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September 10, 2017

Character Spotlight: H.E.R.B.I.E.

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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Mr. Fantastic. The Invisible Woman. The Thing. H.E.R.B.I.E. … Wait, that doesn’t sound right, but it once was! Sometimes your Human Torch teammate is so popular he gets optioned for film rights while the rest of you get a cartoon show. You can’t be the Fantastic Four without a fourth member, so here we are! But how did this little robot get built and why don’t we see him on the front lines anymore? Let’s find out!

Humanoid Experimental Robot B-Type Integrated Electronics, H.E.R.B.I.E. for short, was a collaborative creation by Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic and his associate, Master Xar of the Xardarians. They wished to create a helpful robot for the Fantastic Four but an old enemy of Xar’s, Doctor Sun had uploaded his consciousness into the computers the men were using. Sun now had the ability to take control of poor H.E.R.B.I.E. with no one the wiser, not even H.E.R.B.I.E.

The little robot helper would find himself aiding the Fantastic Four one minute then committing horrible crimes the next. Several of the enemies of the Fantastic Four would end up dead being near H.E.R.B.I.E. but no one would believe such an adorable little robot could do anything like that. Eventually H.E.R.B.I.E. would come to realize what he was doing when Doctor Sun revealed his control by kidnapping several of the Fantastic Four.

Even though Doctor Sun had uploaded himself onto the Baxter Building’s computer system, H.E.R.B.I.E. realized he was still an escape clause for the bad doctor. Using everything he had, H.E.R.B.I.E. self-destructed while colliding with the mainframe housing Doctor Sun, causing both himself and Sun do be destroyed. H.E.R.B.I.E.’s sacrifice saved not only the Fantastic Four but the world from Doctor Sun’s dangerous machinations.

Thankfully, since H.E.R.B.I.E. was a robot, he could be rebuilt without the nasty malware that is Doctor Sun. He’d be an infrequent sight around the Baxter Building doing odd jobs. In fact, he’d eventually become somewhat of a hive mind and become a fleet of H.E.R.B.I.E. ready to help as best they can for any who call themselves friends of the Fantastic Four.

Sometimes some program or another person hacks into H.E.R.B.I.E. but often with mixed results since he’s been upgraded to try and always be helpful to the Fantastic family no matter what his programming may say otherwise. Instead of a Doombot hacking control of him to destroy those he was sworn to protect, H.E.R.B.I.E. just takes on the look and mannerisms of Doctor Doom, with a cute little green hooded cloak. Often times he’s a good babysitter for Franklin and Valeria.

There you have it! H.E.R.B.I.E. is notoriously hated by many fans but that hatred has softened over the years into bemusement with the little guy. Since the Fantastic Four haven’t had much as family going on, H.E.R.B.I.E. hasn’t been around much either. Will we ever see the little robot on the big or small screen? Time will tell! See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Fantastic Four #209

Dr. Bustos



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