- Abner Jenkins
Infobox comics character
caption=Abner Jenkins in his MACH-IV Armor
real_name=Abner Ronald Jenkins
debut="Strange Tales" #123 (August, 1964)
Stan Lee Carl Burgos
Commission on Superhuman ActivitiesThunderbolts Masters of Evil Sinister Syndicate
aliases=Beetle, MACH-1, MACH-2, Matthew Davis, MACH-3
Variety of weapons systems
cat = super
subcat = Marvel Comics
hero = y
villain = y
sortkey = Jenkins, Abner
Fictional character biography
Abner Jenkins was born in
Abner Jenkins was a master mechanic at an aircraft parts factory who became dissatisfied with his boring, low paying job. Using his considerable mechanical knowledge, Jenkins built an armor-plated, strength-augmenting suit, a pair of gravity-defying wings, suction-fingered gloves, and a cybernetic control helmet. Calling himself the Beetle, Jenkins decided to use his battle-suit for fame, wealth, and adventure. Believing a victory over half the
Fantastic Fourwould make him an overnight sensation, the Beetle chose to lure the Human Torchand the Thing into battle. However, the Thing and the Torch defeated him, and he was sent to prison. ["Strange Tales" #123]
Paroled a short time later, he sought revenge on the Torch, but found himself in battle with
Spider-Maninstead. Once again, with help from the Torch, he was defeated. ["Amazing Spider-Man" #21] Upon his release, he decided to forego petty revenge and concentrated on the acquisition of wealth. At one point the Beetle was mentally dominated and recruited by the Collector to serve as his unwilling agent. Under the Collector's domination, the Beetle faced the Avengers. ["Strange Tales" #27-28] He battled Daredevil ["Daredevil" #33-34] and then, allied with Gladiator, fought him again. ["Daredevil" #140] The Beetle also battled Spider-Man again. ["Spectacular Spider-Man" #16]
He later became a member of the group of supervillains who briefly posed as the Defenders in order to confuse the authorities and earn a bit of public trust. ["Defenders" Vol. 1 #63-65]
Losing every battle against costumed crime-fighters and failing to accumulate very much wealth, the Beetle offered his services to underworld financier
Justin Hammer, who kept various superhuman criminals on retainers. His offer accepted, the Beetle was dispatched against the original Iron Man, as part of a battalion of costumed criminals. His Beetle armor was severely damaged by Iron Man during the fight. ["Spectacular Spider-Man" #127] Beetle was one of the villains that attacked the Fantastic Four during the Acts of Vengeance.
Jenkins then invested all of the capital he could acquire into the modification and refinement of his Beetle armor. With the assistance of the
Tinkerer, he produced a new battle-suit with far greater capacities than his old one. Before launching his comeback, the Beetle recruited the criminal Ringer to put Spider-Man through his paces. The Beetle wished to study Spider-Man's fighting style and program it into a computer system so he could anticipate his opponent's moves. Despite his preparations and new battle-suit, the Beetle was again defeated by Spider-Man. ["Spectacular Spider-Man" #58-60] He was later freed from prison by Egghead who recruited him for his Masters of Evilorganization. The Beetle and other Masters of Evil were defeated by the Avengers and arrested. ["Avengers" #228-229]
Justin Hammer then commissioned Beetle, Blizzard II, and
Blacklashto kill Clayton Wilson, but Iron Man defeated them. ["Iron Man" #223-224] Soon thereafter, Beetle battled Iron Man again, but this time all portions of the Beetle's battle armor using Stark technology were fused. ["Iron Man" #227]
The Beetle organized his own team of super-villainous mercenaries called the
Sinister Syndicate. The team ran afoul of Spider-Man ["Amazing Spider-Man" #280-281] ["Deadly Foes of Spider-Man" #1] and Silver Sable, and later imploded due to internal conflicts.
As a member of the Thunderbolts
When most of
Earth's costumed adventurers, including the then-core membership of the Avengers and Fantastic Four, seemingly died battling Onslaught, Baron (Helmut) Zemo recruited Jenkins and a number of other villains to trick the world into believing they were heroes called the Thunderbolts. Jenkins adopted the guise of MACH-1. Zemo's plan ultimately failed, but Jenkins and other members decided to try making the Thunderbolts a legitimate team. When Hawkeye took over the group's leadership, he convinced Jenkins to serve out the remainder of his prison term as a show of good faith to the public, but another criminal used the guise of the Beetle to frame him. While at Seagate, Jenkins coped with resentment and occasional assaults from other super-criminals and refused a chance to participate in a mass escape organized by his old employer Justin Hammer. Instead, Jenkins foiled the breakout, an act which brought him to the attention of the government's Commission on Superhuman Activities(CSA). They recruited Jenkins to participate in a sting operation aimed at Hammer. Jenkins agreed, using a newly-designed armor to operate as the Beetle once more. The activities of the new Beetle attracted the attention of the Thunderbolts. Fearing the CSA might not honor the terms of their bargain, Jenkins fled CSA custody after completing the operation and rejoined the Thunderbolts. Hawkeye blackmailed the CSA into allowing Jenkins to remain free, even though the government's records would list Jenkins as still being in prison, in exchange for keeping the CSA's exploitation of Jenkins' secret.
Jenkins created the MACH-2 battle-suit after modifying his MACH-1 armor with the aid of Techno (a robot based on the Fixer, who was then posing as Thunderbolts' machine-smith Ogre). Techno also altered Jenkins' physical appearance using "dermaplasty" technology since the public was not supposed to know MACH-2 was Abner Jenkins, and the mischievous Techno had some fun at Jenkins' expense by giving him the features of an
African American. While this change made his girlfriend Songbird uneasy for a time, Jenkins himself adjusted quickly and reestablished himself as one of the team's most confident and capable members.
When the Thunderbolts uncovered and thwarted a CSA-connected conspiracy to exterminate all superhumans, Hawkeye blackmailed the CSA into giving the Thunderbolts full pardons in exchange for the group's silence; however, CSA agent
Henry Peter Gyrichinsisted that he would not go along with the deal unless Hawkeye went to prison for his technically illegal vigilanteactivities as a member of the Thunderbolts. Hawkeye agreed, despite the protests of his teammates, and surrendered to federal custody. Most of the rest of the Thunderbolts, including MACH-2 and Songbird, were pardoned and released. However, as part of the terms of their deal, they were forbidden from public use of superhuman powers or costumed identities. MACH-2 and Songbird turned their equipment over to the authorities and started new civilian lives in the town of Burton Canyon, Coloradoas Abe Jenkins and Melissa Gold.
Ironically, Jenkins found himself employment with the Burton Canyon
police departmentas a tech supportspecialist. Unfortunately, their quiet lives were shattered when the super-criminal Graviton launched his latest attempt at world conquest in Burton Canyon, imprisoning the world's superheroes and reshaping the planet in his own image. Despite their reluctance to risk their newfound freedom, Jenkins and Songbird agreed to join Citizen V(secretly Baron Zemo controlling Citizen V's body) in attacking Graviton as part of a new team of Thunderbolts. Jenkins was given new armor provided by Citizen V's financiers, the V-Battalion, and called himself MACH-3. Graviton was defeated and the world was saved, but MACH-3 and the other Thunderbolts disappeared in an implosion created by the dying Graviton's power, with the exception of Songbird, who appeared left behind as the sole survivor.
On Counter-Earth, the team continued to band together, searching for a way to return to their own world and beginning to establish themselves as the leading superheroes of the troubled Counter-Earth.
After a failed attempt to escape to the real Earth, the team entered into an uneasy alliance with their original leader, Baron Zemo, in an ongoing effort to save Counter-Earth from the various ills plaguing that alternate world. The Thunderbolts went on to revive the flying city of
Attilanand populate it with refugees and survivors of the war-torn and nearly-destroyed world. The Thunderbolts became renowned for their heroism and efforts to solve the world's problems. They were hailed by many to be the world's saviors. Nevertheless, Jenkins appeared to be going through the motions; his heart being elsewhere as his relationship with Songbird was thought to be lost.
On Counter-Earth, Zemo's Thunderbolts had encountered the effects of a
white holespawned from an abandoned spacecraft, as its engine's radiationbegan eating Earth from the inside. The Thunderbolts embarked on a plan to combine their powers to punt the alien ship off the Earth and sever the link between the worlds. However, in order to complete this plan, the Thunderbolts needed to be inside the engine-spawned void in order to keep it clear of the real Earth as it closed. By so doing, they would reemerge from the void on the real Earth, forfeiting their roles and place on Counter-Earth. Emerging from the void, the Thunderbolts encountered their former teammates Hawkeye and Songbird, who had formed their own version of the Thunderbolts, who were similarly engaged with the void from the real Earth's counterpart of the spaceship. The two teams of Thunderbolts combined forces to plug the void and shunt the alien ship from Earth. Jenkins' reunion with Songbird was short-lived. Despite their feelings for each other, Jenkins left Songbird, once more remanding himself to police custody to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Back on Earth
For six months, Jenkins had been a model prisoner at Parsons Minimum Security prison in
Illinois. He has since had his skin and face changed back to his original appearance, and has resumed contact with Songbird. Abe was recently approached by the Avengers on finding if they had been staying legit despite their suspicions. Abe told them they would have to stop Baron Zemo before he launched Project: Liberation, but that Moonstone was the one to really worry about. After Moonstone revealed her plans, Abe had Jolt contacted to help the Avengers and Thunderbolts stop her.
Following the conclusion to the battle, Abe was finally
paroled from jail and made an announcement that he was reforming the Thunderbolts and that any former villains or super-powered individuals who wanted a second chance would be allowed to join. He found himself the group's leader and lover to Songbird. Things continued to go crazy when the Thunderbolts kept being put into tough situations as Baron Wolfgang Von Struckerthrew new challenges to keep them busy, including adding Speed Demon to the team as a spy and allowing Fathom Five to attack New York City. Things finally came together when Abe revealed he always intended to take down Strucker. They succeeded in defeating HYDRA's scheme to destroy all of Manhattan, but Strucker managed to escape. Currently, Abe is dealing with the status of his team being city heroes again.
Working with Zemo again, as Hero Hunters during Marvel's Civil War storyline, it has been revealed that Abe oversees a small team of three college students, each of whom wears one of the three previous Beetle armors (the classic beetle-esque original, its streamlined update, and
Leila Davis' massive tank-like exoskeleton).
Abner (alongside Team Beetle) has been identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book #1. [ [http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.947 Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map] ]
Powers and abilities
Abner has no superhuman powers, but has extensive knowledge of mechanics and engineering.
As the Beetle, Abner wore designed and wore a suit of full body
powered armorthat granted him superhuman strength and durability and artificial winged flight. The suit's gloves contained pneumatic suction-grippers, enabling him to cling to walls or lift things with his fingertips. The suit could also create an electrostatic energy discharge referred to as the "electro-bite". On the back of the suit are a set of ultra-tough mylar wings powered by super efficient micro-motors which enable him to fly. Antennae built into the suit's helmet allowed reception and ultra-efficient conversion of microwaves, providing the suit with a constantly-replenishing power supply. A mini-computer built into the chest-plate feeds data to heads-up displays in the helmet, providing him with constantly-updated tactical analysis of his opponent's movements.
As MACH-I through MACH-IV, Abner designed a new suit of power armor which granted superhuman strength, durability, and flight as the Beetle suit did. This new suit contains a variety of different weapon systems, however, instead of the insect-themed powers of the previous armor.
Abner appears alongside the Thunderbolts in the Dead Days one-shot of the
Marvel Zombiesminiseries wearing an early version of his MACH suit, and alongside the rest of the group is seen attacking first Thor and then Nova. He is quickly killed by a blast of flame from the Human Torch.
House of M
Abner Jenkins is a scientist secretly working for the Human Resistance (along with
Erik Josten) who is part of an elite sapien military unit the Howling Commandos and Jim Sanders. The three, along with General "Dum Dum" Dugan, are attempting to create a chemical weapon to wipe out all the Kree on Earth, so the humans can strike an alliance with the Shi'Ar to overthrow the House of Magnus.
The Ultimate Marvel version of Beetle debuts in Ultimate Spider-Man #124. Spider-Man first finds him robbing a sample of the Venom symbiote from the Roxxon company. After the brief confrontation, Nick Fury tells Peter Parker not to get involved with the S.H.I.E.L.D. investigation. Beetle breaks into the building that Venom is held in and Venom chases after him after Beetle slices off one of his symbiotic tentacles. Upon cornering Beetle, Venom is attacked by Spider-Man. When Venom seizes Beetle with his tentacles, Spider-Man saves Beetle who escapes.
* The Beetle appeared in the 1980s Saturday morning animated series "
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" voiced by Christopher Collins. The Beetle stole a crime-detection computer and the Power Booster invented by Tony Stark to increase his power. He was the first villain that the Spider-Friends faced together in that origin episode.
* The Beetle made a brief appearance in the "Iron Man" episode "Armor Wars" Part 2 voiced by John Reilly with a Liverpudlian accent that evokes the similarly-named band. He was trying to steal the Tibetan Diamond at an auction at the Museum of Modern Art only to be pinned him down with a giant shoe by Iron Man and had his armor—based on stolen Stark designs deactivated by a Negator Pack.
* Beetle appears in both the Snes and
Sega Genesisgames based on the animated series.
* The Beetle was the first boss in the 1995 Super Nintendo game , a game only released in Japan.
* The Beetle played a minor role in the sequel to the "Spider-Man" game for the
PlayStation, "",where he worked for Hammerhead. He only appeared in cut-scenes and did not appear as a boss character. He was voiced by Daran Norris.
* In the "Ultimate Spider-Man video game" the Beetle (voiced by
Tucker Smallwood) makes his Ultimate continuity debut, acting as an agent for the Latverians, collecting genetic information from superhumans to allow them to genetically engineer super-soldiers. The notable actions he took in the game were stealing a vial of sand (which it is implied the Ultimate Sandman has a connection) and freeing Green Goblin. He also battled Spider-Man shortly after freeing the Green Goblin and stealing the Sandman vial, but escaped by ducking into the nearby Latverian Embassy. Concept art in the special edition of the game shows Beetle giving the Sandman vial to Doctor Doom. Beetle is later sent to capture a sample of the Venom symbiote. Venom eventually chases and defeats the Beetle.
* [http://www.marvel.com/universe/MACH-IV Abner Jenkins] at Marvel.com
* [http://www.spiderfan.org/characters/beetle.html Profile at Spiderfan.org]
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