Real Name: Inapplicable

Identity/Class: Android (1940s era)

Occupation: Crime-fighter and/or Axis agent

Group Membership: Battle-Axis (Dr. Death/James Bradley, Human Meteor/Duke O'Dowd, Spider Queen/Shannon Kane, Strongman/Percy van Norton, Skyshark/Elias Schleigal)

Affiliations: (As crime-fighter) Sheriff Pop Baylee, Phineas Larrapy (see comments);
(as Axis agent) formerly Golem (Jacob Goldstein), Vision (Aarkus)

Enemies: (As crime-fighter) Professor Fathom, Gangland, Inc., Jim Grady, Joe Morgan, Underworld, Inc, Volk (see comments);
    (as Axis agent) Blazing Skull (Mark Todd), Golem (Jacob Goldstein), Invaders (Captain America/Steve Rogers, Human Torch/Jim Hammond, Sub-Mariner/Namor McKenzie, Miss America/Madeline Joyce, Whizzer/Bob Frank), Silver Scorpion (Betty Barlow), Vision (Aarkus)

Known Relatives: Dr. Death/Dr. Nemesis (Dr. James Bradley; creator), Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Adam II ("brothers") (see comments)

Aliases: (Originally) The Electric Man, the Human Generator;
    Sparkplug (as called by Human Torch), Volty (as called by Human Meteor), Live Wire (as called by Blazing Skull)

Base of Operations: Mobile

First Appearance: (Historic) Cat-Man Comics#8/5 (published by Holyoke Publishing Co., Inc., March, 1942);
    (Marvel Universe) Invaders II#1 (May, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Believing himself to be human, Volton was actually a sentient android that mimicked and experienced human emotions, such as surprise and anger. His artificial skin gave him some degree of protection to the flames of the Human Torch.

    The full extent of Volton's powers was unrevealed (see comments), but he can hurl short bursts of electrical energy ("ampere cocktails") from his hands which render most opponents unconscious; he can also project prolonged bursts to electrocute humans.

    He can fly (possibly by means of electromagnetism) at unspecified speeds, and he can surround his body with a nearly-invisible electrical aura that stunned anyone who made contact with him -- on at least one occasion, he diverted most of his energy to power his flight, leaving no electrical aura around him.

Height: 6'3" (by approximation)
Weight: 300 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Bald (see comments)

(Invaders II#3 (fb) - BTS) - At some point by the 1930s, Dr. James Bradley became the "silent partner" of Professor Phineas T. Horton and assisted him with the creation of androids. The two men worked together on the android that would become the original Human Torch, while Bradley worked mostly alone on a second android.

(Marvels Project#1 / Invaders II#3 (fb)) - In 1939, Bradley warned Horton against publicizing their work due to the unexplained phenomenon of the Torch bursting into flames upon exposure to air; however Horton sought money and publicity, and he revealed his creation to the world anyway. Outraged, Bradley dissolved their partnership and departed, taking the second unfinished android with him.

(Invaders II#3 (fb) - BTS) - At some point during the next two and a half years, Bradley completed work on the second android and activated it. But Bradley never told his creation about its true nature; instead, Bradley concocted a false origin and programmed the android to believe that it was a man whose memories were erased when he was struck by a bolt of lightning, and that the lightning had also endowed him with a range of electrical powers (To explain the android's lack of facial hair, Bradley's programming also included that the "lightning" had burned out all the "man's" hair follicles). The android briefly acted as the superhero Volton from late 1941 to early 1942.

(Cat-Man Comics#8/5) - One night, enemy planes were reported offshore, so a blackout was ordered for "Empire City." Some gangsters took advantage of the darkness and attempted to break into the vault of one of the city's banks by using an electrically-powered jackhammer. Sensing the use of electricity, Volton arrived to thwart the trio of would-be robbers. After punching two thugs and serving their leader an "ampere cocktail," Volton notified the police about the unconscious crooks. But when the air-raid was over, the citizens discovered the power was still off, so Volton investigated at the power plant, where he discovered more of the gang-members -- unaware of their three accomplices' capture, they had deactivated the generating turbines to give their fellow gang-members more time to rob the bank. After a brief scuffle with the criminals, Volton switched the city's generators back on; but then one of the thugs threw a steel crowbar at Volton, pinning the electric man against the wall and grounding him. The gangsters drew their guns and were about to shoot the hero; although he was short-circuited and his powers were fading, Volton stared intently at the sky. Suddenly, from a storm cloud over the powerhouse, a lightning bolt came crashing down, bringing life and freedom to Volton, and wreaking a deadly vengeance among the evil-doers! The triumphant Volton returned to his home high atop the "Empire City Building" (see comments).

(Cat-Man Comics#9/10) - Aboard an ocean-liner entering "Empire City's" harbor, Professor Fathom stole a valuable platinum-producing chemical (...or so he thought); the elderly scientist next telephoned Underworld, Inc. and offered to sell the formula to them. But Fathom's call was intercepted by Volton, who got an idea to catch every crook in town: The electric man made an anonymous phone call to Gangland, Inc., and informed those mobsters about the sale as well. 

    Later, when the two criminal gangs clashed with each other for the formula, Volton zapped them all unconscious, and Professor Fathom learned that the formula actually produced synthetic tin (see comments).

(post-Cat-Man Comics#9 / pre-Invaders II#1 - BTS) - At some point in early 1942, Volton was approached by Dr. Death (secretly his creator, James Bradley), and he joined the team of Nazi operatives known as Battle-Axis: Volton's only motivation seemed to be that since he was such a "live wire," it only seemed natural for him to work with the Third Reich. The team prepared for the "Mojave Project," Dr. Death's elaborate scheme involving a device called an "oscillotron," which would cause an earthquake on the American west coast that would destroy war industry plants and release poison gas from underground storage, and thus cause the U.S. to withdraw from the war-effort in order to deal with the crisis at home. Volton's absence from the public eye was noticed by the Thin Man (Bruce Dickson), who was keeping tabs on potential members for the Liberty Legion.

(Invaders II#1) - On the night of June 22, 1942, three of the Invaders -- Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and Human Torch -- confronted a Nazi U-boat in New York Harbor; but the members of Battle-Axis (who were aboard the submarine) counterattacked. While his teammates fought and defeated Captain America and the Sub-Mariner, Volton battled the Human Torch. The flaming hero was able to avoid Volton's "ampere cocktails," but he was stunned when he flew too close and made contact with Volton's electrical aura; with the trio of heroes defeated, Battle-Axis departed.

   Later, Battle-Axis ambushed the Whizzer, and Miss America in a city park: The Whizzer was captured, while Miss America reluctantly took flight. Volton and the Human Meteor flew in pursuit of the heroine, but when they caught up with her, she maneuvered them into colliding with each other, which momentarily stunned them, while she made her escape.

(Invaders II#2) - In the dark of night, the members of Battle-Axis traveled to Los Angeles, California aboard Skyshark's dirigible, where two police officers witnessed the airship's arrival; while Spider Queen provided a distraction, Volton mercilessly electrocuted the lawmen from behind.

   Shortly afterward, in a nearby residential area, Dr. Death had forcibly recruited the Golem into joining the group, and also captured the Human Torch. Meanwhile, Strongman, Spider Queen, and Human Meteor went to the science center on the campus of UCLA to steal the oscillotron.
    Volton did not participate in either of these operations (see comments).

(Invaders II#3) - In the secret base of Battle-Axis beneath the Mojave Desert, the captured Human Torch and Whizzer were imprisoned within transparent cylinders; the members of Battle-Axis elaborated on their backgrounds to their captives. Having no memories of his former life, Volton could only report that his mind had been wiped when he was struck by the lightning bolt which had empowered him. When the rest of the Invaders attacked the base, Battle-Axis fought them to a standstill, with Volton battling the Sub-Mariner. But then Dr. Death used Professor Enoch Mason's "dimension smasher" to summon the extradimensional Aarkus the Vision, and forced him to defeat the Invaders.

(Invaders II#4) - After all the Invaders were individually confined inside transparent cylinders, Dr. Death explained his scheme to them, after which he released a gas within the cylinders that weakened the prisoners. Although groggy, the Human Torch managed to partially ignite his flames and melt his way out; but Volton ran over to the Torch and seized his fiery arm (which Captain America noticed), then punched him unconscious. Dr. Death ordered Volton and the Golem to stand guard over the Invaders, while he and the others attended to the oscillotron.

   Shortly afterward, Captain America pointed out to Volton that he had grabbed the Torch's flaming arm without raising his electrical aura, so his hand should have been charbroiled, yet it was uninjured; therefore, Cap concluded that Volton was really an android! The Whizzer added that must be the reason why Volton couldn't recall his early life, because he had nothing to remember! Angered by the accusations, Volton punched Cap's transparent prison and shattered it; the Whizzer further speculated that Volton was really the second android that Dr. Death took when he left Phineas Horton three years earlier, and he sarcastically compared Volton to being "the spare-tire version of the Human Torch." The agitated Volton insisted that he was human, but Blazing Skull goaded him further and asked Volton when he had last cut himself shaving; Volton responded that all his hair follicles had been burned out by the lightning bolt that had empowered him. To prove to the Invaders that he was no android, Voltan grabbed a shard of the shattered cylinder and stabbed his hand...but when he didn't bleed (see comments), he realized Dr. Death had lied to him about his true nature.

   While Volton was distracted, Captain America escaped. Despite being continuously blasted by Volton, Cap managed to grab his shield and hurled it at the rest of the cylinders, shattering the glass tubes and freeing the other Invaders; Volton was then briefly incapacitated by the sting of the Silver Scorpion.

   During the final confrontation between the two teams, Dr. Death activated the oscillotron; but Volton wanted his creator to pay a price for lying to him, so he zapped Dr. Death and seemingly killed him. As the oscillotron's destructive power began to build up, Volton once again faced the Human Torch. Volton proposed that since they were both androids, they should just stand aside and let humanity perish at the hand of its own kind (...needless to say, the Torch rejected his suggestion). The battle between the two groups finally ended when the Sub-Mariner destroyed the oscillotron. Volton and the other members of Battle-Axis surrendered to the Invaders, and they were presumably taken into custody (see comments).

(Cat-Man Comics#10/6) - Gangster Joe Morgan wanted to buy a tract of land from elderly multimillionaire Phineas Larrapy: Morgan wanted to build a warehouse to store "hot" merchandise; but Larrapy refused to sell the land, because he was building a boys club there. Morgan schemed to have Larrapy "accidentally" killed while he toured the construction site; but Volton (now wearing a new costume (see comments)) learned of the plot and saved Larrapy, and then he captured Morgan and his henchmen.

(Cat-Man Comics#11/4) - In his laboratory at the National Electric Company, the evil Professor Peters -- along with his assistants, Metz and Volk -- prepared to test his newly-completed giant "lightning-gun," which he planned to use for criminal purposes. The weapon was activated, and it unleashed an energy blast that reduced a large metal block to powder. But high atop the "Empire City Building," Volton sensed the tremendous amount of electrical energy being used, so he went to investigate. As Peters was about to test the lightning-gun again, he was electrocuted; a moment later, Volton arrived, and Volk accused the hero of being responsible for the professor's death. Suddenly, two thugs entered the lab and threw a cable at Volton, short-circuiting the electric man and causing his strength to fade. While the thugs began to ransack the lab, searching for the plans of the lightning-gun, Volk told Volton that he was going to summon the police, and he advised the weakened electric man to keep an eye on Metz.

    Volk claimed it was actually Metz who had aimed the lightning-gun at the professor. Volton strained with every ounce of his depleted strength and managed to make contact with an electric switch, which recharged him. After shocking one thug unconscious, Volton questioned the other and wanted to know who had sent them for the plans; suddenly, a pistol shot echoed through the room, and the thug fell dead. But Volton immediately apprehended the killer: Volk. Confessing that he was a Nazi agent, Volk admitted it was he who had adjusted a dial to deflect the gun's lightning bolt to strike the spot where Professor Peters was standing; he also admitted to hiring the thugs, since only the professor knew where the plans were hidden. 

    After the police arrived, Volton turned everyone over to the lawmen, then returned to his hideaway atop the "Empire City Building" (see comments).

(Cat-Man Comics#12/4) - When a new defense plant opened in Bayleeville, it brought in migratory workers and improved the economy of the impoverished small town; but it also brought in a criminal element: Racketeer Jim Grady and his gang operated a casino, where they fleeced workers of their earnings. The elderly Sheriff Pop Baylee went to confront Grady, but he was assaulted by the mobsters; the townspeople were going to appoint a new sheriff, because they thought Baylee was too old for the job. Volton appeared and secretly helped the elderly lawman drive the racketeers from town, and thus restored the people's confidence in Sheriff Baylee (see comments).

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Joe Kubert (artist) for Holyoke Publishing Co., Inc.; adapted for the Marvel Universe by Roy Thomas and Dave Hoover.

    Please note that Volton's Golden Age Cat-Man Comics adventures listed above (as well as some of the Affiliations and Enemies) didn't necessarily occur on Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel Universe) -- similar events and details could apply to the Marvel Universe's version of Volton, but these are not confirmed. None of the five 6-page Volton stories in Cat-Man Comics ever mentioned an origin or secret-identity for him.

    The first two Golden Age Volton stories had him with a pale-blue face and wearing a red-and-blue costume similar to the one seen in the Invaders mini-series; but for some unexplained reason, he was depicted with a different costume in the three stories that followed (Maybe the publisher was worried about being sued for Volton's similar resemblance to DC's 1940s Manhunter?). Since it was stated that the events with the Battle-Axis took place in late June of 1942, I'm assuming the last three stories took place afterwards.
    [...and assuming his last three adventures happened on Earth-616, then maybe following his stint with the Battle-Axis, Volton saw the error of his ways and reformed (or maybe Phineas Horton reprogrammed him), then restarted his heroic career by adopting the new costume.]

    Roy Thomas originally intended for Battle-Axis to consist of some of the minor 1940s heroes of Timely Comics (predecessor of Marvel) who'd vanished from comics by 1942 and hadn't been reintroduced in modern times at that point; Volton's position in Battle-Axis was probably originally intended for Dynamic Man. But editor Mark Gruenwald preferred not to see even long-forgotten Timely heroes turned into Nazis, so Thomas instead dredged up some characters from defunct 1940s publishers that were in the public domain, which is why Volton and the others were used.

    I've only listed the powers that Volton displayed in the Invaders mini-series, but he had additional powers in his original stories. For example, he could seemingly transform his body into an energy-state and travel through electric and telephone lines; and he could also elongate his body and arms to grab things or throw punches from a distance (Although some panels in the Invaders stories suggest that the lower-half of his body is elongated, I'll just attribute that to the lightning-like trail he left behind while he was flying (...much like the Human Torch's fiery trail)).

    No explanation was given for Volton's absence during his cohorts' exploits in Invaders II#2--maybe he was recharging himself...or maybe Roy Thomas just forgot to include him in those story sequences.

    Since he was basically a duplicate of the Human Torch, I based Volton's height/weight on the Torch's. Volton was never depicted without his mask/cowl, but I'm assuming he was bald because his "hair follicles" were supposedly burned out. And although his eyes are blank (possibly an effect of his using his powers) in the images above, a few close-up panels in the Invaders stories depicted him with blue eyes.

    Volton's physiology was probably based on the Human Torch's, so it's unusual that he had no blood when he stabbed his hand in Invaders II#4. The Torch is known to have "blood" (as evidenced by the transfusions he gave to Spitfire/Jacqueline Falsworth (@ Invaders I#11 and Namor I#12) and Toro/Thomas Raymond (@ Marvel Super-Heroes I#16). Maybe Volton did have "blood," but his self-repair systems instantly "healed" him before any leaked out.
    In regards to Volton's Known Relatives: Since his "brother," the original Human Torch, was eventually reconfigured into the Vision ("Victor Shade"), you can probably include the Vision's extended family as relatives of Volton as well.
...And speaking of the Vision: Volton hasn't been seen since the Invaders mini-series, but I've read rumors that a proposed Vision series was scheduled for late-2018 that would have shown Volton to be alive and active in the modern era; however that project was cancelled, so Volton's current status remains unrevealed.

    [And for you die-hard obscure character trivia buffs out there: There was another comic book Volton (also known as "The Human Generator") who preceded this one; he appeared in Worth Carnahan's Cyclone Comics #1-5 (June-November, 1940) - scientist Guy Newton mastered the forces of static electricity in the human body, which he controlled with a device concealed in a box on a chain that was welded around his waist.]

    This profile was completed 06/09/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Volton has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Invaders II#1, p21, pan4 (Main Image - Volton flying over city)
Invaders II#3, p6, pan1 (Headshot - Volton talks about his (supposed) origin)
Invaders II#2, p6, pan4 (Volton electrocutes two policemen)
Invaders II#4, p11, pan6 (Volton stabs his hand with shard of glass, surprised at discovering he doesn't bleed)
Invaders II#3, p17, pan4 (firing eletricity at Namor)
Cat-Man Comics#8/5, p6, pan4 (Volton (original costume), recharged by lightning bolt)
Cat-Man Comics#10/6, p1, pan1 (Volton (second costume))
Cyclone Comics#1/7, p1, pan1 (earlier Volton (unrelated to this character) )

Holyoke Publishing Co., Inc.:
Cat-Man Comics#8/5 (March, 1942) - Joe Kubert (pencils and inks)
Cat-Man Comics#9/10 (April, 1942) - Joe Kubert (pencils and inks)
Cat-Man Comics#10/6 (May, 1942) - Joe Kubert (pencils and inks)
Cat-Man Comics#11/4 (June, 1942) - Joe Kubert (pencils and inks)
Cat-Man Comics#12/4 (July, 1942) - Sol Brodsky (pencils and inks)

Invaders II#1-2 (May-June, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Brian Garvey (inks), Pat Brosseau (letters), Paul Becton (colors), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Invaders II#3 (July, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hoocer (pencils), Brian Garvey & Brian Akin (inks),  Pat Brosseau (letters) Paul Becton (colors), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Invaders II#4 (August, 1993) - Roy Thomas (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Brian Garvey (inks), Pat Brosseau (letters), Paul Becton (colors), Mike Rockwitz (editor)

First Posted: 09/01/2021
Last updated: 08/28/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
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