Frank Payne was an agent of the international espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D., and the father of an adult daughter, Mia. When S.H.I.E.L.D. needed a costumed "supervillain" to go undercover in the criminal organization called the Corporation, Frank was given a snake-themed costume and a pair of wrist-mounted electrified metal coils. Using the false identity of "Frank Schlicting" from Racine, Wisconsin, and the codename of "Constrictor", he infiltrated the group, only to suffer a nervous breakdown and become a career criminal in earnest. As a result of his defection, S.H.I.E.L.D. allowed his daughter to believe that he had died. As the Constrictor, "Schlicting" debuted in combat against the Hulk, while attempting to assassinate the Hulk's friend Jim Wilson on behalf of the Corporation. The Corporation next sent him to assassinate Captain America; the Constrictor was trapped in a cave-in of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, and was freed by Captain America.
Constrictor was created by Len Wein and Sal Buscema in 1977 and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk # 212. At first he was only a villain, but in recent years, his character has gotten more complex, with a wife and child, Constrictor has been a hero on a few ocassions, even recruted as a trainer for the 50 States initiative.
When the Organization disbanded, Constrictor became a freelance criminal. Constrictor teamed with the mutant Sabretooth on several jobs but prefers to work alone. The Serpent Society has tried several times to convince Constrictor to join but he has refused. Constrictor was Deadpool's roommate for some time. Constrictor has had several run-ins with the Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Power Man and Iron Fist. Constrictor befriended Nighthawk while on Murder Island. Nighthawk convinced Frank to turn to the side of good once again.
Major Story Arcs
The Constrictor would remain an independent mercenary, criminal, and assassin after the dissolution of the Corporation. He next battled Iron Man as a member of Justin Hammer's criminal army. He next teamed with Sabretooth to safeguard a stolen jade tiger statuette, and battled Power Man and the Daughters of the Dragon. He teamed with Sabretooth again to help Sabretooth get revenge on Misty Knight. They fought Iron Fist, Power Man, El Aguila, and Misty Knight. Working for the Viper, he battled Captain America and Nomad. He wound up turning against the Viper. He next joined with other criminal in an attempt to assassinate the hospitalized Thing.
Constrictor was also invited to join the Serpent Society, which he turned down and walked out after the first meeting. He subsequently tried to turn them over to the Avengers, and Anaconda later exacted revenge on him. While in the hospital recuperating from the beating, he was nearly killed by the Scourge of the Underworld disguised as a nurse, but was saved by Captain America.
Constrictor eventually took an assignment to kill the Beast in Belgium by Commander Courage who was impersonating the Red Ghost. Finding out that he had been set up Constrictor teamed up with Beast to defeat Commander Courage. He later had a showdown with his common law stepfather McAvey, who had murdered his mother.
Constrictor has battled numerous heroes over the years, including repeated encounters with Captain America, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, the Thing and even the short lived character NFL Superpro. Although Luke Cage and Nick Fury eventually uncovered Payne's former identity, he chose to retain the Schlicting alias and to allow his daughter to believe that her father was dead. During the Acts of Vengeance, Constrictor was one of the many villains that attacked the Fantastic Four.
The Hero Killers
Constrictor and several super-powered cronies like like the Beetle, Bombshell, Rhino, Blacklash, Discus, Speed Demon, Boomerang, Stiletto and Hydro-Man would work as one of Justin Hammer's operatives where they come into conflict with Spider-Man and the New Warriors when Speedball is kidnapped. The Sphinx worked with Justin Hammer where his operatives kidnapped various heroes including Auric and Silver. They were held captive at the Target Technologies complex in New Jersey where they analyzed the heroes' abilities for their own ends. Constrictor and the rest of Hammer's operatives would lure Spider-Man and the rest of the Warriors into a prearranged location where they are trapped by a special bubble shield. Constrictor appears to have eluded capture when the New Warriors break free and defeat the Sphinx.
Versus the Thunderbolts
Constrictor briefly associated himself with the new Masters of Evil whom had a plan to hold the world for randsom, or destroy it. Luckily, this plan was intervened by the superhero-group known as the Thunderbolts.
Becoming a Hero, the 50 States Initiative
Constrictor had been abducted and came into contact with Fantastic Four member, the Thing whom was another captive. It was here that Constrictor told the Thing he wanted to become a hero instead of a villain. He helped out the Thing and together managed to free themselves and others that where captured. It was here that Constrictor became a new turning-point in his life. Thanks to his new-found ways, and Thing backing him up, he was selected to become a member of the Shadow Initiative team along with Bengal, Mutant Zero, the Scarlet Spiders, Taskmaster and Komodo. He helped to rescue the initiative recruits captured by Warbound. During the attack of "KIA" Constrictor lost both forearms while saving Gyrich's life. His hands were replaced by bionic prosthetics. He was also presented the Purple Heart for his heroic efforts. When Constrictor's teammate Bengal learned that Skrulls had taken over Camp Hammond during Secret Invasion, the Shadow Initiative tried to assassinate Queen Veranke, but failed.
During the Dark Reign, a time when Norman Osborn controlled the Initiative, Constrictor stopped an out-of-control passenger plane, saving a lot of lives, including the life of Diamondback. Soon they started a relationship. When Constrictor discovered that Diamondback was secretly working for the Avengers Resistance, he kept her secret.
Constrictor was buried under the rubble when Asgard was destroyed, and Taskmaster helped him out. Seeing Diamondback running towards Captain America, Constrictor falsely assumed that she'd returned to her former lover. He joined Taskmaster who was fleeing from the battlefield. Later he showed up with Taskmaster in Japan, selling diamonds to the Japanese Mafia.
A Council Of Masters
Max Fury, the leader of the Shadow Council assembled a new Masters of Evil in the sovereign nation of Bagalia where Constrictor became a member. Constrictor was present when Max Fury and the Masters of Evil capture John Steele after he attempted to escape Bagalia with the Serpent Crown and the Crown of Thorns.
Eventually, Constrictor and Diamondback made up, became engaged, and found and apartment together. Frank began developing a cough for which he refused to see a doctor. One day, Frank had a coughing fit that was bad he passed out and had to be taken to the hospital. Rachel was hopeful that the doctor could try some new experimental treatment but without insurance it would be expensive. Rachel said she would get the money but couldn't bring herself to hold up an armored truck. Rachel stayed at the hospital with Frank until he passed. Little by little, Rachel packed Frank's thing's away. Viper, upon meeting Diamondback at a stripclub, offered his condolences for her loss.
Powers & Abilities
The Constrictor's primary weapon is a pair of cybernetically-controlled, electrified, prehensile, wrist-mounted metal coils provided by Justin Hammer. The coils eject and retract from special appliances running from shoulder to wrist. These cables are able to extend to a maximum length of 30 feet (9.1 m) and can be used as whips, capable of rending steel or lesser metals; or as bonds, capable of entwining an object or human being and constricting.
The previous sets of coils were made from an adamantium alloy then from vibranium. The adamantium coils were stolen from him by Gambit and were subsequently used by Mister Sinister to reinforce Sabretooth's skeleton. The strength of the coils varies based on their construction, but the adamantium coils were powerful enough to lift and even temporarily restrain the Hulk. The vibranium coils have a contact-based aura that suppresses sound: while the coils are wrapped around a target's throat, the victim's voice cannot be heard.
The Constrictor's costume is lightly armored with partial bulletproofing around the chest and head area, and the entire costume is electrically-insulated, and covers his entire body except for his lower face and chin. Although the Constrictor is a skilled unarmed combatant and street fighter, he usually relies exclusively on his coils in a fight.
After his encounter with KIA, Constrictor was implanted with cybernetic arms, the fingers of which duplicate the abilities of his old coils.
In Other Media
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Constrictor appeared in Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes voiced by Cam Clarke. In the episode "The Breakout", he was an inmate at the Big House maximum security prison who took part in the mass breakout. He was tangling up a SHIELD agent, but was knocked out by Wasp's stingers as Hill and the latter attempted to contain the escapees.
- Constrictor was featured in Mattel's Secret Wars line, despite not being present in the actual comic. The character was only released in Europe.
- Hasbro produced a Constrictor action figure as part of the Marvel Legends Terrax Build-a-Figure wave.
- Constrictor was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Universe line.
- Consctrictor was featured in the Minimates line from Diamond Select.
- Eaglemoss Publications produced a lead Constrictor figurine.
- Bowen Designs released a Constrictor bust.