Real Name: Charles Bell

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Enforcer;
former Gangmember, security guard for Utopia Park

Affiliations: Member of Holocaust's criminal organization;
former Pyre's Brigade, Holocaust's Blood Syndicate

Enemies: Static, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Rocket

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: The Hot Spot, old Downtown Dakota;
former Utopia Park, Paris Island, City of Dakota

First Appearance: Static #2 (Milestone Comics, June 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Tarmack's superhuman abilities stem from his organic body being merged with asphalt. His now denser form grants him superhuman strength and durability. His stone-like skin can easily shrug off high-caliber bullets.

Tarmack can somehow increase his internal body temperature to high levels. At his maximum limit of 300 degrees F, he turns into a pool of molten asphalt while retaining his sentience and being immune to conventional injury. When heating up, Tarmack can severely burn organic materials (wood, flesh, etc.) and damage less durable inorganic substances like glass and certain plastics. Tarmack also has complete subliminal control over the particles that compose his body. By using these two powers in conjunction, he can quickly change his shape in any way he can imagine. Hence, Tarmack can stretch his arms to grab distant objects or use his elongated legs as stilts to walk over walls. His shapeshifting grants him offensive capabilities as well like changing his hands into weapons (hammers, blades, etc.) or morphing into a giant ball to run over his enemies. In his completely molten state, Tarmack can slither under any door to invade enemy strongholds. One of his favorite tricks is to disguise himself as harmless street pavement in liquid form so he can suddenly ambush, envelop and suffocate an unwitting foe.

Tarmack's control over his internal structure and temperature is such that he can affect select portions of his body. Hence, he can render his fist solid to strike an opponent while leaving the rest of his form liquid to defend against counterattacks. His extensive control also enables him to reform if the particles in his body are dispersed as by a large explosion. Tarmack finds such dispersal and reassembly of himself to be a major psychological and physical strain. Hence, he avoids it as much as possible.

Limitations: Apart from his low intelligence, Tarmack is vulnerable to extreme changes in temperature beyond his safe range. If exposed to subzero cold substances like dry ice, he will rapidly freeze and become immobilized. When permitted to thaw, he will slowly revert to his regular temperature and be no worse for wear.

Conversely, temperatures well above Tarmack's maximum limit can cause him to ignite, in as much as his body is composed of a petroleum-based substance, i.e. asphalt. Prolonged exposure would consume enough of his form to be fatal. If he can flee from such intense heat, Tarmack will begin to subconsciously repair the damage.

History: Little is known about Charles Bell's past before he joined one of the major gangs in the City of Dakota. He was among the hundreds of gang members who fought in the Big Bang, a turf war on Paris Island (Dakota's poorest neighborhood) that would determine which gang was the city's most powerful. The situation worsened with the arrival of Dakota police officers, who deployed a special tear gas to help them more easily capture all the gang members. Unknown to the officers, the gas had been secretly laced with "quantum juice," a bizarre mutagenic substance that killed 90 percent of those at the Bang while the survivors known as "Bang Babies" became genetic freaks. In Bell's case, he was now a being of molten asphalt due to his body merging with the section of the street where he passed out. Bell renamed himself Tarmack and used T-1000, the shapeshifting villain from the Terminator 2 movie, as inspiration to hone his new powers.

The only things holding Tarmack back from a being a major supervillain was his low intelligence and lack of vision. Enter Holocaust, a Bang Baby determined to forge his own criminal empire after being kicked out of the Blood Syndicate, a super powered gang spawned by the Bang. He thought Tarmack would be an excellent enforcer for his organization. Apart from his formidable abilities, Tarmack's low I.Q. and fear of Holocaust's fiery powers eliminated the chance of him turning traitor. Now having a clear purpose, Tarmack proved to be as loyal and deadly an enforcer as Holocaust had hoped.

Tarmack's near perfect record ended with his first encounter with a superhero, namely Static. Holocaust heard how the teen crimefighter soundly defeated the superfast gang leader Hotstreak, whom the crimelord was interested in hiring. Holocaust ordered Tarmack to test Static's abilities, recruit him he was worthy and kill him if he proved too moral for his crime syndicate.

Tarmack raised all sorts of havoc throughout Dakota to lure out Static. This proved a mistake since the well-prepared Static employed various subzero substances he had bought earlier (dry ice, liquid oxygen, etc.) against Tarmack, who began to freeze solid. To add insult to injury, Static then flattened the immobile enforcer with a steamroller. An impressed Holocaust had been observing the battle and offered Static a place in his criminal organization. Though tempted, Static ultimately declined and thus earned Holocaust's eternal enmity.

His loss to Static aside, Tarmack played a major role in defending and expanding Holocaust's criminal empire. Eventually, Holocaust felt he had amassed enough clout to earn a seat on the Coalition, an alliance of Dakota's most powerful crime families. However, the Coalition felt he was too low class to join their group. Enraged, Holocaust led Tarmack and new recruit Bad Betty in a full assault of the home of Coalition member Elijah Sinclair. Despite the total destruction of Sinclair and his Paris Blood criminal corporation, the Coalition still wouldn't relent to Holocaust. So, Tarmack joined Holocaust and Betty to attack the headquarters of crime boss Sanchez Cantano, the most vocal opponent to Holocaust's inclusion in the Coalition. Before his demise, Cantano used his Coalition connections to "persuade" Mayor Jefferson to send police assistance. Arriving on the scene, the police strike team GRIND promptly launched a rocket attack on Holocaust and Tarmack. While Holocaust withstood the rockets, Tarmack was shattered by the explosion. After repelling GRIND, Holocaust and Betty retrieved Tarmack's remains and withdrew to their Hot Spot headquarters. A day or so later, Tarmack has fully reassembled himself and learned that Holocaust had finally earned his seat in the Coalition…at the cost of his name. Holocaust now called himself Pyre.

Pyre's Coalition status greatly expanded the business opportunities (legal and illegal) for all in his organization. The most significant was Utopia Park, a multibillion dollar futuristic theme park established on Paris Island that would prove a huge financial windfall for the Coalition. However, construction of the park bred resentment among the neighborhood's residents, many of whom had been pushed off their land and into hastily built projects. Realizing the potential backlash, Pyre agreed to form Pyre's Brigade, a team of superhuman security guards like Tarmack, which would eliminate anyone who breached the park's defense perimeter. Sure enough, on opening day, the Blood Syndicate led a crowd of disgruntled Paris Island residents to the gates of Utopia Park to protest their mistreatment. Pyre's Brigade moved in to diffuse the situation, but instead wound up engaging the Syndicate in fierce combat. As the tide of battle began to turn against the Brigade, an infuriated Pyre unleashed his full pyrokinetic fury against everyone around him. All the combatants escaped except for Tarmack, who found himself being painfully consumed by the firestorm. He would have died had not the invulnerable Wise Son of the Syndicate used reason to calm Pyre down and end his rampage.

By this point, Utopia Park was being torn apart by a riot sparked by a regular security guard accidentally killing one of the protesters. The Syndicate quickly conceived of a plan to break into the park's main terminal and neutralize its superpowered guards so that Wise Son could use the public announcement system to reason with the rioters. In a surprising display of initiative, Tarmack along with Bad Betty agreed to help the Syndicate. The plan was successful, and the riot came to an end.

Despite being nearly killed by Pyre, Tarmack again pledged his loyalty to the crimelord. Pyre decided to focus his energies in consolidating his criminal organization's power before planning his next move. Then, two events occurred that led to a radical shift in the status quo of the Dakota underworld. First, months after the Utopia Riots, the Blood Syndicate disbanded in the wake of the seeming demise of Syndicate member Kwai and her mortal enemy, Demon Fox of the Coalition. Second, several Coalition members had suffered major setbacks thanks to Dakota's numerous crimefighters. Seizing the opportunity, Pyre formed a new Blood Syndicate consisting of members of the original gang as well as his own enforcers like Tarmack. Thus began the so-called "Blood Reign," in which Pyre used his new Syndicate to become the most powerful Coalition member by taking "tribute" from rival crime families or eliminating them if necessary. This reign of terror finally ended when Holocaust (now having abandoned his Pyre alias) was beaten by an alliance of Dakota's superheroes, including original members of the Syndicate. Subsequently, Wise Son reclaimed leadership of the Syndicate and cut all its ties to Holocaust.

In the face of all these changes, Tarmack remains a staunchly loyal enforcer of Holocaust's criminal organization to this day.

Comments: Tarmack was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Robert L. Washington, and John Paul Leon.

Thanks to Fred Weaver for providing the above profile.


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