RUMOR

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Human mutate (World War II and pre-modern eras);
    identity known to authorities

Occupation: Anarchist;
    former special operative

Group Membership: None;
    formerly Nazi party, Hitler's elite special operatives

Affiliations: Adolf Hitler;
    formerly Captain Hip, T.Ruth MacRae (Gadfly, as a fetus), Sunshine, Venus (Aphrodite; see comments), and many others (mentally controlled by him)

Enemies: First Line (Black Fox/Robert William Paine, Effigy, Frank (see comments), Major Mercury/Makkari, Oxbow, Pixie, Rebound), Odin Borson, Thor Odinson;
    Captain Hip, T.Ruth MacRae, Sunshine, Venus (they'd consider him an enemy due to his manipulating them and for his very nature and goals--Snood)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Old spook" (nickname used by Pixie)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly Germany

First Appearance: Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (October 2000)

Powers/Abilities:  Rumor's vocal cords produced a subsonic pulse that allowed him to manipulate the minds of others by channeling his power through the voices of charismatic individuals. In his prime during the 1930s and 40s, he could control the whims of an entire army, but his power diminished over time. In later years, he could only affect the minds of the (eternally) young (see comments). Rumor's power even worked on unborn children, which further allowed him to manipulate pregnant women. Prolonged exposure to Rumor's pulse resulted in immunity to its effects, which forced him to only use his abilities sparingly. He could not influence the (partially) deaf. Anyone under his spell was instantly freed when either Rumor's vocal cords were damaged or if they suffered a sudden shock to their system. Rumor was a smoker (see comments).

    He apparently had some degree of combat training, presumably due to his association with the Nazi army.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 148 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black, graying at temples

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History:
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Born around 1900, the man calling himself Rumor discovered a use for his unique vocal abilities when he became a part of Adolf Hitler's entourage. Rumor used his powers to amplify Hitler's innate persuasive abilities to allow the fuehrer to whip both his armies and the German people into a fevered frenzy. Rumor preferred to operate behind the scenes, but he nevertheless became known as one of Hitler's elite special operatives the allied forces were eager to take out.

(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (fb)) - During World War II, the American spy Robert Paine infiltrated the castle Rumor was using as his base of operations. Rumor managed to prevent getting either captured or shot by distracting Paine and jumping out a window and into the castle's moat. 

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(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Surviving the fall and escaping to parts unknown, Rumor kept a low profile for much of the 1940s and 1950s.

(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (fb) - BTS) <During the "Summer of Love" (1967)> - His powers waning, Rumor decided he wanted to prove himself once more. A chance encounter with the mind controlling Venus led Rumor to put the eternally young goddess under his spell. With her in tow, he planned a "children's crusade" by having America's youth overturn its own government.

    Organizing a pop festival hosted by Venus that drew thousands of teens, Rumor worked behind the stage to subtly sway the crowds to his cause. Unbeknownst to him, his scheme was picked up on by the hippie crime fighting team of Captain Hip and Sunshine, who alerted the First Line. Asgard's ruler, Odin, also was aware of Rumor's imminent "children's crusade" and sent his disobedient son Thor to Earth to stop Rumor, figuring it would prove to be a much needed lesson in humility for the thunder god. While the First Line waited in a temporary headquarters to monitor the developments, Effigy snuck out to investigate on his own while Pixie accompanied Hip and Sunshine at the festival to look for odd developments.

(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5) - Rumor and his men joined Venus on stage as she announced the next act, all the while gently amplifying her natural mesmerization powers to make sure he controlled the everyone, including Sunshine who was being influenced through her unborn child much to the shock of Hip. While the band Venus announced, "The Federal Duck," took to the stage, Rumor's men spotted the entranced Sunshine and brought her backstage to meet Rumor and Venus. The old villain was just lamenting the fact that in his prime he could sway entire armies, but now needed help to take over the world. Pleasantly surprised to see Sunshine, he also realized her presence might suggest there could be "other super-types" in the crowd, perhaps even the First Line. This was overheard by the eavesdropping First Liner Pixie who, in turn, was surprised by the arrival of Thor.

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(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 - BTS) - When Captain Hip went backstage to look for his wife, he soon found her but was overcome by her hypnotic light powers. After he came to, he was presented to Rumor who suggested Sunshine controlled her husband (perhaps with some help from Venus) and together they would lead the fired up mob of concert goers to attack City Hall and bring down the government. This brought out the First Line and their new ally Thor who attempted to stop the crowds from doing too much damage.

(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5) - With the first phase of his children's crusade underway, Rumor decided to join the action and dressed in his trademark costume and facemask for the event. Just then, Effigy showed up disguised as a lost young boy who was partially deaf. Rumor ordered his men to keep the child close to them as he and Venus went out to join the battle. Venus was able to use her powers to make Thor fall in love with her, which forced the First Liner Frank to go all out and beat on the thunder god to protect his teammates. Realizing that despite its great strength the creature had an almost childlike mind, Rumor successfully used his vocal abilities to control Frank.
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    Complying with Rumor's order, Frank threw Thor at least a mile away, forcing Pixie to abandon the battle to go and fetch him. This allowed Rumor to truly kick things into high gear by ordering the mob to kill the First Line. Just then, Effigy showed his true colors and used an elongated arm to cover Rumor's mouth. That didn't stop him from ordering the crowds though (muffled or not, his throat still produced the persuasion harmonics). The battle abruptly ended with the arrival of the Black Fox (Robert Paine) who swiftly bruised Rumor's larynx to such a degree that he could no longer produce his subsonic pulses.

Rumor's final fate remains unrevealed.

Comments: Created by Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks)

    Rumor's diminished powers over the years might have been caused by smoking, over time tobacco affects the sound of your voice. Age might also be a factor, given the fact vocal cords lose elasticity as we age, limiting our vocal range. Rumor could affect the minds of the eternally young, which was the in-continuity explanation for the reason the otherwise benign Venus would ever want to help him. Still, "eternally young" is a bit of an awkward choice of words, given the fact the First Line he faced included two Eternals (Pixie and Makkari) who proved quite immune. Yeah, that's obviously just a plot device, but I wonder if there is an in-continuity explanation for while Venus would have been susceptible, but not Pixie or Makkari.--Snood.

    You have to wonder why someone who insists on subtly working behind the scenes would draw unwanted attention to himself by wearing a costume that makes him look like an exhibitionist Doctor Doom in a cowboy hat.

Rumor received a profile in the Thor: Asgard's Avengers I#1 handbook.
    The Rumor profile in Thor: Asgard's Avenger, erroneously notes the Venus who was involved with Rumor to have been the siren. The Venus/Aphrodite/goddess profile in her Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry confirms this to have been the goddess. The Rumor entry is in error.
--Snood.

    Additionally, it's not clear whether Frank from the First Line is definitely the Frankenstein monster or not. The First Line and Frankenstein Monster profiles in the OHotMU are contradictory in this regard, with the former saying they are the same and the latter saying it is "unknown."
    As the head writer of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe at that time, I can tell you, the official policy is:
Frank of the First Line is apparently either a Frankenstein monster – meaning a creature created in the manner of Victor Frankenstein’s first creation – or just a being with a similar appearance and abilities who adopted the name Frank due to the notable similarities. However, it as yet remains unrevealed whether Frank is actually the original creation of Victor Frankenstein, aka “the Frankenstein monster.” Previous entries referencing Frank as “Frankenstein monster” were unclear in specifying/clarifying this point.
--Snood.

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Rumor should not be confused with


images: (without ads)
Marvel The Lost Generation I#5, p21, pan2 (order the "kill" of the First Line)
Marvel The Lost Generation I#5, p14, pan1 (during World War II)
Marvel the Lost Generation I#5, p13, pan2 (mask)
Marvel The Lost Generation I#5, p20, pan1 (controls Frank)
Thor: Asgard's Avenger: Rumor profile (main image) - art by Gus Vasquez (with John Byrne inset of his unmasked face)


Appearances:
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (October 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)  


Last updated: 05/11/14

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