Inferno (Marvel) (02 - Joseph Conroy)
Real Name: Joseph Conroy
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Conroy was altered by exposure to molten steel and a flake of Thor's hammer Mjolnir. As Inferno, Conroy exists as a large humanoid creature made from molten steel and slag, and radiated great heat at all times as a result. He could increase the amount of heat he radiated at will, and could project molten steel from his body. Inferno possessed great superhuman strength, at least Class 50 (and probably closer to Class 100), and was sufficiently durable that he withstood blows from Wonder Man with ease. At other times, his body seemed to be semi-liquid, and bullets were seen to partially pass through him. Through the uru flake on his right palm, Inferno also possessed Mjolnir's ability to absorb and redirect electrical energy. He was thus able to drain the power from Iron Man's armor and then project it as lightning-like bolts.
As Inferno, Conroy was mute and may have suffered from clouded thinking abilities as well.
When Thor needed to repair Mjolnir following a battle with the Asgardian Destroyer, he stopped at the Paretta Steel Mill to use their machinery. After he finished, he shook hands with a number of the mill personnel, including Joseph Conroy.
Conroy found a flake of Thor's hammer in the mill, and used it as a good luck keychain. After the Paretta Steel Mill fell under Maggia control like all of Williams Innovations' holdings, Conroy began playing a crooked numbers game run by Vince Paretta. Conroy began losing heavily, and threatened to expose Paretta to the police in retaliation.
While Tony Stark and Wonder Man were negotiating the sale of the mill, Conroy's fellow worker Tim Turpin, acting on Paretta's orders, knocked Conroy into a vat of molten steel. As was tradition, the ingot made from the steel Conroy fell into was placed outside in a makeshift "graveyard." However, Conroy had been mutated by the combination of the molten steel and enchanted uru, and burst from the ingot to seek vengeance on those who had "killed" him. Conroy was opposed by Wonder Man and Iron Man (Tony Stark), but he casually defeated them and stalked off towards Paretta's office.
There, Inferno scared Paretta off and chased Turpin to the docks, where he crushed his killer between a barge and a concrete wall. Sensing that Paretta was still alive, he began marching through Pittsburgh to kill him, destroying all in his path. By this point, the Avengers had been summoned, and they briefly fought Inferno. Conroy defeated them all within minutes, and when they gave chase, he endangered a streetcar full of people to delay them. Inferno had cornered Paretta at the latter's house, and the fearful mobster confessed all. The Avengers, who had reached the house just after Inferno, overheard this and burst in. Iron Man had deduced a method of destroying Inferno, but Inferno saw Captain America promise Paretta would go to jail for his actions. At this, Inferno's desire for revenge was satisfied, and he turned and walked into a nearby river, killing himself.
Inferno was among the past Avengers foes resurrected as a pawn of the Grim Reaper. Under the Reaper's control, a more talkative but undead Inferno attacked Crystal, who discovered that her powers were ineffectual against him. Before he could kill her, though, the Vision forced the Reaper to realize that he had not been killed by the Avengers, but had committed suicide. Realizing this, the Reaper lost control of the Legion's souls, and the dead villains, including Inferno, stalked back towards him for vengeance. Before they could harm the Reaper, though, Lloigoroth burst through the wall of the Reaper's castle and apparently consumed him. Inferno and the rest of the Legion were then apparently drawn into the departing Lliogoroth's dimensional vortex.
First appeared unnamed in Journey into Mystery #120, and as Inferno in Avengers #192.
Joseph Conroy sort of created by Stan "the Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby; fleshed out, named, and remade as Inferno by David Michelinie, Arvell Jones, Ricardo Villamonte, and maybe George Perez
An interesting character created of some minor continuity, and then later reused after he became a piece of minor continuity.
Williams Innovations was later revealed to fully be under Maggia control in Marvel Premiere#55, and it was still later revealed that the Nefaria family was responsible in Iron Man I#138. A Maggia-controlled Pittsburg construction company hired Blacklash/Whiplash to kill Vic Martellini in Iron Man I#146-147. All of these stories were written by David Michelinie. When you consider that Nefaria used ionic power on himself (like Simon Williams transformation into Wonder Man) and that his Maggia family was Whiplash's original employer, there's actually some heavy continuity under the surface of this story and those linked to it.
I've got to wonder how Thor reacted when he heard about the Inferno case. Wonder if he or the other Asgardians might have been able to restore Conroy? Also, I can't help but think there's some other beings out there who've gotten their powers from Thor's hammer. Anyone spring to mind?
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery (1952) #120
View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Journey Into Mystery (1952)
The Avengers (1963)
#192 The Marvel Encyclopedia (2006)
- 'Steel City Nightmare!'#193
- 'Battleground: Pittsburgh!'
- 'The Marvel Encyclopedia'
Legion of the Unliving
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