Posted by:
Byron Brewer

What the D'ast? Doctor Sun


(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.) By Byron Brewer I wasn’t much into Marvel’s monster period in the 1970s, but there were several good things about the time. Chief among them was the rise and fall of one of my favorite comics of all time. Tomb of Dracula was written almost from the beginning by Marv Wolfman and drawn from start to finish and into black and white magazine form by the great art team of Gene Colan and Tom Palmer. TOD, as we called it, was a continuing soap opera in true Stan Lee/Hulk fashion of the modern-day adventures of the Lord of Vampires and also those who fought him. One of the few villains to get it over on the former Impaler was Doctor Sun, an entity so powerful he followed his creator from the horror genre into sci-fi! When we first see Doctor Sun in TOD#16, it is as a disembodied brain with great psionic powers. He bedevils Dracula through a number of extended adventures, and in the pages of TODwe finally find out why (his motives a mystery for a while). As we learned, Doctor Sun was born in Peking, People’s Republic of China, and was working as a scientist during the Cultural Revolution. Sun devised a program whereby a human brain could be removed from its body and supported indefinitely in a life support system. A political enemy managed to sentence Sun to death, then decided Sun should be the test subject of his own program! The initial operation succeeded better than expected. Sun’s disembodied brain was placed within a robotic chassis. When Sun’s mind was connected to a computer bank, he suddenly developed psionic powers. He attacked the doctors, then forced the survivors to serve him. He kept his survival and powers a secret from the Chinese government and eventually left Chinacompletely. Because of his dependence on human blood (aha!), Doctor Sun became involved (maybe obsessed?) with the study of real vampires. He decided that a vampiric army could serve him and conquer the world, but first he needed to conquer the vampires. He fought Dracula a number of times, drained most of Dracula’s powers, and even managed to kill him once, with the help of minion Lucas Brand. After Dracula defeated his plans, the wily Sun switched tactics. He acquired knowledge about the great computer systems of Xandar and actually downloaded his consciousness into those systems. He desired the power represented by the Sphinx, who at the time was fighting with the Champions of Xandar and the Fantastic Four. When Reed Richards created the robot H.E.R.B.I.E. (based on the FF cartoon show’s sub for the Human Torch), Doctor Sun downloaded himself into the robot to increase his mobility and try to steal the power of the Sphinx. Sun stayed relatively dormant in H.E.R.B.I.E. for sometime, letting his plans gel. But after the defeat of the Sphinx, Sun used H.E.R.B.I.E. to release Blastaar from the Negative Zone to destroy the Fantastic Four. Blastaar failed, and Doctor Sun was forced to take action himself and attack the four directly. As H.E.R.B.I.E., he disabled three of them and soon downloaded his consciousness into the BaxterBuilding’s main computer to trap the Human Torch. While he was disconnected from H.E.R.B.I.E., Reed used his own pliable body to stop Sun from taking over the computer and freed his fellow team members. With H.E.R.B.I.E. being the only avenue for escape, Reed’s robot reasserted its original program and bravely threw itself into the main computer to save the Fantastic Four and destroy the consciences of Doctor Sun. This former Chinese scientist is one of the real great baddies of the 1970s, and I would not mind him putting, say, the computer systems of Knowhere or Worldmind through a little exercise sometime in the future.