For the original 1940's superhero, see Whizzer (Robert Frank). Template:Superherobox

Speed Demon (James Sanders) is a character that appears in the fictional Marvel Universe. The character first appears as the Whizzer - a member of the team the Squadron Sinister - in Avengers #70 (Nov. 1969).

Publication history

The super-speedster James Sanders debuted in Marvel Comics' Avengers #70 (Nov. 1969) as part of the Squadron Sinister, a team of supervillains loosely based on four characters from DC Comics's Justice League of America. The Whizzer is modelled on the Flash. [1]

An identical but superheroic alternate-universe Whizzer, who belongs to a group called Squadron Supreme, was introduced in Avengers #85 (Feb. 1971). Due to a writing error, the covers of both this issue and of the group's subsequent appearance in Avengers #141 (Nov. 1975) erroneously call the group the Squadron Sinister. Sanders appears again with the Squadron Sinister in Defenders #13-14 (May & Jul. 1974) and in Giant-Size Defenders #4 (Apr. 1975), and made a brief final appearance in Avengers Annual #8 (1978).

Writer Bill Mantlo and penciller Bob Hall revamped the character in Amazing Spider-Man #222 (Nov. 1981), making him a solo supervillain with a new costume and alias - Speed Demon. He returned against Spider-Man and the Human Torch in Marvel Team-Up #121 (Sep. 1982), and later joined the Sinister Syndicate, who battled the hero in Amazing Spider-Man #280 (Sep. 1986) and the miniseries The Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1-4 (May-Aug. 1991). Sanders later fought the mutant Wolverine in Wolverine #167 (Oct. 2001).

He then attempted to reform, and joined a superhero team in New Thunderbolts vol. 2, #15-16 (Jan.- Feb. 2006), but then shifted allegiances to join a new version of the Squadron Sinister in Thunderbolts vol. 2, #102-108 (July 2006 - Jan. 2007), a numerical continuation of the same series (New Thunderbolts had served as de facto issues #82-99).

Fictional character biography


James Sanders first appears under the codename Whizzer, as a member of the Squadron Sinister, a group of supervillains assembled by the cosmic entity the Grandmaster to battle the champions of the time-traveling Kang - the superhero team the Avengers. (It was revealed years later [2] that the Grandmaster created the Squadron Sinister based on the already existing Squadron Supreme. The Avengers simply met the "copies" first. [3]) The Whizzer battles the Avenger Goliath until their fight is interrupted by the adventurer the Black Knight. [4]

Whizzer later assists the original members of the Squadron Sinister, who together with the alien Nebulon attempt to flood the Earth, but are stopped by the superhero team the Defenders. [5] After this defeat the Squadron Sinister are teleported off world by Nebulon, but are later returned to Earth. Having acquired an energy-draining weapon, the Squadron Sinister plan to threaten the Earth once more but are defeated by the Defenders and the Avenger Yellowjacket. [6]

The Whizzer later has another brief encounter with several members of the Avengers, who at the time were seeking a way to separate the Power Prism of Dr. Spectrum from fellow Avenger the Wasp. [7]

Speed Demon

Several years after the Squadron Sinister disbands, James Sanders decides to return to crime in a new costume as the Speed Demon and battles the hero Spider-Man. [8] Soon after this Speed Demon encounters Spider-Man once again, and also battles the Human Torch. It is on this occasion that Speed Demon suffers a humiliating defeat at the hands of Frog-Man, who accidentally lands on him. [9]

Speed Demon later joins the supervillain team the Sinister Syndicate, led by the supervillain the Beetle. Although the team's principal goal is the defeat of Spider-Man, their constant squabbling always leads to defeat. [10] Speed Demon then tries to ransom a figurine back to its owner, but is defeated by Rocket Racer. [11] Speed Demon participates in a mass breakout at the Vault, but all villains are stopped by the Avengers and Freedom Force. [12] He then participates in a race to the Moon organised by Elder of the Universe the Runner. [13]

Rejoining the Sinister Syndicate, Speed Demon defeats Spider-Man but learns that all money from a recent robbery has been given to the Kingpin. Speed Demon squabble with his team mates, and after a final battle with Spider-Man flees when almost all of them are captured. [14]

Speed Demon later seeks revenge on Rocket Racer, but is defeated once again. [15] Alongside his former Syndicate partners and other Hammer super-agents, Speed Demon battles Spider-Man and the New Warriors on Hammer's behalf, and is defeated by the Sphinx. [16] Speed Demon attends the A.I.M. weapons expo and briefly skirmishes with Captain America before colliding with Blizzard. [17] Together with the Beetle, Hydro-Man and Scorpia, Speed Demon battles Deathlok and Spider-Man on behalf of Silvermane's Maggia crime family, [18] and later as a Hammer agent battles the Beetle and Thunderbolts, but is able to escape. [19]

Speed Demon leaves the Sinister Syndicate and eventually travels to Madripoor, where he participates in a "sudden death" tournament called Bloodsport. Speed Demon's first opponent is the disguised hero Wolverine, but in a mishap Speed Demon is critically injured by his own weapon. Despite the crowd's wishes, Wolverine spares Speed Demon's life. [20] He later attends the Venom symbiote auction. [21]

Some time after recovering from his injuries, Speed Demon is recruited to join the Thunderbolts, a team consisting of reformed supervillains. Speed Demon accepts when he learns that the team is led by the Beetle, who is now known as Mach-IV. [22]

Soon after this the cosmic entity the Grandmaster reappears and reforms the Squadron Sinister. An apparently resurrected Hyperion and new Dr. Spectrum find and try to coerce Speed Demon and fellow member Nighthawk into joining, but both are initially reluctant. Ironically, the New Thunderbolts become responsible for Speed Demon rejoining the Squadron Sinister as he is ejected from the New Thunderbolts for committing robberies - even though Speed Demon had been doing this to finance the team. Courtesy of a phenomenon known as the Wellspring of Power - an interdimensional source of superhuman abilities - the Grandmaster increases the Squadron Sinister's powers and they then battle the New Thunderbolts, as Baron Zemo also wishes to have control of the Wellspring. At one point Thunderbolt member Joystick breaks Speed Demon's legs, but he is later healed and in revenge beats her mercilessly. Zemo manages to defeat the Grandmaster, but in the ensuing chaos the Squadron Sinister scatter and escape. [23]

Speed Demon is later seen at a bar frequented by other supervillains. [24]

Powers and abilities

Speed Demon's primary superhuman power is the ability to move and react at superhuman speed. His body has adapted to the rigors of running at great speed and developed superior strength, stamina, agility, reflexes and durability.

Other comic book Speed Demons

DC Comics

The first comic book character named Speed Demon appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #15 (Sept 1956). In that issue the superspeed serum of a scientist named Dr. Claude briefly turned Daily Planet reporter Jimmy Olsen into the hero Speed Demon.

Amalgam Comics

Main article: Speed Demon (Amalgam Comics)

In the Amalgam Comics one shot Speed Demon (April, 1996), three characters named Speed Demon appear. All three are combinations of Marvel's Ghost Rider and DC Comics' Flash.


  1. The Justice League Companion (2003): "Interview with Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails", pp.72 – 73
  2. Squadron Supreme #8 (of 12) (1986)
  3. Avengers #85 & #141
  4. Avengers #69 - 70 (Oct. - Nov. 1969)
  5. Defenders #13 - 14 (May & Jul. 1974)
  6. Giant-Size Defenders #4 (1974)
  7. Avengers Annual #8 (1978)
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #222 (Nov. 1981)
  9. Marvel Team-Up #121 (Sep. 1982)
  10. Amazing Spider-Man #280 (Sep. 1986)
  11. Marvel Tales #242 (Oct. 1990)
  12. Avengers: Deathtrap - The Vault (1991)
  13. Quasar #17 (Dec. 1990)
  14. Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1-4 (1991)
  15. Web of Spider-Man Annual #7 (1991)
  16. Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #12; Web of Spider-Man Annual #8; New Warriors Annual #2, (all 1992)
  17. Captain America #414 (Apr. 1993)
  18. Spider-Man: The Power of Terror # 1-4 (1995)
  19. Thunderbolts #35-37 (2000)
  20. Wolverine #167 (Oct. 2001)
  21. Marvel Knights Spider-Man #6 (2004)
  22. New Thunderbolts vol. 2, #1
  23. New Thunderbolts vol. 2, #15-16 (Jan.- Feb. 2006) and Thunderbolts vol. 2, #102 - 108 (July 2006 - Jan. 2007)
  24. The Amazing Spider-Man #558 (Jul, 2008)


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