the Blazing Skull (deceased)
The Blazing Skull was Mark Anthony Todd, an ordinary man that was given a flaming skull mask that granted him super-human strength, as well as the power to turn invisible and immunity to fire and heat. One could readily call him a magically altered human.
Fire Generation (a): now that his fiery mask has bonded itself to his skull permanently, Mark can now generate fire at will it seems. He appears to have this power at intensity 10, inflicting like blazing damage with every application of his power.
Immortality (s): it has become apparent that Mark's blazing mask has rendered him immortal; his aging processes have stopped completely, and even after being killed - brutally - several times, the man has managed to come back to torment his would be slayers.
Invisibility (i): Mark's primary ability is his power to render himself invisible at will; he can do this at intensity 8. However, his is a special version of the standard invisibility power, as he can also make the light his flaming mask sheds invisible as well.
Invulnerability to Fire and Heat Attack (s): another oddity of Mark's is that he is completely immune to the affects of fire and heat. Whether it's the flames his mask generates or any other fiery assault used on him, Mark need not worry about attacks of these types.
Regeneration (s): on top of being immortal, Mark heals from injuries inflicted upon him incredibly quick, even regenerating and reattaching lost limbs in no time flat. Consider this intensity 15 regeneration, allowing him to recover a lost card on non-negative aura draws each exchange.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
Fiery Skull Mask (w): this mystic artifact from the Skull-Men seems to be what has given Mark his spectacular powers. Seeming like a simple cloth mask when not worn, it causes Mark's head to ignite when he wears it, inflicting intensity 5 blazing damage on touch.
Of course, this describes Mark's mask in its 'default' state; over the years, his body has actually absorbed the mask into his head. As such, the mask is now a part of Mark's body, and impossible to remove (even though Master Man gave it a rather good attempt).
Acrobatics (a): a veritable Olympic gymnast (one would think, from the way he moves), Mark can swing from ropes and leap through windows with the best of 'em. Also, he can dodge attacks and reduce falling damage much more easily than normal, non-acrobatic folks can.
Boxing (s): while he thinks of himself as a lover, not a fighter, Mark can still knock a body silly should the need arise. He can divide his total action score into two unarmed melee attacks per exchange, the last of which will occur as a contingent action.
Criminology (i): his time as a journalist has sort of granted Mark this skill via osmosis. Essentially, Mark knows things about the criminal mind, and he can easily pick up clues at a crime scene and analyze criminal behavior to predict where one will strike next.
Driving (a): though most Americans can drive a car, Mark is a virtual pro, and he can also ride a motorcycle. In fact, Mark can pull maneuvers on a bike that seem almost impossible - and make them look easy. Heck, he even has fun while doing it!
Journalism (i): having been a reporter for years, Mark can use this skill like a natural. He can draw forth information from a variety of sources, and if he passes a challenging journalism action, he can find out pretty much anything that's semi-public knowledge within a day.
Mark Todd was on good terms with the World War II Invaders, some of which survive to this day. Upon being 'rediscovered' by John Walker, he's become a member of the New Invaders, and for a time the Initiative's short-lived New Jersey extension, the Defenders.
Idealist: given his mission to battle evil by a group of weirdo mystics, Mark has nonetheless embraced the fight against darkness wholeheartedly. He battles the forces of evil to stop them from spreading their influence, and happily wages war against the warmongers amongst us!
Todd's Blazing Skull costume includes a red, skin-tight body suit with two crossed bones on the chest, which combine with his fiery white skull 'mask' to give a skull and crossbones motif. He also wears a dark blue belt, and gray, chain mail boots and gloves.
On occasion, he will wear additional accessories, such as a collared blue cape, or even tactical gear and camouflaged vests.
Mark Todd was an inquisitive soul, always poking his nose into human mysteries, particularly those of a criminal nature. He was a pacifist at heart, but knew that sometimes the world's most dastardly villains only understand a good left hook most of the time.
The years have not been kind to him, however, and the man has slowly grown more disturbed of late. The strangest things come to mind at random - and he has no 'editing equipment' left to stop himself from making people around him uncomfortable by relating them.
Real Name: Mark Anthony Todd
Occupation: adventurer / journalist
Legal Status: American citizen with no known criminal record, legally deceased (again)
Marital Status: single
Alias(es), if any: Steve Valiant, Richard Stetson, Smoking Head
Group Affiliation: ARMOR, former member of the Defenders, former member of the New Invaders
Hair: none, formerly blonde
Weight: 198 lbs
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: Mark's head is continually on fire, and appears to consist of naught but a human skull.
Born way back in 1910, Mark Anthony Todd grew up with pacifist beliefs. This led him to become a wanderer and journalist, his travels taking him around the world to see various exotic locations and of course to tell compelling stories about them and their inhabitants.
On an assignment in China for the Daily Globe, he was caught in the middle of the action in a battle of the second Sino-Japanese war while covering it. Taking shelter in a nearby cave to avoid being shelled, Mark found much, much more than he bargained for.
Face to face with mysterious Skull-men, Mark was told by them that the forces of destiny had chosen him to be their emissary in the world of flesh, that he was to be the champion of their cause. To this end, they gave him a special skull mask that caught fire when worn.
Donning a colorful costume, Mark became the Blazing Skull, so named after (of course) his apparently magical, fiery mask, and vowed to use his powers against those who would wage war. He began working with various intelligence agencies to sniff these men out.
In one such incident, Mark stopped the work of a Nazi chemist who'd developed a doomsday gas, but was captured as a result of these actions. Naturally, this irked the fascists, who took him to their German headquarters to handle Mark personally.
They beat him some while he was bound, and at the height of his misery, Mark came face to face with Hitler himself, who he taunted so badly that the little man almost fainted with rage. Satisfied with that small victory, Mark made his escape shortly thereafter.
Later surfacing in London, Mark again stymied Nazi forces when they tried an audacious plot to capture Winston Churchill himself. Though they managed to get a hold of the man, Mark fought his way into their compound and then handily liberated Churchill in a madcap brawl.
Making his way back to the States, Mark began to mix it up with various super-human criminals such as Big Joe (who bore a resemblance to fellow hero Hercules) and Dr. Fear, a man with a mask that was so frightful that it could kill weaker men who dared to gaze upon it.
Soon after, Mark would join the Invaders in their effort to prevent Dr. Death and his Battle-Axis from going through with their convoluted plan to knock California off the west coast of the United States - and poisoning a large portion of the population at the same time.
Perhaps Mark's most infamous adventure involved a plot hatched by Iron Cross to level various American cities with his v3 bombs, which would be guided there via homing beacons of his own design. This plot was so big, however, that Mark couldn't merely go it alone.
With help from both Union Jack and the Mighty Destroyer, Mark managed to not only foil this plan, but he gave the Iron Cross a particularly embarrassing defeat at the same time. As the war wound down, Mark retired from active heroics to concentrate on his journalism career.
A columnist for a time, Mark realized that his aging had stopped, and as such he returned to a life of Adventure! The nature of his travels and the resulting conflicts have yet to be revealed, a process made tricky because Mark operated under several aliases during this time.
He was eventually captured by a terrorist named Malik and held captive for years, during which time he was tortured mercilessly. He endured in this state thanks to his inability to die, until he was ultimately rescued by John Walker, the U.S. Agent!
Wanting to recruit him for the Thin Man's New Invaders, Walker broke the man out of the hole he'd been languishing in and offered him a job. Though still a bit shaky, Mark took Walker up on his offer and was soon involved in a conflict in the desert nation of Mazikhandar.
Though opposed by the Avengers in this, the New Invaders forged on regardless, their actions there part of a larger war against the so-called Axis Mundi, an organization funded by Hydra and including several former members of the Super-Axis (and related thugs).
This fight culminated when the Red Skull turned one of the New Invaders, Tara, against the team. Having programmed her to wipe out the first Invaders once they'd reassembled, she was rendered inert by the original Human Torch - who sacrificed his very life to do so.
After this, the New Invaders seemed to crumble, most of its members going on to different things. Mark wound up back in America, and was drawn into the Initiative, a group of government-sponsored super-heroes that would be doled out to every one of the fifty states.
When Mark's number came up, he wound up on the Defenders, a team based in New Jersey and led by Nighthawk - though this team only lasted for one mission before the catastrophic property damage their fight with some cultists caused saw their group immediately 'retired'.
Mark has bobbled all over the place after this, protecting Atlantis from the forces of the Serpent alongside old ally Namor, and then joining the Ducky's Dozen to help ARMOR liberate a world conquered by zombie Nazis - though this latest affiliation would prove to be his last.
Though immortal and virtually indestructible, Mark found himself faced with two zombified goats of myth, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, who had grown in size and power after consuming Odin himself! Eaten by these monstrosities, it is assumed that Mark's story has ended.
But then again, being immortal and regenerative, it's possible that even the zombie strain of this variant timeline cannot end Mark...!
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