severe earthquake on the west coast, destroying war industry plants, releasing poison gas from underground storage, and theoretically causing the US to withdraw from the war in order to deal with the homefront crisis. As the leader of Battle-Axis, Bradley took a new name, Doctor Death, and developed a more advanced form of hypodermic weapon. Although Mary Strong remained unaware of Bradley's double identity, it may be that he became more remote to her as a result of his new activities, since, despite their mutual attraction, she became engaged to a man named Clive Howard, who unknown to her was himself an Axis operative.


                (Invaders II#1) - On June 22, 1942, at New York Harbor, after the Invaders attacked a Nazi u-boat, Battle-Axis counterattacked, with Doctor Death rendering Captain America unconscious with one of his hypo-darts. Battle-Axis next attacked the Whizzer and Miss America; they managed to abduct the Whizzer, although Miss America evaded capture.


                (Invaders II#2) - After Battle-Axis's arrival in Hollywood, California, Doctor Death, having apparently kidnapped scientist Dr. Johann Goldstein some time earlier, accompanied by the Golem (Dr. Goldstein's brother Jacob, who had been forced to serve Battle-Axis to prevent harm befalling his brother), clashed with the Torch and the Sub-Mariner; the fight ended with both heroes unconscious, and Doctor Death ordered the Golem to bring the Torch with them, while leaving the Sub-Mariner to burn (although he was rescued shortly thereafter by the Blazing Skull).


                (Invaders II#3) - In Battle-Axis's secret base beneath the Mojave Desert, Doctor Death and the other members of Battle-Axis elaborated on their background and plans to a captive Torch and Whizzer. When the Invaders invaded the base, they were fought to a standstill by Battle-Axis, until Doctor Death, using the "dimension smasher" created by Professor Enoch Mason (another scientist forced into his employ), summoned the extradimensional Aarkus (a.k.a. the Vision) and forced him to defeat the Invaders.


                (Invaders II#4) - Doctor Death explained his plans to the captive Invaders, but when he departed to tend to his plans, the Invaders managed to escape and again engaged the Battle-Axis in battle. During the melee, Death managed to activate the oscillotron, only to be struck down by Volton (who had learned that Doctor Death had concealed Volton's true android nature from him) and left for dead while the fighting continued until Namor destroyed the oscillotron, while the Vision, deciding against further alliance with Battle-Axis, teleported the poison gas away with him.


                (post-Invaders II#4/pre-Super Mystery III#3) - Unknown to the Invaders, Doctor Death survived Volton's attack and managed to escape Battle-Axis's base after the others had departed, apparently returning to New York City.


                (Super Mystery III#3) - Having evidently repented of his work for the Axis, Bradley returned to his identity of Doctor Nemesis and exposed a plane-destroying spy ring (Dimout, Rocco, and others) run by Mary Strong's fiance, Clive Howard. Following the exposure of Howard's activities, Mary was reconciled with Dr. Bradley.


                (Super Mystery III#4) - Doctor Nemesis discovered that the swami called Abbu ben Alla was attempting to mesmerize Mary Strong into committing murder; Nemesis prevented the effort and defeated ben Alla.

Another Golden Age image, facing X2  

                (Super Mystery III#6) - Attending a party thrown by Dr. Clark, Bradley discovered murder at the party and, as Doctor Nemesis, exposed the killer, Dr. Ogden.


                (Super Mystery IV#1) - Dr. Bradley, now engaged to Mary Strong, was aboard a subway train when it was stopped by an armless man running across the tracks; the man was a leper who had, by literally tearing his arms off to free himself from chains, escaped from the lair of the Japanese agent X2, who was collecting blood plasma from lepers to poison American blood supplies. After X2 caused the leper to be electrocuted on the subway tracks, Bradley became Doctor Nemesis and defeated him in battle, learning the details of his plan before X2 threw himself on the third rail.

                Doctor Nemesis's subsequent wartime activities and his fate following the war are unrevealed.

Comments: Created by unidentified writer and artist for Ace Magazines; adapted for the Marvel Universe by Roy Thomas, Dave Hoover, and Brian Garvey.

                Physician, android designer, dimension piercer...Doctor Nemesis was clearly the Henry Pym of his day.

                Roy Thomas had originally intended Battle-Axis to consist of some of the minor wartime heroes of Timely Comics (predecessor of Marvel), but Mark Gruenwald nixed that idea, and super-heroes from now-defunct wartime publishers were used instead; Doctor Nemesis/Death's position as leader of Battle-Axis was probably originally intended for Captain Terror.

                This wasn't the first time Golden Age characters jumped companies to enter the Marvel Comics universe. Some examples (by no means all of them): The name Spirit of '76 was first used by a Harvey Comics character, something Roy Thomas probably knew when he created his version; the western Ghost Rider (later renamed the Phantom Rider) started out with Magazine Enterprises and was brought to Marvel by Dick Ayers, his original artist. American Ace, a minor Timely/Marvel character who hasn't resurfaced since the end of the Golden Age, debuted months before the first "Marvel" Comic, in "Motion Pictures Funnies Weekly", a free give-away produced by Funnies, Incorporated, the studio which provided many early Timely Comics stories. But perhaps the most significant Marvel character who began elsewhere was another individual who started in that same give-away...Namor the Sub-Mariner! -  Loki  

                This profile presumes that Doctor Nemesis's Golden Age adventures took place at roughly the same time that they were published (three months prior to an issue's cover-date); although it's possible that those adventures published after June 1942 were actually accounts of his activities prior to leading Battle-Axis, it may be that Doctor Death, who appeared at least somewhat unstable while leading Battle-Axis (inasmuch as his demeanor was more Nazi-esque than that of his teammates), regained his senses (perhaps being literally shocked back to them by Volton) and returned to the side of the Allies as Doctor Nemesis.

              It should be remembered that all the non-Marvel adventures listed in the history above, along with details of affiliations, enemies and relations, are unconfirmed. They happened to the original Golden Age character from Ace Magazines. Similar adventures and details are ASSumed to apply to the Marvel Universe version, but these are not confirmed. - Loki

Purely speculative, but I think that James Bradley went on to take the alias of Eric Krugg (from Journey into Mystery I#77 (February 1962)) in the story "Beware! He Isn't Human!"; Krugg, a builder of monster figures, went on to build an android to take revenge on the woman who spurned his romantic advances. Krugg and Bradley shared similar qualities (moustache, knowledge of android construction, homicidal tendencies), plus Krugg's work clothes looked similar to the Doctor Nemesis costume and Krugg does resemble an older Bradley.
--John Kaminski

City Hospital (in Lighting Comics III#1 (June, 1942) could be the same City Hospital that Mister Fantastic (in Fantastic Four I#26 (May, 1964)) was a patient in and the Invisible Girl (in Fantastic Four I#31 (October, 1964)) was also a patient in (all 3 take place in New York City). City Hospital also appears in Thor I#153-155 (June-August, 1968) and Amazing Spider-Man I#160 (September, 1976).
   Mercy Hospital (in Lightning Comics I#6 (January, 1941)) that Doctor Nemesis works at could have been renamed (when a new wing was added or when it was torn down and rebuilt) as Mercy General Hospital (seen in Avengers I#141 (November, 1975; patients there were the Wasp & Yellow Jacket).

Profile by Ronald Byrd.

Clarifications: Doctor Nemesis, a.k.a. Doctor Death, should not be confused with:

  • Doctor Nemesis (Stockton), size-changing enemy of Henry Pym @ Marvel Feature I#9

  • Nemesis (Edward Stanford), ex-D.A. and enemy of an incarnation of Captain Universe @ Marvel Spotlight II#10

  • Nemesis (Kane), armored enemy of the Falcon @ Falcon#1

  • Nemesis (St. Ives), daughter and sword-wielding enemy of Deadly Ernest @ Alpha Flight I#8

  • Nemesis, took over identity of St. Ives as member of Gamma Flight @ Alpha Flight I#76

  • Nemesis @ Earth-Age-of-Apocalypse, son of Apocalypse, known as Holocaust on Earth-616 @ X-Men Chronicles#1

  • Nemesis, entity created by combination of all seven Infinity Gems @ Avengers/Ultraforce #1

  • Nemesis of the World, a.k.a. Wrathchilde, @ Death's Head II I#1

  • the Nemeses, SHIELD robots who fought Cable @ Cable II#61

  • Nemesus @ Earth-MC2, extradimensional enemy of J2 @ J2 #4

  • the Death Doctor, a wartime enemy of the Punisher @ The Punisher Invades the 'Nam

  • Doctor Death (Dr. James Kirk), enemy of reporter Scoop Smith @ Whiz Comics#2 of Fawcett Publications, who himself should not be confused with Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise @ Star Trek:  "The Man Trap," airdate September 8, 1966

  • any other character with the words "Doctor", "Nemesis", or "Death" in his/her/its name


Images: Invaders II#4, page 1

Invaders II#3, page 4, panel 4

Super Mystery IV#1, p.?, panel 4

Super Mystery IV#1, p.1, panel 3

Invaders II#1, page 14, panel 8

Invaders II#3, page 4, panel 2

Super Mystery IV#1, p.1, panel 1

Other appearances:
Ace Magazines:
Lightning Comics II#1-6 (June, 1941 - April, 1942)
Lightning Comics III#1 (June, 1942)
Super Mystery III#3-4 (January-April, 1943)
Super Mystery III#6 (October, 1943)
Super Mystery IV#1 (January, 1944)

Invaders II#2-4 (June-August, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hooker (pencils), Brian Garvey & Brian Akin (#3) (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)

Last updated: 09/11/13

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
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