This dark vigilante first encountered Spider-Man in a run-in that left the wall-crawler stymied. Spidey doesn’t believe in lethal force, but this fellow clearly did. As such, the two potential allies came to blows over their differing methods.
I am referring, of course, to the Punisher. And Solo. Oh, and the subject for today’s case file, Cardiac.
Spider-Man runs into these guys a lot.
Like many vigilantes, Cardiac got started because something happened to cause the death of a loved one, which resulted in Cardiac swearing vengeance or justice or whatever he called it. In this case, Dr. Elias Wirtham’s brother Joshua died of something that could have been treated except corporate greed kept the treatment from being released to the public. I am pretty sure that’s a motive for the Jigsaw killer in one of the Saw sequels.
Being a doctor wasn’t enough, though. I mean, lots of superheroes are doctors. Dr. Strange. Dr. Fate. Dr. Druid. Dr. Voodoo. Dr. Mid-Nite. And those are just the codenames. But Cardiac must have felt differently, because he got himself an artificial heart powered by a “beta-powered reactor,” whatever that is, and some sort of vibranium-mesh skin. With this special heart (get it? his name was “Cardiac”?), he could channel “beta” power through his mesh-skin to make himself stronger, faster, or more agile, or push it through various weapons to do other things, usually a staff, because all doctors carry staves.
There must have been something odd about this concept. Created by writer Dave Michelinie and artist Erik Larsen, this was a doctor who believed in using lethal force. “First do no harm, my foot!” was probably his motto. Or some other part of the body other than his foot, but I’m trying to keep my post family-friendly.
I actually thought Cardiac just upped and disappeared when the 90s ended. That wasn’t exactly accurate, since he popped up here and there, most notably during the “Doc Ock Is Spider-Man” run of Superior Spider-Man, where he took it upon himself to cure someone injured by Dr. Octopus at some point in the past, and Octavius/Peter ended up helping him. So, he didn’t disappear entirely.
Still, it seems odd that someone thought of a killer heart surgeon as an interesting idea for an anti-hero. That’s OK, I suppose, but it seems to me heart surgeons are only really deadly when you get their bill.
Man, that joke sucked. I oughta get hit by the concussive blast from a beta-powered energy staff. And who’s the best man to do that?