Real Name: Orville Smythe

Identity/Class: Human, briefly a technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None;
    pretended friendship/very loose association with D.W. Griffith

(Smythe (with D.W. Griffith in foreground))

Enemies: Iron Man (Tony Stark), Power Man (Luke Cage), Stark Industries security

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City, New York

First Appearance: Power Man I#17 (February, 1974)

Powers/Abilities: Orville Smythe has no known superhuman abilities or any known impressive physical skills. Nonetheless, he is shrewd enough to dupe the otherwise street-savvy Luke Cage...once, anyway.

    Wearing the star-suit, Smythe was strong enough to trade blows with a relatively recently empowered Luke Cage. He also briefly utilized a Stark Industries Sky-Skate.

Height: Approximately 5'8" (hard to estimate, as the 6'6" tall Cage towered over him)
Weight: Approximately 180 lbs.
Eyes: Brown (hard to see through his glasses)
Hair: Gray (black moustache)

(Power Man#17 (fb) - BTS) - Smythe arrived at Luke Cage's office at the Gemstone, informing D.W. that he had a job for Cage.

(Power Man#17) - Smythe was led by D.W. Griffith up to Luke Cage's brownstone office, the desk of which Cage had just angrily smashed in frustration over his not receiving any press of his heroic activities. Smythe noted that he hoped that Mr. Cage might have a greater sense of propriety than his current surroundings might suggest; and D.W. assured him that Cage had more propriety than he knew what do do with. Cage questioned D.W. as to who the "undertaker-type" was, and D.W., further noting that Smythe said he had a job for Luke.
    After D.W.'s departure, Smythe told Cage he had been employed by Stark Industries to steal Stark's experimental Star-Suit to test SI's security measures. Cage suspected a hoax, but Smythe convinced him that it was a legitimate test of security, and the number of zeroes on the check relaxed Cage's distrust. In the process, Smythe informed Cage that, to keep the matter secret and thus fully test the security, the only ones who would know of these arrangements would be Cage, Smythe, and Stark himself (not even Stark's personal body guard, Iron Man (at this time, Stark's nature as Iron Man was obviously not public knowledge), would be informed). Following Cage's agreement, and a rough handling from a distrustful and a subsequently enthusiastic Cage, Smythe excused himself to see his chiropractor.

    Later that evening, Cage sneaked into Stark Industries, overpowered several guards, and drew the attention of Tony Stark/Iron Man himself.

(Power Man#17 - BTS) - As Cage and Iron Man battled, Smythe stole and donned the star-suit and then made his way to one of Stark Industries experimental  Sky-Skates.

(Power Man#17) - After a fierce struggle, Cage decided that Iron Man was sufficient security, which he had proven via their battle. As Cage revealed the agreement, Iron Man convinced him of the duplicity, and the two men figured out that their struggle had been a diversion for Smythe stealing the Star-Suit. They rushed to check on the suit only to find it already gone, and Cage heard Smythe attempting to make his getaway in the Sky-Skate. With Iron Man's boot jets damages in the struggle, Cage took off after the Sky-Skate, catching up to and grabbing it before it could achieve full speed. Despite Smythe's denial of the possibility of Cage being unable to break the craft's titanium steel walls and the windows being reinforced lead-glass, Cage kicked at the ship's door repeatedly until internal pressure blew the door clean off.








Cage confronted the incredulous Smythe, who nonetheless composed himself sufficiently to punch Cage back, vowing Cage would never take him alive and that the suit's exo-skeleton would enable him to destroy Cage. Withstanding a return punch from Cage, Smythe was infuriated with his taunts and battered cage with a series of powerful punches that made Cage realize Smythe's suit could potentially kill him. When Smythe taunted Cage with having been used from the start, Cage grabbed hold of the suit's chest as he kicked Smythe off of him; Cage's grip ripped out the suit's circuitry, while Smythe was knocked out of the open hatchway and fell to the ground.
    Iron Man advised Cage on how to activate the autopilot but chided Cage for allowing Smythe's escape, until Cage revealed he had ripped out the circuitry.
    For his troubles, Iron Man offered to write a check to Cage to match the false one from Smythe, minus damages to his Iron Man armor, the Star-Suit, the lab building, and his security staff, and Cage asked him to mail it to him if there was anything worth folding after the deductions.





Comments: Created by Len Wein, George Tuska, & Billy Graham.

    Notably, during the struggle with Smythe, Cage (who had been seeking a codename to replace "Hero for Hire" commented "Chalk it up to Black Power, man!...Power Man! Yeah -- that's it!" This issue featured the title change to Power Man, and Cage adopted the name "Power Man" thereafter.

    Smythe was something of a bigot, referring to Cage once as a "common black fool."

Profile by Snood.

No KNOWN connections to:

Stark Industries star-suit

    Recently designed (at the time), the suit was designed for deep-space exploration, well-publicized, and set back Stark "better than half a mill" (a solid amount of money in 1974 and now, but much moreso in the former).


    The suit was equipped with jets for short distance flying and was designed for deep space exploration, presumably indicating it had a relatively long-term air and thermoregulation supply. It made a chubby, out-of-shape wearer able to trade blows and even threaten the life of Luke Cage, at least early in his career. Wearing the suit, Smythe appeared to be stronger and faster than Cage. With proper leverage, Cage was able to kick Smythe back off of him, in the process unwittingly (?) ripping out the circuitry from his chest panel, which apparently operated at least the flight systems. It is presumed that the suit protected Smythe from a fatal fall after Cage knocked him from the Sky-Skate.

    Cage (who wore a yellow shirt with a plunging neckline) called it the "ugly suit"

--Power Man#17







Stark Industries Sky-Skate

One of Stark Industries' experimental aircrafts, it was designed to be fast (though it took awhile to accelerate; running after it, Luke Cage caught up to it soon after take off); whether it could exceed Iron Man's boot-jet's speed was undetermined. It started out on land and took to the air after reaching a certain speed. Its walls were composed of titanium steel, and it's windows of reinforced lead-glass. Nonetheless, Cage was able to weaken the door's structure with repeated kicking that the internal pressure blew the door straight off. It had a communications radio and could be operated via remote control if that system was activated.

    After Cage knocked Smythe out of the ship, Iron Man guided Cage into activating the remote control system, allowing Iron Man's people to safely guide him back to Earth.


--Power Man#17

images: (without ads)
Power Man#17, pg. 2, panel 5 (Smythe in hat)
            panel 6 (full body, in shadow and partially blocked
        pg. 3, panel 5 (unhatted head)
        pg. 8, panel 5 (suit in storage)
        pg. 16, panel 3 (Sky-Skate)
        pg. 17, panel 4 (armored Smythe, head in profile)
        pg. 18, panel 1 (armored Smythe, various views)
        pg. 19, panel 1-3 (armored Smythe, various views)

Power Man#17 (February, 1974) - Len Wein (writer), George Tuska (artist), Billy Graham (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)

Last updated: 08/23/12

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Back to Characters