As a child, Basil Sandhurst grew up plagued with sickness and often lay bed-ridden for months. He grew up to become a scientist as a result of this childhood-- one where he often felt life was never under his control. However, his unorthodox practices and theories, all about harnessing the power of the human mind, only served to bar him from working with any legitimate research center. Instead, his brother Vincent managed to use his influence as a lawyer for Cord Industries, the company owned by Drexel Cord, to get Basil a job there. Vincent, himself less than scrupulous, hoped Basil would help him take over the company, but when Basil went on a rampage in the lab, Vincent accidentally pushed him into some experimental chemicals. The resultant explosion scarred and crippled Basil, leaving him once more bed-ridden and weak. Out of guilt, Vincent set his brother up in an automated house and laboratory using money embezzled from Cord Industries. Basil eventually used the equipment to fashion a exoskeleton that would finally allow himself freedom of movement and control over his own destiny. In fact, he became determined to control the world.
Using a Mental-Wave Absorbatron, Basil could tap into the mental energy of his victims and beam it to his exoskeleton, and the “slave discs” would help by remotely adding to the Absorbatron’s range of broadcast. In this manner, Basil, now calling himself the Controller, took over his entire town, starting with Vincent, who had dared to confront his brother.
Tony Stark and Janice Cord happened to investigate Cord Industries and Basil took the opportunity to battle Iron Man, whom he saw as a product of Stark’s “inferior” genius. Although the Controller seemed to have the upper hand, Iron Man was able to lead Basil out of the Absorbatron's range and defeat him.
While in prison, Basil found that the mental energies he had previously absorbed left him with enough power to take control over others’ minds. He arranged for his own transfer to a sanitarium, where he systematically took control over the staff and patients. After using his pawns to create a new Absorbatron, he also wanted to upgrade his helmet to avoid his previous defeat. He lured Tony Stark to the sanitarium, forcing him to invent a helmet that no longer would allow him to travel out of range, but could also fire destructive bolts of mental energy. Tony Stark battled the Controller as Iron Man until the circuits in the Controller’s helmet fried, a design Stark had intentionally put in to foil the Controller.
Later, he was somehow contacted by Thanos, who provided Sandhurst with alien technology to update and enhance his equipment. Now, Basil no longer needed the Absorbatron, as he could absorb his victims’ mental energies directly from the slave discs. He was defeated, however, by Captain Marvel.
The Controller was found by a homeless man calling himself Scrounger. He managed to get the Blood Brothers under his control and had them attack Iron Man. After they were defeated, the Controller came into the open himself and was attacked by Iron Man. He was defeated, but rescued by the Scrounger.
Sandhurst continued to enslave others by moving to southern California and setting himself up as a New Age guru, attaching slave discs to visitors to his temple. At the time, Iron Man was seeking out any illegal use of technology stolen from Stark Industries, which included the Controller, and Iron Man defeated him, destroying the Controller’s technology and leaving him wholly dependent on his life-support machines.
Still, the Controller continued his criminal activities. The Red Skull partnered with him to manipulate the Sub-Mariner into fighting Captain America, but the Captain destroyed the slave disc that was controlling his friend and the two turned the tables on Basil.
Another time, the Controller managed to place Sarah Jessup, a powerful psychic, under his control, feeding him more power than ever before and allowing him to control others without the need of his slave discs. He sought out Tony Stark for revenge, but as the two battled, they released a being called Mindstorm, a psychic entity that manifested from Sarah Jessup’s mind. They both had to contend with Mindstorm that resulted in the two enemies sharing each other’s minds for a brief time. Stark was able to destroy the Controller’s machines, but the process left Sarah dead and Basil in a vegetative state with only his machines keeping him alive.
The Controller next appeared hoping to capture the alien Legacy. He placed Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) under his control and sent her to fight Genis. The two were able to combine forces to defeat the Controller. As it happened, the Controller was trying to capture Genis as a test of his technology on behalf of the Master of the World, who had revived him from his coma and appropriated his technology for himself.
The Master gave his other agents, the U-Foes, a slave disc to attach to the Hulk. With the Hulk under their control, the U-Foes attacked the United Nations in order to use other discs to drain the knowledge of the scientists that were assembled there. The U-Foes were opposed by Iron Fist and a new Heroes for Hire team, and they managed to free the Hulk and force the U-Foes to escape, but not before they had got what they came for. The Master then ordered the Controller and the U-Foes to attack the Heroes for Hire, and when the Controller seemed about to be defeated, the U-Foes prepared to teleport away, leaving the Controller to take the fall for the Master’s plan. Instead, the Master double-crossed the villains, and the U-Foes were captured as well.
With the Master’s abandonment, the Controller was free to pursue his own agenda. He used his mental dominion to once again escape prison, setting himself up as a doctor, Alexander Basel, at a stress-management clinic. He managed to draw in high-profile clients, including businessmen and senators, and he would use his mind-control technology on them while they slept. Tony Stark attended the clinic, and the Controller saw an opportunity for revenge. He ordered Stark to fire Iron Man, not knowing that the two were one and the same. The conflict Stark felt led him to uncover the Controller's influence, and he defeated the Controller as Iron Man.
The Controller was among those villains incarcerated in the Raft and escaped during a massive break-out. He tried to set himself up as a crime boss in New York City, competing with many other villains, but he was ultimately captured by the New Avengers.
The Controller set up shop at the now-desolate FuturePharm Complex in Austin, Texas. He had been feeding off missing residents, but his operation was disrupted when Maria Hill arrived at the facility to recover a hard drive for Tony Stark. Although Maria was initially overpowered by the Controller's minions, she was able to resist his slave disc and destroyed his power supply, thus freeing all of his controlled subjects.
When Tony Stark refashioned his company into Stark Unlimited, the Controller infiltrated his operations by enslaving Stark's head of security, Bethany Cabe. He set his sights on the eScape, a virtual reality for role-playing built by Stark. The Controller tampered with the design of the eScape interfaces, allowing him to enthrall and leech off the mental energy of its users, adding a fail-safe that made it near-fatal to remove the mask. While Stark managed to get off the eScape all users as soon as problems arose, the Controller facilitated reentry to all the hostile players who had been previously banned. The Controller additionally had allied himself with Baintronics, Inc. and employed one of their manufacturing and fulfillment centers to send eScapers all over the world real-life weapons, causing them to unwittingly become a danger to the general public. Iron Man and his allies tracked down the Controller to his base, but he had already consumed enough energy to begin growing in size.
The Controller's hacking had damaged the eScape's operating system, an artificial intelligence named Motherboard. In the middle of battle against the Controller, Motherboard abducted Iron Man into the virtual reality, leaving his allies underpowered. After Stark Unlimited roboticist Andy Bhang encoded a signal to shut off the tampered interfaces, Stark returned to the real world. He hijacked Baintronics' factory to 3D print the Godbuster Armor, an unprecedentedly powerful suit that he used to defeat the Controller.
When the hyper-intelligent cyborg Korvac set out to become God, he manipulated Tony Stark into giving him funding, disguising his plans as a lightning harvesting project. In order to prevent Iron Man's potential interference in his future goal, Korvac enlisted the Controller to serve as one of his three disciples along with Unicorn and Blizzard. Korvac eventually lured Iron Man into fighting his disciples, leaving him and his new crime-fighting partner Hellcat for dead after electrocuting them himself. Iron Man and his allies then raced Korvac and his acolytes to Taa II, the worldship of Galactus, where Korvac intended to reabsorb the Power Cosmic. Once inside Taa II, the two factions came into conflict, and the Controller was defeated alongside the rest of Korvac's acolytes. Korvac managed to tap into the Power Cosmic, but was later defeated by Iron Man. The Controller's fate following Korvac's defeat is unknown.
Mind Control: Originally, the Controller had no superhuman powers, and relied solely on his exoskeleton. Eventually, however, he developed the ability to first mentally control others and, later, to read their minds as well. His telepathic abilities have increased over time and from the absorption/use of the mental energies of his victims. When he utilized the mental energies of the psychic Sarah Jessup, the Controller could mentally dominate any of his victims without the need of slave discs or cybernetic systems.
Sandhurst is a capable scientist and inventor.
- Slave Discs: Controller taps into the mental energy of his victims by placing on them a circular device called "slave disc." The discs formerly needed the medium of the Mental-Wave Absorbatron, but later, with the help of Titanian technology, the discs could broadcast energy directly to his exoskeleton as well as allow him a direct mental link to communicate telepathically with each victim, one person at a time. Later versions of the discs possessed offensive and defensive properties, such as the ability to discharge electricity.
- Molecular Negatizer: The Controller once used a Molecular Negatizer, a powerful beam capable of slicing through virtually any material by making molecules break apart.
- Tony Stark believes that even before the accident which turned him into the Controller, Basil Sandhurst was a borderline sociopath and that after it his greatest weakness is his ego.
- 65 appearance(s) of Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 7 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 20 minor appearance(s) of Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 13 mention(s) of Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 4 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 49 image(s) of Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 7 quotation(s) by or about Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)
- 3 item(s) used/owned by Basil Sandhurst (Earth-616)