Real Name: Ten-For
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Autocron), possible mutate
Occupation: Holocaust Specialist, First Class (advance scout for invasions); Space Rover
Group Membership: Stranger's prisoners
Affiliations: Autocron empire, used as a pawn by the Overmind
Enemies: Col. Kragg and the U. S. army, Machine Man, Stranger
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Mean Machine
Base of Operations: currently unknown; formerly the Stranger's laboratory world; outer space; Earth; the planet Cron
First Appearance: Machine Man I#3 (June, 1978)
Powers: Autocrons are sentient robots, and possess superhuman strength, durability, and endurance. He had a controlled fission reactor in his chest that served as his power source. He could fire concussive force blasts, as well as beams which caused temporary paralysis. His most powerful weapon was a concussive blast he could release from his face after raising his face plate out of the way. This blast could bring down an entire building. Ten-For had jet rockets, as well as Wolverine-like extendable claws, in his boots. His arm contained equipment which allowed him to communicate with the Autocron fleet, even across intergalactic distances. He carried other weapons, such as his Vertigo Inducer, which could disrupt the equilibrium of man or robot, virtually immobilizing its victim. He presumably used the equipment on his ship to reach the mind of his pawn on Earth.
History: Ten-For is an Autocron, and he may have had his abilities augmented by some means. He was chosen as the advance scout to Earth to prepare it for invasion and conquering. He originated on the planet Cron, in the star system "Betelguese."
(Machine Man I#3-6) - Using an intergalactic distress call (transmitted through the mind of a human pawn, relaying that his ship was being pulled into a star), Ten-For duped Machine Man into building a warp device to bring him to Earth. Shortly after (and even during) his transport to Earth, Ten-For made his true plans apparent. Machine Man stopped him from incinerating the man he had used as a messenger, but Ten-For then planted a vertigo inducer on his head, incapacitating him while he escaped.
Ten-For went on a rampage, smashing everything in sight, including attempts by the military to bring him down. By the time Machine Man caught up with him, he apparently had decided that Earth was ripe for conquest, and contacted the Autocron fleet, sending them the coordinates. Machine Man attacked Ten-For, and they battled inconclusively until the army showed up. Ten-For knew he could just bide his time until the Autocron army showed up, so he willingly surrendered to the army, and concocted a story about defending himself from the psychotic Machine Man. The soldiers had already wanted to bring Machine Man in, so they were more than willing to take him as well. Machine Man was furious, broke free, and decided to leave mankind to its fate (surprisingly enough, he eventually changed his mind and decided to save humanity again).
Ten-For eventually tired of the army, revealed his plans and broke out. Machine Man tackled him again, but Ten-For blasted him off by unleashing his nuclear energy. Fortunately, Machine Man was able to use his "Instant Hypnotism" power to take control of Ten-For. Machine Man then altered Ten-For's power source into a nuclear bomb, set it to detonate, and launched him into the middle of the invading fleet, which was just crossing the orbit of Jupiter. Ten-For detonated, apparently destroying them all.
BTS - Ten-For got better, and also became a prisoner of the Stranger, a test subject on his laboratory world.
(Quasar#14, 15-BTS, 16) - Ten-For and several other prisoners were freed by the Overmind, who sought to destroy the Stranger. Ten-For was being transported to the battle by Dr. Spectrum when the Overmind withdrew his powers to focus fully on the Stranger himself. Spectrum left Ten-For and the rest of the group to join the struggle himself.
Several of the other former inmates subsequently escaped the laboratory world, but Ten-For's fate is unrevealed.
Comments: Created by Jack "King" Kirby.
I'd guess that Ten-For was stronger than the average bear...I mean, Autocron, which is why he was chosen as the advance scout.
Kurt Busiek once mentioned that he didn't think that it was Ten-For on the Stranger's lab world. He felt that Ten-For had been destroyed, and that this was another guy, perhaps "Nine-Won-Won, the Emergency Robot." Kurt later used Ten-Thirtifor during Maximum Security. Maybe he'd like that guy to have been the one from the Stranger's world. However, until he officially ret-cons it, I'm leaving it as written by Gruenwald. Who's to say that an Autocron can't have copies of its "brain-patterns", programming, etc., or even a duplicate form back on their home planet of Cron? Maybe not just any Autocron, but certainly a Holocaust Specialist, First Class.
Donald Campbell also believes it is Ten-For on the Stranger's World, pointing out that there are a number of other supposedly dead characters imprisoned there. He suggests "that maybe all these beings didn't "just happen" to survive their seemingly-inevitable deaths, that maybe the Stranger used their imminent deaths as a cover so that he could secretly abduct them without anyone knowing."
On the other hand, maybe Fabrikant of the Starblasters was the Autocron on the Stranger's world. A few other members of the Starblasters (Nygorn/Nyborn, Captive/Threkker) were former subject there...but he does specifically refer to himself at Ten-For...
The Autocrons have profiles in both the original and Deluxe Editions of the OHotMU. There they are described as "iron-based life forms" in the same way that humans are carbon-based. This seems to be in contrast to the bulk of Jack Kirby's stories, which would seem likely to give what should be considered the definitive descriptions.
The name Ten-For came during the height of the CB craze. I don't know what he'd be called if Kirby invented him now. 24-7? U-R-L? I don't know enough computer lingo to come up with anything better. Any suggestions?
The best thing about reading the old Kirby stories is reading his editorials on what he thought life might be like in the future, with all of those wacky robots running around.
Clarifications: Ten-For, the Mean Machine, should be
Machine Man I#3-6 (June-September, 1978) - Jack Kirby (writer/pencils/editor), Mike Royer (inks)
Quasar#14-16 (September-November, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Dan Panosian & Keith Williams (#16) (inks), Len Kaminski (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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