Jack O'Lantern


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Jack O'Lantern

(pop culture)
With his “head” ablaze with a traditional jack-olantern, the assassin known as Jack O'Lantern has frightened many in the Marvel Universe. The pumpkin-headed terrorist was first introduced in the pages of Machine Man #19 (1981) in a story penned by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by Steve Ditko. MIT student Jason Macendale was recruited by the CIA and later became a star marine, but proved too brutal for America's military. He left the service to embark upon a career as an international mercenary. Underneath Jack O'Lantern's eerie costume— complete with a bulletproof helmet resembling a grotesque carved pumpkin and body armor made of metal-covered, multi-segmented Kevlar panels— Macendale was a highly trained mercenary. His knowledge of hand-to-hand combat, his flexibility, and his martial-arts skills rivaled the most honed Green Beret's. Jack O'Lantern was known for hurling numerous types of custom-designed hand grenades at his targets, including anesthetic, lachrymatory, regurgitant gas, smoke, and concussion grenades. He piloted a glider that resembled a Spanish sombrero, and wore energy blasters on his wrists. Despite his signature costume and bag of tricks, Jack O'Lantern was defeated by Machine Man, Silver Sable, and Spider-Man on numerous occasions. Growing ever more brutal with each loss, in a lust for power Jack O'Lantern orchestrated the murder of Ned Leeds, whom he believed to be the original Hobgoblin, and assumed that villain's costumed identity, continuing the long and often perplexing lineage of Hobgoblins. In actuality, the original Hobgoblin was Roderick Kingsley, who murdered Macendale years later in the Spider- Man: Hobgoblin Lives (1997) series. Subsequently, yet another Jack O'Lantern appeared, calling himself “Mad Jack.” Mad Jack was actually two people who took turns using the costume. One was Danny Berkhart, who had once impersonated Spider-Man's enemy, the original Mysterio. The other was Maguire Beck, the original Mysterio's cousin. Eventually Berkhart became a new Mysterio, and Beck became “Mad Jack” full time.
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