DR. KARL MALUS

Real Name: Dr. Karl Malus

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Criminal research scientist, former surgeon

Group Membership: Corporation, Power Broker Inc.

Affiliations: Armadillo, Armando Aviles, Bludgeon, Cruz, Cyclone, Daddy Longlegs, Enforcer, Goliath (now Atlas), Hammerhand, Hornet (Scotty McDowell), Human Fly (Rick Deacon), Madame Masque, the Maggia, Mangler, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Power Broker, Power Tools, Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation

Enemies: Atlas, Avengers, Bantam, Battlestar, Black Widow, Captain America, D-Man, Hawkeye, Madcap, Scotty McDowell, Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), Night Shift, Red Zepplin, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Thunderbolts, U.S. Agent, Vagabond, Werewolf

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Los Angeles, California
Miami, Florida

First Appearance: (BTS) Marvel Team-Up I#67 (March, 1978); (seen) Spider-Woman I#30 (September, 1980)

Powers/Abilities: Dr. Karl Malus has no superhuman powers. He is a brilliant surgeon with great knowledge in the field of chemistry, genetic manipulation and radiology. He is highly experienced at instilling superhuman powers in others, especially the strength augmentation technique.

Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 155 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

History: (Official Handbook Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8) - Dr. Karl Malus was fascinated by the subject of superhuman powers since the first time he read a newspaper account of the Fantastic Four. Upon graduating with a degree of biology from the University of California in Los Angeles, he applied to various institutions for a grant to study supernormal capacities in depth. Unable to get any funding through legal means, Malus contacted certain wealthy investors active in the Los Angeles criminal underground. They set him up with a laboratory facility with the agreement that they could exploit the results of his research. Malus immodestly called his facility the Institute for Supranormality Research despite the fact that he composed its entire staff. The underworld provided him with human test subjects to experiment upon composed of individuals the mob sought to liquidate. None of Malus' early test subjects survived his various experiments. Malus eventually hoped to find an individual who already had superhuman powers he could study. In the course of his research, Malus came up with a number of special toxins and other chemical-based weaponry, which he sold to such Los Angeles criminals such as the Enforcer.

(Marvel Team-Up I#67 (fb) - BTS) - Malus invented and sold a mnemonic scrambler to Kraven.

(Spider-Woman I#32 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Malus was contacted by Jack Russell who was seeking chemical means to control his Werewolf transformations.

(Spider-Woman I#30)- Malus encountered the Human Fly who had sought him out to bolster his waning powers. He sent him out to steal some special equipment, but the theft led the Fly into battle with Jessica Drew, the first Spider-Woman. Malus determined that to cure the Fly he had to transfer Spider-Woman's powers to the Fly. The Fly then lured Spider-Woman to Malus' facility by stealing the comatose body of Spider-Woman's then partner, criminologist Scotty McDowell, who had been stricken by one of the Enforcer's bullets. After Spider-Woman defeated the Fly, Malus offered to resuscitate McDowell in exchange for lenient treatment. While reviving him, Malus injected McDowell with an extract of the Fly's blood along with the antidote for the Enforcer's bullet.

(Spider-Woman I#31)- While incarcerated in jail, Malus listened with interest to radio reports of McDowell as the Hornet and his encounters with Spider-Woman. As the Hornet seemed to go on a rampage, Malus finagled his own release from jail in order to help them capture the Hornet. Malus was actually interested in obtaining Spider-Woman for his personal study. The police equipped him with a high-powered tranquilizer gun, but Malus actually used it to keep Spider-Woman from defeating the Hornet. In the resulting confusion, he escaped his police custody.

(Spider-Woman I#32)- As McDowell--as the Hornet--staggered home from his fight with Spider-Woman, he found Dr. Malus waiting for him. Malus revealed that he was responsible for his power as the Hornet. He revealed the treatment also caused certain repressed hostilities to surface that normally remained repressed. He provided him with a larger dose to renew and enhance McDowell's powers knowing fully that it would cause him to act even more erratic and mentally unstable than before. Under Malus' influence, McDowell then gave Spider-Woman a tip on where to find the Hornet.

After the Hornet was once again defeated by Spider-Woman, Malus realized that McDowell was becoming too irrational to defeat Spider-Woman for his purposes. He made contact with Jack Russell claiming he now had the time to help him. He equipped Russell with a device mounted to his neck that was supposed to help him control his transformations, but it actually placed Russell directly under his control. Malus tested his control on Russell as the Werewolf by having him destroy a marble statue in front of the Los Angeles Center for the Performing Arts. Controlling the Werewolf (using a mnemonic scrambler) and the Hornet, Malus sent them both against Spider-Woman, but they actually got in each other's way. As Spider-Woman shorted out the control Malus had the Werewolf, they ganged up to defeat Malus and the Werewolf. Realizing his waylaid plans, Malus attempted to flee, but the Werewolf caught him and threw him hard against a wall out of revenge for trying to control him.

(Iron Man Annual#7 (fb))- Dr. Malus helped restore the superhuman Daddly Longlegs to his normal size. In the course of doing so, he learned how to harness Pym Particles.

(Iron Man Annual#7)- Dr. Malus was approached by Erik Josten, the super-criminal known as Power Man and the Smuggler. He wanted to regain the strength he had lost, and Malus put him through extensive tests. He was finally able to learn how to not only make Josten stronger, but granted him the ability to change size using Pym Particles. Josten became Goliath, but then turned on Malus, refusing to aid him in criminal endeavors, deciding he was powerful enough on his own. When Goliath was finally defeated by the West Coast Avengers, Malus decided it had all been a terrible waste.

(Captain America I#308 (fb))- Dr. Malus was sought out by Antonio Rodriguez, who was desperate to cure his wife Bonita's paralysis. Malus agreed to take the case, but had Antonio agree to serve as a test subject. Using gene splicing, Malus transformed Antonio into the Armadillo. He then sent him out to bring him Goliath, who lay in the Avengers Compound.

(Captain America I#308)- The Armadillo lost the Pym Particles needed to shrink Goliath down a manageable size, and returned to Malus to report his favor, unaware that Captain America had followed him. Malus threatened to kill Bonita unless Captain America lay down his shield, but Cap outsmarted him by striking down Malus with the shield first, breaking Malus' left arm. Captain America promised to turn Malus over to the authorities.

(Thing I#35 (fb, BTS), Official Handbook Marvel Universe#8)- Malus was contacted while in prison by Power Broker Inc. a mysterious underworld corporation whose major business was the supplying of superhuman manpower to various clients. Malus agreed to join the company for getting out of jail. Power Broker Inc. supplied Malus and his criminal scientists with all the test subjects they could manage. One of Power Broker Inc.'s major sources of clients were wrestlers who wished to have their strength augmented in order to join the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. To ensure the wrestlers kept paying twenty percent of their earnings back to Power Broker Inc., Malus administered a highly addictive synthetic drug to the wrestlers in the course of their treatment. Power Broker Inc. supplied further quantities of the drug to the wrestlers who met their payments and told them that they would die without it to stabilize their powers. In reality, they would only experience intense withdrawal.

(Thing I#35)- Stuntwoman Sharon Ventura presented herself to Malus for augmentation so that she could join the Grapplers, but she broke free before Malus could administer the drug to her that would force her to be completely dependant on Power Broker Inc. for more drugs. She broke free using her new augmented strength and even ran across Malus' failed monstrous experiments in her escape.

(Captain America I#328)- Captain America attempted to infiltrate a Power Broker clinic, but was brought down by security guards. Malus attempted to kill him by placing him under augmentation and trying to make his muscles expand until they burst, but he was saved by D-Man, who also took Malus hostage.

(Captain America I#329)- As Captain America toured the clinic's facilities with Malus, members of the Power Broker's Sweatshop arrived, and Cap brought Malus into the sewers to evade them. As Cap untied Malus' hands, Malus confessed that his failed test subjects had been deposited in the sewers, placing them both at risk. When some of the test subjects attacked Captain America, Malus fled through a drain pipe.

(Captain America I#330)- Malus was recaptured by members of the Night Shift, and forced to join them and Captain America as they invaded the Power Broker's home base.

(Captain America I#331)- Malus was forced to monitor D-Man's condition after he suffered a heart attack, and was later turned over to the authorities.

(Captain America I#363/2-364/2)- When the Power Broker was bed-ridden after his augmentation process made him so muscular he could no longer move, Malus had Bludgeon and Mangler bring him Vagabond, who had befriended the Power Broker. He forced Vagabond to use an epidermold so that he could obtain the Power Broker's fingerprints and use them to access his employer's safe, promising her a free augmentation if she did so. Vagabond collected the fingerprints, but demanded that Malus meet with her in a washroom to remove the explosive bracelet he had placed on her to ensure her loyalty. Vagabond managed to overpower Malus, destroyed the fingerprint mold, and contacted the U.S. Agent to pick up Malus and his men.

(Avengers Spotlight#29)- Dr. Malus had his Power Tools kidnap Madcap so that he could experiment upon him, and hoped that he could also experiment on Daredevil, but Madcap's capture brought Hawkeye to his doorstep instead. Hawkeye set Madcap free and fought the Power Tools while Malus fled, setting his laboratory to self-destruct.

(Captain America I#375/2 (fb, BTS))- The Power Broker had Malus' legs broken for trying to steal his fingerprints. He then put Malus in charge of an operation to cure him of his condition by experimenting on former test subjects, and Malus sent out the Power Tools to collect them.

(Captain America I#375/2-378/2)- Malus experimented upon the Red Zepplin and on Battlestar, and appeared to be making progress, when Battlestar managed to escape his cell and threatened Malus' life. Before the Power Tools and other security guards could respond, the U.S. Agent broke in and defeated them. He then forced Malus to restore all of the test subjects to normal, then destroyed his augmentation machine.

(Captain America Annual#12)- Dr. Malus set up an augmentation clinic in Florida, and under a deal with Armando Aviles, augmented boxers into superhumans for bouts in Puerto Rico. Malus augmented boxer Roberto Velasquez, ultimately resulting in him becoming the Bantam.

(Captain America Annual#12/2)- Captain America learned of Malus' operation, and was able to obtain an audience with Malus by pretending to be a previous augmentation subject. Malus immediately knew that Cap was not one of his prior subjects, but before he could react, the Bantam arrived, mad for revenge. Malus tried to flee with his ally Cruz, but Captain America struck them both down, and Bantam subsequently defeated another of Malus' employees, Hammerhand.

(Cage I#13 (fb) - BTS) - Some faction of the Corporation reorganized, under Dr. Karl Malus, based in the America Midwest, in Taylor, Mississippi.

(Cage#13, 14) - Malus gave the Corporation's quarterly report, announcing their great profit through the development of superhumans. They had made a good profit from their private army, the Assassin Nation (Contract, Kickback, Manslaughter, and Troubleshooter). He stressed the importance of their successfully remaining America's best kept secret. Malus initiated plans to turn James Lucas into their next operative: Coldfire. However, their capture of the Agent, Rick Mason, caused his father, the Tinkerer, to recruit Cage (Lucas' brother) to rescue him. Cage was more than happy to do so after learning his brother was involved.
    Cage, working alongside Dakota North, infiltrated the Corporation HQ, and freed his father (who had been kidnapped to force Lucas' compliance if needed), as well as the Agent. Upon learning that they had abducted his father, Coldfire turned against Malus and the Corporation, and attacked them. Though he was apparently destroyed as well, Coldfire destroyed the Corporation HQ, though many of its agents apparently escaped.

(Thunderbolts I#43)- Dr. Malus was hired by the Maggia to assist them in controlling Atlas and Wonder Man by using Baron Zemo's ion ray machine from his South American lab, but the lab was invaded by the Thunderbolts and Black Widow, who captured him before his bodyguard Cyclone could get him to safety.

(Thunderbolts I#44)- In return for a sentence reduction, Malus aided the Avengers, Thunderbolts and Madame Masque in designing the Ion Lock, a device which could decrease Count Nefaria's powers.

(Dark Reign Files) - Quasimodo researched Dr. Malus for Norman Osborn.

Comments: Created by Michael Fleisher, Steve Leialoha and Jim Mooney

Dr. Karl Malus has an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8...and in the Master Edition, too--Snood

Malus' connection to the Los Angeles criminal underground possibly places much of his research taken from the Doc, another scientist who took over Nicholas Trask's LA-based organization. Considering the Doc's past, much of his genetic secrets could be linked through the Jackal, Arnim Zola, The High Evolutionary and Maelstrom who have all been linked in recent years. Conceivably, Malus fits in there someplace as well but as yet this is all both debatable and theoretical.

According to the OHOTMUD#8, the same device that Malus used on the Werewolf was also used by Kraven the Hunter to control Tigra of the West Coast Avengers in Marvel Team-Up I#67 making it Malus' first BTS appearance.

The not-so-good doctor's remark that the technology used to mutate Coldfire was the same as that used to animate "a Living Colossus" might have been a reference to reverse-engineering of the original Kigor's spacecraft, by the Gargoyle (Gremlin's father), on behalf of the Soviet Union. This technology was then either bought (via the black market) or stolen-then duplicated, by Dr. Vault to temporarily take control of the Living Colossus during It's violent encounter with the Hulk, in L.A.
 
Dr. Vault might even have been Dr. Malus' mentor; the latter thereby "inheriting" the equipment, by that means!
--Carycomic

Dr. Karl Malus: mad scientist or science geek with a Moe Howard haircut?

Dr. Malus may be based on Professor Milo, a Batman villain with a similar haircut.
--John McDonagh

by Prime Eternal and Will U

CLARIFICATIONS:
Dr. Karl Malus should not be confused with:


Images taken from:
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8
Captain America I#364, page 27, panel 2
Captain America I#376, page 25, panel 4


Appearances:
Marvel Team-Up I#67 (March, 1978) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Dave Hunt (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Spider-Woman I#30-32 (September-November, 1980) - Michael Fleisher (writer), Steve Leialoha (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Iron Man Annual#7 (1984) - Bob Harras (writer), Luke McDonnell (pencils), Brian Akin & Steve Garvey (inks)
Captain America I#308 (August, 1985) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (insk), Michael Carlin (editor)
Thing I#35 (May, 1986) - Mike Carlin (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Sam De La Rosa (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Captain America I#328-329 (April-May, 1987) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Captain America I#330 (June, 1987) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Tom Morgan (pencils), Sam DeLaRosa (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Captain America I#331 (July, 1987) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Don Daley (editor)
Captain America I#363-364 (November-December, 1989) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mark Bright (pencils), Don Hudson (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers Spotlight#29 (February, 1990) - Howard Mackie & James Brock (writers), James Brock (pencils), Roy Richardson (inks), Mark Gruenwald & Gregory Wright (editor)
Captain America I#375-378 (August-October, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Dan Panosian (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Captain America Annual#12 (1993) - Mark Gruenwald & David Wohl (writers), M.C. Wyman (pencils), Charles Barnett (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Cage I#13-14 (April-May, 1993) - Marc McLaurin (writer), Scott Benefiel (#13) & Paris Cullins (#14) (pencils), Frank Turner (inks), Chris Cooper (editor)
Thunderbolts I#43-44 (October-November, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza & Kurt Busiek (writers), Mark Bagley (pencils), Greg Adams (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Dark Reign Files (February, 2009) - Michael Hoskin & various others (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)


Last updated: 02/17/11

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