Classification: Terrestrial technology
Creator: Samuel "Starr" Saxon (later Machinesmith)
User/Possessors: Samuel "Starr" Saxon; Vincent Destine (as a spirit)
Enemies/Victims: Biggie Benson; Cuckoo (Kay Cera), Daredevil (Matt Murdock); at least fourteen people other people that it killed (including Mr. Luca and his henchmen Arnie and Mario [and possibly their intended victim Bruno], five young men who had just been playing basketball together, Professor Stanley, and two firemen); Wolverine (Logan), Doctor Stephen Strange, Argent (Samantha Hassard), Crimson Crusader (Rory Destine), Hex (Dominic Fate), Imp (Pandora Destine) and Wallop (Walter Destine)
Aliases: "My latest and greatest creation," "my super-powered lackey" (as called by Saxon); "tin man" (as called by Daredevil); "that walkin' murder machine" (as called by Biggie Benson); "Bacalou" (as called by a Haitian witness and by Cuckoo when she was impersonating that witness)
First Appearance: Daredevil I#49 (February, 1969);
(identified) Daredevil I#51 (April, 1969)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: Built in humanoid form, the Plastoid had limited programming which granted it some degree of autonomous operation. It had great physical strength and was durable enough to absorb physical blows and gunfire.
The Plastoid was equipped with a triangular chest plate which displayed a readout of its degree of operational efficiency -- scaled from 1 to 10, the higher the number, the greater its power, and any reading below 5 indicated a need for immediate automatic adjustment; however, in extreme situations, the Plastoid could increase its power level to 50 or more. Normally standing about 7 feet tall, the Plastoid grew to about 10 feet tall at level 50 (possibly by using Pym particles?); in its last moments of operation, the Plastoid grew to about 20 feet tall, but this may have exceeded its operating parameters and contributed to its eventual downfall.
The robotic assassin was programmed to track its human targets by using "aromagraphs" (chemically-treated paper containing certain odoriferous elements) of its intended victims. The "aromagraphs" were uploaded directly with a "scentolator" connected to the Plastoid, or remotely using an "aromascope".
Daredevil noticed that something about the Plastoid's electronic circuitry deadened his radar sense. Amongst the Plastoids' mechanisms were gears that Daredevil could hear moving from some distance away.
While possessed/controlled by the spirit of Vincent Destine, the Plastoid functioned somewhat differently than it had during its first encounters with Daredevil years earlier. It retained its superhuman strength and durability but its chest plate constantly displayed a "0" reading. The Plastoid also did not demonstrate any ability to increase its size or the great speed and agility that it had possessed when it first fought Daredevil.
While occupying the Plastoid robot, Vincent Destine's spirit could attempt to transfer his consciousness into the bodies of some of the normal humans who crossed paths with the robot. The psychic energies that were visible during these attempts were perceived by some as "demon fire" or electricity that emanated from the robot's head and enveloped the heads of the people that Vincent was trying to possess. The skulls of those killed by these attempts looked like grenades had been detonated inside them.
Originally, the Plastoid had been capable of speech and used that ability to almost-constantly describe what it was doing and why. However, when possessed by the spirit of Vincent Destine, the Plastoid only spoke when battling Cuckoo and Daredevil and its voice was very distorted.
(Daredevil I#49 (fb) - BTS) - Robotics expert Starr Saxon developed a robot assassin -- the Plastoid -- that could track its target with its sense of smell, and also equipped it with the ability to increase its size and power for a limited time in emergencies.
(Daredevil I#49 (fb)) - "Some weeks ago," Saxon went to a prison visiting area and met with mobster Biggie Benson. Benson hired Saxon to send his robot against Daredevil as revenge for the hero's interference in Benson's attempted framing of ex-police officer Willie Lincoln (in Daredevil I#47). Eager to test his creation, Saxon returned to his lab and programmed the robot with Daredevil's "aromagraph," then sent it out to pursue its prey.
(Daredevil I#49 (fb) - BTS) - The Plastoid tracked Daredevil to Matt Murdock's apartment -- it dropped off a small tracer unit (see comments) and hid in a closet.
(Daredevil I#49) - When Murdock returned home, he heard the sound of moving gears coming from the closet. As he opened the closet door, the Plastoid burst forth and struck Murdock repeatedly, knocking him out. The robot carried the unconscious Murdock out to the street to return to Saxon's lab, but it detected the sound of an approaching passerby -- not programmed to deal with this contingency, the Plastoid dropped Murdock and fled.
The passerby turned out to be Willie Lincoln, who treated Murdock's injuries. Afterwards, Murdock (sure that the robot would return to finish its job), went back to his home and changed into his Daredevil costume (which he had greased) and waited in the private gym area of his apartment. The Plastoid returned and smashed through the wall. During the short skirmish, the hero's greased costume made it difficult for the robot to get a grip on him. The Plastoid eventually struck Daredevil and stunned him, then it wrapped him up in a gym floor mat to get ahold of him...
(Daredevil I#50) - Daredevil managed to shoot a cable from his billy club and pull himself free just before the robot hurled the mat against a wall. After Daredevil eluded several more strikes from the Plastoid, the robot calculated that since it couldn't defeat its foe in its present form, it had to resort to switching to ultimate power. Growing to giant-size, the Plastoid pinned Daredevil to the floor, but the hero slipped from its grasp. Daredevil then positioned himself in front of a fuse box and got the Plastoid to charge at him, planning to swing out of the way so that it would strike the fuse. DD's plan worked and the Plastoid struck the fuse, causing a large discharge of electricity, but DD had underestimated the robot's speed and, in falling, it (briefly) pinned him against the wall. The Plastoid's internal circuitry was damaged by the electrical shock, making it unable to recall its mission; returning to the street, the robot headed back to Saxon's lab for repair, with Daredevil following.
The Plastoid reached the lab and stood before Saxon just as Daredevil entered. The robot's creator had a short struggle with the hero, then Saxon attempted to reprogram the Plastoid with Daredevil's "aromagraph" in the "aromascope," but in his haste, he accidentally reprogrammed it with Biggie Benson's "aromagraph" instead. With its new target input into its system, the Plastoid swatted Daredevil aside and headed to the prison, but it left an easy trail for the dazed hero to follow.
Smashing through the prison wall, the Plastoid easily shrugged off the prison guards' gunfire, although Daredevil received a flesh wound when he strayed into the line of fire. Daredevil made his way ahead of the robot to Benson's cell. As he tried to warn him about the approaching danger, Benson clubbed him with his fist and knocked the wounded hero out. Then the giant Plastoid crashed into Benson's cell...
(Daredevil I#51) - The Plastoid seized Benson just as the guards rushed in with a Stun-ulator. Sensing danger and determining its first priority was to protect itself, the robot dropped Benson and increased its size even more. The guards blasted the gargantuan Plastoid with the Stunulator, which caused a reaction in it akin to human pain. Benson chose that moment to try to make a run for it but then the Plastoid's increased mass caused it to fall heavily onto the catwalk which collapsed under its weight. The Plastoid and Benson both fell to the floor below. Although damaged by the fall, the robot was still functional but when it determined that Biggie Benson had died in the fall the robot considered its mission had been completed and it switched itself off.
(Daredevil I#51 (fb) - BTS) - While clearing away the debris from the collapsed catwalk, the guards managed to stand the inert robot up on its feet.
(Daredevil I#51) - Later, Saxon tried to detonate the robot from afar, but Daredevil used his radar sense to locate the destruct mechanism, which he deactivated by striking it.
(Conjecture) - At some point, Saxon (or someone else) retrieved the inert Plastoid from
police custody, caused it to shrink down to its normal 7-foot height, and repaired it.
(Conjecture) - At some point, Saxon (or someone else) constructed a duplicate of the original Plastoid robot.
(Daredevil Annual III#1 (fb) - BTS) - Whatever its origin, a Plastoid was placed within a hidden room in the tunnels under New York City. Whoever placed it there may have tapped into the power cables that ran along the tunnel wall to keep the mechanisms within the secret room supplied with energy.
(Wolverine Annual III#1 (fb) - BTS) - After being resurrected, Vincent Destine's spirit force rose from his grave and was transmitted via satellite to New York City where it escaped from a lab in the Baxter Building by entering a power conduit that "ran close to where the Plastoid robot had been secreted decades ago."
(Wolverine Annual III#1 (fb)/Daredevil Annual III#1 (fb) - BTS) - Now controlled by Vincent Destine's spirit, the Plastoid smashed out through the wall that had separated its hideaway from the underground tunnel on the other side.
(Daredevil Annual III#1) - While tracking her brother Vincent's spirit, Cuckoo (Kay Cera/Jasmine Destine) came across a homicide committed by the Vincent-controlled Plastoid. Sensing that she was being spied upon from above, Cuckoo telepathically scanned the mind of the spy (Daredevil), learned that he had defeated the robot in the past and decided to set him on its trail. Knowing that Daredevil would follow her, Cuckoo fled through a community of homeless people and then into the sewers where his hyper-senses lost track of her. Using her telepathy to make him perceive her as the older Haitian man who had been a witness at the crime scene, Cuckoo directed Daredevil to where "he" had seen "Bacalou" rise from the belly of the earth which led him to the wall that the Plastoid had smashed open. Finding the robot's point of origin enabled Daredevil to realize that the killer was actually a Plastoid.
(Daredevil Annual III#1) - The Plastoid was guided by Vincent's spirit towards the American Museum of Natural History and the "Gods & Monsters" exhibit that was then on display. The Plastoid killed many of the people whom it encountered along the way (like Mr. Luca's thugs Arnie and Mario) and some of those people (like loan shark Mr. Luca) died when Vincent attempted to transfer his consciousness into their bodies.
(Wolverine Annual III#1 (fb) - BTS) - During its rampage, the Vincent-guided Plastoid brutally killed at least eleven people before it reached the museum.
(Daredevil Annual III#1) - After entering the museum, the Plastoid was confronted by Cuckoo who attempted to expel the "parasitic shade" that she believed was actually controlling the robot but she failed. Daredevil then arrived and began battling the Plastoid, eventually hurling a harpoon at the robot's right arm when it was in front of a section of wall behind which was an electrical junction box. Connected to the power supply by the harpoon, the Plastoid's internal mechanisms experienced an overload that caused them to fuse and then explode, with Daredevil somehow perceiving Vincent's spirit just before the explosion. With the robot destroyed, Doctor Strange and Hex (of the Clan Destine) arrived in time to rescue Daredevil and Cuckoo from the resulting fire which was soon brought under control by members of the FDNY.
(Wolverine Annual III#1 - BTS) - Although the Plastoid's mechanisms had been destroyed, its plastic shell remained mostly intact and Vincent's spirit was able to inhabit and animate the plastic sludge. After using it to kill some people (Professor Stanley and two firemen) who were in his way, Vincent reshaped the sludge into a facsimile of his original body. In this form, Vincent battled Cuckoo, Wolverine, Doctor Strange and five other members of the Clan Destine (Walter, Samantha, Dominic, Rory and Pandora) before the plastic and the spirit force were separated. Soon afterwards, Vincent's energy form was seemingly destroyed by Wolverine.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Gene Colan, and George Klein.
In Daredevil I#51, Saxon was able to detect the tracer unit in Matt Murdock's apartment and thereby learned Daredevil's secret identity -- I wonder why he never used his "aromagraph" technology against other heroes and sell their secrets to the criminal underworld?
("Aromagraph," "scentolator," "aromascope" -- only in 1960s Marvel Comics could you get away with this kind of stuff...)
The Plastoid's appearance and triangular chest plate kind of reminded me of the old Captain Action toy figure.
Some comments added by Donald Campbell.
One thing that was not made clear was if the Plastoid that became inert in Daredevil I#51 was later recovered, repaired and hidden in that secret room. If not, then the Plastoid from that secret room must have actually been a duplicate. Only Alan Davis knows for sure.
In its original adventure, the Plastoid only battled Daredevil and some of the guards at the prison where Biggie Benson was being held. Benson was the only person who was actually killed by its actions.
When controlled by Vincent Destine's spirit, the Plastoid robot killed at least eleven people, including Mr. Luca and his henchmen Arnie and Mario (and possibly their intended victim Bruno) and five young men who had just been playing basketball together. The only two people who actually fought the robot (aside from Luca's goons who had shot at it) were Daredevil and Cuckoo. Doctor Stephen Strange and Dominic did not arrive until after the robot had been destroyed.
The plastic sludge animated and controlled by Vincent Destine's spirit killed Professor Stanley and two firemen, then was reshaped into a body with which Vincent battled Cuckoo, Wolverine (Logan), Doctor Stephen Strange, Argent (Samantha Hassard), Crimson Crusader (Rory Destine), Hex (Dominic Fate), Imp (Pandora Destine) and Wallop (Walter Destine), the latter five (and Cuckoo) being members of the Clan Destine. Newton Destine helped but never came into contact with the robot or its sludge residue.
After having been led to the hidden room where the Plastoid had been, the presence of hi-tech weapons led Daredevil to conclude that it could have been "one of Starr Saxon's secret arsenals." The unique smell that he detected within the room confirmed that a Plastoid had been there. Later, while battling the Plastoid, Daredevil told Cuckoo that he had battled "a" Plastoid before, a statement that implies that DD believed this Plastoid was not the same as that earlier one.
Given how much Vincent Destine claimed he had manipulated events so that things occurred as he remembered them having happened, it seems probable that it was not random chance that a power conduit passed near to where the Plastoid had been hidden. Could it be that Vincent had actually hired Saxon to build a second Plastoid and hide it in that secret room in the tunnels under New York City?
John Kaminski &
Expansion by Donald Campbell (Daredevil and Wolverine annuals, plus expansion of existing material).
The Plastoid/"that walkin' murder machine" has no known connection to:
images: (without ads)
Daredevil I#50, page 7, panel 1 (main image)
Daredevil I#50, page 1, panel 1 (head shot)
Daredevil I#49, page 8, panel 3 (Plastoid carrying Matt Murdock)
Daredevil I#49 (February, 1969) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), George Klein (inks)
Daredevil I#50 (March, 1969) - Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Johnny Craig (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil I#51 (April, 1969) - Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), George Klein (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Daredevil Annual III#1 (2012) - Alan Davis (writer & penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Wolverine Annual III#1 (2012) - Alan Davis (writer & penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
First Posted: 09/25/2016
Last updated: 06/26/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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