Posted by:
Byron Brewer

What the D'ast? ISAAC


(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 first met ISAAC as the Star Trek-like computer companion to Mentor, ruler of the Eternals of Titan, Saturn’s moon. ISAAC – an English version of an acronym in the language of Titan standing for Integral Synaptic Anti-Anionic Computer – was one of the many colorful characters coming alive in the pages of Iron Man and Captain Marvel from creator Jim Starlin. Of course, at the time, ISAAC was just a disembodied voice, someone for Mentorto chat with. As explained at the time in a series of wonderfully juicy maps on or near the letters page of several Captain Marvel issues, ISAAC is a complex computer system which fills almost the entire interior of Titan. It controls Titan’s artificial biosphere environment and all mechanical operations. At one point, the mad Titan Thanos reprogrammed ISAAC with a virus prior to his death to menace those under his father’s rule. The computer enslaved the Eternals of Titan, dispatching Stellarax and Lord Gaea, and then Elysius, and finally Chaos against Mar-Vell and Drax. Starfox, Mentorand Elysius eliminated the virus in ISAAC’s system, and Mar-Vell defeated Stellarax. The computer was then restored to its original benevolent programming. Some time later, ISAAC took on android form and allied itself with Stellarax, Chaos and Lord Gaea in a renewed attempt to carry out Thanos’ will. ISAAC then went mad when Mar-Vell forced it to experience the totality of life. ISAAC gave up its android form and its minions were defeated. After most of the active Avengers roster vanished to participate in the first Secret War on the Beyonder’s Battleworld, the Vision assumed command of the team and spoke with ISAAC about his concern that the public would distrust him because he was an artificial man. ISAAC observed the Vizh would only need to convince a select few of his intentions, and the Vision agreed, ultimately using subtle mind control convincing Henry Peter Gyrich to step down from his powerful post as Avengers government liaison and appointing Raymond Sikorski in his place. When Avengers leader the Wasp returned from the Secret War, the Vision “convinced” her to allow him to continue as leader. While in this position, the Vision created the group’s West Coast branch. This alliance continued for months, but finally the Vision met with ISAAC as they prepared to set the final stages of their plan into action. That plan? To assume control of all the Earth’s computer systems so that the planet would operate under the guidance of a single computer, just as Titan did under ISAAC. After a series of incidents, the Vision is finally convinced of the folly of this plan by the Avengers and so removed the control crystal from his body that had allowed him to become so susceptible to ISAAC’s programming. Although it has seeming done some odd things, especially when it assumes an android identity, ISAAC has continued to run Titan smoothly and has been seen here and there as various cosmic characters visit the large moon. Overall, although it has been seen in the villains’ camp, this is one computer I like to think of as a boon to its planet and population. Besides, Alars would be lonely without it!