Johnathon Martin was one of the unfortunates who contracted the Theta Virus, which provided superhuman powers, but also killed its host. In Johnathon' case, both outcomes occurred; he became a zombie-like being, neither truly alive nor dead.
Johnathon joined the Exiles, a group of Theta Virus victims with super-powers, but the entire group was killed by an explosion caused by Amber Hunt. of the original Exiles, only Hunt and Ghoul survived, though Ghoul was buried for a while..
Ghoul rose from his grave with a slightly altered appearance and became a member of the Ultraforce. He sensed imminent death around Pixx, and tried to befriend her and convince her to leave the team, but she was repulsed by his appearance and avoided him. Teammate Topaz thought his suggestions were motivated by sexism, and blasted his arms off (a temporary setback for a zombie).
Ghoul was captured by Atalon, leader of the Fire People, so that he could use Ghoul's ability to speak to the dead to communicate with the Fire People's ancient ancestors. When Pixx chose to disarm Atalon's stolen arsenal of nuclear missiles, even though the area was already contaminated with deadly levels of radiation, Ghoul realized that this was the death he had foreseen. With his limbs once again removed, he could only watch helplessly as Pixx, her radiation suit damaged, leaped from warhead to warhead, her body quickly succumbing to radiation poisoning; she finished the last missile just before her last breath of life.
Ghoul was buried under tons of rock as Atalon collapsed his cavern, but Prime eventually dug him out. Ghoul also convinced Atalon that the island he'd created with his powers was a suitable land that met the approval of his ancestors.
Ghoul was one of the few Ultras basically unaffected by the Black September event, but he was eventually fired from Ultraforce (along with everybody else) by Black Knight. He got a job as a cab driver, at which he was notoriously unsuccessful, until former Mantra Lukasz (still inhabiting the body of Eden Blake) gave him a magic ring which gave him the appearance (and smell) of a normal, living human being. Ghoul eventually joined the reformed Ultraforce.
Ghoul is constantly making wisecracks, jokes and sarcastic remarks. He does this to try to hide the emotional pain of his grotesque condition and the tragedies he's seen. He deliberately distances himself, while at the same time he is saddened by the fact that he seems to get along better with the dead than the living.
Ghoul is very hard to kill, since he is essentially already dead. Only the total destruction of his body can permanently kill him. His limbs, if torn off, can be reattached or, in time, grow back. He does not feel pain and is immune to disease, poison, and radiation.
Ghoul can communicate with the spirits of the deceased, even those who have been dead for tens of thousands of years. He can, in some cases, also sense a person's imminent death.
Ghoul's body is in a constant state of decomposition, and his function is limited while waiting for his limbs to be re-attached.
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- 40 Appearances of Jonathan Martin (Earth-93060)
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