Real Name: Inapplicable

Identity/Class: Terrestrial robot

Occupation: Manipulating others to examine their personalities

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: "The Company" (agent Marsden, agent Stern; CIA or FBI?), Machinesmith (creator);
    formerly Mr. Gottlieb, Mr. Jackson, Brian Muldoon (limited profile under
Cowled Commander), Winnie, two unidentified crimelords

Enemies: Beast (Hank McCoy), Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: A base presumably within Manhattan, New York

First Appearance: Avengers I#178 (December, 1978)


Powers/Abilities: The Manipulator uses knowledge of his opponents to make them pawns of their innermost longings and unconscious motives. As a robot, he is immune to aging, conventional disease, toxins, and some forms of injury. He has no need for food, air, water, etc., though his power source was unknown.
    He uses a device that effects a massive indiscriminate stimulation of memory cells, causing the target to re-experience a deluge of past events and to be unable to distinguish them from the present. The target is prone to obeying the Manipulator because he or she thinks that he or she is simply living out a past memory. In addition, the subject is exceptionally responsive to new conditioning when the memories subside. This memory stimulator can be fired from a handheld box or from his own right eye.
    He also uses holographic equipment and other technology to affect the emotions of others.





(Captain America I#249 (fb) - BTS) - The Machinesmith created the Manipulator robot.

(Avengers I#178 (fb) - BTS) - The Manipulator allied himself with the Company's agents Marsden and Stern, plotting to convict a quartet of crimelords. The Manipulator employed the woman Winnie as part of his plan to use the Beast to accomplish his mission.





(Avengers I#178) - The Manipulator sent the image of a messianic figure to appear before the Beast, claiming to be dying to expunge the desolation in his soul. The messianic figure spoke several truths about the Beast's insecurities and emotional concerns before being seemingly disintegrated by a lightning bolt. The Beast was haunted by the experience, leaving him unnerved. He shared his concerns with Winnie, telling her that he thought it was his disconnectedness from human beings was what needed to die. Wishing he could help an individual rather than the world, the Beast readily agreed to Winnie's request to steal a certain black box from an apartment, which she said had belonged to her father.
    At the same time, the Manipulator met with Mr. Gottlieb, Mr. Jackson, and two other crimelords, offering to share his manipulation techniques with them for 10 million dollars (split four ways). They were reluctant until the Beast arrived and fell into the Manipulator's trap, becoming caught in a cage and then opening the box, which blasted him with the memory stimulator. After the Manipulator revealed how the device worked, the crimelords were more than happy to pay his fee. However, no sooner had he received their payments (in check form), then he blasted them all with the memory stimulator, too. The Manipulator then invited in Marsden and Stern, who made an anonymous call to the police, which would lead to the arrest of the four crimelords. The two agents paid the Manipulator a hefty sum of cash before departing, thinking that the Manipulator's technology would be useful in case super-heroes ever turned against the government.
    The Manipulator was long gone as the Beast regained his mind and departed, while Marsden and Stern were visited by the messianic figure, telling them he had come to die for them...





(Captain America I#242 (fb) - BTS) - The Manipulator accepted payment from Brian Muldoon to "bump off" Captain America.

(Captain America I#242) - The Manipulator brought Captain America to his base, where he used robots and illusions to pit Captain America's nature as the living symbol of freedom against his nature as the ultimate soldier. The Manipulator used false versions of the Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Vision), Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter, Dum Dum Dugan, the Falcon, Nick Fury, Gabe Jones, the Red Skull against Captain America, all the while trying to calm Muldoon, who was furious when the Manipulator kept letting chances to kill Captain America pass. Eventually Muldoon got tired of waiting and went after Captain America himself when the hero seemed to collapse in despair after witnessing a re-creation of Sharon Carter's seeming death by fire. Captain America, who had been faking, dropped Muldoon, after which the Manipulator--who claimed to have known Captain America would not fall for his tricks, and to have actually been studying Muldoon rather than Cap--revealed his presence. The Manipulator explained how he was interested in seeing how helpless Captain America would have to appear before Muldoon overcame his fear of him enough to personally attack him. The Manipulator further explained that he had committed no crime and to have actually helped Captain America by flushing Muldoon out in a controlled situation.
    Muldoon revived and shot at Captain America, who deflected the bullet with his shield and then took out Muldoon. However, Cap was then surprised to see that the bullet had hit the Manipulator in the face, revealing him to be a robot. The Manipulator mocked Captain America's claims, fully believing himself to be as human as Captain America, until he reached up and touched the exposed circuitry on his face. Unable to cope with not being human and to have been the ultimate victim of manipulation, the Manipulator shut down and collapsed.

(Captain America I#247) - The remains of the Manipulator robot were seen on the work bench of Machinesmith.








Comments: Created by Steve Gerber, Carmine Infantino, and Rudy Nebres.
    Revealed as robot by Steven Grant.




The Manipulator told Muldoon a false origin, which he himself believed to be true:

His father was the world to him, but while he was growing up, his father was being slowly destroyed by his unfulfilled dreams and fears, and by forces and pressures he couldn't understand. He was destroyed by a nagging wife and an over-bearing boss and a world that ate his fears and needs. After his father killed himself, the young boy vowed he would not follow in his father's footsteps. He fully mastered himself--through the study and application of behavioral sciences. Now, having no desires of his own, he used his knowledge to earn a living..."even I must eat, after all."

I wonder if this history could have come from Machinesmith's past?

The snake deal on the Manipulator's chest symbol was missing in Captain America I#242.

Thanks to John Kaminski for pointing out the appearance in Captain America I#247.

Profile by Snood.




No known connection to:

Messianic figure




    A hologram, illusion, robot, or other, it appeared before the Manipulator's victims, claiming to be dying to save them from themselves. It confronted the Beast before being seemingly consumed by a lighting bolt, and later before agents Marsden and Stern.



--Avengers I#178









Mr. Gottlieb (bald), Mr. Jackson (light brown hair), and two other crimelords, each the leader of some unspecified criminal organization

They were summoned by the Manipulator allegedly to be sold the means to control the Beast and other super-humans, but upon paying up they were stunned by the Manipulator, and then agents Marsden and Stern made an anonymous call to the police to find the crimelords and the evidence of their crimes.


--Avengers I#178





agents Marsden and Stern


Agents of "the Company," they worked with the Manipulator to bring in the crimelords and discussed how his technology could be used to control super-heroes if they ever turned against the government. They later became pawns of the Manipulator and were visited by his messianic figure.


--Avengers I#178








    An apparent employee of the Manipulator, she went out on a date with the Beast, played on his insecurities, and manipulated him into going after the black box by telling him it had been stolen from her father.


--Avengers I#178



images: (not counting ads)
Avengers I#178, p5, panel 4 (messianic figure)
        p11, panel 2 (Winnie)
            panel 3 + 4 (Manipulator body + side-view head)
        p12, panel 1 (face + chest emblem)
            panel 2 (face, front view)
        p14, panel 4 (crimelords)
        p16, panel 3 (Marsden + Stern)
Captain America I#242, p4, panel 2 (false family)
        p17, panel 1 (robot face)

Captain America I#242 (February, 1980) - Steve Grant, Don Perlin, Joe Sinnott

Last updated: 06/16/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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