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BLUE BLADE

Real Name: Roy Chambers

Identity/Class: Human (World War II to modern era)

Occupation: Performer; former vigilante

Group Membership: The Twelve (Black Widow/Claire Voyant, Captain Wonder/Jeff Jordan, Dynamic Man, Electro, Fiery Mask/Jack Castle, Laughing Mask/Dennis Burton, Master Mind Excello/Earl Everett, Mister E/Victor Jay, Phantom Reporter/Dick Jones, Rockman, Witness)

Affiliations: Bill (childhood friend), The Bladettes (his backup dancers), Colonel Frank Dexter, Stanley, Elizabeth Zogolowski;
formerly Grimaud, Alexandra Paille, Professor David Paille

Enemies: Dynamic Man, Nazis, Sandai

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Bladey" (nickname used by the Bladettes), "Mr. Blade" (nickname used by Elizabeth Zogolowski)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
                                  
formerly the Twelve's mansion, New York;
                                   formerly a bunker in Berlin, Germany;
                                   formerly traveling around the American Pacific West;
                                   formerly an unnamed town in the American Dust Bowl

First Appearance: USA Comics I#5 (Summer, 1942)

Powers/Abilities: The Blue Blade possessed no known superhuman powers. A skilled swordsman and born showman, though his material was rather dated, the Blue Blade wielded a classic French musketeer style sabre into battle. When he briefly took mental control over the robot Electro, he possessed all the abilities and memories of the super-powered automaton though he lacked experience using them efficiently. Hungry for fame and glory from a young age on, he was willing to go to extremes to achieve his goals. Blue Blade was an experienced equestrian.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blonde

History:

(The Twelve I#8 (fb) ) - Roy Chambers was born to a Mid-Western family sometime during the early 1920s when systemic overfarming turned the once fertile farmland into arid wastelands known as the Dust Bowl. Growing up poor and with little prospects, he loved the Scarlet Sabre comic book stories about the exploits of dashing musketeers of old. Dreaming of a better life and longing to be an actor, he felt he was destined for greatness.

(The Twelve I#3 (fb) - BTS) - When the United States declared war against Japan and Germany in late December, 1941, Roy seized the opportunity. Fashioning a costume reminiscent of the French musketeers he grew up admiring, he became the flamboyant vigilante Blue Blade. Chambers figured that helping fight America's enemies would garner him enough attention to start a career in either radio or movies.

(USA Comics I#5/5) - In early 1942, the Blue Blade was out on the Pacific Coast when he overheard screaming from a nearby home. It turned out that Japanese spymaster Sandai was after a new atom smasher a local scientist had just constructed. He and henchmen were threatening Professor David Paille and his daughter Alexandra. Before they could be harmed, Blue Blade came crashing through the window like Errol Flynn and attacked the henchmen. This allowed Sandai himself to escape with the professor's daughter as a hostage forcing the scientist to come along and reveal his secrets to Sandai in exchange for his daughter's safety. However, the Blue Blade managed to track down Sandai to his yacht. Using his superior skills, the Blade defeated the Japanese. After freeing the professor and his daughter, he captured Sandai and used the atom smasher ray to destroy the spymaster's vessel. Afterwards, like a true movie hero, he got on his horse Grimaud and rode off into the sunset.

(The Twelve: Spearhead#1) - During the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, Blue Blade offered his services but was relegated to work the USO shows. He would perform in garish, over the top productions complete with a backing band and an attractive female assistant. In early 1945, the Blue Blade entertained at an allied camp where several costumed vigilantes, including Mister E and the Phantom Reporter, were also stationed. While most of the troops enjoyed his antics, the Blade's hammy act didn't sit well with the Phantom Reporter who wondered why they couldn't have gotten Bob Hope to do the show.

(The Twelve I#10 (fb) ) - The Blue Blade eventually became active on the front lines, operating with other costumed operatives. He had no qualms using his blade on enemy soldiers.

(The Twelve I#1) - On Wednesday April 25th, 1945, the Allies began their final assault on Berlin. Blue Blade and eleven other vigilantes found themselves teaming up to investigate the largely abandoned headquarters of the SS for possible snipers or other opposition. The search led them to an underground lab facility which actually turned out to be a trap. Once they were all inside, the doors closed and a special knockout gas was pumped in. SS officers hurried in to put the heroes in freezing tubes, planning to study and dissect these "supermen" after the war so they could turn the next generation of Nazis into a true master race.

(The Twelve I#1 - BTS) - The SS officers hadn't counted on the Russian army reaching strategic parts of Berlin before the allied forces. The Russians captured and executed the SS officers responsible for keeping Blue Blade and the other heroes on ice.

(The Twelve I#12 - BTS) - All the heroes were bombarded by the continuous cybernetic thought waves of the robot Electro who was desperate and alone after the impenetrable bunker cut off his connection to its inventor Philo Zog. Eventually, he'd form a bond with the android Dynamic Man, but the continued exposure to Electro's brainwaves left all the heroes present uniquely capable of connecting with Electro.

(The Twelve I#1 - BTS) - In recent years a German construction crew accidentally unearthed the underground facility where the heroes were being kept. The American authorities were informed and quickly took charge of the situation, bringing everyone back to the United States where they were revived and led to believe it was still the 1940s in an attempt to gently reintroduce them to today's world.

(The Twelve I#1) - Phantom Reporter and Captain Wonder eventually saw through the ruse, forcing the military to inform the others of their current predicament as well. Blue Blade and his compatriots all agreed with the army's offer to help them get adjusted so they could be what they were before: heroes serving their country in its hour of need.

(The Twelve I#2) - The revival of the WW II heroes made headlines, which thrilled the Blue Blade to no end. He saw the media attention as the perfect way to become rich in entertainment, figuring they could all get radio shows like Jack Benny. Master Mind Excello reminded Roy that something called television was now in vogue. Chambers didn't care, the only reason he fought the Nazis was to get popular enough to launch his acting career. He then moved with the others to a luxurious mansion outside of New York supplied and funded by the army. Their liaison Colonel Dexter showed them around and assured the heroes they were welcome to stay there rent- and expense free for 12 months while they got their bearings in this new world.

(The Twelve I#3 - BTS) - Eager to get his new career as a star started, Roy contacted several agents and managers to discuss future projects.

(The Twelve I#3) - Figuring stardom and adoring fans could show up at any given second, Roy took to wearing his Blue Blade costume around the house. He explained his decision and desire to become a star to the Phantom Reporter who had considerably more difficulty adjusting to life in the modern era. Just then, Mister E returned from a disastrous reunion with his family. Though Victor did a poor job of hiding his misery, Blue Blade decided not to probe any further and joyfully commended Mister E on coming back to them to serve the cause (in reality, Mister E's family had cast him out because he had abandoned them and their Jewish heritage to start his vigilante career).

(The Twelve I#4) - Blue Blade signed a deal with the William Morris talent agency, but he felt he could make an even bigger splash if he got one of the other Twelve members as a partner. First, he tried to recruit Rockman, but after hearing his fanciful origin story about him being the king of the underground realm of Abyssia, Roy figured that would be a hard sell. Later that day, he attended a going-away party for Master Mind Excello who had used his vast fortune to buy a place for himself with less distractions. When Dynamic Man interrupted the festivities by bringing in the inert form of the robot Electro, the ever scheming Blue Blade decided the colorful killer robot would be the perfect foil for his "beauty & the beast"  type partnership.

(The Twelve I#5) - Blue Blade's manager Stanley arranged for him to star in a major network television variety show. However, because the executives feared the 1940s entertainer might not be able to connect to modern audiences, they made him audition his Blue Blade show. Slightly annoyed he had to audition, Chambers nevertheless went on and performed to the best of his abilities. Making a dazzling entrance, he did shtick with his group of gorgeous female dancers the Bladettes and told a ton of corny Henny Youngman style wife jokes. The studio bosses hated it and wanted to pull the plug on the spot, but Stanley convinced them to give him at least a six episode deal. Trusting on the William Morris agency's reputation, the execs went along with it but told him to update the material and if the show wasn't a hit after the third episode they'd cancel it after all. When Stanley returned to Blue Blade in his dressing room, he assured the cheery performer the executives had loved him.

(The Twelve I#7) - Blue Blade was frustrated when his manager Stanley called him to report the ratings of his show had dropped and that the network executives were furious when they found out he didn't actually possess any superpowers. He figured the best way to boost ratings and prevent the studio from suing him for breach of contract was to get one of his friends to do the show. Just then, he spotted movers putting the deactived Electro robot into a truck. Blade approached Elizabeth Zogolowski, descendant of Electro's inventor Philo Zogolowski who had claimed ownership of the automaton. He proposed a partnership, which she wasn't remotely interested in. However, because she'd need money for her legal case against the government who considered Electro state property, she decided to go along with him.

(The Twelve I#8) - Blue Blade had Electro moved to his television studio and planned to have the robot be the big surprise guest of his next show. Elizabeth Zogolowski accompanied them and explained to Roy the workings of the robot, pointing out it would only function when a human mind would cybernetically merge with it. Not big on overly long, scientific explanations Blue Blade put on the head gear and flipped the necessary switches to link up with Electro. After clumsily trying out the metal man's many abilities, including super strength and flight, he then activated Electro's memory backups and was instantly shown everything the automaton had done since it was activated.

(The Twelve I#8 - BTS) - Roy was shown how during their time in suspended animation, Electro's cybernetic mind kept reaching out to someone until it finally succeeded in contacting the android Dynamic Man who began to subtly influence and control the construct (see comments). It also showed him that Dynamic Man had used Electro to commit various murders (including killing all the patrons of a gay bar that had disgusted the prim and proper Dynamic Man). He immediately realized he could use this information to blackmail the sensationally popular Dynamic Man to help his career.

(The Twelve I#8) - After recovering from the painful linkup, Roy was forced to entertain yet another note from the network executives who announced that focus groups felt his 1940s costume showed too much skin. His wardrobe man designed a new costume for him that covered up his chest and legs. Eager to get to Dynamic Man, Roy didn't fight the change and left to meet Dynamic Man.

(The Twelve I#8 - BTS) - Blue Blade confronted Dynamic Man with what he'd learned, offering to keep quiet if he agreed to his demands.

(The Twelve I#9) - On the night before his next show, while getting used to his new costume, Blue Blade stayed late at the studio rehearsing lines. At around 21:10 hours, Dynamic Man showed up at Shea Stadium for a televised live event to support the Boys And Girls Clubs of America. While he was there, Dynamic Man used his control over Electro to turn him against the unsuspecting Blue Blade. Roy, immediately aware what was going on, reached for his sabre and tried to defend himself. He was no match for the giant robot who grabbed and tossed him out the nearest window where he fell to his death.

(The Twelve I#9 - BTS) - Following the demise of Blue Blade, his associate the Phantom Reporter came in to investigate the matter. He studied security camera footage of Blade's fight with Electro and decided to don the cybernetic control helmet as well to find out what the robot knew. In that instant, he learned the same facts that had killed Blue Blade: the Dynamic Man was responsible for all of Electro's crimes.

(The Twelve I#10 - BTS) - Using the information gleaned from Electro's mind, the Phantom Reporter got Dynamic Man to admit to Roy's murder while the other members of the Twelve were present.

Comments: Created by Vince Alascia (pencils).

The Twelve were found in Germany on Wednesday August 2nd, 2008. This was during the rise of the Initiative in comics. The date is topical.

So, you want to become a movie star and the best way to do it is fight the Nazi warmachine with an ordinary sword while wearing little more than a jaunty hat and hot blue swimming trunks? It's a miracle the Blue Blade even survived the first five minutes of any conflict he was ever in... But that's 1940s comics characters for ya.

The JMS re-imagined version of the Blue Blade made a wonderful addition to the Twelve though. It only makes sense there would be showboating types signing up to fight evil, hoping to benefit from fighting the good fight. The culture clash between early 1940s ideas of entertainment and today's standards were also hilarious. "Take my wife... please!" style Henny Youngman jokes just don't fly these days. Well, unless you're Don Rickles of course...

On an unrelated sidenote: Dynamic Man's android brain was able to link up with Electro's, but he couldn't guide the powerful robot to, say, smash the freezing units that kept them all prisoners for 60+ years?

Blue Blade received a profile in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update#5 (2011).

Thanks to Brandon Nash for pointing out the names of the Professor and his daughter, Colonel Dexter's first name and the name of Blue Blade's horse from his handbook profile.

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Blue Blade should not be confused with


Stanley

Stanley worked as a talent manager at the William Morris talent agency. He was assigned the recently revived 1940s performer Blue Blade as a client. Blade dreamed of a career as a star and Stanley arranged for him to headline in a major network television variety show. However, because the executives feared the 1940s entertainer might not be able to connect to modern audiences, they made him audition his Blue Blade show. Slightly annoyed he had to audition, Stanley convinced Chambers that it was strictly a formality and that they loved him. He watched as Blue Blade went on. Afterwards, the studio bosses hated the hero's dated act and corny jokes and wanted to cancel the project. However, using the good reputation of his agency, Stanley succeeded in getting a six episode deal, provided it was a hit after the third and that the Blue Blade would update his material. Telling a little white lie when he returned to Blue Blade's dressing room, Stanley assured the exuberant performer the executives had loved him. After a few episodes of the Blue Blade show had aired, the ratings dropped and the network people, incorrectly assuming his client had actual superpowers, started to talk to Stanley about suing him for breach of contract. Figuring what the show needed was an actual, super powered hero, he called Blue Blade and wondered if he couldn't convince any of his allies to make an appearance.

--The Twelve I#5 (The Twelve I#5, 7







images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update I#5, Blue Blade entry (main image)
The Twelve I#8, p23, pan3 (as a kid in the Dust Bowl)
USA Comics I#5, p26, pans2&3 (on his horse in the 1940s)
The Twelve: Spearhead#1, p18, pan4 (performing in a USO show)
The Twelve I#5, p18, pan3 (is the only guy remembering Douglas Fairbanks
The Twelve I#8, p14, pan6 (merged with Electro)
The Twelve I#9, p10, pans5&7 (dies)
The Twelve I#5, p20, pans5&6 (Stanley)


Appearances:
USA Comics I#5 (Summer, 1942)  - Vince Alascia (pencils)
The Twelve I#1 (March, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#2 (April, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#3 (May, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#4 (June, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#5 (July, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#7 (October, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#8 (December, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve: Spearhead#1 (May, 2012) - Chris Weston (writer, pencils, inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#9 (April, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)

The Twelve I#10 (May, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 09/04/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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