(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
Nothing to fear but fear itself? Hah! Tell that to Psycho-Man, first appearing in Fantastic Four Annual #5 (a Lee/Kirby production of course!).
The chief scientist and ruler of the technocracy governing the five planets of the Sub-Atomica system within the Microverse (a reality accessed via the energies of shrinking), Psycho-Man discovered the secrets of fear itself with the guidance of the Earth goddess Nox. When his system became overcrowded, he sought a new home for his people and chose Earth, whose population he believed had no defense against his weaponry. He created a human-sized armored suit and Control Box. Unable to transport a weapon large enough to affect the entire planet, he employed several criminals whom he kept in line via his Control Box – Ivan, Live Wire and Shell-Shock -- successfully gathering the materials to construct his large Control Weapon. (He was a little dickens!)
BUT -- the land he used as his base had been recently purchased as PantherIslandby the Black Panther. With the help of the Inhumans, the Black Panther fought with him and bested his partners. Then, with the appearance of the Human Torch, Thing, Triton and Lockjaw, they fought him directly but were stalled by his massive psycho ray that kept them at bay with their greatest fears. Gorgon arrived moments later and discovered the ruse and helped his friends escape and destroy the gun. In a final battle, the Black Panther sneaked up behind Psycho-Man and grabbed him, wherein he disappeared again into the Microverse.
Shortly thereafter, the Human Torch, Thing and Reed Richards entered the Microverse seeking the Silver Surfer to prevent Galactus from consuming Earth. Detecting their presence, Psycho-Man sent his Indestructable robot to capture them, but the Silver Surfer wiped it from existence before returning to Earth. Psycho-Man then transported the FF aboard his ship and sent a number of armored forms against them; however, the heroes trapped Psycho-Man and convinced him that Galactus posed a threat to his world as well, and he returned them to Earth. Soon after, Sub-Atomica was overrun by the invading Insectivorids of Annihilus. Psycho-Man captured the Surfer to power his energy weapons and Spider-Man to probe his mind for the means of driving off the insect swarm, but they escaped back to Earth. Annihilus was eventually driven off. (They don’t make ”˜em like that any more, folks!)
Apparently exiled by his people, Psycho-Man retreated to his Worldship, employing androids to clear space debris around him. Though remaining a man of science, he came to worship gods of Chaos. Psycho-Man also reclaimed his armor from the Fantastic Four, which led them to pursue him back to the Microverse. Meanwhile, Arcturus Rann and the Micronauts were attacked by his androids and followed them back to Psycho-Man's ship. There the teams joined forces to thwart Psycho-Man's plot to conquer the universe, though the Microversian Insectivorid, Jasmine, was slain by one of Psycho-Man's creatures.
After the apparent death of Reed Richards (again?), Psycho-Man plotted vengeance against the Invisible Woman, reconquering the planet Mirwood and using Pearla to dupe the Fantastic Four into believing that Mr. Fantastic was in the Microverse. The Fantastic Four's newest member, Ant-Man, exposed Psycho-Man's involvement, and the seemingly invalid villain blew up his own base in an effort to slay his foes, though they escaped. Surviving as well, Psycho-Man occupied the facilities of Baron Karza, a Microverse tyrant then believed dead. Psycho-Man sought the future technology of the cyborg Garrison Kane (Weapon X) to enhance the power of the Baron's Dog Soldiers, leading to a conflict with Kane's allies Cable, Domino and Copycat as well as Arcturus Rann, Marionette and Bug. Cable used his psychic powers to bombard Psycho-Man with the powerful love emotions existing between Kane and Copycat, incapacitating the villain, who was left in stasis under the Rann's supervision.
Psycho-Man finally began to succumb to the nerve degeneration initiated by Sue Richards' attack. Dying, he returned to Earth to gain vengeance on his greatest enemies. His powers enhanced to a new degree, he caused the Fantastic Four to be evicted from the BaxterBuilding, taking it as his own base. From there he spread his power across Manhattan, causing increasing levels of terror, violence and depression. Sue, however, was able not only to sense his power but to manipulate his energies, purging the city of them. Using the blind Alicia Masters as a double to catch Psycho-Man unaware, Sue knocked him out by obstructing his airway, and he was placed in stasis.
Psycho-Man has had a good run battling the heroes of Earth and the Microverse. One wonders how he would make it out among the stars? Marvel Cosmic as it is now, we will never know.