Real Name: Arnie Gunderson

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Criminal

Group Membership: Leader of the Band of Baddies (Bloodlust, "Dentist", "Savage Fin", Whiplash)

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Captain and Mary; Spider-Man, Wolverine

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Fatso (per Spidey)


Base of Operations: a warehouse in Manhattan (the same one in which Spider-Man confronted the Burglar who killed his Uncle Ben)

First Appearance: Marvel Comics Presents#48 (BTS), Marvel Comics Presents#49 (both 1990--month not given)

Powers/Abilities: Critical Mass can generate explosive force which he can project from his fingertips.

History: Arnie Gunderson was the fourth grade classmate of Peter Parker.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#48-BTS, 49, 50) - Now known as Critical Mass, Gunderson organized his Band of Baddies and kidnapped Mary, a powerful young mutant, and her father, in order to force her to do their bidding. Wolverine learned of the kidnapping and tracked them to an abandoned warehouse, where Spider-Man joined him. The two tried to sneak in, but were discovered and wound up fighting the Band of Baddies. It was an even fight until the "Savage Fin" threatened to have the "Dentist" kill her father unless she used his powers against Spidey and Wolvie. She did, blasting them into submission.
However, the two recovered quickly and the fighting started anew. As the two heroes gained the advantage, the Savage Fin threatened Mary at gunpoint. She responded by unleashing her powers--blowing up the warehouse and seemingly killing the Baddies.


Comments: Created by Erik Larsen.

This story was written just a few years before Larsen left Marvel to co-found Image. His unnamed villain looks similar to Larsen's creation the Savage Dragon (whom he'd created years before). I'm ASSuming that's deliberate, hence the name, the Savage Fin.

Erik Larsen (as confirmed by the man himself) used these characters as a tribute to DC's Captain Marvel, due to the recent passing of his creator, CC Beck.--Greg O
It's just can't argue with those eyebrows. He uses the trademark, "Holey Moley," mentions his friend Fred (Freddy Freeman), aka Captain Marvel, jr. He mentions being an orphan (as with Billy Batson), and Wolverine calls him "Captain." I ASSume that would make Mary...Mary Marvel.

Also, it is frequently written that the Burglar who killed Uncle Ben has never been named. His last name has been revealed, and it is Carradine. His daughter, Jessica Carradine, met Ben Reilly, the Spider-Clone (first in Sensational Spider-Man II#0). Although, she could have had her name changed, I guess. The Burglar died in Amazing Spider-Man I#200.

This whole story was about strange coincidences. Peter did wonder if he imagined or dreamed the whole thing. Wolverine was part of it, too, so it wasn't an imaginary tale, but Spidey could have deluded himself into seeing the forms of people he knew, I guess.

Both Bloodlust and Whiplash survived the blast (and went on to be seen with the Femme Fatales), so it seems likely that any or all of Critical Mass, the Dentist, and the Savage Fin could have survived as well.

In case anyone actually cares, Larsen mentioned in an interview with Wizard his plans to bring these two back during his run on WOLVERINE. I'm guessing he didn't.  He said Mary'd be brought to Wolverine for training, not as a sidekick, but as a partner -- "I always like the spritely firebrand, the Mary Marvel type, who can fly in and beat the crap out of the badguys."
--Flank McLargehuge

No known connections to Critical Mass, the title for the conclusion to the Shadowline series by Epic

The Captain, "Mr. Beck" has no known connection to:

"The Dentist" has no known connection to:

Mary has no known connection to:

The "Savage Fin" has no known connections to:

Band of Baddies

-They are described as a "band of evil mutants" by Wolverine. They kidnapped Mary and her father, fought Spider-Man and Wolverine, and were caught in the explosion of the warehouse (caused by Mary).


Critical Mass


The other two members are unnamed, but I'll name them here, for the purposes of identification.

"The Dentist"

He is actually Peter Parker's dentist. How he got hooked up with a band of evil mutants and why he wore the same type clothing as the Burglar who killed Ben Parker was not revealed. We were supposed to think it was the Burglar until this scene. Anyway, he held a gun to Mary's dad's head to keep Mary in line, until he was knocked out by Spidey.

He carried a handgun.

--Marvel Comics Presents I#48-BTS, 49 (50





"Savage Fin"

He is presumably a mutant. He personally held on to Mary, threatening to kill her father to make her use her powers to help them, and later threatening to kill her if the heroes didn't back off. Spider-Man broke his nose, and he may have been killed when the warehouse exploded.

He presumably had some sort of fishy power, but he didn't demonstrate any. He carried a handgun as well.

--Marvel Comics Presents I#48-BTS, 49 (50







She is the daughter of "Mr. Beck" and is a powerful mutant. She was captured by the Band of Baddies who also held her father hostage to force her to obey their wishes. Initially, she complied, striking out at Wolverine and Spidey, but later she turned her powers against the Baddies, blowing up the warehouse and incapacitating them. She was last seen, in disguise, after relocating to Kansas, where her father would train her to use her powers wisely.

Mary can release devastating blasts of energy. Wolverine described her as possibly being the most powerful mutant ever.

--Marvel Comics Presents I#48-BTS, 49 (50


See comments



He is the father of Mary, and was kidnapped to keep her in line. He used to have powerws, but lost them under unknown circumstances. He is apparently an old associate of Wolverine, who came to his rescue after learning he had been kidnapped. After being freed, he and Mary moved to Kansas, where they disguised themselves slightly and took new identies. He became "Mr. Beck."

--Marvel Comics Presents I#48-BTS, 49, 50 (face seen)

See comments


images: (without ads)
Marvel Comics Presents I#49, p3, pan1 (main image)
  p3, pan4 (Critical Mass shoots)
  #50, p1 ("The Dentist")
  #50, p4, pan5 ("Dentist" unmasked)
  #50, p1 ("Savage Fin")
  #49, p8, pan1 ("Savage Fin" head shot)
  #49, p8, pan1 (Mary as child)
  #50, p8, pan4 (real Mary)
  #50, p8, pan4 (Captain)

Marvel Comics Presents I#48-50 (1990) - Erik Larsen (writer/pencils), Joe Rubinstein (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)

First Posted: 08/11/2002
Last updated: 08/17/2002

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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