Real Name: Nathaniel "Nat" Mare

human (deceased); magically reanimated

Occupation: former agent of Ellery Snow;
former private investigator

Affiliations: Ellery Snow (former master, former employee); Eileen Cross (Tolan) (former lover)

Martin Cross, Edgar Fels, Professor Viper, Christine Searle, Willis Tolan;
initially opposed by Jericho (and Daniel) Drumm (Brother Voodoo), Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch/Noble Kale), Morbius

Known Relatives:
Sarah Mare (relation unknown, deceased)

Aliases: Nat Mare


Base of Operations: Weldwood cemetery; formerly New York City @ 1952

First Appearance: Midnight Sons Unlimited#7 (October, 1994)

Powers/Abilities: Nathaniel Mare was a skilled private investigator and likely had some experience and hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms. As a reanimated corpse, he possessed superhuman strength, above the normal for other zombies, perhaps Class 10-25. He had no feeling and was highly resistant to physical injury. Initially he obeyed only the commands of Ellery Snow, but he was able to act on his own before he was permanently laid to rest. Unlike true zombies, Mare's spirit was revived and inhabited his corpse.

(MSU#7 (fb)) - <1952> Nathaniel Mare was a private investigator who was dating the daughter of the police commissioner, Willis Tolan. Nat managed to track down the secret hideout of the criminal Professor Viper, who was blackmailing the city with a threat to poison the water supply. Nat met with Tolan, and Edward Fels and Martin Cross--the assistant District Attorney and a NYPD detective--and offered to bring Professor Viper in if they would give him credit for his capture. Tolan agreed, but unbeknownst to Mare, the three men were in cahoots with the mad scientist. They warned Professor Viper and then tailed Mare to his hideout, where they cracked him over the back of the head with a blackjack. Viper then poured his poison down Mare's throat and left him to die.

Mare's chauffeur, Ellery Snow, found him near death, and used some herbs to "ease his pain." However, Tolan, knowing Snow's loyalty, sent some cops to find him giving the herbs to Mare. Mare died seconds later, and Snow was charged with Nathaniel's murder, and he was sentenced to prison, where he stayed for forty years.

(MSU#7 (fb) - BTS) - Upon his release from prison, Snow sought revenge on those who had placed him there. He reanimated Mare's corpse and sent him to kill Cole Rennie (formerly Professor Viper) and Edward Fels.

(MSU#7) - Snow sent Mare to kill the hospitalized Willis Tolan, which he did, but he also slew Christine Searle, a nurse who just got in his way. The magical nature of the deaths drew the attention of several supernatural superhumans, Jericho Drumm, the Ghost Rider, and Morbius. Drumm tracked Snow's energies to the Weldwood cemetery, just as he was awakening Mare for his final mission--Marty Cross, and Eileen, who had married Cross. the combined power of all three heroes was unable to halt or injure Mare, but Drumm managed to stop him by sending the spirit of his brother Daniel to possess Snow. His command source gone, Mare's form crumpled to the ground.

However, while Drumm forced Snow to explain what was going on, Mare's spirit reasserted itself, and he was long gone by the end of Snow's story. The heroes tracked Mare to Cross' house, where they again attacked him, assuming he had come to slay the Marty and Eileen. However, Nat then spoke out, telling Ellery that what he had done was wrong, and that he was to blame for the death of the innocent Christine Searle. Nat told Eileen that he had always loved her, and that he'd be waiting for her on the other side. He then crumpled to dust.

Comments: Created by Scott Benson (writer) and Daerick Gross and Duncan Rouleau (pencilers).

The date of 1952 may or may not be topical. If so, then the flashback occurs 42 years before the main story. The styles and behavior of the characters in the flashback makes it seem as if it did occur in the 1950s. At the time the story was published, Willis Tolan would have probably been (at least) 80-something (he looked to be 40-50 in the flashback). As time slide on, he'd might be 90-something in 2003, and in his hundreds in another decade. It doesn't make a big difference now, but eventually this guy will have been 120+ years old. Perhaps the characters had their aging slowed by interactions with chemicals from either Professor Viper, or from Ellery Snow.

Or maybe it's just a comic book story.

As Cisco points out, Nate is a homage to Will Eisner's Spirit: "Nat Mare = Spirit ; Willis Tolan = Commissioner Nolan ; Snow = Ebony ; Professor Viper = Octopus. And so it goes. It's all great fun, but it cant be fully understood without knowledge of Eisner's great, great, great creation."

KW points out, though: "The comments about the relation to the Spirit strip are atcually a bit off. You see, in the Spirit's origin, he was a criminologist named Denny Colt. Colt, along with Comissioner Dolan, raided the lab of a Professor Cobra (like Mare's foe Professor Viper) and was doused in chemicals that rendered him comatose for a year. On awakening, he became the Spirit,a hero whose "alter ego" was legally dead. Of course, in Mare's case, death was a bit more than legal....

Now, given the wealth of Spirit material that Eisner (and many, many others) produced after the 1940s, it may be that someone retroactively declared Professor Cobra to be a guise of Zitzbath Zark, the Octopus; but the homage in the Midnight Sons story is pretty specifically to the Spirit's origin story rather than the general details of his career in comics."

"Blue Eyes" Eileen has green eyes, but it may be the eerie shading of the comic.

No known connection to:

  • Nightmare, the demon who rules the Dimension of Dreams/Nightmares, @ Strange Tales I#110
    c'mon...Nat Mare...Nightmare...sigh.
  • Nightmare, the creation of Dr. Glitternight, @ Werewolf by Night I#27
  • Hatemare of Earth-Nocturne, the spirit of the original Night Raven of that timeline, bound inside a powerful form and forced to serve that world's Yi Yang, @ Nocturne#3

Professor Viper has no known connections to:

  • Viper, Jordan Stryke/Dixon, @ Captain America I#157
  • Viper, formerly Madame Hydra, @ Captain America I#110, 180
  • Viper, that guy from the elementary school joke who ran around with a roll of toilet paper asking, "Anybody need a Vipe?"

Ellery Snow

Ellery was of Haitian origins, and he had some experience with the occult. It was his herbs that prevented Nat's spirit from passing on to a higher plane, trapping it in a void somewhere. Ellery was framed for Nat's murder and spent forty years in prison.

Upon his release, he reanimated Nat's corpse and used it to take vengeance on those who had wronged him. However, his zeal caused Nat's corpse to also kill Christine Searle, an innocent nurse who happened to get in his way.

Snow was discovered and stopped by Jericho Drumm, and Nat's corpse showed him that what he had made him do was wrong. The heroes saw no way to punish Snow for his actions, Ketch told him that there was justice waiting for him at a higher plane.

--MSU#7 (7(fb), 7

Professor Viper

Cole Rennie was a crazy mad scientist type who blackmailed New York City by threatening to dump a poison in the water supply. However, the police commissioner and his allies made a deal with the Viper to fail to nab him in exchange for splitting the profits from the payoff. Forty years later, Rennie was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, and had no family or friends. That's when Nate Mare came for him, and killed him.

--MSU#7 (7(fb), 7(fb-BTS)

(left to right)

Edgar Fels

He was the assistant District Attorney, and was also in on the deal with Professor Viper. Forty years later, he was Snow/Mare's second victim
--MSU#7 (7(fb), 7

Willis Tolan

He was the police commissioner and masterminded the deal with Viper. He had no problem killing his daughter's lover, and he ended up as Snow/Mare's third victim forty years later.
--MSU#7 (7(fb), 7

Martin Cross

He was a police detective in on the deal with Professor Viper. After Mare's death, he married Eileen Tolan, but their marriage grew cold and lifeless. Cross was not killed because Drumm's control of Snow allowed Mare's spirit to resurface. However, he did see Mare's corpse and thought it had come for him, and he was left a quivering wreck.
--MSU#7 (7(fb), 7

Christine Searle

Christine was a nurse who had cared for Barbara Ketch before her death. Dan Ketch was impressed with how much she really did care for her patients. She also had the misfortune of caring for Willis Tolan when Nat Mare came for him. Snow's lust for vengeance was so strong that he caused Mare to kill Christine to get her out of the way

--MSU#7 (7(fb)-BTS, 7

Eileen Tolan Cross

aka Blue Eyes, she was the girlfriend of Nat Mare, and the daughter of Commissioner Tolan. After Nat's death, which she was told was caused by Snow, she became very lonely and eventually married Marty Cross. However, their marriage was not a happy one, and Marty's behavior after the deaths of his former associates caused her to suspect that he had been involved in Nat's death. She told Nat's corpse that she'd meet him on the other side, and it's almost certain she would have divorced Marty after learning the truth.

--MSU#7 (7(fb), 7

Last updated: 05/04/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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