Feedback is a fictional character, a superhero created and originally portrayed by actor Matthew Atherton on the reality television series Who Wants To be a Superhero?. As a result of winning the show, his character was made the subject of a Dark Horse Comics comic book written by Stan Lee.
Matthew Atherton is a software engineer from Las Cruces, NM. He quit his job to take part in the show. He was 34 years old during season one. After the death of his father by suicide (when Matthew was 14), superheroes like Spider-Man became Matthew's role models. Atherton graduated from Grinnell College in 1995.
Fictional character biography
While working on a bio-organic computer system using organic computing, software engineer Matthew Atherton is caught in a large explosion that bombards his body with hi-tech cellular shrapnel. Atherton discovers that his body is generating a feedback field that shuts down nearby electronic equipment. Atherton creates a damping suit that keeps the field in check and becomes Dark Horse Comic's new superhero "Feedback." His catchphrases are "Okay, lecture's over—time for some Feedback!" and "Game on!"
Atherton also discovers that by playing video games, he can absorb some attributes of the game. For example, if Feedback plays Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, he temporarily gains the ability to run along walls and do acrobatics, and perhaps rewind time. By using an organization created by his former employer known as "Tech Support", Feedback gains enough knowledge to use the limited powers wisely. Each time Feedback uses a power, he loses some of his memory.
However, the Dark Horse comic failed to feature Feedback's ability to use video game powers. This may be due to intellectual property rights surrounding commercial video games.
Comic book origin
Computer whiz Matthew Atherton is tricked by Ironside, the world's deadliest terrorist, into helping him perfect an unstoppable robot vehicle, little knowing that Ironside intends to use the vehicle to destroy Matthew's hometown. Left for dead by the terrorists, an unexpected event turns Matthew into Feedback, giving him one chance to redeem himself and save the city.
Equipment and powers
Feedback is equipped with many pieces of technology and several superpowers.
- Damping Suit: Made of high-tech fabric and designed by Atherton himself. The suit, when activated, can generate a field that counters the disruptive nature of the feedback field. It also allows Feedback to absorb powers from video games.
- Body Armor: Not being bullet-proof, Feedback's original costume included a layer of body armor. The new costume now incorporates "FlexTek" body armor into the damping suit.
- Feedback Field Monitor: This wrist device monitors the "feedback field" that gives Feedback his powers. It can be activated by voice-command ("Game on!") to turn off the field inhibitor of the damping suit and also indicates the remaining "charge" that exists before the feedback field reverts to its normal disruptive state.
- Force Feedback Power Emulation: Feedback has the ability to absorb special abilities and/or powers by playing certain video games. After "jacking into" a modified game console, the special suit acts as an adapter that transfers the powers of a video-game character directly to him, but only for a limited duration. 1 hour of game play normally equates to 10 minutes of power emulation. However, there are consequences to using these powers (see weaknesses below).
- Feedback Field: Although Feedback perceives this more as a nuisance than a power, this "Feedback Field" can be useful against foes that rely on technological gadgets. The field completely disrupts electronic equipment that is within 15 feet of Feedback. Anything that has a microprocessor will altogether cease to operate within this field. At up to 25 feet, this field will cause computers and electronic devices to malfunction. The field is always on. Feedback has no means of controlling it, other than wearing his damping suit. The field does shut off, however, when he is "charged" from playing games.
- Feedback Blast: Feedback has the ability to generate from his hands a very powerful blast of concentrated electrical energy. This blast is extremely shocking and can be very dangerous to use. Feedback uses his electric powers to shock his enemies and never uses them to harm civilians.
- Energy Weakness: High-energy fields react with the "Feedback Field" and cause incredible pain. Power lines cause headaches, microwaves cause nausea. Energy-beam weapons cause more damage than normal.
- Weakness Emulation: Feedback inherits the weaknesses of the character he is emulating as well as the powers.
- Power Charge: 1 hour of continuous game play is required to emulate powers for 10 minutes, so Feedback must decide in the morning what game to play, which (more often than not) is completely inappropriate for the challenges he'll face that day.
- Memory Loss: Whenever Feedback uses an emulated power, the exertion results in the loss of a random part of his memory.
- Unpredictable Charge: If a foreign game console is used to get an "Immediate Boost", the results are always unpredictable and often negative.