MR. X

Real Name: Ray Deacon

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Wrestler

Group Membership:

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Jumpin' Jack Flash (wrestling rival - enmity might have been faked for audience), King Arthur (Arthur ?), Midnight Slasher (see comments);
   formerly Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Midnight Slasher (name wrongly applied to him)

Base of Operations: New York City

First Appearance: Captain America I#271 (July, 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Mister X is a top-class wrestler, especially skilled in flying leap attacks.

Height: 6'4" (by comparison)
Weight: 280 lbs. (by estimation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Red

History:
(
Captain America I#271 (fb) ) - After a serial killer dubbed the Midnight Slasher terrorized New York, the innocent Ray Deacon was wrongly arrested and convicted. Believed by the public to be a homicidal maniac, Ray served five years before the real Slasher was found, prompting the squashing of Ray's sentence. Released, Ray swiftly dropped out of public sight.

(Captain America I#271 - BTS) - Despite having had his innocence proved, Ray found it difficult to find new employment, as his face was now well known thanks to the newspaper coverage of his original trial, and people remained suspicious of him. He ultimately decided to become a pro-wrestler, Mr. X, playing the role of a villain in the ring since that allowed him to hide his true identity behind a mask. Thanks to his distinctive fighting style and mystique as the "meanest wrestler in the ring," he became a favorite of the All-Star Wrestling crowds. As part of the narrative set up to play out for the fans, he developed a fake mutual grudge against the "good" wrestlers trained by King Arthur.

(Captain America I#271) - Prior to a match where he was to wrestle King Arthur's top student Jumpin' Jack Flash, Mr. X interrupted a televised interview King Arthur was giving to wrestling announcer Marty. Seemingly taking King Arthur by surprise (but presumably really pre-arranged and staged for the camera), Mr. X leapt from the ring and grabbed King Arthur in a headlock, then played up his bad guy role by informing the viewers that he was going to murder Jumpin' Jack Flash in the forthcoming match. Releasing King Arthur, Mr. X then stalked away into the dressing rooms while the show cut to adverts.

(Captain America I#271 - BTS) - However King Arthur was secretly doping his wrestlers with experimental steroids, something Flash had recently uncovered and threatened to blow the whistle on. Wanting to eliminate him, King Arthur slipped Mr. X a sedative backstage, knocking him out, then donned a copy of Mr. X's costume. Thus disguised, King Arthur murdered Flash in the ring in full view of the audience and swiftly fled backstage. Waking soon after (see comments), Mr. X heard what had happened, and though innocent his past experience of being wrongly accused prompted him to flee before the authorities arrived.

   Mr. X subsequently called King Arthur and told him to pass on a message to the police, stating that he would come out of hiding on one condition, that he be allowed to prove his innocence via a trial of honor in the wrestling ring (see comments). In the meantime Captain America, who had been watching the match at his girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal's apartment when the murder had happened, had come forward hoping to assist the police, and since he volunteered to be Mr. X's opponent, the cops agreed to the fugitive's deal (while planning to arrest Mr. X even if he won).

(Captain America I#271) - At the appointed time Mr. X entered the ring via a rope dropped from the rafters and the fight began. Despite putting up a good effort and getting in some solid blows against Cap (which convinced Mr. X that his foe was a fake, since he believed he'd never have been able to touch the real hero), Captain America soon prevailed and unmasked his defeated opponent. Much as Ray had feared, the moment people saw who he was they recalled his notorious past, prompting a swift assumption of guilt in Flash's murder, despite him having been proven innocent the last time round. Luckily for Ray, after a few days brooding over events, Captain America realized that what had been niggling him was that the wrestler he had watched kill Jumpin' Jack on television had a subtly different fighting style from Mr. X; following this lead, Captain America soon proved King Arthur was the real murderer, and Deacon was set free. Cap personally went to the prison to ensure Ray's release, and when Ray asked him who would give a man twice accused of murder a fair chance, Cap reminded him that he had also been twice freed, reassuring Ray that he believed in him. 

Comments: Created by David Kraft, Alan Kupperberg and John Beatty "& co."

  His alter ego is consistently spelled as Mr. X rather than Mister X throughout the story. The only time I've found it written out in full as Mister X is in Captain America: The Legend, where he (or rather King Arthur disguised as him) was listed as one of Cap's "Lamest Foes."

  The only really decent image of Mr. X in costume is on the cover of Captain America I#271, but there the X on his mask, his trunks and his boots are all miscolored (orange instead of white for the mask, orange instead of blue for his trunks and boots). I've taken the liberty of recoloring those for the main above, so that his color scheme matches what he wears within the story.

   Estimating his height: We see him standing next to Captain America at the end of the issue, and they are visibly of similar height. Ray does look a touch taller in the panel which provided the headshot above, but he's also closer to the reader, so that might be a perspective thing. However, we have a very clear image earlier in the issue where we see King Arthur with Cap, and can see that Arthur is marginally taller than the hero; since Arthur's impersonation of Ray is exposed by his different fighting style, not physique, I'm ASSuming the two men are close matches to one another in height, weight and musculature. 

   Though there's no suggestion that Ray ever met the real Midnight Slasher, I still count the serial killer as an enemy since Ray served five years wrongfully imprisoned for the murderer's crimes.

   I presume the sedative that knocked Mr. X out only lasted for a short while, since (a) he woke in time to flee after Jumpin' Jack's murder before the authorities could arrive, and (b) it wouldn't do King Arthur's frame-up if Mr. X had been found backstage unconscious and clearly drugged.

   I have no idea why he thought the cops would abide by judging his innocence or guilt based on the outcome of a wrestling match. Seriously, even if he'd won, did he think the police would just let the matter drop? Maybe he knew they wouldn't, but had figured out King Arthur was the one who had framed him and just wanted to get one last chance to beat on some of King Arthur's other wrestlers as a modicum of revenge?

Profile by Loki, expanding the sub-profile originally done by Prime Eternal.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Mr. X has no known connections to:

The Midnight Slasher has no known connections to:


The Midnight Slasher

Years ago New York trembled with fear as victim after victim fell prey to the razor-sharp blade of a serial killer the press dubbed the Midnight Slasher. Eventually an innocent man, Ray Deacon, was arrested and wrongly convicted for the brutal murders; five years later however the Slasher was discovered, causing Ray's conviction to be overturned (see comments).

Comments: We never see any images of the real Midnight Slasher. Though that and the matching name given by the press does leave the option open that this was the same Midnight Slasher who was ultimately defeated by Shang-Chi, I doubt they are the same man. That Slasher operated in San Francisco rather than NYC and was a frenzied spree killer who acted on the spur of the moment whenever someone provoked his hair-trigger temper. It seems unlikely he'd have been able to avoid capture for five years while transiting the U.S. from coast to coast, though I suppose it's not impossible that he began his murderous career with greater self control and very slowly devolved as he walked across the country.

   Since the killings continuing after Ray was convicted would have been a dead giveaway that the cops had the wrong guy, presumably the real Slasher either took advantage of the free pass he'd been handed and stopped killing, or perhaps more likely changed his M.O. in some way so that subsequent murders were either not discovered or were not connected to the ones Ray had taken the fall for. The details of how he was found are also unrevealed, as is whether he was caught alive or killed.

   And yes, while I use he and him above, there's no real reason that the Slasher couldn't have been a woman, other than serial killers usually being men.

-- (mentioned) Captain America I#271


images: (without ads)
Captain America I#271 cover (main image)
Captain America I#271, p22, pan6 (image)


Appearances:
Captain America I#271 (July, 1982) - David Kraft (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), John Beatty and co. (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)


First Posted: 10/03/2022
Last updated: 10/03/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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