MARTIN, THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD
Real Name: Martin (surname unrevealed)
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Other residents of his small town
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The Most Dangerous Man in the World"
Base of Operations: An unidentified town
First Appearance: World of Mystery#6/2 (April 1957)
Powers/Abilities: Martin was surrounded by a glowing field of energy that disintegrated (or incinerated/burned through) almost any objects it came into contact with (see comments). It also apparently deflected bullets or destroyed them so fast that the soldiers shooting thought they'd been deflected (see comments). Unfortunately for Martin, the energy field was apparently permanently on, making it impossible for him to eat or drink, as any food he tried to handle was instantly destroyed.
5'6" (by estimation) (see comments)
Weight: 132 lbs. (by estimation)
(World of Mystery#6/2 (fb) - BTS) - Martin was a nobody, an unexceptional man who felt nothing important had ever happened in his life. There was an expensive French restaurant in the town where he lived, which he had often wanted to try out, but which was out of his price range.
Mystery#6/2) - That changed however, the day he was struck by
lightning on a busy town street. At first witnesses thought he'd been
slain, especially as Martin was now surrounded by a yellow glow. Worried
the unusual light might be dangerous, a police officer ordered everyone
to stay back while an ambulance was sent for.
(World of Mystery#6/2
- BTS) - An ambulance soon arrived, but the paramedic (see comments)
swiftly discovered that anything that came into contact with the
glow around Martin was instantly destroyed.
(World of Mystery#6/2) - Waking, Martin looked in surprise at his glowing hands, and the paramedic informed him that the lightning strike had apparently charged Martin's body with energy, and warned him not to touch anyone. Still struggling to understand what had happened, this warning prompted Martin to see what would happen if he came into contact with something, and he reached out to a nearby wooden fence, which immediately disintegrated upon contact with the glow. The paramedic explained about the glow's destructive properties, but reassured Martin it could be neutralized. Seemingly ignoring this last, Martin checked again - did the man mean that nothing could stand against Martin, nor penetrate the field? The paramedic confirmed this was true, asked Martin to be careful, and reiterated that there were people who could help cure Martin's condition. However Martin, finally feeling something important had happened to him, made it clear he had no desire to let anyone "rob" him of his newfound power. As he began to rant that he could destroy anything and nothing could stop him, the bystanders realized he had gone insane and began to flee. Mad with power Martin literally strode through the ambulance, burning it in twain without any effort. As he continued his rampage soldiers were called in, but their bullets merely bounced off (see comments) the energy field.
(World of Mystery#6/2 - BTS) - For hours Martin wandered around town exalting in his new powers.
(World of Mystery#6/2) - Eventually Martin
made his way to the mayor's offices (see comments), and burned
his way in through a wall to confront the man. Martin demanded that
control of the town be ceded to him or he would wipe it off the map,
making it clear that he had ambitions to expand his dominion across the
entire world. The mayor asked for a few hours to talk to the town
council and consider the offer, pointing out that since no one could
harm Martin a few extra hours wouldn't matter. Despite being angry at
being asked to wait, Martin agreed, and sent the mayor to speak to the
(World of Mystery#6/2 - BTS) - Martin waited impatiently, but as the time ticked away and the mayor didn't return he grew increasingly irritable. Meanwhile the townsfolk swiftly evacuated, realizing that since they couldn't stop Martin they would instead have to avoid him.
Mystery#6/2) - After three hours Martin began to get hungry, so
he decided to head down to the nearby French restaurant, realizing their
high prices were no longer an obstacle to him. As he walked down the
street he noticed that there was no one else around, and assumed they
were simply hiding indoors. Entering the empty restaurant he decided to
start his meal with some of the pastries on display, but the moment he
touched them they disintegrated. Realization suddenly struck the
horrified Martin that this would happen to any food he tried to handle,
meaning he was condemned to slowly starve to death. Martin's arrogance
immediately evaporated as he realized he would have to seek the medical
aid the paramedic had mentioned. As he thought this, he noticed a lone
man nearby carrying a pair of suitcases, a straggler in the evacuation.
Desperate for help locating the doctor now that his home had become a
ghost town, Martin turned to the man, but upon seeing the glowing figure
that had been menacing the town, the straggler dropped both suitcases
and fled in terror, ignoring Martin's desperate assurances that he
wouldn't hurt him.
Aware his only option now was to try and find
a doctor who could neutralize his energy field before it was too late,
and realizing that for a little while he had almost the world in his
hands, only to lose it, Martin berated himself for his poor choices.
Comments: Created by Steve Ditko.
Martin is the only character named in the
story, and he only gets a first name.
With no characters who heights are known in
the story, we're left with a guesstimation for Martin's height. He's not
obviously overly short, but equally he felt himself to be an
unexceptional nobody, so it seems unlikely he was tall either - as such,
I've ASSumed he was an unassuming 5'6", slightly below average but not
so much as to make him exceptional.
There's an obvious similarity to Martin's
fate as there was to Unus the Untouchable's in the latter's first
appearance, but honestly the concept goes easily back to at least the
story of Midas. If you have a power that makes you untouchable for
whatever reason, sooner or later you're going to have problems with
eating. What is interesting is that Martin's powers are clearly less
consistent than he realizes - not everything he comes into contact with
gets disintegrated. In real world terms, the reason his clothes don't
disintegrate is because they are protected by the comics code, but
in-story it is presumably because they were also exposed to the
lightning that empowered him. It can't simply be that there's a small
safe zone between his skin and the danger zone, because if that was the
case then his long flapping coat would soon lose the back end. If he
removed an item of clothing would it retain the destructive field even
once away from his body? Air clearly has to get through the field, or
he'd quickly suffocate (unless of course he no longer needs to breathe,
but nobody mentions that might be the case). And if air can get through,
then the authorities could have gassed him unconscious, though of course
there would still be the problem of how to move him to somewhere he
could be contained, and, indeed, if there was any way he could be
contained. Most notably, while he easily disintegrates walls, he doesn't
disintegrate the ground under his feet, or he'd be on a one-way ticket
to the center of the Earth. Again, this raises questions. Do the bottoms
of his feet lack the destructive field? If so, he could presumably go up
stairs or elevators to access higher floors in a building, but if not
then he's literally grounded. But it can't be that the soles of his feet
are clear, as he lay unconscious on his back for a time. So somehow he
can burn through mortar and brick walls, but not tarmac, pavements and
building floors. So, is he subconsciously controlling the power so it
doesn't destroy the ground below him? And if he can control what does
and doesn't get destroyed, then his eating problem is solved and he's
potentially back to being a jerk with dreams of conquest.
The soldiers shooting at Martin allege that bullets
bounce off the energy field, but normally things that strike it are
disintegrated. I suspect the soldiers simply assumed that when the
bullets failed to hit the target they must have been deflected rather
Could this story be taking place on Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel
Earth? Thanks to its stand alone nature, I don't see any reason why not.
If it does take place on Earth-616, there's no reason it couldn't take
place around the time it was published, as the lack of ongoing
characters means it doesn't need to be tied to the sliding timeline that
other stories use to prevent major characters growing excessively old.
With his powers under control, Martin could make an interesting addition
to a group of villains or (if he's learned his lesson) heroes.
How did getting struck by lighting give him
disintegration powers? I mean, okay, Electro, but he got electrical
powers, which at least fitted the source of his empowering. If Martin
lives on Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel universe), then he could be a
latent mutant or Inhuman who already had powers, and just needed a
catalyst to activate them.
The art is quite darkly colored, and partially
because of this I'm not sure if Martin had a mustache or not, as there's
definitely something just under his nose in some panels, but it could
just be a shadow, because it looks to be absent in other panels, and
there's no panel where I could definitely either confirm the presence or
absence of the dubious follicles. I finally decided that I think he's
meant to have a mustache, but only a very short and thin one right under
the bridge of his nose.
I have to love the witnesses who saw Martin's accident. One of the more prominent bystanders is a woman who is using an umbrella to ward off the rain, and who comments in shock that she just saw Martin being struck by lightning and wonders if he is dead. At no point does she seem to consider that it might be a bad idea to be holding up a metal umbrella if lightning bolts have any chance of coming out the sky to strike people dead. Nope, stand, gawk, and raise that lightning rod a little higher lady!
I assume the guy who was tending to Martin when he
woke after the lightning strike was a paramedic, since he had come with
the ambulance and I don't think doctors, even in the 1950s, normally
ride along for emergency call outs. But I could be wrong, and the man
might have been a doctor. Similarly, the guy Martin visits to demand he
be given control of the town isn't identified by name or job title, but
I'd have to assume it was someone like the town mayor.
This profile was completed 09/22/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.
Profile by Loki.
Martin has no known connections to:
images: (without ads)
World of Mystery#6/2, p3, pan6 (main image, burning through a wall)
World of Mystery#6/2, p3, pan2 (headshot)
World of Mystery#6/2, p1, pan1 (struck by lightning)
World of Mystery#6/2, p2, pan7 (laughing off attempts to shoot him)
World of Mystery#6/2, p2, pan6 (burns clean through an ambulance)
World of Mystery#6/2 (April 1957) - writer unknown, Steve Ditko (art), Stan Lee (editor)
First Posted: 09/23/2021
Last updated: 09/22/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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