HYENA

Real Name: Henry Mortonson

Identity/Class: Human (World War II, 1945-1959, pre-modern to modern era)

Occupation: Professional criminal; former Axis agent, saboteur, mercenary

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Agent Axis, Mr. Lennox, Nazis, Shark (Verrill "Hammerhead" Shark), several henchmen, scientists and hyenas

Enemies: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Doctor Kriegstein, Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Miller Trucking Line (Lorraine Miller, others), Sub-Mariner (Namor MacKenzie), Toro (Thomas Raymond), West Coast Avengers (Dr. Hank Pym, Machine Man/Aaron Stack, Mockingbird/Bobbi Barton, Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff, Tigra/Greer Nelson, Wasp/Janet Van Dyne)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: His mansion in Los Angeles, California

First Appearance: Human Torch Comics#30 (May, 1948)

Powers/Abilities: Hyena was a cunning criminal strategist, who often anticipated and prepared for multiple contingencies. Bound to a wheelchair in his old age he is still as cunning as in the past. His canine-like ears and fangs may be due to his childhood disease, but they give him no special abilities. His disease-altered physiology makes his health unusually susceptible to his mood alterations.

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Eyes: Green
Hair: Bald, white fringe

History:
(Avengers West Coast#83 (fb) - BTS) - As a child he contracted a rare illness that left his with a weird mile-wide smile and a damaged mind.

(Invaders Annual I#1 (fb) - BTS) - As an adult he began criminal career as a highwayman. The Human Torch eventually sent him to prison.

   Nazis broke him out of prison and hired him. Hyena took the job because it better than his previous criminal endeavors. Hitler was aware that the Human Torch's blood had turned a British woman into the heroine Spitfire and wanted the Hyena to get a blood sample from the Human Torch so they could duplicate the process and create an army of super-powered soldiers.

(Invaders Annual I#1 - BTS) <1942> - When word got out that Agent Axis, the Hyena and the Shark were active again on the East Coast Major Rawlings and Colonel Farrow hired the Invaders (Captain America, Human Torch and Namor) in the name of the police and F.B.I. to capture them again.

(Invaders Annual I#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Hyena re-routed a road and two soldiers driving a truck of military supplies from one base to another became victims of the jest when they followed the road until they drove over a cliff. Private Pierce survived the fall, thrown clear before the truck exploded, and was confronted by the Hyena when he regained consciousness. The Hyena asked him to tell America and the Human Torch that the Hyena was responsible for what happened that night.

(Invaders Annual I#1 - BTS) - The Human Torch flew from London to Upstate New York to meet Private Pierce at the local Military Hospital after he became a victim of one of the Hyena. Pierce told the Torch what had happened and the hero promised to start his search for the Hyena the next day.

(Invaders Annual I#1) - Unfortunately one of the nurses was working for the Hyena and quickly informed him of the Torch's arrival and that he had gone to bed for the night. Hyena immediately put a plan in motion for the night and caused a landslide with the aid of two excavators driven by Nazi operatives. It turned out the Human Torch had tricked the Hyena and was hiding inside the truck. The Torch melted the falling rocks and then attacked the Nazi agents. Hyena fled into a nearby barn followed by Torch, who flew right into the Hyena's trap. Doused by a water tank inside the barn the Hyena now had the opportunity to collect a blood sample from the Human Torch. Before he could proceed to shoot the Human Torch though, the hero vanished in front of the Hyena's eyes.

   Later Agent Axis, Hyena and Shark were on Shark's boat on their way to rendezvous with a German U-Boat to hand over Captain America's shield (stolen by Agent Axis), Namor's trunks (stolen by Shark) and a vial full of the Human Torch's android blood (stolen by the Hyena). They were attacked by the returning Invaders. Hyena shot at Captain America, but he easily blocked the bullet with his triangular shield. Moments later the Human Torch knocked him out. Namor pulled Shark's boat to the shore with the three defeated Axis agents inside while a U.S. Destroyer dealt with the German U-Boat.

(Human Torch Comics#30) <1947> - As part of his hijacking operation Hyena painted a new white stripe on a mountain road, explaining to his henchmen that truck drivers followed the white stripe during the night. The plan worked when a truck owned by Miller Trucking Line drove into the chasm to the echoing laughs of the Hyena. He then sent down his two henchmen to plunder the truck, which was driven by the owner of the company himself, who had died in the crash.

   The next night the Hyena set up a mirror on a mountain street to trick the driver to believe that another truck was going to collide with him. The Miller Trucking Line driver saw the light and tried to avoid the "other truck", steering into a chasm. Hyena celebrated his success with a good laugh, but the driver survived and with his last breath called his boss Lorraine with his newly installed two-way radio, informing her about the accident on the north road. The Human Torch and Toro, who had offered their help to Lorraine, arrived at the accident scene and found Hyena and his henchmen looting. The Hyena escaped in his car while his henchmen were caught by the heroic duo. Lorraine Miller arrived with her company's repair truck and the henchmen revealed that their boss knew all the routes of the Miller Trucking Line.

   Back at the depot Lorraine accused Lennox of telling Hyena their routes. She was going to call the police when Lennox knocked her out in front of the Hyena, who was hiding behind a door. Hyena planned to put Lorraine bound on a nitro truck for her last ride. Lorraine came to in the truck and Hyena confirmed he was hijacking Miller's trucks after Lennox passed on information about the cargo to him. Hyena and Lennox abandoned the truck on a ledge where it was supposed to fall off with Lorraine inside, but the Human Torch and Toro found them. Human Torch saved Lorraine from the falling truck while Toro took care of Hyena and Lennox, who both begged for mercy.

(Avengers West Coast#83 (fb) - BTS) - After his arrest in 1947 he was sentenced to decades in prison and has not smiled since then.

   While still in prison Hyena hired scientists to study the Human Torch's origins, reasoning that because the Torch was an android he would eventually resurface. They revealed to Hyena that the Human Torch's original flaw to burst into flame would over time fix itself and the Torch would lose his flame powers. They created a machine, which enhanced by the Torch's brain, would allow the Torch to tap into all the networked computer power of Los Angeles to overcome his immunity to burst into flame and regain his full flame powers again.

   Now an old man the Hyena was released from prison because he was dying from a rare type of cancer. He moved into a dilapidated mansion in Los Angeles and started to set his plan in motion to get revenge on the Human Torch by causing him to kill thousands upon thousands of people by accident. Hyena had his mansion's basement filled with explosives, which the Torch was supposed to blow up and as a backup plan had a device connected to the explosives he could activate with a press of a button on his wheelchair.

(Avengers West Coast#83) - A scientist delivered a device to Hyena at his mansion in Los Angeles. The scientist promised it would do what Hyena asked for and for the first time since 1947 Hyena began to laugh.

(Avengers West Coast#83 - BTS) - Hyena sent a message to his old nemesis the Human Torch (Hammond) and challenged to meet him alone at the Junk City auto junkyard to receive information on an old friend. Hyena sent four henchmen to attack the Human Torch and deliver another message to him in case he survived. Torch defeated them and took a letter from one of the henchmen. It invited the Torch to Hyena's downtown house at precisely 5:23 PM the next day.

(Avengers West Coast#83) - Torch arrived at exactly 5:23 PM at Hyena's mansion and walked up the stairs to meet the Hyena. The old wheelchair-bound Hyena revealed how scientists had created a device for him to return the Human Torch's flame powers to him, but the Torch didn't trust him. Hyena told him that he had to take the chance because it would not only give him back his flame powers, but also give him access to all networks with information on the adult life of his former partner Toro including his death. Hyena claimed that he wanted some of the information the Torch gained to benefit him. The Torch put on the headband connected to the device and the Hyena activated it, guaranteeing to the Torch that he would remember this moment for the rest of his life.

(Avengers West Coast#83 - BTS) - According to Hyena's plan hyenas a pack of hyenas were released at exactly 5:30 PM from the unsuspecting Cleman L. Slinkard III's truck trailer on the Hollywood Freeway, a remote-controlled monster truck ran over cars on the Harbor Freeway and a plane crashed on the Santa Monica Freeway.

(Avengers West Coast#83) - Hyena told the Human Torch that he would soon be able to help people from these disasters when his powers returned in a few seconds. He was not aware that the Human Torch had asked the West Coast Avengers for help and they were already dealing with the hyenas, the monster truck and the plane crash while Pym contacted the prison Hyena was held to learn more about him. Meanwhile the Hyena challenged the Torch to flame on, but the Torch finally had enough, removed the headband and then destroyed the device. Hyena thought he had gone mad because of the loss of his flame powers and assured him that the device would've returned his powers. The Torch believed him, but he had finally realized that it was all part of some devious scheme by the Hyena, who mocked the Torch for thinking he had outsmarted him and pressed a button on his wheelchair, but nothing happened. Hyena's henchmen attacked the Human Torch, but seconds later the West Coast Avengers arrived to defeat them. Pym revealed that he had disconnected a device that would have set off all the explosives in the building's basement. Hyena felt no remorse for what his plans and revealed that there were enough explosives to destroy several city blocks, including the freeways he had rendered impassable, but his plans were ruined by the WCA. Hyena began to cry while Hyena's henchmen were shocked that he would've killed them as well. Hyena revealed that his plan was to get the Torch blamed for the deaths of thousands of people by having him flame on and cause the explosives in the mansion' basement detonate. Hyena was only glad that he could not be punished for this crime because he was going to die soon anyway. He began to laugh and suddenly collapsed.

   Hyena awakened in a hospital surrounded by the West Coast Avengers and Doctor Kriegstein. Hyena was surprised that he was still alive. Kriegstein revealed to him that apparently his moroseness during all his years in prison had triggered his disease and that his cancer had completely remitted when Hyena started to be happy again. Hyena was now going to live for years and the Human Torch promised him that it would be in a prison hospital. An angry Hyena only wanted everyone to get out of his room.

Comments: Created by Bill Woolfolk (writer) and Alex Schomburg (artist).

In Invaders Annual I#1 (1977) by Roy Thomas an editorial note referred readers to a text page at the end of the issue to learn more about the past encounters between the Invaders and the three villains in this issue, but the villains were not even mentioned on this page (it was mostly about the artists for this issue and how Thomas created it). Within the same issue in the Human Torch's chapter Hyena alluded to his criminal past and so did the Human Torch in the first chapter, but in no way did it mention Human Torch Comics#27.

In Saga of the Original Human Torch#3 (June, 1990), also written by Roy Thomas, a flashback to Human Torch Comics#27 was seen. It referenced his World War II crimes (from Invaders Annual I#1) as occurring in '42 and his later crimes (from Human Torch Comics#27) as occurring in '48.

In Avengers West Coast#83 it clearly states again that Invaders Annual I#1 happened before Human Torch Comics#27.

Then came Avengers: Roll Call#1's Hyena profile that suddenly had Human Torch Comics#27 placed before Invaders Annual I#1 and the flashback in Avengers West Coast#83 was treated like an additional encounter between Hyena and Human Torch.

The Hyena's first appearance from Human Torch Comics#30 (May, 1948) was reprinted in Human Torch I#2 (November, 1974) a reprint title filled with stories of the original World War II Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and the Fantastic Four's Human Torch (his single adventured were featured in Strange Tales for some time).

His real name was revealed in Avengers West Coast#83 (June, 1992).

Hyena has a handbook profile in Avengers: Roll Coll#1 (June, 2012).

Profile by Markus Raymond.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Hyena should not be confused with:

Lennox has no known connection to:

Lorraine Miller has no known connection to:

Cleman L. Slinkard III has no known connection to:


unidentified henchmen

In each era Hyena had different nameless henchmen working for him. They were pure cannon fodder.

(Invaders Annual I#1) - Nazis were working for Hyena when he schemed to get a blood sample from the Human Torch. There were also a few women with Nazi connections, including a nurse, who informed him that the Human Torch was going to bed and not going after the Hyena that night. Human Torch quickly burned through the Nazis, but was lured into a trap by Hyena, who got exactly what he came for, a sample of the Human Torch's blood, but the Torch vanished before he could kill him.

(Human Torch Comics#30/3) - Hyena had two henchmen in 1948. They were not too bright and got caught by the Human Torch and Toro. They revealed to them and Lorraine Miller that Hyena knew everything about her trucks' routes and cargo.

(Avengers West Coast#83) - Hyena sent his four henchmen to attack the Human Torch (Hammond) at Junk City auto junkyard where Hyena had challenged the Torch to meet him. The Torch defeated them and found another letter addressed to him on one of the henchmen. After trussing up the henchmen the Torch went to the West Coast Avengers to ask them for help. They were not too thrilled when they learned that Hyena was going to blew up his home with them still inside.

--Human Torch Comics#30/3 (Invaders Annual I#1, Human Torch Comics#30/3, Avengers West Coast#83


Mr. Lennox

Lennox was the manager of the Miller Trucking Line. He secretly provided information on the trucks' cargo and their routes to the Hyena. When the owner of the company died in an accident caused by the Hyena, Lennox advised Lorraine Miller to sell the company, now that her father was dead, but Lorraine decided to keep the company going.

After the Human Torch and Toro caught the Hyena's henchman, who revealed that the Hyena knew the routes of the trucks, Lorraine returned to the depot and accused Lennox, the only other person besides her who knew the trucking schedules, of feeding Hyena the information. Lennox knocked her out, which Hyena congratulated him for. They put Lorraine bound on a nitro truck and drove her to a ledge to kill her by letting the truck roll off, but the Human Torch saved her from the falling truck while Toro caught Lennox and Hyena, who both begged for mercy.

--Human Torch Comics#30/3


Lorraine Miller

Lorraine Miller was the daughter of the owner of the Miller Trucking Line. After he died in an accident caused by the Hyena the Miller Trucking Line's manager Lennox advised her to sell the company, but she decided to keep it going.

To avert more deadly accidents Lorraine had two-way radios installed in all of her trucks so the drivers could contact her if something went wrong on their trip. When a driver called her with his last breath to inform her that he had an accident on the north road, the Human Torch and Toro took off to find out more. Lorraine followed them in her company's repair truck, but when she arrived she learned that the driver was dead and the leader of the hijackers had escaped. Fortunately for her the Hyena's henchmen were caught and revealed to her that the Hyena knew her trucks' route and cargo beforehand. Lorraine returned to her company's depot and accused Lennox, the only other person besides her who knew the trucking schedules, of feeding information to the Hyena. She was going to call the police when he knocked her out. Hyena carried her to a nitro truck and put her bound on the backseat. When she came to her Hyena confirmed that Lennox passed on information on the cargo to him. The criminal duo drove her to a ledge, but the Human Torch and Toro found them and while the Torch saved Lorraine from the falling truck, Toro caught the criminals, who both begged for mercy.

--Human Torch Comics#30/3


device

Scientists working for the Hyena invented a device that could counteract the Human Torch (Hammond)'s built up immunity that prevented him from using his own flame powers. The Hyena planned to use it to reawaken the Torch's flame powers and use them to kill himself and millions others in the city of Los Angeles. The device was used, but eventually destroyed by the Human Torch, when he realized that he could use his flame powers again, but also what Hyena's ulterior motives were.

--Avengers West Coast#83


mansion

It was a dilapidated Victorian mansion in Los Angeles surrounded by skyscrapers.

--Avengers West Coast#83


Cleman L. Slinkard III

Slinkard was a trailer truck driver working, who was apparently delivering a truck full of Sego: America's perfect diet drink. He switched lanes on the Hollywood freeway annoying many other car drivers, who honked to comment on his action. At exactly 5:30 PM the back of his trailer opened, unbeknownst to Slinkard, and released a pack of hyenas upon the street.

--Avengers West Coast#83


images (without ads)
Avengers: Roll Call#1, Hyena profile (main)
Invaders Annual I#1, p10, pan2 (Nazi Hyena)
Human Torch Comics#30/3, p3, pan6 (highwayman Hyena)
Avengers West Coast#83, p19, pan2 (old Hyena)
Human Torch Comics#30/3, p5, pan5 (henchman, Golden Age)
Avengers West Coast#83, p3, pan2 (henchman, modern)
Human Torch Comics#30/3, p6, pan1 (Mr. Lennox)
Human Torch Comics#30/3, p2, pan6 (Lorraine Miller)
Avengers West Coast#83, p1, pan2 (mansion)


Appearances:
Human Torch Comics#30 (May, 1948) - Bill Woolfolk (writer), Alex Schomburg (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Invaders Annual I#1 (1977) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor)
   Story 1 & 5: Frank Robbins (pencils), Frank Springer (inks)
   Story 2: Alex Schomburg (artist)
Avengers West Coast#83 (June, 1992) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Herb Trimpe (artist), Charlie Barnett (assist inker), Nel Yomtov (editor)


First Posted: 06/06/2020
Last updated: 06/06/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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