Bruno Horgan was a former competitor to Tony Stark and wanted to get revenge on him after Stark's report showed that Horgan's factory was using inferior materials. The US Army revoked their contract with Horgan and offered Stark to build their tanks. Horgan then accidentally discovered his secret of dissolving iron when one of his electronic testing devices built of inferior parts went haywire in his laboratory. The inspection beam began to melt any iron the beam was shining on. Horgan study the device in his lab, finds the source of its power and manages to fit it into a small, compact unit. Horgan understood that iron was the most important metal on earth and with his ability to melt iron with ease would make him the most powerful man in the world. Horgan wanted to humiliate Stark during his first exploit as the Melter. Horgan sabotaged some of the tanks Stark's company built during a demonstration while Tony Stark and some visiting congressmen were present. The tanks broke down right in front of them and Stark realized that every vital point was melted. Stark decided to personally inspect the vital parts of his weapons components when he was struck from behind by the Melter. The Melter then used his ray to destroy Stark's newest shipment of war materials to slow up the Army's defense effort and to cost Stark a fortune. The Melter decided not to finish Stark as he laid motionless on the floor and actually preferred that he live so he can toy and torment Stark. The Melter breaks into one of Stark's munitions factory and begins to melt the main generators in order to paralyze that factory. Iron Man appears and confronts the Melter. However the Melter's beam strikes Iron Man's left arm and the armor melted off. Iron Man causes a distraction and is able to escape the Melter's wrath. Stark is in jeopardy of losing his government contracts and his employers do not believe him that this man he calls the Melter is responsible. Stark knows he has to catch the Melter and devises a plan. The Melter would engage Iron Man at one of his power plants and attacks him. However the Melter's beam has no effect on Iron Man and tries to escape. Out of desperation, the Melter nearly crushes Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts by melting a crane that is holding up a huge boulder. Iron Man grabs the boulder just before it hits them. During the distraction, the Melter melts an iron drain cover and escapes in the sewer system. Apparently the Melter's beam had no effect on Iron Man because Stark redesigned his suit and made the armor out of tough extruded aluminum.
Melter was created by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Don Heck in 1963 and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #47 (1963)
Mayor Story Arcs
Masters of Evil
The Melter would reappear with the Black Knight and Radioactive Man to form the first Masters of Evil led by Baron Zemo. Zemo had given the Melter the ability to melt other metals and not just iron which made him even more dangerous. Zemo also provided his team a secret weapon he called adhesive X which they can emit from special guns. Zemo instructed the Masters of Evil to attack the citizens of New York with his adhesive X to lure out Captain America and the Avengers. The Avengers manage to find a solution for Zemo's adhesive X when they contact Paste-Pot-Pete from prison and informs them he has a super dissolver stored in a warehouse uptown. The Teen Brigade helps the Avengers by switching the adhesive X containers and replacing them with Paste-Pot-Pete's super dissolver. The Masters of Evil are unaware of this and end up freeing the people they trapped before. Each member of the Masters of Evil are beaten and Iron Man takes down the Melter when he tricks him into melting a fire hydrant and the water blast causes a malfunction to the Melter's beam. Sometime later Zemo would recruit the Enchantress and the Executioner to free the Melter and Black Knight from Prison. Zemo's new group would kidnap Rick Jones but are eventually defeated by the Avengers and the Melter is sent back to prison.
Horgan would escape from prison when he creates a new melting gun from parts from the prison's machine shop. Horgan would dig up an extra costume he had hidden and plans to attack Stark's factory. The Melter manages to kidnap Tony Stark and forces him to redesign his ray gun with Stark's smallest transistors. Horgan's latest ray gun now has the ability to melt any substance including stone, wood and flesh. The Melter is defeated when Stark booby trapped the Melter's new gun and Horgan is once again apprehended by Iron Man and the police.
The Crimson Cowl would create a new Masters of Evil consisting of Whirlwind, Melter, Klaw, Black Knight and Radioactive Man and devises a plan to destroy the Avengers with a hydrogen bomb. The plan is thwarted when the Black Knight frees the Avengers and they defeat the Masters of Evil. Klaw would engineer their escape from prison and the Masters of Evil would battle the Avengers when they attempt to kidnap Dr. Erwin who is known for his theories and research on parallel time. The Masters of Evil have the upper hand on the Avengers until they are defeated by the Liberators. The Melter is defeated when the Wasp blasted him in the face.
The Melter would encounter Iron Man numerous times after his stint with the Masters of Evil. The Melter would team up with Whiplash and Man-Bull to form the Death Squad. The deadly trio planned a small heist at the San Diego Comic Convention to lure Iron Man out so they can smash him. The Black Lama would appear and offer them a globe of golden power if they could destroy Iron Man. The Death Squad agree but are easily dispatched by the iron Avenger and the Black Lama escapes. The Melter would reappear sometime later with a redesign suit and attack Iron Man on the Brooklyn Bridge. Iron Man is heavily damaged and manages to escape when he plunges into the water below. The Melter uses a lighthouse on Long Island's Montauk Point as a secret hideout and demands a ransom of six million dollars or he would use a nuclear weapon on the city. Suddenly Iron Man appears in his old costume and the Melter begins to blast away. The old Iron Man armor is actually a robot and the real Iron Man appears during the distraction. Iron Man punches the Melter and he falls through a window from the lighthouse and plunges into the sea below.
The Melter would reappear when Sagittarius and Libra direct a band of villains to pose as Defenders to restore the delicate balance of cosmic justice by creating co-equal chaos. Melter alongside Boomerang, Leap-Frog, Pecos, Joe the Gorilla, Shocker and Toad are lead by Libra to take over the New York Stock Exchange when they are confronted by Nighthawk. Melter would lay out Nighthawk with a heat blast from his chest harness. The villains steal the Staten Island Ferry after they defeat Nighthawk when they are confronted by Valkyrie and her team of Defenders. Valkyrie's perception of all the men on the ferry is distorted during a struggle with Joe the Gorilla. She believes all the men on the ferry are trolls and goes ballistic with her enchanted sword, Dragonfang. Melter is knocked off the ferry and forced to retreat.
The Melter would encounter Iron Man in Atlantic City when Horgan teams up with Whiplash and the Blizzard to rob a casino. The trio are defeated by Iron Man and Bethany Cabe and all three men are sent to Ryker's prison. Justin Hammer frees all three men and employs them as one of his reserve operatives. Iron Man confronts Hammer and dispatches all of his super powered henchmen. The Melter would later appear at the reception area of Stark International after he was paroled from prison and demand to see Tony Stark. He waits there until Iron Man appears and begins to attack. Iron Man takes down the Melter once again with ease.
The Melter would finally meet his end at the hands of the Scourge of the Underworld. The Melter places a surveillance camera on the Avenger's Mansion and would attack the Avengers with his improved melting ray. He tells one of his henchmen named Keegan that no one would laugh at the Melter anymore after he destroys the Avengers. However the Melter discovers Keegan's body in his locker and is shot in the chest with an explosive bullet by the Scourge who was disguised as his henchmen
A new Melter
More recently, a young man became the new Melter as part of the Dark Reign version of the Young Avengers. For this version, see Melter.
Melter would be involved in a story taking place in the Marvel Adventures comics which are standalone stories and does not take place in the current Marvel Universe continuity.
Melter would serve as a member of the Masters of Evil who is being led by Egghead. Melter's other teammates are the Man-Bull and Whirlwind. They would come into conflict with members of the Avengers after they break into Stark Tower and steal some Mandroid suits. The Melter is captured while the other Masters escape. The Masters of Evil would use the Mandroid suits to help free the Melter. Stealing the suits was just a cover so Whirlwind could plant a sophisticated transmitter device onto Captain America during the battle. This allowed the Masters of Evil to commit various crimes when the Avengers were occupied with other criminals. However Tony Stark discovered the device and would use it to find the Masters of Evil. The Melter and the rest of the Masters of Evil are defeated by the Avengers.
Weapons & Abilities
The Melter originally used a magnetic induction field device that only iron responded to. The iron would melt when the device injected energy at a specific frequency that loosened the binding forces of iron. Horgan is later coerced to redesign his weapon and allowed other materials like wood, stone and even flesh to melt. However, the Melter's beam can only affect one material at a time. The Melter's device had a range of 300 yards and could operate for several hours. The original device was designed to shoot the beam from his chest but the weapon and its design has changed on a few occasions. The Melter created a ray gun at one point and even had the ability to fire his beam from his belt weapon and helmet.