Real Name: Gray Russell

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Reporter

Group MembershipJadoo (Riko, others)

AffiliationsCalvin, Mike

Enemies: Blades, Gorliss Gang, Punisher (Frank Castle), Venom (Eddie Brock)

Known RelativesUnidentified father (deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Oakland, California

First Appearance: Venom: Funeral Pyre#1 (August, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Pyre had the ability to generate and transmit microwaves from his body. He could project concentrated microwave blasts from his hands. Gray himself assumed that there was more to his power than just microwaves, but nothing more had been revealed.


(Venom: Funeral Pyre#1 (fb) ) - At his father's death bed Gray learned that his father had been a scientist working for Hydra at a secret lab that was disguised as a warehouse. Gray was a reporter and decided to investigate the lab, but when he arrived there it had become the HQ of the Jadoo gang. He needed to go undercover and hired two actors to pose as Jadoo enemies. They attacked a Jadoo member, who was "saved" by Gray. Riko, the guy Gray saved, invited him to join the Jadoo, but soon Gray realized that there was no way out after joining the gang.

(Venom: Funeral Pyre#1) - Gray watched as the Jadoo beat up their former member Hector, who tried to leave the gang. After the beating Gray and four Jadoo members drove around in a car and tried to run over some local citizens. After they hit a guy with their car they followed him into a building to finish him off. Gray took this opportunity to get help, but the only phone he found was damaged. He hid the boy, who was with the old man the Jadoo had run over, in a dumpster and gave him a note for the police (the most important part of this note seemed to be the mentioning of Gray's huge birthmark on his neck because otherwise they wouldn't have been able to tell him apart from the bad guys). After a hard night of causing trouble Gray and the other Jadoo arrived at home to get some rest. Riko told Gray that he nearly got into trouble because Gray had stayed on the street when the rest went after the old man the night before, but Gray was able to explain his actions.

  The next night the arrival of the Punisher caused a gang war in Oakland. The Jadoo were attacked by the Corliss Gang and the Blades, and Gray wanted nothing to do with it. He found the entrance to the secret lab and saw that the computers were still active, but Riko came by to give him a weapon to participate in the gang war. To become a full member he had to kill someone that night or the Jadoo would kill him.

(Venom: Funeral Pyre#2) - The Jadoo found a target for Gray on their ride through the streets. With a gun at his head Gray finally shot four youths from another gang, and the Jadoo were proud of Gray. Meanwhile, Venom found two Jadoo members, who told him that Gray was at the warehouse. Gray had just returned with his fellow Jadoo and decided to hide in the lab. The gunfire came closer, and another gang member stormed into the lab and told Gray that the Punisher was after them before he was shot in the back. With nowhere to go Gray took a chance and used Hydra's Super Soldier Pod. Gray was mutated into Pyre and could now defend himself against the Punisher, who was blinded by the transformation process for a second, when he entered the lab. With his new powers he made the Punisher's weapons too hot to handle. When the Jadoo member, who threatened to kill Gray when he didn't want to kill anybody, entered the lab, Pyre killed him with a microwave blast through the chest. Venom arrived and saw the birthmark on Pyre's neck and he was happy to have found the guy that was under his protection (Venom was caught up in a struggle with the Punisher while Gray had to turn into a murderer), but Pyre wasn't so happy because he had become a murderer due to Venom's lateness. Pyre attacked Venom and brought him to his knees with his microwave blasts.

(Venom: Funeral Pyre#3) - Pyre's powers were too much for Venom, whom Pyre blamed for everything that had happened. The Punisher took a weapon from the ground and hid behind a console from Pyre's microwave blasts. The Punisher then tried to shoot Pyre, but the bullets melted before they hit Pyre. At the same time Venom tried to escape, but Pyre found him again. Venom defended himself by throwing everything he could get a hold on at Pyre, but he burnt everything. Meanwhile the Punisher called Microchip for help to reprogram the Battlevan's weapon systems to work against Pyre. Inside the warehouse Pyre saw himself in a mirror for the first time and got even madder at Venom. He cornered Venom, but in that moment the Punisher drove through the wall with his Battlevan and used the van's radar to cancel out Pyre's powers, but the attack made Pyre only stronger because the recalibration of the van's anti-wave weapon couldn't be finished. The Punisher now had to use grenades to launch Pyre backwards. Venom came to help him, but Pyre attacked him again and because Venom realized that another blast could kill him, he pulled down the ceiling and buried Pyre under it. Even though he was buried under the wall he still rather wanted to kill Venom than to accept his help (understandable). All the fires created by Pyre now became a big uncontrollable fire. Burning debris cut off Venom from Pyre, who caught fire. Venom and the Punisher left Pyre for dead, but when they were gone a coughing was heard within the fire because Pyre wasn't dead.

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report) - Tony Stark considered Pyre as a potential Initiative recruit.

Comments: Created by Carl Potts, Tom Lyle, Scott Hanna, Al Milgrom & Joe Rubinstein.

Venom was pretty popular in the 90s, but I had always a problem with him as a hero, but in the era of big guns and anti-heroes Venom, the Lethal Protector, was the right psychopath for the right time (Marvel milked the symbiote cow with various Venom minis, Carnage one-shots, crossovers involving even more symbiotes, etc.). Unfortunately moves like dropping a wall on the guy you swore to protect or letting him burn alive while you save your own skin aren't too heroic. At least Venom didn't try to eat Pyre's brain.

You wouldn't believe it, but there really was another character named Pyre with a connection to Hydra. She was part of Hydra's Department of Occult Armament (link in clarifications). But there is really no connections except for the name as her powers had a supernatural origin and were totally different from Gray's powers.

Don't ask me when the lab was abandoned by Hydra. Their plans were stopped so many times by SHIELD that it is impossible to known when the specific blow to the organization occurred that led to the abandonment of this lab.

Profile by Markus Raymond.

Pyre should not be confused with:

Calvin & Mike

Calvin had no parents. He lived with his grandmother and Uncle Mike, but when Mike and Calvin left her place, the grandmother returned to San Lorenzo. One night Mike and his nephew Calvin went for a walk in Oakland. Mike was run over by the Jadoo and fled injured into a building. The Jadoo followed him inside and killed him. Meanwhile little Calvin was hidden by Gray Russell inside a dumpster and given a note for the police. The next day Calvin, who lived in the underground city beneath San Francisco, gave the note to Venom, the protector of that city.

--Venom: Funeral Pyre#1


(Venom: Funeral Pyre#1 (fb) ) - The Jadoo were a gang in Oakland, California. They use a warehouse as their HQ, which, unknown to them, had once belonged to Hydra. One day Riko had been saved by Gray Russell, who had staged an attack on Riko with two actors, and Riko invited Gray to join the Jadoo.

(Venom: Funeral Pyre#1) - One night the Jadoo beat up Hector, a former Jadoo, who wanted to leave them. Afterwards they tried to run over some citizens with their car and hit an old man. The man survived and they followed him into a building, where they seemingly killed him. The Jadoo then returned to their HQ and Riko told Gray that he nearly got into trouble with the others because Gray stayed on the street when the others beat up the old man.

  That night a gang war broke out and the Jadoo went to the streets to kill the attacking Corliss Gang and the Blades. They took Gray with them because this was the night he had to kill somebody to become a full Jadoo member or he would get killed by the Jadoo.

(Venom: Funeral Pyre#2) - The Jadoo found some targets for Gray. They became impatient and one Jadoo threatened to shoot Gray in the head if he didn't kill these guys. They were proud when Gray finally did it and returned to their HQ. Meanwhile two Jadoo were caught by Venom and told him that Gray was at the warehouse. The Punisher and Venom took out several Jadoo for different reasons. The Punisher was first at the warehouse and killed Rico in front of Gray. After Gray had been transformed into Pyre he killed the Jadoo, who had threatened to shoot him earlier that night.

--Venom: Funeral Pyre#1-2

Pyre's father

(Venom: Funeral Pyre#1 (fb) ) - Pyre's father once worked as a scientist for Hydra in a secret lab that was disguised as a warehouse. The lab was abandoned after Hydra suffered a crushing blow at the hands of SHIELD.

  At death bed he told his son Gray the truth about his past with Hydra. He told him everything about the lab and the experiments they did. Unfortunately the lab was abandoned before they could start tests on human subjects.

--Venom: Funeral Pyre#1 (fb)

images: (without ads)
Venom: Funeral Pyre#2, p19, pan5 (main image)

p17, pan3 (head shot)
Venom: Funeral Pyre#1, p6, pan2 (Calvin)
p3, pan3 (Mike)
p16, pan1 (Jadoo)

Venom: Funeral Pyre#1-3 (August-October, 1993) - Carl Potts (writer), Tom Lyle (pencils), Scott Hanna (#1), Al Milgrom (#1-2) & Joe Rubinstein (inks), Danny Fingeroth (editor)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report (2007) - Anthony Flamini & Ronald Byrd (writers)

Last updated: 08/18/07

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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