The Living Laser
The Living Laser (right) battles Iron Man on the cover of Iron Man #211 (Oct. 1986).
Art by Alex Saviuk.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Avengers #34 (Nov. 1966)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Art Simek
Don Heck (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoArthur Parks
Team affiliationsLethal Legion
Legion Accursed
Mandarin's Minions
  • Gifted research scientist
  • Genius level intellect

Miniature laser diode implants grant:

  • Energy absorption and projection
  • Invisibility via light refraction
  • Illusion generation
  • Limited telepathy
  • Three-dimensional holographic image creation
  • Ability to achieve solidification and travel at light speeds

The Living Laser (Arthur Parks) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck, the character made his first appearance in The Avengers #34 (Nov. 1966).[1] He would become a recurring enemy of Iron Man and plays a key role in the end of the "Iron Man: The Inevitable" miniseries.

Arthur Parks started out as a scientist that invented small, wrist mounted lasers and used them for criminal pursuits. At one point he was a member of the Lethal Legion and at another point he was poised to take over the world due to his possession of the Serpent Crown, but is foiled by the Avengers. At one point it appeared that the Living Laser exploded in space, but in reality his body was transformed into photon form, making him an actual living laser.

Publication history

The Living Laser debuted in The Avengers #34 (Nov. 1966) as Arthur Parks, a scientist who created wrist-mounted laser units and a costume.[2] Writer Mike Conroy notes, "Arthur Parks was a scientist sufficiently proficient to design laser projectors small enough to wear on his wrists, quite the achievement in 1966."[3]

Following his appearance in the following issue, the Living Laser resurfaced in Avengers King-Size Special #1 (Sept. 1967). After an appearance in Captain America #105 (Sept. 1968), the character was part of the first version of the Lethal Legion in The Avengers #78–79 (July–Aug. 1970). The Kree hero Mar-Vell encountered an android version of the Living Laser in Captain Marvel #35 (Nov. 1974). The real Laser reappeared in an extended storyline in The Avengers #151 (Sept. 1976); #153 (Nov. 1976) & The Avengers Annual #6 (1976).

After appearing as part of a pseudo Lethal Legion in The Avengers #164–166 (Nov. 1977–Jan. 1978), the character returned in Iron Man #152–153 (Nov.–Dec. 1981) and Iron Man #211 (Oct. 1986). The Laser featured in the Acts of Vengeance storyline in Quasar #6 (Jan. 1990) and reappeared in a new photon form in Iron Man #259–263 (Aug.-Dec. 1990) before returning in Quasar #30 (Jan. 1992) and Iron Man #289 (Feb. 1993).

Further appearances included the limited series Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's 11 #1–5 (Sept. 2007–Jan. 2008) and The New Avengers #35 (Oct. 2007). The character returned during the limited series Secret Invasion #1–8 (June 2008–Jan. 2009), and made sporadic appearances in The New Avengers.

Fictional character biography

As the "Living Laser", Parks becomes a mercenary and professional criminal. He develops an infatuation with the heroine the Wasp, and after he kidnaps her, he is forced to battle the superhero team the Avengers. He captured Hawkeye and Captain America by placing them in a ring of lasers before leaving, but they were able to contact another member who helped them escape. The Living Laser met the Avengers again when he tried to conquer a small South American country, who defeated and incarcerated the villain.[4]

The Laser, after breaking out of prison by creating a laser using parts teleported to him, reappears as part of a team formed by master villain the Mandarin after being teleported to his base, in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Avengers and conquer the world, he attacked Africa to try stealing diamonds, but was defeated by Thor and Hawkeye despite the robot Ultimo being transported there from a volcano.[5] As part of "Batroc's Brigade" (consisting of the Laser; the Swordsman and Batroc the Leaper) he participated in a battle against Captain America.[6][7] The Laser reappears as part of the first version of the Lethal Legion gathered by the Grim Reaper in a failed revenge plot against the Avengers.[8] There is an encounter between Kree hero Mar-Vell and an android version of the Laser.[9]

The Laser eventually acquires the artifact the Serpent Crown, and while controlling the living weapon Nuklo and a battalion of the US Army attempts to conquer the world, but is defeated by the Avengers.[10] He is then employed, along with fellow villains Power Man and Whirlwind, by Count Nefaria, who temporarily amplifies their abilities and sends them against the Avengers as the second Lethal Legion. The effect, however, is temporary and their combined abilities are drained by Nefaria (who in "powered" mode battles the Avengers until defeated by the Vision).[11]

Discovering that the amplification caused a build-up of energy in his body that is reaching a critical, and potentially fatal, level, the Laser seeks the aid of East German scientists, who offer to help by draining off the excess energy and using it to power a network of weapons satellites. The plan, however, is stopped by Iron Man and in battle with the hero, the Laser's energy levels build to critical mass. Although the Laser begs for help, Iron Man has no choice but to hurl the character into the atmosphere where he detonates and apparently dies.[12] Eventually revived, the Laser battles Iron Man once again;[13] and during the "Acts of Vengeance" storyline battles the hero Quasar.[14]

The Laser reappears in a new photon form, posing as the deceased Titanium Man while taunting Iron Man. The villain is eventually defeated and banished to an alternate universe.[15] He eventually escapes,[16] and mounts a new attack on Stark Industries. James Rhodes—Stark's friend and employee, currently acting as CEO and the new 'Iron Man' while Tony is apparently dead—tricks the Laser by offering him a position at the company before trapping him in a wide-beam communication chamber which disperses him across the Andromeda Galaxy, although Rhodes wonders if he did the right thing and even the Laser privately wondered if he would legitimately accept Rhodes' offer to return to a research role or just take it to destroy the company from within.[17]

The Laser returns as an employee of the A.I.M. member MODOK,[18] and later as a member of the criminal army formed by the villain the Hood.[19] The villain sides with the heroes during the Secret Invasion storyline in a pitched battle with the alien Skrulls,[20] and has a number of encounters with various teams of Avengers.[21]

Mandarin and Zeke Stane recruit Living Laser to join up with other Iron Man villains in a plot to defeat Iron Man. Upon receiving upgrades, Living Laser managed to break Tony Stark's repulsor arc causing him to go into cardiac arrest.[22]

During the "Opening Salvo" part of the "Secret Empire" storyline, Living Laser is recruited by Baron Helmut Zemo to join the Army of Evil.[23] Living Laser, Batroc the Leaper, and Whirlwind attack a haggard, bearded man in torn World War II army uniform who identifies himself as Steve Rogers. He is assisted by people that appear to be Sam Wilson and a Bucky Barnes with both his arms.[24]

During the "Search for Tony Stark" arc, Living Laser rejoined Hood's gang and assisted in the attack on Castle Doom.[25]

In a lead-up to the "Sins Rising" arc, a wheelchair-bound Count Nefaria later forms his latest incarnation of the Lethal Legion with Grey Gargoyle, Living Laser, and Whirlwind in a plot to target the Catalyst.[26] At Empire State University, Dr. Curt Connors reveals the Catalyst to the crowd when the Lethal Legion attacks. While Grey Gargoyle and Whirlwind attack the people present, Living Laser helps Count Nefaria to operate the Catalyst. Spider-Man shows up and has a hard time fighting them due to the fact that his mind was focused on what a revived Sin-Eater did to Overdrive. Sin-Eater shows up and starts using the same gun he used on Overdrive on the Lethal Legion members while taking their powers. All four of them were sent to Ravencroft where they started to act like model inmates.[27]

As a side-effect of Sin-Eater's suicide upon copying Madame Web's precognition revealed that Kindred was using them, Living Laser and the rest of the Lethal Legion regained their sins and are among the villains that went on a rampage.[28]

During the "Sinister War" storyline, Kindred revived Sin-Eater again and one of the demonic centipedes that emerged from his body took possession of Living Laser making him one of the members of the Sinful Six.[29]

Powers and abilities

A gifted research scientist with expertise in laser technology and a Ph.D in physics, Arthur Parks began his criminal career using wrist-mounted laser projection units, and later implants miniature laser diodes into his skin which absorb energy. With the diode implants, Parks is capable of energy projection, light refraction for invisibility and illusion generation.

Parks's material body is eventually replaced by photons due to an overloading of the diode implants. By increasing the density of the photons comprising his form, Parks can achieve "solidity", project photons as energy beams, and create three-dimensional holographic images. The character also possesses limited telepathic abilities and can travel at light speed.

Other versions

What If?

The alternate universe title What If features a story which the character reforms and works at Stark Industries, with three different outcomes being presented.[30]

Heroes Reborn

In the Heroes Reborn universe, created by Franklin Richards, Arthur Parks was a successful businessman of Parks Fiberoptics, until he lost his company to Tony Stark. Parks, now broken and desperate, having left his wife Amy, used his own technology to transform himself and attack Stark in his own home. Stark learned why Parks was attacking him, and tried to atone for what he had done and convince Parks to stop his attack. Parks refused to stop so Stark in his Iron Man suit was forced to destroy his containment armor causing his laser form to dissipate, killing him.[31]

In other media


Video games


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