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Mark Todd (Earth-616)

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Early Solo Adventures

Mark Todd (Earth-616) 001

Human face

Foreign correspondent and pacifist reporter,[2] Mark Todd, assigned by his newspaper to cover the Second Sino-Japanese War, was forced to take refuge in a cave during an artillery bombardment by the Japanese. There he met the Skull Men, a strange race with burning skulls for heads. They informed him he had been chosen by the forces of destiny to be the champion of freedom, and began his training which granted him abilities such as invulnerability to fire. Once his training was completed, he returned home and, motivated by the horrors of Nazism, donned a uniform with a flaming mask (in homage to the Skull Men), taking the name "The Blazing Skull" (As time passed and he continued to master the Skull Men's teachings, he gained the ability to turn his flesh invisible, mimicking his teachers' appearance, and stopped using the mask).

Mark Todd (Earth-616) alternate costume

"Non-Blazing" costume

In his earliest recorded adventure, the Blazing Skull smuggled himself into Nazi Germany in the early days of 1941. He was sent by his friend Powell to destroy an enervating gas being created by a Nazi scientist named Metzer. Although he was captured and tortured by Adolf Hitler himself, the Blazing Skull remained brave and mocked Hitler to the point where the dictator fled the room in tears. Breaking free from his bonds, the Blazing Skull destroyed Metzer's lab and fled into the night.[3]

Arriving in England, the Mark stumbled upon a Nazi plot to assassinate British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he was scheduled to take a secret flight over Germany. The Blazing Skull managed to rescue Churchill from behind enemy lines and return him safely to Britain, where he was commended for his bravery.[4]

Returning to the United States, the Blazing Skull began taking more on more typical costumed heroics, battling criminals on the home front. The first of these adventures was capturing a crook who was robbing a museum by posing as a statue during the day and robbing it at night.[5] Later, he would stop the murder spree of Mister Fear, whose face was so horrible it frightened his victims to death.[6] In his last recorded solo adventure of the 40s, the Blazing Skull paid a visit to family friend "Old Man" Lester, and exposed Killer Brogan was posing as Lester in order to rob a bank.[7]

Invaders

Soon afterwards, Todd comes into contact with the World War II superhero team, the Invaders, and aided them against a team of Axis superhumans, saving the life of Namor the Sub-Mariner. He also fought alongside the team during a massed Allied superhuman airdrop into a Nazi stronghold.[8]

As the war in Europe came to a close, the Blazing Skull teamed up with Union Jack and the Destroyer to break up an enemy spy-ring in England.[1]

Allegedly, he fought as a superhero at different times in different places, even using different names, such as the Smoking Head during the 1960s.[citation needed]

Modern Era

The Blazing Skull later appeared in modern times as a captive of Middle Eastern terrorists, having not aged in the decades since the war due to his healing factor. This imprisonment affected his sanity.[2] He was freed by U.S. Agent, who recruited him into a new, present-day version of the Invaders.[9]

Initiative

After the Civil War, he was listed as a potential recruit for the Initiative,[10] and joined the Defenders with Nighthawk, as part of the Initiative program.[11]

After that, he remained within the program, striving to restore his sanity.[2]

Ducky Dozen

Sometime later, the Blazing Skull was recruited by Howard the Duck and A.R.M.O.R. to be part of the Ducky Dozen on a mission to stop the Nazi zombies from traveling to other realities.[12] He was ultimately killed by the zombified goats of Thor.[13]

Powers

Long-term exposure has granted Todd the ability to make himself a living flaming skeleton. In this form he possesses superhuman strength, can generate heat and flame, and incredibly durable,[citation needed] near-indestructible. In his normal form he no longer seems to age and can go at least several days without food or water.[citation needed]

Todd also possesses a healing factor which has caused him to have not physically aged at all since the Second World War.[citation needed]

Originally Todd possessed limited control over fire while wearing his mask, as well as enhanced strength.[citation needed]

Abilities

SKilled investigator[2]

Strength level

Strength level 10 tons

Weaknesses

Sanity issues[2]


The Blazing Skull debuted in "The Story of Mark Todd", a nine-page tale in the comic that also introduced cover character the Black Marvel and fellow superhero The Terror. He continued to appear in Mystic Comics #9 (May 1941), with at least one story ("The Thing", in #8) confirmed to have been penciled by Golden Age great Syd Shores.

A simulacrum of the Blazing Skull briefly appeared, along with those of the Patriot, the Fin, and the Golden Age Angel and Vision, to aid the superhero team the Avengers in Avengers #97 (March 1972).

The actual Blazing Skull starred in a solo period adventure, set during World War II, in Midnight Sons Unlimited #9 (May 1995). Nearly 10 years later, he reintroduced into modern-day continuity in the four-part story arc "Once an Invader" in Avengers Vol 3 #82 and #84 (July-Sept. 2004) and in the quirkily numbered New Invaders #0 (Aug. 2004). The Blazing Skull appeared through the final issue, New Invaders #9 (June 2005).

Confusingly, a separate character, Jim Scully, also known as Skull the Slayer, was depicted as an unrelated and differently designed Blazing Skull in Quasar #46 (May 1993), as part of the group Shock Troop.

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