Inferno is a character from Archie Comics and has been intermitently published by several imprints since his creation in 1940 in MLJ ppublications. In each publication his history has been revamped or altereed, having being published by the original MLJ editorial, in DC comics (under the Impact and Red Circle brands) and recently returned to Archie Comics.
The first recorded appearance of Inferno was in Zip Comics #10, in which he was a circus performer named Frank Verrano, better known as The Fire Breather. He's had the misfortune of being mixed in some illicit dealings while working in the circus. Thankfully, through the intervention of Steel Sterling, he stopped doing these illegal deeds, and set him on the path of being a super-hero, and later becoming a private eye.
In the Impact comics line, Inferno returned as Private Lance Stern, an all-american boy who grew up in the midwest. He was extremely patriotic and even though he only marginally met the entrance requirements the recruiting officer was impressed by him. After six months it was discovered that he has a debilitating neurologic disease that would soon render him immobile but alert. In order to serve his country Lance volunteered for the U.S. Army's Project : Inferno. Over a period of months, Lance had much of his body replaced by cybernetics and he was installed into the Inferno power suit. This Inferno was an enemy of the superhero known as The Comet.
In his Red Circle (from DC Comics) debut, he is found as an amnesiac victim who was found in the wreckage of a cruise ship, and was being tended to by Dr. Robert Dickering. He couldn't remember who he was or what he did, save for a conversation he had with a woman before his predicament. He wakes up alarmed at his surroundings, but is reassured by Dickering that he's alright at the moment. As he was telling him the name he muttered, he has difficulty in remembering who that name belonged to. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Lynn Barker was trying to find his name through all the known resources, and it startled her that the name did not bring up any results, as if the name didn't exist.
At the same time, Verrano noticed that a strange person holding a pair of Uzis was about to kill him, prompting Verrano to manifest his powers of fire control and unleash his ability as Inferno. With a good shot of his flame-throwing hands, he managed to incinerate his assassin, which gave cops and other authorities the wrong idea, and suspected him of making a terrorist attack. This prompted Dickering to undertake his ego of The Hangman to try to stop Inferno. As Verrano tried to make his escape, Hangman stops him with his use of smoke, and engages him in a fight where Inferno was being robbed of his oxygen needed to use his fire with. Inferno bursts out flames briefly to gain his footing in order to retaliate. Hangman decides to hang him so that innocents may be spared, but Inferno pleads his innocence, telling Hangman that he's not harming anyone, and that there are people wanting to kill others. Just as he said that, an attack helicopter appears wanting to shoot down both Hangman and Inferno. Hangman disables the helicopter, leaving Inferno to get people to evacuate a cruise ship in which a bomb has been located. Hangman and Inferno quickly form an idea to dispose of the bomb, which culminated in Hangman towing the bomb away from the ship with his noose. Successful in their joint effort, they both go their separate ways, but to Inferno's dismay, the FBI has placed him as the suspect of the near-bombing of the ship, and has an APB on him. Frank then turns up at a bayside asking people for help, stumbling upon John Raymond, who fends him away with a $20 bill for him to buy himself some cheeseburgers...
Frank Verrano is finds out the secrets from his past from General Latham. The general reveals that he is part of a project which created androids as shock troopers and bird people (War Eagle). This greatly shocks Inferno and evens sends him into a slump of depression finding out that his entire life and history was a lie and that he wasn't even human in the first place. At the final chapter of the series Frank realizes that the other team members still treat him like he was one of them and steps up and comes to terms with him being an android. He is last seen walking away with the other Crusaders and preparing for future threats.
Return to Archie.
Inferno made a brief appearance in the comic Superteens vs Crusaders as a member of the Mighty Crusaders. His previous incarnations has been seen by Mr Justice, in a mysterious way.
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