Real Name: Not revealed
Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Earth-Ultraverse) human weapon-user (see comments)
Occupation: Arsonist and anarchist
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Mr. Sparks, some homeless persons (pawns)
Enemies: Diva, Serena (Aladdin), Solitaire
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Los Angeles, USA, Earth-Ultraverse
(Named) Solitaire#7 (September, 1994) (Malibu) (Seen) Solitaire#8 (September, 1994) (Malibu)
Powers/Abilities: He displayed normal strength and no actual fighting skills, apart from his flame gun, but could outrun the athlete-level Serena (also showing heightened stamina in this area) and showed athlete to peak human durability. He displayed a passion for destroying fine art, landmark architecture and human beauty (notably females).
He had a metallic flame gun (handgun size) that had two external barrels that mixed highly flammable chemicals and fired flames like a flamethrower. He was also armed with a fiery cigarette that could be flicked at a person at close range, engulfing the victim in flames. He had a large, round belt buckle that housed a strong flame retardant, and his clothes appeared to be non-flammable, presumably to protect him from his fiery death-traps. He also appeared to have access to flammable chemicals.
Distinguishing Features: He appeared to be over 6' tall with a thin, gaunt frame, long face, black tangled hair on the crown of his head only (the rest of his head looked to be shaven), yellow teeth, light brown eyes, and fingernails that matched his grey-ish skin. Indeed, with his grey-ish skin, he may have been an albino, but this is unconfirmed. He could have easily been wearing make-up, I'd think.
History: The exact origins of the Degenerate have not been revealed (see comments).
(Solitaire#7) - Solitaire, along with the bizarre Double Edge, saved several lives at the Plaza del Rey historic apartments, which had the signature graffiti inside, "tradition dies - the Degenerate". This was the latest in a series of arson attacks across Los Angeles.
(Solitaire#8 (fb) - BTS) - Solitaire reflected on the Degenerate's deadly trail of destroyed art and architecture, plus the murder of a young female ultra, all featuring mocking hints on the victims' buildings (e.g. "only an overture").
(Solitaire#8) - At a Bach recital at the
Hollywood Bowl, the conductor's baton suddenly caught fire.
Watched by the Degenerate, the fire spread rapidly to the singer's
outfit and the orchestra. Panic ensued and, while Solitaire
rescued those caught in the flames, Serena chased after the
Degenerate. The Degenerate's arson attack quickly destroyed the
Solitaire overtook Serena with his motorcycle, but the cornered arsonist spun around and fired his heat-gun at Solitaire, which caused the motorbike to explode. Solitaire, burning, launched himself at the Degenerate, landing on his chest. The Degenerate instead activated a fire retardant hidden in his belt buckle, which momentarily stunned and blinded his opponent. The arsonist sought to flee, but was again stopped by Solitaire, who was in turn stopped by Serena. This permitted the Degenerate to escape.
The Degenerate next mingled with a small crowd that had gathered to view the fire from a distance. He made some inflammatory comments before igniting a bystander with a flicked cigarette. Laughing, the Degenerate ran off, stopping to throw money amongst some homeless persons, before admiring a blow-up doll in a window. He then clambered into a nearby dumpster to leave a clue to continue the chase.
Serena revealed to Solitaire that Aladdin hoped that a potential ultra-killer might be of some use to the organization for the expected war between ultras and humans.
(Solitaire#9) - The Degenerate appealed to some
people's greed by paying them for kidnapped children to be used
in a later mass burning, with over 50 abducted in one hour. The
Degenerate later oversaw the delivery of at least 10 children in
the back of a delivery truck, but the children ran away as soon
as the doors opened with the aggressively antisocial entrance of
the boy soon to be dubbed Mr. Sparks by the Degenerate; the boy
had set fire to several children in the truck. The Degenerate
angrily grabbed the boy-arsonist, who stubbed his cigarette on
the Degenerate's hand. Maddened, then laughing, the Degenerate
proclaimed him to be "my kind of boy!" He then
introduced the boy to his philosophy of the lowest common
denominator, that all are slime and that the world should reflect
"survival of the meanest". The Degenerate then grabbed
a passing man's red arm sling for the boy's cape and some goggles
as a headpiece. Children trapped in barrels were then presented
to the cheers of the degenerates.
The children were then transported to the Museum of Art where they were about to be set aflame, if not for the arrival of Solitaire and Serena. Solitaire battled the Degenerate, while Serena battled his goons. Mr. Sparks leveled the flame gun at Solitaire, but Serena pulled the boy's aim away, and the gun fired set on "high", incinerating the Degenerate into dust. The Degenerate's goons and Mr. Sparks were taken into custody.
Comments: Created by Gerard Jones (writer), Jeff Parker (pencils) and John Lowe (inker).
I'm not sure that the Degenerate is actually insane, as he recognizes that he's not that sick that he'd start a fire he couldn't control. He is deliberately destructive, yet sought to control the chaos he wrought.
The Degenerate seemed to be one of those villains who just wanted to get caught, leaving clues and egging his pursuers on.
It was not revealed where the Degenerate's money came from, but this was presumably a sideline of his fiery crime spree.
It was implied that there was actually more to the Degenerate (possible mutate/ultra control of flame or even demon) than revealed in these issues, but he never came back. His tale was juxtaposed against a separate story on Atalon and the Fire People, so there may have been some vague connection beyond the same grey complexion, such as an insane exile, etc.
The Degenerate has no known connection to:
Mr. Sparks has no known connection to:
The diva at the Bach performance, an upcoming contralto, was almost a victim of the Degenerate's fiery wrath, but was rescued by Solitaire before the Hollywood Bowl collapsed. She appeared to be a normal human with no extra powers other than a popular singing voice in her field.
Initially rounded up as part of the Degenerate's juvenile sacrifices, Mr. Sparks quickly became the Degenerate's sidekick after burning his hand with a cigarette. Indeed, the Degenerate embraced and fanned the flames of the child's antisocial and arsonist tendencies. Mr. Sparks used the Degenerate's flame gun in an attack against Solitaire, but was later responsible for the Degenerate's emollition due to Serena affecting his aim.
Name given by the Degenerate; no real name given. He liked to go "snort" a lot.
Solitaire#8, p14 (the Degenerate fires)
p20, pan6 (head)
Solitaire#9, p22, pan6 (the Degenerate burns)
Solitaire#8, p10, pan1 (diva) Solitaire#9, p21, pan6 (Mr. Sparks)
other appearances: Solitaire#7 (September, 1994) Solitaire#8 (September, 1994) Solitaire#9 (September, 1994) (yep, they're all listed as September, 1994)
Last updated: 09/11/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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