Real Name: The Living Brain

Identity/Class: Terrestrial robot

Occupation: As programmed

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Grandmaster (En Dwi Gast), Mr. Petty (designer), Steve Petty (Phreak); constructed by ICM (International Computing Machines) Corporation; unidentified criminals

Enemies: Daughters of the Dragon (Misty Knight & Colleen Wing), Dazzler (Alison Blaire), Spider-Man (Peter Parker); anyone who gets in the way of its programming

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Midtown High School, Queens, New York

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man I#8/1 (January, 1964)

Powers/Abilities: The Living Brain has the ability to analyze any situation and determine how best to achieve its goals. Like any computer, it can process and collate large amounts of information, although it also appears to have some degree of intuitive nature, such that it does not require instruction to use specific programs to process its data. It can find any inherent weakness in a being or structure as well as determine any means to bypass an obstacle. Once it has encountered a certain threat or force, it can usually counteract that specific attack. It is constructed from a dense metal exo-skeleton and has superhuman speed and strength (Class 10, enabling it to lift/press ten tons). The joints in its limbs can rotate nearly 360 degrees. Its digits can be used as powerful pincers and can grip with great force. Initially it moved on a set of wheels but later had small rockets in place of legs.

Initially, the Living Brain had external controls (with which it could be deactivated) located on its thorax. However, its great speed and maneuverable limbs made it very difficult for others to reach these controls. Later, it was operated by a remote control device.

Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 800 lbs.
Eyes: Yellow
Hair: None

History: The Living Brain was constructed at ICM by Mr. Petty.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#8/1) - Mr. Petty took the Living Brain to Midtown High School for a demonstration in Raymond Warren's science class. As a test of its ability, the students voted to program the robot with all known data on Spider-Man, so it could uncover his secret identity. It instantly processed the data and spit out an answer in a computer code which was given to Peter Parker to translate overnight. However, a pair of attendants overheard the presentation and thought they could make a fortune using the Brain to predict horse races, etc. They attempted to steal it but ended up smashing into its control panel, sending it on a rampage in turn. Spider-Man tried to stop the Brain which seemed able to counter each and every one of his attacks. Finally, when it closed in on a pair of helpless students, Spider-Man leapt on top of it and -- after much struggle -- managed to flip the main cut-off switch, deactivating it in the process.

Peter then told everyone that in the preceding excitement he had lost the computer code to Spider-Man's identity.

(Peter Parker: Spider-Man#20 (fb) ) - Under unrevealed circumstances, two or more criminals gained control of the Living Brain and used it to commit at least one robbery. Spider-Man defeated them, bound them in webbing, and left them and their loot for the police.

(Web of Spider-Man#35 (fb) - BTS) - The Living Brain model was discontinued due to its potential threat. Mr. Petty kept the only prototype, which his son Steve rebuilt and updated in secret.

(Web of Spider-Man#35) - Steve Petty, an introverted student at Midtown High School, went over the edge after another conflict with classmate Jake Dorman. He activated the Living Brain and sent it out to punish Dorman and anyone else who had ever laughed at him. Spider-Man again fought the Living Brain, and this time he managed to short circuit it by causing it to strike a fusebox.

(Nextwave#11 - BTS) - The Beyond Corporation somehow created duplicates of the Living Brain and unleashed them on Nextwave when they invaded their State 51 base, but Nextwave made short work of them.

(X-Men: To Serve and Protect#4/3) - The Living Brain was one of the many participants in Chadmaster's (a younger Grandmaster) cosmic roller derby and was destroyed by a Sentinel. The contest was won by Dazzler (Alison Blaire) and the Daughters of the Dragon.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

The Living Brain story in Amazing Spider-Man was interesting, but it paled beside the other plot in the story: the boxing match between the young Peter Parker and Flash Thompson. The second half of the story also featured one of the earliest adventures of Spidey and the Human Torch.

Thanks to Ron Byrd for pointing out the Peter Parker: Spider-Man appearance.
In the Peter Parker: Spider-Man flashback, the Living Brain has its original appearance, not the updated look given to it by Steve Petty -- this suggests that the flashback occurred months or even years prior to Web of Spider-Man#35. However, Spider-Man taunts the Living Brain as he does most of his other foes, noting that it "can always find work as a gumball machine" after it is released from prison; since Spider-Man generally doesn't waste his wit on non-sentient robots, this seems to imply that the Brain demonstrated some sentience on this occasion. It may be that the "Brain" in this instance was a human criminal in armor scavenged from the original Brain's exterior shell.

The Beyond Corporation used several of their own versions of the Living Brain to protect State 51 against the Nextwave Squad in Nextwave#11.
--Markus Rayond

The Living Brain has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook.

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims

No known connection to:

Mr. Petty

An employee of ICM, he designed the Living Brain, and kept it when its design was abandoned due to its potential threat. Unbeknownst to him, his son Steve rebuilt the Living Brain.

--Amazing Spider-Man I#8

images: (without ads)
Amazing Spider-Man I#8, p1, pan1 (Living Brain main image)
Web of Spider-Man#35, p12, pan3 (Living Brain returns)
Amazing Spider-Man I#8, p3, pan1 (Mr. Petty and the Living Brain)

Amazing Spider-Man I#8 (January, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Web of Spider-Man#35 (February, 1988) - Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (pecnils), Keith Williams (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#20 (August, 2000) - Paul Jenkins (writer), Mark Buckingham (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Nextwave#11 (February, 2007) - Warren Ellis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade von Grawbadger (inker), Nick Lowe (editor)
X-Men: To Serve and Protect#4/3 (April, 2011) - Jed Mackay (writer), Sheldon Vella (artist), Nick Lowe (editor)

Last updated: 11/18/12

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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