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DREADKNIGHT

Real Name: Bram Velsing

Identity/Class: Human (Latveria, exiled) technology user

Occupation: Professional criminal, former scientist, engineer

Group Membership: His steed Hellhorse (Elendil), "Knight's Men"
                                    formerly Frightful Four (Man-Bull/William Taurens, Trapster/Peter Petruski, Wizard/Bentley Wittman)

Affiliations: Absorbing Man (Carl Creel), Nina Demir, Hans, Maria, Morgan Le Fay, Mordred, Roxxon Oil Corporation (Linden Laswell), Titania (Mary MacPherran), Kristoff Vernard
                     formerly Dr. Doom (Victor von Doom), Victoria Frankenstein, the Children

Enemies: Victoria Bentley, Black Knight (Sir Percy of Scandia), Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Betty Brant, Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Dr. Cargill, Sean Dolan, Frankenstein's Monster, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Rangers (Phantom Rider/Hamilton Slade, Shooting Star/Victoria Star, Texas Star/Drew Daniels), Right Riders, Silver Sable (Silver Sablinova), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Turbine (Joline Cargill), Wild Pack (Battlestar/Lemar Hoskins, Amy Chen, Crippler/Karl Striklan, Doug Powell and others), Zefiro gypsy tribe

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Castle Doom in Doomstadt, Latveria;
                                  formerly Castle Frankenstein, Swiss Alps, Switzerland;
                                  formerly Schonstadt, Latveria (place of birth)

First Appearance: Iron Man I#101 (August, 1977)

Powers/Abilities: Velsing is a highly talented engineer and inventor, designing his battle suit of electrically-insulated steel-alloy chain mail that protects him against .45-caliber bullets and advanced personal weaponry, possibly inspired by the weapons used by the Black Knight (Nathan Garrett). The Dreadknight's principal weapon is his power-lance, which fires electromagnetic beams of charged alpha particles. The lance is capable of exerting sufficient concussive force to blast through a foot-thick wall of cinderblocks. It contains spooled conductive steel cable which he can launch at targets to snare them like a bola would. The cable can then be charged with electricity, delivering lethal charges if so desired. The lance also fires small missiles from its hilt, each of which detonate on impact. The Dreadknight also carries a pistol emitting a lethal nerve gas. The Dreadknight rides the Hellhorse, a black steed with bat-like wings that can fly at 50 mph for an hour before needing to rest. Despite having received no known formal training, the Dreadknight is adept at swordsmanship, the use of firearms, equestrianism and aerial combat maneuvers.

Height: 5'8"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Eyes: Blue; Dreadknight: Red
Hair: Blond; Dreadknight: None

History:

(Iron Man I#102 (fb) ) - Bram Velsing was a young, handsome Latverian engineer working for Doctor Doom and ambitious enough to believe himself equal to his boss. He even dreamt of one day taking over Doom's throne. When Doom learned of Velsing's ambitions, he planned to make an example out of him. Deciding on a cruel and ironic punishment for Velsing, Doom had a special iron mask made similar to his that got grafted onto Velsing's face with a bio-fuser. The fuser made it impossible for him to ever remove the mask. Now looking like Doom, Velsing fled Latveria with Doom's laughter still haunting him until he collapsed from exhaustion on the Transian border.

There, his body was discovered by the Children, a group of Dr. Frankenstein's creations. They brought him back to Castle Frankenstein where the Baroness Victoria Frankenstein nursed Velsing back to health. When Velsing had sufficiently recuperated, the Baroness showed him Hellhorse, a strange winged steed (belonging to the late supervillain Black Knight) that she accidentally had mutated further in her attempts at restoring the creature to normal. The sight of the Hellhorse gave Velsing an idea. He planned to create an army of mutations to lead in battle against Doom. Thus Velsing set out to create his Dreadknight armor along with a lance based on Doom's own secret weapons technology.

(Iron Man I#102 (fb) - BTS) - Now dressed as the Dreadknight, Velsing imprisoned Victoria Frankenstein when she refused to hand over her great-grandfather's notebook with the secret formulas needed to build his army of mutations. The Frankenstein's Monster and the Children however, managed to escape into the woods.

(Iron Man I#101) - The Children discovered an unconscious Iron Man (Tony Stark) in the woods. Fearing the metal man would be like Dreadknight, they discussed destroying him. The Frankenstein's Monster stopped them, because he hoped Iron Man could actually help them take back the castle. However, Iron Man immediately attacked the Children when he regained consciousness thinking the monster-like creatures his captors. The fight attracted the attention of Dreadknight who went to investigate. Seeing Iron Man, he blasted him with ionic force until Iron Man's suit overloaded and he collapsed.

(Iron Man I#102) - The Dreadknight easily defeated Iron Man and the Frankeinstein's Monster. He ordered the Children to imprison them in the same dungeon as the Baroness Frankenstein. Sometime later, Dreadknight entered the dungeon just in time to hear the Baroness share his origins with Iron Man, offering to finish his tragic tale himself. He then threatened the Baroness to force her to hand over her ancestor's secret formulas. When she continued to refuse, he began to torture her. Victoria's screams of agony enraged the Frankenstein's Monster to such a degree he finally broke free of his shackles. The monster attacked the Dreadknight who in turn accidentally freed Iron Man. Feeling close quarters combat had him at a disadvantage, the Dreadknight quickly went to get his flying steed. He took to the air, waiting for Iron Man to join the fray. The two men of metal had an aerial tug of war which lasted until Iron Man got the upper hand when he blasted the Dreadknight off his horse. Velsing managed to stick his lance in the castle's walls to avoid dropping on the stone floor. While hanging in mid-air the Dreadknight spotted Victoria Frankenstein. To divert Iron Man's attention, he grabbed a firearm and shot at the Baroness. But while Iron Man rescued the Baroness the Frankenstein's Monster had reached Dreadknight and kicked him down. The Dreadknight fell to the stone floor, hitting his head on the stairs until he ended up unconscious on the floor. After concluding Dreadknight was still alive but comatose, Iron Man decided to leave him in the Baroness' care.

(Black Knight II#2) - Dreadknight remained comatose in Frankenstein's castle but was awakened by the mystical powers of Morgan Le Fay and Mordred. Their help came with a price: Velsing was to kill the latest incarnation of the legendary Black Knight (Dane Whitman) and his girlfriend Victoria Bentley. The sorcerers also promised Dreadknight he would sit at their right hand during their rule if he was successful. After locating his quarries and their friend Sean Dolan on the shores of Ireland, Velsing engaged Dane Whitman. Their fight continued until the Black Knight suddenly turned metallic (the only thing keeping Dane's body normal was the helmet of his ancestor Sir Percy of Scandia. Percy would also take over his body if he wore the helmet). As Dane fell from his flying steed, Dreadknight moved in for the kill by firing a blast from his lance. That shot was intercepted by Dane's friend Captain Britain who was knocked out as a result. Still, this bought Victoria and Sean enough time to put Percy's helmet back on Dane's head. Now in control of Whitman's body, Percy successfully dismounted the Dreadknight by throwing the Ebony Blade at him. Before the villain could recover, Percy knocked him out.

(Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#37/2 - BTS) - While researching the family Frankenstein, Dr. Strange read an account of Dreadknight's invasion of castle Frankenstein.

(Amazing Spider-Man: Chaos in Calgary#4) - Dreadknight joined the Wizard's latest incarnation of the Frightful Four. They sought out the brilliant Canadian physicist Dr. Cargill who the Wizard figured could make them even more powerful. The Frightful Four chose to abduct the doctor during the celebration of Canada's 125th birthday, a spectacle that featured acts like the Right Riders and costumed heroes like the Rangers. Also in attendance was Peter Parker who, in his civilian guise as a freelance photographer, was covering the event. The Frightful Four made their move after the Right Riders had finished their act. But before the villains could abduct Cargill, they were attacked by the Rangers. After hiding in an outdoor western display the Dreadknight was attacked by the Phantom Rider, but easily routed the hero. Dreadknight and the others were no match however for Spider-Man and Cargill's daughter Turbine who teamed up and defeated the Frightful Four members until only the Wizard remained, who quickly surrendered.

(Avengers: Unplugged#4) - Dreadknight attended the wedding of Absorbing Man and Titania. During the festivities, She-Hulk attacked before realizing it was a wedding. Having seen She-Hulk, Dreadknight panicked and decided to leave on his steed figuring if one Avenger showed her face the rest would soon follow.

(Tales of the Marvel Universe#1 - BTS) - After Dr. Doom had gone missing during the Onslaught debacle, his successor Kristoff Vernard had come to Castle Doom to claim his rightful place as ruler of Latveria. He found he was unable to enter the castle and was even forced to flee when Doombots appeared to attack him and his ally Nathaniel Richards. This infuriated Vernard to such a degree he vowed to bring Latveria to the ground and moved several pawns (Dreadknight, see comments) into place to achieve this.

(Spider-Man Unlimited I#16 (fb) - BTS) - Linden Laswell (ex-CIA, ex-special forces), a Roxxon Oil executive, arranged a deal with Dreadknight; Roxxon supplied Velsing with cash and high-tech weaponry necessary to take over Latveria. In return Velsing would give Roxxon unlimited mining rights in Latveria.

(Tales of the Marvel Universe#1 - BTS) - SHIELD director G.W. Bridge received word radical anti-doom factions planned to seize Castle Doom's weapons and resources.

(Spider-Man Unlimited I#16 (fb) - BTS) - With the deal in place, the fighting began between the interim government's military of Latveria and Dreadknight and his "knights men" who proclaimed themselves freedom fighters. Keeping his Dreadknight identity a secret, Velsing did release a statement declaring, in no uncertain terms, that Americans were prohibited from entering the country. But one American had already entered the country, Daily Bugle reporter Betty Brant, who had uncovered the freedom fighter's connections to Roxxon. But she was captured by the Dreadknight before she could escape Latveria with this information.

(Spider-Man Unlimited I#16) - Having heard his prisoner had refused to touch her last three meals, Dreadknight himself checked in on Betty Brant. When she threw her food at him, the Dreadknight made it very clear he would indeed execute her so her findings would remain a secret to the world. Sometime later, Brant managed to escape her dungeon only to walk in on one of Dreadknight's battle trainings. Before he could harm her, he was attacked by Spider-Man, who alongside Silver Sable and her Wild Pack had secretly invaded Castle Doom to shut the situation down. While Spider-Man fought the Dreadknight, Silver Sable and her Wild Pack took on Linden Laswell and the Dreadknight's henchmen. Spider-Man eventually managed to defeat the Dreadknight by short circuiting his lance, causing hundreds of thousands of volts to rage through his armor, overloading circuitry and burning out all the connections. The Doom loyalists presumable took the Dreadknight into custody. Roxxon publicly claimed Laswell had been fired several years earlier, officially denying any involvement in the matter.

(Dark Reign Files#1) - Quasimodo researched the Dreadknight for Osborn. He thought him to be a poor, pitiful creature that had little to be desired.

(Iron Man: Legacy#3 (fb) - BTS) - Dreadknight was allowed back to return in Dr. Doom's service.

(Iron Man: Legacy#3) - Dreadknight was sent out by Doom to meet with Nina Demir in the neighboring country Transia. Demir had contacted Doom after Iron Man had travelled to Transia to deal with the ethnic cleansing of the so-called Iron Men of the Zmaj militia. When Dreadknight arrived at Demir's farm he was shown to one of Stark's hatches filled with special armor parts and equipment. Dreadknight contacted Doom to reveal the find to which Doom replied he was happy the knight proved his loyalty. When Doom learned a few moments later Stark himself had come to Transia he ordered his Dreadknight to extract him. Tony Stark, meanwhile had just escaped the Zmaj militia in a prototype of his armor and while trying to escape the Transian airspace was met by Dreadknight who simply shot him out of the sky. Dreadknight didn't see Stark as a big threat and while rattling on about his origins and his mask didn't notice until it was too late that he was standing on one of the many scattered land mines and was blown aside, albeit alive and intact. Stark quickly reached for Dreadknight's flying steed and took off, leaving Dreadknight behind in the dirt.

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks).

Bram Velsing's name is a play on Bram Stoker the writer of Dracula and Velsing on the famous vampire hunting family Van Helsing.

With only 15 or so appearances in the 35+ years he's been around, Dreadknight might actually be better known for being a staple of the mid 90s Iron Man cartoon show. There, he was one of the Mandarin's (not too bright) lackeys along with Whirlwind, Blacklash, Modok and Hypnotia.

Dreadknight received profiles in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#4, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#4, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition#13, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z HC#4, Dark Reign Files, Iron Manual Mark 3#1.

Profile by MarvellousLuke

CLARIFICATIONS:
Dreadknight has no known connections to


Maria

Maria was a Latverian citizen who dated Bram Velsing when he was still one of Dr Doom's scientists. Afraid her monarch would learn of Velsing's true plans she repeatedly tried to warn Bram until Doom finally learned of Velsing's plans. Maria could do nothing but watch as Doom's guards imprisoned Bram.

--Iron Man I#102 (fb)















"Knight's Men"

For his Latverian takeover, Dreadknight had gathered a large group of men that dressed in similar garbs

--Spider-Man Unlimited I#16










images: (without ads)
Iron Manual Mark 3#1, Dreadknight entry (main image)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition#13 (master)
Iron Man I#102, p8, pan3,4,5,6&7 (origin)
Iron Man I#102, p13, pan4 (riding on the Hellholes)
Spider-Man Unlimited I#16, p2, pan1 (captured Betty Brant)
Iron Man: Legacy#3, p16, pan6 (landmines)
Iron Man I#102, p7, pan3,4 (Maria)
Spider-Man Unlimited I#16, p22, pan2 / p29, pan2 / p29, pan5 (Knight's Men)


Appearances:
Iron Man I#101 (August, 1977) - Bill Mantlo (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Iron Man I#102 (September, 1977) - Bill Mantlo (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Mike Esposito, Pablo Marcos (inkers), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Black Knight II#2 (July, 1990) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Tony DeZuniga (pencils, inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man: Chaos in Calgary#4 (February, 1992) - Scott Lobdell (writer), Jim Craig (pencils), David & Dan Day (inkers), Glenn Herdling (editor)
Avengers: Unplugged#4 (April, 1996) - Glenn Herdling (writer), John Statema (pencils), Scott Koblish (inks), Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio (editors)
Tales of the Marvel Universe#1 (February, 1997) - Mark Bernardo (writer), Aaron Lopreste (pencils, inks), Rachel Pinnock, Randy Emberlin (inkers), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Spider-Man Unlimited I#16 (May, 1997) - Mark Bernardo (writer), Joe Bennett (pencils), Joe Pimentel, Tim Dzon (inkers), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Iron Man: Legacy#3 (August, 2010) - Fred van Lente (writer), Steve Kurth (pencils), Allen Martinez (inks), Ralph Macchio, Alejandro Arbona (editors)


Last updated: 10/19/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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