Number 13

Religion: not determined yet

Name: Number 13

Other Names: Number Thirteen; Number 13 of the Secret Empire; Mr. Black

Classification: villain villain  

Publisher(s): Marvel

First Appearance: Captain America (vol. 1) #173 (May 1974): "The Sins of the Secret Empire!"

Creators: Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema, Vince Colletta

Number of Appearances: 3

Teams/Affiliations: Secret Empire

Occupation: criminal

Gender: male

Number Thirteen (who wore a hood with a the number "13" on it) was an agent for the Secret Empire, a secretive organization bent on world domination. After Captain America and the Falcon disguised themselves as homeless drifters and made contact with Secret Empire agent Linda Donaldson, Number Thirteen showed up at their hotel room to offer them a chance to earn money doing a job for the Secret Empire.

Number Thirteen provided details about a Brand Corporation factory in Dallas and asked them to steal an "electro-gyro" from the factory. After Cap and the Falcon did so, the Secret Empire was sufficiently impressed that they brought the disguised heroes to their secret base to offer them a place in their organization.

Or at least that is what Cap and the Falcon thought was happening. Actually, they showed up at the factory in the super-hero costumes (just in case they got caught). The factory boss, Mr. Black, told security guards to stop pursuing Falcon and Cap, because he had a note from Cap saying that they really needed the electro-gyro and would bring it back. What Cap, Falcon, and the guards did not realize was that Mr. Black was himself an agent of the Secret Empire.

Mr. Black told the Secret Empire what had happened. So when Number Thirteen showed up to escort Cap and Falcon (in their "homeless drifter" identities) to the Secret Empire base, it was with the full knowledge of who they were. After ushering them into the secret base, they Secret Empire agents took Cap and Falcon to a room that they claimed would be their quarters. But it was a trap, and the Secret Empire switched on deadly lasers to kill the heroes. But Cap and the Falcon had already escaped into a ventilation shaft before the lasers were activated, after realizing they had been locked in the room.

Number Thirteen was one of the most prominently seen Secret Empire agents in this story arc, but that is because he had significant interactions with the story's protagonists. He wasn't necessarily a top leader. But his relatively low number suggests he was important somewhat significant and his mission suggests he was a highly dependable, highly trusted agent.

Number 13 and Number 16 were two operatives of the Secret Empire who appeared in the same story arc. Sources seem to differ regarding which of these was also known as "Mr. Black."

Mr. Black is sometimes identified as this character's real name, but it may have been a pseudonym.

It is possible that the writer and/or artist of this story originally intended for Number 13 to be Mr. Black, the factory boss who "believed" in Captain America's innocence, as seen in panels 4-6 on page 17 in Captain America (vol. 1) #173. But when Mr. Black was actually revealed as an agent of the Secret Empire, he is revealed by the dialog to be Number Sixteen, not Number Thirteen.

This character is in the following 2 stories which have been indexed by this website:
Captain America

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