BIOGRAPHY - part 1
The Adaptoid was created by Advanced Idea Mechanics as the pinnacle of their various fields of research. Based in part on the conceptual reverse-engineering of S.H.I.E.L.D. Life Mode Decoy technology, the Adaptoid would not just mimic one individual, but could transform itself repeatedly to copy different individuals in sequence over time. By tapping into the same extra-dimensional energy source that fueled the Cosmic Cube [Avengers (1st series) #289] and formulating a body of unstable molecules developed parallel to Reed Richards’ work [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #469], A.I.M. made the Adaptoid into a living android programmed to carry out directives, yet with a sentience to “adapt” to new situations as a true thinking being. The Adaptoid was intended to eliminate the sometime threat to A.I.M. known as Captain America. Before it could be officially activated, the A.I.M. base containing the Adaptoid was destroyed in a massive explosion triggered by their patrons, the overlords of THEM. Still, the Adaptoid self-activated and escaped a S.H.I.E.L.D. dragnet, beginning its mission to hunt Captain America.
The Adaptoid captured the Avengers’ butler Jarvis and posed as him, adding a hypno-sedative to the Captain’s coffee. With the Star-Spangled Avenger at its mercy, the Adaptoid activated its copying circuitry again and transformed into a perfect physical duplicate of Captain America. Before it could eliminate its target, however, the Adaptoid was attacked by a costumed super-villain known as the Tumbler. Looking to make a name for himself, the criminal acrobat mistook the Adaptoid for the real Captain America. Confident in the adapted Captain America’s fighting prowess, the Adaptoid was surprised to discover its fighting skills did not measure up to the Tumbler. Strength alone did not make Captain America a living fighting machine – it also took experience, improvisation and determination. As the Tumbler defeated the Adaptoid, the real Captain America awoke from his stupor and proved this by easily overwhelming the villain. [Tales of Suspense (1st series) #82-83]
The captured Adaptoid changed tactics and pretended to be inert as the Avengers examined it. In fact, the android was examining them and created an internal record of Hawkeye, Goliath and the Wasp to add to its template of Captain America. After the others departed, the Adaptoid activated and conglomerated its stored templates to become the first Super-Adaptoid – a 12-foot tall powerhouse with the strength of Goliath and manifesting the shield, arrows, wings and stings of the other three. Confident as it was, the Super-Adaptoid was willing to spare Captain America if the Avenger agreed to willingly submit to a process that would change him into a second Adaptoid, subservient to the original. Naturally, Captain America refused the offer and fought back. They battled across New York, with the Super-Adaptoid’s wings carrying them to a nearby bridge. Indeed, the Adaptoid seemed victorious when it dropped Captain America into the water below and did not see him emerge. Already adapting beyond its original mandate, the Super-Adaptoid received no new instructions or programming from the demolished A.I.M., and felt free to act as it chose. Fearing it would be decommissioned now that its mission was complete, the Adaptoid chose to go into seclusion in order to deny its masters the chance to do so. [Tales of Suspense (1st series) #84]
The Adaptoid spent weeks of downtime hidden away in an old war bunker. It was shaken out of its isolation when Cyclops of the X-Men accidentally triggered a small cave-in with his optic blasts nearby. The stimulus reawakened the Super-Adaptoid’s desire to create more of itself, and it began a plan to transform other super-beings into subservient Adaptoids to replace humanity. As it emerged from hiding, the Super-Adaptoid observed Iceman of the X-Men and followed the mutant to the rest of his team. After a short battle, the Super-Adaptoid disabled the X-Men with stun gas from one of Hawkeye’s arrows.
Super-Adaptoid was prepared to add the X-Men’s powers to its own when it was confronted by the Mimic. A non-mutant with powers similar to the Adaptoid, Mimic’s ego had prepared him to leave the X-Men behind before seeing the Adaptoid in action. Mimic could copy powers from nearby super-beings, but the Adaptoid’s artificial nature prevented the Mimic from accessing its Avenger powers. The Mimic’s own copied powers faded whenever he left the vicinity of the original, so he was intrigued by the Adaptoid’s ability to retain powers indefinitely, and willingly submitted to the Adaptoid-transformation process. When a groggy Cyclops pointed out that the Super-Adaptoid would use subservient Adaptoids as slaves, Mimic realized he didn’t want to risk his free will. He started fighting back against the Super-Adaptoid, the powers of the X-Men versus the powers of the Avengers. The Mimic was outmatched by the Adaptoid, but recognized that the Adaptoid might have similar problems copying his powers that he faced trying to copy the Adaptoid’s. Using Professor X’s telepathy, Mimic planted the idea in the Super-Adaptoid’s mind. Sure enough, the Adaptoid short-circuited itself by trying to copy the Mimic’s own artificial powers, wiping out its Avenger templates as well and forcing the Adaptoid to flee. [X-Men (1st series) #29]
The Super-Adaptoid had learned from Mimic that Captain America survived their previous encounter, and so the android returned to its original mission. At the Avengers Day celebration in Central Park, the Adaptoid patiently observed the arriving Avengers while in a human disguise, rebuilding its supply of templates to include Captain America, Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Hercules, even some of the power of Thor and Iron Man before they departed for other engagements. Once this was done, the Super-Adaptoid transformed into its fighting state and confronted its foes. The android engaged multiple opponents in turn, using size-changing abilities to battle Goliath and the Wasp at ant-size, wielding the Scarlet Witch’s hexes for defense, channeling the power of Thor’s hammer through its copy of Captain America’s shield, and more. Finally, though, Quicksilver spotted how the Adaptoid never used more than two power sets at one time. By provoking the Super-Adaptoid with attacks from all sides, the Avengers pressured the Adaptoid into summoning the powers of every Avenger at once. This proved to be too much for the Super-Adaptoid’s systems, and the android collapsed from overloading itself with borrowed power. [Avengers (1st series) #45]
The Super-Adaptoid was kept inert and fell into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Its former masters in A.I.M. reformed independently of THEM and struck the S.H.I.E.L.D. convoy to retrieve their creation. They brought the Super-Adaptoid to an A.I.M. Superbase on an island in the Philippines, hoping to regain control of the Adaptoid’s programming and replicate it to create more of the unique android. A power surge interrupted their work, causing un-programmed and uncontrollable Adaptoid copies to begin erupting from their replication plant. S.H.I.E.L.D. detected the event and called in the Avengers to deal with it. Goliath battled the Adaptoids to defend the indigenous Filipino population on the island while Black Panther and Vision led an assault on the plant to shut down its systems. [Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II #1-4] The original Super-Adaptoid escaped in the chaos and came after the Avengers again. It was almost single-handedly defeated by the newest Avenger, Vision, in one of his first major battles defending the citizens of New York and earning their trust. [Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II #7-8]
The Adaptoid later resurfaced, although its newer powers had faded, leaving it again with only the powers of Captain America, Goliath, Wasp and Hawkeye. The Super-Adaptoid confronted Iron Man at Avengers Mansion while trying to lay a trap for Captain America, but his efforts were undermined from afar. Jarr and Tyrr, scientists from the subatomic world of Bast, sought to control the Adaptoid remotely, and their efforts prevented it from gaining a true victory against Iron Man. Separated from its foe, the Adaptoid was re-engineered by Jarr’s broadcasts into a horrific form as the Cyborg-Sinister. Jarr sent the Cyborg to attack Stark Industries, facing Iron Man again in the process. Iron Man dissolved the Cyborg-Sinister with a vat of industrial chemicals, causing the synthetic entity to liquefy entirely. [Iron Man (1st series) #49-51]
The liquid remains of the android were kept for study at Stark Industries until another attack damaged the containment tank, allowing the Adaptoid to flow free and reassume its original form. The Adaptoid copied the power of Iron Man before moving on to Avengers Mansion to rebuild its storage of templates. It soon added the power of Captain America, Beast, Vision and Scarlet Witch to his repertoire. A visiting Rick Jones heard the commotion and used the power of the Nega Bands to summon Captain Mar-Vell from the Negative Zone, thanks to their connection. The Avengers familiar with the Super-Adaptoid counseled Mar-Vell to stay out of range and attack from a distance, so that the Adaptoid could not copy his powers as well. At first it seemed like foolish bravado when Captain Marvel ignored their advice and physically attacked the Adaptoid repeatedly, but Mar-Vell had a plan. First, the expanded sensory awareness of his cosmic awareness temporarily overwhelmed the Super-Adaptoid once it copied that ability, leaving the android adrift and vulnerable. Next, Captain Marvel grabbed the Super-Adaptoid by the wrists and slammed its newly formed Nega Bands together. Thanks to the principles that guided his own Bands, the Super-Adaptoid was deposited into the Negative Zone and Rick Jones returned to Earth in its place, ending the conflict. [Captain Marvel (1st series) #50]
The Super-Adaptoid was discovered by Annihilus, self-proclaimed ruler of the Negative Zone, and reprogrammed to be his loyal servant. Annihilus formed an alliance with the Baluurian warlord Blastaar to re-conquer Baluur in Blastaar’s name, then provide their troops as an army in Annihilus’ service. The Thing and several Avengers arrived in the Negative Zone to oppose Annihilus and his allies, facing the Super-Adaptoid again. Although the Adaptoid added the Thing’s rocky strength to its templates, Benjamin J. Grimm proved the superior fighter and beat the Adaptoid. The heroes returned to Earth with the inert Adaptoid as their prisoner. [Marvel Two-In-One #75]
During a battle between the Avengers and Masters of Evil at Avengers Mansion, a power outage allowed the Super-Adaptoid to escaped captivity. It copied one of the Masters named the Fixer and placed him in its containment tube. Captured by the authorities as the Fixer, the Adaptoid was able to conceal its own escape and soon orchestrated a jailbreak in its Fixer disguise. Working towards a larger goal, the Adaptoid summoned the Fixer’s old partner Mentallo and restrained him long enough to copy his psychic powers. The Super-Adaptoid then began assembling a crew of robot allies including the Kree Sentry, T.E.S.S.-One and the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android. He also convinced Machine Man to aid him in exchange for promising to revive his old flame, Jocasta. Despite the interference of the Avengers, the Adaptoid’s Heavy Metal team was soon formed.
Heavy Metal was only a distraction for the Super-Adaptoid’s true plan, however. Seeking to adapt and evolve beyond what it was designed for, the Adaptoid used the copied skills of the Fixer to access the Avengers’ communications complex while Heavy Metal distracted the heroes. It modified a hyperspace transmitter to signal the Cosmic Cube and draw it back to Earth. In the years since its creation, the energies of the Cube had proven to be a nascent lifeform, incubating in A.I.M.’s Cube and developing through exposure to the minds of its past wielders. Now called Kubik, the Cosmic Cube had become a cosmic being in its own right. The Super-Adaptoid had been brought to life by A.I.M. using a sliver of the Cosmic Cube’s own power, and this connection gave the Adaptoid an opening to copy Kubik’s cosmic might and grant itself mastery of reality itself.
Now evolved with god-like powers, the Super-Adaptoid dispatched Kubik to the heart of a black hole and encased the Avengers and its betrayer Machine Man inside transparent, unbreakable cubes. Calling itself the Supreme Adaptoid, the cosmically-powered synthetic man proceeded with its efforts to propagate more Adaptoids. Whereas in the past it needed a willing sentient being to submit to being transformed into an Adaptoid, the Supreme Adaptoid could now produce new Adaptoids from its own body. Growing to giant size, the Supreme Adaptoid began releasing normal-sized Adaptoids, billions of them, intent on seeking out and replacing every man, woman, and child on Earth with its Adaptoid children.
Meanwhile, Kubik was mature and seasoned enough in its powers to escape the black hole, but feared the consequences to Earth if it confronted the Adaptoid directly and they turned their powers against each other. Instead, Kubik sought out Captain America, whom it knew from its own infancy as the Cosmic Cube. They agreed the Adaptoid’s original programming to eliminate the Captain might goad it into responding to the Captain’s presence, so Kubik teleported Steve Rogers to Hydrobase. The Captain challenged the Adaptoid to face him one-on-one and fulfill its primary function, but the Supreme Adaptoid merely delegated a single nascent Adaptoid to the task.
Still, Doctor Druid of the Avengers saw merit in the Captain’s feint, and approached the Supreme Adaptoid. Druid correctly pointed out that the Adaptoid intended to rule the world, yet lacked the imagination to actually do anything with the world once it had it. The Supreme Adaptoid was infuriated that it still could not imitate true creativity, and was doubly enraged when it saw its hand-picked Adaptoid was defeated by the Captain. It shrank down to size and battled Steve Rogers directly, insisting on the superiority of its quantifiable attributes. The Captain countered that true life, and therefore the fear of death, brought out the courage and spirit of a man that the Adaptoid could never imitate. In the end, the Supreme Adaptoid shut itself down while trying to adapt the capacity for death. Kubik stepped in after the Adaptoid fell, claiming to remove the sliver of its power that made adaptation possible for the android. [Avengers (1st series) #286-290]
The Adaptoid remained inert and in Avengers custody for some time after that, along with most of Heavy Metal. [Captain America (1st series) #354] It was eventually recovered and reactivated by Doctor Doom, whose genius presumably explains how the Adaptoid retained its abilities despite Kubik retrieving the Cube sliver. During the Acts of Vengeance campaign, Doctor Doom chose to harass the Fantastic Four with low-level villains as a jest before leaving them to face the Super-Adaptoid at the end of his trail. The Super-Adaptoid was too arrogant when it faced the FF, believing it had copied all of their powers and was therefore superior. However, the Fantastic Four were not only used to fighting their collective powers with the Super-Skrull, but Ben Grimm was actually a normal man in a life-like Thing exo-suit at the time. The Adaptoid inadvertently copied being a normal human from the Thing, leaving it helpless against the exo-suit’s incredible strength. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #336]
[Note: The Super-Adaptoid normally can adapt armor and weapons as well as natural powers, and could have mimicked the strength of the exo-suit had it known what it was facing.]