|First appearance||Marvel Two-In-One #71 (Jan 1981)|
|Created by||Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio|
|Team affiliations||GLA, Maelstrom's Minions|
|Abilities||High-speed flight via spear or skis
Ability to create weapons of solid darkness and bring souls to the afterlife
Can detect suicidal urges
Survive unprotected in hostile environments
Immunity to energy attacks from beings with suicidal urges
Fictional character biography
Deathurge's origins are not known. On multiple occasions he has claimed to embody the impulse for self-destruction that resides within all sentient life, which implies that he is an abstract entity.
Deathurge was first observed in the employ of the villain Maelstrom as an assassin. Deathurge was dispatched to slay the clonal bodies of Maelstrom's three prime minions and was commanded to slay a clonal body of Maelstrom himself. He slew another of Maelstrom's bodies, and encountered Captain Marvel. He attended Maelstrom's resurrection within another cloned body, and was then dismissed from Maelstrom's service. Although Maelstrom sometimes treated Deathurge as if he were a lackey, Deathurge served only at Oblivion's behest, for Oblivion perceived within Maelstrom the potential to drastically tip the scales between existence and non-existence in his favor.
Deathurge later encountered Quasar on the planet Uranus, and revealed himself to be the herald of Oblivion. Deathurge recounted how he had destroyed the Uranian Eternals' protective dome, thereby killing them. Deathurge was thwarted in battle by Quasar.
At least for a time, Deathurge harbored great animus towards Quasar and opposed him repeatedly. With Quasar assuming the mantle of Protector of the Universe, Oblivion saw him as a threat to his agenda and set Deathurge against him, both before and after Quasar thwarted Maelstrom's plot to collapse the universe into a gargantuan black hole. Deathurge was determined to exploit the streak of fatalism he sensed within the hero's personality. As Deathurge saw it, Quasar was a contemptible hypocrite for pledging to champion all life while harboring feelings of futility and angst regarding his own existence. In the course of one of their battles, Deathurge summed himself up succinctly with the following remark:
You claim you are Protector of the Universe, Quasar, but you fail to see that life itself is an aberration. A random mixture of chemicals and electricity with delusions of grandeur! Oblivion is the universe's preferred state. You are so vain as to think that because you are alive, that's what the universe desires. Fah! I am Protector of the Universe too, Quasar--I protect the universe from the chaotic blight of that aberration called life.
Deathurge recounted how he observed the first encounter between Maelstrom and Oblivion, and how he was summoned by Maelstrom to spread the "Oblivion Plague" among the Watchers. After Quasar suffered ignominious defeat, disempowerment, and torture at the hands of Maelstrom and his minions, he urged Deathurge to kill him--a request which Deathurge denied with no small degree of satisfaction. Not long afterwards, he skirmished with Ghost Rider, which he framed as a struggle between avatars of the opposed concepts of hopelessness and vengeance. He attempted unsuccessfully to blind Uatu the Watcher, and was prevented by the Squadron Supreme from killing Doctor Strange.
Deathurge was also responsible for compelling Patsy Walker to commit suicide.
Deathurge has since become involved in the affairs of Mr. Immortal and his team, the Great Lakes Avengers, a team of heroes with a knack for self-destruction. Deathurge regularly visited Craig Hollis since his birth, where his mother had died during labor. Deathurge could only be seen by Craig and the dead souls he was sent to collect; because of this he was thought to be merely an imaginary friend and later a mental breakdown to Craig. Deathurge constantly attempted to get Craig killed as a child in order to show him his power. Deathurge also was responsible for collecting the souls of several people close to Craig, which led Craig to blame Deathurge for their deaths. Deathurge finally revealed to him that he was destined to be the last living being in existence in order to receive the final secret of the universe. This meant a long, lonely and traumatic life for him and Deathurge, who showed he had genuine feelings for him, wanted to prepare him for his fate. He supplied the GLA with information crucial to foiling another of Maelstrom's plans for universal destruction. Having lost his job to Doorman for failing to lead the soul of Monkey Joe to the afterlife, Oblivion has apparently cursed him to remain in the squirrel form he was in when trying to lead Monkey Joe into the afterlife. Oblivion gave Deathurge one last chance to regain his job, if he could kill Squirrel Girl's new sidekick, Tippy Toe. Thanks to the intervention of Mr. Immortal and a cuckoo clock, however, his attempts failed, and when he was last seen he seemed to be falling for Tippy Toe.
Powers and abilities
Deathurge has the ability to become intangible at will, and draw forth from his non-reflective ebony body a variety of simple objects and weaponry such as swords, spears, axes, bows, and arrows. These weapons, also non-reflective black, appear to be made of the same unknown substance as Deathurge's body. He can fly at great speeds by riding upon an ebony spear or using skis created from his body. These weapons do not inflict physical wounds, but are imbued with life-annihilating properties that can kill even powerful superhuman entities. However, they prove to be effectively useless against spirits and demons (See his confrontation with Ghost Rider.)
In general, a person's will to live plays a large part in how effective his weapons are. For instance, in his first battle with Quasar, the former's weapons passed through the latter's energy constructs effortlessly. This changed when Quasar's will to live triumphed over his doubts.[volume & issue needed] When Deathurge attacks, he is typically seeking to slay a specific target—usually someone who at least to some degree craves death and oblivion. He has the psychic ability to detect suicidal urges within the minds of sentient beings. If one of his weapons scores a direct hit on his target, the result is fatal, with a blackness spreading from the spot where the weapon bloodlessly struck and passed through the target's body.
If the weapon only strikes a glancing blow, or it happens to pass through someone other than Deathurge's target, then that person will feel the sensation of numbing coldness but will not blacken or die. If a target does not wish to die, or can at the brink of death find a strong will to live, Deathurge's powers have a diminished or even negligible effect.
Deathurge has the ability to survive unprotected in hostile environments. He has limited telepathic abilities enabling him to learn the languages of sentient beings with whom he communicates. Deathurge is unharmed by energy attacks of beings in the grip of suicidal urges, but can be harmed by energy attacks of beings filled with a desire to live.
- Marvel Two-in-One #72
- Avengers #248-249
- Quasar #2 (November 1989)
- Quasar #39
- Quasar #21-25
- Quasar 23
- Avengers vol. 1 #248 p. 17