Real Name: Jake Mallard

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Seeker of vengeance, former construction worker

Affiliations: none
Enemies: Power Man (Luke Cage); Maxwell Plumm

Known Relatives: two unnamed brothers (both deceased)

Aliases: none

Base of Operations: New York City

First Appearance: Luke Cage, Power Man#18 (April, 1974)

Powers: Mallard was an experienced and skilled construction worker, and an hand-to-hand combatant of great brute strength, enough to battle Luke Cage on fairly even terms. Despite being a middle-school dropout, he was knowledgeable enough in the design and operation of construction and welding tools to create his weaponry. His fanatical hatred of Maxwell Plumm made him a particularly ruthless and dangerous combatant.
Mallard used a gun capable of rapidly firing red hot rivets, and which could also be converted into a long range acetylene torch. In torch mode, the gun could easily melt steel within a few minutes and could fire a focused burst of flame at least twenty or thirty feet. Steeplejack wore a backpack containing fuel for the gun's torch function, which was connected to his weapon by a thin rubber hose of sufficient tensile strength to be used in strangulation.

History: Jake Mallard was apparently a middle school dropout who went into construction work with his brothers as employees of contractor Maxwell Plumm. Unbeknownst to the Mallards, Plumm was unethical and dangerously cut corners on safety and materials. Jake Mallard spent years developing new tools to improve his work.

(Power Man#18(f/b))-Mallard's two brothers fell to their deaths when a girder slipped its cable in a sudden wind. Mallard blamed Plumm and vowed vengeance, claiming that Plumm used substandard materials and safety practices.

(PowM#18)-Steeplejack attacked Plumm at a construction site, and was about to hurl the contractor to his death when a passing Luke Cage decided to intervened with a flying kick. Telling Power Man to mind his own business, and calling him "black boy," Steeplejack briefly fought Cage hand-to-hand, punching him and then swinging him headfirst into a girder, which bent and broke with the impact.  Turning back to Plumm, Steeplejack was again assaulted by Cage and then turned his gun on the Hero for Hire, firing red-hot rivets at him.  While the rivets couldn't pierce Cage's skin, they set his shirt aflame, forcing him to remove it. Steeplejack took advantage of this, hurled Plumm from the building, and fled. Cage, naturally, saved Plumm, who swiftly agreed to hire Cage for protection.

That night, Mallard returned to the construction site, using his gun's torch function to saw through girders and thus ready the building for collapse. Power Man, who had been watching the site, emerged from hiding to battle Steeplejack. For most of the fight, Steeplejack had Cage on the run using the torch, until Cage rigged a shield using a barrel lid and some asbestos. Steeplejack blasted the floor from under Cage, and when Cage jumped back up, blasted the shield until the barrel lid finall melted. Cage hurled the molten mass at Mallard, allowing him to get close enough to shatter Steeplejack's gun. Mallard went into an even more insane rage at seeing his life's work ruined, and tried to strangle Cage with the gun's cord. Cage threw Steeplejack off of him, and punched him towards a girder. Unfortunately, it was one of the girders Mallard had melted mostly through, and it gave with the impact. Mallard plunged several stories towards the street, and the impact caused his fuel tanks to explode, apparently killing him.

Comments: Crated by Len Wein and George Tuska

The original story in Power Man#18 doesn't say much about Plumm' innocence or guilt in using shoddy materials. Ms. Marvel#14, in which Plumm becomes Steeplejack II, reveals that Plumm is guilty of everything Mallard claims he is.

For a guy described in Ms. Marvel#14 as "an eighth-grade dropout," Mallard is educated enough to use the 19th century term "Steeplejack" as his code name. It basically means construction worker.

Clarifications: Steeplejack is not to be confused with:
Steeplejack, Maxwell Plumm, who took up the identity for personal gain in Ms. Marvel#14.

Last updated: 08/01/02

Profile by Omar Karindu.

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