Jack Hart was the son of Philip Hart, a brilliant scientist who developed a revolutionary, extremely efficient liquid fuel called Zero Fluid, and a humanoid alien woman of the Contraxian race. The alien was one of many scientists dispatched to try to discover an energy source to resuscitate the dwindling nuclear processes of the Contraxian sun. Learning of Hart's experiments, the alien assumed a totally human form to keep Hart under surveillance. Hart and the alien eventually met, married, and produced a son they named Jack. The alien woman, "Marie," died in a car accident when the boy was a child. Neither her husband nor child ever learned of her extraterrestrial origin.
Jack grew up charming and intelligent, becoming a poetry major at New Haven College in Connecticut. There he met the one girl who wasn't interested in him - Marcy Kane. She would eventually fall for Jack, but tragedy would soon tear them apart.
When Jack was still young, Philip Hart perfected his Zero Fluid and decided to donate the fuel to all the free countries of the world. Hart was then contacted by agents of the criminal Corporation who wanted to market the Zero Fluid. Refusing to deal with them, Philip Hart was murdered by Corporation agents before the eyes of his son. Managing to escape, Jack Hart took refuge in his father's basement laboratory Corporation agents broke in minutes later, and their laser-cannon sheared through the laboratory door, striking the vat of Zero Fluid. Doused by the powerful, corrosive fuel, Hart underwent a mutagenic change and began to glow. With an uncontrollable burst of energy generated by his entire body, Hart killed his father's murderers. Vowing vengeance on the entire Corporation, Hart fashioned a costume for himself, plundering his father's collection of armament. The armor somehow interacted with the final stage of mutation and provided a moderator that contained and controlled the release of his body's energy.
Jack of Hearts first appeared in The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #22 (1976).
Major Story Arcs
A hero born
Calling himself Jack of Hearts as a tribute to his father's passion for playing cards, he embarked on a mission of vengeance. Initially his quest for vengeance on the Corporation was blind and intolerant, leading him into conflict with such innocents as the Sons of the Tiger and the Hulk. Later he aided Iron Man in freeing Stark International from takeover by Mordecai Midas, and was taken under Iron Man's tutelage for a brief time.
When his energy powers began to increase uncontrollably, he placed himself into SHIELD custody. There he met a former classmate of his, Marcy Kane, who was also actually a Contraxian. She revealed to him his mother's extraterrestrial origin and convinced him to accompany her back to Contraxia to try to save their sun.
On Contraxia, a cult calling themselves the Survivalists captured Jack of Hearts to force him to do what he was intending to do anyway. He was flown in a starship to Contraxia's sun and there vaporized the craft before sending the energies of his body into the sun. In some as yet unknown manner, he apparently restored the vast quantities of hydrogen necessary to sustain the nuclear reactions of the sun, and added an undisclosed number of years to the sun's life. Then, still radiating great energy, he returned to Contraxia, his vast heat melting the polar icecaps, in order to say farewell to his girlfriend and to lecture the Contraxians about morality. He then flew off into outer space, realizing that he could no longer live among organic beings with his vast energies emanating out of control.
Under unrevealed circumstances, Jack of Hearts was captured by the enigmatic alien, the Stranger, and placed on his planet for study. Jack of Hearts was inadvertently freed by the Avenger Quasar, who had traveled to the Stranger's world for his own purposes. Joining other refugees of Earth, Jack of Hearts returned to their native planet, only to be mind-controlled by another refugee, the Presence, into fighting Quasar. His armor was breached in the fight, and Jack appeared to have exploded in a burst of Zero energy.
Actually, Jack was rescued and healed by the Moondragon, in her bid to gain an ally to prove herself as a worthy consort for Quasar. Jack proved overzealous as a mentally-influenced agent of Moondragon, who soon abandoned her designs on Quasar anyway, and Jack was released from her control.
Going into Space
Jack sequestered himself in the abandoned Hart residence, but found his condition rapidly deteriorating, as his energies again threatened to go out of control. Returning to space, Jack sought out the alien Silver Surfer for help. The Surfer led Jack to an alien armor-wielder named Torval, who created a new and better energy-regulating armor for him. Jack remained with Surfer for a short time, and both teamed up with other cosmic heroes when they encountered the mega-powerful entity known as the Tyrant. Instead of capture, Jack released his energy from his suit and was able to free the heroes from Tyrant's energy siphoning machine. The battle left Jack of Hearts severely weakened, and he was nursed back to health by fellow adventurer Ganymede, whereupon the two became lovers.
Ganymede was the last member of a sisterhood dedicated to the opposition of Tyrant. She refused to engage in physical intimacy, which was not an option for the armor-bound Jack. Jack expressed his love for her and even fantasized about having a body and being together with her. Together they traveled to the homeworld of the Spinsterhood to determine if any of Ganymede's sisters remained alive. All those in their stasis chambers were deceased. They were then ambushed by Thanos and Terrax.
Thanos was able to defeat Jack with little effort and they kidnapped Ganymede. Jack regained his strength and went to Titan seeking aid. Upon arrival, he was able to gain the assistance of Legacy. They traveled to find Ganymede which led to Tyrant's Fortress. It was here that Jack learned Ganymede was now working with Thanos to defeat Tyrant, which made Jack question what type of person she was. She was also at one point willing to abandon an injured Jack rather than let her enemy escape.
Eventually, Ganymede grew fond of Jack and their romance blossomed. This all changed when Jakar reincarnated her sister Persephone. Shamed, Ganymede joined with her fellow Spinster and reinstated her vows as a member of the Spinsterhood. She therefore could not be with Jack. Jack sought out Tyrant in an attempt to destroy him before Ganymede could reach him. He soon learned that Tyrant had been destroyed by the Silver Surfer.
Jack joined with the Surfer to find Ganymede and eventually they came across Jakar. Jack wanted to take his anguish out on Jakar for returning Persephone to life, but the Surfer would not permit it. Jakar was defeated, but allowed to live. Jack continued his search for Ganymede and told the Surfer to stay out of his life.
Joining the Avengers
While journeying through space, Jack of Hearts happened upon agents of the cosmic beings known as the Infinites, an encounter which left him nearly dead. The incident also alerted members of the Avengers, including Moondragon. The Avengers rescued Jack and Moondragon helped restore his armor to his original design with several sophisticated upgrades. Jack and a team of Avengers confronted the Infinites directly, convincing the beings of the danger they posed to the universe. Afterwards, Jack remained alongside the group to confront a galactic federation's decree that Earth should become a penal colony for the universe's known criminals, and he helped expose the alien Kree as masterminds of the plot. Returning to Earth, he helped the Avengers round up the remaining criminals and also helped the Avengers set up new security and analytical tactics to become a more effective team.
Jack remained with the Avengers for several missions, including those against the time-traveling Kang when he nearly succeeded in conquering the Earth. During this time, the Avengers extended membership to Jack in gratitude for his efforts, and he readily accepted. The Avengers also developed a new holding cell with strains of neutro-mist that allowed Jack to exist safely outside his armor for short periods of time.
While Jack was with the Avengers, he often butted heads with fellow newcomer Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. After some time they started to understand each other more. Jack told Scott about how he would be consumed by his own powers, unless he would go into a holding cell to siphon off the overpowering energies building up inside him. After Scott came to know these problems, they both got more and more respect for each other. And despite the animosity they first had, Jack even helped Scott during one of his darkest hours. Scott's daughter Cassie was abducted by an insane man, who saw his own dead daughter in Cassie and wanted to kill her for that reason.
Jack of Hearts and Scott both came to the rescue. Only problem was that Jack had been away from his holding cell for too long and the energies inside him where building up to dangerous levels. As soon as Cassie was safe, Jack grabbed the insane man, said goodbye to Scott, seeing him as a true friend and flew of into outer space. There Jack seemingly exploded and ceased to exist. Scott knew that he had lost a friend who sacrificed himself to save that which Scott loved most in life, his daughter.
Some time later, however, Jack's body was apparently reanimated by the Scarlet Witch during the events of Avengers Disassembled. 'Jack' returned to the mansion and abruptly exploded, killing Scott Lang and damaging the Mansion grounds.
Return from the dead
Jack was found revived when a team of soldiers under the leadership of Jill Harper with help from Battlestar, entered the Project: P.E.G.A.S.U.S. compound, in which a horde of zombie versions of the Squadron Supreme were wreaking havoc. The team had entered the compound in search of the reason why they lost contact with the scientists working there.
It was not much later that they found out one of the scientists had gone insane and created artificial life, namely zombies. When the team was at their last leg, most of the crew-members had already perished by the hands of the zombies, they entered a locked room. There they found a strange machine with an incredible light coming out of it. Trying to make sense out of what the machine was doing, suddenly a bright flash came emerged from the machine which took the shape of Jack of Hearts. Baffled and not sure what was happening, Jack soon found out that he and the soldiers were in big trouble. A few fights erupted and some more soldiers were killed, but eventually Jack managed to turn the tide and with a burst of energy, he reduced most of the zombies to nothing more but a pile of ash.
However, Jill Harper, the leader of the soldiers, was bitten by one of the Squadron Supreme zombies and slowly turned into one of them herself. Jack told her he could not let that happen and started glowing much like he did the first time he was resurrected. When the bright flash was gone, Jill found herself all human again. Jack and Jill kissed and together with the remaining members of Jill's team, left the compound.
Jack turned up at She-Hulk's new place. He remembered dying and being resurrected but not why he sought out She-Hulk. He also mysteriously needed to eat, drink, and sleep, things he hadn't needed to do since gaining his powers.
Jack jumps into action when the Badoon destroy The Moon and invade Earth with brand new weaponry. After Reed absorbed Watcher-knowledge, he recruited She-Hulk and Jack to come with the Fantastic Four to Shi’ar space and defend the M’kraan crystal. Jack was especially needed because the team lost Johnny when he went rogue to Spyre. Unfortunately, Ben was hurt so badly that it distracted the team and allowed the crystal to be taken.
Jen believed they went to the one planet the Watchers’ can’t see: Obscura Minor, which can’t be seen due to Jen’s cosmic judicial ruling. Reed tapped into the Watcher’s knowledge of traveling at night to move them there. Once there, they fall into a Reckoning trap. Reed was able to save them by re-constructing a Forever Gate, but he would need Jack of Hearts to stay behind and power it. Jen protested, but Jack insisted, blasting her through the gate anyway.
Powers and Abilities
Jack can survive in the vacuum of space without oxygen. He is not affected by the cold of space nor by the intense heat of a sun.
Jack of Hearts possesses the ability to project concussive energy from his body. This energy, a by-product of the cellular mutation caused by contact with the experimental Zero Fluid, is generated in some as yet unknown way by the cells of Jack's body and can be directed in controlled amounts by conscious thought. Zero energy, as it has been called, is constantly being generated by his body and is emitted in negligible quantities whenever his cells reach their saturation point. Consciously directing the flow of energy (usually through his hands), Jack of Hearts can create a shockwave, the current maximum force of which is unknown. The energy discharge is accompanied by a pink colored light phenomenon.
Jack of Hearts can direct the blasts of his Zero energy downward to generate sufficient thrust to allow him to fly, much like a liquid-fuel rocket. Because of the fact that he must keep his arms pointed beneath him during flight, he cannot use his energy as an offensive weapon, unless his opponent is directly in the path of his exhaust.
Jack of Hearts was exposed to a Stark International supplied Scanalyzer which was powered by a Symbiote-Energy Sump device, that derived low-level energy from sources within his body. A favorable mutagenic alteration allowed Jack of Heart's encephalic patterns to be overlaid with the artificial intelligence of the Scanalyzer. This enhanced Jack of Hearts' consciousness enabling him to think at computer speeds, and retain and retrieve information with computer logic plus the human brain's large storage base.
Jack of Hearts' entire metabolism has been transformed by the Zero Fluid's mutagenic effect on him. Not only does he require less oxygen, but he is physically stronger and more resistant to injury. His body can easily withstand small-caliber firearms. If he is injured, his rate of healing is over twice that of an average healthy human's.
Now that Jack of Hearts' powers have increased exponentially, it is difficult to gauge what his current abilities and overall power level are.
Jack of Hearts is able to lift roughly 2 tons.