Free Universe Characters


Black Terror

The Nemesis of Evil

Alias: Bob Benton
Occupation:  Pharmacist, Crime Fighter
Group Affiliation:  The New Furies
Base of Operations: The City
Height: 6’2
Weight: 230 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black
First Appearance: Exciting Comics #9 (Nedor, May, 1942)
Known Creators:
Richard E. Hughes & Dan Gabrielson


Bob Benton was a mild mannered pharmacist who owned a drug store across the street from City Hall.  With the city in the grip of organized crime, Benton, like most business owners, was forced to pay "protection" money to the mob.  Hoping he might one day be able to stand up to the thugs who abused him, Benton put his skills as a chemist to use, hoping to find a formula that would increase his strength and energy.  Late one night, while experimenting in his lab, Benton asked his new assistant, Tim, to hand him a vial.  Tim handed him the wrong vial, and Benton discovered that the fumes from the resulting mixture gave him the proportional strength of an ant.  Benton decided this formula, his "formic ethers," would give him the strength he needed to put an end to put an end to the reign of terror which organized crime held over the city.  It was time to become a terror in his own right.  As it turns out, Benton was the descendant of a 17th Century hero who had once battled crime and piracy while masquerading as the fearless British sea captain known as The Black Terror.  Benton had Tim go to a local costume shop and secure a Black Terror costume for him, to protect his identity.  Tim also got one for himself, determined to be Benton's partner in his noble endeavor against crime.  The legend of the powerful Terror Twins soon spread throughout the underworld, inspiring fear in all who would prey on the innocent.


Continuing the Story:   
The Black Terror who fought in World War II probably would have retired by the 1960's, and Tim probably would have retired by the early 1980s.  However, the legacy of the Black Terror might have continued under their descendants, given access to Benton's "formic ethers" formula.


In a re-imagined story, Bob would more likely be a geneticist or bio-chemical engineer, rather than a simple pharmacist.  His discovery of the formic ethers formula probably wouldn't have been a simple accident.  Perhaps he would discover this formula while looking for a way to reverse paralysis or some other serious injury inflicted upon him by criminals. 


Equipment and Abilities:  
A brilliant chemist, Benton discovered the secrets of the "formic ethers" formula.  This formula gave him greatly enhanced strength and limited invulnerability.  If his strength was truly proportional to an ant, Benton would have been capable of lifting around 1 ton over his head.  However, Benton often seemed even stronger than this.  His feats included ripping large trees out of the ground, tipping over a 20 ton truck, and stopping a single runaway train car (though this took maximum effort).  He was also capable of leaping up or down several stories at a time.  The Black Terror was usually depicted as being bulletproof, at least from a distance, but at times, he seemed threatened by guns, so his invulnerability was either limited, or his formic ethers began to wear off after a certain amount of time.  He was not immune to a strong blow to the head, and was frequently knocked unconscious by thugs who snuck up behind him.

Although the Black Terror did not carry weapons, he often used weapons that he found, including guns picked up from unconscious opponents.  As Benton, he owned a drug store across the street from city hall.  He lived in an apartment above  the pharmacy and the building's basement served as his laboratory and crime fighting headquarters.  There was a secret staircase from the apartment to the basement.


KID TERROR (Tim Roland)
When Benton failed to protect young Tim from a group of thugs in his store, Benton offered consolation in the form of a job at the pharmacy.  Tim accepted, and became friends with Benton.  Tim, working as his lab assistant, was instrumental in Benton's discovery of the formic ethers.  Because of this, Benton could not refuse when Tim wanted to become his crime fighting partner.  Tim is extremely brave, and a reasonably good fighter, even without the enhancement of the formic ethers.  In early comics, Tim had brown hair and appeared to be 12-14 years old.  In later comics, he was blond, appeared to be 14-16 years old, and he served ice cream and beverages at Benton's drugstore.
First Appearance:
Exciting Comics #9
Jean Starr
An Assistant D.A. who used to work as an assistant to Mayor Brant.  She was a regular customer at Bob Benton's pharmacy.  Although she was a good friend of Benton, she thought of him as a somewhat lazy and cowardly man.  She often scolded him for disappearing or backing down when there was trouble.  However, she was deeply infatuated with the Black Terror and followed his exploits very closely, trying to figure out who he was.  She was friends with city controller Rodney Clark, who may have been a rival for her affection.  In later comics, Jean was depicted with blonde hair.
First Appearance:
Exciting Comics #9
Sgt. Mac Gooligan
MacGooligan was a local police officer who came by Benton's drugstore on a nightly basis for a soda and a chance to shoot the breeze.  His information often gave the Terrors clues, and after the Terrors caught a group of criminals and delivered them to MacGooligan, he would brag that he caught the criminals "with a little help from those Terror Twins."  MacGooligan became the first character to suspect that Benton was, in fact, the Black Terror.  He spoke with a heavy Scottish accent and having super villains on the loose in his city gave him a frightful headache.
First Appearance: Black Terror #23
Jed Serviss
Jed was a good friend of Benton, who had retired from pharmacology about 15 years before Benton became the Black Terror.  He was asked to watch Benton's drugstore when it was necessary for Benton to leave the city for any length of time.  He was a scrappy old man, who was not afraid of confronting criminals.
First Appearance: Black Terror #27
Colonel Hardy
Hardy was a commander of US Army Intelligence.  When the Black Terror offered his services to the US Military during the war, Hardy was given the authority to assign the superhero to special missions. 
First Appearance: Black Terror #1
Additional Images:

Notes:  The Black Terror is one of the names that Dynamite Entertainment has registered as a trademark for comics and related merchandise.  Their version of the Black Terror carries a sword and has a glowing skull on his chest.


Copyright © 2011 Jason J. Stevenson.  Character bios and character designs are to be considered in the public domain.
However, original artwork is under copyright.  Please do not redistribute without consent.  Thank you.