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Phillip Masters (Earth-616)

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Quote1 But I've always been a weak man ... a terribly terribly weak man... Quote2
-- Puppet Master src
 

Early Life

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) as a small child

Phillip Masters as a small boy circa 1931.[7]

Phillip Masters was born sometime in the 1920s in the nation of Transia at the base Wundagore Mountain.[8][3] His mother was an alcoholic and his father was often very distant as he struggled to provide for his family.[4] As a child his grandmother told him legends from the 6th Century about how the demon Chthon had been trapped within the mountain, tainting the land.[2] As a young boy, Phillip's Uncle Andrew gave him a knife and a piece of wood and Phillip immediately took to carving things out of wood.[4] Eventually he moved onto sculpting things in clay which he found near the base of Wundagore Mountain[8][4]. The more Phillip used the clay the more it affected his mind, making him want to sculpt with it more often as it slowly eroded his sanity[4][9]. As a boy, masters often played with young Jessica Drew whose parents worked with geneticist Herbert Wyndham, until one day in the March of 1931 Jessica fell ill from radiation poisoning and was spirited away by her family for treatment[7]. By the age of eight, Phillip's parents emigrated to the United States. While Phillip continued to sculpt and carve with materials from his homeland, Masters easily assimilated into his new life in America. However despite this, Phillip was frequently bullied by his classmates[3]. When Phillip's mother died, Phillip turned to the dolls he made as an escapism from his tormentors[10]. Following the death of his wife, Phillip's father was unable to find work and be able to support his son and was forced to put the boy in an orphanage. Phillip feeling more alone than ever retreated even more into his love of sculpting clay.[11]
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) as a young adult

Phillip Masters as a young adult.[12]

Records pertaining to Phillip's life following his placement in an orphanage are largely unrecorded. The next notable record states that he attended college and pursued studies in biology. It was during this time that he befriended Jacob Reiss and Marcia Deaton who attended the same college[3]. Phillip and Jacob became roommates, and one day in 1947 crossed paths with a woman calling herself Alicia Clay, who warned Jacob that Phillip was going to kill him in the future[13]. Unable to convince Jacob of this, Alicia fled their apartment. Masters followed after her and confided in her the dark feelings he gets when he carves his clay. Alicia then had Phillip to promise to be strong and try not to hurt Jacob and his family in the future. Phillip promised and ran off into the night[12]. However, either Phillip was lying or was unable to control himself, as tragedy would soon come to pass. By the time they had graduated, Reiss had married Marcia and entered into a partnership with Phillip to try and commercialize the special clay Philip brought from his homeland. Many years later, the Reiss family gave birth to a daughter named Alicia[3]. During their early work together, Phillip and Reiss briefly worked with scientist Alexi Granger to try to cure the world's ills. [14]
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) murdering Jacob Reiss

Murdering Jacob Reiss.[1]

Phillip and Jacob started a business in the town of Watershed Lake utilizing the clay that Phillip had been using for years. However Phil eventually grew jealous of Jacob and his ideal life and soon became enraged enough to try and sabotage the company out of spite. Seeing the lights at their laboratory on that night, Jacob went to investigate. Phillip attacked his parter and during the fight Phillip knocked Jacob into a vat of clay causing a massive explosion. While Phillip was knocked clear, Jacob's wife and child were waiting in the car and went to check on him just as the lab exploded. While Marcia was unharmed, Alicia was blinded as a result of the blast. Phillip kept the cause of Jacob's death a secret, telling his grieving family that he had died in an accident[1]. Following the funeral for Jacob[9], Phillip married Marcia and both she and Alicia took his name[1]. Recalling how Alicia was an avid painter prior to her blindness, Phillip then began teaching her how to sculpt. [9] However Marcia soon died as well due to the radioactive isotopes that were involved in the blast that killed her husband. While Alicia grew to adulthood and became a noted sculptor, Phillip was heartbroken due to the death of Marcia and withdrew[15]. Phillip soon discovered that when sculpting clay from his homeland he was able to take control of their bodies, for many years he claimed that this was due to the fact that the clay was radioactive[5], however given the childhood stories he heard from his grandmother this may have been a deception. At some point, Phillip returned to his homeland and secured a large amount of clay from Transia[2] for the purposes of starting a criminal career.[5]

Postscript

Unlike most other characters in the Marvel Universe, the dates referenced in Phillip Masters early life are apparently not subject to the Sliding Timescale of the Earth-616 universe. He was depicted as a small child circa 1931 and was young adult in 1947 [16]. Since his early life is tied in with that of Spider-Woman who was a child in the 30s as well, it appears his childhood began in the early half of the 20th century. What is not explained is how he appears to be at least a middle aged man somewhere in his 50s or 60s in the modern age. It could be theorized that his ageing had been slowed due to the Chthonic magic that gives the clay its power.

Puppet Master

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 8 0001

The Puppet Master[5]

Phillip started his criminal career during the early days of what is referred to as the modern age not long after the formation of the Fantastic Four. Now calling himself the Puppet Master, Phillips first criminal operation was to put the Thing under his control. Doing so, he commanded the Thing to come to his apartment, unaware that the Invisible Girl was following the Thing. However the intruders presence was betrayed thanks to Alicia's acute hearing and the Puppet Master knocked the Invisible Girl out. Disguising Alicia as Sue Storm, he sent her with the Thing to the Fantastic Four's headquarters the Baxter Building. While the Thing attacked the Fantastic Four, the Puppet Master took control of the warden at State Prison and staged a jail break. At the Baxter Building, the Thing was freed from the Puppet Master's control when he was briefly reverted back to his human form of Ben Grimm. The imprisoned Sue Storm managed to fire off a warning flare and with Alicia's directions the Fantastic Four attacked the Puppet Master at his home. However while the heroes were occupied by on of his robotic puppets he escaped with Alicia. While the Fantastic Four stopped the jail break, the Puppet Master attempted to utilize a puppet of himself which he believed would make him the king of the world. However Alicia stepped in the way and pulled the puppet out of his hand, throwing it onto the floor. As he ran for it, Phillip tripped over Alicia's arm and went crashing out a window just as the Fantastic Four arrived. The group believed that Phillip had died in the fall, but never bothered to check if this was the case or not[5]. While the Puppet Master's intent was to kill the Fantastic Four he served to drive a wedge between himself and his loyal step-daughter, as she began dating the Thing soon after[17] and they had a relationship that endured for many years.
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) from Fantastic Four Vol 1 14 0001
Phillip had survived the fall from the window and was placed in a sanatorium for a time for treatment. However he fooled the staff into thinking he was cured and was released months later. Wishing to gain revenge against the Fantastic Four for his previous defeat. The Puppet Master decided to manipulate one of the FF's other foes and used his clay to take control of the Sub-Mariner, forcing him to kidnap the Invisible Girl and lure the Fantastic Four to his then deserted kingdom of Atlantis. The Puppet Master observed the battle from a submarine, however the vessel was crushed by an octopus that was released during the bout, severing the Puppet Master's control from the Sub-Mariner. The battle was quickly ended and the Fantastic Four returned home unscathed[18]. However the Puppet Master managed to survive by pushing his sub to the surface breaking free from the octopus. Returning to his hideout the Puppet Master then plotted revenge against the Fantastic Four again, this time by pitting the Human Torch against the Thing. To this end, he manipulated the Torch into romancing his own step-daughter in front of the Thing. The jealous Thing then attacked his teammate and they began fighting across the city. However, as much as the Puppet Master tried to force the Torch to seriously injure the Thing, the Torch resisted and he eventually broke free from the Puppet Master's control and destroyed his puppet. Before the Thing could cream the Puppet Master, Alicia convinced her boyfriend that Phillip was no longer a threat and the heroes let him go free. [19]

Early Alliances

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) meets the Mad Thinker for the first time

The Puppet Master meets the Mad Thinker for the first time[20]

The Puppet Master then began the first of many partnerships with another Fantastic Four foe, the Mad Thinker. The two worked on a scheme to get revenge on the Fantastic Four by pitting them against the mutant heroes known as the X-Men. Using theoretical information the Mad Thinker deduced about he appearance of the then secret leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier, the Puppet Master seized control of Xavier and used his telepathic powers to order the X-Men to attack the Fantastic Four. The X-Men were manipulated into luring the Fantastic Four above the Mad Thinker's underground base. However Professor X's will proved too strong and he broke free from the Puppet Master's control. The Puppet Master and Mad Thinker then escaped while the heroes were otherwise kept busy fighting the Thinker's Awesome Android[20]. The Mad Thinker and Puppet Master then worked on a second scheme, this time trying to pit the Human Torch and the Thing against each other again. This time the Puppet Master once again attempted to take control of the Thing. However another random reversion into his human form, Ben managed to break free from the Puppet Master's control. Unaware that this transformation took place the Thinker and the Puppet Master incorrectly believed there was something wrong with the puppet that they made and Phillip constructed another more powerful one. However when he went to use it, the Fantastic Four's leader Mr. Fantastic had already determined who their foe was and built a device that caused feedback if the Puppet Master attempted to take control of the Thing again. When the Puppet Master did that very thing, the feedback jolted through the puppet and knocked him out, foiling their scheme. [21]
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) plastic surgery

After plastic surgery[22]

The Puppet Master then decided to focus on making statues which he could control instead of relying on his increasingly unreliable clay. While working on a chemical means of creating more life-like statues. He invented a "Chemi-Ray" device and when a stray cat accidentally jumped into its path he was surprised to find that the cat was turned into a living statue. The Puppet Master then began a very complex scheme to get revenge against the Human Torch and Thing for his previous defeat at their hands, planning to turn them into living statues. He then began selling his life like mannequins to a local department store and also opened a mannequin exhibit above the store. Sure enough the Thing and Torch came to the store on a shipping date with their girlfriends Alicia Masters and Doris Evans. He then invited the quartet to his exhibit, and when the two heroes were drawn away from their dates the Puppet Master attacked. The heroes fought off the Puppet Master's traps, and deduced their foe's identity. During the fight, Masters was knocked into the path of his own Chemi-Ray, turning him into a statue and he was promptly handed over to the authorities[22]. Freed from his statue like state and his appearance restored to normal, the Puppet Master either escaped or was released from prison around the time that Reed Richards and Sue Storm were going to be married. Phillip was among many villains placed under the control of Dr. Doom's "Emotion Changer" device and influenced to attack the wedding. The Puppet Master crafted a puppet to resemble one of the guests, however his possession of this individual was detected by the anti-espionage agency known as SHIELD who quickly apprehended the Puppet Master. Doom's other attackers fared little better and were defeated by the Fantastic Four and a gathering of heroes who came to attend the wedding[23].
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) first costume

First costume[24]

The Puppet Master escaped or was released from custody again and set up operations in a house and adopted a costume much like most of his criminal fraternity. Needing more money for his his experiments, the Puppet Master once more took control of the Sub-Mariner. He then sent Namor to break into a nearby bank and steal the money there. However the Sub-Mariner brought back non-negotiable bonds. Furious the Puppet Master the Sub-Mariner back to steal actual money. However the Namor was attacked by the authorities[24] and wounded and fled the scene. Falling into the Hudson River, the Sub-Mariner was freed from the Puppet Master's control. When the Puppet Master tried to exert his control over Namor again, the Atlantean monarch fought back and his sheer will power caused the Puppet Master's puppet to explode in his hand[25]. However the Puppet Master's interference did not go unnoticed, Namor's rival Warlord Krang detected the Puppet Master's influence and confronted him at his hideout. There he forced the Puppet Master to create a puppet that could control the massive Behemoth which was terrorizing Namor's kingdom at the time. After the Puppet Master completed the creation he was forced to flee his hideout. Krang's plot to use the Behemoth to destroy Namor failed when the Sub-Mariner attacked the creature with electric eels, the electric shock fed back through to the puppet damaging it beyond control. [26] The Puppet Master later went back to focusing on getting a revenge against the Fantastic Four again and decided to once more target Professor X of the X-Men. However when he crafted a puppet to try and control the mutant telepath, he found that Xavier had since erected mental barriers to prevent such a possession from happening again. However his attempt at possession came at a time where Xavier was attempting to recruit new members into the X-Men. Learning that the Mimic was to join the group, the Puppet Master took control of him instead. Masters then had the Mimic attack the team and then had the power-copying super-human lure the X-Men back to his base. However the Puppet Master was quickly defeated when the Angel ambushed him from behind and destroyed his puppet, freeing Mimic from his control[27][28].
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) second costume

Second costume[29]

Presumably escaping, the Puppet Master set up operations on an island off the coast of Miami where he attempted to steal a new prototype hydrofoil. This theft was foiled by the Sub-Mariner who was passing through the area. Furious, the Puppet Master attempted to control the Hulk to destroy Namor. However, like previous pawns, the Hulk could not be forced to kill and ultimately Namor defeated the Hulk by creating a massive tidal wave that swept the gamma-spawned monster away. The waves also came crashing down on the Puppet Master's base of operations, destroying it as he fled. [29] The Puppet Master began working with the Mad Thinker again and the two men allied themselves with yet another criminal scientist, Egghead. The trio began a series of attacks on the United States with the intent of using a space station to take control of America by threatening to destroy it. The trio first started by cutting off all the power to the United States[30]. The trio also caught the Black Widow who was sent by SHIELD to spy on them, leading to a clash with the Avenger known as Goliath at Coney Island[31]. The Puppet Master was then sent to try and destroy a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida. To this end he took control of the Avenger Iron Man and sent him to destroy the shuttle before it could be launched. This led to a battle between Iron Man and the Kree solider known as Captain Marvel.
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) third costume

Third costume[32]

However the Puppet Master's scheme was foiled thanks to the fact that at the time Iron Man had a special pace-maker that kept shrapnel from piercing his heart that was tied into his armor. When the hero's suit ran low on power he began to suffer a heart attack, making him incapable of following the Puppet Master's commands. Furious the Puppet Master threw his clay puppet of Iron Man into some of his electronic equipment causing it to explode in his face, burying him in the rubble[32]. Ultimately the three villains scheme was thwarted by the Avengers. [33]

The Puppet Master survived the explosion and began working with the Mad Thinker again, this time focusing their efforts on destroying the Fantastic Four once again. The duo constructed a number of life-like replicas of the Fantastic Four's greatest foes combining the Mad Thinker's scientific genius and the Puppet Master's clay. The group was attacked somewhere not far from the Himalayan home of the Inhumans. However the Four easily defeated the army of replicas that were sent against them. Ultimately, the duo's plan failed when they attempted to control a replica of the Hulk who began trashing their secret hideout. The Puppet Master tried to blast the Hulk simulacrum, but ended up hitting explosives instead, setting off an explosion that destroyed their base[34].

Alienated from Alicia

Surviving the blast, the Puppet Master went into seclusion for a time to begin working on new plans. Shortly after the end of the Kree-Skrull War, a Skrull ship carrying a Ballox robot. Taking the robot into his hideout, he repaired it and now calling it the Monsteroid he sent it on a series of robberies across New York City. However the Puppet Master's use of a puppet to control the Monsteroid also affected the brainwave patterns of the Avenger known as the Vision causing him to have seizures. With the aid of Spider-Man the Vision tracked the Monstroid and Puppet Master's signal to the Baxter Building where Masters was striking next. While Spider-Man battled the Monsteroid, the Vision tracked down Masters and incapacitated him with his phasing powers, then left Spider-Man to turn the Puppet Master to the authorities[35]. The Vision's departure coincided with the arrival of the Thing and his girlfriend Alicia. Alicia pleaded to the two heroes not to harm her step-father, and the Puppet Master managed to convince the Thing that he had a cure for Alicia's blindness at one of his old hideouts that he shared with the Mad Thinker. The Thing, Alicia and Spider-Man then accompanied the Puppet Master to the hideout and along the way the Puppet Master shamefully admitted his part in the murder of Alicia's biological father. When they arrived at the hideout they were attacked by the Mad Thinker who was presently in residence. Phillip managed to slip away from the heroes and into the complex and convinced the Thinker that they should work together to kill the Thing and Spider-Man. However this union went awry when the Mad Thinker put Alicia in danger and the Puppet Master turned on him. While Spider-Man and Ben got Alicia to safety, an explosion went off inside the base, seemingly slaying the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker. [1]

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) H Duety

Posing as "H. Duety" [36]

However, the Puppet Master cheated death once again, and laid low while posing as a puppeteer under the alias of H. Duety. He also began working with a radioactive villain known as Radion whose powers could apparently increase the strength of the Puppet Master's puppets. Seeking to get revenge against the Fantastic Four again, the Puppet Master and Radion used their combined powers to take control of the Asgardian thunder god Thor. Thor was sent to the Baxter Building where he seriously injured Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch and the Invisible Girl. However he briefly escaped the Puppet Master's control by reverting to his alter-ego, the mortal doctor known as Donald Blake. However when Blake turned back into Thor again he was once again enslaved and sent to attack the Thing. The Puppet Master and Radion revealed themselves to watch the battle. The battle was also watched by Wundarr an alien who was the Thing's ward at the time. Wundarr's ability to absorb radiation began to sap Radion's power, forcing him to flee the scene. With Thor free from the Puppet Master's control without Radion's power boost, Masters was once more apprehended[36][37]. Locked in prison, the Puppet Master once more focused his pursuits on getting revenge against the Fantastic Four. Prior to his last capture, the Puppet Master created a new type of puppet that allowed him to take control of his victims without turning them into mindless slaves, so that they could better utilize their powers, abilities and training. When he was arrested after his last defeat he managed to smuggle this clay into his prison cell and hide it from the authorities[38]. First targeting the Thing[39], the Puppet Master forced him into an alliance with the Hulk and the two battled with the Fantastic Four and the military in Philadelphia until Ben's close approximation with the Hulk's gamma irradiated body caused him to revert to human form, severing the Puppet Master's ability to control him[40]. The Puppet Master then took control of the Wrecker, restoring his powers[41] and sent him against the Fantastic Four. With Ben powerless, the group hired Power Man to help defeat this foe[42]. Puppet Master then took control of Power Man forcing him to attack the FF, and when this proved to be another losing battle he ordered Power Man to come and break him out of prison and he escaped in a stolen Fantasti-Car[43].
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) with Alicia Masters after a defeat

Defeated by the Fantastic Four once again. [38]

By this point, Alicia had suspected her step-father's involvement and visited him at the maximum security prison he was being held. There she was able to help the warden find the doll that Phillip was using to control his victims. Just then Power Man arrived to free him and the Fantastic Four followed. Ben, now wearing an exo-suit that resembled his mutated form, then battled Power Man as he tried to flee with Puppet Master who took Alicia as a hostage. The battle between Ben and Power Man caused the Fantasti-Car to rock and when Alicia was thrown overboard, the Puppet Master discarded his puppet to leap after her. Both were saved by Mr. Fantastic and the puppet dissolved when it landed in the water below, freeing Power Man from the Puppet Master's control and ending the brawl. Phillip was then turned back over to the authorities and finished the rest of his sentence. [38]

Rehabilitation (of Sorts)

During his time in prison Phillip was a model prisoner and when he learned that his daughter Alicia was putting on a sculpture exhibit, he was allowed a temporary pass to go and see it and congratulate her. However his arrival also coincided with an attack by another one of the Fantastic Four's foes, the Terrible Trio. Trio member Yogi Dakor used his mystic powers to transfer the conciousness of his teammates Bull Brogan and Harry Phillips into the statues. In attendance at the event were the Thing and the impish Impossible Man. While they initially believed the Puppet Master to be involved the two uncovered and stopped the real attackers[44]. Phillip then returned to prison to finish out the rest of his sentence. He was released on Christmas Eve that very year and returned to one of his hideouts, plotting revenge anew when a sympathetic Christmas card from the Thing spurred his anger, however he found that the last of his clay had lost its potency. With no money to take a trip back to Transia to obtain more, Phillip paid a visit to the Baxter Building during the Fantastic Four's Christmas party. Under the pretence that he had reformed, he convinced the Fantastic Four that his fondest wish for Christmas was to return to his homeland. Alicia then talked Ben into taking both her and Phillip back to Transia. Their first night there, Phillip went out to search for more clay and was shrunken down in size and taken prisoner by the infantile mystic Modred the Mystery who at the time was under the care of the New Woman known as Bova. Finding Phillip gone, the Thing and Alicia went looking for him and after a fruitless search they were directed to Bova's cottage where they were forced to spend the night due to a storm. That evening Phillip tried to escape and found that the Thing -- who frightened Modred -- was also shrunk down in size. The then fought off Modred's animated toys all the way into Modred's room. There Phillip tried to use his clay to force Modred to change them back to normal but found that Modred's mystical powers prevented him from doing so. However the commotion woke up Bova and Alicia who came upon the situation. Waking Modred up, Bova convinced the addled mystic to restore Ben and Phillip to normal. After the incident, Phillip taught Modred how to animate his toys for friendship. He, Alicia and Ben then returned back to the United States, Phillip apparently full reformed from his life of crime. [8]

Liddleville

Phillip next became determined to provide Alicia with the life she always wanted and sought the technical means to do so. Having obtained more of his clay, the Puppet Master took control of Dr. Doom and constructed Liddleville, a miniature town that was run by robots fashioned as small town people. He then used his puppets to take control of the Fantastic Four, Alicia, and Reed and Sue's son Franklin and compel them to go to Doom's castle in the Adirondack mountains. There he hooked them into Liddleville, transferring their minds into miniature -- but powerless -- clone bodies. Phillip and Doom were able to transfer their minds back and forth into robotic duplicates of themselves in Liddleville to monitor things. With their memories as heroes stripped, the Fantastic Four were given idealistic small town lives and Ben, now human again, and Alicia were conditioned to believe they were married. However Doom's will proved to be too strong for Phillip to control and began using Liddleville to torment his old foe Reed. However this plan backfired as the heroes memories ultimately returned and Reed, using a miniature Lesalle-Devaney Particle Accelerator to restore their powers in their tiny bodies. They then escaped Liddleville, and attacked Doom who stumbled over controls and found his mind trapped in his Liddleville robotic simulacrum. The Four restored themselves to their true forms but were unable to find Phillip's body and thus were unable to restore him. Furious over Doom ruining his plans, Masters set the robot citizens of Liddleville after Doom chasing him to the furthest edges of the town. [45]

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) mayor of Liddleville

Mayor of Liddleville[46]

Phillip then set himself up as the mayor of Liddleville but soon his town was attacked by Dr. Doom and an army of robots he constructed and he was captured and the population enslaved. This defeat coincided with the arrival of the Micronauts who were sent to Liddleville by the Thing in the hopes of finding a means to return to their native Microverse. The heroes attacked Doom's castle to liberate Masters in the hopes that he could help them return home. They crippled Doom's robot army and freed Phillip who used one of his puppets to control Doom and force him to stay in flames long enough for the face of his robot-simulacrum melted, scarring his hansom face here as it was in his actual body. With Doom defeated, Phillip proved to be of little aid to the Micronauts who departed, leaving Masters to continue ruling over the people of Liddleville[46].
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) crushed by a Doombot

Phillip's robot simulacrum being destroyed by a Doombot. [47]

However this rule proved short lived as Doom began working on a means of escaping his prison. A Doombot came to recover Doom's robotic-similacrum and in doing so crushed Phillip's robot body as well, seemingly killing him. [47]

Resurrection

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) clay form

Clay form [48]

However, Phillip was not truly dead, his conciousness survived and it came to possess some of the mystical clay which he used to control his victims[49]. Able to meld this clay into any form, he could take possession of his victims by assuming their shape, he was even capable of taking control of multiple victims by breaking apart into multiple, but smaller, portions[50]. After learning that his step-daughter was injured by one of the Fantastic Four's other foes[51], he came to the conclusion that the Thing was responsible and thus, bad for her to continue to associate with[50]. The reborn Puppet Master then targeted the Thing once again, and took possession of Wonder Man, She-Hulk and Spider-Man to try and defeat Ben. However his victims were merely mindless zombies and Masters had no real understanding of how their powers worked and so each attacker was easily defeated. Phillip then decided to take possession of the Thing and make him go on a murderous rampage so he would be punished[48].
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) asteral projection

Phillip's mental image in the astral plain. [50]

However Ben fought the Puppet Master in his mind, but was only able to to defeat Phillip in a mental struggle only after accepting his Thing form in mind as well as in body. This allowed Ben to break free, and finding that he was still mind linked to Phillipe, he forced the Puppet Master to crumble into a pile of clay and was presumed to be deceased once again[50].
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) clay form crumbles

Clay form crumbles. [50]

However the Puppet Master still was not dead, the remains of his clay form were scooped up by a cleaning crew and thrown in a nearby landfill. Some time later, the Thing's foe the Sphinx sought to get revenge against him for damaging his Ka-Stone, thus robbing him of his immortality, sought one last means of restoring its full power. Detecting the mental emanations of Phillip's mind, the Sphinx recovered the clay fragments and brought them aboard his pyramid ship. On board, the Sphinx used his machines to reform the clay, restoring Phillip to his human form. The Sphinx found that Masters was of no use to him and denying an alliance to destroy the Thing ejected him from his ship. Not wanting to be robbed of his revenge against the Thing, Phillip became determined to destroy his old foe before the Sphinx could. By this time, the Thing was estranged from the Fantastic Four and was currently a wrestler in the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation.
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) restored to human form

Restored to human form. [52]

Tracking Ben down, the Puppet Master crafted a puppet of the Thing's friend Dennis Dunphry and made Dennis try to kill Ben during a practice. Realizing that the Puppet Master must had taken control of his friend, Ben incapacitated Dunpgry and found Phillip hiding in the bleachers. Learning that Phillip was after Ben because of his past relationship with Alicia, Ben informed Masters that he and Alicia were no longer a couple and that she had in turn was now dating the Human Torch[53]. Seeing no reason to slay the Thing any more the Puppet Master fled. However he was unable to bring himself to allow the Sphinx to slay the Thing. Later that night when the Sphinx kidnapped the Thing during one of his matches, the Puppet Master fashioned a puppet of the Sphinx and forced the villain to remove his Ka-Stone, no longer protected by the immortality that kept him alive for centuries, the Sphinx then crumbled to dust. [52]
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) fourth costume

Fourth costume [54]

When it was announced that Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters were to be married, Phillip sought to stop it by murdering the Torch, seeing him as much of a threat to Alicia's safety as the Thing ever was. To this end, he formed an alliance with the Mad Thinker and the Wizard to execute this plan. While the Puppet Master prepared a puppet of the Thing for the purposes of making him slay the Torch at the altar, Phillip also managed to locate the Dragon Man android and kept it in reserve just in case. Listening in on his victims before the wedding, Phillip became moved by how happy his step-daughter was and how the Thing was actually willing to be the best man at the wedding. Not willing to ruin Alicia's bid day, Masters decided against launching his attack. Having anticipated this, the Mad Thinker then unleashed androids on the wedding. The Puppet Master then unleashed the Dragon Man and it destroyed the androids then attacked his allies. While the Mad Thinker had a robot acting in his place, the Wizard fled from the android dragon [54]. Phillip ultimately gave up on super-villainy for a time and met a new woman whom he married. He also took in this woman's child from a previous marriage, Morty, who was mentally challenged. Phillip embraced his new life and found new happiness. Morty loved the children's cartoon "Adolescent Microwave Shell-Shocked Amphibians" and so Phillip put his sculpting skills into making Morty action figures based on the cartoon. However, because the figures were made of his old Puppet Master clay, they took control of four members of the Ciegrimites race who were on Earth, due to their resemblance to the animated cartoon characters. The Ciegrimites ran amok across New York and later engaged in a battle with the Power Pack when Morty found an old doll based off Franklin Richards and began using it to play with.
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) Master Puppet

The Master Puppet [55]

Power Pack leader Mass Master located Morty and interrupted him. Woken from a nap, Phillip realized what had happened and profusely apologized for the entire incident[6]. However Phillip's new life was short lived and he is no longer associated with his current wife or Morty, this is likely due to the fact he was next seen in prison for an unspecified crime. It was during this current term in jail that a compaction frame that contained one of the many Encroachiverses ended up in his cell. Phillip found that it connected with Earth-TRN055 a world of sentient puppets. Phillip escaped into this Puppet-Verse to start a new life. However when it a guard discovered his cell empty, he took the compaction frame home. When it began producing puppets based on the marionette television series the "Thunderhawks" and "Agent Rouge and the Secretives" he gave it to his children to play with. Soon the Encroachiverse began expanding into Earth-616. This drew in the She-Hulk, and her partners Weezie, and the Blonde Phantom. Seeing them interfering with his idealistic life, the Puppet Master attacked them with a massive marionette construct called the Master Puppet. However the battle was quickly ended when Weezie spotted Phillip controlling his massive construct and sneaked up behind him and convinced him to stand down. The cosmic being known as the Critic appeared and reversed the damage done by the Encroachiverse and took the compaction frame away. Phillip was then returned to prison to serve out the rest of his sentence. [55]

Reunited With Alicia

Estranged from his daughter for some time, Phillip began to be concerned when he noted that his step-daughter hadn't visited the grave of her mother in some time. Having been keeping tabs on Alicia, Phillip found that this was one of many changes in her character since she married the Human Torch and decided to find out what was wrong. To this end, he created a puppet of Marvel Boy of the New Warriors, sending him to kidnap her from her apartment. This led to a clash between the Fantastic Four and the New Warriors and while both hero teams were distracted, Phillip confronted Alicia. However when she did not recognize his voice, he realized that the woman he had kidnapped was not really his step-daughter, but really an impostor. In his anger he tossed away his puppet controlling Marvel Boy, and the two groups realized who was responsible and tried to attack the Puppet Master. Masters managed to get away by activating a robot to battle the heroes, allowing Phillip to escape[56]. Phillip then sought out his old ally the Mad Thinker who, through his computations, confirmed to Phillip that the woman posing as Alicia Masters-Storm was actually a Skrull impostor and also revealed plans to eliminate his old foes when they would eventually discover this and mount a rescue mission. Phillip took the information about the impostor and brought it to the Thing, who went rushing back to the Fantastic Four's new headquarters the Four Freedoms Plaza and forced Lyja, the spy, to reveal the truth to his teammates[57]. The Puppet Master then tried tried to dissuade the Mad Thinker from enacting his plan to sabotage the Fantastic Four by taking control of the Cobra who was the Thinker's fellow prisoner in the Vault prison[58]. While this didn't stop the Thinker's plans, the Fantastic Four still succeeded in rescuing the real Alicia and returning to Earth. [59]

Phillip came to his daughter's aid and tried to help her acclimatize to the changes that occurred during her absence. Masters took particular interest in the hurt Alicia felt to learn that the Thing moved on and was presently dating Ms. Marvel and began plotting to make Alicia happy again[60]. Phillip first went to confront Ben after a date with Sharon. His confrontation occurred during a battle that was later referred to as the Infinity War and Ben was soon attacked by a doppelgänger of himself created by the Magus to replace him. As the two Things fought each other, Phillip decided to help, making a puppet of the doppelgänger, and tossed the puppet onto the third rail of a subway track. The resulting electrical feedback incinerated the doppelgänger[61]. Phillip went to Alicia to comfort her over the recent disappearance of the Fantastic Four[62] when suddenly everyone on Earth was briefly immobilized[63]. When the world was restored to normal, Phillip found that Alicia was now missing. He then grudgingly sought the aid of the Fantastic Four. Reed and Ben then accompanied Phillip to Alicia's apartment where Reed constructed a device that would show them what previously occurred in the room, and they discovered that Alicia was kidnapped by Aron the Rogue Watcher. Reed vowed to Phillip that they would mobilize and rescue Alicia immediately[64]. However Phillip was not willing to wait on the sidelines and so he used his puppets to take control of an agent he could use to rescue Alicia himself. He took control of and sent the Molecule Man to track down Aron and rescue his step-daughter[65]. Although incredibly powerful, the Molecule Man was easily defeated. But Aron was defeated when Alicia along with Ben, Reed and Ms. Marvel (who were also captured) managed to break free, foiling the rogue Watcher's plot[66].

Phillip was still determined to provide Alicia an ideal life and shortly after the apparent death of Reed Richards[67] and the subsequent disbanding of the Fantastic Four[68], Masters decided to create the ideal life for both Alicia and Ben Grimm. He once more placed Alicia in Liddleville and then kidnapped the Thing placing him in Liddleville as well. Like the previous time he was there, Ben managed to break free from the mental conditioning and escape back into his own body. He then convinced Phillip that his relationship with Alicia was over and that he shouldn't force them to be together. Ben then smashed the mental transfer device and left before Alicia awoke[69]. Phillip then tried to continue living a normal life and look after Alicia. However when the fledgling Fantastic Force (successors to the Fantastic Four) were attacked by She-Hulk, the group assumed that she was mentally controlled by the Puppet Master and attacked him. Alicia stopped the attack scolding the group for attacking her step-father without confirming if he was responsible. The Force sheepishly left Phillip and Alicia alone[70][71].

Phillip and Alicia remained apart from the Fantastic Four for some time, however during the Onslaught crisis the two came to assist the Fantastic Four in helping the various heroes who were injured battling the psychic entity known as Onslaught[72]. It was during this crisis that Dr. Doom, the Fantastic Four, Avengers and a number of their allies were seemingly slain during that conflict. [73]

Cosmic Messiah

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) toymaker

Toymaker[4]

Phillip eventually managed to break away from his cycle of using clay and began using his craft to build models and toys based on the super-heroes that he encountered in his time as a super-villain and made a modest living. However he still kept his supply of clay below his workshop but for the most part managed to resist the temptation of using it. Shortly after the supposed demise of the Fantastic Four, Alicia sought comfort from the Silver Surfer and a romance began to bud between the two. During a period where the Surfer was rendered incapable of feeling emotions, the pair paid a visit to Phillip. They convinced Masters to once more use his special clay to create a replica of the Silver Surfer. The Surfer then gave the clay figure a portion of his Power Cosmic and memories in order to bring it to life in order to gain clues on how to regain his emotions. However this duplicate became enraged upon remembering his homeworld of Zenn-La was destroyed and fought against his creator, transforming him back into human form[4]. Alicia and Phillip went searching for the Surfer. They were on hand when the Surfer duplicate clashed with Spider-Man and Daredevil. However when the now human Surfer confronted his duplicate the faux-Surfer decided the only way to end his suffering was to commit suicide and take his creator with him and unleashed a fury of cosmic energy[74]. However instead of killing the Surfer, he was restored to normal and both he and Alicia were transported back to the year 1947 where Alicia later confronted a younger Phillip Masters. In the present, Phillip reclaimed his clay form of the Surfer was kidnapped by Sorrentino and her army of Grangers. Daredevil and Spider-Man tried to prevent Phillip's kidnapping, but failed. [75]

Phillip was taken to the artificial island of Satori where he learned from the Grangers that he was to help save the world and that his assistance somehow involved the Silver Surfer[76]. Sorrentino then showed Phillip that her people had recreated the Puppet Master's clay so that he would sculpt for them[12]. Phillip was shocked to find that his one time associate Alexi Granger ran Satori and that he had gathered like minded individuals to find a new messiah for the planet Earth, and that they had come to worship the Silver Surfer hoping that he would be their new religious figure. When the Surfer and Alicia returned to the present they learned that Phillip was kidnapped and the Surfer was able to track him back to Satori. There he learned of their purpose and refused to be their messiah and was attacked. Angered, the Surfer then blew up the clay statue of himself that Masters built, however Phillip got in the way of the blast and was seriously injured trying to protect his greatest work[14]. Dying, Phillip was tempted by the demon Mephisto to die and enter his domain, but the Puppet Master was defended by the Surfer who restored him to life using the Power Cosmic. When Phillip tried to hug his daughter, Alicia -- having come to terms with the fact that Phillip killed her biological parents while visiting the past -- slapped him across the face and warned him not to come near her, having finally come to hate him for what he did to her life. When the Surfer offered to bring Phillip home, he refused deciding to stay on Satori, having found new purpose there. Alexi then revealed to Phillip that his Grangers stole a portion of the Power Cosmic from the Surfer during the battle and since the Surfer refused to be their messiah, that Phillip would construct one for them instead. [11]

Phillip was given clay which he began sculpting a human figure to be the messiah that Granger hoped would change the world[77]. Phillip completed a Christ-like humanoid that was dubbed the Cosmic Messiah[78]. With the clay statue completed, Alexi had is Grangers infuse it with the Power Cosmic stolen from the Surfer, bringing the Messiah to life[79]. Phillip then had Alicia kidnapped and brought back to Satori to see his work. However when the Cosmic Massiah was given the full knowledge of the human race he determined that the best way to bring peace to humanity was to transform the entire species into energy. Phillip and the other worshipers in Satori were then converted into sentient light. Before he could do so to Alicia, the Silver Surfer arrived with the Thing[80], the pair fought the Messiah but he was too strong for them. It took the words of Alicia to convince the Messiah that humanity needed to find salvation in its own way. The Cosmic Messiah then restored Phillip and the others to normal and departed for space to seek further enlightenment. [81]

Return to Super-Villainy

After the Satori incident, Phillip's activities are largely unknown, however he eventually regressed to his criminal ways. However he was soon contacted by SHIELD who convinced him to assist them in a new project. Giving him the means to boost the number of people he could control with his clay, the Puppet Master was granted immunity if he helped a number of deranged criminals find a new life, by being forced to adopt new, law abiding, Middle American lives in the small town of Sunshine City, Florida. However this position did not prevent him from continuing to meddle in the lives of his daughter. He used his clay to force her to move to Sunshine City and also lured the Thing to force them into a relationship after much time apart. The Fantastic Four tracked Ben to Sunshine City and freed him by forcing him to revert back to human form, freeing him from the Puppet Master's control. When the Fantastic Four confronted Phillip, they could not do anything thanks to his immunity from SHIELD, but Ben and Alicia were allowed to leave. [82] The Puppet Master later tried to rob Macey's Department store during the Christmas holidays using the Inhuman known as Medusa while disguised as Santa Claus. This rather mundane heist was foiled by Spider-Man, the Invisible Woman, the Wasp, and Crystal. [83]

Phillip next teamed up with the Mad Thinker, and the Puppet Master was led to believe that they were forming a scheme to defeat the Fantastic Four once and for all. The Puppet Master then organized a meeting with a number of Fantastic Four foes under the pretence that he was trying to get them to work together to destroy their mutual enemies. As expected the gathering of villains left the moment the Puppet Master finished making his opening speech. However this played directly into the Mad Thinker's hands as he had placed DNA collectors on all the seats. Having developed a control helmet that would allow Phillip to use these DNA samples to take control of the donor, the Mad Thinker handed over all the samples to Masters to utilize in their revenge scheme. Phillip then paid a visit to his step-daughter Alicia and once again attempted to get her to come with him. His visit was interrupted by the Thing who had come to Alicia's aid. Phillip then used his control helmet to summon Dragon Man to battle the Thing, but was defeated just as the rest of the Fantastic Four arrived at the scene. When Mr. Fantastic confiscated Phillip's control helmet and DNA samples Reed was forced to reveal his conclusions that he had predicted that if the Fantastic Four continued their lives at their current course they would all be dead in two years. Reed and the others then became determined to round up all their old foes and imprison them[84]. Phillip was initially imprisoned at the Baxter Building[85] until a new prison could be constructed in the Negative Zone for criminals to be placed there. When the prison was complete, Phillip was forced to share a cell with the Mole Man[86]. However this was all a plan by the Mad Thinker to escape into the Negative Zone with a female native of that reality, using the prison as a bridge. When they infiltrated the prison they set all the prisoners loose forcing the Fantastic Four and their allies She-Hulk and Hercules to try and quell the break out. Phillip attempted to flee the scene twice. The first time cowering back to his cell when he realized how out powered he was, and later was nabbed by the She-Hulk in the confusion. [87]

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) gone insane

Phillip goes insane. [9]

Some how Phillip managed to escape the prison and return to Earth. By this time Phillip's mental stability began to slip from all the years of using his radioactive clay. as he sought to redeem himself by restoring Alicia's vision. However his implementation of the plan was horrified. First he kidnapped renown optical surgeon Dr. Saunders by threatening to harm his family. He then lured Alicia to the abandoned hospital on Governor's Island and used a puppet to spa her will. Phillip then began murdering young women around Alicia's age in order to harvest their eyes for surgery[9]. However the surgeries only provided Alicia with temporary site as the eyes were not strong enough to sustain more than a few days use. When a number of surgeries failed, Phillip was told by Dr. Saunders that Alicia would need a stronger pair of eyes. This prompted Phillip to use his puppets to bring the Invisible Woman to him to use[2]. However, because he used a puppet on Sue Richards, this weakened his hold on Alicia who found Sue and deduced how her father was getting new eyes. The two women broke free and fled from an enraged Phillip. Trapped in a room and with the Invisible Woman's powers dampened, Alicia did the only thing she could do: use her step-father's own clay and use it to break his hands, sending him to a the hospital but ending his threat. It was theorized that Phillips loss of sanity was a result of the effects of his clay on his mind[9]. Phillip was imprisoned and he was eventually visited by Alicia, who feeling sorry for maiming her now mentally infirm step-father, left him with a chunk of clay to sculpt with once his hands healed. [88]

Phillip's mind eventually returned to normal and his hands healed. Likely escaping prison again he once more began to work with the Mad Thinker during the early part of the super-hero Civil War. The pair began plotting to kill as many of Iron Man's supports of the Superhuman Registration Act and Captain America's Secret Avengers resistance movement. To this end, the Mad Thinker stole intel from the government regarding a shipment of captured resisters through the streets of New York City. He then provided that data to members of the Yancy Street Gang who in turn provided it to Captain America's forces in the hopes of forcing a conflict on both sides[89]. With Phillip's ability to control people boosted with a Cerebral Enhancement System, he constructed a massive replica of the prisoner shipment and Yancy Street. The Puppet Master took over SHIELD operatives and Yancy Street Gang protesters alike to sow confusion while one of the gang members tried to plant a bomb. This attempt was thwarted by the Thing, who stopped the bomb but not before some of the gang members to be killed in the battle. Furious over the senseless death caused by the Civil War, Ben Grimm left for Europe and lived there until the war ended. [90]

Following the war, Phillip came upon a young boy named Louis who was bullied by other children his age. Finding something in common with young Louis, the Puppet Master constructed a Spider-Man action figure that would come to the boy's aid whenever one of the other children tried to cause him trouble. [10]

Retirement

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) human trafficker

Phillip gets into the human trafficking business. [91]

Following the Civil War, Phillip decided to retire as the Puppet Master and used his abilities to set himself up in the town of Puerto Maravilla, Chile. There he discovered an even more powerful clay to use. He then made puppets out of this clay to making an army of mindless slaves, setting himself up as a human trafficker selling his puppet controlled slaves to the highest bidder. With his high paying clients also desiring female super-humans for their perverted proclivities or criminal operations, Phillip also began possessing Chilean soldiers and sending them to America to neutralize and apprehend female super-humans. Among those kidnapped by Phillip included Dusk, Silverclaw, Tigra, Stature, and Araña. However he failed to capture female criminals Terminatrix and Battleaxe. These botched attempts attracted the attention of SHIELD agent Ms. Marvel and her super-human response unit Operation: Lightning Storm who traced the captured Chilean soldiers back to Puerto Maravilla[91]. Ms. Marvel travelled there with teammates Machine Man, and Rick Sheridan (who was linked to the Sleepwalker entity). Searching the area alone, Ms. Marvel found an army of Phillip's slaves collecting the clay and realized who she was dealing with. Before he could alert the others she was attacked and defeated by Silverclaw and Tigra and made the Puppet Master's prisoner[92]. However Ms. Marvel broke free from Puppet Master's control thanks in part to a mysterious healing factor that had been protecting her at the time. The Puppet Master then sent his super-human slaves against her, but Ms. Marvel was assisted by her teammates and all the enslaved heroes were defeated. Ms. Marvel then flew into the Puppet Master's estate, destroyed all his puppets freeing the slaves. She then confronted him directly and learned that he had prepared for eventual defeat by planting a massive amount of explosives beneath his home and was about to trigger it off. Ms. Marvel did not stop Phillip from pushing the detonator, knowing her healing factor would save her from the blast and Phillip was seemingly killed in the resulting explosion. [93]
Phillip Mastesr (Earth-616) seeking revenge against corporate greed

Getting revenge against corporate greed[94]

However, like many other times, Phillip miraculously survived[95], how he survived though has yet to be revealed. Returning to the United States, Phillip was furious to learn that Bullsteams Investment Group had bilked his entire retirement investments leaving him penniless. He used his puppets to take control of the board of directors and began humiliating them. He started by forcing one of the directors to strip down into his underwear and begin eating his own fesses. When suddenly he was interrupted by Deadpool and Machine Man who were hired by the Delmar Insurance Company to stop the Puppet Master from harming their clients, not for altruistic reasons, but to avoid huge insurance settlements. Their attempt to capture Phillip was hampered by Deadpool's wanton destruction and Machine Man's drive to avoid damage so he could collect a hefty bonus to buy alcohol with. The Puppet Master attempt to offer Deadpool even more money than what he was getting from Delmar, however this turned out to be nothing but a ploy. When Master's attempted to take control of Deadpool, he found this difficult due to the mercenary's fractured mind. Masters was ultimately stopped when Machine Man fashioned a puppet out of the Puppet Master himself and seemingly lobotomized him by firing a laser into the doll's forehead. Deadpool then chucked the doll out of the office building's window and Phillip fell down after it, seemingly to his demise once again. [94]

Heroes/Villains for Hire

Phillip Masters (Earth-616) enslaving Misty Knight

Enslaving Misty Knight[96]

However Phillip survived once again and sought to redeem himself and reform. To this end he was manipulated by Purple Man who provided with high tech equipment to make people do his bidding instead of his clay[97]. With a criminal empire vacuum following the Shadowland crime war, Phillip sought to manipulate Misty Knight into forming a new Heroes for Hire. With Mercedes recovering from a false pregnancy, Phillip kidnapped her and put her in a medically induced coma and used her ties to various super-heroes in the community to carry out his operations to clean up crime in New York, but also bugging the communication devices he used to reach the heroes to also allow him to command them later by modifying his voice to sound like Misty[98]. However, Phillip was unaware that the Purple Man -- then imprisoned within the Raft maximum security prison -- was really tricking Masters to set up an operation that he and other villains could use once he broke out of prison[97]. Knowing that Misty might someday break out of her coma and resist him, Phillip's first "hero" for hire was the vigilante known as the Punisher. [99]
Phillip Masters (Earth-616) shot by the Punisher

Shot by the Punisher[100]

Through Misty's Heroes for Hire operation Phillip manipulated Misty into directing Paladin, Falcon, the Black Widow, Moon Knight and Elektra to stop Kurod Ormaon's shipments of the deadly drug known as Hook[96]. Then dispatched Paladin, Satana, Silver Sable and Ghost Rider stopped Baron Brimston's sale of Satanically powered Soulcutter guns[101]. He also used Misty to send Moon Knight to stop the human trafficking of Savage Land natives and the illegal sale of Dinosaurs from the region[102]. However soon Misty's strong will allowed her to break out of the medically induced coma that Phillip had trapped her in. When she tried to break free, he summoned the Punisher to come and eliminate her[98]. As Mistry fought for her life, she and Phillip entered a match of wills trying since the Punisher was compelled to act on the sound of Misty's voice, which Phillip was able to replicate through his machines. Ultimately, Misty won this duel and the Punisher shot Phillip in the back and left him for dead. Ironically enough, Phillip had actually slipped into a coma[103] and was sent to the Raft for medical treatment and imprisonment. [104]

When the Serpent was unleashed[105] he unleashed a number of hammers to Earth to empower those he called the Worthy. One of these hammers, the Hammer of Kuurth smashed into the Raft, empowering the Juggernaut, who decimated the prison[106]. Purple Man then attempted to lead a jailbreak, but before fleeing he sought to silence the Puppet Master before he awoke from his coma and could tip people off about his involvement with his Heroes for Hire operation. The Purple Man and his fellow escapees were prevented from murdering Phillip by Elektra and the Shroud[104]. While the heroes managed to save Phillip's life[107], Purple Man and his villainous cohorts managed to escape. [108]

Purple Man then established Villains for Hire who were then opposed by Misty Knight's own crew of villains[109]. During this time, Phillip came out of his coma and broke out of the Raft, seeking to clear his name and finally reform for good. Phillip came to Misty and Paladin and convinced them to let him help them behind the scenes. With the help of Masters, they devised a plan that saw Paladin go undercover as the villain known as Scourge[97]. When it came to the final battle between the Villains for Hire and Misty's crew, the Puppet Master made his involvement known[110]. The Puppet Master then used Killgrave's own technology to turn his enslaved minions against him. Killgrave in turn used his pheromone powers to counteract the technology causing it to overload. In doing so, all the villains that were enslaved were finally free everyone started trying to flee the scene, looking out for only themselves. Ultimately Misty and Paladin managed to round up the villains for the authorities. In the aftermath of the battle the Puppet Master surrendered to the FBI to prove his innocence and resume his civilian rehabilitation.[97]

Fall of the Fantastic Four

Months later, the Puppet Master brought Alicia to a warehouse, according to her "he wasn't making any sense." Upon arriving, Alicia called Ben for help, who soon got there. Reed Richards also arrived to the warehouse, after being alerted by Ben, and was told by Alicia that Ben and the Pupper Master had fought. When entering the room where the fight was held. Reed discovered The Thing holding Phillip's corpse, but claiming he wasn't who took Puppet Master's life.[111] It was later revealed that the dead Puppet Master was a decoy and the real Puppet Master had been hidden away by the Quiet Man, the mastermind behind The Thing's framing and other misfortunes the Fantastic Four had suffered. Reed Richards latter found the real Puppet Master captive in the Quiet man's building.[112]

Powers

  • Sympathetic Magic: By means of a special method he has developed, the Puppet Master may mentally control the minds of others. The process requires him to carve and colour an effigy of his intended victim from radioactive clay brought from Wundagore Mountain in his native Transia. Once the effigy resembles a specific individual, he can grasp it and actively control the real person’s body and mind. By physically manipulating the figure, he can cause his victim to perform identical movements. Such cases cause the victims to retain consciousness but lose control of their bodies. The Puppet Master can even control a person by simply grasping the effigy and concentrating on it. This enables him to perform more complex feats. He is able to blot out a victim’s mind, alter the victim’s memory, and force them to perform complex activities. Generally he can control only a single individual at one time. Initially he has stated countless times that his clay is radioactive[5], however later sources indicate that the Puppet Master is aware of the mystical properties of his clay[2], suggesting that perhaps he calls the clay radioactive to throw off his opponents.
  • Mineral Body: At one point briefly in his career, Masters’ body was destroyed in a battle with the Doctor Doom[47]. However, his conscious mind survived and was able to take possession of the clay he used for years, able to mould it with his mind[48]. This new body resembled his original body but possessed unique features. Masters was able to split himself into 1-10 smaller replicas. These replicas shared a communal mind but were capable of independent actions. Furthermore, each replica was capable of shape-changing to become an effigy of an intended victim. Once the change was complete, the effigy could control that person’s actions. Masters’ clay form was later returned to normal flesh by the Sphinx, and the Puppet Master lost this ability. [52]

Abilities

The Puppet Master is an expert in the field of biology. He is also an excellent toymaker and sculptor specializing in portraiture.



Equipment

  • Psychic Clay: The Puppet Master’s powers are derived from his special clay. This radioactive clay contains low level isotopes; it is incapable of directly harming anyone. The clay comes from deposits found on Wundagore Mountain in Transia. While Masters originally attributed its powers to its isotopic content, the truth is that the clay possesses magical energy leaked from the body of the demon Chthon, who was trapped for centuries beneath Wundagore. The clay can only be used to form a single effigy. Once that effigy is no longer used, the magic and radiation dissipate. Because of this, Masters must periodically return to Transia for a fresh supply.
  • Liddleville Device: This is a tabletop diorama and computer system built by Masters and Doom. When a person under Master’s control lays on one of the pallets ringing the table, that person’s mind is transferred into a miniature android replica
  • Puppet Master is also a citizen of the fictional European country Transia.

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Marvel Team-Up #6
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Marvel Knights 4 #13
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 2 #10
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Silver Surfer Vol 3 #127
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Fantastic Four #8
  6. 6.0 6.1 Power Pack #60
  7. 7.0 7.1 New Mutants Annual #4
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Marvel Two-In-One #74
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Marvel Knights 4 #14
  10. 10.0 10.1 Spider-Man Family #4
  11. 11.0 11.1 Silver Surfer Vol 3 #133
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Silver Surfer Vol 3 #131
  13. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #130, "Alicia Clay" was in reality Jacob's future daughter Alicia who had been transported back in time to 1947 from the modern era
  14. 14.0 14.1 Silver Surfer Vol 3 #132
  15. Marvel Saga #6
  16. per New Mutants Annual #4 and Silver Surfer Vol 3 #130
  17. Fantastic Four #9
  18. Fantastic Four #14
  19. Strange Tales #116
  20. 20.0 20.1 Fantastic Four #28
  21. Strange Tales #126
  22. 22.0 22.1 Strange Tales #133
  23. Fantastic Four Annual #3
  24. 24.0 24.1 Tales to Astonish #78
  25. Tales to Astonish #79
  26. Tales to Astonish #80
  27. X-Men #27
  28. Marvel Comics Presents #59
  29. 29.0 29.1 Tales to Astonish #100
  30. Sub-Mariner #14
  31. Avengers #63
  32. 32.0 32.1 Captain Marvel #14
  33. Avengers #64
  34. Fantastic Four #100
  35. Marvel Team-Up #5
  36. 36.0 36.1 Marvel Two-In-One #9
  37. Iron Fist #4
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Fantastic Four #170
  39. Fantastic Four #166
  40. Fantastic Four #167
  41. Iron Fist #11
  42. Fantastic Four #168
  43. Fantastic Four #169
  44. Marvel Two-In-One #60
  45. Fantastic Four #236
  46. 46.0 46.1 Micronauts #41
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Fantastic Four #246
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 Thing #5
  49. Thing #4
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 50.4 Thing #6
  51. Annihilus in Fantastic Four #256
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 Thing #34
  53. In reality this was actually a Skrull impostor named Lyja who took Alicia's place as revealed later in Fantastic Four #357
  54. 54.0 54.1 Fantastic Four #300
  55. 55.0 55.1 Sensational She-Hulk #47
  56. Fantastic Four #356
  57. Fantastic Four #357
  58. Fantastic Four #358
  59. Fantastic Four #359
  60. Fantastic Four #366
  61. Fantastic Four #367
  62. They were occupied fighting in the Infinity War see Infinity War Vol 1 and Fantastic Four #366 to 370
  63. Fantastic Four #369
  64. Fantastic Four #371
  65. Fantastic Four #372
  66. Fantastic Four #373
  67. Reed was seemingly killed in Fantastic Four #381
  68. The FF briefly broke up following the events of Fantastic Four #392
  69. Fantastic Four #393
  70. Fantastic Force #13
  71. It was revealed that another old Fantastic Four foe, Diablo was the one responsible at the end of Fantastic Force #13, however the heroes never found out what was truly responsible
  72. Fantastic Four #416
  73. Onslaught Marvel Universe #1
  74. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #128
  75. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #129
  76. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #130
  77. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #134
  78. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #135
  79. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #136
  80. Ben along with the other heroes believed to be killed in Onslaught Marvel Universe #1 were actually transported to a pocket dimension by Franklin Richards on a world later dubbed Counter-Earth. They lived different similar lives there as depicted in Fantastic Four Vol 2 #1 through 13 before being returned to their rightful world in Heroes Reborn: The Return #4
  81. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #138
  82. Fantastic Four Vol 3 #45
  83. Spider-Man's Tangled Web #21
  84. Fantastic Four: Foes #1
  85. Fantastic Four: Foes #4
  86. Fantastic Four: Foes #5
  87. Fantastic Four: Foes #6
  88. Marvel Knights 4 #30
  89. Fantastic Four #538
  90. Fantastic Four #539
  91. 91.0 91.1 Ms. Marvel Vol 2 #18
  92. Ms. Marvel Vol 2 #19
  93. Ms. Marvel Vol 2 #20
  94. 94.0 94.1 Deadpool Team-Up #890
  95. Fin Fang Four Return! #1
  96. 96.0 96.1 Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #1
  97. 97.0 97.1 97.2 97.3 Villains for Hire #4
  98. 98.0 98.1 Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #4
  99. Heroes for Hire Vol 2 #4
  100. Heroes for Hire Vol 2 #5
  101. Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #2
  102. Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #3
  103. Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #5
  104. 104.0 104.1 Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #9
  105. Fear Itself #1
  106. Fear Itself #2
  107. Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #10
  108. Heroes for Hire Vol 3 #11
  109. Villains for Hire #1
  110. Villains for Hire #3
  111. Fantastic Four Vol 5 #7
  112. Fantastic Four #645
  113. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 9



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