Premiered: Fantastic Four #35 (1965)
Realm: Earth-616 (Mainstream Marvel Universe)
Affiliation: Future Foundation
Featured In: Fantastic Four (Comics), Ultimate Spider-Man (Cartoon)
Dragon Man, despite the name, is neither a man nor a dragon but was originally an android created by Professor Gregson Gilber of Empire State University and had been created solely as an experiment that the professor secretly hoped would see to the machine becoming fully alive. Why on Earth he would create something that resembled more of a gargoyle than an actual dragon, let alone a strange human hybrid, I’ve the foggiest.
The professor ultimately got his wish via the aid of the wicked alchemist Diablo via a series of alchemic potions that gave the android a form of quasi-sentience and actual life insomuch that while it was still a machine in body, it now possessed something akin to a soul. Whether or not this makes Dragon Man something akin to a homunculus I cannot say for certain as such monstrosities of nature were meant to be the absolute alchemic recreation of human life. Dragon Man is, to his core, a machine. An incredibly empowered machine the likes of which make me question why the heck his creator was doing wasting his time at teaching in a university but a machine nonetheless.
To begin the short but quite surprising list of abilities that Dragon Man possesses, his musculature structure is great enough that he can life up to an excess of one hundred tons and has been able to stand claw-to-fist with the likes of the Thing and Hercules. However, Dragon Man’s synthetic musculature is also capable of becoming fatigue but only after a period of several days before any actual impairment occurs.
Dragon Man’s skin is made up of organic polymers that are capable of resisting ballistic impacts of 300 pound of TNT and most bullets. Its also thick enough that he can withstand extreme temperatures of -200° to 1,000°+ Fahrenheit and atmospheric pressure ranging from .02 to 12.5. His wings don’t actually empower his flight but actually aid him in the air by way of stability and direction. His actual method of flight is provided by an internal antigravity generator that allows him to reach heights of 1,800 feet but given his heavy weight can only reach a speed of 30 miles per hour.
Again, this was a university professor’s creation.
Sweet Sugar Honey Ice Tea, people.
Whether thanks to his creator’s designs or by the miracle of the alchemic potions used to grant him life, Dragon Man rejuvenates his energies by way of eating… well, anything he finds edible. Thank goodness he hasn’t developed a taste for humans…
What I find to be incredibly hilarious about Dragon Man is that he breathes fire by way of the “traditionally scientific” method that most modern media has depicted of dragons. Basically, Dragon Man’s stomach uses the leftover wastes to produce methane gas that once ignited by a special set of teeth at the back of his jaw can reach temperatures of 8,000° F. That’s hot enough to instantly melt iron by the way. On a full tank, Dragon Man can sustain this flame for a full seven minutes before he needs to refuel.
Whence compared to the likes of Fin Fang Foom and Lockheed, Dragon Man is… a bit player. True, while Lockheed and Fin Fang Foom are not the first to come to mind when thinking of Marvel Comics let alone the X-Men in Lockheed’s case or Iron Man in Foom’s, Dragon Man is… He’s just too forgettable and a history arc that bounces him, quite literally, all over creation and back again. In point of fact, though again I’m not much of a comic book enthusiast as others, I’ve only ever read one issue that even had Dragon Man in it and that was more of a cameo than anything else.
Still it should be noted that compared to the savage beast he was before, Dragon Man has since grown by whole leaps and bounds thanks to the actions of Valeria Richards, daughter of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Born with a superior intellect the likes of which make me pray most fervently that she never turns dark, Valeria was able to not only reprogram Dragon Man firmly to the side of good but increased his intelligence to a point where he has become an avid member of the Future Foundation.
Oh, and a pacifist too.