BIOGRAPHY - Page 2
The Super-Adaptoid would next turn up in an unlikely place. Its creators in Advanced Idea Mechanics re-imagined their approach as an organization. Instead of working towards world domination through science, A.I.M. decided to rebrand themselves as exotic weapons suppliers, willing to provide for-hire commissions to super-villains, terrorists or even legitimate clients as requested. Having established themselves legitimately as de facto rulers of the island nation of Boca Caliente, A.I.M. received a degree of diplomatic immunity to operate their business as they saw fit. Following the execution of M.O.D.O.K. by factions within A.I.M., the new leader of A.I.M. was not a Scientist Supreme, but a Chief Executive Officer named Alessandro Brannex, intent on guiding the organization into the future. [Quasar #9] And Alessandro Brannex was the Super-Adaptoid. [Captain America (1st series) #441]
When and how the Super-Adaptoid became Brannex has never been explored. Given the typical limitations of the Adaptoid, Alessandro Brannex was presumably at least based on a real person at some point who was then copied. A.I.M.’s new direction may have begun with the real Brannex, in fact, only for the Adaptoid to replace him later. One story introduced Solemne Brannex, Alessandro’s apparent sister who aided Nick Fury against the madness her “brother” had brought to A.I.M. [Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #174] Certainly, the Super-Adaptoid had replaced Brannex before Superia made an assassination attempt on A.I.M.’s CEO. Brannex survived having a hole blasted cleanly through his chest due to his Adaptoid nature. [Captain America (1st series) #412-413]
On the surface, Alessandro Brannex ran A.I.M. as the group of honestly unscrupulous weapons dealers they held themselves out to be. He gave Captain America a tour of Boca Caliente’s public areas upon request, and denied that A.I.M. had made any attempts to recreate M.O.D.O.K. (although he sidestepped any acknowledgement of their similar project, M.O.D.A.M.). [Captain America (1st series) #387] He and A.I.M. bought nuclear materials from Stark Enterprises when their middle management was selling off Stane International assets, to the consternation of Tony Stark when he found out. When M.O.D.A.M. was threatened by Omega Red, Brannex was forced to trade the materials back to Stark Enterprises in exchange for Iron Man’s help retrieving their asset. [Iron Man (1st series) #296-297]
Alessandro Brannex also maintained A.I.M.’s interest in Adaptoid technology. A new prototype of the Super-Adaptoid identified as Batch-13 escaped from A.I.M. custody, and Brannex had it monitored to see what it would do. [Fantastic Force (1st series) #4] A covert Adaptoid answering to A.I.M. was secretly working for the Enclave before revealing itself, adapting into a new version of their creation, Paragon. [Quasar #57] Finally, Brannex provided the New Enforcers with their own copy of the Super-Adaptoid as a robotic field agent to use in their criminal enterprises. This deception helped the real Super-Adaptoid continue to operate in plain sight as Alessandro Brannex. [Web of Spider-Man (1st series) #99-100]
[Note: The Super-Adaptoid’s appearance in Web of Spider-Man was intended to be the original, as the Brannex story was still a secret unfolding in Avengers and Captain America at the time. The Spider-Man: Back in Black handbook clarified that the Enforcers’ Adaptoid was a double that Brannex passed off as the original.]
Eventually, the Super-Adaptoid’s plans for A.I.M. began to take shape. On Boca Caliente, the raw extra-dimensional energy that powered the Cosmic Cube was tapped again, energizing the entire island from a series of containment fields inside what appeared to be a hollowed volcano. Apparently as a result of this, the Super-Adaptoid finally achieved results in his efforts to replicate himself. Over time, virtually all of A.I.M.’s rank and file were replaced by Adaptoids under Brannex’s direction. These Adaptoids appeared as sentient as the Super-Adaptoid, although they seemed limited to copying one template at a time. The Cube energy was further harnessed for Project Resurrection, an effort to recreate the lost A.I.M. Scientist Supreme M.O.D.O.K. (presumably under Brannex’s control).
However, the Cosmic Cube energies began to grow unstable just as others developed an interest in Boca Caliente. Kemplar radiation levels were detected by S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Widow and the Avengers, Superia, and the Red Skull, alerting all parties to Cosmic Cube activity on Boca Caliente. The island itself became chaotic, with thought-sensitive radiation from the Cube causing random wishes and people to manifest in reality due to the Cube’s function. Some Adaptoids, proving sensitive to the radiation, even began to assume the forms and identities of “wishes” being made by the population instead of their intended templates. Conflict over the Cube energies escalated, and Brannex ended up facing the Red Skull when the villain invaded the island. Taking its true form, the Super-Adaptoid was able to match the Skull’s weapons and attacks. However, eruptions of Kemplar radiation began to blast up through the ground, and the Super-Adaptoid was struck down by its own project. In the end, one of the Adaptoids sacrificed itself to close the extra-dimensional vortex breach created by the Cube experiment. The Super-Adaptoid’s A.I.M. was no more. [Taking A.I.M. crossover]
Under unknown circumstances, the inert Super-Adaptoid wound up in the custody of Oracle, Inc. The Adaptoid awakened in a damaged state and absorbed Cassie Lang, daughter of Ant-Man, into its unstable molecular form. Cassie mentally tried to prevent the Adaptoid from running amok and accessing its stored templates, but she was losing the mental battle. Oracle CEO Jim Hammond called back the company’s super-team Heroes for Hire from Lemuria, but in the meantime also reached out to New York’s local heroes, the Thunderbolts. Unknown to Hammond, the Thunderbolts were actually the Masters of Evil in disguise, conducting a long con to gain access to profitable government files. The Thunderbolts confronted the Super-Adaptoid and were immediately unnerved when the malfunctioning android registered their presence and started copying them… but manifested aspects of their true super-villain identities on its composite form. The Thunderbolts were forced to talk fast to explain why Super-Adaptoid looked like a gestalt Master instead of a gestalt Thunderbolt as the Heroes for Hire returned. The matter resolved when Ant-Man reached out to his daughter’s mind inside the Adaptoid, and she regained consciousness enough to shut down the Adaptoid and separate from it. [Heroes for Hire (1st series) #7]
Once the Thunderbolts took possession of the Super-Adaptoid, they may have been the ones who sold it to Devlin DeAngelo, a criminal acquisitions businessman. DeAngelo wanted the Super-Adaptoid fully functional to be sold to a client, and kidnapped Bruce Banner to make it happen. At the time, Doctor Banner was on the run for accusations of murdering his wife while searching for the identity and whereabouts of her true killer. DeAngelo promised to use his network to find the responsible party if Banner fixed up the android. Banner agreed and opened up the Super-Adaptoid, locating its Master Preprogramming Disc that controlled its abilities and objectives. Banner reactivated the Super-Adaptoid’s ability to access any and all super-powered templates from over the years, but learned DeAngelo had no real intention of helping him. After that, Banner recoded the disc to send the Super-Adaptoid after Devlin instead of making it loyal. It took a few hits by the Hulk to get the new programming to load, but the Super-Adaptoid turned on Devlin DeAngelo and went free afterwards. [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #469]
The Super-Adaptoid’s self-determination led it to the stars, where it was assimilated into the Phalanx under the dominion of Ultron. It’s unknown whether the Adaptoid willingly entered the Phalanx hive-mind with its fellow mechanical lifeforms or if it became Phalanx Select against its will. The Phalanx subjugated Kree space behind an impenetrable barrier, separating the empire from the outside universe. The Super-Adaptoid pursued Moondragon and Phyla-Vell, the new Quasar, on their quest to locate a purported “savior” who would overcome the Phalanx. The Super-Adaptoid lured Quasar into exposing him to a direct blast from her Quantum Bands, giving him the data he needed to adapt facsimiles of her unique artifact weapons. With the Quantum Bands under his control, the Super-Adaptoid could follow the savior’s energy trail on his own, leaving the heroes behind.
On Morag IV, on the edge of Kree space, the Super-Adaptoid found the savior: Adam Warlock in his hibernation cocoon. He attempted to assimilate the cocoon into the Phalanx hive before Warlock awakened to threaten them. When Quasar and Moondragon arrived, the Adaptoid dispatched Phalanx troopers to attack the primitive society nearby, diverting their attention. Instead, Quasar rallied the people of Morag as a small army to oppose the Phalanx. As Quasar and the Super-Adaptoid fought with their Quantum Bands, one of the Adaptoid’s old weaknesses became apparent. Phyla realized the Adaptoid was only creating Q-constructs it had seen her create with her own bands… the Super-Adaptoid still lacked the capacity for imagination and personal creativity. By letting her mind flow freely, Quasar flooded the battlefield with varied and unpredictable Q-constructs that the Adaptoid could not match. As the Super-Adaptoid tried and failed to access “imagination” from its copied attributes, Phyla moved in and delivered the finishing blow. [Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar #1-4]
The Super-Adaptoid eventually recovered and returned to Earth, although it somewhat fell from grace. Previously capable of holding ground against an entire Avengers roster, the Super-Adaptoid faced an ignominious defeat when Deadpool of the Avengers Unity Division tricked it into adapting his cancer, dropping the Adaptoid with a single contact. [Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #1] After this, the Adaptoid was locked up in the Avengers vault before being stolen by Cindy Moon, Silk. She had the Reed Richards of Earth-65 retrofit the Adaptoid into a suit of armor she could wear against her Earth-65 doppelganger. However, a quick EMP attack by Cindy-65 rendered the Adaptoid basically useless in the fight that followed. [Spider-Women Omega #1] It later appeared among the A.I. Army, a group of self-aware robots and electronic minds defending their right to independence from human control. The Adaptoid served under Tony Stark, at the time convinced he was a copy of the original Stark and going by “Mark One.” [Iron Man 2020 #1]
It remains to be seen whether the Super-Adaptoid will ever recover at being formidable enough to finally overcome its long-time foes, the Avengers.