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Jack Castle (Earth-616)

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Origin

Jack Castle (Earth-616) 0001

Jack Castle

Jack Castle was born in the year 1912. As an adult he became a doctor who worked frequently with the police. One night as he was driving home from work when he came across a burning car. Getting out to see if anyone needed help he found the dead bodies of high profile crime bosses from the area. The only man alive was shot in the stomach and needed immediate medical attention. Jack took the man back to his home and did what he could, but the man still needed to be brought to a hospital. The man confided in Jack, showing him that he had mystical flame powers, and when near death he was to pass the power along to somebody else or they would be lost forever. He offered them to Jack if he was going to die, but Jack suggested he'd call an ambulance first. Jack then had second thoughts, wanting the power for himself and not wanting it to be given to somebody else. He then lied to the man, telling him all the ambulances in the area were busy. The man then passed his powers over to Jack, and soon died. Jack developed the costumed identity of Fiery Mask, but felt guilty over what he had done.[1]

Jack felt so guilty that he had to make up a cover up story behind his origins,[2] in which he was called in by the police to help investigate a case where zombies were abducting hobos. While investigating, however, he was captured by a zombie and brought before the "The Zombie Master", a 20' tall mad scientist who was kidnapping the hobos and then using a special ray to turn them into zombies. He tried to do this to Jack, but because Jack was familiar with the hypnosis, it didn't work on him.

Enraged by this, the Zombie Master turned up the power on the ray generator, which caused the whole thing to explode, killing the Zombie Master and giving Castle superpowers. He decided to use his newfound powers as a superhero, becoming Fiery Mask.[3][4] While his origins may be false, his battle with the Zombie Master may have been true.

Early Adventures

During his pre-war activities as Fiery Mask, Castle would clash with a myriad of macabre foes. First he first clashed with the insane Dr. Simon Sendach who's implantation of "mechanical stomachs" were turning his test subjects into literally blood thirsty pseudo-vampires. During this adventure, his nurse Julie learned his secret identity.

Tracking Sendach to his lab, Fiery Mask saved the doctors last indented victim and leave Sendach to be ravaged by his creations before a stick of TNT blew up his hideout.[5] Later, when New York was threatened by Frances Dork's flesh eating protoplasmic creature, Fiery Mask fought with Dork, tossing him into his own creation before destroying it and saving the city.[6] His most bizarre case of his early career involved the demonic Legion of the Doomed, who, through a demon posing as an infant child, committed a string of murders across the city.

Tracking the creature down, Fiery Mask found himself transported to the creature's hellish realm called Hades where its master sent him back to the realm of the living. Shortly after this confrontation, the murder spree stopped as suddenly as it began.[7]

World War II

In December of 1943, Fiery Mask was among many heroes who was slain by the Red Skull after he obtained the time displaced Cosmic Cube and used it to reshape the world in the Nazi image.[8] He was later resurrected by private Paul Anslen who retook the Cube. He and an army of wartime and future heroes defeated the Skull. Reality was restored to normal and Fiery Mask's memories of the encounter were erased.[9]

On April 25, 1945, Fiery Mask was a part of a super-hero invasion of Berlin. He joined Blue Blade, Witness, Phantom Reporter, Laughing Mask, Mister E, Rockman, Mastermind Exello, Black Widow, Captain Wonder, Dynamic Man and the Electro robot in searching the headquarters of the S.S. to search for snipers. They then walked into a Nazi trap and were all gassed and placed into cryogenic suspension to be experiment on later. However, this never came to be as the Soviets soon invaded Germany, bringing an end to the war and leading to the deaths of the Nazi officials who were responsible for capturing the heroes. Fiery Mask and the others were forgotten for many years....[10]

The Twelve

Jack Castle (Earth-616)
Fiery Mask and the others were discovered in the 21st Century when the area was being redeveloped for a condo project. The United States military recovered the heroes and decided to revive them, offering them positions as government sponsored super-heroes once they had acclimatized to the modern world. Fiery Mask and the others agreed and they became a group loosely referred to as the Twelve.[10] The group was then set up in a government owned mansion and were given a year to settle and decide if they wanted to work with the government.[11]

On his first night out, Jack and the Witness decided to go to have a drink at Flannery's, an Irish Pub he used to frequent in the 1940s. However they found that it had since changed owners and now called itself the Cocktail 8, and served a mostly African-American clientèle. When Fiery Mask told one of the patrons his made-up origin story, they found the tale ridiculous. As some of the men left the bar they were attacked by members of the Fourteenth Street Gang who attempted a drive-by before Fiery Mask put a stop to it.[2] Fiery Mask later attended a going away party for Mastermind Excello and tried to prevent a fight breaking out between Dynamic Man and Phantom Reporter.[12] The following day he was congratulating Captain Wonder on his new job as a youth motivational speaker. Dynamic Man once more agitated his fellows almost causing a fight between himself and Captain Wonder when it was broken up by Fiery Mask.[13]

When Captain Wonder's old sidekick Tim Mulrooney came to visit him, Fiery Mask partook in their reunion, learning of the origins of their powers before leaving them to talk privately.[14] When homosexual patrons of the Ball and Rack bar were murdered, police investigators to question the Fiery Mask due to scorch marks on the pavement in the back alley. When under questioning, Detective Rose pressed Fiery Mask about his origins, telling him the NYPD archivists could find no record of the incident that gave Fiery Mask his powers. He soon left the interrogation with renewed guilt over how he got his powers many years ago.[15] Fiery Mask was then called together with other members of the Twelve by the returning Mastermind Excello who had come to tell them that a moment of truth was going to happen and that one of them would die. On the evening Blue Blade got murdered, Fiery Mask confided in Mastermind Excello the true origins of his powers, confessing that he let the man die to claim his powers.[1] Soon after Blue Blade's funeral, Fiery Mask and the others were called to the mansion where Phantom Reporter was going to reveal who the killer was. Pressing Dynamic Man for answers about his origins, Phantom Reporter was pushed down. When Fiery Mask helped him up he was passed a note telling him to be ready. When the Phantom Reporter revealed that Dynamic Man was the killer, having used Electro through a remote link and revealed that the Dynamic Man was a synthetic being, Fiery Mask used his flame powers to burn off Dynamic Man's costume to show a genital-less body bendeath.[16]

Dynamic Man attacked the group, and fled after collapsing the house, although the other members of the Twelve were still alive. Fiery Mask then joined Phantom Reporter, Captain Wonder, and Mastermind Excello in tracking Dynamic Man back to his creators mansion. There Captain Wonder was incapacitated by the device that gave Dynamic Man his powers. Fiery Mask destroyed the device freeing his comrade, but Dynamic Man crushed his windpipe and tossed him away. Dying, Fiery Mask then passed along his powers to Phantom Reporter, hoping that in doing so he would redeem himself for the selfish act he made so many years ago. The Phantom Reporter used these new powers to destroy the Dynamic Man. Later at Fiery Mask's funeral, Phantom Reporter used his powers to make Jack's grave burn eternally, considering it a fitting tribute for someone who died as a hero.[17]

Powers

Fiery Mask has the powers of super strength, super breath, could leap miles in a single bound. His body gives off intense heat which he can use to erect a heat forcefield and he can transmit his protective powers via his touch, granting his forcefield to someone else. He also has the ability to detect and track Fluorescent Salt using his electrically charged eyes.[18] He's said to "...became endowed with all the powers of the elements; super-human strength and the ability to cast electrical rays from his body."[19] He can also produce a kind of electroplasmic flame at will.[20]





Weapons

The Fiery Mask often wields a morningstar or mace.

Jack Castle was probably able to resist the hypnotic effects of the machine in a manner similar to that used by the Beast.[21]

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Twelve #9
  2. 2.0 2.1 Twelve #3
  3. Daring Mystery Comics #1
  4. Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary Special #1
  5. Human Torch Comics #2
  6. Daring Mystery Comics #5
  7. Daring Mystery Comics #6
  8. Avengers / Invaders #8
  9. Avengers / Invaders #12
  10. 10.0 10.1 Twelve #1
  11. Twelve #2
  12. Twelve #4
  13. Twelve #5
  14. Twelve #7
  15. Twelve #8
  16. Twelve #10
  17. Twelve #11
  18. Human Torch Comics #2 --- Fiery Mask Story - page 6 panel 7
  19. Human Torch Comics #2 --- Fiery Mask Story - page 1 panel 1
  20. Twelve
  21. X-Men #111 --- page 26 panel 1 (Mesmero says, "Impossible! I'm using my full strength, yet still the Beast resist my hypnotic powers!") -- all thanks to Professor X training the X-Men to resist some mental manipulations.
  22. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 14



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