Farley Fleeter was a two-bit hood with a small organized crime operation. One day, he decided to make a bigger name for themselves as costumed bank robbers, The Madmen. In one of their first run-ins with Blue Beetle, he tried to stop them from robbing a bank. In the scuffle, they were able to take possession of his patented B.B. Gun and escaped. Not knowing what it was really capable of, the Madmen simply used it to threaten and posture toward civilians in another heist. Blue Beetle finally tracked them down to their hideout where he was able to wrestle the gun from them. Using its strobe function, he was able to temporarily blind the Madmen until they were arrested.
The Madmen first debuted in Blue Beetle (1967) #3 by Steve Ditko. They were still being published by Charlton Comics at the time before they had been bought by DC Comics.
Major Story Arcs
Return of the Madmen
Sometime later, Fleeter has forced his gang to give up on the colorful costumes. The flashiness called the wrong kind of attention. As regular old gangsters they were hassled by Blue Beetle way less, however, he stopped them from collecting some of their ill gotten gains. This prompts Dr. Alchemy to reach out to Fleeter with a new job. For $50,000 each in gold, all they would need to do is revive their old look and break into Kord, Inc as loud and distracting as possible. For that kind of money, Fleeter agreed. With the Madmen making a big mess, Alchemy used their distraction to quietly break into a Kord lab and steal promethium. Its constantly regenerating energy mixed with Alchemy’s personal philosopher’s stone made him nearly unstoppable.
Thanks to overcrowding, The Madmen are eventually let out early. They got right back to work as The Madmen to bait Blue Beetle into attacking them. When he did, Fleeter nicked Beetle with a hallucinogenic neuro-toxin coated on a small pin hidden on his glove. This caused Ted to see The Madmen’s colorful face paint on regular everyday civilians. With The Madmen back in prison, Ted gave Fleeter a visit and faked dosing him with his own toxin so that he would give up the location of the antidote.
Madmen on Parade
A solo Fleeter used the cover identity of Webster to get a job as a janitor on a college campus. On the day of a law and order lecture featuring the Vice President and Jack Ryder (The Creeper), a secret service agent was messing with an experimental weapon that shot a laser that eventually landed on Fleeter. This unknowingly gave him the ability to influence and control people with his mind.
Targeting a force field vest, Fleeter decided to assemble and don a new Madman costume to steal it. Everyone he interacted with after being exposed to the experimental weapon also had the same idea thanks to his mind-meld. When he finally made his move on the armory, he was shocked to find a number of new followers to puppeteer. As he figured out the that he had new powers, he was attacked by Creeper and Hawk and Dove (who were enrolled at the college).
Hawk managed to knock Fleeter out, freeing these new Madmen from his control.
Members of the Madmen were kidnapped by Mokkari and Simyan, two mad scientists from Apokalips. They turned the Madmen into living servers for which the supervillain communications grid, The Unternet, passed through. With the help of his hacker allies, Oracle and Anarky, Tim Drake was able to track these Madmen down in their civilian identities so that he could shut down the grid for good. Unfortunately, this did not go to plan.
Tim learned that The Madmen had been enhanced in other ways. They were capable of materializing weaponry and taking on an energy form. This made them too strong for Tim’s experimental signal jammer. According to Anarky, they would need more voltage. So, Tim was forced to bait them into some power lines. The overloaded jammer would disconnect them from each other and stop their ability to work as a power source for the Ünternet, thus forcing it into a blackout. Although, they would retain their connection to the internet and potentially be stuck in their energy forms.
The Original Madmen's Costumes
The original madmen wore multicolored camouflage costumes in yellow, red, white, and green all in the same costume. They also had their faces and hair painted in different colors. Each ganger basically wore the same costume but had a different colored face and hair. They also all wore facial hair in the form of a goatee.
Farley Fleeter's Costume
Farley Fleeter's Costume is a camouflage like uniform with bright colors from all his gang membes uniforms. He is also depicted with yellow hair and red face, gloves, boots and briefs. Most of the time he is the only one with any facial hair. He wear a long bushy goatee that he also colors yellow.
The Madmen's Costumes
There are six other members of Fleeter's gang they are paired in three groups of two. This is seen in their costumes. The ganger in the yellow camouflage costume will have yellow boots, hair, gloves and briefs but his face will be purple. While the purple ganger will be just the opposite with a yellow face. It is the same for the blue and orange gangers and, the green and red gangers.
Justice League Unlimited
The Madmen appear in the comic series based on the animated series, Justice League Unlimited, even though they never appeared in the actual animated series.
They steal nuclear weapons that were being guarded by a representative of the Justice League (and their archrival in the comics), Blue Beetle. Unfortunately, the Justice League could not strategize effectively against their unpredictability, so they called in the craziest member, The Creeper. Untrustworthy of Creeper, Batman decides to stay by his side as they track The Madmen before they could use the nuke to destroy New Jersey trying to kill one man.
Batman: Brave and the Bold
In season 2, episode 18 of Batman: Brave and the Bold, titled Menace of the Madkins, Fleeter and his Madmen are featured but renamed as the Madniks.
They are rogues of the late Blue Beetle, but when Booster Gold time travels to see his old friend, he accidentally alters the timeline turning the Madniks into monsters. This requires the help of Batman in the present.