Real Name: John Probe
Identity/Class: Cyborg, mutated human
Occupation: Secret agent
Affiliations: British Secret Service; answered to Sharpe
Enemies: Sharpe; M.A.C.H. Two
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: U.K.
First Appearance: M.A.C.H. 1, 2000 A.D. Prog 1 (IPC, 26th February 1977)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength (measured as "the strength of 50 men") and speed. He had an inbuilt computer in his brain, created by surgery which implanted printed circuits in his skull. The computer would carry out threat assessments for him, and calculate the correct levels of power to use to deal with the target, the angles of attack he might need to employ, and so on. From the computer we learned that Probe's top running speed was 120m.p.h. (but this may have increased as Probe's power levels raised over time). The stated "strength of 50 men" is unclear, but according to his computer lifting 6.32 tons requires 30% power, so presumably he can handle over ten tons at least. He is able to swim at more than 50 knots.
M.A.C.H. One's power levels would constantly build up, and it soon became the case that he had too much energy burning inside of him, making him unable to relax for very long or sleep at all (Tanya Maski stated she also suffered from the same problem, but MACH Zero seemed to have no problem sleeping). As he discovered when he threatened to quit, he needed regular repeats of the procedure that gave him his powers, or his powers would gradually burn out and fade away.
History: (Untitled, Progs #1-46, 53-64; Untitled, 2000 A.D. Summer Special 1977; Untitled, 2000 A.D. Annual 1978; Operation Hercules, 2000 A.D. Annual 1978; The MACH-Man File, 2000A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1978; Untitled, 2000 A.D. Annual 1979; The Texaco Venture, 2000 A.D. Sci-Fi Special 1979) MACH One was a British secret agent granted superhuman strength, stamina and speed through a process involving acupuncture combined with chemical and electrical treatments. Licensed to kill, he reported to Sharpe, the head of the British Secret Service. At first Probe was a dedicated agent, but as time progressed, worries about what had been done to him and about what his superiors were asking him to do began to arise.
On one mission he had some close encounters with extra-terrestrials and came to the conclusion that some hostile aliens were threatening mankind, that his superiors had known this for some time, and that they were not doing anything about it.
Slightly later he encountered another person enhanced by the same procedure as himself - Tanya Maski, a member of an Eastern European Security Service which had stolen the information on the Compu-Puncture Hyperpower process and used it themselves. Convincing her to switch sides, the two of them headed back to her home country to put an end to their experiments in this area, where they encountered Dr Horowitz, the scientist in charge, who had not only enhanced Tanya, but had carried out the same procedure on a dog (the "Hyper Hound") and brainwashed children. The two agents killed Horowitz, but Tanya died doing so.
Not long afterwards, Probe discovered that he had a predecessor, MACH Zero, for whom the process had gone wrong, leaving the man superstrong, but also brain damaged. (In fact there proved to be at least two earlier attempts, M.A.C.H. W and M.A.C.H. Y, both of whom had died during or shortly after the process). Zero had been a willing volunteer, and had undertaken a couple of successful missions before the power overloaded his (non-computer enhanced) brain and warped his body. Promised by Sharpe that Zero would be released from the institution he had been imprisoned in for the last three years and reunited with his son, Probe was horrified when his superior then apparently killed Zero in a staged car crash (Unbeknownst to both of them Zero survived).
Realising that he could not remember any of his life prior to the procedure, Probe confronted Sharpe, only to discover that the latter had discontinued the MACH 1 project and built a robotic MACH 2. He also found out that the person who had sold the secrets of the MACH project to the Eastern European country which Dr Horowitz worked for was in fact Sharpe himself; the theft had left the U.K. with no details on how to make another MACH man, and MACH One had destroyed the one in Eastern Europe without making a copy either. Thus Sharpe became the only person who knew how the procedure worked. Defeated by the robot, and dependent on Sharpe for recharges if he didn't wish to burn out like Zero, Probe reluctantly continued to work for him.
Things swiftly came to a head on Probe's next mission, when Sharpe tried to arrange for the capture and imprisonment of a friendly extra-terrestrial in order to steal it's technology for himself. Rather than risk interstellar war, Probe killed his ruthless superior, but was himself gunned down by British troops. He was 32 when he died.
Comments: Created by Pat Mills and Enio.
M.A.C.H. is an abbreviation for Man Activated by Compu-Puncture Hyperpower. This is a sort of electrically enhanced acupuncture, and with the exception of the computer in his head, he is not cybernetically enhanced.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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