is an "electromagnetic intelligence," a psionically-charged electromagnetic
field which has a humanoid form and which is capable of crude human level intelligence
and superhuman strength. Zzzax generally appears as a gargantuan mass of electrical
"sparks" in humanoid form. It is highly luminescent, whitish-yellow
in color, and gives off the smell of ozone. Zzzax can hover or fly in the air.
can fire extraordinarily powerful blasts of electricity. Zzzax's tremendously
high voltage enables it to incinerate matter which lies in its path. Zzzax's superhuman
strength has enabled him to battle the Hulk nearly
to a standstill. Zzzax has incinerated whole city blocks in minutes. Zzzax has
burned the Hulk's skin to a slight degree. At its most powerful, Zzzax is forty
feet tall and carries a voltage of several hundred thousand volts that can be
almost totally expended over a twenty minute period.
Zzzax subsists by drawing
all available electromagnetic fields into its own. Those electromagnetic fields
housed by human brains, when absorbed, add to Zzzax's level of stored psionic
energy, making it more intelligent. For an unknown reason Zzzax finds this absorption
of electrical/psionic energy from human brains pleasurable, and therefore undertakes
the murder of human beings for their psionic energy whenever possible, In absorbing
this psionic energy from a human victim, Zzzax will incinerate the victim's body,
Zzzax is seemingly unable to absorb psionic energy from its recurring adversary,
the Hulk. However, Zzzax can take control of the electrical/psionic impulses in
the Hulk's nervous system, and thereby control the activities of the Hulk's muscles.
own thoughts and behavior can be influenced by strong desires on the part of the
human beings whose psionic energy it has consumed. However, only in the case of
General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt"
Ross has another being's consciousness supplanted Zzzax's own as the dominant
one controlling Zzzax's physical form.
Zzzax was the product of an accident
that occurred at a Consolidated Edison nuclear power plant when a group of heavily
armed terrorists attempted to shut down the power for New York City. The explosion
that their stray gunfire caused started a chain reaction in the atomic reactor,
creating a psionically charged electromagnetic field of humanoid form. As the
electromagnetic form grew, it incinerated those people who stood in its way, absorbing
the electro-psionic fields generated by their brains, and thus acquired a human
intelligence. As it began to think and become aware of its surroundings, it developed
rudimentary speech and named itself Zzzax in imitation of the electrostatic "crackle"
it made when it moved. As it killed more human beings, it grew more intelligent;
consequently it began a campaign of murder and destruction in order to increase
its intelligence further. Zzzax clashed with both the Hulk and Hawkeye.
Zzzax short-circuited and its constituent field dissipated when Hawkeye shot an
arrow attached to a long conducting wire through Zzzax into the East River.
reformed months later as a result of a mistake in a scientific experiment performed
by Soul Star Research, a group of three scientists, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology graduates Mark Revel, Stan Landers, and Alexandria Knox, who developed
a mechanism that was allegedly capable of collecting and recording the scattered
electrical brain waves of any human being who had ever existed. When first used,
the machine made contact with an unusually intense field of electro-psionic energy
in the upper stratosphere, which was the residue of Zzzax. The collected electrical
impulses formed a field of sufficient energy to explode the machine's titanium
casing, and Zzzax reformed. Stan Landers was killed by Zzzax as the creature absorbed
his electro-psionic energy. As a result of this absorption, Zzzax found itself
influenced by Landers' intense love for his colleague Alexandria Knox, and abducted
her. Once again Zzzax battled the Hulk. Soul Star's Mark Revel short-circuited
and dissipated Zzzax by shooting a sufficient length of copper wire through it
from a helicopter and then flying the helicopter, which still held one end of
the wire, directly into a thunderstorm in which the helicopter was struck by lightning,
when Stark International constructed
a laboratory for Dr. Bruce Banner (who is also the Hulk), the company made the
mistake of purchasing a central power core from the now-defunct Soul Star Research.
When the generator was hooked up, a sudden surge of electromagnetic discharge
brought Zzzax back into existence. The mechanics of this reemergence of Zzzax
have never adequately been explained; presumably a portion of Zzzax's electro-psionic
field lay dormant in this device which powered Soul Star's previous experiment.
After a brief battle the Hulk, who at that point retained Bruce Banner's intelligence
when in his superhumanly strong form, ran power cables through Zzzax which were
connected to a generator which drew its power from stellar and quasi-stellar sources.
The Hulk reversed the generator's polarity, sending Zzzax out into space.
reappeared, emerging from high voltage lines connected to a California nuclear
power plant. Exactly how Zzzax reformed this time is unknown, but its recreation
is probably at least in part the work of Graviton,
who sought Zzzax as an ally. On Hawkeye's suggestion Wonder
Man uprooted a water main, which the latter then used to fire a torrent of
water at Zzzax. Hawkeye then shot an arrow carrying a conducting wire through
Zzzax into the water upon which Zzzax was standing. As a result Zzzax was grounded
and its field was disrupted.
Somehow Zzzax was imprisoned by S.H.I.E.L.D.
soon after Hawkeye and Wonder Man defeated it. S.H.I.E.L.D. kept Zzzax, which was still
in humanoid form, confined within a large insulated vacuum tube, and then transferred
it into another such tube at Gamma Base, New Mexico. There former General "Thunderbolt"
Ross, who was obsessed with a desire to destroy the Hulk, submitted to a S.H.I.E.L.D.
experiment to transform him into a superhuman being by infusing some of Zzzax's
"living electricity'' into Ross's body. But the experiment went awry, and
Ross's psichic energy--his mind, in effect--was absorbed by Zzzax, and Zzzax broke
free. But, strangely, Ross's mind, perhaps because of the strength of its hatred
for the Hulk, took control of Zzzax, submerging Zzzax's own personality. Meanwhile,
Ross's original physical body remained alive, but all of that body's independent
thought processes had ceased; only involuntary functions of the nervous system
(such as those controlling the heartbeat) continued.
Controlled by Ross's
thought patterns, Zzzax tried unsuccessfully to kill both Bruce Banner and Rick
Jones, who had recently become a Hulk-like monster himself. Zzzax's own consciousness
resurfaced briefly, and fought for dominance of its physical form with the Ross
persona, but the Ross consciousness again took control. The Ross persona had apparently
become unbalanced by its absorption into Zzzax, and when Banner forced it to recognize
that it inhabited a monster's form, the Ross persona was horrified. Still controlled
by the Ross consciousness, Zzzax fled.
Zzzax's current whereabouts and activities
are unknown. It is not yet known whether Zzzax's own personality and consciousness
will reclaim control of its physical form, or whether Ross will ever return to
full consciousness in his original human body.
INCREDIBLE HULK #166