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Robert Frank (Earth-616) from What If? Vol 1 4 0001

Preface

The Whizzer has been in Marvel publications for nearly 70 years. Below is the full his history. For the an overview of his history see the Abridged History of the Whizzer.

Recent revelations about some of the Whizzer's wartime adventures were actually comic book fictionalizations of true events as wartime propaganda to boost the public's support of the United States entry into World War II. For example, the depictions of the Whizzer's adventures with Slow Motion Jones have been grossly fictionalized, reducing Jones (a fellow super-speedster) to a racial stereotype.[1] However, the true details of most of these adventures are not recorded, and as such their fictional exploits will be presented here instead.

Origins

Robert Frank (Earth-616) original costume

Original costume

Robert Frank was born to Dr. Emil Frank, a health practitioner. In the year 1941, Robert, an adult, was an assistant for his father's practice. One day, Emil was performing surgery on mobster Gabe Granno, when Granno's rival Neal Jennings burst in and forced Emil's scalpel down, fatally wounding Granno. Jennings then threatened to accuse Emil of murdering Granno if he did not flee the country. Fearing persecution, Emil and Robert left America and partook in a medical expedition in Cameroon. There, Robert contracted a rare tropical virus and was near death. Trying to save his son via blood transfusion from his own body, Emil became delirious and irrational. Determined to save the life of his son, Emil witnessed a mongoose fighting off a killing a cobra, only to be fatally wounded itself. Believing local folklore about the recuperative properties of the mongoose, Emil used the animal in a transfusion, reviving his son. Emil soon died from a combination of the blood transfusions and shock. Robert meanwhile found that he was endowed with super-human speed.[2] Although initially believed that the mongoose blood was the source of his super-human powers, later reports suggest that the mongoose blood was actually a catalyst that triggered latent mutant abilities within Robert.[3]

With his new-found abilities, Robert returned to the United States, establishing a costumed identity of the Whizzer and brought Neal Jennings and his gang to justice.[2] Initially only seeking to avenge his father, Robert decided to remain active as a super-hero and continued operating as the Whizzer for the duration of his life.[3]

Robert Frank (Earth-616) 1942 costume

Costume circa 1942

World War II

1941

Starting a solo career, one of the Whizzer's first recorded capers was investigating why women in the city were suddenly dropping dead. Investigating the mysterious deaths, he noticed that the jewelry they purchased was poisoned and tied all the pieces to the Star Department Store. There he found a Nazi spy named Lense who was working with the owner to cause animosity among Americans to discourage the United States from involving themselves in the war. The Whizzer quickly captured Lense and his accomplice before they could flee the country.[4] Later, while attending a horse race, the Whizzer witnessed as a jockey was shot by Silky Kirby's mob for not throwing the race and rushed him to the hospital. With the jockey expected to recover, the Whizzer then took down Silky Kirby and his mob.[5]

Next, the Whizzer was called in to investigate prison riots at Tolegate Prison instigated by a mysterious criminal operating from within the prison who called himself the Black. Foiling an attempted prison break, the Whizzer revealed the Black to be none other than warden Don Reinman who was trying to force the prison to shut down so he could buy the oil rich land at a cheap price.[6]

1942

In 1942, the Whizzer began investigating a group of Nazi spies, which led to his first encounter with female super-hero Miss America. After the pair captured the spies they were approached by Bucky who was gathering heroes to help free his fellow Invaders who had been placed under the thrall of the Red Skull. The Whizzer and Miss America joined this newly formed group of heroes, who dubbed themselves the Liberty Legion.[7] After smashing various Nazi spy operations, the Liberty Legion earned the ire of the Red Skull who sent out the enthralled Invaders to attack American national monuments. The Whizzer joined his team mate the Red Raven in preventing the Human Torch and Toro from attacking the Lincoln Memorial. The pair managed to stop the Memorial from being destroyed and captured Toro, but the Torch managed to escape.[8] The Liberty Legion later accepted the Red Skull's challenge to battle the Invaders at Yankee Stadium. There the Whizzer clashed with members of the Invaders until Bucky was able to destroy the device that kept the Invaders under the control of the Red Skull. With the battle over, the Liberty Legion decided to stay together and battle crime on the home front while the Invaders returned to battle in Europe.[9]

The Whizzer and the other members of the Liberty Legion responded to reports that Nazi fighters led by the Skyshark were attacking New York City. They came across the Thing who had travelled to 1942 to recover a cylinder of Vibranium that was accidentally cast back in time. The Legion quickly dismissed the Thing's mission and fought off the invasion before the group went to respond to various attacks on secret war factories. The Whizzer joined Miss America and Blue Diamond in trying to stop Master Man from stealing a new experimental windscreen being developed for aircraft, but failed. This, along with other stolen items were used to finish Brain Drain's massive Swastika shaped air ship that then attacked New York.[10] Rushing to the ship they found the Thing battling Master Man, U-Man, Skyshark and Brain Drain on his own and helped the time-displaced hero win the battle and recover the time-lost Vibranium cylinder. After the villains were defeated and Brain Drain escaped, the Legion thanked the Thing for his help before the hero returned to his own time.[11]

By this time, the Whizzer and Miss America began developing feelings for one another, although they were not quick to reveal them. The Legion eventually come to the aid of defected German scientist Professor Schneider from armoured Nazi operative Iron Cross, leading to everyone but the Whizzer being captured. The Whizzer then rushed to find aid, finding the Invaders who had recently returned to the United States.[12] The Whizzer led the Invaders to a German U-Boat where his comrades and Professor Schultz were held prisoner. When they attacked, the sub was incapacitated and taking on water, but Iron Cross escaped with Schneider.[13] After saving his fellow team mates, the Whizzer, Liberty Legion and Invaders all gave chase to Iron Cross, rescuing Schneider and sending an incapacitated Iron Cross falling into the ocean.[14]

With the Invaders ranks depleted due to Union Jack and Spitfire staying in England, the Whizzer and Miss America took a temporary leave of absence from the Liberty Legion to join the Invaders and accompanied the group to the west coast to investigate Japanese spy activitites.[15] They arrived just as Bucky and the Kid Commandos failed to stop U-Man from capturing their team mate Golden Girl from being kidnapped for Lady Lotus. The Whizzer assisted the Invaders in rescuing Golden Girl.[16] The group then defended Idlewild Airfield from attack by Baron Blood, another operative of Lady Lotus.[17] Soon after the Human Torch was enthralled by Lady Lotus and forced to join her group of Axis super-humans called Super-Axis. The Whizzer and the Invaders helped stop Super-Axis and free their comrade, although Lady Lotus managed to escape capture.[18]

By June 22, 1942 the Whizzer and Miss America were engaged to be married, as their romance blossomed. The pair were then targeted by another Nazi super team called Battle-Axis who captured the Whizzer for his knowledge on items needed to cause a massive earthquake on the west coast and sink it into the ocean.[19] While Miss America rallied the Invaders to help rescue Robert, Battle-Axis took him back to their secret California base along the San Andrea fault-line.[20] There the Whizzer was kept in a stasis tube until his fellow Invaders came to his rescue, but they were captured thanks to a betrayal from the other-dimensional hero known as the Vision.[21] However, the Invaders managed to free themselves and stop Battle-Axis from activating their device, however Battle-Axis escaped unleashing a poison gas. The heroes only survived thanks to the Vision, who used his power over smoke to dissipate the gas back to his home dimension.[22]

Remaining on the home front, the Whizzer was assigned by the government to deal with threats on American soil, he developed the cover identity of Jack Robinson to give the public an avenue of contacting him.[3] His first case was in shutting down the criminal operations of Leet Brannis (Earth-616) who used his pawnshop as a front for his criminal operations.[23] Later, when a mobster named Briscoe stole his friend Jere Kenny's new experimental carburettor, the Whizzer recovered it so that Kenny could compete and win a midget car race.[24]

By this time, the Whizzer gained a sidekick named Slow Motion Jones, who was also a fellow super-speedster.[25] However, fictional depictions of their exploits together would depict Slow Motion as a racist caricature who was slow witted as well as slow footed and lethargic.[26] The true tales behind their adventures are yet to be revealed, below are the fictional accounts.

In their first recorded adventure together, Slow Motion spotted a Nazi spy shoot FBI agent Bruse Keller and contacted the Whizzer. The Whizzer went after the spy and rescued his captive, the daughter of a US Navy General who they were trying to prevent from going out to battle by keeping his daughter hostage.[26] When the Thos radio transmitters, which helped relay transmissions from the United States to the war front in Europe and the Pacific were being blown up, Slow Motion Jones contact he Whizzer after he failed the most recent attempt while on guard duty. The Whizzer quickly tracked down the saboteur who turned to be Mr. Thos the company owner and a secret Nazi Fifth Columnist.[27] Also during this period, the Whizzer captured a bank robber named Riko and his mobsters. Upon learning that two bank officials were trapped in the vault and could suffocate, he convinced reformed safe-cracker A.J. Raffles to use his talents for good and crack the safe to save lives.[28]

1943

In the early days of 1943, criminal Frank Rone broke into the Whizzer's home and incapacitated Slow Motion Jones and stole the Whizzer's diary. With it he managed to duplicate the process of gaining the Whizzer's super human speed and went on a crime spree. Literally chasing Rone around the world, the Whizzer managed to stop him and turn him over to the police.[29] The Whizzer next prevented criminal Slick Warner from sabotaging the Silver Moonbeam, a new experimental race car developed by Bob's friend Larry.[30]

The Whizzer was next issued a challenge by Nazi spies calling themselves the Triple Destruction who vowed to blow up three different war factories at the stroke of midnight Western Union time. The Whizzer managed to foil this plot by having the factory staff push the clocks in each building back to give the Whizzer enough time to round up all three Nazis.[31] The Whizzer next foiled a group of thieves trying to steal diamonds that were being shipped to a war factory to be used in the making of weapons for the war effort.[32]

Further adventures of the Whizzer during this year remain unrecorded until December of that year. When time displaced American soldier Paul Anselm returned to 1943 from the future with the Cosmic Cube in order to restore his fellow fallen soldiers, it ended up in the hands of the Red Skull. The Skull then used the Cube to reshape reality so that the Nazis ruled the world and slew the Whizzer and other heroes. In the final battle the Invaders, and time travelling New Avengers and Mighty Avengers managed to knock the Cube free from the Skull's grasp. Anslen then used the Cube to resurrect the Whizzer and the other dead heroes who all swarmed the Red Skull. After the Skulls defeat, reality was restored to normal, and the Whizzer's memories of events were erased.[33]

1944

When the father of Bill Cox was gunned down in a robbery, Bill realized his father funded his way through military school with stolen money and vowed to become a criminal himself, going so far as to even assist Nazi spies. The Whizzer prevented Bill from committing any actual crimes and convinced him to recant his vow and return to military academy. Bill went on to become a ranking officer in the military fighting in the war, making the Whizzer proud[34][35].

Next the Whizzer attempted to capture master criminal Snake-Eye and his accomplice, but was hampered by the blundering inventions of Professor Avis Branebig, however these defective devices soon led to Snake-Eye's capture.[36] The Whizzer then stopped train thief Choo-Choo Charley,[37] and prevented Dr. Lars Krool from using a massive trap filled maze to learn what it takes to drive men mad[38][39].

Working directly with the FBI, the Whizzer began questioned Betty Dean, Phineas Horton and General Phillips about the Sub-Mariner, Human Torch and Captain America before taking the trio on a mission to investigate Baron Strucker's new Hydra organization who somehow had foreknowledge of the United States construction of the Atomic Bomb.[40] Unaware that Strucker had stolen books from the future about the war, the Whizzer disguised himself as the individual helping transport a supply of radium to the Manhattan Project. When Hydra agents attacked the train he was aboard, the Invaders failed to stop the Whizzer from being captured and taken to Hydra's headquarters aboard the Dragon of Death.[41] However, the Whizzer managed to break free and keep the Hydra forces occupied until the Invaders could track their location. The Whizzer assisted in heavily damaging the Dragon of Death, sinking the ship and causing Strucker to lose his books on the future and the materials needed to make an atomic bomb.[42] Later the Whizzer was pulled forward in time by Zarrko the Tomorrow Man to battle the Fantastic Four. When Zarrko was defeated all his pawns were returned to their proper era with no memories of the battle. [43]

Returning to his solo adventures the Whizzer clashed master criminal Maxie Murdock attempted to foil the Whizzer by committing two robberies at the same time on opposite ends of the city, the Whizzer proved that his speed was enough to stop both crimes and bring Murdock to justice.[44]

1945

Similarly, criminal Ed "Mock" Turtle attempted to match his wits against the Whizzer's speed by trying to rob a Red Cross charity drive, only to be likewise shut down by the super-speedster.[45] The Whizzer also stopped the Twist and his gang from kidnapping and ransoming Melton Lord[46][47][48][49]. The Whizzer next stopped criminal Death Head Scott from using his copper discs to murder his enemies.[50] Shortly thereafter, the Whizzer had his super-speed tested by scientists before stopping Nazi spies and some escaped criminals from stealing and smuggling a captured Nazi buzz-bomber out of the country[51][52].

The Whizzer next prevented Dr. Throttle from using the experimental race car, Meteor III, to commit crimes[53] and then stopped explosive expert Dr. Nitro from using remote explosives to kill his victims.[54] On April 24, 1945 the Whizzer was among an army of super-heroes who were deployed during the invasion of Berlin which ultimately saw Nazi Germany's surrender and the death of Adolf Hitler.[55]

The Whizzer joined the Liberty Legion on one final mission in April 1945, where they saved San Francisco from an invasion by the Lava Men. After this altercation, the Whizzer and Miss America were offered to join the Invaders, the Legion disbanded shortly after.[56] The Whizzer and Miss America were called to the White House by President Truman where they were made to join the Invaders along with the new Captain America and Bucky.[57] The team clashed with the remaining Nazi forces in Europe[58] and the Japanese on the South Pacific. With the war officially declared over in August of that year, the Whizzer and Miss America remained with the Invaders who decided to stay together to fight crime as the All-Winners Squad.[57]

Post War

1946

By the end of the war, the Invaders decided to remain together to fight domestic crime and other national threats renaming themselves the All-Winners Squad.[57] The Whizzer had fewer solo adventures following the war. He put a stop to the multi-state robbery scheme of twin brothers Jeff and Jock Blintz[59] and saved his friend Joe's amusement park from going bankrupt and being sabotaged by his rivals at the Happy Land Amusement Park[60][61].

The Whizzer and the other members of the All-Winners Squad were next called together by the Human Torch and told of an issue challenged by a villain calling himself Isbisa. Isbisa had set up a series of crimes based on the different ages of man and gave clues to each member of the Squad. The Whizzer's theme was the Iron Age, and was directed to a film shoot based on western train robber Mal Bennings. There, the Whizzer stopped a group of crooks from stealing Mal's loot which was hidden on the train for hundreds of years. The Whizzer then reunited with the All-Winners Squad and the team deduced that Isbisa was attempting to steal an atomic bomb. Working together as a team, the group managed to capture Isbisa before he could succeed.[62] In July 1946, the Whizzer joined the All-Winners Squad in defending US Senator John F. Kennedy from assassination by the android Adam II.[57] During the course of the battle, Captain America was killed and the government replaced William Nasland with Jeff Mace, the former Patriot.[56] In September of that year, the Whizzer joined the All-Winners Squad in travelling to England. There they prevented atomic scientist Dr. Karl Fuschs from falling into the hands of Russian agents led by the Red Guardian. The Whizzer played a key part in the battle, rushing Fuschs to a safe house while the others kept the Russian super-humans at bay.[63]

Next the All-Winners Squad faced the threat of the Future Man and his lover Madame Death who were attempting to pave the way for an invasion of the present from Future Man's invasion force. The team split up to face various global threats alone, with the Whizzer travelling to South America where he destroyed Future Man's slow motion ray. Reuniting with his team mates, the Whizzer participated in the final battle against Future Man and and Madame Death which saw the villains being hurtled back through time.[64] Following the battle, the Whizzer went on a date with Miss America and began expressing his dislike of the press about a potential romance budding between Captain America and Miss America, which Madeline was making no effort to dispel in order to keep the group popular in the public eye. Soon they were attacked by zombified corpses of dead US soldiers and called their fellow All-Winners Squad. During the clash they realized they were facing an illusion when they were faced with zombie versions of the original Captain America and Bucky. They soon found that the attack was planned by Madame Death who returned from the past after Future Man had died. In the aftermath of the battle, Madame Death was killed. During a press conference, Madeline then announced to the public that she and the Whizzer were engaged to be married.[65]

1947-49

The Whizzer continued to work with the All-Winners Squad although his exploits throughout the years are mostly unrecorded. In April 1948, the Whizzer and the rest of the squad moved into their new base the Baxter Building where they celebrated Captain America's birthday.[63] Later that night, Bucky was shot by the criminal known as Lavender and was taken to hospital. There the Whizzer and the All-Winners Squad offered their assistance to track down the shooter, by Cap refused all help. The Whizzer remained with the group even after Captain America left the team to resume his solo career.[66]

In 1949, they began work for the United States government as non-costumed superhuman security agents at a secret nuclear project located in New York City. Unknown to Frank, Isbisa, a former enemy of the All-Winners Squad, sabotaged the facility and staged a nuclear accident which exposed the Franks to massive amounts of radiation. Although Isbisa's act of revenge did not kill the Franks, Madeline was pregnant at the time, and several months later gave birth to a radioactive mutant son, Robert, Jr., later called "Nuklo." Because the baby emitted dangerous levels of radiation, the United States government took custody of him and placed him in an experimental chrono-module. There he would be kept in suspended animation until he ceased to emit dangerous levels of radiation.

Leaving the research facility with a generous government pension, the Franks decided to travel the world. Madeline Frank became pregnant again, and was in the tiny Balkan country of Transia when the pregnancy came to term. The Franks had found refuge in the scientific citadel atop Wundagore Mountain at the recommendation of nearby villagers who believed it to have modern medical facilities. With the evolved cow called Bova as midwife, Madeline gave birth to a stillborn child, even more radioactive and mutated than her first child. Madeline died of radiation poisoning hours later. Bova attempted to pass off twins who had been born days before at Wundagore as Robert Frank's children, in order to give the children a good home and to assuage Frank's grief over his wife's death, but the distraught Robert Frank fled Wundagore alone.

Modern Era

For the next two decades, Robert Frank was a semi-amnesiac vagabond, wandering all over the world primarily on foot, never staying in one place for more than a week. Eventually, he read of the exploits of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers, and grew to believe they were his children, the twins Bova claimed were his offspring on Wundagore Mountain. Feeling guilty that he had abandoned them, he still made no effort to contact them.

The chrono-module containing Frank's, son Nuklo was accidentally unearthed from its secret location decades after it was buried. Captain America and Iron Man of the Avengers discovered it while rescuing victims of a collapsed building. The Avengers took the chrono-module into custody for study. Frank read a newspaper account of the incident, and recognized the chrono-module from photographs to be the device containing his son. Using his superhuman speed for the first time in many years, Frank resumed the identity of the Whizzer in an attempt to steal the chrono-module back. During the battle that ensued at Avengers Mansion, the module smashed open and the child emerged, having grown to large proportions and radiating dangerously. The child named itself Nuklo in infantile imitation of the Vision's pronouncement of a "nuclear nemesis", and began a campaign of destruction. Nuklo was ultimately subdued and placed in the care of the United States Army. The Whizzer, meanwhile, suffered a massive heart attack during these events, a result of doing superhuman battle after many years of inactivity.

For many months, the Whizzer remained hospitalized. During this time, the Scarlet Witch had believed Frank was her father, but Quicksilver was dubious. Robert Frank emerged from the hospital in an acute state of depression. He began to drink heavily, and spent several months as a derelict on New York City's Bowery. Eventually, the Salvation Army took him in and had him placed in a hospital charity ward. He eventually recovered from his depression, and undertook long and difficult legal action to locate and obtain custody of Nuklo. Obtaining access to high-level government records, the Whizzer discovered that the U.S. Army was holding Nuklo in California. He traveled to California, where the attempt to recover his son brought him into physical battle with the Living Laser. Once again, superhuman exertion placed tremendous stress on him, and he suffered another heart attack. Nuklo, meanwhile, was relocated to a specially-equipped scientific hospital in the New York area.

After being discharged from the hospital, the Whizzer was ordered to restrict his activities, and was placed under the financial care of Tony Stark. He would, however, ignore his doctors' orders, and fight alongside the Avengers. Although the Avengers repeatedly protested his involvement in their battles, the Whizzer proved himself an asset in combating a number of threats to society. He was finally persuaded to retire from superhuman activity entirely, again under financial provisions provided by Stark.

Death

After several years of retirement, the Whizzer again attempted to obtain custody of Nuklo. Officials at General Hospital in Manhattan informed him that the conditions under which they were keeping Nuklo were the only ones which would keep Nuklo's radiation at safe levels. During the controversy, Isbisa revealed himself after years of hiding, and battled with the Whizzer, his supposed daughter the Scarlet Witch, and her husband the Vision. In the course of the battle, the Whizzer learned what the Scarlet Witch had discovered some months before, that they were not related. The Whizzer and Isbisa died in combat, but as a consequence of the battle, Robert Frank's son Nuklo was cured of his excessive radiation level.

Afterlife & Legacy

Years after his death, The Whizzer was cloned by Arnim Zola. It's unknown how accurate this clone was compared to the original, as it was quickly killed in a battle with Deadpool.[67]

Sometime later while Dr. Strange and Dead Girl were recruiting an army of dead heroes to battle the Pitiful One and his army of the undead, the Whizzer was apparently seen among the dead.[68] However, if this was the real Whizzer, or an impostor remains unconfirmed, as deceased heroes (and heroes thought to be deceased) have been impersonated in the afterlife before.

References

  1. All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #1
  2. 2.0 2.1 U.S.A. Comics #1
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #8
  4. All Winners Comics #2
  5. U.S.A. Comics #2
  6. All Winners Comics #3
  7. Marvel Premiere #29
  8. Invaders #6
  9. Marvel Premiere #30
  10. Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1
  11. Marvel Two-In-One #20
  12. Invaders #35
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  14. Invaders #37
  15. Invaders #38
  16. Invaders #39
  17. Invaders #40
  18. Invaders #41
  19. Invaders Vol 2 #1
  20. Invaders Vol 2 #2
  21. Invaders Vol 2 #3
  22. Invaders Vol 2 #4
  23. All Winners Comics #4
  24. U.S.A. Comics #4
  25. All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #2
  26. 26.0 26.1 U.S.A. Comics #6
  27. All Winners Comics #7
  28. All Winners Comics #8
  29. U.S.A. Comics #8
  30. U.S.A. Comics #9
  31. All Winners Comics #10
  32. U.S.A. Comics #10
  33. Avengers / Invaders #12
  34. All Winners Comics #11
  35. Appearance in U.S.A. Comics #11 goes here
  36. All-Select Comics #3
  37. All-Select Comics #4
  38. All Winners Comics #13
  39. Appearance in U.S.A. Comics #12 goes here
  40. Marvel Universe #1
  41. Marvel Universe #2
  42. Marvel Universe #3
  43. Fantastic Four #405
  44. Amazing Comics #1
  45. All-Select Comics #5
  46. All Winners Comics #14
  47. Appearance in U.S.A. Comics #14 goes here
  48. Appearance inKid Komics #7 goes here
  49. Appearance in Complete Comics #2 goes here
  50. All-Select Comics #7
  51. All Winners Comics #15
  52. Appearance in U.S.A. Comics #15 goes here
  53. All Winners Comics #16
  54. U.S.A. Comics #16
  55. Twelve #1
  56. 56.0 56.1 Captain America: Patriot #1
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 What If? #4
  58. Captain America Annual #6
  59. All Winners Comics #17
  60. All Winners Comics #18
  61. Appearance in Kid Komics #10 goes here
  62. All Winners Comics #19
  63. 63.0 63.1 Captain America: Patriot #2
  64. All Winners Comics #21
  65. All Winners Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1
  66. Captain America: Patriot #3
  67. Deadpool #0
  68. X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2