Real Name: Roland Cavell

Identity/Class: Human technology user (1950s era)

Occupation: Unknown (see comments)

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Silent Ones

Enemies: Jay Bourke

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "That bird" (as called by Bourke)

Base of Operations: His secret fortress

First Appearance: Mystic#52/6 (October, 1956)

Powers/Abilities: The egocentric Roland Cavell was an inventive genius in various fields, such as robotics and magnetism--his creations included humanoid robots ("Silent Ones"), and a magnetic beam powerful enough to capture aircraft. Slightly overweight and out of shape, Cavell was dependent on his technology and seemed to limit his physical activities to pushing buttons, so he was a poor hand-to-hand combatant.

Height: 5' 10" (by approximation)
Weight: 230 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unknown
Hair: Brown

History: (Mystic#52/6 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Roland Cavell is unknown, but he felt that his genius was unrecognized by the world, so he decided to build himself a city of his own.  Establishing a fortress within an immense mountain cavern (probably built by the Silent Ones, initially), Cavell used a magnetic beam to capture airplanes flying overhead.  He then used the passengers and crew as slave-labor to work on completing his city within the cavern, withholding food from them if they refused to cooperate.  Cavell had captured at least three planes flying along that air-route.

(Mystic#52/6) - Desperately trying to solve the mystery of the vanishing aircraft, the airlines hired detective Jay Bourke to investigate.  Bourke was a passenger aboard a plane flying the same route from which other planes disappeared.  As the aircraft flew over a mountain range, a red magnetic beam enveloped it and pulled it into the cavern which housed Cavell's fortress.  After disembarking the trapped plane, Bourke asked one of the previously captured men who was in charge of this "land of missing persons," and he was told it was Roland Cavell, who lived in the high turret of the fortress.  Bourke noticed a group a expressionless grey-clad workers marching in formation, as if under a spell, whom the other prisoners referred to as the Silent Ones. One of Bourke's fellow passengers voiced his fears about someday becoming like the seemingly mindless Silent Ones, and Bourke was even more determined to stop Cavell. 

   Racing up the steps to the high turret, Bourke confronted Cavell, who sat at a control console, where he operated everything in his city.  Bourke demanded an explanation, and Cavell told him that he wanted to people his city with the abducted passengers, with himself as their benevolent dictator.  Bourke snapped into action and handcuffed Cavell to his wrist, placing the portly potentate under arrest.  The two men struggled, and during the fight, Bourke pushed Cavell into the control panel, causing a short-circuit.  There was a flash and a blast from the control board, followed by more blasts throughout the futuristic city.  As the buildings began to collapse, the explosions caused a chain-reaction and the cavern itself began to cave-in.  Bourke dragged Cavell along and left the turret, and as the two raced back down the stairs, Cavell blamed Bourke for the destruction of his beautiful city.  Bourke directed the other prisoners--including the silent people in grey--to follow him out of the cavern entrance as the whole mountain caved-in.

   In the aftermath, Bourke tried to persuade the the Silent Ones to accompany him back to civilization, but the grey-clad people only stood blankly before the cavern entrance, making no move and saying no word, and they would not leave their mountain home, so Bourke reluctantly led Cavell and the others down the mountain without them, but he angrily accused Cavell of destroying the Silent Ones' minds--Cavell only mourned the loss of his city.

(Mystic#52/6 - BTS) - Cavell was presumably placed into legal custody, and Bourke would eventually learn that the Silent Ones were merely robots.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Jimmy Infantino (artist)

This entire story was crammed into 4 pages, and Jay Bourke was the main character, so there were sparse details available about Roland Cavell.

It must have cost him quite a bit of money to build his fortress, so I'd guess that Cavell probably acquired (legally or otherwise) a lot of wealth in his time--maybe he was an industrialist. Since the Cold War was going on at the time, maybe Cavell wanted to build his city in the cavern as protection from potential atomic warfare.

Considering the era he lived in, Roland Cavell could be used as a foe for the First Line --okay, he's not quite in Doctor Doom's league, but I think he's at least in the same class as Doctor Strange .

Roland Cavell has Golden Age prototypes like the Angel (Thomas Halloway)'s French foe the Gargoyle (All-Winners Comics#1 (Summmer 1941) ) and the Human Meteor's foe Grundo the Great (Champion Comics#10 (August, 1940) ) both of whom used a magnetic beam to bring planes down, while Nazi saboteurs Captain Fritz Wiener (Marvel Mystery Comics#21 (July, 1941) Sub-Mariner story) and Zomber (Marvel Mystery Comics#47 (September, 1943) Human Torch story) used powerful magnets to cause planes to crash.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Roland Cavell has no known connections to:

Jay Bourke has no known connections to:

The Silent Ones have no known connection to:

Jay Bourke

A detective from New York, Bourke had been hired by the airlines to investigate the mystery of disappearing airplanes that flew a route over a mountain range.  He eventually learned the airplanes were being captured by Roland Cavell, who wanted to people his secret city with the passengers.  Bourke freed the prisoners and arrested Cavell.

(Considering Jay Bourke's initials, I wonder if the writer of this story was inspired by Ian Fleming's character when he created him.)

--Mystic #52/6

Silent Ones

Dubbed the "Silent Ones" by the captured airline passengers because they never spoke, they were thought to be hypnotized people.  But the grey-clad,  stony-faced "people" were actually automatons created by Roland Cavell when he first built his fortress.  Numbering at least ten, they displayed no capacity for independent thought and worked as laborers.

After the collapse of Cavell's secret city, the Silent Ones stood outside the cavern entrance, where time and the elements eventually wore away their clothing and artificial skin, leaving only the robots' rusting metal bodies.


Roland Cavell's fortress

Situated in an unidentified American mountain range, it was built in a huge cavern within one of the mountains.  The complex of buildings included factories, a power plant, a magnetic beam projector, and Cavell's observation turret, from which he controlled all operations in his city via a control console (Also, there was probably some kind of lighting system installed, which would explain the normal illumination inside the cavern).

Cavell forced the captured airline passengers to work at building a city in the cavern (which was never actually seen, but note that they're carrying building materials away from the fortress, which implies it was being constructed on the other side of the cavern).

When Jay Bourke struggled with Roland Cavell, the two men hit a control panel, causing it to short-circuit, which in turn caused a series of explosions that culminated with the cavern collapsing, and Cavell's fortress was subsequently destroyed. 


images: (without ads)
Mystic#52/6, p3, pan3 (main image)
Mystic#52/6, p3, pan5 (head shot, cuffed to Bourke)
Mystic#52/6, p3, pan6 (Rear-view Roland Cavell struggling with Jay Bourke by control console)
Mystic#52/6, p1, pan1 (Jay Bourke aboard airplane)
Mystic#52/6, p4, pan5 (Silent Ones marching in front of Jay Bourke)
Mystic#52/6, p4, pan7 (Silent Ones rusting outside cavern)
Mystic#52/6, p2, pan1 (Roland Cavell's fortress in background, magnetic beam firing at captured plane, slave-laborers in foreground)

Mystic#52/6 (October, 1956) - unidentified writer, Jimmy Infantino (artist) 

Last updated: 09/27/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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