Antonio Rodriguez was a small-time crook and had a short stay in a federal penitentiary. When he returned home, Antonio found his wife Bonita had fallen ill. His wife was stricken with an unknown disease and she was stricken with paralysis. Bonita was given certain treatments but none of them did any good. Their savings began to run out and some doctors refused to see her. The ones that agreed to see her said Bonita's paralysis was incurable. Antonio refused to accept that and sought out help from an experimental medical scientist named Dr. Karl Malus. Malus agreed to cure his wife but Antonio told him that they had no more money and had no way to pay him. Malus told Antonio that he could pay for his wife's treatment by working for him. Antonio agreed to become a test subject for a process called gene-splicing and when he woke up, Malus had changed him into a human armadillo. Malus had a specific assignment for Armadillo which would lead him into conflict with Captain America at the West Coast Avenger's facility.
Captain America kicked Armadillo into a secret trap door and he was caught in a giant net. Armadillo told Captain America he had to retrieve the villain Goliath from the Avenger's compound or he would no longer have the finances needed to cure his wife. Captain America agreed to help Antonio and showed him the unconscious body of Goliath but he was stuck at his fifty foot height. Malus provided Armadillo with a capsule of shrinking solution but the contents had evaporated during his encounter with Captain America. The Avenger told Antonio to return to Dr. Malus and ask for more shrinking potion. Captain America had secretly followed Armadillo so he could lead him to Dr. Malus. Captain America was going to make a citizen's arrest but Armadillo pleaded with him to not take Malus away because he was the only man that can cure his wife. Captain America did not take Malus away but he told authorities about his operation. Dr. Malus dealt with the authorities but was able to cure Bonita's paralysis which made Armadillo extremely happy.
Armadillo was created by Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary in 1985 and first appeared in Captain America # 308.
Major Story Arcs
Armadillo joined Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation after his wife was cured and became a well known star. Armadillo wanted to earn enough money through wrestling so he can find a way to become human again and have a normal life with his wife Bonita. Steve Rogers went to see Armadillo's match at Madison Square Garden with Bernie Rosenthal, Clint Barton and Bobbi Morse. Rogers wanted to congratulate Armadillo after he defeated his opponent, Doc Sawbones. However, Rogers saw Armadillo's wife in the arms of another man when he entered Armadillo's locker room. Captain America excused himself and congratulated Armadillo when he saw him in his room. He was introduced to Bonita but did not tell Armadillo about his wife's affair. Rogers left and met with the rest of his party for dinner in the Village. Rogers heard from a radio that Armadillo was on a destructive rampage on 34th street. Rogers changed into Captain America and tried to talk to Armadillo. Armadillo found out that his wife was cheating on him and was lashing out to dull the pain he was feeling inside. A brief scuffle ensued and Armadillo began to scale the Empire State Building during the fight. Captain America pursued him but Armadillo jumped off the building when Hawkeye and Mockingbird came to the scene. Armadillo tried to commit suicide but his powerful armor saved him. Armadillo was treated for his injuries and taken into police custody.
Armadillo was being held in the Vault until several super-powered criminals escaped. Mister Hyde, Titania and Vibro broke free from their cells and Armadillo tried to tag along. Titania punched Armadillo and told Hyde that Armadillo would have slowed them down. Armadillo climbed up the elevator shaft and wanted to escape to see if his wife Bonita was still faithful to him. The rest of the criminals were apprehended by Rogers, D-Man, Falcon and Nomad while Armadillo entered their van being driven by Vagabond. She was able to talk Armadillo into turning himself in and he realized the shame in what he was going to do.
Acts of Vengeance
The Wizard is placed in the Vault after the Frightful Four are defeated by the Fantastic Four. While in his cell, a mysterious man appears in front of the Wizard and offers him a chance to leave in exchange for a certain favor. The Wizard agrees and his power suit is returned to him. The Wizard is confronted by the Guardsman but he easily defeats him and reaches an access port to the control panel where he opens all the cells inside the Vault. Several Guardsmen respond to the cell break and find the Wizard alongside Armadillo, Scarecrow, Electro and Mister Hyde.
Armadillo is present in the Bar With No Name alongside numerous capes of the evil variety when journalist Kat Farrell from the Daily Bugle is speaking to Bullseye about a man named Mike "No" Hart aka the Judge.
How To Lose
Armadillo would end up back in the streets and work as a street fighter for a fight promoter named Rey Trueno. Mr. Trueno runs this underground fighting league and wanted Armadillo to take them to the next level but his coach named Cady was worried that Antonio has hit a wall. Trueno liked Armadillo because everyone was betting against him and he kept winning his fights so that kept the cash flow coming. However he was worried about Armadillo's mental state and complaints of too many fights in one month. Trueno and Coach Cady started looking at an ex-con named Daniel Axum who was better known as the super criminal Battler to possibly replace Antonio. A match was set between the two and Axum beat the Dillo in the ring to become the new regional champion. Axum would see Dillo outside his locker room a few weeks later dressed as a bum and asking for spare change. Armadillo was a washed up fighter and was always ridiculed by the neighborhood kids. Axum would leave Trueno and his fighting league. Axum sees Armadillo sifting through trash and goes to a local store to buy him a sandwich. Axum makes amends with Armadillo and apologizes for taking the title away from him. Armadillo tells Axum that staying mad at all the people that beat him up is not worth the hassle and it would kill him. He also tells Axum that he doesn't have much but he is grateful that he's alive and that's something. Armadillo would return to villainy and gets locked up in the Raft super prison.
Armadillo would team up with Constrictor and Jack O Lantern as they try to rob an armored truck in Manhattan. The villain trio is easily defeated by Hercules and Armadillo surrenders after seeing what the Prince of Power did to Constrictor's face.
During his time in the Raft, Armadillo would have a run in with William Cross who is better known as Crossfire. Armadillo comes after Crossfire when Cross kills his cellmate in prison. Cross makes a homemade shiv out of melted plastic and uses it to break the electronic harness on Armadillo's body. Armadillo is hit with a surge of energy and taken down. Armadillo would be one of many criminals that escape from the Raft during Electro's mass breakout. Following the jailbreak at the Raft, Armadillo and Tiger Shark were apprehended by the New Warriors on their reality television show. Tiger Shark and Armadillo went to hideout in the town of Fairbury and the New Warriors were on their trail. Robbie Baldwin went to their residence poised as a pizza boy. He noticed the adamantium chain that was on Tiger Shark's wrist and that's when Armadillo broke threw the door stating they would not go back to the Raft. The rest of the New Warriors came out and a fight ensued. The two villains were linked together so Nova grabbed the chain and took them into the sky. Nova slammed both villains into the ground and Armadillo rolled up into a ball because he was unconscious. Tiger Shark got up and starting swinging his partner around and used him as a giant ball and chain. Tiger Shark was eventually taken down by Night Thrasher and both villains were sent back to prison.
Armadillo would attend the wake of Stilt Man alongside a number of villains wanting to pay their respects at the infamous Bar with No Name. Armadillo and the Rhino would exchange words at the bar and a huge brawl occurs. During the chaos, one of the villains noticed a napkin with a skull on it. The villains begin to collapse one by one and realized their drinks had been poisoned. Apparently the Punisher was disguised as the bartender. Punisher leaves the bar and everyone inside is caught in a massive explosion. Apparently all the villains including Armadillo survived the attack but suffered several injuries.
Armadillo would be recruited into the Initiative and join the Rangers which was the super hero team based in the state of Texas. One of his first missions was to protect the President and civilians during an attack by a HYDRA terror-carrier that teleported into a no-fly zone over Crawford, Texas. However, Armadillo's stay with the Initiative was short lived and he left the Rangers.
Armadillo would later be captured by HYDRA and becomes a test subject for the Anathema toxin which induces a subject to defy his normal mode of behavior by altering the moral imperative center of the brain. The test proved successful in front of Madame Hydra and Armadillo was held captive in a warehouse. Two members from the True Believers named Battalus and Red Zone stole the bioweapon samples and freed Armadillo in the process.
Armadillo would return to the ring and started wrestling in Mexico. After his match with El Chupacabra, Armadillo was contacted by MODOK for a special assignment. MODOK brings together a team of villains that included Armadillo, Mentallo, Nightshade, Rocket Racer, Puma, Spot and the Living Laser to steal an item called the Hypernova from an AIM facility called the Infinicide. The team managed to steal the Hypernova and Armadillo crushed the Super Adaptoid with his roadkill slam during one confrontation. Certain members of MODOK's team were traitors or double agents of SHIELD but Puma, Nightshade and Armadillo were the only ones that stayed loyal to MODOK. Those three members were paid ten million each after the entire fiasco and Armadillo suggested they stay together as a team.
Armadillo would receive some upgrades from the Broker who was actually the former CEO of Damage Control, Walter Declun. Armadillo would be part of the Broker's army which included other villains like Porcupine, Mandroid, Carolyn Trainer, Hydro-Man and Absorbing Man. Porcupine and his fellow teammates would come into conflict with Shuri, Namor and members of the Fantastic Four when they invaded the Broker's island deep inside the South Pacific.
Armadillo was recruited by the Hood to join his gang and was in conflict with the New Avengers on several occasions. The Hood and numerous members of his gang were incarcerated after Norman Osborn is arrested and no longer the Director of National Security.
Armadillo is later seen as a bodyguard for the new Rose. Armadillo comes into conflict with Jackpot and Spider-Man when they try to infiltrate the Rose's penthouse. Armadillo throws Jackpot through a window and prevents Spider-Man from saving her.
Armadillo resurfaces as one of the Broker's mercenaries after Dr. Doom steals all the vibranium from Wakanda. Walter Declun aka the Broker is Doom's chief operative and has a number of his upgraded henchmen defend the vibranium that is hidden in the Palenque Ruins in Mexico. Armadillo, Porcupine and the Absorbing Man engage with the Thing, Invisible Woman and the Human Torch when they come searching for the stolen vibranium in Mexico.
Armadillo lays low in the city of Puebla, until one of the locals recognizes him and reports him to a local vigilante group. Hulk and She-Hulk arrive and join the melee. Eventually She-Hulk convinces Armadillo to stop fighting. She suggests he help out the people of the city before turning himself in. In return, she promises to act as his lawyer.
He is later seen at a rodeo in Huston, drunk after his girlfriend left him after he left the Rangers. After battling the Scarlet Spider, his girlfriend realised he loved her all along and they got back together.
Armadillo is subsequently recruited by Baron Zemo for the newest incarnation of HYDRA after being promised a cure for his condition. He takes part in Zemo's plan to sterilize most of the planet's population, and works with King Cobra to place a plague bomb made from infectious Inhuman blood in the crowded slums of India. He is confronted by the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, who is eventually able to convince Armadillo to defect by promising to help find a way to make him human again. Reluctantly, Armadillo agrees to help Sam and knocks out Cobra, but warns him to keep up his end of the bargain.
Armadillo later returns to a life of crime due to Sam's failure to find a cure, with Sam saying that Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Reed Richards all agreed that the changes done to Antonio's body were permanent and couldn't be undone. Armadillo begins working for Karl Malus, believing the mad scientist will finally be able to restore him to normal, leading to another clash with Captain America. Armadillo is knocked out when Sam kicks him in front of a moving train, and is later taken into custody.
Powers & Abilities
Armadillo has superhuman strength and durability. He has a thick, armored plated hide that protects him from most conventional injury enabling him to withstand the force of ballistic weaponry up to light anti-tank weapons without penetration. His skin can withstand brief exposure to flame, ice and acid without damage. Armadillo also has superhuman endurance, enabling him to exert himself at peak capacity for over an hour before fatigue begins to impair his performance. Despite his mass, he can move as quickly as a normal size athletically incline man.
His claws are strong enough to rend gouges in cinder block and medium-density steel and is capable of digging a hole in the earth deep enough to fit his entire body in less than a minute. Armadillo is a formidable combatant having been trained in wrestling and street fighting for a number of years. Armadillo has a move called the roadkill slammer where he rolls himself into a ball and runs over his opponent.
Deadpool would be trapped in a universe overrun by zombies when he tries to return the decapitated, zombie head of Deadpool to that dimension. Several AIM soldiers pursue Deadpool into that dimension because they want the zombie head as a weapon. A hot scientist named Professor Veronica persuades the merc with a mouth to capture a super that has been infected by the zombie virus so they can test their new serum. Deadpool and his decapitated buddy made some alterations on his costume and met with a zombie infected Armadillo, Absorbing Man, El Aguila and Cypher outside. Deadpool lures the Cypher zombie to an isolated area where he is captured for the scientist. Deadpool is unaware that Absorbing Man followed them and learned the whereabouts of their hidden passageway to the surface. The next day, Deadpool is being escorted by Dr. Betty Swanson, Professor Veronica and company to the surface when they are confronted by Armadillo, El Aguila and Absorbing Man. The AIM soldiers that followed Deadpool to this universe want to finish their mission and retrieve the zombie head. They confront Deadpool and his group but they are attacked by the Armadillo zombie and company. The AIM soldiers flee so Armadillo and El Aguila chase after their meal. Some of the AIM soldiers think their safe when Armadillo emerges from the ground and tears some human flesh apart.
In Other Media
- Armadillo appears in the M.O.D.O.K. animated series for Hulu, voiced by comedian Dustin Ybarra. This version of the character is a dimwitted but goodnatured D-list supervillain who hangs out at the Bar With No Name. He quickly befriends M.O.D.O.K. and is recruited alongside several other villains for a plan to steal Captain America's shield from Avengers Tower, but the plan is continuously derailed. During the course of the evening, Armadillo also discovers that his wife is now in a relationship with Mandrill.
- Armadillo was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Armadillo was the subject of a Marvel Legends Build-a-Figure wave from Hasbro, released for the Spider-Man: No Way Home movie.