Real Name: Argus Fenn
Identity/Class: Human mutant (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Dr. Allan Colter, Dr. Benton Maze, Dr. Hugh Taylor
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The Unhuman"
Base of Operations: Current whereabouts unrevealed;
formerly a scientific laboratory, somewhere in an unidentified American city
First Appearance: Spellbound I#33/6 (April, 1957)
Powers/Abilities: Born a mutant, Dr. Argus Fenn had a superior intellect, and he could easily solve complex mathematical problems. The full scope of Fenn's abilities was unrevealed (see comments), but he could feign death by stopping his heartbeat and pulse; later, he developed the power to read minds.
Because of his calculating computer-like mind, Fenn had a cold and aloof personality, which made it difficult for him to relate to humans.
Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 180 lbs. (by approximation)
(Spellbound I#33/6 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Argus Fenn is unrevealed, but he was born a mutant--he speculated that he was the only one, with his birth coming a bit before the age of Homo superior. Fenn kept his true nature a secret, to pass himself off as a normal human.
Dr. Fenn was eventually employed at a laboratory, where he was one of a group of four scientists working on Project Satellite--the other group members included Dr. Allan Colter, Dr. Benton Maze, and project supervisor Dr. Hugh Taylor.
For months, while working on the project, the team of scientists often encountered unsolvable problems, which left them perplexed and unable to make any progress. But using his uncanny intellect, Fenn would later secretly solve the problems himself, then anonymously leave the handwritten solutions on Taylor's desk.
(Spellbound I#33/6) - Dr. Taylor once again found another note with the solution to the latest problem that had puzzled him and his team...yet the four of them were supposed to be the top brains in their field. Taylor wondered about the identity of their mysterious benefactor--since he and his three co-workers were the only ones who had access to the lab, Taylor figured that one of them was leaving the notes...but which one had a brain of such magnitude as to be competent to find the solutions to these seemingly-unsolvable problems? Then Taylor realized there was only one possible answer: One of his three subordinates was a superior man...a mutant...the next stage in man's evolution...an Unhuman!
The next morning, Taylor gathered his three colleagues together and told them of his suspicion, but none of the trio would admit to leaving the notes. The workday passed without event, and after the others had gone for the evening, Dr. Taylor was left alone in the lab with his agitated thoughts, still wondering which of the three was the Unhuman.
(Spellbound I#33/6 - BTS) - Realizing that Taylor was getting close to learning the truth about him, Fenn made arrangements to throw his supervisor off his trail. Using a handgun, Fenn gave himself a self-inflicted wound (see comments), then went back to the laboratory, carrying the handgun with him.
(Spellbound I#33/6) - Taylor was shocked when the wounded Fenn entered the laboratory; claiming that the Unhuman had shot him, Fenn gave Taylor the gun, but before he revealed the name of his "assailant," Fenn stopped his heartbeat and feigned death.
Having thoughtlessly touched the gun, Taylor figured it was part of the Unhuman's plan, so that he would be accused of killing Fenn and be out of the way. With the number of his suspects now narrowed down, Taylor was determined to find out which one of the remaining two--Maze or Colter--was the murderous Unhuman.
After taking an assumed name and registering in a shabby hotel near the docks, Taylor covertly investigated the two scientists, but could find nothing unusual, for both men seemed to live perfectly ordinary lives.
The frustrated Dr. Taylor returned to his hotel room, thinking to himself that perhaps his suspicions were all wrong. But then Fenn--now very much alive--entered Taylor's room and revealed that he had just developed the ability to read minds (and thus had sensed Taylor's thoughts). After explaining to Taylor that he had faked his own death, Fenn admitted that he was actually the Unhuman.
But Taylor pointed out to Fenn that although he might be a superior man, he was not fully matured--Fenn's cold and aloof demeanor isolated him from mankind, and Taylor predicted the Homo superiors of the future would have heart and warmth.
Fenn protested, for he considered his work on the project as proof that he wanted to help mankind; but then his brain--cold as a machine--fully tabulated and measured Taylor's words, then reached the conclusion that the world was not yet ready for him.
Fenn told Taylor that he would "vanish into another sphere," where he could mature and learn to be human, then come back when the world was ready. After bidding farewell to Taylor, Fenn the Unhuman stepped out of the door, into the night and...vanished. (see comments).
As Dr. Taylor wistfully looked out his hotel room's window at the starry night-time sky, he wished Argus Fenn good luck...
Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and John Tartaglione.
This 4-page story was told with Dr. Hugh Taylor as the main
character, so there weren't many individual images of Argus Fenn
When Fenn claimed to be wounded, there was no blood or the sign of any injury (probably so as not to provoke the Comics Code Authority), but no mention was made of his wound after he "returned from the dead"--maybe he also had the ability to heal his body at an accelerated rate.
Fenn's final fate is unclear, because it wasn't actually depicted, but only mentioned in the last caption--considering that he planned to "vanish into another sphere," I'll assume that he somehow teleported himself to another planet and/or dimension.
Argus Fenn was not the only Atlas Age Mutant to be called Unhuman. There were also a couple in Mystery Tales#36 (December, 1955) 1st story
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Dr. Argus Fenn/"The Unhuman" has no known connections to:
Dr. Hugh Taylor has no known connections to:
Dr. Allan Colter has no known connections to:
Dr. Benton Maze has no known connections to:
Taylor was the scientific head of Project Satellite, where he
supervised Dr. Allan Colter, Dr. Argus Fenn, and Dr. Benton Maze.
After the apparent murder of Dr. Fenn by the Unhuman, Taylor went into
hiding; he first used a false identity to register at a shabby hotel, then
covertly investigated the private lives of Colter and Maze. But Taylor
found nothing unusual about the two scientists, for they both led ordinary
He was a scientist and one Dr. Hugh Taylor's three
subordinates on Project Satellite.
He was a scientist and one Dr. Hugh Taylor's
three subordinates on Project Satellite.
images: (without ads)
Spellbound I#33/6, p4, pan3 (Main Image - Argus Fenn, speaking to Dr. Taylor)
Spellbound I#33/6, p4, pan6 (Headshot - Argus Fenn; Dr. Taylor (background))
Spellbound I#33/6, p3, pan2 (wounded Argus Fenn enters lab; Dr. Taylor (left))
Spellbound I#33/6, p4, pan5 (Argus Fenn (right) argues with Dr. Taylor)
Spellbound I#33/6, p1, pan1 (Dr. Hugh Taylor discovers notes)
Spellbound I#33/6, p2, pan4 (Dr. Hugh Taylor suspects one of his co-workers is an "Unhuman")
Spellbound I#33/6, p4, pan4 (Dr. Hugh Taylor (left); Argus Fenn)
Spellbound I#33/6, p2, pan6 (Dr. Allan Colter)
Spellbound I#33/6, p4, pan1 (Dr. Taylor (foreground) spies on Dr. Allan Colter's apartment)
Spellbound I#33/6, p2, pan6 (Dr. Benton Maze)
Spellbound I#33/6, p3, pan7 (Dr. Taylor (foreground) spies on Dr. Benton Maze's home)
Spellbound I#33/6 (April, 1957) - unidentified writer, John Tartaglione (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
First Posted: 11/17/2020
Last updated: 11/10/2020
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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