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Speedball
REAL NAME: Robert "Robbie" Baldwin
ALIASES: The Masked Marvel, "Baby-Killer", 'Toothpick", "Speedy"
IDENTITY: Publicly known
OCCUPATION: Adventurer; former television star, student, television show intern, engineering intern, lab worker
CITIZENSHIP: U.S.A. with a criminal record
PLACE OF BIRTH: Springdale, Connecticut
KNOWN RELATIVES: Justin Baldwin and Madeline Naylor (parents)
GROUP AFFILIATION: Formerly New Warriors, Damage Control staff; applied unsuccessfully for Avengers membership
EDUCATION: High school (unfinished)
FIRST APPEARANCE: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22 (1988)

HISTORY: Once-typical teenager Robbie Baldwin has faced many trials in his young life, but he always bounces back. He grew up in the small city of Springdale under the often-smothering guidance of his parents, no-nonsense assistant district attorney Justin Baldwin and free-spirited actress Madeline Naylor-Baldwin. His parents disagreed on many topics and argued endlessly about everything, including whether Robbie's future lay with the law or in the arts. Robbie himself was an unremarkable student at Springdale Central High, where he got respectable grades and was reasonably well-liked. After school, he worked part-time as a gofer for research scientist Dr. Nicholas Benson at the local Hammond Research Lab.

Curious about one of Benson's secret experiments, Robbie secretly watched as Benson and his colleagues accessed and tapped an extradimensional energy source that originated, unknown to them, from a realm composed entirely of kinetic energy. An accidental rupture in the energy's flow stream shorted out the lab's lights and released a swarm of energy bubbles that enveloped both Robbie and Benson's pet cat, Niels. Undetected by the scientists, a panicked Robbie ran to the washroom, trying to scrub off the bubbles, and discovered that he had been transformed: his physique was enhanced, his hair was strangely animated, his voice was warped, and his clothes had morphed into a weird orange and blue costume. Afraid to let anyone see him like this, Baldwin retreated to the roof, happening upon masked bandits planning to rob the lab. When they knocked him off the roof, Robbie bounced off the ground and back into their midst, unharmed. His body now generated a kinetic energy field that absorbed any impact directed against him and converted it into increased kinetic energy, such that Robbie would bounce back with increasing force the harder he was hit. Unable to control his new ability, Baldwin bounced around wildly but held off the criminals long enough for the police to arrive. The robbers fled, dying minutes later when their van went off the road, leaving only Robbie to greet the police. Having reverted to his normal form, Robbie claimed he had nothing to do with the fight, but the police were suspicious. Officer AI LaGuardia in particular took an active interest in Baldwin thereafter, bordering on harassment; however, the more fair-minded veteran officer Burnatt was supportive of the Baldwin family, even when Robbie's parents were wrongly accused of murdering their old friend Alexander Bow.

Robbie became anxious and isolated; partly because he realized that any accidental impact could trigger his kinetic field and expose his secret. He dropped out of sports, avoided roughhousing and spent less time with his friends, but he soon found a use for his new powers. When vengeful ex-convict Johnny Roarke tried to kill Robbie's parents, Robbie shifted into his kinetic-charged form and attacked, saving his parents. Thus began Robbie's career as Springdale's only local superhero, popularly referred to as the "Masked Marvel" by Springdale residents and the local press; however, Robbie himself chose the title of Speedball, the Masked Marvel, based on Roarke's calling him a "little speedball" during their fight. His mother became one of Speedball's biggest admirers, but his father vehemently disapproved of any super-vigilante operating in his town. In fact, Springdale was one of the first places in America to outlaw superheroes; making Robbie even more determined to conceal his secret identity from his parents.

Despite Springdale's anti-superhero laws, Speedball protected the city from an odd array of two-bit criminals and minor menaces such as Crooked Face, the Sticker, the Graffiti Guerillas, Leaper Logan, the Proletariat, the Ghost of Springdale High, the Basher, the Two-Legged Rat, the Bug-Eyed Voice, the Harlequin Hitmen, Bonehead, the Feathered Felon, Jolly Roger, the Bouncer and mad scientist Clyde, who later outrageously claimed responsibility for equipping or empowering most of Springdale's other second-rate villains; however, Baldwin's most frustrating early opponent was probably Dr. Benson's cat Niels, who developed the same kinetic energy powers as Speedball. Robbie was assigned to catch the bouncing feline so that Benson could study him, but Niels remained elusive. Certainly the most tragic of Speedball's Springdale foes was his one-time girlfriend Shara, alias Vibrania; a dying, mutated girl, she went on a destructive rampage when her African homeland Kwarrai was destroyed, but ultimately sacrificed herself to save Robbie's life.

Speedball encountered and befriended fellow super-beings such as Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Robbie's enigmatic "Freak of Science" classmate Rico; the Masked Marvel even tried out for membership in the Avengers alongside fellow applicants Blue Shield, Gladiatrix and Mechanaut (Fabian Stankowicz), though Captain America rejected them all as too inexperienced, advising them to continue honing their skills and reapply at a later date. During a subsequent visit to Manhattan, Speedball teamed with several other young super-heroes to defeat the alien menace Terrax. Together these heroes formed the New Warriors, gradually maturing into a successful crime-fighting team. Training with and fighting alongside the Warriors brought new discipline to Robbie's heroics, and he gradually refined his control over his kinetic powers.

The Warriors became Baldwin's closest friends, especially later recruit Rage; however, Robbie's schoolwork suffered due to his super-hero responsibilities, and his family life continued to deteriorate. When his parents finally got divorced, Robbie moved to Manhattan with his mother, largely to be closer to the Warriors. By this time, Robbie had already shared his secret identity with his mother when he helped the Warriors rescue Madeline from her one-time associates Project: Earth, controversial environmentalists who turned out to be ruthless eco-terrorists. Robbie's father eventually discovered Speedball's secret as well. This bitterly estranged the father and son, though they later reconciled their differences. Meanwhile, Robbie's classmate Carlton LaFroyge also discovered Speedball's secret identity and blackmailed his way into the Warriors as technical advisor Hindsight Lad.

When vastly powerful megalomaniac the Sphinx scattered the Warriors throughout the timestream, Speedball was trapped in the kinetic energy dimension that spawned his powers. Robbie's time-spanning presence there was detected in the year 2092 by father-and-son research scientists Kyle and Darrion Grobe, who used that dimension to power their time travel invention, the bioelectric time shell. Pressured into prematurely testing the time shell after corporate backers Alchemax threatened to cut off their funding, Kyle time-shifted into the past, but a molecular inversion transformed him into the mad time-warping cyborg Advent, whose temporal manipulations threatened all existence. Seeking to undo this disaster via time travel but unwilling to risk becoming another Advent, Darrion devised an alternate means of time travel via the kinetic dimension, but only Speedball could survive that dimension's energies for long. To get around this limitation, Darrion created a complete mental and physical duplicate of Speedball and downloaded his own consciousness into it. As the duplicate Speedball, Grobe went back through time via the kinetic dimension to the modern era, where he impersonated Robbie and Speedball for nearly a year.

Wanting to minimize disruption of the past, Grobe submerged his own consciousness within the duplicate Speedball's mind, genuinely believing himself to be Speedball during most of this time period, though he had planned to awaken his own consciousness in time to thwart Advent's time disruptions. Realizing Grobe would fail in his mission because his own consciousness had been suppressed too long and too thoroughly within the Speedball duplicate, a reformed Sphinx killed Grobe as part of a complex plan to involve the time-shifting Warriors member Timeslip, who used information from the dying Grobe to thwart Advent as the Sphinx intended. The Grobes' time alterations were all undone, Kyle and Darrion Grobe were both restored to normal in their native time period (Earth-928), and a time beacon automatically activated in the past by the duplicate Speedball warned the future-era Grobes against repeating their time travel mistakes. Just before the time alterations were all undone, Grobe had helped the time displaced Warriors return to their own era via the kinetic dimension, and they brought the true Speedball back home.

Quickly adjusting to his lost months, Robbie began getting closer to new teammate Timeslip, though the Warriors drifted apart and broke up before anything came of it. Unwilling to accept the Warriors' dissolution, Speedball later convinced several veteran members and new recruits to join him in reassembling the group, though the team never recaptured the success of its earlier incarnation and soon broke up again (but not before Speedball and teammate Nova collaborated in an unsuccessful attempt to produce a New Warriors movie). When Warriors founder Night Thrasher revived the group again, this time as stars of a crime-fighting reality television series, attention-loving showoff Speedball was one of the more enthusiastic participants. The new gig turned tragic, however, when Speedball and his teammates Microbe, Namorita and Night Thrasher tried to arrest super-criminals Cobalt Man, Coldheart, Nitro and Speedfreek on camera in the town of Stamford. During the battle, Nitro caused an explosion that killed hundreds - including, seemingly, all of the Warriors.

Speedball was later found alive (albeit barely), his powers apparently burned out. The media and the authorities made him the scapegoat for the Stamford disaster, which sparked widespread anti-superhero sentiment and prompted the passing of a law requiring superheroes to register with the authorities. The government decided to make an example of Robbie, holding him without bail or trial while he was abused repeatedly by both guards and fellow inmates. His secret identity leaked to the press, hated by the public, disowned by his parents after he refused to admit to any wrongdoing, Robbie was offered a deal: he would be released if he became a government-registered super-hero, helping train other super-agents and hunting down unauthorized super-heroes. Robbie repeatedly turned down the deal on principle, and was later shot by a protester on his way to testify before Congress.

HEIGHT: (Baldwin) 5 ft. 6 in.; (Speedball) 5 ft. 10 in.
WEIGHT: (Baldwin) 133 lbs.; (Speedball) 170 lbs.
EYES: Blue
HAIR: Blond

ABILITIES: As Speedball, Baldwin's body generated an energy field that absorbed, amplified and redirected kinetic energy; it also weirdly distorted his voice and often surrounded him with multicolored kinetic energy "bubbles." The field activated anytime any portion of Baldwin's body experienced a significant impact, though Baldwin gradually developed enough control over the field to suppress it if the activating impact was slight enough. Speedball's most frequent use of his kinetic field was to engage in high-speed, high-impact bouncing, building up greater speed and force with every additional impact while he remained in motion. After a series of sufficiently numerous or forceful bounces to build up power, he could hurl himself into a given target with tremendous impact. Later, he could consciously thrust his kinetic energy field outward, delivering extremely forceful kinetic-powered punches, generating a wider kinetic force field that could more gently push targets away from him, or releasing streams of pure kinetic energy which struck their targets with great impact. He also learned to drain kinetic energy from outside sources, slowing or halting the motion of other people and objects. With his kinetic field activated, Speedball was almost completely immune to physical harm; it also slightly enhanced his physical mass and strength and converted whatever clothing he was wearing into his Speedball costume, presumably created by Robbie's subconscious from otherdimensional kinetic energy (he later discovered that he could alter the costuming's appearance to some extent at will). Robbie developed some proficiency in unarmed combat during his time with the Warriors.

NOTE: The above information was copied from “All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #10”

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