Rockman (The Twelve member) main image


Real Name: Daniel Rose (see comments)

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Adventurer; former miner

Group Membership: The Twelve (Black Widow/Claire Voyant,  Blue Blade/Roy Chambers, 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/Richard "Dick" Jones, Witness)

Affiliations: Blue Diamond (Elton Morrow), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Captain Terror (Dan Kane), Colonel Frank Dexter, Defender (Don Stevens), Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Jack Frost, Major Liberty (John Liberty), Miss America (Madelyne Joyce Frank), Rusty (sidekick of the Defender), Vagabond (Patrick Murphy), Whizzer (Robert Frank), Vision (Aarkus);
     possibly King of Jugoslavia, Princess Alecia, Stevens family

Enemies: Boss Clete, Dynamic Man, Nazis (see comments);
     possibly la Barbe, Pixies, Roffler, Zombo

Known Relatives: Wendy Rose (alleged wife, deceased), Francine Rose (alleged daughter, deceased), Danielle Rose (alleged grandniece), unidentified alleged sister (deceased)

Aliases: Underground Secret Agent (in story titles only)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
                                   formerly the Twelve's mansion, New York;
                                   formerly a bunker in Berlin, Germany;

                                   formerly Tartleton, West Virginia

First Appearance: USA Comics I#1/5 (August, 1941)

Powers/Abilities: Rockman possesses superhuman strength (class 50, possibly higher). He also has increased stamina, agility and reflexes. The vibrational force generated by his fists pounding solid floors are believed strong enough to reach even Subterranea. Rockman has access to a wide variety of advanced technology he claims are native to his underground kingdom Abysmia, though the devices like his Digging Car are more commonly considered to be ingeniously modified, but definitely man made mining tools. Allegedly, he can survive without oxygen for an extended period of time and wears an energy blaster mounted on his helmet that can also act as a lamp (see comments).

Height: 6'5"
Weight: 300 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown


(The Twelve I#6 (fb) - Born in the early 1900s, Daniel Rose grew up to become a miner who raised a family in the coal mining town of Tartleton, West Virginia. By the late 1930s, Rose had become fed up with the stranglehold the Lufton Fuel Company had on his town. He decided to unionize the workers, which didn't sit well with Lufton's corrupt director Boss Clete. When diplomacy failed, Clete took a few thugs down in the mines to beat some sense into Rose and his companions. This confrontation led to a huge fight that Rose and his men wound up winning. Clete fled, but did set off an explosive charge he'd hidden in the mine, figuring a cave-in would be the easiest, cleanest way of ridding himself of Rose without being blamed for his death. The explosion trapped Rose in one of the tunnels, though exposure to an unknown combination of natural methane gasses granted him sufficient super strength and stamina to dig himself out. When he reached the surface, he discovered that Clete's explosive device had caused a giant sinkhole that swallowed most of the town of Tartleton. When his wife Wendy and daughter Francine (his little princess) turned out to be among the dead, Rose's mind snapped. For days on end, he went to the ruins at night to frantically pound the ground, claiming he was trying to reach his family he could hear whispering underneath. After a while, he disappeared altogether, only reappearing once he had adopted the alternate identity of Rockman, ruler of the underground realm of Abysmia where he lived with his wife and daughter.

(The Twelve I#6 (fb) - BTS) - Worried about Daniel after his disappearance, his sister started to get suspicious when Rockman showed up sometime later. She was never able to confront Rockman herself, but kept the story of her vanished brother and his connection to the hero alive throughout the years.

Entering the possibly fully delusional history of Rockman. (see comments)

(USA Comics I#1/5) - Abysmia's ruler Rockman decided to leave his realm using a digger car to assist the surface worlders fight the evils that threatened them. Piloting an Abysmian digger car, he made his way to the surface where his first case involved dealing with the corrupt killer Roffler who he allowed to drown as punishment for his crimes.

(USA Comics I#2/6) - Rockman fought the inhuman hypnotist Zombo on his Pacific Island. Zombo sent his mind controlled slaves out in submarines to cripple, loot and sink unsuspecting ships. Once Rockman learned of Zombo's crimes through his vibragraph, he swam up to the surface world, emerging in the Pacific Ocean near Zombo's submarine. However, he was no match for the villain's hypnotic gaze. Overpowered by Zombo, he was thrown into the submarine that was bound back for Zombo's island. After fighting off some of Zombo's forces, Rockman called out to the men of Abysmia to come to action and destroy the island. Moments later, his underground legions caused a massive tidal wave that devastated the island. Rockman then allowed Zombo to drown, refusing to save the villain who he felt deserved his fate.

The part that could actually be accounted for because other heroes were present.

(USA Comics I#2/5) - Rockman met with his fellow heroes: the Defender and his sidekick Rusty, Jack Frost, Major Liberty, Vagabond and the Whizzer at the home of Dan Kane who was also known as Captain Terror. At the friendly gathering, they discussed how their adventures were published in the pages of USA Comics and decided they should meet every month to swap stories. Captain Terror suggested that the best story should be awarded a prize: a two page text story recounting what they'd been through. The costumed adventurers decided to start  swapping stories to see which one would have their experiences in print next month (see comments).

Back to possibly fully delusional territory.

(USA Comics I#3/6) - Rockman fought the Pixies, a race of tiny creatures that lived in a kingdom bordering his own. He was forced to confront them when the king of Jugoslavia summoned Rockman because the Pixies had kidnapped princess Alecia. Rockman boarded his Mole-Ship and made his way to the kingdom of the Pixies where Alecia was about to be married to the Pixie king. Easily defeating their armed forces, he rescued Alecia and installed the Abysian prime minister as the Pixie's new ruler. When he returned Alecia to her father, the man was so overjoyed he could kiss Rockman, who rather shyly stated he preferred Alecia to attend to that. (see comments)

(USA Comics I#4/7) - Rockman went to Alaska to stop the killer la Barbe who was threatening local miners. By the time he had saved the mining team of father and son Stevens from La Barbe, the fight had uncovered a hidden vein of gold that the Stevens joyfully claimed as their own. Glad to know his work was done, Rockman returned home. (see comments)

(The Twelve I#4 (fb) ) - Another seemingly fantasized adventure saw Rockman fighting a prolonged war against his archenemy called the Evil One. He eventually lured Rockman and his forces far away from Abyssia. Disconnected from the resources of their homeland, the Evil One caused a cave-in that trapped Rockman and his forces. During the event, Rockman got separated from his troops and was left alone, unable to find his way home. With no place left to go, he moved to the surface world.

Leaving the possibly fully delusional history of Rockman

(The Twelve I#4 (fb) - BTS) - There, he spent his days helping those in need while searching for ways to return home. At night, he would pound the hard ground in hopes of his people hearing it. (see comments).

(Avengers/Invaders#10, 12) - In 1943, the Red Skull (Johann Shmidt) came into possession of the Cosmic Cube, which led to the creation of alternate reality Earth-93198. In this timeline, Rockman was one of the many superheroes who were killed and impaled on a massive wall. The same Cube was later recovered by soldier Paul Anselm who used it to resurrect the heroes. The heroes including Rockman combined their efforts with the Invaders and time-displaced Avengers to battle the forces of the Red Skull. When the Skull was defeated, the Cube was used to wipe the heroes' memories of the entire event.

(The Twelve: Spearhead#1 (fb) - BTS) - When the United States declared war on Germany and Japan, Rockman eventually joined the war effort and accompanied the troops to Western Europe.

(The Twelve: Spearhead#1) - In early 1945, Rockman was stationed at an allied army base in Germany along with several other costumed heroes. Though he didn't appear to have any powers, both the soldiers and heroes like Captain America treated him with respect. This was in part because he supplied the military with advanced machinery like his Digger Car which was crucial during a mission in which Captain America and the Invaders were sent in to retrieve the Lance of St. Maurice. Rockman piloted his machine, bringing Captain America, Blue Diamond, Master Mind Excello, Miss America, Whizzer and the Phantom Reporter to the Nazi base where the lance was stored. While the others went into the base, Rockman was ordered by Captain America to stay back and guard the fort.

(The Twelve I#1) - On Wednesday April 25th, 1945, the Allies began their final assault on Berlin. Rockman 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 cryogenic 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 Rockman 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. Rockman 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) - Rockman and the others moved 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. Unable to get some sleep in his upstairs bedroom, Rockman dragged his mattress to the basement, explaining to the Phantom Reporter he needed to be closer to the ground so his people and his little princess could find him. He then spent most of the night desperately banging on the ground floor, hoping the Abysmians would hear him. As a result of this ongoing pounding, most of his associates could not catch any sleep.

(The Twelve I#3) - After a night of nonstop banging, Rockman got depressed when no one showed up. He remained in the basement waiting for his little princess.

(The Twelve I#4) - Hoping to recruit Rockman as his partner in an attempt to launch a career as a media superstar the Blue Blade (Roy Chambers) spent some time with Rose down in his basement. But after hearing his fanciful origin story about the underground realm of Abyssia, Roy figured that would be a hard sell and suggested they could always claim Rockman had run off to join the circus. Met by Rockman's deadly, icy stare, Blue Blade apologized and took his leave. Later that day, the morose Rose attended a going away party for Master Mind Excello who had used his vast fortune to buy a place for himself with less distractions.

(The Twelve I#6 - BTS) - Danielle Rose, the alleged grand niece of Daniel, had a meeting with Colonel Dexter during which she hoped to convince Dexter that Rockman was in fact her grand-uncle. Even though the picture she'd brought of Daniel Rose bore a more than casual resemblance to Rockman, Dexter decided to lie and claimed there was no connection whatsoever. When Danielle Rose had left, he explained his decision to his surprised aide who commented on the obvious connection. Dexter figured that keeping the truth from Rockman would be preferable to burdening him with the sad reality of events he could do nothing to change. 

(The Twelve I#8 - BTS) - The precognitive, telepathic Master Mind Excello mentally reached out to Rockman in a dream, telling him he could stop pounding the floor because his people had heard him and were coming for him. Excello assured Rockman he would soon be with them, never to be alone again.

(The Twelve I#8) - Phantom Reporter was surprised to see Rockman outside the basement, the happy hero told him all about Excello's dream message.

(The Twelve I#9) - Rockman was present at the mansion along with most of the others when Master Mind Excello dropped by for a mysterious visit. Excello made a point to check in with Rockman, asking if he was well. The underground hero told Excello he was doing fine, just waiting on the world like he said.  A little while later, unaware the Phantom Reporter had been called away to investigate the murder of the Blue Blade by the robot Electro, Rockman was talking with Captain Wonder and Master Mind Excello.

(The Twelve I#10) - Rockman, along with the surviving 1940s heroes, gathered at the mansion to hear the Phantom Reporter and Master Mind Excello's proof the robot Electro wasn't responsible for the recent death of their ally Blue Blade's. Slowly establishing the evidence, they revealed the overly zealous, moral Dynamic Man was the true culprit and a sexless android to boot. Infuriated his true, inhuman origin was uncovered, the superbly powerful creature vowed to kill every last one of them.

(The Twelve I#11) - Dynamic Man attacked his former companions, but when he grabbed Black Widow the strong Rockman intervened. Even though Dynamic Man cursed him out, calling him pathetic and deranged, Rockman punched the naked android through the nearest wall. Enraged, Dynamic Man used his vast strength to smash the support beams of the house causing the structure to collapse on his former allies. Thanks to Rockman's strength, everyone escaped unscathed even though Rockman himself seemingly perished underneath the vast amount of rubble. Some time later, after Dynamic Man had been dealt with, Phantom Reporter, Master Mind Excello and the Black Widow returned to the ruins of their mansion to look for Rockman. All they discovered was a hole that went at least a mile deep until it caved in on itself.

(The Twelve I#12) - Shortly after Captain Wonder saved a local Kentucky school class from an earthquake induced cave- in, Rockman approached one of the last girls to leave the cave. From the shadows, he whispered this "princess" to tell the others, all of them, that he had found his princess.

(The Twelve I#12 (fb) - BTS) -  The girl's story wasn't believed by her teachers, but Captain Wonder knew better. He shared the information with the Phantom Reporter who also took her account at face value.

(The Twelve I#12 - BTS) - Rockman spent his days in the underground tunnels, looking for his princess who had seemingly disappeared once again.

Comments: Created by Basil Wolverton (pencils), Charles Nicholas (inks)

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, who is Rockman really? Writer J. Michael Straczynski went to great lengths in his The Twelve series to debunk Rockman's established Golden Age origin as the patriotic king of the underground realm of Abysmia (or 'Abyssia' as it was called in The Twelve). Instead, JMS claimed he was Daniel Rose, a miner who started a union in the 1930s only to have the mob try to kill him by causing a cave-in. Instead, Rose was exposed to pockets of unknown methane gasses that gave him super powers. If you know that an average fart is mostly methane as well, this new Rockman origin is as 1940s ludicrous as the Whizzer gaining super speed after a transfusion of mongoose blood saved his life.

In the end, JMS did a complete 180 when he had Rockman disappear into a mysterious hole deep enough to reach Subterranea in The Twelve I#11 as well as having him pop up for two quick cameos in #12. In the first he told everyone he was fine and had found his princess, in the other he had actually lost track of her again. Does this mean Abyssia is real or is Rockman still a delusional madman living out his days in the underground chasing shadows? Guess we'll never know for sure. Still, in the interest of clarity, decisions had to be made for this profile. Because Abysmia hasn't been seen in modern comics as well as the general tendency of Rockman's story arc, I've decided to include the Golden Age Rockman stories but labelling them as mere delusions Rose told to help him cope with the loss of his real family.

A possible, in-universe explanation for Rockman's mysterious origins might be found in the pages of USA Comics I#2/5. Rockman and some other heroes agree to basically have a storytelling competition to see which one of them had the best adventure. It stands to reason this would lead to them embellishing facts to offer even more incredible tales, for a man prone to suffer from delusions this setup only helped to cement his story of being the valiant king of the grandiose realm of Abyssia. But, that also casts a shadow on all the superhuman abilities he showcased in those 1940s issues. He might as well have imagined himself able to survive without oxygen and maybe his head lamp wasn't capable of firing force blasts after all. Anything for a good story, after all.

The tale Rockman tells in The Twelve I#4, featuring the Evil One and him getting stranded far away from his homeland seems to most resemble the story of Daniel Rose and Boss Clete. The villains he fights appear to be monstrous versions of his old enemies the Pixies, seen in USA Comics I#3.

But that still doesn't explain Rockman's high tech equipment. For instance, the Digger Car seen in the classic stories and the pages of The Twelve: Spearhead#1 appeared to be quite a cut above any conventional mining tools in use at the time. It's hard to swallow the idea a delusional, poorly educated miner came up with such advanced technology on his own... Let alone that he was able to construct it without any outside help.

This will all not sit well with some people. In case he is just delusional the "Evil One" is obviously Boss Clete, but his other adventures could still have happened. Maybe not the way he recounted due to the alleged presence of Abysmians in most of them. So, maybe his single adventures were all just delusions, but maybe not. I doubt we will ever learn the truth.
--Markus Raymond

Rockman received a profile in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update#1 (April, 2014).

Profile by Norvo.

Rockman should not be confused with

Danielle Rose

As a child, her grandmother would tell Danielle fanciful stories of her grand-uncle Daniel Rose, better known as the superhuman Rockman. According to her grandmother, they were related to the hero, even though he himself claimed to be a ruler hailing from Abysmia, an underground kingdom. Danielle's grandmother showed her pictures of Daniel Rose, explaining that Rockman was actually a miner from Tartleton, Virginia. When Rockman resurfaced decades later, Danielle contacted the U.S. military to share what she knew of the mysterious hero. She met with Rockman's liaison Colonel Dexter and recounted what her grandmother had told her of Rockman's true origins. Dexter heard her story, even looked at the photographs of Daniel Rose she'd brought along, but ultimately and knowingly claimed there was no connection. Disillusioned, Danielle left, telling Dexter to either keep the picture or toss it away. Either way, she had no more use for it.

--The Twelve I#6

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update#1, Rockman entry (main image)
The Twelve I#6, p16, pan2 (origin as Daniel Rose)
The Twelve I#4, p10, pan2 (as the ruler of Abyssia with his princess)
USA Comics I#2, p34, pan5 (Rockman using the Vibragraph)
USA Comics I#3, p45, pan7 (Rockman slapping Pixies )
The Twelve: Spearhead#1, p25, pan4 (shows off his Digger Car)
The Twelve I#2, p28, pan3 (going to the basement)
The Twelve I#6, p22, pan6 (pounding the floor)
The Twelve I#11, p12, pans2,3,5 (saves the Twelve)
The Twelve I#12, p16, pans4&5 (found his princess)
The Twelve I#6, p21, pan6 (Danielle Rose)

USA Comics I#1/5 (August, 1941) - Basil Wolverton (writer, pencils), Charles Nicholas (inks), Joe Simon (editor)
USA Comics I#2/6 (November, 1941) - Basil Wolverton (writer, pencils, inks), Joe Simon (editor)
USA Comics I#3/6 (January, 1942) - Stan Lee (writer), Charles Nicholas (pencils & inks), Vincent Fago (editor)
USA Comics I#4/7 (May, 1942) - creative team unknown
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#6 (August, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#8 (December, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers/Invaders#10 (June, 2009) - Alex Ross (plot), Jim Krueger (plot/script), Steve Sadowski, Patrick Berkenkotter (pencilers), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Avengers/Invaders#12 (August, 2009) - Alex Ross (plot), Jim Krueger (plot/script), Steve Sadowski, Patrick Berkenkotter (pencilers), Stephen Wacker (editor)
The Twelve: Spearhead#1 (May, 2010) - 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 (April, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#11 (May, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#12 (June, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 08/31/2015
Last updated: 07/16/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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