Real Name: Samantha McGee

Identity/Class: Human/"Host"

Occupation: Owner of McGee Charter Service, former pilot in the US Air Force

Group Membership: Exemplars
former US Air Force

Affiliations: Balthakk

Enemies: Avengers (Captain America/Steve Rogers, Firestar/Angelica Jones, Giant Man/Hank Pym, Hercules, Iron Man/Tony Stark, Justice/Vance Astrovik, Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff, Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, Thor/Odinson, Wasp/Janet Van Dyne, Wonder Man/Simon Williams), Avengers Unity Squad (Black Knight/Dane Whitman, Brother Voodoo/Jericho Drumm, Captain America/Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers, Vision), Juggernaut (Cain Marko), J. Vernon Mann, Nova (Richard Rider), Professor X, Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Sam

Base of Operations: Nunavut territory, Canada

First Appearance: Iron Man III#21/2 (October, 1999)



Powers/Abilities: (as Sam): Skilled pilot, didn't respond well to military discipline;
(as Inferno): Has the ability to fly and project heat energy blasts of great power, shows excellent combat techniques

History: (Iron Man III#22 (fb) - BTS) - Balthakk empowered the Brazier as part of the Wager of the Octessence.

BTS - Born in poverty in rural Tennessee. Escaped economic deprivation by joining the Air Force. She did not respond well to military discipline, however, and left the service, choosing instead to be self-employed. But the air charter business has been less lucrative than she had hoped. She came to Canada for freedom, and has since been working in the Nunevut territory


BTS - Hired by Stark Solutions


(Iron Man III#21/2) - Meets with Tony Stark at Saskatoon International airport. Flies him and the cargo to the Nunavut territory, has a conversation with him. Tells him how she feels about the old and bad weather, thinking it's easy for him to admire the nature, because he'll leave again soon, while she is stucked there. Arrives to their destination, is met by Dr. Mann, brought to the Temple of Balthakk, which has been buried under the ice for centuries. The next day, gets a bit tired listening to the scientists, thinking of them as big kids playing in the dirt, and if it wasn't for Stark paying her, she would leave. When Zorba and Zanda arrive, Sam discovers a bright light, touches the Blinding Brazier of Balthakk and dissappears in a big bang, which transforms her into Inferno. Attacks Iron Man




(Iron Man III#22) - Continues her battle with Iron Man. Iron Man tries to take her out in the open air with him to fight her there better. When she says "You're suppose to get use to the cold, but I never have", Iron Man discovers that Inferno is Sam McGee. He tries to reason with her, but fails. She leaves with the words "Bedlam and Conquest have awakened, The Eight Day is approaching"

(Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#11) - Revealed to be present in the basement of Daily Bugle alongside the rest of the Exemplars. Fights Spider-Man. Later when Spider-Man returns with Dr. Mann, Iron Man and Thor fight the Exemplars.

(Juggernaut: Eight Day#1) - Alongside the rest of the Exemplars, waits for the finishing of the "God Machine". When Stonecutter finishes it, it is brought to the North Pole. When there she expresses her hatred of the cold. Later when Juggernaut begins to attack the Exemplars, she starts to fight Iron Man once more. When the final battle is lost, she vanishes alongside the rest of the Exemplars

BTS - Reunited with the other Exemplars

(Avengers III#24) - In the stone plaza created by Stonecutter, she tries to makes Tempest and Decay stop fighting. She yells at Bedlam to stop now, and is attacked by her. Later ,alongside the rest of the Exemplars, appears before the Avengers and kidnaps Juggernaut.

(Avengers III#25) - Alongside the rest of the Exemplars, present at the stone plaza created by Stonecutter, preparing for the executing of the traitor Juggernaut, and for the gigantic battle between the Exemplars. Suddenly the stone plaza is attacked by the Avengers, Spider-Man and Nova. Inferno joins forces with Carnivore to fight Thor. In the end, Inferno and the rest of the Exemplars are successful in defeating all of the superheroes except Captain America. Inferno is defeated herself when Captain America manages to persuade Bedlam to turn against her partners. All of the Exemplars then vanish.


(Black Knight III#2) - The Exemplars returned and were stopped by the Avengers Unity Squad. They were all shocked when Black Knight apparently slew Carnivore with the Ebony Blade.

Comments: Created by Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern & Tom Grummett

I was looking through some of the profiles on your awesome site when I stumbled across the Exemplars, particularly one character by the name of Inferno, AKA Samantha McGee. Looking over the background, I realized that Kurt Busiek most likely took the inspiration for the character from a Canadian poem called "The Cremation of Sam McGee", written by a Scot named Robert W. Service, who moved to Canada, took a job at a Canadian bank and > was posted to the bank's branch in the Yukon Territory in far > north-western Canada on the border with Alaska.
The similarities between the Sam McGee of the poem and the Sam McGee of the comics are numerous:

  1. Both Sam McGees come from Tennessee and moved to the northern Canadian territories, although Nunavut is the easternmost of the territories, and the Yukon the westernmost
  2. Both McGees have to do with fire (the McGee of the poem is cremated by his friend, while the McGee of the comics essentially catches fire when she obtains the Blinding Brazier of Balthakk)
  3. The title of the story borrows a line from the poem ("Strange things done in the midnight sun", as one of your screen captures shows)
  4. Their names are similar (Samantha McGee vs. Samuel McGee; Busiek just changed the gender)
Information on Robert Service can be found here.
The poem can be read online here.
--Jared Milne

Jared Milne has it right -- Inferno is indeed named after (and has other details inspired by) "The Cremation of Sam McGee." It was Roger Stern who scripted the story, though, so the "Strange things done in the midnight sun..." bit was his addition.
--Kurt Busiek

According to Kurt Busiek the costumes for all the Exemplars (except for Juggernaut) were designed by Jos&eacte; Ladrönn. Thanks to Minor Irritant for the information.

Black Knight III addition by Markus Raymond.

Profile by: The Beetle

Inferno has no known connection to:

Balthakk is also known as Balthaak.

A brazier, which is a pan for burning coals, should be differentiated from a brassiere, the female undergarment designed by Joseph Titzling.

images: (without ads)
Iron Man III#21, p23 (main image)
  p12, pan7 (head shot)
  p15 (Temple of Balthakk)
  p21, pan1 (Blinding Brazier of Balthakk)

Iron Man III#21 (October, 1999) - Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern (writer), Tom Grummett (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Iron Man III#22 (November, 1999) - Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern (writers), Sean Chen (pencils), Rob Hunter, Rags Morales, Nelson & Eric Cannon (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man II#11 (November, 1999) - Howard Mackie (writer), John Romita Jr (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Juggernaut: Eight Day (November, 1999) - Joe Casey (writer), Terry Shoemaker (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Avengers III#24 (January, 2000) - Kurt Busiek (writer), George Perez (pencils), Al Vey & Dick Giordano (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers III#25 (February, 2000) - Kurt Busiek (writer), George Perez (pencils), Al Vey (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Black Knight III#2 (February, 2016) - Frank Tieri (writer), Luca Pizzari & Kev Walker (artist), Wil Moss (editor)

First Posted: 01/07/2003
Last updated: 01/12/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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