|Professor Mendel Stromm
|The Amazing Spider-Man #37 (June 1966)
|Stan Lee (writer)
Steve Ditko (artist)
|Human mutate (formerly)
Human cyborg (currently)
|Oscorp, Empire State University
Professor Mendel Stromm is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character has also been known as the Robot Master and Gaunt.
Stromm first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #37 (June 1966), and was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Professor Mendel Stromm was Norman Osborn's college professor at ESU and later became a partner in OsCorp Industries. His early research was on a chemical that would provide enhanced strength in its test subjects and would eventually turn Osborn into the Green Goblin. Osborn, wanting the formula for himself, discovered that Stromm had been embezzling funds from OsCorp. Stromm explained that he was merely borrowing them, but Osborn turned him over to the police. After several years in prison, Stromm was released and tried to kill Osborn for revenge using deadly robots. He was stopped by Spider-Man and seemingly died of a heart attack when he was nearly shot.
Stromm had made plans for his death, however, by arranging to have his Spirit transferred to a robot double. Now calling himself "the Robot Master", Stromm returned in Spectacular Spider-Man #68 (July 1982). Spider-Man defeated and destroyed the robot double.
In Spectacular Spider-Man #233 (April 1996), Stromm returned again, this time as a cyborg called "Gaunt". It was revealed that he survived through a cybernetic suit fused to his body – attached by none other than Osborn. Osborn had discovered that Stromm had survived his heart attack thanks to the Goblin Formula, but on a level of consciousness supported only by his suit. Eventually, via Seward Trainer, he was cured of his need for the suit and came back in a large suit of robotic armor, only for it to be destroyed by Ben Reilly and Peter Parker, despite Stromm's attempt to defeat them both with two flying robots and three childlike androids attacking simultaneously. Shortly afterward, Norman Osborn knocked him out with a laser blast and left him for dead, though he survived and only had amnesia. He came back in yet another robot suit, only to be stopped by Spider-Man once again.
In Peter Parker: Spider-Man Vol 1 #27 (March 2001), Stromm tried to create a sentient robot to kill Osborn, but it turned on him and destroyed his body, keeping his severed head alive. This artificial intelligence then attempted to take over New York City's electrical grid, but was stopped when Spider-Man fought his way into its core processor and uploaded a computer virus into it, putting both the A.I. and Mendel into a comatose state.
The artificial intelligence took over Electro's body and tried to use his powers to create a horde of self spawning robots, but after the interference of Spider-Man the A.I. altered Spidey's spider sense, after which Spider-Man defeated the A.I..
In Penance: Relentless (2007), it is revealed that Spider-Man tipped S.H.I.E.L.D. off to Stromm's whereabouts and that they were able to rescue him from the suspended loop he was stuck in. He eagerly registered as part of the Initiative. Later, Penance goes AWOL on the Thunderbolts and stages an assault on Stromm's home, threatening to kill him unless Stromm tells him how to activate nuclear launch codes Penance has stolen in a bid to get Nitro deported from Latveria.
During the Civil War II storyline, Mendel Stromm meets Clayton Cole at the henchman bar called Moynihan's Social Club during its happy hour. He gives Clash an offer to work for him in his plan to get revenge on Harry Osborn. While sporting the new version of his Clash outfit that he ordered from the Tinkerer, Clayton Cole arrives at Mendel Stromm's apartment where he meets with Stromm in his Robot Master form and his robots. Robot Master then compliments Clash's outfit and claims that Spider-Man will not know what hit him. When Clash attacks Robot Master, stating that he will look out for himself, Robot Master unleashes his robots on Clash even when Spider-Man arrives. Spider-Man manages to web Robot Master in the air with foam webbing. When Spider-Man was talking Clash into getting back to the civilized life, Robot Master rises and attacks them. While Clash flies away, Spider-Man defeats Robot Master by ripping his remote control mechanics from within his robot body, deactivating his robot army.
Mendel Stromm later obtained a Tri-Sentinel from the bunker of the bankrupt Life Foundation, where it faced an Isotope Genome Accelerator duplicate of Spider-Man. After it was defeated, Stromm broke down in tears. He is then approached by a mysterious benefactor who prepared to give him a Master Mold that specializes in creating Tri-Sentinels. After Spider-Man takes control of the Tri-Sentinels and turns them back on their source, Stromm is confronted by his "benefactor," who is the same demon that helped Mysterio. He states that Stromm's usefulness has ended and tears him apart with his centipedes. When Spider-Man is restored to one person following the fight against the Tri-Sentinels, he finds Stromm who quotes "Guess my name" before shutting down.
Mendel Stromm possesses extensive knowledge of chemistry and robotics for a man in his age. His restorative formula may have granted Stromm minor healing capabilities, but it cost him a near-fatal heart attack. Originally, he must rely on his environmental suit for mobility. As Gaunt, he has an enhanced physique, as well as was outfitted with a gas pack, among other armaments. With the full use of his recuperative qualities, he can access to high-tech equipment, such as various weapons or battlesuits. When Stromm's head is now connected to a cyborg body, it provides him with mental control over his technological creations. His next upgrades are flight, laser projection, and electric discharging.
Although Mendel Stromm does not have an Ultimate Marvel incarnation, elements of his character are amalgamated into Doctor Octopus's Ultimate Marvel incarnation.
During the Secret Wars storyline, a version of Mendel Stromm resides in the Battleworld domain of Arachnia. He appears as one of the Oscorp scientists where they are attempting to decipher the Web of Life and Destiny.