Real Name: Charles "Charlie" Burlingame
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Occupation: Adventurer, student;
formerly Imperial Forces of America enforcer
Group Membership: Redeemers (Beetle/Leila Davis, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Citizen V/Helut Zemo/John Watkins III, Fixer/P. Norbert Ebersol, Jolt/Hallie Takaham, Meteorite/Valeria Barnhardt, Smuggler/Conrad Josten, Scream),
Thunderbolts (Atlas/Erik Josten, Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Jolt, Mach-2/Abe Jenkins, Moonstone/Karla Sofen, Songbird/Melissa Gold);
formerly Shocktroopers, Brute Force, Imperial Forces of America (aka Royalist Forces of America aka Secret Empire)
Affiliations: Archangel (Warren Worthington III), Avengers (Black Widow/Natasha
Romanova, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Goliath/Hank Pym, Iron Man/Tony
Stark, Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters,
Triathlon/Delroy Garrett Jr., Vision/"Victor Shade", Warbird/Carol
Danvers, Wasp/Janet van Dyne), Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell), Citizen V (Dallas Riordan), Commission on Superhuman Activities, Duane
Freeman, William "Gears" Garvin, Hellcat (Patsy Walker), Daimon
Hellstrom, ISAAC, Machine Man (X-51),
Madame Masque (Kristina Guiletta Nefaria), Dr. Karl
Malus, Mentor (Alars), Ogre (Brian Dunlap), Scourge (Jack Monroe), SHIELD, Techno (posing as Ogre), V-Battalion, Young Allies (Bucky/Rikki Barnes, Kid Colt/Elric Freedom Whitemane, Toro/Benito Serrano);
formerly Sandman (William Baker)
Edwin Cord, Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom), Graviton (Franklin Hall),
Henry Peter Gyrich, Humus
Sapien (Sonny Baredo), Hydro-Man, Jury (Bomblast, Firearm, Ramshot, Sentry/Curtis Elkins, Wysper),
of Evil (Aqueduct, Bison, Blackwing, Boomerang, Cardinal, Constrictor, Crimson Cowl (Justine Hammer), Cyclone, Dragonfly, Eel, Flying Tiger,
Icemaster, Joystick, Klaw, Lodestone, Man-Ape, Man-Killer, Quicksand, Scorcher, Shatterfist, Shockwave, Slyde,
Sunstroke, Supercharger, Tiger Shark), Mephisto,
Protoids, Rebel (Rebel O'Reilly), Sandman (William Baker), Secret Empire (Calvin Burlingame, Cheer Chadwick, Hesperus Chadwick, William Taurey, others), Shocktroopers, Skyraiders, Speed Demon, USagent (John Walker), Whiplash (Marc
Scarlotti), Wonder Man (Simon Williams), Arnim Zola;
formerly citizens of Burton Canyon, Scourge (Jack Monroe), Thunderbolts (Atlas/Erik Josten, Jolt/Hallie Takahama, Mach-1/Abe Jenkins, Moonstone/Karla Sofen, Songbird/Melissa Gold), V-Battalion
Known Relatives: Calvin Burlingame (father, deceased), unidentified mother (deceased)
Aliases: Burning Man, Charlie, Charles Cole, Chuck, Chuckeroonie, "The Innocence", Imperial Army Test Subject 73-E
Base of Operations: Mount Charteris, Burton Canyon,
formerly mobile with the Imperial Forces of America;
formerly mobile with his father
First Appearance: Thunderbolts I#19 (October, 1998)
Powers/Abilities: After Arnim Zola's experiments
unlocked his innate genetic potential, teenager Charles "Charlie"
Burlingame developed a number of carbon-based powers. He could reshape
(parts of) his body into any carbon form, ranging from ultra soft shoal
to the densest of diamonds. While in carbon form, he could change his
size and shape, altering the size and composition of his appendages as
necessary. He could break off parts of his carbon body without pain. He
remained aware of all his broken off parts, making it possible to use
them like homing beacons. He could reattach his lost limbs with ease.
His carbon form also protects him from most conventional injuries. Charcoal has survived otherwise fatal chestwounds, even recovering from getting torn to pieces, only by mentally willing his broken pieces to merge together. Charcoal has the ability to generate heat, turning his body aflame or firing heat blasts, earning him the nickname "the burning man". He can regulate the amount of heat he produces, the upper limit of which hasn't been documented. Presumably, it's limited to the maximum amount of heat coal can generate (about 3500 degrees Fahrenheit/1927 degrees Celsius). Charcoal can fly.
While Charcoal seemed a pretty decent and affable kid at first, during his tenure with the Thunderbolts it became apparent that a youth spent in service of the Royalist Forces of America made him bitter, angry and agressive. These personality traits especially became apparent after the presumed death of Jolt (Hallie Takahama).
Weight: 135 lbs.
Hair: Black (shaved)
(Thunderbolts I#24 (fb) ) - Charlie's father Calvin had trouble finding work, forcing his son to accompany him as he traveled from state to state looking for employment. At one point, Calvin and Charlie attended a rally for the disenfranchised, held by the Royalist Forces of America (part of the Secret Empire). The Royalists offered the poor a better life, but secretly screened all those who signed up for genetic potential. Charlie, much to his own surprise was selected and handed over to the research department, led by Arnim Zola although he never showed himself to his test subjects.
Over the course of several weeks, Charlie was subjected to a series of gruesome, invasive tests designed by Zola to catalyse his dormant genetic potential. In the end, Zola's attempts bore fruit when the teenager reverted to his Charcoal form the first time.
Initially scheduled to join Brute Force, Charlie was
assigned as a superhuman strongman working with the Royalist Force's
(Thunderbolts I#19 (fb) ) - Charcoal aided the Shocktroopers in their takeover of the small Colorado mountain town of Burton Canyon. He used his fireblasts to help the Brigade force the population into the town square where he watched as they were informed that they were no longer U.S. citizens. High school students Angie, J.B. and Danny used the sewers to sneak away and get help.
(Thunderbolts I#19 - BTS) - The Thunderbolts, still on the run from the authorities, were staying in a cottage owned by Songbird (Melissa Gold), not far from Burton Canyon. Much to their surprise, recently escaped students Angie, J.B. and Danny came to them, fully aware they were in fact the Thunderbolts. After some tense discussion, the team agreed to help out the inhabitants of Burton Canyon and took off.
Hoping to create an element of surprise, the Thunderbolts agreed that Moonstone (Karla Sofen) would stay behind and act as their ace in the hole. Thanks to her phasing abilities, she should be able to come to their aid without gathering too much attention.
(Thunderbolts I#19) - Charcoal attacked Atlas, Jolt, Mach-1 and Songbird when they were trying to reach Burton Canyon by car in their civilian guises. He took them prisoner and dragged them to the same holding place most of the Burton Canyon inhabitants were being held in. Using his signal watch to call in Moonstone, Mach-1 made sure the Thunderbolts were soon suited up and ready to fight.
When Charcoal noticed the Thunderbolts, he attacked them with a sense of joyous zeal. However, when Jolt mentioned Arnim Zola, he was momentarily taken aback. That didn't stop him long, he continued his merciless barrage and almost gave the T-bolts a run for their money. However, when the Shocktroopers feared they might lose, they abandoned Burton Canyon, leaving Charcoal to fend for himself. His fight with the Thunderbolts was interrupted by the arrival of the Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil who invited the Thunderbolts to join them. Taking advantage of the confusion, Charcoal took off.
(Thunderbolts I#23) - Charcoal, in his human guise, attended the official press conference in which Hawkeye made Mach-1 turn himself in. Without anyone noticing, Charcoal dropped a piece of his finger into Hawkeye's quiver, allowing him to trace the archer back to the Thunderbolts' hideout.
The Thunderbolts were shocked to see Charlie show up at
their cabin hideout before long, especially when he shifted into his
Charcoal identity. The team attacked him immediately, until Hawkeye
broke up the fighting with a piercing sonic arrow. Deducing his good
intentions, Hawkeye pointed out to the T-Bolts that Charcoal didn't
attack them and was deserving of some slack. Just as Charcoal tried to
explain his plight involving his father and the Imperials, the
Thunderbolts were surprised by the sudden arrival of the USAgent (John
Walker) and the Jury.
When Jury member Ramshot fired at Charcoal, the USAgent chastized him for not targeting T-Bolts only. Annoyed at being left out, Charcoal fired up and knocked about Sentry and Bomblast. After an intense fight, most of the Jury members were disabled, save for the USAgent. This gave Hawkeye a prime opportunity to escape with his team, inviting Charcoal to tag along.
(Thunderbolts I#24) - Songbird, still highly suspicious of Charcoal, attacked him when she thought he was trying to crush her when she spotted him looming over her as the team were spending the night in an old culvert. Hawkeye broke up the fight that ensued over these allegations, reminding the team that everyone was annoyed and short-tempered after sleeping inside a sewage main. Charcoal explained he only shifted into his carbon form because he was cold.
He then shared his backstory with the team, confirming that it was indeed Zola who was responsible for his transformation. Hawkeye interrupted him when he picked up an emergency transmission hailing from the Nebraska town of Robinette which found itself under attack from the Masters of Evil. Fighting the Masters for a while, Charcoal managed to plant a part of his index finger underneath Man-Killer's shoulder-straps, allowing the T-Bolts to trace her and the Masters long after they left. The Thunderbolts then stayed behind to protect the people of Robinette from the unnatural weather patterns. Charcoal used his carbon form to protect citizens and soldiers from lightening strikes. Meanwhile Citizen V (Dallas Riordan), located the weather device the Masters planted in a Robinette basement. She tried to disable it, but was knocked down by its protector the Eel. As the storms ran its course, Atlas shielded Songbird's solid sound cage which protected its villagers.
Hours after leaving Robinette, Charcoal and the Thunderbolts traced his index finger to a hidden base inside Colorado's Mount Charteris. Bypassing the alarm, the Thunderbolts subtly tried to gain entrance, only to uncover the Crimson Cowl and a 25 member Masters of Evil were ready to take the world hostage with a giant version of the Robinette weather device.
(Thunderbolts I#25) - Struggling to figure out just how the Thunderbolts were supposed to take down the Masters of Evil, Charcoal watched as Moonstone openly rebelled against Hawkeye's leadership and took off, only to decide she'd be better off joining the Crimson Cowl and ending up getting imprisoned by the Cowl.
The Man-Ape (M'Baku) wandered the corridors alone after escorting Moonstone to a holding cell. He was grabbed by Atlas and quickly knocked out. Shatterfist, Lodestone and Joystick were captured as well, rounded out with Charcoal knocking out the Constrictor. The T-Bolts undressed the villains and put on their uniforms in an attempt to infiltrate the Masters. However, the costumes proved to be less than convincing, with Charcoal complaining about the fact they put the black kid in the monkey costume.
Joining the Masters inside Mount Charteris' command level
moments before Crimson Cowl launched it into suborbit, the T-Bolts
thought themselves relatively safe until Moonstone spotted them from her
cell and decided to betray them in order to gain the Cowl's trust.
The remaining 20 Masters immediately turned on the team, but Charcoal held his own by fighting and beating such villains as the Icemaster, Cardinal and Supercharger. Even after the Crimson Cowl fled with Moonstone, Dragonfly and Sunstroke inside a secondary, command level escape pod launched from inside the base, the fight continued. Despite the fact Flying Tiger managed to get the drop on Hawkeye and threatened to kill him, the team fought on, with Charcoal facing Cyclone, Man-Killer and Tiger Shark in combat. Eventually, the T-Bolts defeated the Masters of Evil.
Moments later, it became clear to Charcoal that Moonstone
had turned against the Cowl and her followers when she caused the pod to
crash. Charcoal also witnessed how Atlas' former lover Dallas Riordan
was revealed as the Crimson Cowl.
(Thunderbolts I#26) - Charcoal joined Hawkeye and the
others as they explored their new Mount Charteris headquarters.
(Thunderbolts I#27) - Hawkeye and Moonstone arranged for Charcoal and Jolt to attend Burton Canyon high school under their new names Charles Cole and Hallie Shimosato. While Jolt hated the idea of being forced to go to school, Charlie relished the opportunity to attend something else than the Imperial training centers where tardiness ensured a whipping. At school, he watched how Hallie had a meltdown when some of their classmates tried to introduce themselves. After school, they went back to Mount Charteris and waited for the other Thunderbolts to return after their mission, surprised to see Archangel (Warren Worthington III) had accompanied them. Before long, the team was alerted to the threat of Graviton and the Skyraiders who were terrorizing San Francisco.
(Thunderbolts I#28 (fb) ) - Charcoal looked on as the
Thunderbols discussed the Graviton situation. After inviting Archangel
to tag along, Hawkeye informed Charcoal and Jolt that they would be
going to school, instead of joining them on this mission.
(Thunderbolts I#28) - After the Thunderbolts left to confront Graviton in San Francisco, the rebellious Jolt decided to ignore Hawkeye's orders and prepared to follow them using the archer's atomic steed. Charcoal pleaded with her to reconsider, stating that after all he'd been through he relished the idea of going to school and having some normalcy. Jolt balked at the notion of having a normal life and threatened to take off with or without him. He decided to go along with her, but they reached San Francisco only to see Graviton had already defeated Archangel and the other Thunderbolts.
(Thunderbolts I#29) - Jolt was ready to attack Graviton, but Charcoal convinced her that would only result in them being captured as well. After failing to reach the Avengers and Fantastic Four for help, Jolt figured that Machine Man (X-51) might be able to help, considering he flies by "canceling the gravity equation". Travelling to his last known location in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Charcoal caught X-51's attention by writing his name in flames across the sky. Charcoal and Jolt met Machine Man and his associate "Gears" Garvin. X-51 was right in the middle of his annual maintenance disassembly however, and days away from being back in fighting shape. He did help out by creating a number of armbands based on the gravity negating technologies of his long dead creator Abel Stack. Outfitted with these armbands, Charcoal and Jolt travelled to Graviton's base Sky Island, still looming over San Francisco. While Jolt distracted the villain, Charcoal freed the Thunderbolts and supplied them with Stack's bands before joining the attack. Now able to hit their gravitic foe, Charcoal and Atlas pummeled Graviton before he launched the slab of rock they were on off the island and into Coit Tower. Charcoal flew back right in time to see Graviton lose control over his powers.
(Thunderbolts I#30) - After Graviton overloaded his powers and turned himself into a black hole, Charcoal and the Thunderbolts escaped the destruction of Sky Island and returned home safe and sound. The next morning, Charcoal awoke to find the Ogre (Brian Dunlap) had secretly created a costume made of unstable molecules for him, complete with the stylized C that used to adorn the old Champscraft the team had been using for transportation.
After Hawkeye insisted Charcoal and Jolt went to school again, Jolt freaked out as soon as she was in front of Burton Canyon high. Momentarily worried, Charlie decided not to chase her and went in anyway, unaware he was being followed by members of the Royalist Forces. Four hours later, Charlie was ambushed and kidnapped by a number of armed Royalists who gassed him before he could change into Charcoal.
(Thunderbolts I#31 - BTS) - Charcoal was taken to the Royalist Forces of America secret Cornwallis base hidden in the Rockies where the sadistic Cheer Chadwick "disciplined" him for abandoning the cause. Charcoal was placed inside a boot outfitted with a sonic cannon that shattered his carbon form, causing him so much pain he screamed for days on end.
(Thunderbolts I#31) - When the Thunderbolts infiltrated Cornwallis base and, after locating Charcoal, confronted Cheer Chadwick, she laughed their threats away and released Brute Force, the Royalist's band of genetically modified troops, upon them. Acting on Hawkeye's orders, Jolt freed Charcoal who despite his extended torture was still alert enough to save Jolt from Brute Force member Fizgig. However, they were all blasted into unconsciousness, just as William Taurey, Cheer and Hesperus Chadwick showed themselves and announced the Royalist Forces' new status as the new Secret Empire.
(Thunderbolts I#32) - William Taurey pitted Charcoal and the Thunderbolts against Brute Force and the Shocktroopers in an arena duel to the death. The T-bolts were no match for the two groups, but got help from an unexpected source when USAgent and the Jury burst into the Cornwallis facility, thinking they had found the Thunderbolts' base. In the end, the heroes managed to win out by turning the Secret Empire's gigantic sonic cannon against them, causing the base's power relays to overload. After failing to capture Taurey and the other leaders of the Secret Empire, the Thunderbolts returned home to Mount Charteris to find even more gifts the Ogre had secretly left for them. Hawkeye decided it was high time to find out who their mysterious benefactor was.
(Thunderbolts I#33 (fb) ) - While searching their massive headquarters for the Ogre, Charcoal discovered one of his abandoned hideouts, completely scorched and scarred by blaster fire. Figuring someone had tried to kill him, Charcoal reasoned that the Ogre wouldn't really trust anyone after that.
(Thunderbolts I#33) - Charcoal and Songbird tried to grab
the Ogre, but he blasted Charcoal away and easily penetrated Songbird's
solid sound dome. Only Atlas' sincere words of gratitude for his gifts
managed to coax him out of hiding, leaving Charcoal to wonder who this
extremely obscure villain was. A little while later, Charcoal and the
Thunderbolts watched video footage of a new, heavily armed Beetle, just
as news broke that Mach-1 was no longer in jail.
(Thunderbolts I#34 - (fb) - BTS) - Hawkeye, hoping to improve the Thunderbolts' public image, participated in a half hour TV special hosted by Gayle Rogers in which he announced the Thunderbolts would hunt down and bring in the Hulk.
(Thunderbolts I#34) - A little annoyed he wasn't mentioned once in the entire special, Charcoal watched as Jolt bickered with Hawkeye after learning they were not allowed to join in on the Hulk mission because of school. Once again annoyed about being stuck at school, Hallie complained to Charlie and almost got into a fight with abrasive fellow student Mick. Figuring Jolt needed a break and some normalcy, Charlie agreed to his classmate Angie's proposal to all meet after school for a Mocha-Frost and some conversation. Just as Hallie and Charlie sat down in the Wide Awake coffeehouse, the Scourge (Jack Monroe) used a hard air bullet to shoot Jolt through the head.
(Thunderbolts I#35 (fb) ) - A heartbroken Charlie met the Thunderbolts after they returned home from their mission against the Hulk and tearfully informed them Hallie had died from her wounds.
(Thunderbolts I#35) - Charlie and the Thunderbolts attended Hallie's funeral in their civilian guises. He later watched a personal message Hallie had taped as part of her psychological treatment designed by Moonstone (Sofen) to get her to open up about the traumas she'd experienced during the Onslaught incident. Hallie praised her friend Charlie for being there for her and admitted she admired how cool and calm he was able to be, despite all the misery he had endured. Upon hearing this, Charlie succumbed to a fit of rage, shifted into his Charcoal form and smashed the television set.
Charcoal later joined the Thunderbolts in tracking down the new Beetle to Canada, bursting in on him just as he was offering his services to Justin Hammer.
(Thunderbolts I#36) - Charcoal engaged the Beetle, but the armored
villain's array of weapons proved more than a match. Charcoal tried to
grab the Beetle, only to have both his arms chopped into briquettes by the
Beetle's razor sharp wings. When Justin Hammer's super powered henchmen
Hydro-Man, Whiplash, Blizzard and Speed Demon involved themselves in the
fight, Charcoal was able to save Atlas from drowning by heating up and
turning Hydro-Man into steam.
This didn't save him from being hit in the back by Whiplash's electrified whip. Momentarily stunned, Charcoal was combat ready when the Beetle took off, headed for Burton Canyon. Charcoal, Songbird and Hawkeye gave chase, but the Beetle managed to stall Charcoal and Hawkeye by attacking the airship. After saving Hawkeye, Charcoal was right on time to prevent Songbird from falling to her death when the Beetle disrupted her solid sound wings. In the end, Charcoal was as shocked as everyone to find out the Beetle armor was actually empty and being piloted via remote control.
(Thunderbolts I#37) - Frustrated the T-Bolts seemed more concerned with the mystery of the new Beetle than with finding Jolt's killer, Charcoal threw a major temper tantrum to the surprise of Hawkeye and Songbird. He was assured that while Hallie hadn't been forgotten, Abe Jenkins was still alive and could be in trouble with this new Beetle on the loose. Charcoal went along with the explanation and later accompanied Songbird when she was reunited with Jenkins after Hawkeye, Moonstone and Atlas broke him out of Seagate prison.
The next day Charcoal was present when the Ogre (actually Techno, who had taken over Ogre's identity) revealed Abe's new flightsuit called Mach-II. Abe had also received a new face, in order to conceal his identity. However, Ogre (Techno) wasn't too experienced in the field of dermaplasty and what was intended to be a somewhat swarthy look, turned Jenkins from caucasian to African American. Charcoal couldn't believe his eyes, just as Songbird fainted from shock.
(Thunderbolts Annual 2000) - Charcoal and the other Thunderbolts backed Hawkeye when he entered Mephisto's section of hell in order to free his wife Mockingbird (Morse) from an eternity of fighting in the arena of tainted souls. During their stay, all the Thunderbolts faced illusions created by Mephisto to feast on their fears. Charcoal encountered Jolt who blamed him for letting her die. In the end, he overcame the illusion by admitting to himself he was proud he'd saved his own life, instead of having tried to save hers as well. In the end, the Thunderbolts were tricked by their associate Daimon Hellstrom and unknowingly returned Hellstrom's wife Hellcat (Patsy Walker) back to life.
(Thunderbolts I#38) - While walking to school, Charlie was lost in thought and accidentally bumped into his fellow classmate Mick. When the short-tempered lad started to yell at him, Charlie flashed a deadly stare that immediately made him back off. Charlie then walked away, seemingly unaffected by the incident. He entered the school, only to be summoned to Mount Charteris moment later after Citizen V had shown up, running for her bosses in the V-Battalion. Much to everyone's surprise, Citizen V turned out to be Atlas' former girlfriend Dallas Riordan.
(Thunderbolts I#39) - Charcoal and the others were stunned to see how Dallas was transported away by the Crimson Cowl's teleporting cowl via a pre-programmed evasion protocol.
(Thunderbolts I#40) - Charcoal used his body to shield Hawkeye from the avalanche caused by an enraged Atlas after watching Dallas disappear on him. In the aftermath, the V-Battalion left with Atlas, who secretly managed to get onboard the Vanguard, the V-Battalion's massive command vessel, that headed home to Masada Castle in Symkaria.
Thanks to the Ogre (Techno) tracking Atlas' comm-link, the team was able to determine Atlas' location. Figuring they needed help getting into Symkaria, they enlisted the Sandman (William Baker)'s help. As a former employee of Symkaria's most famous bounty hunter Silver Sable, he knew the lay of the land. Sandman accepted the offer to play tourguide and led the T-Bolts to Masada Castle, using his sandy form to reveal the cloaked Vanguard. When the team attacked, the V-Battalion's super powered ruling body, the Penance Council actively got involved in the fight. Upon seeing them, Charcoal noticed his teammate Moonstone became violently ill.
(Thunderbolts I#41) - Ordered by Hawkeye to protect the ill Moonstone, Charcoal commented that he could jump in and end the conflict pretty quickly. Hawkeye noticed Charcoal's new, cocky attitude and welcomed it, just as Charlie launched himself towards Iron Cross (Helmut Gruler). However, during the fighting he was the only one to spot Sandman secretly making a run for it. Everyone was too busy to notice this, until Moonstone unwittingly unleashed a wave of energy that turned all combatants intangible before flying off to parts unknown. Still, her actions had ended the conflict, and the Thunderbolts and the Penance Council then teamed up to capture the Sandman. The aid of Charcoal proved instrumental when he used his heat, in combination with that of Nuklo and Goldfire, to incapacitate Sandman's silicone body by turning it into glass.
(Thunderbolts I#42 - BTS) - Charlie revealed his secret identity as Charcoal to his school friends Angie, J.B. and Danny.
(Thunderbolts I#42) - Mind-controlled by Count Nefaria, the ionic Avenger Wonder Man (Simon Williams) came to Burton Canyon to capture the similary empowered Atlas. Their fight led them to Burton Canyon High School, where Charlie was attending classes. His schoolfriend Angie told him to go and change into Charcoal, promising to cover for him. Charlie was surprised to see Wonder Man who only wanted to know if he was "one of them too". Charcoal refused to answer, reciting an Imperial Handbook guideline, in response Wonder Man tore the teen to pieces. Charcoal's head was picked up by the arriving Mach-2 who was surprised to see Charlie was still alive. Charcoal told his teammate it hurt pretty bad and then asked to put him down so he could reform himself, even as Wonder Man took off with Atlas.
(Thunderbolts I#43 - BTS) - Charlie was able to reconstitute himself, seemingly none the worse for wear.
(Thunderbolts I#43) - Charlie was complaining bitterly to Songbird about the fact the team spent more time looking for Moonstone than they ever devoted to finding Jolt's killer. Their conversation was overheard by the Black Widow (Romanoff) who had snuck into the T-Bolts' headquarters as part of an investigation into the Maggia trying to get their hands on Baron Zemo's ion experiments. Hoping that his former teammates would know more, she intended to simply spy on them and leave but made her presence known anyway.
Ogre (Techno) offered that the information they were after was most likely stored in Zemo's castle in Central America, which he had been able to pinpoint thanks to Atlas' experience as a mercenary in Zemo's forces. When Charlie learned they were going on a mission to help the Widow, he got even angrier about the fact Jolt's killer was still free. He still performed admirably when the team was overrun in Zemo's castle by Cyclone (Fresson) and a vicious horde of Protoids. Cyclone tried to get away with Karl Malus and an unidentified scientist, but Mach-2 tagged them for later retrieval. After the fight, Mach-2 informed the T-Bolts that Atlas and Wonder Man were currently in Las Vegas, aiding Count Nefaria in killing the Avengers.
(Avengers III#33 - BTS) - The Thunderbolts managed to capture Karl Malus who revealed he was working for Nefaria in the construction of an ionic explosive large enough to irradiate the entire world.
(Avengers III#33) - Charcoal was seen in the background during the Black Widow and Hawkeye's call to Avengers Mansion. They informed the teams of what they had uncovered about Count Nefaria's plans to build a massive ionic bomb.
(Thunderbolts I#44 - BTS) - The Thunderbolts dropped off Ogre (Techno) at their Mount Charteris headquarters and then accompanied the Black Widow back to New York and Avengers Mansion, where the two teams decided to join forces.
(Thunderbolts I#44) - Charcoal and the other Thunderbolts were a little nervous about being in Avengers Mansion, even as Charlie presented Malus to the Avengers. The doctor offered to help out, albeit in return for a reduced sentence. While the more learned members of the teams tried to plan their next step, Charcoal was given a private tour by Triathlon who told him about the Avengers' poor trackrecord with African American members, recalling how the government forced Falcon on to the team mirrored his own admission process to Earth's mightiest. Charcoal called Triathlon out on his poor, self pitying attitude.
Later that night, the Avengers and Thunderbolts managed to locate Count Nefaria's castle near the town of Blaircrest and went out to confront him. Nefaria sent out Atlas and Wonder Man to stop them, before finally showing himself and his gigantic ionic explosive.
(Avengers III#34) - Charcoal joined the Avengers and Thunderbolts in a largely unsuccesful attempt to hold back the fighting mad Count Nefaria. Brash and somewhat unhinged, Charcoal figured he could reach Nefaria's castle to disable the ionic bomb before Nefaria could interfere. Ignoring Hawkeye's warnings, Charcoal took off only to be reduced to rubble by one of Nefaria's eyeblasts. Charcoal managed to reform just in time for Madame Masque to use the ionic lock she and Malus had constructed to deal with her father. When Nefaria started leaking ionic energy, Charcoal joined the others in keeping him distracted while a newly freed Wonder Man and Atlas dealt with the ionic bomb. In the end, Nefaria blew himself up.
(Thunderbolts I#45) - Still miffed about the fact Jolt's murderer was running around free, Charcoal joined the team in their search for Moonstone who Ogre (Techno) managed to locate on the Moon. Firing up a previously undiscovered jumpship, the T-Bolts launched from Mount Charteris towards SHIELD's Lunar Station Number One, located at the edge of the Blue Area of the Moon. Moonstone had penetratred the SHIELD facility to quiz its prisoner the Kree Supreme Intelligence about the Kree warrior woman that had been haunting her dreams and influencing her decisions for months. Upon seeing her teammates, Moonstone attacked them and almost killed Songbird, Mach-2 and Charcoal when the base's outerwall was pierced. The unannounced arrival of Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell) made Moonstone calm down.
(Maximum Security#2) - Charcoal and the other Thunderbolts snuck around Lunar Base One, quietly retreating after collecting Moonstone.
(Thunderbolts I#46 - BTS) - In the aftermath of their confrontation, Captain Marvel took the Thunderbolts to the Saturn moon of Titan, home to the Eternals and their nigh omniscient world computer ISAAC.
(Thunderbolts I#46) - While Hawkeye, Moonstone and Captain Marvel were meeting with ISAAC and Titan's leader Mentor (Alars), Charcoal, Songbird and Mach-2 toured the Eternals' abode. Charcoal complained that Titan was too peaceful and noticed that there weren't any black Eternals to be found. When Mach-2 tried to joke about it, Charcoal cruelly mentioned that since Ogre (Techno) accidentally turned Abe black, Songbird hadn't even shown him the slightest bit of affection.
(Thunderbolts I#47 (fb) ) - The newly resurrected Jolt remembered her final moments, seeing Charlie, Angie and J.B's worried faces seconds after she'd been shot through the head by Scourge.
(Thunderbolts I#47 - BTS) - When Moonstone rejected ISAAC's demand that the lifestone that empowers her had to be removed, Charcoal, Mach-2 and Songbird were jailed.
(Thunderbolts I#47) - Despite the fact her throat was covered by sound absorbing worms, Songbird managed to use her vocal powers to subtly influence Captain Marvel, convincing him to free her, Charcoal and Mach-2. Together, they interrupted the lifestone removal, with Captain Marvel being able to convince Mentor and ISAAC that he would supervise Moonstone's behavior, making sure she didn't use the lifestone's might for evil by regularly checking in on the Thunderbolts via his cosmic awareness. The team was free to return to Earth.
(Thunderbolts I#48 - BTS) - After Scourge and the newly resurrected Jolt failed to keep the ionically overloaded Atlas from detonating, SHIELD showed up to take command of the Thunderbolts' base, in an operation led by G.W. Bridge.
(Thunderbolts I#48) - Returning to Earth in their jumpship, the Thunderbolts were dumbstruck to find the mess caused by Atlas' explosion. Their surprise turned to joy when they spotted Jolt alive and well. Hallie joined the team as they took off to a spot in the Canadian Rockies, safe from SHIELD. There, Hallie filled them in on all she had learned about her killer, the Scourge. The team decided to deal with this menace. After learning his location, on a plane about to take off, Charcoal ripped open the aircraft and grabbed him. After a brief struggle, Hawkeye finally unmasked the Scourge to discover he was alledgedly Captain America all along. This demoralized the T-Bolts, who figured that if even the Avengers' leader was against them, their clemency deal with the government might be in danger. Upon hearing this, Jolt burst out laughing, revealing she had learned from SHIELD that Hawkeye had lied about striking a deal with the government in which him leading them would lead to pardons.
(Thunderbolts I#49) - Enraged at the notion he'd been betrayed by someone he trusted, Charcoal hit Hawkeye only to be restrained by his teammates. Figuring the tarmac wasn't an ideal place to discuss this, the T-Bolts took the captured Scourge back to their jumpship hidden in the Rockies. There, they learned Scourge was actually Jack Monroe, the former Bucky and Nomad. While Hawkeye couldn't believe someone like Monroe could ever be a killer, Charcoal recalled watching the Secret Empire condition sweet little old ladies to become trained assassins. Still, it turned out Monroe was forced to act against his will after being exposed to mind controlling nano-probes. Songbird managed to disrupt the micro technology with a piercing wail, which disrupted them. Monroe then joined forces with the Thunderbolts, revealing he had been forced to work for Henry Peter Gyrich.
(Thunderbolts I#50) - Determined to make Gyrich pay for his transgressions, the Thunderbolts travelled to Washington D.C. where in their search for Gyrich they were met by Citizen V (Watkins) who was on the run from his own team the Redeemers, who found themselves mind controlled by the same nano-probes that ensured Scourge's cooperation. During the confrontation, the increasingly unstable Charcoal lost it and tried to burn Beetle (Leila Davis) alive inside her armor, only increasing the heat once he picked up the smell of burning flesh. After welding Beetle's gauntlets together, he shifted his attention to the Smuggler (Conrad Josten) who was fighting Jolt. Hearing the Smuggler scream was enough to convince Jolt her friend was going too far and begged him to stop. Charcoal complied, but muttered out loud he was getting bored with hearing "woe is me" crap from hypocrites with no clue how hard life can really be.
Charcoal was involved on the sidelines while Henry Peter Gyrich's plan to unleash the nano-probes worldwide was thwarted and it was discovered that Gyrich himself was being controlled by them as well (as part of a scheme by HYDRA and Baron Strucker). Hoping to make good on his lies about arranging clemency, Hawkeye gave himself up in order to secure the freedom of Mach-2, Songbird and Moonstone. However, Jolt and Charcoal were still orphaned minors and as such fell under SHIELD's supervision. They joined the Redeemers, who took over Mount Charteris as part of a joint SHIELD and CSA operation. Captain America (Steve Rogers) was assigned to them as a temporary field agent.
(Thunderbolts I#51) - During a training exercise, Charcoal managed to grab Captain America and would only let him go after Jolt expressly told him to. This tense moment was interrupted by Fixer (Ebersol) who referred to Charcoal as "tomorrow's headcase" before patching through SHIELD director Sharon Carter who gave the team its first mission: retrieve Dallas Riordan from Latveria. Their plane was hit with an electromagnetic pulse as it entered Latverian airspace. The Redeemers escaped unharmed, although Charcoal did get hit by a piece of the plane. That didn't stop him from attacking Doctor Doom as soon as he spotted him, unaware and uncaring it was but a hologram. Doom, transmitting from his throne on Counter Earth, explained that Counter Earth's anti-hero Rebel (O'Reilly) was responsible for the EMP. Rebel had been sent to Earth in order to prevent the Young Allies from unleashing a bio-attack on Latveria. Since Rebel failed to stop the Young Allies, Doom saw himself forced to recruit local talent.
(Thunderbolt I#52) - While they were searching Latveria for the Young Allies, it slowly dawned on Jolt that Charcoal had changed. Very little remained of the nice, level-headed friend she knew before her death. A point Charcoal proved once again when he attacked the Young Allies on his own, despite express orders to work together. In the end, Charcoal's involvement in resolving the conflict between Doom and the Young Allies was negligible. The Redeemers discovered that the cannister carrying the alleged bio-weapon only contained harmless, inert gas. The Young Allies had tried to bluff Doom into giving into their demands for more food and medical support for the disenfranchised Counter Earth. Liking their style, Charcoal tried to convince Jolt to switch sides and join the Allies and their fight on Counter Earth, claiming it would mean something cool to do. Jolt decided against it as they watched the Allies teleport back home.
(Thunderbolts I#53 (fb) ) - Charlie was forced to look on helplessly as Jolt struggled with her physical therapy. Her crippled body still hadn't healed after Techno helped restore her, which caused her to walk with a limp and slur her words. In the end, Charlie handed Hallie her cane and told her he had to go to school. Offering to skip class if she wanted him to stay around, Jolt sent Charcoal away.
(Thunderbolts I#53 - BTS) - Charlie's father Calvin Burlingame observed his son from a distance, noting how much angrier and anti-social he had become.
(Thunderbolts I#53) - While in class, Charlie was lost in thought. He had great difficulty connecting with the people around him, barely listening or caring. After class, he even blew off his friends Angie and J.B.. When he spotted class bully Mick threaten a fellow student in the schoolyard for not handing him his notes, Charlie turned into Charcoal and beat them up.
Later, Angie and J.B. spotted Charlie at the Wide Awake coffeehouse where Jolt was shot. They went in to check on their friend and discuss the commotion he had caused by changing into Charcoal earlier and letting loose on Mitch. Charlie didn't really care, saying Mitch and his friends were racists who had it coming. Furthermore, he claimed, there was no one who could stop him. Not the cops, not even the Avengers. At that point, his father entered the coffeehouse and asked to speak with him.
Calvin took Charlie for a car ride, explaining along the way that the Secret Empire only let him go because they had so many other test subjects it was less hassle to let him walk than force him to stay. Calvin's destination was a cryogenics chemical plant just outside Burton Canyon. Calvin wanted Charcoal to rob the place and steal a chemical compound the Secret Empire required. Charcoal refused of course, forcing his father to call in a squad of Shocktroopers. Happily tearing into the squad, Charcoal wasn't aware this was all part of his father's plans. While his son inadvertently created a diversion, Calvin snuck inside to download the files on the cryogenic compound the Empire needed.
The fighting alerted SHIELD in nearby Mount Charteris, who sent the Redeemers to check out the plant. By that time, Charcoal's fight against the Shocktroopers had caused the containment field surrounding the experimental freon gas Calvin wanted to rupture, with him dangling right over it. Charcoal had a chance to rescue his father, but after thinking it over, walked away and let him fall to his death. Later, he lied to Captain America and the arriving Redeemers about the incident, claiming it was all about the Empire trying to recapture him, casually chiding Captain America for not having dealt with his old enemies sooner. He also reported that the fatality was "an Empire guy" who he had tried to save, not mentioning it was his father. Cap tried to comfort him by saying heroes can't rescue everyone, to which Charcoal sarcastically replied one really can't save anyone.
(Thunderbolts I#54 - BTS) - With the arrival of Citizen V as the new leader of the Redeemers, Captain America gave his successor his analysis on the team. According to Cap, young Charlie Burlingame was merely trying to lead a normal life after a very troubled upbringing in the Secret Empire.
(Thunderbolts I#54) - Charlie was at school when the Fixer finally managed to locate the missing Thunderbolt Ogre, who had been hiding inside an interdimensional tesseract along with a stasis pod labelled HS-1. Despite Ogre's pleas to stop, the relentlessly curious Fixer pulled the tesseract back to Earth which forced the HS-1 capsule to open. This event caused a dimension warping effect that was seen even at Burton Canyon High. Charlie turned into Charcoal and raced to Mount Charteris just as Humus Sapien emerged.
(Thunderbolts I#55 (fb) ) - As Humus Sapien revived, Charcoal was the first of the Redeemers to attack him. Humus Sapien lashed out instinctively, unleashing geospatial reality altering energy that knocked out the Redeemers, Ogre and the SHIELD agents. The use of his power came at a price, though. His energywave was fuelled by the lifeforce of 2400 random people, among them Arabian Knight (Abdul Qamar).
(Thunderbolts I#55) - Humus Sapien then walked out of the base, but soon realized his power was hurting others. At Mount Charteris, the Redemeers were trying to come up with a strategy to deal with Humus. The most likely strategy was to power up the tesseract and send him back where he came from. Unfortunately, the combined power of Jolt, Scream and Charcoal wasn't sufficient to power the stargate. Then, Humus returned and upon learning how much death he had caused, he decided to use his might to power the stargate and willingly head back to the space pocket he came from. At the last instant, Ogre jumped after him. Mere moments after the stargate closed, Mount Charteris was attacked by Graviton who triumphantly announced he had come to kill the Thunderbolts. Slightly disappointed he didn't find his old enemies, he decided the Redeemers would do just as well and asked who they would like to be the first to die.
(Thunderbolts I#56) - In the opening moments of the Redeemers' fight against Graviton, the villain used his powers to crush and crumble Charcoal's body into fragments far smaller than he was seemingly able to recover from.
(Thunderbolts I#66 - BTS) - Missing her friend Charlie and feeling lonely and unsure of what the Thunderbolts were doing on Counter Earth, Jolt started an extended letter adressed to Charlie. She "told" him all about the plans Helmut Zemo had to save the world, while ending with the sincere notion that she wished he would just reappear, considering she thought heroes were supposed to always come back from the dead. She wistfully stared at a pencil sketch of Charlie, drawn by Dallas Riordan. She then decided to delete the entire letter, before going to bed worried that the Thunderbolts' good intentions might still lead them straight to Hell.
Comments: Created by Wallace & Kroja Frost. Adapted for Marvel by: Kurt Busiek (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks).
Charcoal saw the light of day as a result
of Wizard Magazine's 'Create A Villain' contest. Initially intended to
merely be a one-off villain, Kurt Busiek took a liking to the
character and decided to add him to the Thunderbolts as a regular.
A possible explanation for Charcoal's radical shift in
behavior, from benign and helpful to cold and sadistic, might be found
in Thunderbolt I#31, which saw Charcoal tormented for days in a Sonic
Barrage chamber. It's possible that this experience, coupled with the
alleged demise of Jolt, caused a form of post traumatic stress disorder
that led to his more rebellious and violent phase. Or maybe his whole
'calm, cool & collected' demeanor was just an act, a failed attempt
at normalcy that became increasingly harder to maintain.
So why haven't we seen Charcoal since 2001? Kurt Busiek
answered that question on his FormSpring page on June 10th 2013.
"The issue with Charcoal is that the creators of the character entered him in a contest which they knew meant that if he won he'd be property of Marvel, then after the fact tried to threaten a lawsuit in order to get Marvel to pay them lots of money. That seems pretty crass to me -- if you don't want Marvel to own the character if you win, don't enter the contest.
At the time they were making their fuss, Charcoal had been temporarily killed -- Fabian had done a story where he was seemingly dead, but would be coming back. But Tom Brevoort didn't like the way the creators were acting, so even though Marvel resolved the issue, Tom asked Fabian to simply leave Charcoal dead. If they were going to be a pain in the ass about it, don't reward them by having the character appear regularly.
In the end, it was a fun way to involve fans in the book, but one that left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, so it's probably best that Charcoal wound up not sticking around."
Profile by Norvo.
Charcoal has no known connections to
images: (without ads)
Thunderbolts I#32, p2, pan1 (main image)
Thunderbolts I#34, p6, pan7 (head shot)
Thunderbolts I#23, p21, pan4 (joins Thunderbolts; bottom right)
Thunderbolts I#24, p9, pan2 (finger removed)
Thunderbolts I#25, p17, pan1 & 2 (as the Man-Ape)
Thunderbolts I#30, p13, pan1 (Charcoal "C" uniform)
Thunderbolts I#31, p13, pan3 (tortured)
Thunderbolts I#35, p13, pan2 & 3 (breaks down)
Thunderbolts I#42, p21, pan2 & 3 (decapitated but alive)
Thunderbolts I#44, p9, pan2 & 3 (with Triathlon)
Thunderbolts I#53, p15, pan2 (fired up)
Thunderbolts I#56, p1, pan32-38 (death)
Thunderbolts I#19 (October, 1998) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#23 (February, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#24 (March, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#25 (April, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Bob Wiacek, Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#26 (May, 1999) - Joe Casey(writer), Leonardo Manco(pencils, inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#27 (June, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#28 (July, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#29 (August, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#30 (September, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#31 (October, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#32 (November, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#33 (December, 1999) - Kurt Busiek(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#34 (January, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#35 (February, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#36 (March, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#37 (April, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts Annual 2000 (May, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Norm Breyfogie(pencils, inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#38 (May, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#39 (June, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#40 (July, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#41 (August, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#42 (September, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Al Milgrom(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#43 (October, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Avengers III#33 (October, 2000) - Kurt Busiek(writer), George Perez, Paul Ryan(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#44 (November, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Avengers III#34 (November, 2000) - Kurt Busiek(writer), George Perez(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#45 (December, 2000) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Walden Wong(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Maximum Security#2 (December, 2000) - Jerry Ordway, Kurt Busiek(writers), Jerry Ordway(pencils), Al Vey, Chris Ivy, Paul Ryan, Will Blyberg(inks), Tom Brevoort, Marc Sumerak(editors)
Thunderbolts I#46 (January, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#47 (February, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#48 (March, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Greg Adams(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#49 (April, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#50 (May, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Mark Bagley(pencils), Scott Hanna(inks), Tom Brevoort, Marc Sumerak(editors)
Thunderbolts I#51 (June, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort, Marc Sumerak(editors)
Thunderbolts I#52 (July, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort, Marc Sumerak(editors)
Thunderbolts I#53 (August, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort, Marc Sumerak(editors)
Thunderbolts I#54 (September, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#55 (October, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Thunderbolts I#56 (November, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza(writer), Patrick Zircher(pencils), Al Vey(inks), Tom Brevoort(editor)
Last updated: 01/07/14
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