ASTRAN race

Classification: Semi-humanoid extraterrestrial race

Location/Base of Operations: Astra, second planet from the sun in the Mu Cephi star system, Milky Way galaxy;
    Astra's surface is 50% metallic ore, 25% water, 25% soil; Astra's gravity is 185% of Earth's; its atmosphere is 50% Earth's atmosphere's density, with a high oxygen content

Known Members: Molyb (Metal Master)
    Population estimated at 10 million

Affiliations: None identified

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk I#6 (March, 1963)

Powers/Abilities: Astrans have four lungs, secretory glands on the abdomen (see comments), and spatulate feet. They are hairless.
    Molyb can manipulate metals (levitating, re-shaping, completely controlling them) on an atomic level and across planetary distances; according to Molyb, the entire population has some degree of such ability (see comments).

    Astrans have built starships with intermediate stardrive capacity, but are otherwise at Earth's technological level.

Traits: Astrans are ruled by a theocracy. Three quarters of the population are either priests or artists.

Type:  Bilaterally symmetric semi-humanoid bipeds
Eyes:
Two (on head)
Fingers:
Five (with opposing thumb)
Toes:
None (spatulate feet)
Skin color: Yellow
Average height: 5' 6"

History:
(Incredible Hulk I#6 (fb)) - On the planet Astra, sculptors make magnificent metallic statues, shaping them my mental commands alone.

(Incredible Hulk I#6 (fb)) - Of all the Astrans, only Molyb was judged a criminal; he was sentenced to eternal exile for wanting to use his great power to conquer all.

(Incredible Hulk I#6 (fb)) - "For time beyond measure," Molyb roamed the galaxies, seeking a planet that was rich in metal that he could rule.

 

(Incredible Hulk I#6) - Molyb appeared on Desert Base (Los Diablos Missile Base), identified himself as the Metal Master, and announced his intention to conquer Earth. He swiftly defeated the attacking forces of General Ross as well as the Hulk (whose powers were unstable at the time). He traveled around the world, demonstrating his power and destroying metal equipment, but the Hulk (who was more like his crafty, gray aspect) had a plastic gun constructed and tricked the Metal Master into believing it was a metal he could not affect, then caught him unaware and forced him to restore the damage he'd done on Earth before departing "forever."

 

 

 

 

(Rom#30 (fb) - BTS) - Upon returning to Astra, Molyb realized he had been duped. Nonetheless, he feared that Earth might have developed a metal not subject to his control.

(Rom#30) - The Metal Master returned to Earth in a larger ship, this time claiming to be attempting to procure large amounts of certain types of metals, which his race thrived on. He further noted that he returned to Earth to save face and that such a conquest would lead him to be proclaimed his planet's greatest hero. Wishing to determine whether there was some type of metal he could not affect, he created a number of spider-like drones to scour the Earth and gather samples of all types of metals.
    Discovering the Spaceknight Rom, and Molyb wondered whether Rom's metal armor might be such a super-metal as he had sought. After a brief struggle, the Metal Master pitted his metal controlling powers against Rom's armor. Rom resisted Molyb's control, driving him mad with the failure. The Metal Master wandered off into West Virginia (no good can come from that!), muttering mindlessly to himself.

(Maximum Security#2 (fb) - BTS) - The Metal Master apparently ended up an inmate in some intergalactic prison.

(Maximum Security#1-BTS, 2; 3-BTS) - During the events of Maximum Security, the Metal Master was one of the many aliens sent to Earth as part of a plot to prevent the heroes of Earth from interfering with the actions of other races. The Metal Master briefly tangled with the Scarlet Witch.
    It is unrevealed whether the Metal Master escaped, or if he was returned to prison, or something else, altogether, after the events of Maximum Security.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

The Rampaging Hulk (volume 1, the magazine) #3, features "The Return of the Metal Master." Using a robot called the Ferronaut, the Metal Master returns to attack the Hulk, but loses his powers in the process. The "original" Hulk stories in the first nine issues (after which the title became HULK!) were originally set to be occurring immediately after Incredible Hulk I#6. However, all of these stories have since been revealed to have actually been fictional movies created by the Krylorian Techno-Artist, Bereet. If the stories get ret-conned back into existence, this story will be added to this profile ASAP.

    In Hulk#6, the Metal Master speaks as though his abilities are native to all those of the planet Astra (images of his world and his people using such abilities are seen as he describes his abilities and his past.. No such abilities were mentioned in the Astrans entry in the original or Deluxe Edition Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#1: Appendix to Alien races.
    In that same issue, the Metal Master states that Astra is "many, many galaxies away." The narrative text in the same issue refers to the "the endless power of the menace from another galaxy." The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entries identify Astra as being in the Milky Way galaxy.
    His original stories describe him as megalomaniacal criminal on a world of peaceful artists. In Rom#30, in which he is decidedly more human and less Ditko-esque/Grinch-like, he plots to conquer Earth for himself so that he would not have to signal an invasion of Earth or call other Astrans to enter the battle...he further notes that he returned to Earth to save face and that such a conquest would lead him to be proclaimed his planet's greatest hero.
    He has also claimed that he traveled to Earth to procure types of metals which his race thrives on. No reference to them "thriving" on metal in the handbook entry. The truth is out there...

    Metal Master is never seen out of uniform that I recall. The original OHotMU added the information about the secretory glands (though they note them as present on the stomach, but the art makes it clear the glands are in the skin over the abdomen. That handbook also added the information about 4 lungs and spatulate feet.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Astran race has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#1: Appendix to Alien races: Astrans entry - main image
Incredible Hulk I#6, pg. 5, panel 5 (Astran sculptor);
            panel 6 (Molyb banished)
Rom#30 - latter ship


Appearances:
Incredible Hulk I#6 (March, 1963) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Rampaging Hulk I#3 (June, 1977) - meta-fictional - Doug Moench (writer), Walt Simonson (pencils), Alfredo Alcala (inks)
Rom#30 (May, 1982) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Maximum Security#2 (December, 2000) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Jerry Ordway (pencils), Will Blyberg, Paul Ryan & Walden Wong (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 10/24/12

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