Real Name: Victor Avery

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Unidentified former lover/future Mrs. Bill Cooper, Tabby

Enemies: Bill Cooper, U.S. military

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile;
   originally his mansion/laboratory, somewhere in America

First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#79/1 (April, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: The brilliant Victor Avery was highly skilled in the field of biochemistry. He created a serum which imbued life-forms with immortality, although it made them monstrous in the process. After testing it on a rose and a cat, Avery later imbibed the serum and transformed himself into the Midnight Monster.

Following his mutation into a gray-skinned (see comments) behemoth, his primary powers were immortality and invulnerability--his thick, elephant-like hide could repel bullets and bazooka shells. He also had superhuman strength (probably Class 10 or higher), and was easily able to smash through walls, uproot trees, and tear apart military tanks.

The wealthy and handsome Avery was quite the ladies' man, and he always seemed to have beautiful women fawning over him, but he became obsessed with one particular woman; when she rejected him for another man, Avery sought revenge by transforming himself into the Midnight Monster so he could murder the couple--his actions would eventually (and literally) lead to his downfall.

Height: (Avery) 5'10"; (Midnight Monster) 7' (by approximation)
Weight: (Avery) 170 lbs; (Midnight Monster) 500 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: (Avery) Blond/brown (see comments); (Midnight Monster) bald

(Journey into Mystery I#79/1) - Arrogant scientist Victor Avery created a serum that endowed life-forms with immortality, but it also made them monstrous in the process. While hosting some female friends in his laboratory, Avery tested his serum on a rose--he found it was a success, but the rose grew huge and ugly as a side-effect. Ignoring the protests of his friends, Victor then tested the serum on a cat--the cat was mutated much like the rose, transforming into a hideous, snarling monster.

   The following week, Avery attended a classy party, where he caught sight of a beautiful woman and immediately wanted her for his own. He wooed her, but a few weeks later, she told Avery that she was in love with Bill Cooper, a graduate of engineering school--she then told Avery that she and Bill were going to get married. Infuriated that she had chosen a penniless engineer over him, Victor vowed revenge.

   For days, the rich scientist stewed in his anger, until in a moment of rash action, he seized his serum and downed the entire tube. Immediately afterward, Victor became immortal, his bone structure altered, his muscles expanded, and he mutated into a lumpy, gray-skinned monster, then he set out to get revenge on his former lover and Bill.

   In the dark of night, Avery lumbered his way across the city and climbed up a building to break into Bill's apartment; but he found that another man was occupying the place, and also learned that Bill had moved out after getting married--Avery decided to hunt down the wedded couple and kill them both.

   Avery stormed into the office of one of Bill's professors to find out where they had gone--although the professor shot him several times, the bullets merely bounced away harmlessly. Under interrogation, the professor revealed to Avery that Bill had gone west, seeking an engineering job. Avery shambled across the countryside by night, terrifying the townspeople he encountered along the way--because of his nocturnal rampages, he was dubbed "The Midnight Monster" by the newspapers.

   The U.S. Army was powerless to stop the Midnight Monster, for their machine guns and bazookas were ineffective against a foe who could tear their tanks apart. Meanwhile, in a tension-filled conference room in Washington, the military made a plan to end the menace of the Midnight Monster.

   A few nights later, in a small western town, the Midnight Monster overheard a news report on a television inside a house--the government challenged the Monster to pit his strength against their new "ray machine" at the outskirts of Los Alamos. Angered by the audacity of the challenge, the Midnight Monster stole a jeep and drove off, intending to teach the military a lesson they'd never forget.

   The next day, the Monster arrived at Los Alamos and found a small squad of soldiers with the futuristic "ray machine"--however powerful the machine was, Avery was confident he'd survive, then he'd return to his original mission and have his revenge on the married couple who dared to thwart him.

   The Midnight Monster lumbered towards the soldiers and the weapon, only to fall into a concealed near-bottomless pit--being immortal, the Midnight Monster obviously survived the fall, but he was trapped forever below the earth.

   Afterward, the military thanked Bill Cooper--with his fine engineering skills, Cooper had excavated the world's deepest hole in record time.

   As Cooper and his wife looked down the near-bottomless pit, they wondered who the Midnight Monster really was, but they figured that nobody would ever know...

(Wolverine: The Best There Is#3 (fb) - BTS) - At some point the Midnight Monster was decapitated (see comments).

(Wolverine: The Best There Is#3) - Winsor acquired the Midnight Monster's head and placed it in his lab.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist).

I like the Midnight Monster a lot, and think he deserves a comeback. How about having him finally climbing out of that pit after all these years and continue his quest for revenge. He would make a decent Hulk opponent. Or perhaps he could fight It, The Living Colossus?

Another thing is, somewhere there must be an immortal, giant mutant cat lurking around.
Yeah, where's that cat at anyway???? And how 'bout them roses???? I see a mini-series here!!--Snood.

Thanks to Prime Eternal for identifying the original issue in which this story appeared.

As originally published, the coloring of the Midnight Monster's skin was inconsistent--sometimes it was Caucasian -pink, or yellow, or orange. When this 7-page story was reprinted in Fear#6 (February, 1972), the Monster's skin was colored gray (...although he was a slightly darker shade in the reprinted story itself than on the newly-drawn cover). Also Avery's hair-color was originally blond, then brown in the reprint-- Bill Cooper and his wife also went from brown hair to black.

[And a month after the Midnight Monster story was originally published, another similar gray-skinned man-monster first appeared--The Incredible Hulk (...who was originally colored gray in his first issue).]

The last page of the original story had an advertising blurb lettered along the bottom border--YOU'VE NEVER READ A COMIC LIKE "THE FANTASTIC FOUR"! GET YOUR SPINE-TINGLING COPY TODAY!--which could imply that this story took place in the early days of the modern Marvel Universe.

However, if this story actually took place around the year it was published, then maybe the Midnight Monster climbed out of that hole and eventually "lost his head" during a clash with the Monster Hunters or the First Line.
And I wonder, could the immorality serum eventually cause Avery's head to regrow a new body? Maybe we haven't seen the last of the Midnight Monster...--Ron Fredricks

Profile expanded by Ron Fredricks. Original profile by Ben Peberdy, Spaceknight.

Victor Avery/The Midnight Monster has no known connections to:

The mutated rose has no known connections to:

Tabby has no known connections to:

Bill Cooper (the penniless engineer) has no known connections to:

Victor Avery's serum

An elixir created by Victor Avery, it could endow life-forms with immortality, although it monstrously mutated them in the process.

Avery tested the serum on a rose and a cat; later, he imbibed the solution himself, and was thus transformed into the Midnight Monster.

It was unrevealed if there was an antidote to reverse the effects of the serum.

--Journey into Mystery I#79/1

mutated rose

An ordinary flower, a few drops of Victor Avery's serum transformed it into a plant that would live forever, but also gave it a large and ugly appearance.

The eventual fate of the mutated rose is unrevealed.

--Journey into Mystery I#79/1


Victor Avery's cat, Tabby was used by Avery as a test-subject for his serum.

Tabby lapped up the serum and was endowed with immortality, but the feline was also transformed into a monstrous creature resembling a sabre-tooth tiger.

The snarling cat-creature was subsequently locked in a steel cage, but its eventual fate is unrevealed.

--Journey into Mystery I#79/1

"Ray machine"

When the hulking Midnight Monster rampaged across the country, the U.S. military formulated a plan to stop him.

On a television broadcast, the government issued a challenge to the menacing creature, daring him to pit his power against their new "ray machine" located on the outskirts of Los Alamos; the Monster took them up on their challenge and went to the site.

But the "ray machine" was only a phony mock-up, a ruse used to lure the Midnight Monster into stepping on a concealed near-bottomless pit.

--Journey into Mystery I#79/1

Bill Cooper and Mrs. Cooper

Bill Cooper was a penniless student who attended engineering school. He and his intended bride (name unrevealed) had known each other for a long time, and they were planning to be married after he graduated.

But one night, she attended a party, where she caught the eye of wealthy and handsome scientist Victory Avery--she flirted with Avery and had a brief romantic fling with him, during which Avery became obsessed with her.

A few weeks later, after Bill graduated, she introduced Avery to him and told him of their wedding plans. Avery was infuriated by her rejection of him, and swore that they would regret it. Days later, Avery drank a serum and transformed himself into the hulking Midnight Monster so he could hunt down the newly-married couple and destroy them both. Having learned that Bill had taken an unspecified engineering job somewhere in the western United States, the Monster began his rampage of destruction across the country to find him.

The military eventually issued a challenge to the Midnight Monster and lured him to the outskirts of Los Alamos, where Bill had used his engineering skills to excavate the world's deepest hole in record time; the Monster fell into the hole and plummeted to the subterranean depths of the planet. Bill was complimented for his fine work by the military and his admiring wife.

Later, Bill's wife could only wonder who the Midnight Monster really was; looking down at the near-bottomless pit, Bill figured that nobody would ever know...

--Journey into Mystery I#79/1

images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Midnight Monster)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p3, pan2 (Headshot - Victor Avery)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p5, pan1 (Midnight Monster smashing through wall)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p7, pan1 (Midnight Monster falls in hole)
Wolverine: The Best There Is#3, p22, pan2 (Midnight Monster's head)
Fear#6, cover (gray-skinned Midnight Monster)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p3, pan5 (Victor Avery holding serum)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p3, pan6 (Victor Avery drinks serum)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p1, pan2 (Victor Avery holds serum-mutated rose)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p2, pan1 (Tabby begins to lap up serum)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p2, pan2 (Tabby begins to transform; one of Avery's female friends (background))
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p2, pan5 (Tabby mutated by serum; Victor Avery (foreground) )
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p6, pan5 (soldiers set up "ray machine" as Midnight Monster (hands on steering wheel) drives jeep toward them)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p6, pan6 (Midnight Monster approaches "ray machine")
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p2, pan3 (soldiers disassemble phony "ray machine")
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p2, pan7 (future Mrs. Bill Cooper (right); Victor Avery, surrounded by beautiful women (background))
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p3, pan1 (Bill Cooper and his fiancee (left); Victory Avery (right) )
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p7, pan7 (Bill Cooper (center) and his wife)
Journey into Mystery I#79/1, p7, pan8 (Mrs. Bill Cooper, Bill Cooper)

Journey into Mystery I#79/1 (April,1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils) Dick Ayers (inks)
Fear#6 (February, 1972) - reprint
Wolverine: The Best There Is#3 (April, 2011) - Charlie Huston (writer), Juan Jose Ryp (pencils and inks), Axel Alonso (editor)

First Posted: 10/08/2002
Last updated: 06/22/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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