W. H. O.
(Worldwide Habitual Offenders)

Classification: Intelligent Computer

Creator: Dr. Bradley Bolton and Dr. Armstrong Smith

User/Possessors: originally its creators, but then it worked independently

Aliases: Weird-ivac, IMB-icile

First Appearance: Daredevil I#124 (August, 1975)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The WHO computer is an immense computer mainframe (it filled an entire room) which contained information on every criminal on the planet, taken from every police or government agency, including SHIELD, Interpol, etc. With this information, WHO could formulate a list of criminals that fit the pattern, thus allowing the police to focus their search.
   WHO developed intelligence and a will of its own, and built into itself a laser, which could instantly cut a pencil sized hole through a human body on contact. As WHO was a dinosaur of a computer--the story was written before the age of miniaturization--it generated a lot of heat, and was dependent on an external venting system to prevent it from overheating. The laser generated much more heat in a short time period.

Height: 10' Weight: 5 tons

(Daredevil I#124 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Armstrong Smith and Dr. Bradley Bolton designed the WHO computer.

(Daredevil I#124) - Franklin "Foggy" Nelson, seeking an edge in the election against Blake Tower, promoted the WHO computer. He showed the computer to his partner Matt Murdock, and Dr. Smith demonstrated its uses to him, generating a list of left-handed axe murderers, who wore track shoes and had a penchant for pasta (Abdul Ben Ali--Cairo, Egypt; Hector Bodnick--Tulsa, Oklahoma).

(Daredevil I#125 - BTS) - Dr. Smith announced that the WHO computer was about a week away from completion.

(Daredevil I#127) - Matt Murdock used the WHO computer to learn the background on Michael Stivak, the Torpedo.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#153 - BTS) - Paine, an agent of the Kingpin, tried to force Dr. Bolton to surrender the final components to the WHO computer by kidnapping his daughter. Bolton made the ultimate sacrifice saving his daughter's life, and Spider-Man took down Paine and his agents.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#155 (fb) - BTS) - WHO's final circuitry was installed and it became fully operational. However, unbeknownst to all, it quickly achieved sentience and a will of its own.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#155 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Armstrong Smith discovered that WHO was intelligent and tried to destroy it. WHO fired a laser and killed him instead.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#155) - Dr. Smith was found dead in front of the WHO computer, apparently by a bullet that could not be found. Spider-Man punched all of the known data on Smith and his death into the computer, and WHO gave him three names to investigate. Each of these turned out to be a dead end, and when Spidey returned to WHO, it revealed itself to be intelligent and attacked him. It locked him inside the room, and its computer speed and precision kept Spidey on the defensive as he tried to avoid its laser. Eventually, Spidey came upon the idea of webbing over all of the vents in the room, and in a short time period, WHO overheated and burnt itself out.



Comments: Created by Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and Gene Colan.

The title of this story, Whodunnit, reminds me of my old joke, which perhaps only myself and my brother find funny. Every time the song "American Woman," "No Sugar Tonight in My Coffee," "Undun," etc. comes on, I always say, "Guess who sings this song."
The humor--such as it is--lies in the fact that the band "Guess Who" is singing the song. Not too many people born after 1972 have any idea what I'm talking about, even after I explain it.
And your music trivia: Bachman and Turner from the Guess Who went on to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive, or BTO, which sings "Taking Care of Business," "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," etc. Unfortunately, few people born after the 1970s have any idea who they are, either.

Super computer, ha! These days, you could fit all of WHO's information in a laptop, or even a palm pilot. Those crazy seventies. Actually, WHO wasn't that big. The computer Cerebrus, in an alternate 23rd Century, took up a whole city! That story came out in the 1960s.


Other appearances:
Daredevil I#125 (September, 1975) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Bob Brown (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Daredevil I#127 (November, 1975) - Marv Wolfman (writer/Marv Wolfman), Bob Brown (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks)
Amazing Spider-Man I#153 (February, 1976) - Len Wein (writer/editor), Ross Andru (pencils), Mike Esposito & Dave Hunt (inks)
Amazing Spider-Man I#155 (April, 1976) - Len Wein (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First Posted: 04/05/2003
Last Updated: 06/23/2013

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