451 was a Rigellian Recorder with a bug that caused him to retain the memories of the things he had witnessed even after said data was extracted from him. After eons of observing the universe, 451 came to the realization that watching wasn't enough, he also had to act. 451 went rogue, and before breaking from the Rigellian Empire, he downloaded its entire database into himself and deleted parts of the main archive.
The Recorder discovered the Earth, a planet he believed had the potential to bring universal peace in the future, and decided it needed a defense. 451 subsequently found out about the Godkiller, a massive armor which had been created by the Aspirants to battle the Celestials, and remained abandoned in a Dyson Sphere in deep space with many of its components missing. As 451 spent hundreds of years looking for the components, he also realized that the Godkiller needed a pilot in order to ensure its effectiveness, because its autopilot was extremely clumsy.
In the 1970s, 451 came to the Earth, but he was caught off-guard and captured by an alien race called the Greys. He managed to convince one of the Greys named Rollo to free him with the help of genius Howard Stark and a special team called the Stark Seven, since Stark was looking for a way to help his unborn child live.
After being freed, 451 agreed to help Howard, with the condition of making his unborn child, who was a perfect candidate, the person that would accelerate humanity's technological growth. 451 genetically engineered the baby with Kree technology to modify his thought process, in order to make him think differently and more practically, so he would focus in advanced weaponry construction, and also secretly modified him to be the only pilot of the Godkiller. After a failed retaliation attempt from the Greys, one of these aliens managed to tell his boss that 451 had done something to Stark's baby. 451 informed Stark that because of this, the Greys would threaten Stark and his family as long as they were on Earth.
Howard reassembled the Stark Seven and killed the boss of the Greys, forcing his thugs to abandon the Earth. These minions were secretly killed by 451 after hijacking their spaceship, to prevent them from sending any information about the baby to their home planet. Back at the Stark Compound, 451 bid farewell to Howard and departed to continue his journey for the components of the Godkiller.
Decades later, 451 decided to bring the son of Howard, Tony Stark aka Iron Man, into his destiny as the pilot of the Godkiller. The Recorder discovered the final piece of the Godkiller in possession of the alien race known as the Voldi, who were using it to cloak themselves from the cosmic beings from whom they drew power. As part of his plan to extract the component, which was now known as the Heart of the Voldi, 451 drew Tony to the Voldi's homeplanet, knowing that his presence would be the perfect distraction, because Iron Man had taken part of an assassination attempt of the Phoenix Force, one of the Voldi's deities, a few months earlier.
When Stark was captured by the Voldi to be judged for his crimes, 451 presented himself and posed as an ally, informing him of an ancient Voldi ritual called "Shay-Tah-Run," a trial-by-combat. The event would draw enough attention for 451 to steal the Iron Man Armor from the evidence vault and give it to Stark in order to escape.
When the moment to execute the plan came, 451 also used the distraction caused by the Shay-Tah-Run to steal the Heart of the Voldi, leaving the Voldi's existence totally exposed to the Celestials, who arrived to slaughter them. Both 451 and Iron Man managed to escape unharmed, but Stark promised to ultimately make 451 pay for his crime.
Iron Man hired the bounty hunter Death's Head to find 451, but the Recorder had previously contracted with him, so upon arriving to 451's location, Death's Head left Iron Man at his mercy. The Recorder hacked Iron Man's armor and forced him to watch a videotape with a message recorded around the time of birth of Howard's baby, which had been created by Howard so he could explain his secret origin to his son in case he wasn't around to do so personally. After Tony watched the tape, the Recorder took Stark to the Dyson Sphere.
Before 451 could force Stark into integrating with the armor, Death's Head arrived, having followed them after discovering the Recorder had a high price on his head. As Death's Head attacked 451, Tony escaped and got to another extreme of the Godkiller, out of reach of 451's hacking. 451 set the autopilot of the Godkiller to the nearest planet, Hope's Pustule, knowing Tony would be forced to connect and control the Godkiller if he wanted to save that world. Stark tried to connect to the suit, but, to his surprise, he couldn't. After the Godkiller broke through that planet, 451 thought Tony truly didn't want to integrate with the Godkiller, and re-calibrated the coordinates of the suit to the one planet he knew Stark wouldn't let to be destroyed, the Earth.
451 was decided to drag Tony into bonding with the Godkiller if he had to, and prepared himself for battle. Meanwhile Stark got access to his mobile armory, which had also followed him. Iron Man confronted 451, using other suits he had stored in his armory to fight alongside him, which they were directly cabled to each other forming a sealed system so the Recorder couldn't hack them. After targeting 451's hacking unit and disabling it with a laser, Iron Man unleashed the Heavy Duty Armor and subdued 451.
Even though Tony confronted the Recorder about it, 451 still didn't believe Stark truly couldn't pilot the Godkiller. After being shown directly that Tony couldn't interface with the Godkiller, 451 realized his long-time plan had no profit. With no longer a reason to destroy the Earth, the Recorder ordered the Godkiller to abort its mission. 451 realized all his efforts and the beings he killed were in vain as Tony couldn't pilot the Godkiller, and decided that such weapon or Stark couldn't be left in existence, for which he commanded the armor to seal his exits and fold out of reality. 451 finally realized he shouldn't have acted, and decided to delete his main error: himself. The Recorder deleted himself, along with Stark's only way to escape. Stark managed to hack into 451's databases and get the access code, and he escaped from the Godkiller just in time as it faded to another dimension. Iron Man took 451's body and planned to use the Recorder's vast database for new purposes.
Back on Earth, Tony discovered that he wasn't able to pilot the Godkiller because he wasn't the child 451 had modified. That baby was Arno Stark, Tony's foster brother, whose existence was kept a secret because Howard had meddled with 451's modifications and left Arno ill after suppressing a genetic modification which would've killed him when he was an adult.
Tony used 451's knowledge to help build Troy, but he later decided to give him back to the Rigellians, as his corpse was transmitting an alien frequency that had made the Mandarin's Rings sentient.
- Iron Man writer Kieron Gillen was influenced by C-3PO and HAL 9000 in 451's creation.
- This Recorder's name is presumably based on the title of the Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451, which is, in turn, based on the temperature for the auto-ignition point for book paper (451°F, around 233°C).
- 451 is partially based on a flaw Gillen noticed on Karl Marx, as he "was thinking about his plan and not about the other people's."
- While 451 doesn't have a gender due to being a robot, Gillen had him code as male as part of the character's play with robotic identity.
- Gillen on 451: "451 is more of a creature of passion, which he tries the hardest to hide. He was a machine built to do exactly the opposite of what he's doing, so every single action is hard for him. His body screams that what he's doing is wrong. This makes him a neurotic."
- In Iron Man (Vol. 5) #7, Gillen has Tony comment that 451 is twitchy so to convey the character's body language, which is hard to do in a medium with static images like comics. In terms of how 451 moves, Gillen was thinking about "Woody Allen as a serial killer."
- In early drafts of his Iron Man run, Gillen used the character Unit in the role 451 was created for, Gillen decided to create 451 mainly because the Unit was already known to be a villain.
- 13 appearance(s) of Recorder 451 (Earth-616)
- 1 minor appearance(s) of Recorder 451 (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Recorder 451 (Earth-616)
- 1 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Recorder 451 (Earth-616)
- 9 image(s) of Recorder 451 (Earth-616)
- 4 quotation(s) by or about Recorder 451 (Earth-616)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Recorder 451 (Earth-616)