Gabriel Lan, an extraterrestrial from the planet Xandar, was the captain of the explorer ship Way-Opener. The ship's mission was to seek out alien civilizations and attempt to establish peaceful relations with them. Lan had previously distinguished himself in Xandar's military, the Nova Corps, and welcomed his appointment to an explorer ship since he was filled with wanderlust and love of open space. Returning from his seven-year tour of duty, Lan was nearing his home solar system when an unidentified craft appeared and teleported him from the bridge of the Way-Opener to the craft of Galactus. Galactus was looking for a new herald to replace the rebellious Silver Surfer and, after scanning Lan's mind, deemed him an appropriate candidate. Hearing Galactus's offer of vast power and unlimited travel, Lan readily accepted and was transformed by a tiny fraction of Galactus's might into the Air-Walker, second of his heralds.
After Gabriel Lan was killed by the Ovoids, Galactus transferred the consciousness of his herald into a perfect robotic replica.
Unfortunately, the robot lacked the vitality and passion for the mysteries of space that Galactus admired in the original Air-Walker. Soon Galactus dispatched the robot to Earth to re-enlist the Silver Surfer as Galactus's herald. The robot, calling itself Gabriel, encountered both the Surfer and the superhero team known as the Fantastic Four. The Surfer declined Galactus's invitation and deactivated the robot by shredding its cloak. Galactus abandoned both the Surfer and the defunct Air-Walker robot.
Later, the Air-Walker robot was recovered by the villainous scientist known as the Machinesmith, who tried to repair the robot but could not understand its alien circuitry. The Machinesmith did manage to activate the Air-Walker's self-repair functions, and after several months, it awakened. The robot encountered Thor, who apparently destroyed it. The Air-Walker's remains were recovered by Galactus's third herald, Firelord, a colleague and friend of Gabriel during their time in the Nova Corps. Firelord buried the robot's remains on an asteroid.
Later, Firelord, along with two other heralds (the Silver Surfer and Nova), resurrected the robot by combining their cosmic powers to recharge its batteries and repair its structural damage. Together, the four battled Morg, the latest and most powerful of Galactus's heralds, who grew in power and ferocity to rival Galactus himself. With Morg's defeat, the Air-Walker and Firelord agreed to serve side-by-side as heralds of Galactus. Firelord tried to rekindle the humanity in a construct that contains all that is left of his friend Gabriel Lan. Before Morg's apparent defeat, he was able to axe the robot in half, shutting Air Walker down.
However, Air-Walker somehow repaired itself and returned shortly afterward. He was attacked by the Seekers, who were hunting down all of the Heralds in order to steal their power cosmic energy. Air Walker attacked them but they proved to be too much for him. Meanwhile, Silver Surfer attempted to help him but they were both beaten and Air-Walker was badly damaged by the Seekers' leader, Ravenous. In order for Silver Surfer to escape, Air-Walker activated his self destruct sequence and bought Silver Surfer some extra time. This way, the Seekers wouldn't be able to capture his energy either.
The Air-Walker robot replicated all the original's powers to approximately levels it was endowed with automatic self repair circuitry in its chest cavity, capable of functioning as long as 0.35 of the total system was intact. The robot's power source was its fiery cloak, apparently some form of cosmic energy receptor.
The robot can also virtually manipulate nearly all types of energy, be it magnetic, electric, thermal, air, matter, etc., and he also has enhanced stamina, making him able to sustain himself from basic human weaknesses, (food, air, water, sleep, space, shelter, etc.), also allowing him to survive unguarded for extended amounts of time in outer space. He also has enhanced strength.
He was stated to have an "Universal" threat level by the Nova Corps when herald of Galactus, and as well on his own. He remained classified as a category 1 threat due his possession of the Power Cosmic.
Has enhanced strength levels.
Gabriel's Horn: A golden, trumpet-like device. It sends a hyperspace signal to summon Galactus.
- Due to the name Gabriel and the use of his horn, the Air-Walker has been mistaken for an angelic being--specifically, the archangel mentioned in the Bible who heralds Judgment Day.
- His name was misspelled as "Air Walker" throughout Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1.
- 33 Appearances of Air-Walker (Automaton) (Earth-616)
- 2 Minor Appearances of Air-Walker (Automaton) (Earth-616)
- Media Air-Walker (Automaton) (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 7 Images featuring Air-Walker (Automaton) (Earth-616)
- 1 Quotations by or about Air-Walker (Automaton) (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Air-Walker (Automaton) (Earth-616)
- UnOfficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe
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