Marvel's Absurd TECHNET:

A Lifetime Mystery Solved

Imagine being five to ten years old, opening up a comic book at a corner store, and seeing this panel with no additional context. A tentacled, pink blob pulls and stretches a human being like a piece of taffy, while another character addresses it as "Waxworks." Intrigued by this weird entity, I skimmed the rest of the book to no avail, failing to notice any other mention or appearance of the little guy before I had to go, leaving the book on the rack.

I still don't know exactly when I had this funny little experience, since this issue did indeed come out when I was only five years old, but I could have sworn I was older than that? Regardless of when it started, the character never stopped haunting the back of my memory, though that's not too rare an honor; creatures, characters, objects and environments from media always had a way of sticking in my mind and creeping back into my thoughts no matter how brief my encounter with them, especially if I seemed to be missing some vital explanation.

I would keep remembering "Waxworks" off and on for basically my entire life, though I actually misremembered him just slightly. For one thing, I thought I remembered the spelling of his name was "Waxworx," which certainly would have been in line with late 80's through 90's comics, and furthermore, I thought his design looked like this:

This design was burned into my recollection for literal decades, clear as day, not only with a distinct massive head and tiny body, but a raspberry-like violet colored brain on top of a short stalk, like a mushroom on the top of his head. This aspect was so vivid, I actually asked a few comic geeks if they remembered a big-headed pink alien with a mushroom-stalk pom-pom brain on top. This together with the Silver Surfer mix-up and name spelling may have further complicated my search, but there could only ever be so many pink aliens that can make people stretchy, and only so many comic book characters named "wax works" in any spelling at all. It would seem, then, that I just wasn't lucky enough to run into the right fans, but that doesn't explain how my internet searches could have turned up nothing. I'm positive I tried to find him on the web at least every couple of years, and when I turned up nothing - even trying the correct spelling and other variations - I concluded that he was an intentional one-off non sequitur, one of those oddities a story might toss in to a montage of miscellaneous creatures and characters we never see again.

But somewhere around mid-2023, I happened to remember him once more. I did a google search for "comic book character" and "waxworks" once more, and...



Comicvine, Marvel Wiki, every thorough comic book character database apparently had an entry on Waxworks all along. ALL ALONG. He was obscure, but not nearly as obscure as I'd mistakenly deduced! He was even part of a fan-favorite faction that interacted with some pretty famous characters, and even had a couple of brand new story roles while I wasn't looking! What the hell, man?! You were like, RIGHT there?!

So Waxworks differs just a bit from my original impression in that he consists entirely of a tall, sort of football-shaped or egg-shaped pinkish head, with equally tall, glassy red insect-like eyes filling most of that space. He has a couple rows of little mouth tentacles, two knobbly humanoid legs with long toes, and six stretchier, longer tentacles ending in little knobs. I remembered a fair bit, at least, and in either case he gives me the wonderful impression of some kind of deep-sea amphipod crossed with a fungus.

He's some kind of alien, that much we also knew already, and yes, his defining power is to soften people's bones. The moment he touches you with so much as a single tentacle, your skeleton turns to jelly and you collapse into a puddle, squishy as an octopus. That's kind of an unbelievably terrifying power, though it is apparently temporary. How do your bones regain their original shape in the process of hardening up again? I'm not sure, but thankfully they do. Why can he do this? Why DOES he do this???

The first question is never really answered beyond "he's an alien," but the answer to the second question is because he's a member of Technet, and Technet was originally created by artist and writer Alan Davis to be an especially bizarre, outrageous, sometimes disturbing band of superpowered freaks. Neither heroes nor villains, but independent bounty hunters drawn from across the universe, and we're going to look at pretty much all of Waxy's friends!

Gatecrasher (& Yap)

Gatecrasher is the leader of Technet, a big burly alien woman who can smash through just about anything, but she's also telepathic and diabolically clever. Yap is the little gremlin-like guy whose powers allow him to teleport the whole team wherever they need, and is always riding on his boss's shoulders. This is also because he has a weird complex and calls her his mom, but that's just as well, since he seems like her single most indispensable underling.


Thug is unfortunately the least interesting member. No offense, I mean, he has personality and all, but he's just a strong humanoid alien with big arms and a green face? Alright I guess! He does seem to be left behind by a lot of Technet appearances.


Ferro isn't too terribly exciting either, but his design is at least cool; he's a furry, fanged alien, kind of like someone 40% into their wolfman transformation, highly skilled in swordfighting with all four of his arms. The silliest thing about this guy is that he dies at some point, and gets replaced by his identical cousin whose name is Ferro 2.


Getting back into weirdness, Ringtoss is an enigmatic golden woman with a flat, blank dish-like surface for a face, which generates energy rings she can solidify.


Numbers is a very large alien kind of resembling a turtle with multifaceted eyes and no shell. He works as an accountant for Technet and has no apparent powers or combat skills, but he does fall in love with a goofy looking dragon and fathers a swarm of insect-eyed green dragonlings.


This floating, shining alien lady feeds on emotions, somehow, and her power allows her to "fire every synapse at once" in someone else's brain, leaving them in a stupor. She later joins a different team and changes her name to "Fascination."

China Doll

China Doll is kind of mermaid-like in shape, blue and scaly with a tail instead of legs, though it ends more serpentine than fishlike. She also has a huge mohawk-like crest of hair and a pointed eyemask, none of which looks like the motif of a "China Doll," you may note. The name is more in reference to her power, which is to shrink anybody she's touching down to any size she wants.

Hard Boiled Henwy

This absurd member is a parody of Tweety Bird for some reason, and his gimmick is that he's also a living bomb. It technically works only once, but when his ghost continues to haunt Gatecrasher, she creates a new body for him to inhabit. He still doesn't appear much after that, possibly deemed too silly by subsequent writers, who are wrong.


This little guy is an infant-like psychic alien, a pudgy little pink thing with glassy little eyes, an almost spherical swollen forehead and matching ball-like stomach. He floats around on a personal hoverchair, and his power is to transform people into ironic versions of their innermost desires, or something like that. Like if you wish you were taller, he'll give you a big ungainly giraffe neck, that sort of thing. He does use it at least once to actually help someone, but it's still hard to say if the Monkey's Paw twists are inherent to his powers or he's just an asshole.


Probably the third most "alien," Bodybag is a reptilian looking alien with six insectoid-looking limbs and a short, flattened body that tapers into a sort of snakelike or eel-like head. She fights by drenching her opponent in paralyzing mucus, then stretching open her mouth to swallow them whole, storing them in stasis in one of three transparent, expandable sacs. Neat!


The most inhuman member, even moreso than our tentacled little buddy, and sadly only ever featured once or twice! Pandora is actually a vast, expanding, predatory and entirely nonsapient slime mold usually held in a tiny, floating orb. Also referred to as a "she" for whatever reason, everything Pandora consumes is compressed back into the orb's internal singularity as soon as she's satiated. Love a completely "unintelligent" organism treated as an actual team member.


It's also worth noting that in their very earliest appearance, one Technet member was an alien very similar to Waxworks, except they called this one "Elmo," and all he did was "drain energy." That implies their respective powers may not be natural to their entire species, but that possibility would be ruled back out by a much later story.

That's more or less everyone, unless you count the brief period when Nightcrawler - yes, that Nightcrawler, the X-man - became Technet's temporary leader, during which the team was referred to as the Uncanny N-Men.

Technet would kind of disappear from comics for a decade or so, but apparently made at least two prominent appearances while I went on living my oblivious life, still having no idea what the hell I'd read back during my baby years. One of these was in 2017, when Rocket Raccoon went up against them, fell in love with Gatecrasher and briefly worked with them. His first encounter with our hero is lovably ghastly, as Waxworks actually speaks for I believe the first known time, and tells us his powers are not only natural to his kind, but that they're used to make other creatures vomit, which is their entire food source. Do you truly have to soften something's entire skeleton to do that? Is there really no better way??? I guess we don't know what the hell kind of ecosystem these creatures evolved in. I guess whatever they originally "hunted," this somehow proved to be the best way to obtain their stomach contents.

Just a little more recently in 2018, Technet would also go up against Deadpool, and I think that might be the second cutest drawing of Waxworks anyone has ever drawn. The first cutest is this one:

You know I love strange creatures with strange properties, but I think I tend to love them even more when they're part of a set of characters or creatures that aren't all that peculiar. Every team should have at least one member that truly makes you go what the hell is that, and better yet with powers that make you go no, hold on, seriously WHAT the HELL is THAT. I also love a creature that looks soft and pathetic and a little bit goofy, basically as nonthreatening as a monstrous alien could ever be, but can do by far one of the worst things you've ever heard of. Everything about his design is also just positively perfect to me. I love the sad puppy-dog-horsefly eyes, the stretched proportions, the bundles of little fuzzy oral tendrils, the lanky feet, everything! It is the perfect, ultimate what-the-hell-is-that kind of creature design, it truly LOOKS like something that can inflict some kind of unexpected body horror, it's unsettling enough that it could carry a sci-fi horror tale all on its own, and at the end of the day, the little guy is still unbelievably precious. He doesn't have a nose to boop, but pretty much everything he has looks boopable enough. Boop away! Your fingers will only go soft for a little while!