THE HUMAN METEOR
Real Name: Duke O'Dowd
Identity/Class: Human, technology user (see Comments)
Occupation: Crimefighter and/or Axis agent; formerly cab driver, cowhand, soldier of fortune, Foreign Legionnaire, airport mechanic, and probably other positions
Group Membership: Battle-Axis
Affiliations: (as Foreign Legionnaire) Kerry Flynn and other soldiers at his fort; (as crimefighter) Toby, Wah Le; (as Axis agent) fellow members of Battle-Axis (Dr.Death, the Spider Queen, Strongman, Volton, Skyshark), the Golem, Aarkus the Vision
Enemies: (as Foreign Legionnaire) Sheik Tamah, Karl Von Hund; (as crimefighter) Frango, Genghis Khan, Grundo the Great, Lambesque, Nad Neurod, Pete the Mug, Peter Rosky, the Scaly Dragon, and various unnamed criminals, spies, and Nazis, among others; (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: Unidentified mother, younger sister (name unrevealed), Patrick Confucius O'Dowd (uncle)
Aliases: "the Great Deliverer" (title given to him by the Bayakurans)
Base of Operations: (as Foreign Legionnaire) a desert region of the Middle East; (as crimefighter) an unnamed city in Ohio, Boston, or mobile; (as Axis agent) a secret Nazi base beneath the Mojave Desert in California
First Appearance: (historic) Champion Comics#6 (published by Harvey Publications, cover-date April 1940); (Marvel Universe) Invaders II#1 (May 1993)
Powers/Abilities: The Human Meteor wore a "wonder belt" equipped with an "ato-motor" and powered by tiny storage batteries (see Comments); the belt enabled its wearer to fly via "radium emanations," granted its wearer superhuman strength via a "power electric energizer," and could create around its wearer a "contra-magnetic field" capable of destroying any metal weapon; wooden weapons were immune to the field's effect and could be effectively used against the Meteor. For a time, the Meteor also carried a "yar-gun" whose paralytic rays induced a sleep-like state in its subjects, a "explosatom gun" which emitted a destructive ray, and a "wrist mentalophone" with a communication range from at least the US to the Himalayas. The Human Meteor was an accomplished lassoer, pilot, stuntman, mechanic, soldier, swimmer, and hand-to-hand combatant.
(Champion Comics#7/Invaders II#3 (fb) - BTS) - Nothing is known about Duke O'Dowd's childhood save that he was born of Irish background and raised in Texas, although at some point his family relocated to Boston, Massachussetts; he later claimed that one of his guiding principles was advice from his uncle Patrick Confucius O'Dowd---"Act first, explain later"---and it may be that his uncle was directly involved in his upbringing. During adulthood O'Dowd exhibited an intense dislike of Great Britain, which he attributed to his Irish heritage, and this sentiment may have been encouraged early in his life by his uncle or other relatives.
(Champion Comics#6-7 (fb) - BTS) - In his early adulthood O'Dowd spent time as a cowhand on a Texas ranch; he also became a crack pilot and stuntman. His desire for adventure led him to become a noted soldier of fortune.
(Champion Comics#6) - Seeking new experiences, O'Dowd joined the Foreign Legion and participated in a mission to retrieve stolen plans from renegade Karl Von Hund.
(Champion Comics#7) - After months in the Legion, O'Dowd joined his fort's flying squad, and his flight skills enabled him to rescue his commandant's daughter Jean when she was endangered while aboard an observations balloon; later, he and Jean were captured by the nearby Bedouin bandit forces of Sheik Tamah, and he again rescued the girl while escaping from Tamah's mountain fortress. In gratitude, the commandant agreed to give O'Dowd an honorable discharge so that he might return to the US to look after his younger sister (At some point during his service O'Dowd presumably received mail from the US indicating that he was needed by his sister). Fellow legionnaire Kerry Flynn offered to fly him back to the states.
(Champion Comics#8/Invaders II#3 (fb)) - En route to Manila, Flynn's plane was caught in a twister above the Himalaya Mountains. The plane crashed in the scientifically advanced hidden city of Bayakura, which for millennia had been kept isolated by the region's mountains and repeated storms. Although Flynn died in the crash, O'Dowd survived and was hailed by the Bayakurans as "the Great Deliverer, who swooped in like a bird, just as the legend predicted." Bayakura's supreme ruler, the ailing Leng-Lu, claimed that O'Dowd had been prophesied to "free the great outside world from the steadily increasing oppression of evil," and the initially nonplussed O'Dowd agreed to undertake such a mission; scientist Wah Le gave O'Dowd a "wonder belt" and advised him on his coming work. O'Dowd soon had the opportunity to put his new technology to use, when Frango, heir to Leng-Lu's title, organized an uprising to kill Leng-Lu and loot Bayakura for treasures and inventions to be used in gaining wealth in the outside world; O'Dowd defeated the rebels, and Wah Le became the ruler of Bayakura in Leng-Lu's stead.
(Champion Comics#9) - Back in the US, O'Dowd, now using the name of the Human Meteor, clashed with the forces of the power-crazed gang lord Nad Neurod and obtained employment as an airport mechanic in a large city in Ohio (It is not known whether or not this is where his younger sister was living.); Wah Le continued to advise the Meteor via Bayakura's "telovox," with which he was able to speak to the Meteor through his "wrist mentalophone."
(Champion Comics#10) - The Human Meteor discovered the activities of Grundo the Great, a criminal who was drawing planes to his mountain fortress via "magno-rays." The Meteor defeated Grundo before he was able to carry out his plans to wreak havoc with his "Rellik Ray#5," allegedly capable of destroying an entire city.
(Champ Comics#11) - An orphaned shoeshine boy named Toby discovered O'Dowd's secret, and the Meteor decided to take the boy on as an assistant in his war on evil; later, the Meteor temporarily set aside his costumed identity and fought a band of traitors under his original identity as adventurer Duke O'Dowd.
(Champ Comics#12) -
O'Dowd exposed the criminal activities of politician Peter Rosky and returned
to his Human Meteor identity shortly thereafter.
(Champ Comics#13) - The Human Meteor broke up a spy ring.
(Champ Comics#14) - The Human Meteor fought a criminal gang led by two criminals known as the Scaly Dragon and Pete the Mug.
(Champ Comics#15) - see Comments
(Champ Comics#16-17) - The Human Meteor clashed with Genghis Khan, the famed Mongol warlord, who had been revived in the twentieth century.
(Invaders II#3 (fb) - BTS) - At some point during his early career, the Human Meteor relocated back to Boston, Massachussetts.
(Champ Comics#18-22) - see Comments
(post-Champ Comics#22/pre-Invaders II#1) - At some point in early 1942, months after his relocation to Boston, the Human Meteor was approached by Doctor Death to join the team of Axis operatives known as Battle-Axis; O'Dowd, motivated by his anti-British prejudice, agreed to work against the Allied cause. It is not known how Toby or Wah Le reacted to this decision, although the fact that the Meteor was subsequently active without his Bayakuran guns or communicator implies that Wah Le may have disintegrated the devices from afar but was unable to similarly destroy the wonder belt without killing the Meteor. The Meteor remained out of sight for months (but see Comments) as the team prepared to undertake "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; his absence from the public eye was noted by the member of the Liberty Legion called the Thin Man, who was keeping track of super-hero activities.
(Invaders II#1) - On June 22, 1942, at New York Harbor, after the Invaders attacked a Nazi u-boat, Battle-Axis counterattacked, with the Human Meteor fighting Captain America and Namor during the struggle before Battle-Axis departed. Battle-Axis next abducted the Whizzer, although Miss America evaded capture despite the efforts of the Meteor and Volton.
(Invaders II#2) - The members of Battle-Axis travelled to Hollywood, CA via the airship of the Nazi Skyshark, and the Human Meteor and others stood by as Volton electrocuted two police officers who witnessed their arrival. The Meteor accompanied the Spider Queen and Strongman to UCLA, where, after questioning the oscillatron's creator, Professor Carson, they killed both Carson and private detective Dan Hurley before clashing with Captain America, Miss America, and the Silver Scorpion, then subsequently fled the scene.
(Invaders II#3) - In Battle-Axis's secret base beneath the Mojave Desert, the Human Meteor 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 (with the Meteor capturing Miss America), 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) - After Doctor Death explained his plans to the captive Invaders, the heroes escaped and attacked Battle-Axis, with the Human Meteor drawn into battle with the Sub-Mariner, but the fight ended when the Sub-Mariner destroyed the oscillotron. The Meteor and the other members of Battle-Axis (except for Doctor Death, who was left for dead) surrendered to the Invaders and were presumably taken into custody.
(Champ Comics#23) - The Human Meteor, having evidently repented of his work for the Axis, was active in France against several Nazi agents working with a man named Lambesque.
(Champ Comics#24) - see Comments
(Champ Comics#25/1) - Toby became an unitentional stowaway aboard a commercial airplane when he tried to return a map to one of the passengers as the plane took off--that passenger turned out to be German spy Franz Tanner, who hijacked the plane. The Human Meteor flew to the rescue, then he and Toby fought German and Japanese spies aboard a Japanese aircraft carrier; the Human Meteor destroyed the enemy vessel with a torpedo. Later, Duke and Toby ate a delicious dinner cooked by Duke's mother.
The Human Meteor's subsequent wartime activities and his fate following the war are unrevealed.
Comments: Created by unidentified writer and artist (possibly Joe Simon) for Harvey Publications; adapted for the Marvel Universe by Roy Thomas, Dave Hoover, and Brian Garvey.
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; the Human Meteor's position in Battle-Axis was probably originally intended for the Blazing Skull.
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 the Human Meteor's golden age adventures took place at roughly the same time that they were published (three months prior to an issue's cover-date; by this method of dating, the Human Meteor was in fact active as a hero during the months he prepared for Project Mojave, despite the Thin Man's claim that he had been inactive); although it's possible that that those adventures published after June 1942 were actually accounts of his activities prior to joining Battle-Axis, it may be that the Meteor, hardened murderer though he seemed to be in the Invaders story, was appalled enough by Nazi crimes to put his anti-British prejudice aside and return to the side of the Allies.
In Invaders II#3, while recounting his origin to the Human Torch, the Human Meteor claimed that the Bayakurans had taught him "to mentally control the energy in atoms," implying that his powers were innate; it may be that he deliberately chose to provide the Torch with false information to prevent the Invaders from realizing that his powers were in fact dependent upon his wonder belt.
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 Harvey Publications. Similar adventures and details are ASSumed to apply to the Marvel Universe version, but these are not confirmed. That might also explain the differences in how he claimed he controlled his powers. - Loki
As yet, details about the Human Meteor's activities in Champ Comics#15,#18,#19,#20,#21,#22, and #24 remain elusive; any additional information will be greatly appreciated.
Profile by Ronald Byrd. Thanks to Ron Fredricks for adding the Champ Comics#25 synopsis.
Clarifications: The Human Meteor should not be confused with:
Images: Invaders II#1, p8 (main) Appearances: Marvel:
Any Additions/Corrections? please
let me know.
Copyright info Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Invaders II#3, p6, pan1 (head shot)
Champion Comics#11, cover
Champion Comics#12, cover
Invaders II#1, p28, pan4
Champion Comics#6//9 (April, 1940) Champion Comics#7 (May, 1940)
Champion Comics#8 (June, 1940)
Champion Comics#9 (July, 1940)
Champion Comics#10 (August, 1940)
Champ Comics#11 (October, 1940)
Champ Comics#12 (February, 1941)
Champ Comics#16-17 (November, 1941 - February, 1942)
Champ Comics#18-22 (May, 1942 - September, 1942)
Champ Comics#23 (October, 1942)
Champ Comics#24-25 (December, 1942 - March, 1943)
Invaders II#1-2 (May-June, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hooker (pencils), Brian Garvey (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Invaders II#3 (July, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hooker (pencils), Brian Garvey & Brian Akin (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Invaders II#4 (August, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hooker (pencils), Brian Garvey (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Last updated: 10/26/16
All other characters mentioned or pictured are and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
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Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
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