One day while Ken Mack was surfing, another surfer accidentally crashed into him, ramming Ken's face with his surf board. Instead of killing him, the impact trauma accelerated a transformation already taking place under his skin. His skin peeled off, revealing a red iridium skull beneath. 
At the time of the accident, Ken was unaware of the transformation because the iridium has no nerve endings. He was then taken to Norman Osborn on a plane. Norman then amplified his transformation, making his whole body iridium.
Ken is then recruited to join the newly formed Avengers Academy alongside other young potential heroes Veil (Madeline Berry), Striker (Brandon Sharpe), Finesse (Jeanne Foucault), Reptil (Humberto Lopez) and Hazmat (Jennifer Takeda). At their first meeting Veil screams when she sees Mettle for the first time. But he is not offended as he is used to being feared, during the first few days at the school he bonds with Reptil and they become friends. He, and the rest of the class were lead to believe they were among those most likely to become heroes, but they quickly uncovered files on them revealed they were most likely to become villains. 
On their visit to the Raft Mettle, Hazmat and Veil went to Norman Osborn's cell. Mettle and Hazmat are looking forward to killing Osborn, much to the shock of Veil, who thought that they were going to force him to change them back to normal. Hazmat states that if Pym cannot save them, no one can. The only thing worthwhile is making Osborn pay for what he has done. Grabbed at the neck by Mettle, Osborn tells them that he has molded them for greatness. He subtly manipulates them into thinking that perhaps Pym is withholding his attempts at a cure. 
They then accidentally run into Powderkeg, who is in the middle of fighting the Academy staff. They are knocked away and them they come to, Mettle impulsively attacks the Juggernaut, before he realizes what he had done. Veil then alerts them to Man-Thing being present. Knowing that his teammate would burn them no matter what material they are made of, Juggernaut uses a loud clap to blow Veil away from the creature, before carting him off back to his habitat. Mettle and Veil then go looking for Hazmat, who is in the midst of wandering in a fight among The Raft guards and prisoners. Grizzly attempts to take her as a hostage, only to back off when she threatens to give him cancer. However, she is knocked out by another prisoner. Her friends soon find her and Mettle decides to face the villains alone, only for their teachers to intervene.
Once The Raft is brought under control, Luke Cage scolds the trio for attempting a shot at Osborn. Hazmat states that he does not know what that madman did to them. Cage retorts that Osborn put a bomb on his heart and went after his wife, but he is not the type to tear off his cell door. Pym promises to discipline his students and to upgrade prison security. Mettle, Veil and Hazmat silently agree to keep the true cause of the blackout a secret, as Mettle contemplates what they've almost done. 
Reptil has been elected class leader of Avengers Academy. Reptil decides to mediate Mettle and Hazmat's differences, saying that they make a good couple, they become disgusted. Mentallo escapes from his transport truck and starts messing with the Avengers. The team go to intervene with Reptil ripping his arm off.
The team then escort Absorbing Man under the supervision of Hank Pym. Suddenly, his ball and chain starts acting up. Mettle attempts to grab it, only to accidentally release Creel. Pym brings Creel to the realm of Abstracts for ten seconds. Overwhelmed by Overspace, Creel becomes shocked and easily subdued. They then transport him to the Raft.
Pym discovers Veil in her attempt to bring back the Wasp. However, it turns out that what they perceived to be Janet is actually Carina Walters. And where she is, Michael Korvac is as well. However, Carina has no intention of returning to her husband. The Avengers and New Avengers then arrive in the Academy to defeat Korvac once again. Meanwhile, Jocasta sequesters the Academy students and Carina into a saferoom which shunt to other dimensions every 2.3 seconds, though the effort is futile.
Carina tells the students that Korvac is not invincible and cites the example of how the Red Skull disintegrated him with antimatter. She offers to place them in the bodies of their adults selves from other timelines, but only if they consent. Korvac floors the Avengers with only Speedball is left standing. Academy students step out as adults to face him.
They then attack Korvac, who has already floored the Avengers. Veil, Finesse, Hazmat and Reptil catch him by surprise. Mettle punches Korvac through the chest and thinks that they achieved an early victory. But Korvac gets up and fires and energy beam through Striker's chest. Luckily, because it's his adult self who has died, Carina restores Striker to his teenage form. Scared, Striker runs off.
Carina then turns to Veil and Hazmat, stating that they two of them are key to Korvac's defeat. Meanwhile, Korvac decides to no longer hold back, believing that Carina thought that he would refrain from killing the students to avoid damaging the timestream. He boasts that once he's won and conquer all existence, he will then then repair the damage. Hazmat then walks up, revealing that her older self can she can generate antimatter and defeat Korvac. Carina congratulates the students on a great victory, before restoring them to their original bodies.
Pym asks Carina if she can use her power to help Mettle and Hazmat. However, she admits that she has less than finer control of them. She then leaves, inferring that he may find Janet one day.
Mettle finds Hazmat in the students lounge. He tries comforting her, even advising that she can take her helmet off around him. With some reluctance, Hazmat does so and cries in his arms.
A dance is set in the Infinite Mansion, specifically for the Avengers Academy students, the Young Allies and some former members of the Initiative. Veil informs Hazmat of Butterball being invulnerable. Hazmat takes if that she wants her to jump him. She then goes into a fit, before unintentionally insulting Mettle, who just walked up behind her to give her punch. Mettle storms out of the dance and destroys a statue of Iron Man. Hazmat follows him and they discuss their relationship before deciding to give it a shot.
The prison know as the Raft was destroyed and its inmates have escaped and started a riot. The team battles the escapes and Mettle throw a pole at an armed tank, which explodes harming some nearby bystanders and kills the person operating the robot. He then felt very sorry for his action when Tigra tells him "You had to kill a bad guy to save innocent lives". This incident causes emotional trauma due to the guilt he feels for his actions.
Later Hazmat and Mettle finally get together and begin a relationship. He confides in her about his guilt from killing the Nazi solider. Hazmat then asks Veil to help him with his emotional problem because she experienced a similar problem.
When the Worthy attack the Infinite Avengers Mansion, Mettle and Hazmat choose to fight them off and sacrifice themselves for the others to escape. However their instructors arrive and save them just in time.
Mettle and Hazmat are at the beach, but their unusual appearances make it hard for them to enjoy it. Hazmat gets a call from Briggs, saying he has found a cure. They travel to the Briggs Building to meet their former team mate Veil who is now working with another subject of Osborn's experiments Jeremy Briggs. He had been working on a cure for all their conditions. The couple decides that to take his clean slate process which restores them to the normal forms. Now free from their deformaties the couple goes out to enjoy life as normal people.
Jeremy Briggs however reveals his true plan to was to Veil and Striker. He plans to remove all superpowered beings powers only allowing the worthy to possess them. Veil runs to tell Mettle and Hazmat and persuades them to take the so called antidote and restore their powers for good. Mettle and the group confronts Jeremy and his accomplice the Enchantress (Sylvie Lushton) on the rooftop of the building.
White Tiger and Reptil draw on the full power of their magic, gain an extreme upper hand on the Enchantress. Sensing the her defeat she teleports away but not before getting her face slashed by White Tiger.X-23 does some slicing and dicing of Briggs, so releases an acid attack on her stomach, destroying it in the process. Finesse notices this as the perfect opportunity to use X-23's hands as weapons. Finesse grabs X-23's wrists, and stabs two of Briggs' most important arteries. As he sits there bleeding to death, he freaks out, and Finesse starts to stop the loss of blood by cutting off the flow. Finesse reminds Briggs about why they were recruited, that they were at risk of being villains. As she says this, she unties the cloth that has been keeping Briggs from bleeding to death, and walks off as he dies.
In the aftermath, Hazmat tells Mettle that killing Briggs was completely worth it, and that she has no remorse.
On Christmas Eve, with all the faculty gone, Mettle and Hazmat finally decide to sleep together. However, they, along with fellow students Reptil, Juston and X-23, are suddenly transported to Murderworld by Arcade, who wanted them and eleven other teenage superheroes to battle to the death within the next thirty days. Naturally, they are against this and some of them try to fight him but to no avail.
To start things off, he asks the heroes to choose the weakest link for him to kill. The defiant Hazmat tries to kill him, making her his choice to kill. In an act of noble sacrifice, Mettle offers up his own life to save her. Arcade happily complies and blows him to pieces.
His body was later seen among the other dead heroes in a room, where Arcade appeared to be using them for an unknown reason.
|Power Grid |
Organic Iridium Body: Mettle's bodies transformation converted the tissue of his entire body into an organic iridium-like substance. Mettle possesses the same degree of mobility that he did in his normal form.
- Superhuman Strength: Mettle possesses vast superhuman strength. The exact limits have not yet been defined, but due to his young age is power may increase over time.
- Superhuman Stamina: Mettle's musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins than the musculature of a normal human.
- Superhuman Durability: Mettle's is invulnerable to most forms of bodily harm. His armor is capable of withstanding ballistic penetration. He can survive extremes of temperatures. He can also survive falls from great heights.
Surfing: Ken Mack used to be a competent surfer.
Mettle is stuck in his condition and cannot change back. While in his metal body, he has diminished nerve sensation; he can't feel pain, but he can't feel anything else either. Also, it looks like he cannot close his eyes, because he has no eyelids. Henry Pym has promised to find a way to cure him. His body is vulnerable to any weapons made from a metal more durable than iridium (e.g. X-23's Adamantium bonded claws)
Mettle's costume has a high level of durability.
- Originally referred to as "Fortress" in solicitations.
- Mettle has a laid back attitude.
- Mettle is half Jewish.
- Mettle is half African American & half Caucasian.
- Mettle has a close friendship with Reptil.
- He was revealed to have genitals in Issue 38 of Avengers Academy.
- He was in a relationship with Hazmat before he died.
- 59 Appearances of Ken Mack (Earth-616)
- 4 Minor Appearances of Ken Mack (Earth-616)
- Media Ken Mack (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 38 Images featuring Ken Mack (Earth-616)
- 3 Quotations by or about Ken Mack (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Ken Mack (Earth-616)
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Avengers Academy #1
- ↑ Not used in-universe, Fortress was the name used for him on teaser images for the series
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Avengers Academy #4
- ↑ Avengers Academy #2
- ↑ Avengers Academy #3
- ↑ Avengers Academy #5
- ↑ Avengers Academy #6
- ↑ Avengers Academy #7
- ↑ Avengers Academy #8
- ↑ Avengers Academy #11
- ↑ Avengers Academy #12
- ↑ Avengers Academy #13
- ↑ Avengers Academy #15
- ↑ Avengers Academy #16
- ↑ Avengers Academy #20
- ↑ Avengers Academy #34
- ↑ Avengers Academy #35
- ↑ Avengers Academy #36
- ↑ Avengers Academy #37
- ↑ Avengers Arena #1
- ↑ Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2
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