Highwayman (Marvel) (02 - Jefferson Archer)
Real Name: Jefferson Hercules Archer
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The Highwayman had access to a large amount of advanced technology, derived from the Aliens. His truck, the Blackrig would respond to his mental commands and could fly through the air, or even in space. It could form a high-energy electro-force field to deflect attacks. Its tires were composed of a durable material which made them virtually immune to puncture.
He gave Mary McGrill the whip, which, as Midnight, both allowed him to control her and allowed her to control others. He designed the whip so that he himself would be immune to its effects.
Brother of U.S. Archer. After their parents were killed in an accident, Jefferson had to take a job as a truck driver to so that U.S. could go to college. Giving up his dreams made Jefferson resent Archer, and that resentment eventually turned to hatred.
A group of aliens came to Earth, seeking to recruit people to become starship pilots. They chose truckers, because of their experience with the solitude of the open road, much like that of space. Led by Al, they attempted to recruit the prodigy US, but (since all humans look alike to them), recuited Jefferson instead. They outfitted his truck with advanced technology and trained him in its use.
Jefferson worried that the Aliens were not satisfied with his performance, and was afraid that they would eventually realize their mistake. He decided to keep some distance between he and his brother, to prevent them from discovering the truth. To this end, he decided to try to convince US he was dead. He established the identity of the Highwayman, and named his truck the Blackrig.
After college, US shared a truck ride with Jefferson, but they were suddenly run off the road by the Blackrig (actually the Blackrig was under Jefferson's control, with a mannequin/dummy in the driver's seat). The truck went over a cliff and crashed--US was badly injured, but maintained consciousness long enough to see the Highwayman and a band of apparent demons mocking him from atop the cliff. Jefferson's body was never found, but he was believed by most to have died.
The demons were, in fact, Federation agents for the Aliens, who had finally begun to suspect their mistake and sent the agents to contact US. The agents took US to a hospital, where they saved his life. Nontheless, the Aliens were reluctant to throw away all of their years of training. Jefferson persuaded them to let him prove that he was US's superior. The Aliens granted US his "CB" Skull to allow him to compete more evenly with Jefferson's advanced technology.
Months later, US, believing Jefferson to be a prisoner of the Highwayman, went back out on the road in search of the man who stole his brother. The Highwayman, in the Blackrig, ambushed US, trying to push he and his new, suped-out truck, US1, off the road. US instead managed to drive the Blackrig over the edge of a cliff, but it never hit bottom, and no wreckage was found.
The Highwayman challenged US to vie for supremacy of the highways (and all that entails). The Aliens decided that things had gone far enough, and tried to take matters into their own tentacles. Jefferson fled in the Blackrig, drawing US after him. After proving he could resist any of US1's attacks, he stopped the Blackrig and revealed his identity.
Jefferson began to explain himself, but when he saw that the Aliens had followed, he flew into a desparate rage and attacked US, trying to strange him. The Aliens subdued him and brought both Archers and their rigs back to the shortstop. They explained their goals, and their mistaking Jefferson for US, and Jefferson explained to US how he did really hate him, and that it wasn't just the Aliens manipulating him. The Aliens then arranged a final conquest between US and Jefferson.
The Aliens altered the two vehicles, the Blackrig and US1, and sent the two brothers off in a race around the world. The race started on the road, took to the air, and ended up in space. US1 took to spaceflight better than Jefferson and took the lead. Furious, and refusing to lose again, Jefferson attempted to ram US, and kill them both. However, US managed to dodge, and Jefferson panicked and crashed the Blackrig into the Moon. The Aliens transported Jefferson to safety before the crash. US was chosen as victor, but Jefferson's fate was not revealed.
He also appeared very briefly (a one face shot in one panel) in a flashback in The Sensational She-Hulk #6.
First Appearance: U.S. 1 (1983) #1
View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Dark Reign Files (2009)
Deadpool Team-Up (2010)
Ghost Rider (2006)
#34 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A To Z Update (2010)
- 'Trials & Tribulations, Part 2: On the Road Again'
#1 The Sensational She-Hulk (1989)
- 'Marlene Alraune to Zuri'
U.S. 1 (1983)
- 'U.S. 1, Comin' at ya!'#2
- 'After Midnight!'#3
- 'Rhyme of the Ancient Highwayman!'#4
- 'Hot Air and Chicken Feathers'#5
- 'Iron Mike King of the Bike!'#7
- 'Big Mack Attack!'#10
- 'Good Man In The Clutch!'#11
- 'Transmissions From Space!'#12
- 'The Truck Stops Here !'
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