Identity/Class: Human cyborg
Affiliations: Bubbles, Round Table of America, Moray,
Enemies: The Ancient Mariner, The Blue Blazes, Nazis
Known Relatives: Moira Talbot (daughter), Moray Talbot (Moray, granddaughter)
Aliases: The Human Sub (his original superhero identity)
Base of Operations: Earth A
First Appearance: Big Bang #2 (Calibre)
Powers/Abilities: Robotic body able to survive underwater, possesses superhuman strength. Equipped with a jetpack allowing him to fly.
History: In his private laboratory on the coast of California, elderly humanitarian scientist Dr Noah Talbot was testing his latest invention, a synthetic universal blood called hydroglcyerine. Made from “sea water and dense haemoglobin”, hydroglycerine could be used for blood transfusions and was a vital component in Dr Talbot’s second invention, a bald headed, blank eyed prototype android, dressed in a generic red and blue jumpsuit.
It was his intention to give his inventions to the US army, so that badly injured soldiers could have their brains transplanted into strong android bodies by Talbot’s daughter and physician, the beautiful, raven haired Dr Moira Talbot (her name is spelt MORA throughout the origin story).
Father and daughter tested the hydroglycerine by using it to replace the blood supply of a laboratory chimpanzee called Bubbles. After 15 minutes, he was fine. After 30 minutes, he was uncomfortable and after 45 minutes he was deeply distressed. After 1 hour, Bubbles snapped his restraints and attacked Noah, who frantically knocked him aside into a tank of sea water. Father and daughter were astonished to see that Bubbles was now calm and happily breathing underwater. The hydroglycerine had one flaw: it extracted oxygen from water, not air. It was all too much for Noah Talbot, who promptly had a heart attack. His dying wish was that Mora transplant his brain into the android.
No sooner had this been successfully accomplished, than the laboratory was invaded by a Nazi U-boat crew. The Germans knew that Talbot was working on a new invention and had come to steal it. Mora told them that they were too late; her father was dead. Unfortunately, the Nazis saw Bubbles breathing underwater and realised that he was part of the experiment. They took Mora and Bubbles back to their submarine, intending to interrogate her and dissect him.
Noah Talbot came back to life in time to realise what was happening, and donning his third invention, a handy jet pack (the android was being developed for the military) he flew to the rescue in his new, super-strong body. While searching, he soon realised that as the android had hydroglycerine in it’s veins, he had to submerge himself in water within one hour in order to breathe. After he freed Mora and Bubbles and the authorities took the Nazis into custody, Talbot realised that the hydroglycerine and the android bodies were impractical for military use, but that he could be of use as a one man “Human Sub”.
Donning a steel, torpedo like helmet at the end of his first adventure, Talbot did just that, fighting the Axis during WW II. After the war, new enemies emerged, including The Ancient Mariner (leader of the water-breathing survivors of sunken Atlantis) and flaming anti-hero Prince Burkovette, aka The Blue Blazes. It was during a fierce battle with the former that The Human Sub was supposedly killed. . . . .
But Noah Talbot did not die in his battle with the Ancient Mariner! Badly damaged, he used salvaged Atlantean technology (including a nuclear power source) to literally re-invent himself two years later as The Atomic Sub! Now clad in an improved red and green costume, with scales and a fin on his cowl (and still sporting a jet-pack), The Atomic Sub became a charter member of the Round Table of America. He also acquired a sidekick in the person of his granddaughter, Moray, a charter member of the Whiz Kids.
Noah Talbot was finally killed during the Criss Cross Crisis when he carried the bomb intended to destroy both Earth A and Earth B to the deepest part of the ocean that he could find. The Knights of Justice on Earth B erect a stature in memory of a hero that world never knew. Years later, another old enemy, The Sub Human, attacks the RTA museum, seeking revenge on the Atomic Sub. Enraged to learn that he was already dead, he took out his fury by killing the Earth A Beacon.
Comments: Thanks to Chris Adams for information and images. Chris notes “The Human Sub first appears in BB # 2 (Calibre series) and has evolved into the Atomic Sub by BB # 3 (Calibre series). Despite his first appearance being during WW II, he is an Earth A character (he might be the first superhero on Earth A).
The Human Sub obviously fills the role of Aquaman and the Sub-Mariner in the Big Bang universe, but with the clever twist that he is not the ruler of Atlantis. His origin also contains elements of Captain America, the original Human Torch, both versions of Robotman and Noman of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents.
Rare in that he is both the Golden Age and Silver Age version of the same character, Noah Talbot’s heroic death is worthy of the Legion of Super Heroes Ferro Lad.”