At the age of fourteen, Samuel Saxon discovered one of Doctor Doom's robots abandoned in a subway tunnel. He took it piece by piece to his father's garage in Queens, where for months he studied its components until mastering its operating principles and building his own robot from scratch. Following his disapproving mother's death in an alleged laboratory accident, he used the insurance money to – over a few years – entertain himself by building a series of increasingly advanced robots and androids. As Saxon's creations became more sophisticated, he was taken under the wing of the Tinkerer, an underworld genius who turned Saxon into a novice at crime.
With the Tinkerer's assistance, Saxon obtained a contract from imprisoned gangster Biggie Benson to target Daredevil with a robot assassin, the Plastoid. Although unaware of his target's identity of Matt Murdock, Saxon used person-specific "aromagraphs" to enable the Plastoid to track its target. The Plastoid confronted Murdock at his apartment and defeated him in a brief battle, only for its limited programming to force retreat when interrupted by passerby Willie Lincoln, a friend of Murdock's.
Returning soon afterward, the Plastoid again fought Murdock, now in costume as Daredevil, in a battle that raged from Murdock's gym to the streets of Hell's Kitchen. When its memory banks were damaged, the Plastoid ceased fighting and, with Daredevil in pursuit, returned to Saxon, who was enthusiastically contemplating a career in providing criminals with robot assassins so they could wipe each other out. When the pair arrived, Saxon, flustered by the hero's presence, erroneously reprogrammed the Plastoid to kill Benson himself, which it did in Benson's prison cell despite Daredevil's efforts at protection. Saxon, furious at Daredevil's interference, traced his creation's earlier activities to Murdock's apartment and, his luck taking a better turn, discovered Murdock and Daredevil were the same man.
Craving revenge, he abducted Murdock's girlfriend Karen Page and held her in Murdock's apartment, awaiting the hero's arrival. Although reveling in his new active criminal role as he postured before Page, Saxon was taken by surprise by the Black Panther, seeking Daredevil on an unrelated matter. When Daredevil arrived soon afterward, Saxon fled both heroes but was captured. Saxon managed to escape scot-free while mocking Daredevil's inability to charge him with any culpability, since Murdock had to prevent Daredevil's identity from being revealed by Saxon.
The taunting victory only increased Saxon's desire for action, and, offhandedly murdering the imprisoned Zoltan Drago, a.k.a. Mister Fear, he usurped Drago's costumed identity. Claiming to be a reformed Drago, he offered thousands of dollars to charity if Daredevil would respond to his public challenge. Daredevil obliged, but Saxon's improved technology took him by surprise, and Saxon dealt him a demoralizing public defeat. Caught up in his own charade, the thrill-seeking Saxon, still as Mister Fear, embarked on a crime spree, but was soon confronted by a newly determined Daredevil, who, atop Saxon's flying platform, unmasked his enemy in a struggle that ended with Saxon's fall to his death, leaving the Mister Fear identity to be stolen by others after him.
However, several of Saxon's robots, standing by in case they were needed and programmed to protect his existence at any cost, retrieved him and, unable to treat his injuries, downloaded his consciousness into a primitive robot body. Saxon, now calling himself the Machinesmith, soon transferred his consciousness into a more human-like body, although it bore little resemblance to his original form, and returned to crime, selling android operatives to various parties.
Hired by the first incarnation of the Corporation to attack the Fantastic Four's Thing, he handled the job personally, employing mobsters to force the Yancy Street Gang, denizens of the Thing's old neighborhood, into his service. They lured the Thing to Yancy Street, where he was set upon by Machinesmith's robots. Aided by Corporation enemy Jack of Hearts, the Thing defeated Machinesmith's forces, and the Yancy Street Gang knocked out Machinesmith himself, who simply projected his consciousness into another robot body and continued his operations elsewhere.
For the next few months Machinesmith operated mostly behind the scenes; he was behind the creation of the Manipulator. Fleeing from prison his Life-Model Decoy of Baron von Strucker attacked S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America. Eventually, growing despondent over existence in a robot body programmed against self-destruction, Machinesmith reanimated the gigantic android Dragon Man and sent him to attack Captain America. Dragon Man lured Captain America to Machinesmith's secret base where he fought various android doppelgängers of super-villains Machinesmith had used over the years. Captain America was ultimately manipulated into destroying Machinesmith's computers while his consciousness was within them, supposedly doing the job Machinesmith's programming would not allow him to do: an elaborate suicide.
Despite his plan, Machinesmith simply reactivated in yet another robot body, in which form he renounced his suicidal tendencies and embraced his condition. He declared mechanical life superior to humanity and presumably resumed his robot-supply business. After his return, Machinesmith was hired by Mr. Smith, secretly the Red Skull in disguise, to assist him in his plans to destroy Captain America. When Machinesmith secretly tampered with the machines in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s New York Headquarters, he attracted Captain America's attention and suspicion. Captain America was alerted that a Sleeper robot had been seen in Waltham and went to investigate. He followed the inactive robot to Avengers Island. At the Avengers HQ, on Hydrobase, Machinesmith revealed himself and reactivated the Sleeper and several other confiscated robots – Super-Adaptoid, TESS-One, the Kree Sentry 459, and Awesome Android – to wreak havoc, taunting Captain America before being apparently destroyed.
Following his defeat, Machinesmith was trapped inside the Sleeper for a short period and was eventually offered a position as an exclusive operative by the Red Skull, being responsible to create robotic minions to serve his new employer. When Magneto abducted the Red Skull to punish him for his war crimes, Machinesmith used his Magneto android, almost forgotten since its Demi-Men days, to attack the Resistants in an endeavor to lure the real mutant into action so that the Crew could track or capture him. The robot was ultimately defeated by Captain America, and the Red Skull had to be located by other means.
Machinesmith grew attached to the Sleeper, to whom he elaborated his history while repairing it. When assigned to Crossbones's task force of field operatives, the Skeleton Crew, Machinesmith took to directing its actions in battle by inhabiting the Sleeper's form. The Skeleton Crew tried to invade the Hellfire Club Mansion believing the Red Skull was being kept captive there, but were fended off by Selene. After their retreat, the Skeleton Crew coerced Tristram Micawber into locating the Red Skull's true position: an underground bunker. The Skeleton Crew brought the Red Skull to his house, where they were confronted by Captain America and Diamondback. After initially attacking Machinesmith's robots, Captain America and Diamondback were welcomed into the Red Skull's quarters. After finding an empty soul in the Red Skull's moribund eyes, Captain America decided to leave.
Machinesmith and his teammates Mother Night and Minister Blood mesmerized the Avengers' support staff into planting surveillance devices at Avengers Mansion. When the Vision discovered Machinesmith's operation, they engaged in a fight and were both temporarily immobilized. Machinesmith managed to transport his consciousness to another body and managed to dispose of Vision's. The group decided to carry on their plan to force the hypnotized members of the Avengers' staff to attack the Avengers during a party held by Sersi. Their plan was unexpectedly foiled by the Vision.
When the Skull was targeted by a mysterious enemy, something hinted by Arnim Zola, Red Skull reassembled the Skeleton Crew. However, he was eventually abducted by the Schutz Heiliggruppe, who attempted to prevent the Red Skull from damaging Germany's reputation by having him tried for his crimes in Germany. Their next target was the Skeleton Crew, who was captured after trying to rescue the Red Skull. However, Machinesmith had managed to transfer his consciousness before being captured, and freed the Skeleton Crew, calling Arnim Zola for help in the process. The group completely escaped when Zola used artificial duplicates of the Avengers to take the villains into "custody".
After the Red Skull staged his death, he demanded the Skeleton Crew to recruit the Viper. Though Crossbones objected to the idea, Machinesmith and Mother Night obeyed. Cutthroat, Jack O'Lantern and Blackwing were then recruited to the crew by Machinesmith and Mother Night. Machinesmith decided that field action was not his forte and had his activities restricted accordingly, which prevented him from being arrested when Captain America and the Falcon defeated the other members of the Skeleton Crew.
One of Machinesmith's bodies inhabited by an errant part of his program eventually became an assistant to Iron Man when he was under the influence of "Kang" the Conqueror, being in charge of Stark's personal lab. Machinesmith helped Stark by watching over Marianne Rodgers and Masque, who were kept in Stark's Arctic Bunker. However, after Masque revealed to Rodgers she was in fact Bethany Cabe, they joined forces to overpower Machinesmith, which allowed "Masque" to escape. As soon as Stark returned, he repaired the damaged Machinesmith. When the Avengers finally learned about Stark's evil intent, "Masque" returned to the bunker alongside Hawkeye and a teenager version of Tony Stark, who deactivated the errant Machinesmith for good.
When a comatose Captain America was in the Red Skull's custody, Machinesmith analyzed his mind and downloaded all of the Captain's knowledge onto a "coin." Soon after, Machinesmith turned up in Moldavia and caused an international incident involving a top-secret super-weapon, the Argus cannon, suggesting Captain America to be the source of the leak of its specifications. To clean his name, Captain America, assisted by Sharon Carter, decided to hunt Machinesmith down. As Machinesmith kept a close eye on Captain America, he sent his robots after them before they could counterattack. With Rogers and Carter captured, Machinesmith framed Captain America for treason and tried to crash the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier with the Argus anti-aircraft weapon, while simultaneously using one of his bodies to assassinate the President of the United States. He was thwarted on all fronts by Rogers and Carter, who interrupted his plans and recovered the coin.
Masters of Evil
With a new metallic-looking body, which distanced him from his human origins, Machinesmith joined the Masters of Evil, led by the mysterious Crimson Cowl. Their first action was to abduct the powerful Plant-Man to force him to activate a biological weapon left behind by the deceased Justin Hammer. However, their attempt led them to clash with Hawkeye's Thunderbolts, since Hawkeye had recently hung onto the Plant-Man. During the confrontation, Hawkey revealed the Crimson Cowl's true intentions: the Masters of Evil had been implanted with Hammer's lethal biological component and would be at the Crimson Cowl's mercy whenever she activated the component. All the villains, except for Machinesmith, who had escaped, decided to join the Thunderbolts and defeat the Crimson Cowl with this revelation. Machinesmith and some remaining Masters of Evil helped the Crimson Cowl by fighting and overpowering the Thunderbolts. As Machinesmith examined the Plant-Man's body, he was surprisingly defeated before the biological toxin could be activated by having his body destroyed by Skein.
He battled the de-powered mutant team, the New Warriors, when they tracked him to his base, believing he was creating a techno-organic virus. They interrupted him when he worked on his robot Max, and were attacked by his large robotic body. Though the Warriors managed to hit him first, he fired upon the team, which caused the base to come crashing down, separating the group. He attacked the remaining heroes, but Decibel hit him with sound-based technology, managing to cut off his electrical impulses. The Warriors tried to escape but Saxon attacked them as a giant mechanical snake but they were able to freeze him using freon gas. However, he eventually grabbed Tempest in his tendril. As the rest of the Warriors, including Night Thrasher in a bulky suit of armor, returned to rescue their teammates, they tore his robot apart with blasts of power as Thrasher’s allies Kaz, Grace, and Aja donned facsimiles of Nimrod, the Destroyer and Hulkbuster Armor to upload a virus to his mainframe. With his systems breached, Saxon was defeated and his compound was destroyed. During the fight, the New Warriors realized Saxon did not in fact develop any techno-organic virus.
Later, Machinesmith, posing as a head of security, manipulated Jacob Erskine into developing a new super-soldier serum and sharing his intentions to the world. This caused Steve Rogers to get into a trap by investigating the rumor in Madripoor. After killing Erskine and being confronted by Rogers, Machinesmith revealed himself and exposed his adversary to a new set of vita-rays that 'deactivated' the super-soldier serum within him, reverting him to his original frail physique. However, despite the loss of his strength, Rogers was helped by Erskine's wife, Anita, who was one of the Machinesmith's robotic henchman. This allowed him to outmaneuver guards and expose himself to a new dose of vita-rays, reverting himself back to normal. Subsequently, Machinesmith attempted to sell the formula in an auction. While Beast blocked the factory where the auction took place from wireless signals, preventing Machinesmith from escaping to another body, he possessed Anita. However, her body had been previously booby-trapped to imprison Machinesmith's consciousness. With her sacrifice, he was finally deactivated.
Machinesmith's consciousness was kept secretly captive by the Secret Avengers in an Helicarrier. He eventually managed to make contact with Danger of the X-Men, who had been an imprisoned A.I. herself. Danger asked Emma Frost to help her perform a jailbreak. The duo was intercepted by Beast, but Danger accessed Machinesmith's imprisonment, allowing him to possess her body. While Frost and Beast fought Machinesmith in Danger's body, she managed to overcome his hacking and trapped him again in a Shi'ar device.
After the time-displaced Codename: Bravo and the Queen Hydra targeted Captain America, his superhuman abilities started to fail. Sharon Carter decided to solve the situation by reactivating Machinesmith, since he had been able to nullify Rogers' powers in the past. Though Machinesmith initially tried to murder Carter, she managed to make a deal with him, offering to release him in exchange for helping to cure Rogers. Saxon revealed he deactivated the super-soldier serum by employing disguised nanites. Machinesmith was free, but had been secretly infected by Carter with a virus that corrupted his memory banks, rendering him inoffensive.
Ant-Man Security Solutions
Machinesmith moved to Miami, where he joined Villains Anonymous support group in an attempt to escape from his criminal career. When Ant-Man's daughter, Cassie Lang, was kidnapped by Augustine Cross, Machinesmith's colleague Grizzly recommended Ant-Man to ask for Machinesmith's help. Machinesmith agreed to help in exchange of a job at Ant-Man Security Solutions as a way to ward off his parole officer. Hired by Ant-Man, his first task was to hack into the systems of Cross Technological Enterprises. After disabling Cross's security and having Grizzly knock Crossfire out, Machinesmith convinced Grizzly to leave Ant-Man to fight Darren Cross by himself.
For more than eight months, Machinesmith and Grizzly worked for Ant-Man. Behind Ant-Man's back, Machinesmith made contact with Augustine Cross, who wished to hire his services to hack into the Power Broker's systems in order to replicate the Hench App algorithm as the Lackey App. On his next assignment for Ant-Man Security Solutions, Machinesmith reluctantly assisted the all-new Captain America in hacking into a S.H.I.E.L.D. freighter illegally transporting a Giganto. Machinesmith and his co-worker Grizzly eventually left Ant-Man's side and returned to villainy after being called up to join the Army of Evil, a contingent of supervillains tasked with attacking Manhattan as part of Hydra's plan to take over the United States of America.
In the wake of increased oppression suffered by artificial life forms across America by the hand of the government, a countermovement emerged fighting for equal rights and robo-liberation. During this conflict, Machinesmith joined the A.I. Army, a consolidation of this countermovement dedicated to fighting for their cause, often through terroristic means. Machinesmith was one of the most prominent figures in the A.I. Army until the premier forces of A.I. oppression, Arno Stark and Sunset Bain, were defeated, putting an end to human/robot tensions.
- Consciousness Transfer: After breaking his neck, Starr Saxon used a robot duplicate of himself that housed his consciousness to act in his stead. This robot possessed superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. Upon his death, Starr Saxon became a living cybernetic-system program and took the name Machinesmith. As a living program, Machinesmith is able to transmit himself along an infrared laser beam into virtually any electronics system at will, allowing him to transfer from one robotic body to another. He can even place a duplicate of his own program into multiple bodies at the same time, although the number of complex motions he can make his automatons perform simultaneously is limited. The robotic bodies that Machinesmith uses typically vary in their capabilities. He's used ones that possess telescoping arms and legs, explosive launchers, and things such as special infra red or telescopic eyes.
- Samuel "Starr" Saxon has a genius-level intellect, and is considered one of the most gifted robot designers in the world, having vast experience in both cybernetic and bionics. Over the years, he's created a vast arsenal of weapons, defense systems, and surveillance devices, whose specifications he's constantly upgraded.
- Machinesmith can become trapped in an electronics system if it shuts down before he has the chance to escape it.
- Fear Gas: As Mister Fear he used compounds based on pheromones, chemicals produced by most animals, used to communicate a variety of simple messages over distances. The particular pheromone he uses is the flight-scent pheromone, which stimulates fear reactions in herd animals. This drug, tailored for human beings, whose reactions to pheromones are not completely understood, induces severe anxiety, fear, and panic in his victims, rendering them incapable of fighting or resisting his will. The drug is most commonly used in the form of gas pellets shot from a gun. The pellets rupture on contact, releasing the flight scent, which is inhaled by the victim. The dosage contained in one pellet is enough to incapacitate a normal adult male for about 15 minutes, or an exceptionally fit male, such as Daredevil, for about five minutes. The side effects of anxiety, edginess, and mild nausea can persist for several days.
- Besides being an expert in robotics, he's also a movie aficionado and has peppered his dialogues with references to Lon Chaney, Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks.
- 92 appearance(s) of Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)
- 5 minor appearance(s) of Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)
- 14 mention(s) of Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)
- 31 image(s) of Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)
- 10 quotation(s) by or about Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)
- 1 victim(s) killed by Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Samuel Saxon (Earth-616)