June 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #336: The Orb

A supervillain whose head is a giant eyeball? Why?

While it is not out of the question for a superhero to be gross or disgusting, that particular idea is often more of a supervillain thing.  Certain superpowers don’t really lend themselves to heroism.  As I type this, I am working my way through Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, and there’s a section where one of the world’s greatest surviving heroes offers immunity to any villain that opts to go straight and work to rebuild the world.  However, many of these characters have powers like melting anything they touch or “super-murder”.  Even other characters aren’t sure how these guys are supposed to be heroic with abilities like that.

Point is, there are a lot of disgusting or odd characters that can only really be villains.  That’s basically what I think when I see someone like the Orb.

Now, to be fair, Marvel has had two different characters by that name.  The first was one Drake Shannon.  He first appeared in Marvel Team-Up #15.  Drake was the business partner to Johnny Blaze’s friend and mentor Crash Simpson, co-owner of the traveling circus Johnny performed in.  However, the business partners had a falling out, and Shannon did what any reasonable business partner would do:  he got a special motorcycle helmet that looked like a giant eyeball and went off to do crimes and the like.

It’s just a helmet.

The helmet, given to him by They Who Weld Power (whoever they are), granted Shannon some eye-based powers like hypnosis and laser blasts from the pupil, and he was already an accomplished motorcycle stunt driver.  So, sure, why not?

Oh wait.  Johnny Blaze was the Ghost Rider, and many versions of the Ghost Rider often have a power called the “penance stare”.  Wouldn’t wearing a helmet like that essentially like be putting a big bullseye target on your head?

Regardless, Drake Shannon died later.  Ghost Rider actually had nothing to do with it, but there ya go.

So, OK, he wasn’t gross.  Just had a stupid-lookin’ thing on his head.  Why would I say this was a gross character?

Because the second Orb did have a giant eyeball for a head.

It’s not a helmet.

This one, real name unknown, was born that way and abandoned to a freak show by his horrified parents where he lived off cat food and eventually learned to talk by manipulating the muscles and things inside the eye to make sounds.  That makes me wonder, if he had to do that to talk, how he ate, but there ya go.  This Orb didn’t really have much in the way of special powers initially aside from being able to see very, very well.  He first appeared in Ghost Rider #26 from October of 2008 as one of a group of Ghost Rider villains recruited by Danny Ketch to take out the Caretaker, but those goobers failed and the Orb often made a run for it when things went bad because just seeing very well and having a very squishy head even by head standards is not much of a superpower.

But then came the Original Sin crossover, where unknown forces murdered Uatu the Watcher, that nearly all-powerful alien on the Moon who can, you know, see anything.  Then the Watcher’s eyes were stolen, leading to a lot of Marvel heroes to learn things about themselves that they didn’t know, but that was in part because the Orb somehow got one of the Watcher’s eyes lodged into his chest, granting the guy with a giant eye for a head with all kinds of cosmic powers due to having a second large eye lodged in his chest.

That…is kinda crazy.

This new cosmic-powered Orb has since gone on to battle Deadpool and his “Mercs for Money” and even somehow captured Doctor Strange.  And all that…because he has a giant eyeball for a head.

Seriously, how does he eat?

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