Jack O'Lantern (Marvel Comics)
Fictional character biography
Jack O'Lantern (Jason Macendale) encounters Spider-Man for the first time. From Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #56
|First appearance||Machine Man #19 (Feb 1981)|
|Created by||Tom DeFalco
|Alter ego||Jason Philip Macendale, Jr.|
The original Jack O'Lantern was disgraced ex-CIA Agent Jason Macendale, who assumed the identity after several years working as a freelance mercenary. Macendale was primarily a foe of Spider-Man and during his time under the alias, formed a working relationship with Hobgoblin. However, the man Macendale ultimately learned was Hobgoblin (Ned Leeds) turned out to be a brainwashed pawn of the real Hobgoblin, Roderick Kingsley.
When Hobgoblin endangered Jack O'Lantern's life to pursue Spider-Man in battle, the two former allies had a bitter falling out. Macendale vowed revenge and hired the services of the assassin Foreigner to kill Ned Leeds and deliver the Hobgoblin costume and weaponry to Macendale. Macendale then became Hobgoblin, though with little luck, and spent most of his tenure as Hobgoblin mentally ill after a deal with a demon disfigured him and drove him to madness, and with the rest of the super-villain community shunning him for his failure to live up to the legacy of his murdered predecessor. In the end, Macendale was killed by Kingsley, who came out of retirement to kill Macendale when he outed Ned Leeds as "Hobgoblin".
During the fourth Secret Wars mini-series, a man claiming to be Jason Macendale was arrested while committing crimes under the alias of Jack O'Lantern. This version of Macendale, not showing any signs of the extensive cybernetic replacement limbs the real Macendale had, was arrested by SHIELD agents. During interrogation, "Macendale" claimed to have led a "double life" as far as keeping the Jack O'Lantern persona alive while he was active as Hobgoblin, going so far as to claiming to be Mad Jack as well. Despite the fact that these claims were refuted as lies (indeed Macendale was mentally ill for the bulk of his time as Hobgoblin), SHIELD granted "Macendale" his freedom when he offered to give up the name of the much sought after financial backers of the criminal super-scientist "The Tinkerer", who supplies a good number of the super-villains in the Marvel Universe with weapons and costumes.
Steven Mark Levins
Stevin Mark Levins makes his first appearance as Jack O'Lantern battling Captain America. From Captain America #396.
|First appearance||Captain America #396 (Jan 1992)|
|Created by||Mark Gruenwald
|Alter ego||Steven Mark Levins|
|Team affiliations||Skeleton Crew
This version of the character was subjected to much controversy, due to the fact that several years after his introduction he was rebranded "Mad Jack" and was heavily featured in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man during the late 1990s. Mad Jack was ultimately revealed to be the duo of ex-Mysterio Daniel Berkhart and Mysterio's cousin, Maguire Beck.
It was not until the one-shot New Avengers Most Wanted, a character compendium, that the second Jack O'Lantern was confirmed as a separate entity from Mad Jack. The character was given the name Steven Mark Levins in said special. However, the character's name would not be used in-story until Ghost Rider vol. 5 #10 (2007).
This incarnation of Jack O'Lantern was a professional criminal, and a partner of Blackwing. Alongside Blackwing, he searched Skullhouse and first battled Captain America. With Blackwing, he was then admitted as a provisional member of the loosely-knit band of Red Skull operatives called the Skeleton Crew.
Soon after that, Jack O'Lantern fought Crossbones and Diamondback, and captured Diamondback. Diamondback tried to escape, and Jack O'Lantern fought her in mid-air. He was ultimately defeated in combat by the Falcon, and taken to the Vault.
Following his defeat, Levins was recruited to serve as part of the Thunderbolts hero-hunting squad during the Civil War storyline. While pursuing Spider-Man' through Manhattan sewers alongside the Jester in Civil War #5, Levins was killed by the Punisher, who shot Levins in the head, killing him instantly. However, death would not be the end of Levins's story. His headless corpse was reanimated in Ghost Rider vol. 5, #8, having been possessed by a fragment of Lucifer's soul, and now exhibits the ability to detach, levitate, and explode his head (now replaced with a real life pumpkin), among other powers. However, the Ghost Rider was able to exorcise him by ripping his heart from his chest, setting it aflame, and putting it back in his chest, causing it to explode inside.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Levins was among the dead characters seen in Erebus by Hercules. He was later seen on Pluto's jury (alongside Abomination, Armless Tiger Man, Artume, Baron Heinrich Zemo, Commander Kraken, Iron Monger, Kyknos, Nessus, Orka, Scourge of the Underworld, and Veranke) for Zeus' trial.
|First appearance||The Spectacular Spider-Man #241|
|Created by||Gerry Conway, Ross Andru|
|Alter ego||Daniel Berkhart|
|Team affiliations||J. Jonah Jameson|
Former Mysterio Daniel Berkhart was approached by Norman Osborn, who provided him a version of the Jack O'Lantern costume, under the alias "Mad Jack". Under Osborn's orders, Berkhart kidnapped John Jameson and exposed him to mind altering chemicals that turned him into a mind controlled pawn, turning him into his super-powered wolf alter-ego persona "Man-Wolf". Jameson was then sent to attack his father J. Jonah Jameson, to terrorize him and cow him into being subservient towards Osborn's scheme to buy the Daily Bugle. During this time, he also stalked Jameson's wife, Marla, implying that the two had a past relationship that Berkhart sought to rekindle.
Berkhart's working relationship with Osborn ended when the Green Goblin participated in a magical ritual that rendered him completely insane. Berkhart was then approached by Maguire Beck, the female cousin of Quentin Beck, the original Mysterio. Maguire convinced Berkhart to re-assume the identity of Mysterio following her cousin Quentin's suicide and the "Mad Jack" costumed identity was retired. However, when the two sought to eliminate Spider-Man, Daredevil, J. Jonah Jameson, and several other mutual enemies, the two revived the "Mad Jack" persona, with Maguire using holograms and lifelike robotic versions of Mad Jack and Berkhart himself, to serve as proxies for herself while she laid in secret. In the end, Maguire was caught and exposed, though due to her usage of Berkhart androids, Daredevil and Spider-Man were left unsure as to whether or not Berkhart was truly involved. However Berkhart did ultimately escape with a Mysterio costume, in the confusion at the end.[volume & issue needed]
In the miniseries Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do, Francis Klum (who would later become Mysterio) purchased Mysterio's weapons and gimmick in order to become yet another new Mysterio. The seller, the Kingpin, said he had acquired the arsenal "from Jack-O-Lantern".
|First appearance||Dark Reign: Made Men #1 (Nov 2009)|
|Created by||John Paul Leon
An unnamed man who claimed to be Steve Levins' brother has since been caught by the police. This man was shown to be able to transform into a Jack O'Lantern-headed villain using the powers of a mystical demon. The police interrogated the man, but he was later released by Norman Osborn who wanted this Jack O'Lantern in his army.
Crime Master's Jack O'Lantern
The Crime-Master's Jack O'Lantern makes his first cover appearance battling Venom. From Venom #12.
|First appearance||Venom vol. 2 #1 (2011)|
|Created by||Rick Remender
|Team affiliations||Savage Six|
After Osborn's fall, a new Jack O'Lantern appears working for the third Crime Master. As a child, the kid that would become Jack O'Lantern has disobeyed his parents and maltreated animals. When going as Jack O'Lantern for Halloween, he came across a house that Crime Master was in and gassed. Crime Master took the boy under his wing and trained him to be an assassin. It was with this training that Jack O'Lantern had killed his parents. Jack O'Lantern claimed that he had killed anyone that has used the Jack O'Lantern mantle. One of his jobs brings him into conflict with the government operative Venom. During this conflict Flash threw a live grenade into his mouthpiece and it dislocated his jaw. Even after the explosion he was still able to run and retreat. Later, Crime Master is able to use contacts to discover Venom's true identity, and has Jack O'Lantern kidnap Flash's girlfriend, Betty Brant, in exchange for Venom letting Crime Master get his shipment of Antarctic Vibranium. When Venom leaves to rescue Betty, he is distracted by Spider-Man's appearance, which drives the symbiote into an uncontrollable rage. Eventually Betty is rescued at the last second by Spider-Man, with Venom then trying to recapture Crime Master. However, Venom is attacked by Jack O'Lantern, who proclaims Flash as his first real arch-nemesis, and desiring revenge for the disfiguring grenade explosion, also mockingly calling Flash by his first name, "Eugene". While it hasn't been confirmed, this new Jack O'Lantern claims to have killed every other person to go by the name in an effort to "clean up the brand". Jack O'Lantern is a member of the Crime Master's Savage Six.
Powers and abilities
Levins modeled his costume and equipment after those created by Jason Philip Macendale, Jr.—the first Jack O'Lantern. Levins wore a complete body armor made of metal-mesh covered in multi-segmented Kevlar panels, incorporating a rigid, articulated shell which can resist a 7-pound bazooka anti-tank warhead. He wore a bulletproof helmet with an internal three hour, compressed air supply. The helmet is equipped with a telescopic infrared image-intensifier for seeing in the dark and 360 degree scanning device for seeing all around himself. The base of the helmet is equipped with a fine network of pinholes which maintain a low temperature, low density flame ("stage-fire") that rings the helmet at all times. The air supply cools the helmet's interior. The helmet is padded to protect his head from injury.
Levins is armed with wrist-blasters which can deliver an electrical shock within a range of 35 feet (11 m). He also used various types of grenades, including anesthetic, lachrymatory (tear gas), hallucinogenic, and regurgitant gas grenades, smoke grenades, and concussion grenades. The grenades are shaped like spheres or pumpkins. He can fire small grenades from wrist devices. He can also release "ghost-grabbers," which are thick, semi-transparent films which adhere to a victim.
Levins rides atop a one-man hovercraft with an electric motor powered by a high density lithium rechargeable battery.
Berkhart used the same weapons as the previous incarnations of Jack O'Lantern, along with chemical weapons that cause psychedelic and mind-bending hallucinations. His accomplice Maguire was an expert designer of special effects devices and stage illusions, a master hypnotist, and skilled in chemistry and robotics, including a lifelike robotic black cat. She has used her advanced knowledge of computer imaging and virtual reality to improve upon Mysterio's techniques, allowing for her to pretend to be Mad Jack via proxies while safely hidden in her secret lair.
Crime Master's Jack O-Lantern, along with the same general weapons the previous ones used, has a fleet of tiny flying cartoon-styled devil robots. Instead of Levins' hovercraft, he rides a jet-powered "broomstick".
In other media
- Jack O'Lantern appeared in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series video games as a mini-boss in The Ravencroft Prison for the Insane level in the SNES/Sega Genesis version.
- Jack O'Lantern appears in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. He appears in the background of in-game videos as one of the supervillains controlled by the S.H.I.E.L.D. Control Nanites. He also is detailed in unlockable art, but does not appear in the game.
- Jack O'Lantern is featured as a mini-boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Captain America #396-397
- Captain America #398
- Captain America #405-408
- Captain America #409
- Captain America #410
- Union Jack #2
- Mark Millar (w), Steve McNiven (p), Dexter Vines (i). "War" Civil War 5 (November 2006), Marvel Comics
- Incredible Hercules #129
- The Spectacular Spider-Man #241-248
- Spider-Man/Black Cat #6
- Dark Reign: Made Men #1
- Venom vol. 2 #2
- Venom vol. 2 #9
- Venom vol. 2 #10
- Venom vol. 2 #1
- Venom vol. 2 #3-4
- Venom vol. 2 #11
- Venom vol. 2 #12
- Jack O'Lantern (Levins) at Marvel.com
- Jack O'Lantern (Maguire Beck) at Marvel.com
- Grand Comics Database
- Profile of Jack O'Lantern (Macendale) at Spiderfan.org
- Profile of Jack O'Lantern (Levins) at Spiderfan.org
- Profile of Jack O'Lantern (Berkhart) at Spiderfan.org
- Profile of Jack O'Lantern (Beck) at Spiderfan.org
- Jack O'Lantern (Levins) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe