Elihas Starr (Egghead)

I know you missed me. Ant-Man and the Wasp has been released (well, at least in American theaters, I’ll have to wait another month or so to watch it), and there’s a brand new character taken directly from the comics. In a flashback, we learn that Hank Pym and Bill Foster had yet another colleague: Elihas Starr, portrayed by Michael Cerveris, a scientist Pym considered a traitor for stealing some equipment from him and trying to use it to open a portal to the Quantum Realm… only to cause an explosion that killed him and his wife Catherine and gave his daughter Ava weird powers. In the comics, Starr doesn’t have any wife or daughter, but he is indeed the nemesis of Hank Pym, one of his oldest and most recurring foes, better known as Egghead. Let’s see together.

Born in Queens, New York, Elihas Starr was born with a curious egg-shaped head, but also with a genius intellect that distinguished him from the rest of his peers since his childhood. Extremely brilliant and motivated, Elihas became a famous scientist, specializing in atomic research, and soon obtained a contract with the government. Unfortunately, his genius was second only to his ambition and arrogance, and he was caught red-handed as he was trying to sell the secret project he was working on on the black market. Imprisoned and waiting for trial, as he was charged with high treason, Elihas Starr became famous on the tabloids as “Egghead the traitor”… and it was thanks to these tabloids that the criminal world learnt of him, and contacted him. A high-placed and yet unnamed gangster offered him freedom in exchange of his services, recognizing his superior intellect. Both flattered by the credit and fearing the upcoming trial, Starr accepted his offer, and was freed from jail. He started to work for the crime lords who had freed him, but they obviously wanted proof of his genius, and tasked him with disposing of Ant-Man, a superhero and scientific genius. Sure he could surpass Ant-Man’s intellect with his own, Egghead built his own device to communicate with ants, aiming to turn them against their usual ally and to convince them to lead him to a flytrap with promises of food and power, tapping to a greed the insects actually didn’t have. With all his intelligence, Egghead simply didn’t calculate the loyalty the ants spontaneously felt towards Ant-Man, and fell into the hero’s trap, as he made the evil scientist believe that the ants had really turned against him. As Egghead called the crime lords to witness his triumph, Ant-Man ordered his insect friends to attack the criminals, in a counter-trap that ended with all the crime bosses being incapacitated and arrested. Egghead barely managed to escape, hiding in a poorhouse. This wasn’t just a defeat, for him: Ant-Man had humiliated the thing he held most dear, his intellect, and for this, he would have paid dearly.

In the following years, Egghead grew an obsession for Ant-Man, or Giant-Man, or Yellowjacket, or whatever his new name was. He tried to squash him using Wasp as a bait, he put the young hero Spider-Man against him, he even tried to have him eaten by iguanas and anteaters, but he always failed. As Hank Pym became a core member of the Avengers, Egghead formed alliances of his own, in order to counter his nemesis and his team. The first time, he allied with two other criminal geniuses, the Mad Thinker and the Puppet Master, in a plot to blackmail the United States with a death ray mounted on a satellite capable of destroying an entire city. The plot failed due to Barney Barton, a con-man working with the Avengers: the satellite was destroyed, but Barney lost his life in the process. Because of this, Barney’s brother, Clint Barton, by that time known as Goliath, developed for Egghead an enmity comparable only to the one Starr himself felt for Pym. It was Goliath the one who tracked down Egghead and, after defeating him and his new ally Swordsman, sent him to jail, thus adding one another name to Starr’s black list. Obviously, it didn’t take much to Starr to escape from prison, and during the following months, just before yet another attack against Pym which involved (and maimed) his innocent niece Trish Starr, Egghead joined forces with other criminal geniuses and founded the Intelligencia, a group of sinister masterminds who maneuvered events from behind the curtains: along with M.O.D.O.K., the Leader, Dr. Doom, Red Ghost, Klaw, the Mad Thinker and others, he was finally recognized among the most brilliant minds of the planet. During this time, he also founded the Emissaries of Evil, recruiting Rhino, Cobalt Man and Solarr and using them to steal from NASA. During a battle with Alpha Flight, Cobalt Man exploded, and Starr used the occasion to feign his own death. From the shadows, he followed the fall from grace of Hank Pym, who was even kicked out of the Avengers, and started to plan his utter destruction. Finally, he would have gotten rid of his hated enemy once and for all.

Elihas Starr is a man of formidable intellect, but also a greedy and deceiving mastermind, who prefers to use his remarkable genius for personal gain rather than for perfecting human race. As Egghead, he’s one of the most intelligent men alive, with expertise in physics, chemistry, engineering and many other scientific fields; he’s also an accomplished inventor, and he created a number of devices he later used to try and kill his nemesis Hank Pym, among which a laser satellite, a device that controls insects, several machines for mind-control, teleportation devices, ray guns, robots of various genre, a machine that stole intelligence, and even egg-shaped weapons in homage to his own moniker. A mind like a few others, Egghead is a formidable threat that could have been a just as formidable tool for the advancement of the species, an emotionless intellect completely swallowed by his own ego.

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