D-Man

Contributed by Mike McDermott

Dennis Dunphy is a superhero whose life and career has taken some tragic twist and turns over the years.

A former college football player unable to find work in pro football, Dennis tuned to the Power Broker for a risky and illegal strength augmentation procedure. Now too strong for conventional sports, Dennis joined the new Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation as Demolition Dunphy. He befriended Ben Grimm, The Thing, who was also a performer in the U.C.W.F. at that time. His wrestling career brought him fame and fortune, but Dennis also ended up addicted to a drug the Power Broker supplied his clients. The drug was allegedly to stabilize their powers, but its only real purpose was to provide the Power Broker a means of control over his clients. When the Power Broker ordered his clients to hunt down Ben Grimm and his girlfriend Sharon Ventura after she accidentally got an addiction-free power augmentation, Dennis refused to turn against his friends. The Power Broker cut off his supply of the drug, but Dennis endured the painful withdrawal symptoms and beat his addiction.

A few weeks later Dennis met Captain America, who was on a mission to shut down the Power Broker. Dennis quit his wrestling job to join Captain America in his investigation. Dennis donned a new outfit inspired by his boyhood idol, Daredevil, and dubbed himself Demolition Man (D-Man for short). When the Commission on Superhuman Activities forced Steve Rogers to relinquish the Captain America identity, D-Man assembled and funded a crime-fighting partnership of himself, Steve Rogers (now calling himself The Captain), Falcon and Nomad. After the group dissolved, Cap recruited D-Man into the Avengers. Unfortunately D-Man was lost and presumed killed on his first mission as an Avenger.

D-Man was eventually recovered and rescued, but months frozen in ice left him brain damaged and in a mute and semi-amnesiac stupor. He recovered his faculties after he stumbled into the subterranean Zerotown community of the Night People. He freed Zerotown from their oppressive leader, Brother Have-Not, and ended up becoming their new leader.

However, D-Man’s mental state eventually started to deteriorate and he became irrational and delusional, living alone in the sewers. He sometimes stole jewels during his crime-fighting activities, believing that he was on a heroic quest to recover the Infinity Gems. Daredevil and reporter Ben Urich tracked him down and convinced him to seek professional help, but Dennis’ mental state continued to fluctuate and at one point he was recruited into an anti-Avengers team called The Revengers.

D-Man was selected by a brainwashed Henry Peter Gyrich to become the new Scourge of the Underworld. D-Man was infected with nanites that repaired his brain damage and restored his intellect to normal, but also placed him under Gyrich’s control. He was sent out to assassinate former villains who had been put into witness relocation by SHIELD. Captain America tried to stop him, not knowing who Scourge really was and the two of them fought. Steve recognized Dennis’ voice and fighting style, and attempted to reason with him, but the mind-controlled Dennis would not be dissuaded. He had wrestled away Cap’s shield and was about to deliver the killing blow when Sharon Carter intervened and was forced to fatally shoot Dennis to stop him.

Under unrevealed circumstances Dennis was restored to life and freed from his brainwashing. He has resumed his D-Man identity and serves as personal pilot and field support to the new Captain America, Sam Wilson. D-Man recently participated in a Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation reunion show, to raise money for children’s charities, cheered on by his friends and his boyfriend.

Dennis first appeared as “Demolition Dunphy” in Thing #28 (1985), as Demolition Man in Captain America #328 (1987) and as Scourge in Captain America #11 (2012). He was outed in Captain America: Sam Wilson #15 (2016).

Dennis was created by Mike Carlin and Ron Wilson.

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August 20, 2017
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