CADAVER

Real Name: Cody Fleischer

Identity/Class: Deceased human resurrected by serving as host to magically-mutated demon

Occupation: Avatar of Agamotto; warrior

Group Membership: Secret Defenders (Luke Cage/Carl Lucas, Dagger (Tandy Bowen), Deadpool/Jack/"Wade Wilson," Deathlok (Michael Collins), Doctor Druid/Anthony Ludgate, Drax the Destroyer (Arthur Douglas), Shadowoman/Jillian Woods)

Affiliations: Archangel (Warren Worthington), Cognoscenti (Joshua Pryce & "Al"/Sidrat-Al-Muntah), Frank, Giant-Man (Henry Pym), Hulk (Bruce Banner), Iceman (Robert Drake), Iron Fist (Daniel Rand-K'ai), R.G. Mathieson, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Shadowoman, Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd), Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), U.S. Agent (Johnny Walker/Jack Daniels), Vishanti (Agamotto, Hoggoth, Oshtur);
    formerly Doctor Druid (Anthony Ludgate);
    Cadaver is an incarnation of the Pale Horseman utilizing the form of Cody Fleischer

Enemies: Doctor Druid (Anthony Ludgate), Malachi, Slaymaker, Slorioth, Swarm (Fritz von Meyer);
       he briefly opposed, then later allied with
Hulk (Bruce Banner), Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd);
    upon merging with Cody's form, the Pale Horseman initially attacked Luke Cage/Carl Lucas and Deadpool/Jack/"Wade Wilson,"

Known Relatives: Mr. Fleischer (father)

Aliases: Avatar of Agamotto, Fist of the Vishanti, Guardian of the Moebius Stone, Pale Horseman;
   
"Spike-Hair" (Hulk nickname for Cadaver)

Base of Operations: Currently unrevealed;
    formerly Dr. Druid's townhouse, Boston, Massachusetts;
    formerly Seattle, Washington

First Appearance: (Pale Horseman; cadaver is used as a description) Secret Defenders#16 (June, 1994);
    (identified as Cadaver)
Secret Defenders#18 (August, 1994)

Powers/Abilities: As a magically-transformed demon, the Pale Horseman is presumably immune to aging, conventional disease, and may or may not require oxygen.

    The Pale Horseman persona dominated the Cadaver form initially, with Cody occasionally taking over, but Cody was consistently in control after the first few issues. Perhaps their personae merged somewhat over time.

    Cadaver, at least, was superhumanly strong (lifting perhaps 2 tons) and durable. His body was comprised of a mystical blue flame, which can heal his wounds almost instantly.

    By drawing one of his ribcage bones out of his chest, Cadaver can transform it into his Sword of Bone, a mystical weapon covered with blue flame that can harm mystical beings and even superhumans as powerful as the Hulk.

    While a previous incarnation of the Pale Horseman could project powerful mystical blasts, sufficent to shatter the Moebius Stone (a mystic item created by Agamotto), Cadaver was not shown to do this.

Height: (Cody) 5'9"; (Cadaver) 6'2"
Weight: (Cody) 160 lbs.; (Cadaver) 200 lbs.
Eyes: (Cody) Brown; (Cadaver) Black with white pupils (yellow iris and red iris with black pupils in Secret Defenders #18, at least)
Hair: (Cody) Brown; (Cadaver) Grey

History: (Secret Defenders#16) - Cody Fleischer was hanging out with his friends at a graveyard in Seattle, Washington, when the sorceress Malachi appeared, desperate for life energy to empower herself. She kissed Cody, taking his life-force into herself through the Moebius Stone, then set off to find the last fragment of the Moebius Stone she coveted.

(Secret Defenders#16 / Secret Defenders#18 (fb) - BTS) - A spell from Agamotto sent the spirit of Agamotto's mystic guardian (aka the Pale Horseman, who had formerly watched over the Moebius Stone) to inhabit Fleischer's form. sword_of_bone-secdef16-swordform

(Secret Defenders#16) - This seemingly restored Fleischer to existence to serve as the latest incarnation of the Pale Horseman, guardian of (the last fragment of) the Moebius Stone. Proclaiming, "As one almighty fashioned woman from man's rib...so shall the instrument of vengeance be forged from the stuff of my body," the Pale Horseman tore out one of his own ribs, which converted into the mystically powerful Sword of Bone.

    The Pale Horseman used the Sword of Bone to shatter the wall to a nearby mausoleum to confront Malachi; however, as he confronted her, Cody's memories and personality reasserted themselves, causing him to lose focus and the advantage of surprise. As a result, Malachi reunited the final fragment with the Moebius Stone.

(Secret Defenders#17) - Dominated by Cody's memories and personality, Cadaver remained conflicted (and, at least visually, lacking the Sword of Bone), and he fell before the forces unleashed by Malachi via the Moebius Stone. After Malachi struck down Shadowoman, the Pale Horseman's persona reasserted itself and, again wielding the Sword of Bone, he charged Malachi, intending to set the Moebius Stone set asunder; nonetheless, he was again blasted away by the Moebius Stone's power.
    Ultimately, Deadpool slew Malachi.

    Strange, a mystical construct embodying Dr. Stephen Strange's mystic power, then appeared and prepared to claim the Moebius Stone. Though the Pale Horseman sliced through Strange with the Sword of Bone, Strange was minimally affected and instead blasted the Horseman back and considered claiming the Sword of Bone as well. However, the Sword rebelled at Strange's touch, releasing mystic flames that drove Strange back.
    The Pale Horseman attacked again, battering and distracting Strange long enough for Cage to throw the Moebius Stone to Druid, who used its own power to destroy it; unable to claim either mystic item, Strange departed.

(Secret Defenders#18) - Druid examined Cody's form, noting that he had no soul, confirming that Cody Flesicher's soul had departed his body when Malachi turned the Moebius Stone up him, leaving the shell free to be occupied by the spirit of the Stone's mystic guardian. Druid advised him that despite his thoughts and feelings, he was only the cadaver of Cody Fleischer, animated and sustained by some form of retro-metabolism.

    Cody acknowledged this information, surmising that not only was he dead but that he was not who he thought he was; he further questioned that if the Moebius Stone was behind his zombie form, why was he still around following its destruction. Druid advised him they might discover why in time. After Druid summoned the Jillian Woods (Shadowoman) from the Bride of Slorioth golden figurine, he instructed Cody not to inform her of what he had witnessed.

    Cody was largely silent as Druid's ally US government (Bureau 18) agent R.G. Mathieson arrived and told them of a number of fatalities associated with entomologists. He subsequently traveled alongside Druid, Shadowoman, and R.G. Mathieson to the Rand-Meachum supercollider in Houston, Texas to oppose the threat of Swarm; there, the Pale Horseman again reached into his chest and tore out a rib, which transformed into the Sword of Bone. The Horseman then used the sword to rend a massive hole in the ground below which Druid had sensed a disturbance. The Horseman continued to tunnel through the ground with the sword until they encountered millions of bees, against which the Sword of Bone was ill-equipped.

    When the cavern crumbled in, the Horseman was separated from the Sword before being bound to a wall and confronted by Swarm.

    Recovering from the cave-in and finding the Sword of Bone in the tunnel, Shadowoman tried to pick it up so she could return it to "Cody," but it flared up with blue flames when she approached, preventing her from grabbing it. She departed instead to find the Pale Horseman so she could bring him back to the Sword.

(Secret Defenders#19) - Druid mentally located the Sword of Bones in the heart of Swarm's catacombs, and he used psychokinesis to restore it to the hands of "Cadaver," who then used it to attack Swarm and his hive, destroying the latter, while Druid convinced Swarm to stand down, lest humanity destroy it. The Pale Horseman carved a tunnel through the ground via which he, Druid, and Shadowoman escaped to the surface.

(Secret Defenders#20) - Cadaver wanted to go home to his friends and family, and was teleported back to Seattle by Dr. Druid. He tried to meet up with his friend Frank, but Frank was terrified by him and ran away. Next, he went to visit his father, but his father suffered a heart attack when Cody told him who he was. Cody called an ambulance for him, then left.

(Secret Defenders#21) - Cadaver was then summoned by Dr. Druid to journey to San Francisco to aid him and Spider-Woman against Slaymaker. Cody stole a motorcycle, and (for the first time I noted in which Cody was in control) he summoned the Sword of Bones as he broke through a toll booth (since he had no money on him).
    Onlookers mistook him for Ghost Rider.

    Breaking his way into Slaymaker's lair in the sewers, Cadaver clashed with Slaymaker's creationss, which threatened to overwhelm him. He was soon joined by the U.S. Agent, who had come to find Spider-Woman. Dr. Druid set Cody on fire to help him drive off the creatures, and Slaymaker was finally placed in a coma when Dr. Druid altered his Panentropic Engine.

(Secret Defenders#22) - Cadaver (with Cody's persona dominant) was watching television when Shadowoman emerged from the Bride of Slorioth, angered with Dr. Druid. By the time he caught up with her, Dr. Druid had already calmed her, and informed Cadaver and Shadowoman that he was ready to free them all of their respective curses. He then teleported them to Starkesboro.

(Secret Defenders#23) - Joined by Deathlok, Dagger and Drax, the Cody-controlled Cadaver accompanied Dr. Druid to the Gates of Perdition, where they were to confront the demon Slorioth. However, as Dr. Druid departed, time-traveling past Defenders-- Silver Surfer, Hulk and Sub-Mariner-- appeared to oppose the Secret Defenders.

(Secret Defenders#24) - Pressured by Druid to act, Cody reluctantly engaged the Hulk, musing, "Maybe if I'm lucky, the worst that'll happen is I'll be set on fire!" He managed to harm the Hulk with his sword, but the Hulk then punched through Cadaver's side, incapacitating him.

    Healed via blue flames like those surrounding and empowering the Sword of Bones, the Pale Horseman slashed Namor's back with his sword, paining but not incapacitating him.

(Secret Defenders#25) - With Slorioth having emerged from the ground below them, the Pale Horseman used the Sword of Bone to slash at the behemoth, but found for each tentacle he severed, fifty more erupted.

    Sepulcre and Cadaver were taken aside by Joshua Pryce to face the real threat: Dr. Druid, corrupted by his dark side. As the Horseman drew the Sword of Bone and charged Dr. Druid, however, Druid assaulted Cadaver through the weak spot from which he had drawn the Sword, destroying him.

    Joshua took up the Sword of Bone and stabbed Druid, but the Slorioth-empowered Druid easily withstood this.

    Ultimately, Joshua brought in the Vishanti and the Living Tribunal, who judged and banished Druid and Slorioth. Agamotto restored Cadaver's form, noting that he would have need of him until the end of the War of the Seven Spheres-- which would take another five thousand years.

    Cadaver was angered to learn he would go on existing for so long.

(Sensational Spider-Man#22 - BTS) - The War of the Seven Spheres concluded.

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark considered Cadaver as a potential Initiative recruit.

(Marvel Tarot#1 - BTS) - The First Tarot showed Ian McNee Cadaver as the Judgement card. He noted that Cadavar was one of four malevolent demons converted into the service of justice. He continued that his portrayal sure looked a lot like Ghost Rider and wondered if there was connection between the two.

Comments: Created by Tom Brevoort, Mike Kanterovich, Bill Wylie and Tony Dezuniga.

    In Secret Defenders#16, after Cody Fleischer was resurrected via being merged with the Pale Horseman, and thusly being transformed. In that issue, he identifies himself as the Pale Horseman, while Deadpool notes he might be some "George Romero cadaver" (with "cadaver" in bold).
    In #17, Cage calls him "the dead guy" (with "dead guy" in bold) and two panels later "the cadaver kid."
    IN #18, Druid tells him that Cody Fleischer no longer exists, "only his cadaver remains...animated and sustained through some form of retro-metabolilsm" (with "cadaver" slightly bolded). Later on in the same issue, Druid says, "Cody Fleischer -- Cadaver -- is an ally of inestimable value." That's the first time "Cadaver" is an alias, rather than a description.
    As far as I could tell in reviewing the issues, the Cody persona calls himself Cody early on, and the Pale Horseman persona called himself the Pale Horseman...I don't think either Cody or the Pale Horseman persona ever referred to their form as "Cadaver."

    Any connection between Cadaver's blue flame and that of the Blue Blaze, the 1940's hero? Inquiring minds want to know.

    The War of the Seven Spheres wound up being resolved mostly off-panel (in Sensational Spider-Man#22). What does this mean for Cadaver? Beats me.

    Cadaver had the questionable honor to be one of the characters killed by the Hulk in War is Heck, an alternate Earth recount of events by Uatu, in World War Hulk: Front Line#4 (November, 2007) by Paul Jenkins (writer) & Chris Moreno (artist)

    Cadaver has an entry in Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic.

    Cadaver (not that he ever called himself that as far as I saw) had two personalities. The Pale Horseman was his "Fist of Agamotto" persona, and Cody was his mortal personality. In the history, I've generally tried to refer to those names based on whatever he was doing, but it was generally the Pale Horseman using the Sword of Bone.

Profile by Prime Eternal; updated/expanded by Snood

CLARIFICATIONS:
Cadaver should not be confused with:


Images taken from:
Secret Defenders#16, cover
Secret Defenders#16, page 12, panel 2
Secret Defenders#16, page 19, panel 2-3


Secret Defenders#16 (June, 1994) - Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich (writers), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Lynair Brust (assisant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#17 (July, 1994) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Jerry Decaire (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Lynair Brust (assisant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#18 (August, 1994) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writer), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga & Donald C. Hudson (inkers), Lynair Brust (assisant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#19-23 (September, 1994 - January, 1995) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writer), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Lynair Brust (assisant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#24 (September, 1994 - February, 1995) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writer), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Craig Anderson (editor)
Secret Defenders#25 (March, 1995) - Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writer), Bill Wylie (penciler), Tony DeZuniga (inker), Tom Rolston (assisant editor), Craig Anderson (editor)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report: Appendix (2007) - Ronald Byrd (writer), Anthony Flamini, Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Marvel Tarot#1 (2007) - David Sexton (writer, pencils, inks) Jeff Youngquist (editor)

First posted: 08/11/2004
Last updated: 02/14/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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