Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human mutant/mutate (?)
Group Membership: None
possibly the Rodina, Sasha, Yuri
Enemies: Elixir, Havok, Wolverine (James Howlett/Logan)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: General Meltdown (applied to him by Doctor Neutron)
Base of Operations:
formerly Siberia, Russia
(Chess piece in his image seen, also
BTS speaking) Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#1 (1988);
(actually seen) Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#2 (1988)
Powers/Abilities: Meltdown can absorb radiation and give it off in the form of destructive blasts. However, he has difficulty in absorbing radiation that is not in a very concentrated form. Actually, he could not generate his own radiation unless given a sort of "jumpstart" after having absorbed a large amount of pre-existing radiation already. Meltdown had superhuman recuperative abilities, but impaling him with boron rods served to dampen his powers. After almost dying, he found he could also slowly absorb the lifeforce of other creatures to sustain himself.
History: Little is known of Meltdown's history. He may be either a mutant or mutate.
(Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#1 (fb) - BTS) - Meltdown apparently served in the Russian army as a general, but he was stripped of his rank before being sent to
(Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#1 (fb), Avengers I#326 (fb, bts?), Avengers I#327 (fb, bts?)) - On April 25, 1986 (or rather two years before the events set in the present in this issue) Meltdown and his accomplice Doctor Neutron engineered the explosion of a Russian nuclear power plant. They did this with the intent that Meltdown would absorb the resulting power surge, giving him the "jumpstart" needed to start generating his own radiation.
Possibly, Meltdown and Neutron employed two suicide mission agents named Sasha and Yuri to aid in bringing about the disaster. The day the explosion happened, a Lieutenant Illarion Pavlovich Ramskov was lowered into this same power plant by his aid Shoshkin just before it exploded. He sought to stop a superheated steam pipe from venting radioactive vapor into the atmosphere. While struggling to shut down the pipe, he overheard Sasha and Yuri attempting to pry out equipment in another room. They were dismantling a device attached to the reactor called a Gluon separator, tampering with the damper elements. Ramskov followed Sasha and Yuri, chasing them as they fled with the Gluon separator.
The two saboteurs attacked Ramskov with crowbars. However, Ramskov managed to disarm one of the attackers and take his crowbar. So, Yuri threw the Gluon separator at Ramskov. Ramskov batted at it with a crowbar, smashing the neutralizer element, and causing a power surge. Ramskov somehow survived the incident, though he developed leukemia. In any event, the nuclear power plant exploded, resulting in a spectacular blast. However, Meltdown could not absorb it, as its radiation was dispersed too widely for direct absorption.
As a result of this fiasco, many people died or contracted radiation sickness. So, both Meltdown and Doctor Neutron were placed in an asylum in Siberia. However, they soon gained control of the asylum, using it secretly as a powerbase from which to plot anew. Neutron and Meltdown took an interest in the American mutant Havok (Alex Summers), since his ability to absorb radiation and release it in a concentrated form could work as the source of the "jumpstart" Meltdown needed.
(Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#1 - off panel, voice only) - General Meltdown and Doctor Neutron spoke of the past as their agents observed Havok and Wolverine in a Mexican bar. Their underlings pursued Wolverine and Havok in a frenzied chase, until the two mutants seemed to lose them. However, then their agent Quark, posing as an innocent bystander, shot both of the mutants with tranquilizing bullets. The bullets she used on Wolverine contained bubonic plague. Wolverine was left behind, and Havok was spirited away to a special facility by Meltdown's agents. Wolverine, thanks to his healing power, revived and set out to find Havok.
(Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#2)
- Alex Summers was placed
in the special facility; a ruin that had been converted into a hospital
Meltdown's agents. Quark, now posing as "Scarlett McKenzie", who "came
Oregon with the Peace Corps", served as Havok's nurse. The "doctors"
Havok that Wolverine was dead, but Havok refused to believe that.
Scarlett McKenzie contacted Meltdown. Quark oversaw things as Havok was exposed to subliminal messages over his room's tv, but the subliminal messages did not work as well as hoped. The problem of how to manipulate Havok into serving Meltdown's plans remained. It occurred to Quark that playing on his desire to find Wolverine could help them. So, Quark told Alex that a shady figure, possibly a CIA agent, had been asking around about him and Logan, and had offered Scarlett money to take him to Havok. Havok, eager to explore any clue to Wolverine's whereabouts, told Scarlett to take the CIA agent's money and pretend to have sold Alex out. (The "CIA agent' was, of course, just another agent of Doctor Neutron.) The bogus CIA agent arrived at Alex's hospital room and demanded information from him. The bogus CIA agent told Summers that his agency had heard reports of Logan having been kidnapped by the Russians and taken into a secret location in Poland in the west Carpathian mountains. The bogus CIA agent then threatened Scarlett, demanding more information about Logan from Alex. Summers used his powers to subdue the bogus CIA agent, then fled with Scarlett to the airport in Merida, intent on getting a plane to Poland to find Wolverine.
(Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#3)
- Logan, after having interrogated
some of the thugs who had attacked him and Havok in the Mexican bar,
to the converted ruin that had been used as a hospital. A bomb left
in the event that Logan found the hospital went off, but he managed to
the blast due to his healing factor. Wolverine then scoured
the area around
the hospital and found
an agent of Doctor Neutron named Nikki in the nearby woods. Nikki had
left behind to observe the hospital in case Wolverine found it, and was
over radio to Doctor Neutron and Meltdown. Wolverine, sneaking up on
killed him by sticking his claws through the back of Nikki's head and
through his eyes. After this, Wolverine threatened Neutron and Meltdown
At the Medira airport, Quark contacted Doctor Neutron, informing him of how she and Alex were about to leave for Poland. Setting a trap for Wolverine, she took off her dress and left it behind in a room. Quark and Alex left for Poland. Later, Wolverine made it to Merida airport, and, as expected, using his superhuman sense of smell, found the dress Quark had left behind. However, a device Neutron's agents had rigged up that released tasers with barbed, poisoned tips went off, neutralizing Wolverine. Neutron's agents then used advanced photonic quantum brainwiping, stronger than that which could be used on a normal human, to constantly brainwash Wolverine.
Havok and Scarlett arrived in Poland, going to an abandoned castle in the Carpathians which Alex believed the KGB had imprisoned Logan in. While in the castle, Havok was attacked by the brainwashed Wolverine. Forced to attack and subdue his friend, Havok still restrained himself just enough so that Wolverine's healing factor could undo the damage he inflicted on him.
However, he pretended to have killed Logan and acted as if he had around Scarlett. Thinking Scarlett was on his side, he did not want Scarlett to know Wolverine was still alive and would revive, since if captured by the KGB, she could not reveal something she did not know under sodium penthonal (truth serum). Not only had Havok come to trust Scarlett, he had fallen in love with her. Havok covered the comatose Wolverine with his jacket.
Alex and Scarlett looked around for any clue to the identity of the person or persons who had abducted Wolverine. Scarlett "accidentally" stumbled upon a partially burned map of India that included the location of a major Indian nuclear power plant on it. Thinking that the KGB was attempting to cause the plant to undergo a meltdown, Alex realized that his mutant ability to absorb radiation could be used to stop any such calamity. He thus set off to India with Scarlett.
(Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#4) -
Wolverine revived, and found
the partially burned map of the Indian power plant. He set off to catch
Scarlett secretly informed Meltdown and Doctor Neutron that she and Alex were on the way to India, and (as she wrongly believed) Wolverine was dead. Meltdown and Doctor Neutron reflected on how their plan had worked; they had manipulated Summers into going to Poland, and then forced him to kill Wolverine (or so they thought). Now they had manipulated Summers to go to India. They knew Havok would try to save the day by absorbing the Indian nuclear power plant's escaping radiation. Then, Meltdown would appear, confront Havok, reveal to him that he had brainwashed Wolverine. The revelation that Meltdown had placed Havok in the situation where he had to kill his friend woud enrage Havok so much that he would blast Meltdown with the radiation he had absorbed from the Indian power plant. However, instead of killing Meltdown, the blast would give him the "jumpstart" he needed.
Havok and Scarlett arrived in India, in the district of Maharashtra, at the Tarapur nuclear reactor. Scarlett, wearing a leadsuit they found, accompanied Havok into the reactor. As planned, Meltdown appeared, taunting Havok with the fact that he had brainwashed Wolverine. However, though Havok blasted him, it was not with the force Meltdown desired, so he did not receive the required radiation. (Havok did not attack Meltdown with the ferocity Meltdown expected since Wolverine was, in fact, still alive.) Realizing that he needed something else to push Havok over the edge, Meltdown saw Scarlett. Realizing that Havok had fallen in love with Scarlett, Meltdown killed her, vaporizing her with a blast. Seeing Scarlett killed enraged Havok, who attacked Meltdown with accelerated ferocity--as Meltdown desired.
However, Wolverine then arrived at the Tarapur nuclear reactor, and started impaling Meltdown with boron rods (boron dampens nuclear reactions). Meltdown's power started to dissipate, and he vaporized. Havok and Wolverine prevented any nuclear tragedy in India that day.
In the asylum, Doctor Neutron contemplated his failure, but realized that new games remained for the future--as he put away chess pieces in the images of the Punisher, Wolverine, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, and two that could have been Doctor Doom or the Living Recorder (?).
(Avengers I#326 (fb) - BTS?) - Ramskov received special experimental treatments at facilities in Tyuratam, the Russian space center. He was treated with experimental epidermal coatings akin to sunblocks, only effective to more harmful radiations. Powerful sedatives and muscle relaxants were used to keep Ramskov inert. Experimentation on him performed by the Russian government resulted in him acquiring metahuman powers, allowing him to manipulate quarks.
(Avengers I#326 - BTS?) - Galina Nikolaevna Zhukova, Protocol Officer, Russian Consulate, escorted Ramskov to the USA to have his leukemia treated by a Doctor Estivez. However, Ramskov revived from his chemically induced catatonia and went on a rampage. The Avengers came to contain him. Along the way, Iron Man pointed out that since all matters related to Tyuratam were top secret, only known to GRU (Russian military intelligence officers), and since GRU officers often used the protocol office as cover, he suspected that Zhukova was in the GRU. Further, he suspected that Ramskov was part of a weapons program. His speculations were cut off by another rampage by Ramskov.
(Avengers I#327 - BTS?) - Thor transported Ramskov, the Avengers, Doctor Estivez, and Zhukova to the Reverse Dimension (seen earlier in Avengers I#16). Ramskov returned to lucid thought, and began telling Estivez of the incident with Sasha and Yuri. Zhukova yelled at him to stop disclosing state secrets. With Sersi's help, they gave Ramskov the needed marrow transplant. Zhukova then revealed that she was a captain in the Fifth Directorate GRU.
(Avengers I#328 - BTS?) - Ramskov, after having returned to Earth with the Avengers, was almost murdered by a figure in a green raincoat and slouch hat. Ramskov recognized him as one of the saboteurs from the nuclear power plant. Zhukova took the bullet meant for Ramskov. With her last words, she admitted that she had received the assignment to kill Ramskov if she thought he would reveal the truth about the nuclear accident. Now horribly disfigured, the saboteur exclaimed "There are some of us left in the Rodina who still believe in principles!" before pulling the old potassium cyanide in a hollow molar suicide trick.
(Wolverine IV#309 (fb)) - Meltdown's dissipated body slowly reassembled and he woke sick and skeletal in the Siberian desert. He absorbed animals' lives so that he could slowly make his way into populated areas. He made his way to New York, still relying on the lifeforce of animals to keep himself alive, until he stumbled across the Morlocks in the underground tunnels, many of whom lived in an intermediate state when using their powers, leaving them further deformed. Meltdown claimed he could cure them, but instead slowly took away their lifeforce and making them very sickly, the lonely Morlock Eva helping him.
(Wolverine IV#309) - Seeking to end it, Eva informed Wolverine who soon after went to Meltdown's hideout at the Salton Sea (California) with the troubled X-Man Elixir in tow. On the way, Elixir tried unsuccessfully to heal the sick Morlocks they encountered. Wolverine and Meltdown fought savagely, with Meltdown growing and becoming white hot. Elixir stepped in and passed to Meltdown all the sickness he had taken from the dying Morlocks, leaving the Russian back in his weakened state and unable to move. The others let the house burn down around Meltdown.
Comments: Created by Walter and Louise Simonson (writers) and John J. Muth and Kent Williams (artists).
The earlier explosion of the nuclear power plant that Meltdown and Neutron caused was explicitly called the Chernobyl plant, an actual Soviet nuclear facility that experienced a meltdown in the 1980's, with mutants such as eight-legged horses, eyeless pigs, children without immune systems, and so forth being born. However, any reference to it here serves as a topical reference that will get sliding time-scaled away at some point, so I have not called it as such in the history. The reference to 1986 could be taken to mean, as I stated, two years before the current events of the story.
A very involved, complicated plot to be sure.......made all the more complicated by Avengers I#326-328. Again, the nuclear power plant in this story is called the Chernobyl plant. I do not know if Ramskov (listed in Avengers Log#1 as Surge) appeared elsewhere, and thus if his backstory was elaborated upon. Larry Hama wrote this storyline, and I strongly suspect he did not read Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown, since that limited series did not depict any incident similar to Sasha and Yuri's sabotage. Nevertheless, the following possibilities present themselves:
1. References to contemporary events such as Chernobyl are topical. So, the nuclear power plants in the two stories could be different, unrelated incidents.
2. On the other hand, in order to reduce the number of conspiracies to start nuclear meltdowns in Russia, as discussed under history above, possibly Sasha and Yuri were agents of Doctor Neutron sent to insure that the meltdown happened; Neutron played it safe by going at it from two angles.
The Meltdown mini-series is in-continuity, since Scarlett McKenzie/Quark has been referred to several times in X-Factor and elsewhere by Havok. (Actually, since she was Russian, this is probably not her real name.) Specifically, Scarlett McKenzie appeared in Factor X during the Age of Apocalypse storyline. A duplicate of her appeared in X-Factor#112-114. In addition, Uncanny X-Men#245 serves as a prologue to this mini-series, since we see Logan and Alex in the Mexican bar.
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown was released as part of the Epic line, an imprint for special projects. Epic started in the early 1980's, but was a casualty of the Marvel implosion of the 1990's. However, it has recently been revived. The Epic line in the 1980's mostly dealt with creator-owned projects, but now and then, company-owned properties received the Epic treatment. Since Epic often went for an esoteric approach, not all of these uses of established characters form a part of Earth-616 continuity. As noted earlier, Havok and Wolverine is completely Earth-616 canonical. However, other Epic projects were not.
1. Epic Illustrated#1 featured a Silver Surfer story that is in-continuity, as it was cited in the Fantastic Four Index#4 entry for the Silver Surfer's first appearance in Fantastic Four I#48 as a preceding chronological appearance.
2. The Last Galactus Story, which ran in later issues of Epic Illustrated, is, per the Handbook entry for Nova (Frankie Raye), an alternate or possible future.
3. Silver Surfer: Parable takes place on an alternate Earth dubbed Earth-Moebius. This world was actually revisited in the Marvel UK series Cyberspace 3000, in issues #1-5 (in fact, the Marvel UK hero Dark Angel, per Cyberspace 3000#2, had an Earth-Moebius counterpart!).
4. Elektra: Assassin takes place on Earth-616 (at some point in the modern era roughly around the time of the events of Avengers I#61) since it was referenced for Nick Fury's entries in the Avengers index, and Garrett, seen first in this series, returned circa Daredevil I#319. However, a caveat has to do with the fact that much of the series is from Elektra and Garrett's point of view, and their peculiar mental conditions cause them to have exaggerated perceptions of events. In a Daredevil letters column, it was declared that the presidential candidate Ken Wind may or may not have existed, and in any event, Garrett's having his mind transferred into Ken Wind's body did not occur.
5. Elektra Lives Again: Per the Master Edition entries for Bullseye and Elektra, happens in an alternate past, present, or future. Frank Miller himself once stated that it took place after Daredevil I#191 but before the Born Again storyline (the events of Elektra Lives Again contributing to Murdock's precarious mental condition in those issues). However, the return of Bullseye in the Streets of Poison storyline in Captain America, of Elektra in the Fall From Grace storyline, and a comment in the Daredevil letters page removes Elektra Lives Again from Earth-616 continuity.
6. Tomb of Dracula III-see Dracula entry.
7. Punisher: Return to the Big Nothing: In-continuity. Nothing terribly different. In fact, one wonders why this was done as an Epic project.
8. Iron Man: Crash: An alternate or possible future.
9. Legion of the Night: In-continuity. Referenced in Fin Fang Foom's Master Edition entry.
10. Crimson Dynamo: A six-issue limited series in 2003. In-continuity for various reasons.
Incidentally, very few Epic books were in-continuity with each other other than the Shadowline books. The Clive Barker series were exceptions since the Hellraiser characters encountered the Harrowers, Marshal Law, and Nightbreed. Lawdog vs. Grimrod#1 was a rare case of two creator owned characters owned by different people meeting (Grimrod was a character from the Alien Legion series).
Heavy Hitters Annual#1, featured an interdimensional
crossover involving the series Lawdog, Feud, Alien Legion, Trouble with
Girls, and Spyke.
--David A. Zuckerman
Profile by Snood (with minor update by Grendel Prime).
Meltdown should not be confused with:
Doctor Neutron was the scientific genius whose sabotage caused the nuclear tragedy which Meltdown tried to exploit. After this, he continued to plot with Meltdown. Still conspiring when last seen, he enjoys playing chess. He may or may not have sent the disfigured saboteur to kill Ramskov.
images: (without ads)
Wolverine IV#309, p21, pan3 (main image)
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown (headshot)
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown (using powers)
Wolverine IV#309, p23, pan2 (headshot - near death)
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown (Dr. Neutron)
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown#1-4 (1988-1989) - Walter & Louise Simonson (writers), Jon Jay Muth, Kent Williams & Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh (#1, 3) (artists), Margaret Clark & Steve Buccellato (editors)
Wolverine IV#309 (September, 2012) - Ivan Brandon (writer), Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Latour & John Rauch (art), Jeanine Schaefer & John Barber (editors)
Last updated: 08/20/12
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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