Real Name: Drake Shannon
Identity/Class: Human technology user
former stunt motorcyclist and co-owner of a stunt cycle show
Citizen of the USA with a criminal record;
identity known to the authorities
Group Membership: Gang leader
Friend (see comments); Justin Hammer
formerly Madame Menace (Sunset Bain), Craig "Crash" Simpson, Taskmaster, They Who Wield Power, unidentified Super-Ape
Enemies: Brahma Bill, Carson "Coot" Collier, Ghost Rider (John Blaze/Zarathos), Hawkeye, Gina Langtree, Karen Page, Richard and Wendy Pini, Plantman (Sam Smithers), Roxanne Simpson, Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Stunt-Master, Mary Jane Watson
Known Relatives: None
Place of Birth: Wheeling, West Virginia, USA
Base of Operations: Mobile;
formerly a base in an abandoned power-room on an equally abandoned subway spur beneath Manhattan.
Extent of Education: High school graduate
First Appearance: Marvel Team-Up I#15 (November, 1973)
Powers/Abilities: Drake Shannon had normal intelligence and athletic physical abilities. He was also a capable hand-to-hand combatant and an expert stunt motorcyclist, but was criminally insane.
As the Orb, he wore a helmet designed to look like a human eyeball and it was outfitted with specialized microcircuitry, capable of firing laser blasts and hypnotizing victims. He also wore gloves that could also fire mini-eye heat-seeking missiles which released powerful flames. The Orb wore a leather costume, which was originally asbestos-fibered (but hopefully he abandoned that after learning of its carcinogenic potential). The costume was sufficiently armored to partially shield him from a hellfire attack.
His original helmet was designed by They Who Wield Power and could only hypnotize victims. They also gave him a laser pistol. His later helmet was designed by Madame Menace.
The Orb also used image projectors combined with his helmet's hypnotic power, to create convincing illusions.
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hair: White, formerly black
Distinguishing Features: Drake Shannon's face was horribly disfigured from his motorcycle accident.
(Marvel Team-Up I#15 (fb)) - Drake Shannon was the partner of "Crash" Simpson. They began their cycle show together, but they soon grew apart, with Crash thinking Shannon reckless and Shannon thinking Crash a weak-kneed fool. As neither wanted to work with or sell out to the other, they arranged a cross-country race with "winner take all" stakes. For miles they were even, but then Shannon swerved at Crash, trying to knock him out of the running, but instead, for whatever reason, Crash held his cycle steady, while Shannon skidded out of control. Without a facemask on his helmet, Shannon hit the ground at 95 miles per hour, sliding 25 yards with his face scraping the tarmac. Shannon recovered in the hospital for weeks, cursing Crash and driving him away when he came to offer his condolences. After leaving the hospital, Shannon became a loner and an outcast, shunned for his hideously scarred face.
(Marvel Team-Up I#15 (fb)) / Incredible Hulk II#241 (fb) - BTS) - Shannon had reached the end when They Who Wield Power supplied him with a hypnotic helmet and laser pistol as part of their plot to cause violent geophysical activity that would be transmitted through the Earth's crust in such a way as to stimulate El Dorado's Flame of Life.
(Marvel Team-Up I#15 (fb)) - Armed with his new helmet, Shannon gained the courage to ride again, and he decided to take back the show that should have been his.
(Marvel Team-Up I#15) - Twenty years after losing the show to Simpson, the Orb led his gang of cyclists to force their way into the "Ghost Rider's Motorcycle Extravaganza" in Madison Square Garden. A guard pulled his gun on them, but the Orb cast his hypnotic gaze on him, causing him to put his gun away. The Orb then hypnotized the whole audience, including spectator Mary Jane Watson, although Peter Parker's Spider-Sense warned him in time to look away. Despite Roxanne's wishes to the contrary, Ghost Rider went after the Orb, who veered off and took Roxanne hostage. Spider-Man joined Ghost Rider in taking out some of the Orb's men, but the Orb caused the crowd to wander into Ghost Rider's path, forcing him to slide to a stop to avoid hitting them. Ghost Rider then burnt Spider-Man's web to prevent him from going after the Orb and possibly causing him to harm Roxanne. The Orb then caused the crowd to speak his wishes: he would return Roxanne to Ghost Rider only if Blaze would surrender ownership of the cycle show to him. Blaze agreed, at which point the Orb revealed his origins.
Ghost Rider freed the Orb's victims from their trance and tracked him down, but still agreed to the contract, signing over ownership to Shannon. However, after Shannon released Roxanne into Ghost Rider's hands, he instructed his men to kill them so they could not reveal how the transfer had been forced. Before they could fire their guns, Spider-Man swung in and knocked the criminals off their feet. Ghost Rider and Spidey made short work of the gang, and then they chased the Orb out of his lair and into another subway tunnel. Combined fire bolts from Ghost Rider and a web-line from Spidey pulled Roxanne safely from the Orb's grasp, and he fled onto the subway tracks, where he was seemingly killed by an onrushing subway train.
(Ghost Rider II#15 (fb) - BTS) - Seeking the million dollar bounty that had been placed on Karen Page's head, the Orb plotted to kidnap her by posing as a ghost.
(Ghost Rider II#14) - The Orb hypnotized a number of people at Delazny Studios, sending them to attack Johnny Blaze and Stunt-Master. When Blaze became Ghost Rider and created a wall of flame to hold the people back, the Orb appeared in an image above him, posing as a ghost seeking vengeance from beyond the grave. The Orb then commanded his pawns to walk straight into the flame, but Karen Page and Katy Milner (actually Roxanne Simpson) then turned a pair of fire hoses on everyone, awakening them from their trance and dispelling the image of the Orb. Later, the Orb took command of another worker, forcing him to chase Blaze, "Milner," and Richard and Wendy Pini with a forklift. Blaze again became Ghost Rider, but the Orb fired laser beams that herded him right into the path of the forklift. Ghost Rider (who wondered what a ghost would need with laser beams) jumped the forklift and then destroyed it with a firebolt; the Orb's image again vanished. Later still, the Orb took control of Karen Page, directing her to fire on Blaze and "Milner" during a movie stunt.
(Ghost Rider II#15) - Karen shot "Katy Milner" and the Stunt-Master, and the Orb then grabbed Karen and took off on his motorcycle, revealing his intention of claiming the bounty on her head. Ghost Rider pursued him onto the Ventura Freeway where a shoot-out ensured. Karen knocked the Orb's arm, ruining his aim, and he hurled her away, deciding to focus on saving his own skin. Ghost Rider caught Karen and took her to safety, after which he went after the Orb again. Meanwhile, "Coot" Collier had had Stunt-Master drive him to follow the two bikers, and he shot the Orb's laser pistol out of his hand. Ghost Rider then caught up to the Orb, tackled him off of his bike, and beat him senseless, shattering his helmet in the process. Karen begged Johnny not to kill the defeated Orb, but Johnny rightly felt that the Orb would just keep coming after his friends. However, the mysterious Friend then showed up and convinced Blaze to save his punishment for the true source of his frustration (Satan/Mephisto and Pluto (due to a recent Champions plot)). Blaze left the Orb behind, apparently assuming Coot and the Stunt-Master would take him to the police.
(Ghost Rider II#28) - Somewhere in the Midwest (outside Phoenix, Arizona?), the Orb surprised Roxanne Simpson, mesmerizing her, and forcing her to forget Johnny Blaze. The Orb then hypnotized a biker gang, sending them to ambush Johnny Blaze, and they managed to beat him up before he could turn into the Ghost Rider. The Orb then hooked a chain to Blaze's legs and began to drag him down the road, but Brahma Bill--who had just met Blaze and had followed the Orb and his gang to keep an eye on them--shot the chain, freeing Blaze. Brahma Bill shot at the Orb and his men a few times, taking some out and distracting the rest long enough for Blaze to become Ghost Rider. Despite the Orb's new modification that allowed him to fire lasers from his helmet, he was no match for the hell-spawned Ghost Rider, who tackled him--cycle and all--off a short cliff. The Orb's men swarmed over Ghost Rider, enabling the Orb to regain his composure, and he led the Ghost Rider into a rockslide he caused with a laser blast. However, Ghost Rider rose from underneath the stones and seared the Orb with hellfire, ending the struggle.
(Ghost Rider II#54 (fb) - BTS) - The Orb's specially armored costume partially protected him Ghost Rider's hellfire assault.
(Ghost Rider II#54 (fb) - BTS) - The Orb had his helmet's laser improved.
(Ghost Rider II#54 (fb) - BTS) - The Orb had "a score" of painful operations and paid a ton of money to rebuild his face, which was made nearly normal.
(Ghost Rider II#54 (fb) - BTS) - The Orb spent weeks following Blaze via local news reports, etc.
(Ghost Rider II#54 (fb) - BTS) - The Orb hired some local men to ambush Blaze as he approached Las Vegas, firing on him from an overpass so that he would charge the men and ride right into a point blank laser blast.
(Ghost Rider II#54) - Ghost Rider survived the assault as intended, but he instead attacked the men's homes, avoiding the Orb's trap. The Orb later tracked Blaze to Las Vegas and learned of his new romance with Gina Langtree. The Orb sabotaged a car Gina was testing for her father, causing her to be stranded in the middle of the desert. The Orb then ambushed her via chloroform (or ether, or some other archaic anesthetic). Johnny followed her trail right into another trap of the Orb's, which involved hitting a mine that blew up his motorcycle. Blaze--having turned into Ghost Rider as soon as danger approached--survived the explosion, dodged some laser blasts, and formed a new hellfire motorcycle. Ghost Rider evaded further attacks and rescued Gina, after which he managed to tackle the Orb and blast him with hellfire again. Gina stopped the increasingly demonic Ghost Rider from killing the Orb, and they watched as his plastic surgery fell apart, leaving the Orb as deformed as ever. The defeated Orb swore vengeance.
(Ghost Rider II#63) - Alongside his gang, the Orb used his laser to cause a rockslide to stop an armored car, and he then blasted the back open, mesmerized the guards, had them unload the money, then sent them on their way with no memory of being robbed. The Orb used his ill-gotten gains to purchase an even more powerful helmet from Madame Menace (3.5 times more powerful than the last) and gloves able to fire heat-seeking mini-eye missiles). The Orb then had some of his men lead Blaze away from the Quentin Carnival and into the Orb's trap. Blaze fell into a pit the Orb had made in the road and his bike shattered, but he became Ghost Rider, made a new bike from hellfire, escaped the pit, and easily overcame the Orb's men. Ghost Rider evaded the Orb's lasers, but a mini-eye missile struck him and knocked him to the ground. The Orb laughed in triumph as he launched dozens of missiles to cover Ghost Rider. However, Ghost Rider then pulled himself to his feet, incinerated the missiles with his own flames, and confronted the Orb anew. The Orb fled, but Ghost Rider quickly caught up with him and blasted him repeatedly with hellfire. Ghost Rider then placed all of the Orb's men's motorcycles into a pile and melted them together.
(Solo Avengers#19 (fb) - BTS) - Hawkeye pursued the Orb across half the state of California.
(Solo Avengers#19) - In the Mojave desert, the Orb dodged a series of arrows, but Hawkeye then snagged the back of his helmet with a suction-tipped arrow, yanking him off of his motorbike, which wrecked. Hawkeye became overconfident and hovered over the downed Orb, who blasted his skycycle out of the air. Hawkeye rolled to safety, but when the skycycle crashed it caused a large hunk of rock to go flying through the air and strike the Orb's helmet, shattering it and knocking him out. Hawkeye fashioned a sled and drug the Orb through the desert until they arrived at a shiny metal dome. Hawkeye opened the dorm and brought the Orb into the oasis within. While Hawkeye looked around, the Orb stopped feigning unconsciousness and grabbed the gun hidden within his boot, but the tree behind him came to life and restrained him. Hawkeye freed the Orb by firing an acid-tipped arrow into the tree, but they were both then confronted by the owner of the dome, the Plantman, who sent his monster plant to kill them.
(Solo Avengers#20) - The Plantman's monster swallowed Hawkeye and the Orb, but Hawkeye forced it to disgorge them via a flare arrow. While Hawkeye battled the Plantman's simulcra, the Orb was handcuffed and taken into the Plantman's command center, where he revealed his intentions of making the world a tropical paradise, with all of the plant life under his control. However, Hawkeye fought his way to the center and began to blast the Plantman's equipment. After freeing the Orb, he used an explosive arrow to blast his way out of the dome, and the two of them fled, while the Plantman flew his dome away to start again elsewhere.
(Avengers Spotlight#21) - As Hawkeye and the Orb made their way across the desert, the Orb ambushed Hawkeye, trying to strangle him from behind, throwing sand in his eyes, and kicking him a few times. Hawkeye nonetheless subdued him and then took mercy on him when the Orb began to beg; he gave the Orb an extra helping of water, and they then continued to try to make their way out of the desert. Arriving in a seemingly abandoned town, the Orb located the gang he had intended to meet up with all along. The Orb ordered his men to kill Hawkeye, but they instead gunned down the Orb. After defeating one of the gang, Hawkeye found that they were actually some of the Plantman's simulacra. Ultimately, the arrival of Wonder Man and Dr. Pym spelled the defeat of the simulacra and the rescue of the exhausted Hawkeye. From a distance, Hawkeye thought that the Orb looked pretty dead.
(Deadline#2) - The Orb was present at a Manhattan chapter of the Bar with No Name, playing pool with Taskmaster and one of the Red Ghost's Super-Apes (possibly Peotr).
Comments: Created by Len Wein, Ross Andru, and Don Perlin.
Marvel Team-Up I#15 had the first cryptic reference to "They." I'm not sure how the hypnotic helmet or Shannon's trying to steal a motorcycle show was supposed to cause violent geophysical activity, but this was the first reference to They, and the actual plot and explanation of They came at the hands of Roger Stern four years later, so they didn't all fit together. Perhaps the Orb was supposed to do something else with his helmet, but instead went off on his own vendetta. I'm also not sure if Len Wein had anything else in mind for They, or whether they were just a mysterious idea at the time.
(Official Handbook of the
Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition#5: Justin Hammer) - One of Justin
Hammer 's companies designed the Orb's equipment and funded his
operations in exchange for a percentage of his profits.
I'm not sure where this fits in, because his original materials came They Who Wield Power, and he received further enhancements from Madame Menace. Perhaps They worked through Hammer, or perhaps Hammer's business designed the equipment for the Orb's men.
According to writer Bill Rosemann, the Orb that appeared in Deadline#2 was Shannon.
I had previously listed the Orb as being in Captain America I#395, but I only see 8-Ball in there, another spherical helmet wearer.
This Orb is/was strictly minor league. Pretty much every time he built up the courage to go after Ghost Rider he ended up fleeing from his hellish powers. He really needed to find a hero more his speed...maybe Squirrel Girl?
Tony Isabella intended the Friend to be Jesus Christ, but Jim Shooter apparently made him reverse this and reveal the Friend to be just a trick/manifestation of "Satan" (who was later revealed to be Mephisto). The interview and further discussion are here: http://www.vengeanceunbound.com/news16.html
Profile by Snood.
The Orb has no known connection to:
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition#26: Orb entry
Marvel Team-Up I#15, p5, panel 3 (Orb and his men on cycles)
p11, panel 5 (Orb helmet close up)
p12, panel 1 (Shannon pre-accident, unmasked)
p13, panel 5 (Orb unmasked)
Ghost Rider II#14 (October, 1975) - Tony Isabella (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#15 (December, 1975) - Tony Isabella (writer), Bob Brown (pencils), Don Heck (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Ghost Rider II#28 (February, 1978) - Roger McKenzie (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Tom Sutton, Owen McCarron & Pablo Marcos (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#241 (November, 1979) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Al Milgrom (editor)
Ghost Rider II#54 (March, 1981) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Don Perlin (artist), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Ghost Rider II#63 (December, 1981) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Luke McDonnell (pencils), Sal Trapani (inks), David Kraft (editor)
Solo Avengers#19-20 (June-July, 1989) - Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Don Heck (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Avengers Spotlight#21 (August, 1989) - Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Don Heck, Tom Morgan & others (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Deadline#2 (July, 2002) - Bill Rosemann (writer), Guy Davis (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last updated: 11/07/11
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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