STEEPLEJACK

Real Name: Maxwell Plumm

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Corrupt businessman

Affiliations: Owner of a contracting firm

Enemies: (As Steeplejack) Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers, later known as Binary and now called Warbird), Scourge; (as Plumm) Steeplejack (Jake Mallard), Joseph Danvers, Dominic Varone

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City

First Appearance: (As Plumm)Luke Cage, Power Man#18; (as Steeplejack) Ms. Marvel#14 (February, 1978)

Powers: Maxwell Plumm was an unsuccessful businessman, a moderately skilled hand-to-hand combatant, and a poor marksman. Plumm was willing to do anything to cover up his illegal activities, and as such was a ruthless foe in conbat.
As Steeplejack, Plumm 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. As Steeplejack, Plumm wore a backpack containing fuel for the gun's torch function, which was connected to his weapon by a thin rubber hose. In his costumed identity, Plumm also used a thin polymer cord for strangulation. The cord was apparently intended for use similar to steel load-bearing cables, and hence had an unusually high tensile strength. Plumm wore a padded, identity-concealing costume as Steeplejack which greatly increased his resistance to impacts.

History: Maxwell Plumm was an entrepeneur and a building contractor, and at some point ended up in debt to crime boss Dominic Varone. In order to make his payments to Varone, Plumm cut corners in his building projects, resulting in serious safety problems.

(Power Man#18(f/b)[BTS])-Jake Mallard's two brothers fell to their deaths when a girder slipped its cable in a sudden wind. Mallard blamed Plumm and vowed vengeance, accusing Plumm of using substandard materials and safety practices.

(PowM#18)-Mallard, using specialized construction tools he had invented, took the identity of Steeplejack and attacked Plumm at a construction site, and was about to hurl the contractor to his death when a passing Luke Cage decided to intervene.  As Cage and Mallard skirmished, Steeplejack threw Plumm from the building, but Cage broke off the fight and saved him.  With Plumm unconscious and the police arriving, Cage was about to leave the scene when Plumm revived and hired Cage to protect him.

Sometime after Mallard died in his second fight with Luke Cage, Plumm hit upon the idea of stealing Mallard's inventions and selling them for profit. He also began work on a new building project, the Monarch Plaza, and again began cutting corners dangerously.

(Ms. Marvel#14)-Carol Danvers's father, Joesph Danvers, was nearly killed when shoddy building materials were hurled towards him by a windstorm while Danvers worked on Plumm's project. Only his daughter's appearance in her Ms. Marvel identity saved his life. The enraged Joe Danvers called Plumm, and after the two exchanged threats Danvers resolved to contact the authorities about Plumm's cost-cutting. Carol Danvers had her friends on the staff of Now Magazine check into Plumm's past, and discovered his mob debts.

Later that evening, Plumm became Steeplejack II, and abducted Joe Danvers. Steeplejack II was about to blast Danvers off of a girder at the Monarch Plaza site when Ms. Marvel, alerted by a flash of her "seventh sense," again appeared on the scene. After rescuing her father, and knocking him out to prevent him from trying to fight Steeplejack himself, Ms. Marvel attacked Steeplejack, and discovered that he was wearing a padded costume. Moreover, Steeplejack sounded far more educated than Jake Mallard, who Ms. Marvel had read about. As such, she was able to deduce that Plumm was the new Steeplejack only to be blasted into a site elevator filled with dynamite. Plumm blasted the elevator cable, but Ms. Marvel simply flew back up to battle him again. However, as he fired wildly at her, Plumm sent debris falling onto the already abused dynamite. The resultant explosion toppled Monarch Plaza and left Plumm stunned enough for capture.

(Captain America I#319)-Many months later, Plumm, as Steeplejack, was one of many costumed criminals invited by Gary Gilbert to attend a planning session against the supervillain-killer Scourge at the so-called "Bar With No Name." Plumm had to be talked out of bringing his rivet gun inside for protection, an instinct that turned out to be correct when the bartender revealed himself as Scourge and fatally shot Plumm along with nearly all the other criminals present.

Comments: Maxwell Plumm created by Len Wein and George Tuska; modified and fleshed out as Steeplejack II by Chris Claremont and Carmine Infantino.

The original story in Power Man#18 doesn't say much about Plumm's innocence or guilt in using shoddy materials. Ms. Marvel#14, in which Plumm becomes Steeplejack II, reveals that Plumm is guilty of pretty much everything Mallard claims he is. Not too surprising, since virtually every businessman who ever hired Luke Cage was either corrupt or at least withheld information from him.

While I can buy Ms. Marvel having read of Steeplejack I, given that she's an ex-NASA security chief, but how she recognized Plumm's wildly colored costume as Jake Mallard's shirtless look is beyond me.

Steeplejack's weaponry turned up at least twice more; once behind the scenes in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #10/4, when the Packer brothers looted all the villains' weapons hidden outside the "Bar With No Name" massacre site, and again in Thunderbolts#39 as "welding tools" used by Jack Monroe in his identity as Scourge III.

Clarifications: Steeplejack is not to be confused with:
Steeplejack, Jake Mallard, who originated the identity to kill Plumm, @ Power Man#18

Ms. Marvel, later Binary and now called Warbird, should not be confused with:
Ms. Marvel, Sharon Ventura, former lover of Ben Grimm and ally/betrayer of the Fantastic Four, currently known as She-Thing, from Thing#35 and many others.

Scourge

Last updated: 08/01/02

Profile by Omar Karindu.

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