Classification: Terrestrial technology
Creator: Bentley Wittman (aka the Wizard)
First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#41 (August,
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Id Machine uses directed brain impulses to access the portion of the human brain containing man's primitive, evil instincts. Once the subject has been rendered vulnerable and receptive, the user can program the target using verbal commands spoken through a microphone attached to the machine. Effectively brainwashed, the target becomes enthralled and is willing to obey whatever command planted into his or her subconscious. The machine also allows for implanting additional commands, giving the user greater control over his subjects.
(Fantastic Four I#41 - BTS) - The Wizard single-handedly
thought up and constructed the Id Machine in his secret New Jersey
(Fantastic Four I#41) - Terribly upset with his teammates in the Fantastic Four, an emotionally distraught Ben Grimm quit the FF and struck out on his own. Hitching a ride on a pick-up truck, he fell asleep amidst the busy yet painfully slow moving traffic out of New York City. Once the traffic cleared, the truck driver stepped on the gas and failed to notice the sleeping Thing had slipped off his vehicle. Snoozing on the road, the Thing was unaware the Wizard's remote controlled anti-gravity devices dragged him to the Frightful Four's headquarters. The Wizard placed the still unconscious Thing in his newly constructed Id Machine and used it to fill Ben with hatred for his former teammates. After the procedure was completed, the newly hate-filled Thing was introduced to the Frightful Four as their latest member, just as the villains saw the FF symbol in the sky, indicating the heroes were on to them.
The FF soon attacked the Wizard's base, but weren't prepared for the Thing's brutal assault. After proving instrumental in defeating his former team, the Thing noticed his new teammate Medusa was becoming a bit too vocal for his taste and offered to silence her. However, the Wizard used the preprogrammed post-hypnotic control over the Thing to knock him out with the word "sleep" until he was needed again.
After the confused Thing woke up from his forced nap, the Wizard further cemented the Id Machine's reprogramming by reinforcing the notion Reed Richards was responsible for turning Ben into a monster. This newfound knowledge enraged the Thing to such a degree he was ready to kill.
(Fantastic Four I#42) - Influenced by the Id Machine, the Thing tried to smash Mr. Fantastic who used his elastic form to dodge the blow, allowing the Thing to shatter his restraints instead. Now free, Mr. Fantastic kept the Frightful Four distracted while the Human Torch and the Invisible Girl managed to free themselves and joined the fight. Reed Richards tried his best to free Ben from the Id Machine's programming, but got stuffed and bottled up by him in a vase instead. The Invisible Girl heroically succeeded in escaping with the trapped Reed, even as the Human Torch was left to fight alone, eventually getting defeated by Ben and turned over to the Wizard's Id Machine for processing.
(Fantastic Four I#42 - BTS) - Unbeknownst to the Wizard, Ben and the other Frightful Four members, the Invisible Girl used her powers to slightly tamper with the Id Machine, basically disabling its effects. When the Wizard exposed Johnny to the machine, he pretended the device's mental reconditioning was effective and played along.
(Fantastic Four I#42) - A seemingly mind controlled Johnny Storm joined the Frightful Four and the Thing as they prepared to take down Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl. The Torch almost burned his new ally Medusa's hair, much to her chagrin, but to the Wizard it was merely proof the treatment had worked: the Torch was showing his most evil, vicious side. He joined the Thing and the Frightful Four in hunting down Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl.
(Fantastic Four I#43) - Mr. Fantastic noticed how clumsy the Torch seemed in his attacks, as he and Sue managed to get away in a nearby car. Sue revealed her tampering and the fact Johnny was merely play acting. Getting back to the Baxter Building, Reed and Sue were surprised by the still mind controlled Thing who invaded the FF's headquarters, hungry for blood. However, Reed managed to render the howling mad Ben powerless by using one of the Wizard's anti-grav devices. After knocking him out with some gas, Reed put Ben into a hastily constructed device designed to counteract the Id Machine's suggestions.
Meanwhile, the Frightful Four realized Johnny's deceit, incapacitating him before moving to the Baxter Building for their final engagement. Once there, the FF used Johnny as a bargaining chip in their fight with Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl, but the tide turned when Thing, freed from the Id Machine's influence, ripped into the Wizard and disabled all his gadgets, including the control over the Torch. The reunited Fantastic Four quickly overpowered their evil counterparts.
(Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#12/2) - Disgusted by the fact his former Frightful Four teammate the Sandman was now an active superhero, the Wizard kidnapped him. Figuring Sandman's sterling reputation as a hero, with connections to Silver Sable and her Wild Pack, suited his future plans, Wizard decided to use an updated version of his Id Machine to alter Sandman's mind. Using simple vocal commands, the Wizard reprogrammed Sandman, forcing him to revert to a vicious, callous and uncaring criminal state of mind. Pleased with the effects of his handiwork, Bentley Wittman left his erstwhile ally alone.
(Thunderbolts I#40 (fb) ) - Hawkeye revealed to fellow Thunderbolts member Moonstone and Songbird how he had learned that the Wizard had recently mucked with Sandman's head, turning him back into a full-fledged bad guy with a mad on for everyone he used to work with when he was on the side of the angels. This still didn't deter the Thunderbolts from seeking out Sandman for a covert mission to Symkaria.
(Thing II#6 (fb) ) - During a fight with the Thing, Sandman was backed into a corner by Ben who wanted to know what had made his old pal turn evil again. Momentarily startled, the villain involuntarily recalled how the Wizard used his Id Machine on him. Unable to break free from the machine's conditioning, Sandman lashed out in a blind rage, trying to drown the Thing by vomiting sand in his face.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks).
It's interesting to note that the Wizard, a natural genius
capable of constructing devices like the Id Machine, had so much trouble
finding loyal members for his Frightful Four over the years. One would
imagine he'd use it during his recruitment drives, assuring the loyalty of
his subjects/teammates without too much hassle. He could even have added
the mind control technology to his arsenal of disc-shaped gadgets, but
that would have put the Controller (Basil Sandhurst) out of a job years before he was even
It took over 30 years (for us at least) for the Wizard to remember he had the Id Machine lying around before he used it again on Sandman. You'd think he'd used it in more recent times to ensure the blind faith, love and loyalty to all things viciously evil of his 23+ clones. After all, the technology itself seem to work.
In regards to why he didn't use it for his clones, perhaps he designed it with a failsafe that it couldn't work on the Wizard himself (and thus any clones that might share near-duplicate brain patterns).
Profile by Norvo.
The Id Machine has no known connections to
images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#41, p14, pan1-4 (main image)
Fantastic Four I#43, p5, pan5 (allegedly controls the Human Torch)
Peter Parker Spider-Man II#21, p21, pan1 (uses Id Machine)
Fantastic Four I#41 (August 1965) - Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Fantastic Four I#42 (September 1965) - Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Fantastic Four I#43 (October 1965) - Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#12 (December 1999) - Howard Mackie (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Scott Hanna (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Thunderbolts I#40 (July, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Thing II#6 (June, 2006) - Dan Slott (writer), Kieron Dwyer (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Last Updated: 11/28/13
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