Real Name: Eugene P. Mason

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Crimefighter for hire, vigilante

Group Membership: Penance Corps

Affiliations: El Aguila, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Beast (Hank McCoy), Black Tiger, Blue Shield, Captain America (Steve Rogers), Jean DeWolff, Gerry Kammill (as "Joseph Duffy"),  Professor Gamble, Iceman, Namorita, Phone Ranger, Rafael Scarfe, Siryn, Thing (Ben Grimm), Thunderbolt (William Carver)

Enemies: Black Tigers, Commedia Dell'Morte (Columbina, La Signora, Pagliacci, Pantalone, Mister Punch, Captain Scaramouche), Firefly, Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Gerry Kammill, Lethal Legion, Power Man (Luke Cage)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: An apartment over an adult bookstore in Manhattan, New York

First Appearance: Power Man and Iron Fist#105 (May, 1984)

Powers/Abilities: Crime-Buster possessed no known superhuman powers. He wielded a pair of guns which could release special non-lethal weapons such as fire extinguishing foam and nets. Over time, Mason added several other, more lethal weapons to his arsenal. Ruthless, resentful and always eager to make a buck, Mason had no problem playing a hero while at the same time working out his latest scheme.

History: (Power Man and Iron Fist#105 (fb)) - Eugene Mason was a criminal who wound up in Seagate Penitentiary at one point, and encountered Luke Cage there. Mason amused himself by insulting Cage. Some time later, Mason escaped while on a work detail, and eventually came to Pottersville, New York. He wound up renting an apartment which had been owned by Frank Moore, the Crime-Buster, and discovered a spare suit and arsenal he had left behind prior to his death on Xandar. Mason took custody of the suit, modified it, and became the new Crime-Buster. He was inspired by Cage's success as the hero-for-hire Power Man to become a mercenary himself, using a brown wig to disguise his hair color.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#105) - Crime-Buster intruded upon Power Man and Iron Fist as they were in the process of apprehending Firefly, and captured the criminal himself, much to the other two's displeasure. Crime-Buster happily claimed the reward from the police.

    On his next case, Crime-Buster was hired by a child named Jimmy to help him against a schoolyard bully. Crime-Buster agreed to, for $50. He found the bully, Ace Robinson, and shattered both his kneecaps. In the days that followed, Crime-Buster continued to earn his reputation by evicting tenants, and killing at least 3 men in the line of duty.

    When the terrorist Black Tigers threatened to destroy Madison Square Garden with a bomb, Crime-Buster, Iron Fist and Power Man were all hired by the city to stop them, with a $5,000 bonus for the one who disarmed the bomb. Crime-Buster outfought the Black Tigers he encountered and reached the bomb first, but saw that there were only 15 seconds left. Panicking, he fled the building. Power Man wound up tearing the bomb apart, saving the Garden, and Crime-Buster was publicly disgraced.

    As Power Man, Iron Fist and their friends went out for a celebratory dinner, Mason watched them from a distance, and swore to himself that he'd get back at them one day.

(Power Man & Iron Fist II#2 (fb) - BTS) - Crime-Buster, along with el Aguila, Black Tiger, Professor Gamble, and Thunderbolt, was approached by Penance Corp founder Muhammed Zebari. Hoping to have some costumed heroes on the board of directors of his new private prison company, Zebari offered them all positions. Aguila and the others accepted.

(Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 - BTS) - Crime-Buster posed for a picture with Aguila, Gamble, and the others while touring one of the facilities run by Penance Corp (see comments).

(Marvel Age Annual#1) - When a new incarnation of the Lethal Legion attacked Captain America at the offices of Marvel Comics, Crime-Buster joined with other heroes including Namorita, the Phone Ranger, the Beast, Ant-Man, Iceman, the Thing, the Blue Shield and Siryn in battling the army of villains, and engaged in personal combat with Batroc.

(Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 (fb) - BTS) - When Power Man & Iron Fist gave up their Heroes for Hire business (after Iron Fist seemingly perished), their secretary Jenny Royce suddenly found herself without a job. In need of money and figuring she'd be a good influence on him, Royce started to work for Crime-Buster only to end up corrupted by his shady, often illegal practices. At one point, Crime-Buster and Jenny became lovers though he was frequently abusive of her.

(Power Man & Iron Fist II#4 (fb)) - Penance Corp founder Zebari was killed by Gerry Kammill, leader of the neo-Nazi group Divine Right who took over as head of Penance Corp in the disguise of Joe Duffy. In his new position, Kammill started to hire his followers to quietly take over America's prisons as training grounds for his movement. Crime-Buster eventually learned Duffy's true identity and tried to blackmail Kammill, figuring his continued silence would be worth a pretty penny. Kammill, however, decided to simply have Crime-Buster killed.

(Power Man & Iron Fist II#4 (fb)) - Hoping Mason wouldn't survive the mission, Kammill hired Crime-Buster to go to Italy to collect on a contract on a mafia informant in Venice. While there, Mason ran afoul of the Commedia Dell'Morte, a troupe of cursed performers forced by their enchanted masks to kill at least once a day. In order to escape his enemies, Crime-Buster took the mask that housed Columbina, the wife of the Commedia's leader Pagliacci. Mason safely returned to New York City, though not too long afterwards the Columbina mask possessed his girlfriend Jenny, who proceeded to kill the crooked vigilante with his own gun.

Comments: Created by Kurt Busiek, Richard Howell and Andy Mushynsky.

    Having Thunderbolt and Crime-Buster as fellow board members of the Penance Corp in 2011's Power Man & Iron Fist limited series poses a bit of a continuity conundrum. Carver died in Power Man & Iron Fist I#62, while Crime-Buster didn't make his first appearance until 1984's Power Man & Iron Fist I#105. In fact, the man who would eventually become Crime-Buster was still serving a 30 year prison sentence in Louisiana when the Thunderbolt was active. It might have been the second Thunderbolt who served with Crime-Buster and the other vigilantes, even though he wasn't created until 1991.
    Add to that writer Fred van Lente pointing out that all the vigilantes he had working for the Penance Corp were in fact established Power Man & Iron Fist characters.
    Is it not just possible that Crime-Buster was active more early than when he first appeared? He escaped from prison, and I don't see why that has to be later than Thunderbolt's death.--Snood

    I got the distinct impression that their involvement working for Penance Corp was intended by Fred van Lente to have taken place AFTER their appearances in the original PM&IF series. Obviously that's problematic for the deceased Thunderbolt, but if it wasn't for that concern I don't think anyone would hesitate to have placed the various heroes' involvement later in their careers.
    I can see a few options to make it all fit:

  1. The Penance Corp membership took place early, as stated in Thunderbolt's entry. After his demise, the others left PC for a while, so they were all freelance (as depicted in their original appearances - CB is definitely not a board member with PC in his first appearance) when Luke and Danny met them, and then went back to work for PC later. Workable, but messy.

  2. The tour of the facilities and group photo took place earlier, but there was a sizeable gap before anyone took up the offer of employment. Thunderbolt never actually joined, despite any misphrasings by the others that might have suggested he did. Again, viable but messy, as the whole reason why PC said they were willing to take on someone like Crime-Buster was because they were a start-up when they asked him and couldn't afford to be choosy - if there'd been a gap between the offer and the acceptance long enough to fit in 80+ issues of PM(&IF), by the time he decided to take up the offer they'd have no longer been so desperate.

  3. It was after PM & IF's series ended. The Thunderbolt present was (a) the second one; (b) the original somehow resurrected (hardly unusual these days); (c) the original out of his proper place in time (plausible given Prof. Gamble's presence).

I personally think 3 is the best bet, with (b) being a personal preference (I liked the original Thunderbolt), but with (a) probably being the more feasible, least convoluted option.

    Interesting theories, I especially like the Professor Gamble time travel idea. Still, it made me think of a fourth:

                    4. It was established that Justin Hammer used his business connections to acquire the Thunderbolt costume after Carver's death. It's not been revealed who he bought it from, but... If we agree that the Penance Corp started after the PM&IF series ended, it might be possible its founder Zebari got his hands on the costume and simply hired someone to wear it for publicity.

    After all, the Thunderbolt was a remarkably popular and beloved vigilante (in the inner cities, at least) whose death was never made public. That'd make him an ideal token/spokesperson/source of credibility.
With his business up and running and with sufficient real vigilantes on board, Zebari could have decided to "retire" the Thunderbolt, selling the outfit to Hammer. 

    "Joseph Duffy" (assumed identity of Gerry Kammill) - this is an obvious play on creator/writer Jo Duffy and penciler Kerry Gammill, who drew a couple of Aguila's early appearances.--Snood

by Prime Eternal; updated/expanded by Norvo & Snood

The Crime-Buster should not be confused with:

Images taken from:
Power Man and Iron Fist#105, page 5
Power Man and Iron Fist#105, page 7, panel 6
Power Man and Iron Fist II#1, page 12, panel 6

Power Man & Iron Fist#105 (May, 1984) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Richard Howell (pencils), Andy Mushinsky (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Marvel Age Annual#1 (1985) - Kurt Busiek (writer), James Fry (pencils), Keith Williams (inks)
Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 (April, 2011) - Fred van Lente (writer), Wellinton Alves (pencils), Nelson Pereira (inks), Tom Brennan (editor)

Last updated: 01/12/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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