David Kalen was once an private environmental consultant and worked along side with his brother Hank to inspect companies and check to make sure that they met with the law's guidelines for safety and disposal. On one such inspection the brother's were sent to check on the Sanders Chemical Corparation in Green Lawn, Long Island. Both brothers were determined to show that Sanders was breaking the law but during the inspection of the facility nothing was found that was a dangerous risk, although throughout the inspection Sanders watched the pair constantly. Only find a few minor problems with which Sanders needed to adjust David informed him that the pair would return the next day to audit the waste disposal procedures, something that seemingly unnerved Sanders more than it should have. The next day when the pair were inspecting the surrounding area they found a lake full of chemical waste, both brothers disgusted with the careless attitude towards the earth that would one day cause problems for so many. As they went over to inspect the drums it was clear that they were from Sander's plant, despite the fact that the name had been sanded off in an attempt to conceil the dumpers identity. When Hank lifted the drum he saw an explosive device taped to the bottom and before he could act it went off, seemingly killing the brothers.
A few weeks later Ben Reilly
(Current holder of the Spider-Man
persona) was swinging through the city enjoying his 'return' to the mantle only to find his Spider-Sense going off as he passed a building, telling him to duck just as a chair crashed through the nearby window and narrowly missed hitting him. After gaining his bearings Ben swung around and webbed up a few more pieces of falling furniture before jumping through the broken window to find the source of the disturbance. Initially starting to make a trademark one liner Ben found himself cut mid way through as he saw the giant purple monster crashing through the offices, demanding to know where Sanders was. Trying to stop, or at least slow down, the monster Ben fired some of his webbing only to find that it dissolved on contact with the goopy substance that formed the creature surprising Ben once again. The creature continued on regardless and grabbed a nearby door, the touch having the same effect as on the webbing but now the reaction spreading past the door and onto the wall and ceiling of the office causing it to melt. As Ben used his webbing to provide the office workers a chance to escape the creature vanished, however with overhearing the name Sanders just moments before Ben had a clue of what to do next.
After getting the information about Sanders whereabouts from his secretary Ben made his way to the Chemical Plant and watched out for the creatures return from the shadows whilst the hired security Sanders had hired patrolled the grounds, unaware of their super-powered back up. When a random man who was walking into the building set off his Spider-Sense Ben jumped the the roof of the building Sanders was in just as the creature from before burst through the wall intent on making Sanders pay. Not wanting to give the behemoth a chance of hurting Sanders Ben burst through the window and punched the creature and finding out (luckily) that the corrosive nature of it's substance wasn't always activated. Unphased by the attack, the creature punched Ben and proceeded to try and pound him a few times while Ben tried to reason with it after realizing there must be a sentient human side somewhere within, only to be punched into a wall for his trouble. The creature turned back to Sanders and told him he was guilty of crimes against nature and of murder as the man cowered on his knees unable to understand how the creature knew of this.
Hearing Sanders confusion over it all caused the creature to go into a rage, saying he is everything Sanders made him and everything he ever did to the land with his chemical dumpings before revealing his true identity - David Kalen. Sanders cried out in horror as Kalen continued to rage and informed the man that he was no longer Kalen, just the monster that had been created thanks to him before letting him know he could accelerate the decay of anything or could speed up the aging process and turn him into dust with a little more than a touch. When Kalen tells Sanders he murdered him and his brother the man denies it, only for Kalen to pull out a tape and a letter from the 'Fixer' Sanders had hired to dispose of the brothers, the tape of the initial hiring and a written confession from him to back it up. Having heard the whole story from underneath the walls ruble Ben burst out from underneath and jumped at Kalen and grabbed him before continuing to jump out of the window, hoping to get through to Kalen's human side before doing something he would regret.
Having been tied up on a pole using Ben's impact webbing the two begin to talk, with Ben telling Kalen he needed to cool down and realized he had already gotten Sanders thanks to the evidence he had gathered and that there was no need to kill him. Kalen denied this and told Ben that Sanders needed to suffer more than a jail term for everything he had done, especially Hank's murder, but Ben told Kalen that while it's tempting to seek Justice himself he had been given a power that he needed to use responsibly. Seeing Sanders run to a car below caused Kalen to give into his anger once again and say that there was nothing left of David Kalen now, other than his initials - D.K. as his reverted to his goopy monster form, punched Ben aside and jumped onto the roof of Sanders car, melting it using his corrosive abilities to get Sanders once and for all, only to have Ben interrupted yet again by swinging down and grabbing Sanders. D.K. demands to know why Ben can protect a man like Sanders, only for Ben to tell him he isn't protecting Sanders, he is protecting him from doing something he would regret. D.K. says the decision is his to make and lunges at Ben as he tells him he will go through him if he has too, only for Ben to stand completely still and say that while he COULD do that he doesn't think he will.
Ben is proven right, and just before D.K. touches him he reverts back into his Kalen form and apoligizes for what he has done. Once the police have arrived and arrested Sanders Ben informs D.K. (Again in his monster form) that with the evidence he gave Sanders will be charged not only for all his environmental crimes but also for the murder of Hank. Ben then asks if D.K. could change back into Kalen as it would be easier for what was ahead but D.K. says this is his natural form now and Kalen is just a form he can take, but he does as Ben asks and changes to his human appearance. Kalen is then introduced to John Jameson
and Ed Whelan
by Ben and is told that they can help as they, more than anyone, knows what he is going through having been in similar situations themselves (As Man-Wolf and Vermin, respectfully). Kalen then enters the van with the two men as he thanks Ben for his help before being driven to Ravencroft
to try and get some help with his condition.
D.K. aka David Kalen was created by Todd Dezago
, Sal Buscema
and Jimmy Palmiotti
in 1986 and first appeared in Spectacular Spider-Man
Kalen would spiral towards a deep depression during his stay at the Ravencroft Institution because he missed his brother so much and felt alone. DK would lash out in an uncontrolled rage and ended up killing two security guards. Spider-Man intervened and managed to calm DK down when he told him that he also lost a brother and understood how he was feeling. The Doctor told Spider-Man that DK was slowly killing himself when he turned his powers inward and they were consuming him from the inside. DK would burrow his way out of Ravencroft and find a location to commit suicide. DK ended up in Central Park and demanded for Spider-Man. Spider-Man arrived and DK told him that he was decaying from the inside and wanted to thank the wall-crawler for believing in him. DK then decomposed on the spot and his liquified remains merged with a large puddle of water. A young Vulture
would ambush Spider-Man from behind when tentacle like strands of sludge grabbed the Vulture. Spider-Man told Kalen to stop and yanked the Vulture away with his webbing. Kalen appeared no more and his attack on the Vulture reverted Toomes to his old age.
Powers & Abilities
Having been mutated by the chemical explosion David Kalen gained a new almost clay like goop form that gave him super strength and durability, having been shown to easily lift and through objects of great weight despite his 'melting' looking appearance as well as shrug off most physical attacks used against him.
The goop that makes up Kalen's body is able to accelerate the speed at which items decay open physical contact, often resulting in the item, or person, to either melt or become dust however this ability is only active when Kalen wills it to happen and he is perfectly able to touch things without causing them to decay, although heightened emotional states have been shown to sometimes activate this without Kalen's need to think about it first.
With some effort Kalen is able to change his appearance to that of his human form, although he has stated that this takes a significant effort on his part. It is highly possibly he could change into forms of other people if he put in the effort of the situation called upon it.