Classification: Terrestrial technology (1950s era)
Creator: Unrevealed (see comments)
User/Possessors: Blackie Nolan (owner), Jerry (operator)
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#17/3 (August, 1954)
Aliases: "Monster from Mars" (as initially called by Jerry)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: A human-sized robot-like suit of armor (see comments), it had a hinged panel on its back affixed with a hasp, which was fastened with a combination lock. The small doorway allowed access to the armor's hollow torso; however, the confined space within necessitated for its operator to be of small stature (i.e. a dwarf).
Made from steel, the armor was bulletproof, and it functioned as an exoskeleton to enhance the operator's strength to some degree (Class 5?). It was unrevealed if the suit had any special armaments or other capabilities.
The armor's power source was unrevealed, but it somehow continued to function for at least three weeks after it was initially activated... even though its operator (Jerry) had died of starvation two weeks earlier (see comments).
(Journey into Mystery I#17/3 (fb) - BTS) - The origin of this suit of armor is unrevealed, but Blackie Nolan had it built by an unidentified associate (see comments). Because of the confined space of the armor's interior, Nolan contacted an acquaintance who was small enough to fit inside: The dwarfish Jerry.
(Journey into Mystery I#17/3) - In his cellar hideout, Nolan presented the armor to Jerry; although Jerry was initially frightened by the "monster from Mars," Nolan allayed his fear by showing him it was just an empty suit of armor. Then Nolan proposed his scheme -- since Jerry was small enough to fit inside, he could use the armor to rob stores and banks, then bring the loot back to the cellar for the two of them to share. Jerry agreed to the partnership and climbed into the armor, and when he began to move about with it, the little man was quite pleased by how powerful the metallic contraption made him feel.
But then Nolan put a combination lock on the armor's access doorway and locked Jerry inside, so as to ensure that the little man didn't double-cross him, since Nolan was the only one who could let him out of the suit again; Nolan also warned Jerry not to kill anyone, because he didn't want to be involved with any murder.
Using the suit, Jerry began a crime spree that paralyzed the city -- no one knew where the "Metal Monster" came from, they only knew it was impossible to resist it. At first, the armored Jerry met no opposition, until he raided the Fourth National Bank -- while he was on his way out with the loot, a bank guard dared to try to stop him, so Jerry choked the guard to death.
When the armored Jerry returned to the hideout, the enraged Nolan -- having read about the killing in the newspaper -- angrily chastised the "stupid runt" for murdering the guard. Jerry was offended by the insult, and being drunk with the power that the armor gave him, he violently dissolved their partnership by brutally striking Nolan. Leaving the unconscious Nolan laying on the cellar floor, Jerry walked away in the suit, having decided that he would operate on his own from now on.
However, Nolan didn't die -- for three weeks, he would lay in a coma at a hospital, while reports of the "Metal Monster" terrorizing robbery victims continued to fill the front pages of the city's newspapers.
(Journey into Mystery I#17/3 - BTS) - But while Nolan was comatose in the hospital, Jerry -- unable to exit the armor -- eventually died from starvation after a week...yet the armor functioned independently and continued committing crimes, despite Jerry's death (see comments).
(Journey into Mystery I#17/3) - When Nolan recovered from his coma, he offered to cooperate with the police to stop the power-mad Jerry if they agreed to give him a reduced sentence. Having kept track of the "Metal Monster's" pattern of robberies, the police predicted it would attack a furrier on Pennsy Street on the next night.
The following night, Nolan entered the building where it was presumed the "Monster" would strike. Since he was the only one who could unlock Jerry from the armor, Nolan hoped he would be able to reason with the berserk dwarf.
Sometime later, Nolan heard metallic footsteps approaching, and the "Metal Monster" entered the store. The profusely sweating Nolan nervously apologized for insulting Jerry, and he removed the lock from the back of the armor, explaining that the little man could now get out and stretch his legs. But when he opened the armor's doorway, Nolan was horrified by what he found.
Then the armored suit turned, put its hands around Blackie Nolan's neck, and began to choke the life from him -- when he had opened the door to freedom for the dwarf, Nolan was unaware that Jerry had died of starvation two weeks earlier!
Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Robert Q. Sale.
You may notice that this armor had a remarkably close resemblance to M-11 (the Human Robot of the Agents of Atlas), so how could we explain this coincidence (...other than saying that the artist probably just copied the design from an earlier story)? Well, my theory is that Blackie Nolan somehow got hold of some of the plans for the Atlas Foundation's Menacer robots, maybe from Dr. Zu or Dr. Cyrus Virro.
As far as who built the armored suit for Nolan: Maybe it was a young Terrible Tinkerer (Phineas Mason), who looks to be old enough to have been around when this story occurred.
I'd further speculate that some of Jerry's life-essence somehow became instilled within the armor, which allowed it to continue functioning after the dwarf's death.
The final fate of the "Metal Monster" is unrevealed, but there's probably an Agents of Atlas storyline here...
And this 5-page story--The Thing that Walked!--never referred to this suit of armor by any particular name, but a caption referred to it as the "Metal Monster," and the very next story-panel showed a newspaper headline which also referred to it as such, so I went with that for the profile's title.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
The "Metal Monster" has no known connections to:
Blackie Nolan has no known connections to:
Jerry has no known connections to:
Somewhere in an unidentified American city, Nolan was a
criminal who maintained a hideout in a cellar.
For three weeks, Nolan lay in a coma at a hospital, hovering between life
and death; meanwhile, the "Metal Monster" continued with its violent crime
Jerry (last name unrevealed),
alias "Jerry the Midget," was a dwarf (perhaps 28" tall)
and the best pickpocket on the East Side, but others always laughed at him
because of his small size.
The armored Jerry went on with his crime spree, and newspaper headlines
shrieked with reports of the terrifying "Metal Monster." But after a
week, having no means to release himself from the armor, Jerry died from
starvation...yet somehow, the armor still operated and continued with
its crimes (see comments).
images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p1, pan1 (Main Image - armored suit (left-side view))
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p1, pan3 (Blackie Nolan shows Jerry access panel on rear of armored suit)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p2, pan3 (Jerry enters armored suit; Blackie Nolan (left))
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p2, pan4 (armored suit, animated with Jerry inside; Blackie Nolan (background))
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p3, pan3-5 (Jerry uses armored suit to commit various crimes)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p4, pan1 (Daily World newspaper headline mentions "Metal Monster" (underlined in red))
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p1, pan1 (Blackie Nolan)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p2, pan2 (Blackie Nolan talks about his plans involving Jerry and armored suit)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p5, pan4 (after unlocking armored suit, horrified Nolan sees Jerry's corpse)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p5, pan5 (Blackie Nolan getting choked by animated armor)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p1, pan2 (Jerry, frightened when he first sees armored suit)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p2, pan2 (Jerry considers Blackie Nolan's plans)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p3, pan6 (using armored suit, Jerry chokes bank guard)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3, p5, pan6 (deceased Jerry's arm hanging out of open access panel, as animated armor chokes Blackie Nolan)
Journey into Mystery I#17/3 (August, 1954) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Robert Q. Sale (pencils and inks)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
First Posted: 10/18/2021
Last Updated: 10/18/2021
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