Real Name: ?? Wells (see comments)

Identity/Class: Possible mutant (see comments) (1950s era)

Occupation: Convict

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Martin Shaw

Enemies: Society (in general)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: A prison, somewhere in the United States

First Appearance: Tales of Suspense I#1/3 (January, 1959)

Powers/Abilities: Wells seemed to be an ordinary man who later possessed psionic powers. Following a brush with death, his astral form (the sheath of the life essence) was temporarily released from his body, allowing him to walk the earthly plane in an invisible and intangible state. He also demonstrated the power to project his thoughts into another individual's mind, and could thereby mentally dominate that person.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 180 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unknown
Hair: Brown

History: (Tales of Suspense I#1/3 (fb) - BTS) - The specific details of the life and crimes of Wells are largely unknown, but he was a vicious criminal and considered a menace to society. Following his trial, he was found guilty of second-degree murder and received a life sentence in prison. While incarcerated, he was determined to escape, so he fashioned himself a hand-made knife.

(Tales of Suspense I#1/3) - Wells was in the exercise yard when he brandished the knife and ran toward the prison gate to make a break for it. But a guard fired his gun at Wells, and the prisoner collapsed to the pavement. The warden and prison doctor came out to look over Wells--he was not dead, for the bullet had only grazed his skull; the doctor found Wells to be unconscious, in a coma-like state ("As if his spirit had actually left his body!'). Unknown to them, Wells' astral form was nearby, because it had been separated from his physical body. The warden ordered the guards to carry Wells back to his cell.

   Wells (in astral form) followed the guards as they carried his physical body back inside. He was scared, but he realized that his body would revive shortly and he would return to it, so he wanted to take advantage of his present condition, to find a way to get himself out of prison. As they passed by some cells, Wells noticed one of his fellow inmates getting legal counsel from Martin Shaw. Knowing that Shaw was the best criminal defense attorney in the country, Wells thought that if he could get the lawyer on his side, he might be able to win his freedom. Concentrating intensely, Wells "beamed" his thoughts at Shaw, at first giving the lawyer a headache. Suddenly, Wells felt weak and sick, then found himself back in his body, his astral form apparently pulled back "home" as his body revived. Laying on his cot, Wells came to and found himself surrounded by the warden, the doctor, and an armed guard, and the warden told Wells his escape attempt had just earned him a month in solitary. Then Shaw came to his cell and requested that the warden allow him to speak to Wells because, although he couldn't explain why, he felt compelled to do so; the warden saw no harm in it, so he granted Shaw's request. As the two talked, Shaw promised Wells he'd do his best to get him freed because he felt he must, and Wells knew his psychic hold had put the lawyer in the palm of his hand.

   While in solitary confinement, Wells continued to concentrate on Shaw, mentally bombarding him and commanding the lawyer to put all his energy into getting him out of prison. After doing some research, Shaw returned to let Wells know that he discovered a legal loophole to win Wells a new trial. Shaw had found an old law that stated murder cases had to be tried by three justices, and only one justice was present at Wells' trial; the law had been forgotten for years, but it still held (see comments), so Shaw would appeal Wells' case, and he was certain he could get him a new trial and free him. Wells continued to mentally push Shaw, making him work harder on his case until the hapless lawyer was driven to exhaustion, for he was unconcerned about Shaw's well-being.

   On the day of his new trial, Wells again crept into the fatigued Shaw's mind, pushing him to work still harder. Shaw spent two solid hours summing up Wells' case to the jury. Wells sat smugly when the jury left to deliberate--he almost laughed in the D.A.'s face, so confident was he that he would soon be a free man. But when the jury returned with their verdict, it was instead announced that they had found Wells guilty of first-degree murder, and Wells realized that meant he would be executed in the gas chamber--he thought he had figured his scheme perfectly, but he had never considered the possibility that Shaw might actually lose. As he was tearfully escorted from the courtroom, Wells overheard the district attorney speaking with his assistant, and he learned the reason why Shaw had failed. The assistant said that Shaw was good, but he had pleaded this case like an amateur; the D.A. agreed, saying that Shaw seemed too tired to present Wells' case properly, and that he had probably been working too hard on it.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and John Buscema (artist)

Wells' first name was never mentioned in the story, so I'll suggest he be named "John," after the story's artist (hardly an honor, considering the kind of person Wells was, but still...).
No explanation was ever given for Wells' uncanny abilities, but I would theorize that he was a mutant because he demonstrated similar powers to Professor Charles Xavier. Maybe Wells was a latent mutant whose power had never manifested until the shock of his brush with death...or maybe he was just too stupid to ever realize he had any powers.

It probably would have been a lot simpler for Wells to just order the warden or one of the guards to unlock his cell and let him go.

In regards to that loophole Shaw employed: I'm not a lawyer (nor do I play one on television) and I can't attest to the validity of this legal maneuver, so if you ever plan to use it, you are advised to consult a fully-licensed attorney first (i.e. Don't get your legal advice from a comic-book!).

Wells' final fate was not revealed, but if he was executed, I guess it's possible that his astral form was once again released after his death, and he could still be wandering around somewhere.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Wells has no known connections to:

Martin Shaw has no known connections to:

Martin Shaw

Said to be the country's best criminal defense attorney, he was married to Ellen. One day, he was was giving legal counsel to a prison inmate when Wells telepathically compelled him to work on his case. Wells psychically dominated Shaw's mind, in an attempt to persuade Shaw to get him another trial to win his freedom. Despite Ellen's imploring him to get some rest, Shaw obsessively worked on Wells' case, for he was so much under Wells' mental sway that he worked himself to the point of exhaustion.

On the day of Wells' new trial, Shaw had been driven too hard by Wells' mental domination, and the exhausted attorney plead the case like an amateur; Shaw's poor performance resulted in the jury finding Wells guilty of first-degree murder, and therefore eligible for execution in the gas chamber.

--Tales of Suspense I#1/3

images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p1, pan1 (main image, Wells dropping knife & getting shot in prison yard)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p2, pan1 (Wells in astral form with warden, prison doctor & prison guard in background)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p1, pan3 (Wells on right, in astral form; looking down at his body; guard, warden, and doctor on left)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p3, pan6 (Wells in solitary confinement projecting his thoughts to Shaw)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p4, pan7 (Wells being escorted from courtroom)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p2, pan6 (Martin Shaw being mentally bombarded by Wells)
Tales of Suspense I#1/3, p4, pan2 (Martin Shaw forced to work on Wells' case as his concerned wife Ellen looks on)

Tales of Suspense I#1/3 (January, 1959) - unidentified writer, John Buscema (artist), Stan Lee (editor)

Last updated: 12/28/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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