April 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #222: Jack Of Hearts

An armored guy with energy powers named after a playing card? Sure. Why not?

Every week or so, I’ll think about what character to use in this weekly feature.  Sometimes they play off a previous entry as seen in the last three weeks.  Sometimes I have to think for quite a while before coming up with sometimes, maybe by searching through Google Images or random Wikipedia links.  And sometimes I just remember some character that stood around on a superteam book I used to read and haven’t seen in a while.

That last one is why I’m using this space this week for Jack of Hearts.

Jack of Hearts was, um, Jack Hart.  Seriously.  His father was a scientist.  His mother was an alien.  Jack’s dad was researching something called zero fluid to produce something called zero energy.

You’d think something called “zero energy” would be, you know, useless or nothing or something along those lines, but nah.

Anyway, one day being exposed to the zero fluid, Jack gained superpowers, and only his mother’s alien heritage (that he may or may not have been all that aware of) kept him alive as half his body turned purple.  He could now fire various energy blasts, survive in space, you know, the usual.

Of course, the powers were always unstable, so he needed some sort of containment armor.  And how did he design it?  Well, he did something that looked somewhat like a medieval knight with a lot of hearts on it while he took his superhero name from a playing card.

So, you know, This look.

Granted, his first appearance was as a villain fighting a Marvel martial arts hero named White Tiger, and I covered one of them before.  Granted, it wasn’t the same one I covered before, but it still happened.

As near as I can make out, Jack never really got or held a series of his own for very long.  I’m not sure.  He was the guy whose unstable powers forced him to either fight other heroes, fly away before he exploded, and sometimes exploded unless someone got him some new armor to hold his awesome energy powers in.

That more or less matches with how I know the character best:  when he joined the Avengers under writer Kurt Busiek.  By then, he had to stay in a special treatment room for 14 hours a day to hold the energy back.  Eventually, he flew off before he once again exploded.

He’d come back for Brian Michael Bendis’ first storyline, “Avengers Disassembled,” where Jack returned for the express purpose of exploding and killing Scott Lang’s Ant-Man.  This same storyline would later kill Hawkeye too, but Scott and Clint came back pretty quickly all things being equal, and because there was time travel involved in Scott’s resurrection, something that involved Jack swapping Scott for a child-killer somehow…

…plus seeing this death snaps the Scarlet Witch out of her weird fugue state, so this may be the rare instance of a male character’s death giving motivation for heroic action for a female hero.

As it is, Jack reformed in time to blow up some undead clone things in one of the seemingly endless Marvel Zombies mini-series.  The good news there is he was able to more or less easily stop the zombies.  The bad news?  He might have exploded again because I don’t think he’s been seen since.