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Fictional character biography
Blackout, Marcus Daniels
|First appearance||Nova #19 (May 1978)|
|Created by||Marv Wolfman
|Alter ego||Marcus Daniels|
|Team affiliations||Masters of Evil
Marcus Daniels was born in Flushing, Queens, New York City. He was working as a laboratory assistant to Dr. Abner Croit, a physicist hoping to build a device capable of tapping into energies from other dimensions. Croit always looked down on Daniels’ inferior knowledge, making him feel useless. Daniels always wondered what it would be like to harness the energy they were researching, to be powerful. After an accident bathed him in the extra-dimensional energy of the Darkforce, he had the chance to find out. Calling himself Blackout, his body was now flushed with power, becoming a surface of control of the Darkforce dimension. However, despite his powers threatening to go out of control, he escaped from Croit's attempts to cure him and fled.
Blackout returned to the laboratories, however, as he needed the stabilizer device to control his energies. But he also returned to find revenge on Croit— Blackout's sanity began to suffer as well. He believed Croit was researching energies from "Black Stars" and that his body now generated such energy. He further believed that Croit was defrauding the government with his research and had bribed a judge to frame him for stealing his secrets. Instead of an accident causing his powers, Daniels thought Dr. Croit willfully subjected him to an experiment in exchange for dropping charges against him.
Nova encountered Blackout on his way to exact revenge, and Blackout easily defeated the young hero. Before Nova could catch up with him, Blackout returned to the labs, killing Croit and his new assistant by letting them “merge with the color spectrum” (actually, by shunting them to the Darkforce dimension). Following another skirmish with Nova, Blackout himself vanished into this dimension when he fell back onto the stabilizer during the battle, destroying it.
The stabilizer somehow ended up at Project Pegasus, the government energy research laboratory. An attack by the Lava Men and the presence of Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) managed to activate the device, which transported Blackout back to Earth. Still suffering from the delusion that Croit was still alive and out to harm him, he tried to escape. Blackout was coerced by another Project captive, Moonstone, into freeing herself and other superhuman criminals Electro and the Rhino in order to gain revenge on their captors. The villains were confronted by the Avengers, but Blackout and Moonstone escaped to the Darkforce Dimension by nearly causing the nuclear core of the complex to melt down as a distraction.
Moonstone, a former psychiatrist, treated Blackout in order to learn his true origin, but he remained in an irrational state. When the Avengers tracked them down, Blackout opened up another aperture into the Darkforce dimension in attempting to escape them, sucking himself and Moonstone inside. Moonstone helped Blackout navigate through the dimension, eventually arriving on the surface of the moon. She hoped to find another stone similar to that which gave her powers, but they encountered the Inhumans and their ally, Dazzler, who defeated the villains and returned them to Project: Pegasus on Earth.
Moonstone next appeared recruited by Baron Zemo to form his version of the Masters of Evil, and she brought Blackout in tow. By this time, Blackout's mental condition was so unstable that at times he sank into a nearly catatonic state, only responsive to Moonstone's manipulative commands. Zemo, however, with the help of the Fixer had created a device to mentally force Blackout to obey his commands. Blackout was instrumental in Zemo's takeover of the Avengers' headquarters by sending the entire mansion into the Darkforce dimension in one of the team’s darkest hours. Doctor Druid, used his psychic ability to break through Zemo and Moonstone’s manipulations, restoring some of Blackout’s mental faculties. With relative sanity restored, Blackout resisted Zemo's mental commands, the strain of which made Blackout collapse from a massive cerebral hemorrhage.
Blackout's body was remanded into the custody of the Commission on Superhuman Activities. Years later, his body was taken by Baron Zemo, manipulated like a puppet on strings to serve as a member of his team as he confronted the new Thunderbolts over the life of their member Photon. During the battle between the two teams, Zemo revealed Blackout was merely a shell in which he kept the Smuggler trapped. This had the desired effect of turning his brother, Atlas against his team, and Zemo gained the upper hand. He also used Blackout’s access to the Darkforce dimension in severing Photon’s physical form.
Art by Leinil Francis Yu.
|First appearance||Ghost Rider #2 (June 1990)|
|Created by||Howard Mackie
|Team affiliations||The Firm|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, durability, and reflexes
Psionic ability to extinguish light in his vicinity
Teeth and fingernails are replaced with mechanical prosthetics
The second Blackout was a darkness-generating superhuman and professional criminal who first appeared in Ghost Rider #2 (1990). He has the ability to automatically generate a light-dampening field which negates all visible light in a significant area. His albino-esque complexion and extreme physical sensitivity to sunlight and light in general are likely accounts for this power-manifestation, and its vampiric similarities apparently led him to have his teeth and fingernails replaced with mechanically-enhanced metal ones.
Blackout was initially employed by the demonic crime lord Deathwatch as an enforcer and assassin. Deathwatch ordered Blackout to search for bio-toxin canisters stolen by a youth gang named the Cypress Hill Jokers under their leader Paulie Stratton. Blackout murdered detective Frank Loretti and his family as well as Ralph D'Amato's parents before battling the Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch) for the first time. Deathwatch and Blackout then attacked the NYPD's 75th Precinct police station, murdered several police officers, stole the bio-toxin canisters, and abducted Paulie and the Cypress Hill Jokers. Subsequently, Blackout battled the Kingpin's men as well as Ghost Rider again. Blackout was disfigured in the battle when he was scorched by hellfire by trying to bite through Ghost Rider's jacket. This caused him to become Ghost Rider's sworn arch-enemy. Blackout learned Ghost Rider's identity as Dan Ketch, and murdered his comatose sister Barbara Ketch in revenge. Blackout then kills Ketch's acquaintances, newspaper vendor Theodore Larsen and Father Michael McDonald.
Blackout continued to stalk Ghost Rider. He encountered HEART, and menaced some Morlock children, murdering the Morlock Pixie (not to be confused with the X-Men character of the same name, Pixie). The Morlocks had been in conflict over a plan to change babies into mutated forms. Ghost Rider's incorrect belief it was Blackout behind the vanishing of babies brings the attention of the real Blackout. Though the children are rescued safely, with the assistance of X-Factor, Blackout manages to kill Pixie and escape after battling Ghost Rider again.
Blackout murdered several sewer workers, then battled Ghost Rider, John Blaze and HEART again; during this battle, his face is further disfigured by Blaze's gun, and Blackout was finally captured by the police. He was freed from prison by the Firm, then abducted Ketch's mother and friends, seemingly murdering Dan Ketch by tearing his throat out while he is in human form. Only supernatural intervention from other sources allows Dan to recover. In the meantime, Ghost Rider is still able to fight. Around this time, Blackout went on a murderous rampage through Central Park, leading to a hostage situation with the police. With Mr. Stern, Blackout is captured by Ghost Rider and sealed in a mausoleum.
With Mr. Stern, Blackout escaped the mausoleum. Blackout experienced a vision of Lilith, the demon-goddess, who claimed she was his grandmother. Blackout joined forces with Lilith and the Lilin, and would team up with many super-powered offspring of Lilith, all doing her will. Blackout, Creed, and Pilgrim abducted John Blaze's son, then battled Blaze and Ghost Rider. Alongside Lilth and the Lilin, Blackout battled Ghost Rider, John Blaze, Dr. Michael Morbius, the Nightstalkers, and the Darkhold Redeemers in Greenland. Blade impaled Blackout through the eye, killing him. Blackout was later reborn along with the rest of his fallen brethren, thanks to Lilith. He has a fresh new face but it is burned in battle with Ghost Rider.
During one of his many times working with Lilith, he re-inspires the police officer Badilino into becoming Vengeance again. Wracked with doubt after learning his demonic mission means little, Badilino is frozen with indecision as Lilith's forces, Blackout, Dark Legion and Meatmarket attack his precinct. Seeing Blackout threaten to consume a small child, Badilino transforms and literally leaps into action. The child is saved. Blackout takes an opportunity minutes later to attack Dan Ketch's friend Stacy Dolan. She is saved by Ghost Rider. Blackout and the Lilin are distracted by the arrival of Doctor Strange and other Midnight Sons, who are their primary objective. A spell, cast as the Sons retreat from overwhelming forces, protects the citizens in the precinct from being seen by Lilin.
After being defeated by the Midnight Sons, Blackout had his face deformities repaired and went back to work as a hired assassin, also eliminating a few personal grudges along the way. He becomes romantically obsessed with Wei, a female reporter who has figured out Ghost Rider's secret identity. His murderous torment of Wei causes her to snap and commit suicide live on camera. He is captured by Ghost Rider and chained over the World Trade Center where he is thought to have burned to death. Much later, Blackout was seen among the escaping villains in the prison breakout in New Avengers #1, and his sudden lack-of-death is later explained in the New Avengers: Most Wanted Files, where it is revealed he was arrested before burning to death.
Blackout was hired by the Hood to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act. He helped them fight the New Avengers but was taken down by Doctor Strange.
He joins with the Hood's gang in an attack on the New Avengers, who were expecting the Dark Avengers instead. He was recruited by Zadikiel to assemble a "task-force" of Ghost Rider foes in order to hunt down and destroy both the Ketch & Blaze Ghost Riders. Later, he attacked the church filled with the gun armed nuns, alongside Orb, Deacon and the new Vengeance. He cloaks the place in darkness threatening and mocking the nuns but is stopped by being shot with bullets that were covered in holy water. Blackout runs away screaming in pain into the night.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Blackout and Deathwatch assist Sin (in the form of Skadi) in attacking Dayton, Ohio. Since Johnny Blaze is no longer Ghost Rider, a man named Adam performs a ritual in a pyramid in Nicaragua in which one of his followers, a woman named Alejandra, becomes the new female Ghost Rider who is able to defeat Deathwatch and Blackout II.
He reappears as one of the villains summoned by Sin to battle Earth's heroes.
In an attempt to rebuild his reputation, Blackout goes after Superior Spider-Man. He kidnaps Peter Parker's Aunt May, and holds her hostage, demanding that Parker, as Spider-Man's "tech designer", hand himself over in exchange. Superior Spider-Man tracks him down, and they fight. Blackout gains the advantage and tries to bite out Spider-Man's neck. Unfortunately for Blackout, Spider-Man was wearing a metal neck cover under his costume, which electrocuted him. Spider-Man then tortured Blackout, ripping out his claws and teeth. In agony, Blackout begs for mercy, promising never to go after anyone Spider-Man knows again. Spider-Man tells him to spread the word to all the other criminals that "Peter Parker is off limits", then exposes Blackout to artificial sunlight, burning him.
Powers and abilities
The first Blackout was exposed to cosmic radiation, giving him the power to tap into the Darkforce, a source of infinite dark energy, and to manipulate it in various ways. He could project Darkforce as concussive energy with tremendous force. Blackout could mentally open portals to and from the Darkforce dimension. He could create and control simple, solid geometric shapes from Darkforce, such as discs, cubes, spheres, cylinders, and planes. These objects absorbed energy directed against them, and would remain solid as long as he exerted conscious control over them. He could psionically levitate Darkforce objects, and could fly by riding on them. Blackout was mentally unstable due to his time spent in the Darkforce Dimension, and sometimes entered a nearly catatonic state. His control over Darkforce was dependent on his mental clarity, and would weaken when he was fatigued. Training with Moonstone allowed him to maintain his Darkforce constructs for a considerably longer period of time. Blackout wore a costume with circuitry that helped him confine the Darkforce within his body. The costume was designed by Dr. Abner Croit. Blackout had a master's degree in physics, especially in the study of radiation.
The second Blackout is half demon, giving him several superhuman abilities. His strength, speed, stamina, durability, and reflexes are superhuman. He can see in near darkness, and he has the mystical ability to extinguish both natural and artificial light sources in his immediate vicinity. However, his skin is highly sensitive to light. He has enhanced teeth, jaws, and claws, which he usually employs to tear out the throats of his victims and enemies. He is a highly experienced hand-to-hand combatant, a superior acrobat, and wrestler.
In other media
Marcus Daniels appears in the 2014 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Providence", portrayed by Patrick Brennan. Marcus Daniels worked as a lab assistant as part of an experiment to harness Darkforce, but his exposure to that energy gave him the superhuman ability to absorb all forms of energy, even the kinetic energy of firearms. In the episode "Providence", Hydra takes over the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility known as the Fridge, where Daniels was incarcerated (thanks to Phil Coulson), and frees him. In the following episode, "The Only Light in the Darkness" Daniels pursues cellist Audrey Nathan, whom he considered his personal light. Coulson's team confronts him, overloading him with modified spotlights that produce gamma radiation, causing his body to explode.
Johnny Whitworth has confirmed that his character Ray Carrigan in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was based on Marvel's half-demon Blackout. As stated by Whitworth he plays "the villain who, at the beginning, up until like page 70, is human, [...] I'm not a very nice guy. I'm bad. I get turned into, for those who read 'Ghost Rider', the character Blackout. I get turned into him by the devil to complete my job. That gives me the fortitude to fight Ghost Rider and the supernatural abilities to compete on some level with that guy." The film creators have confirmed that the character will not follow the Marvel mythology of the character and admitted that they based his characterization on the look of the character alone. Ray Carrigan is a mercenary, drug dealer, and gun runner who works for Roarke (the human form of the Devil). He and his men are hired by Roarke to kidnap Danny, the son of Nadya (a woman who once was an ex-girlfriend of Carrigan and was saved from the brink of death by Roarke). Even though Ray and his men succeeded in capturing Danny, they end up pursued by Nayda and Ghost Rider. After being badly injured during a fight with Ghost Rider at a quarry, Carrigan's body is found dying under some rubble by Roarke. To ensure that Carrigan finishes his job, Roarke uses his powers to heal Carrigan by transforming him into Blackout. A difference between the comics version is that this Blackout has powers over darkness and decay and not a vampire. Blackout's decay powers don't work on a Twinkie when every other food he tries to eat rapidly decays the moment he touches it. When Ghost Rider, Moreau, and Nayda bring Danny to a holy area where Danny would be protected, the monks there wanted to kill the boy to prevent the Devil from getting them only for Blackout to kill the monks and recapture Danny. During the fight with Roarke to rescue Danny, Moreau sacrifices himself to distract Blackout from attacking Johnny Blaze (who is then repowered by Danny). In the final fight with Ghost Rider on the road, Blackout is killed when Ghost Rider uses the Penance Stare on him and throws him off of Nadya's truck.
- The Marcus Daniels version of Blackout appears in Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal as a boss.
- The half-demon version of Blackout appears in the Ghost Rider video game (based on the 2007 film of the same name), voiced by Lex Lang. In the game, he steals a modified jet ski and uses it to escape a lab while being chased by Ghost Rider.
- Nova #19
- Avengers #236-238
- Dazzler #32
- Avengers #273-277
- New Avengers #61
- Siege #3
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #2
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #3
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #7
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #8
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #9 (Jan. 1991)
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #14-15
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #25
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #28
- Spirits of Vengeance #1
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #31
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #41 (1993)
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #44 (1993)
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #54 (October 1994)
- Ghost Rider vol. 3 #66 (October 1995)
- New Avengers #35
- New Avengers Annual #2 (2005)
- Secret Invasion #6
- Ghost Rider vol. 6 #26-27
- New Avengers #50
- Ghost Rider vol. 6 #33
- Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #1-5
- Thor vol. 1 #608
- Ghost Rider Vol. 7 #1
- Fear Itself: The Fearless #10
- Superor Spider-Man Annual #1 (2013)
- "Exclusive: Patrick Brennan Brings a Blackout to Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.". Marvel. March 28, 2014. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- "Superherohype.com: Blackout Confirmed for 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance'".
- "Ghost Rider Sequel's Blackout Won't Follow Marvel Mythology".