Richards was a former U.S. Marine who went missing after his helicopter crashed during the Subsonic Wars in Southern Modora. The bodies of his fellow soldiers were found dead and marked in tribal tattoos. Richards' body was never found by the US government and he was presumed dead. In truth he was found by Kril Tribe of Modora and was tortured for months until they welcomed him into their group. They then taught him the art of Sin Grafting, the art of burning sins into ones own flesh. With this a man could take the sins of another unto himself and unburden the other of his sins. Somehow this Sin Grafting also gave Richards the ability to bring those Sin Grafts, or tattoos to life. With his new found power went to Gotham City where he was hired to kill a couple of men he felt were sinners.
He had a younger brother, Devon whom died a horrible car crash. He now has a wife named Michelle, a daughter named Laurel and a son that was killed by Slipknot named Leon.
Major Story Arcs
Green Lantern: Branded
Richards was in Gotham for at least a month and had killed at least four men. The latest was man named Lou Rosen, and after Richards killed him he tattooed "WEAKNESS WOMEN" on his chest. Batman feeling that Hal Jordan had dealt with the last tattoo man, Abel Tarrant, called in the Green Lantern for help.
The pair tracked Richards to motel when he has just excepted a contract from Tobias, to kill Harvey Dent. Hal surprises him and fights his tattoos while Batman fights the man. Richards being a former Marine is able to hold his own against the Batman, but he can't keep the battle going on two fronts and Batman is able to connect with a right hook, knocking him out.
Later on, Richards became a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains. When the members were being exiled to Checkmate's prison planet, Richards was among the members who fled to the Hall of Justice seeking refuge.
Sometime later Richards brought Metropolis detective Dan Turpin to the Dark Side Club.
Then later when the Earth was being held by the Anti-Life Equation, Richards hid his family from Darkseid's Justifiers. While doing so, he was able to save the life of Black Lightning, a Justice League member, who was being pursued by the Justifiers. In turn, Black Lighting saved Richards' family, giving them time to get away; though he himself was caught in the process. Black Lightning left Richards a mission - deliver a message to Green Arrow and carry "The Circuit" with him.As Richards complied, his actions made it possible to break Darkseid's control over Earth. He was therefore awarded honorary membership in the JLA.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink
Mark returns home to Liberty Hills, but now he considers himself a hero. He breaks up a bank robbery and stops a high profile counterfeit ring. But then a member of the DED Boyz named Diamond is killed, a crooked police Chief named Halstead wants to pin it on Mark. Mark doesn't want to believe it but two of his tattoos have "broken free", Kabuki Dan a Ronni Samaria and Altera, a hot demon chick who is in love with Mark.
Mark tries to find Diamonds real murderer but the trail points back at Mark's son Leon. Leon has been pledging the Avenue Reds, the DED Boyz rival gang. When Mark tries to confront him, they are attacked by Slipknot and Cannon, two hired goons working for Mister S. Mark tries to fight them but when they threaten Leon, Mark has to let them go. Mark knowing full well that they would come back after Leon to get at him, turns Leon in for the murder of Diamond.
Mark then tracks Cannon to the Potomac River Power Plant, but before he can get any information from him, Cannon is forced to blow himself up by the mysterious Mister S. In the process Cannon blacks out Liberty Hill, and after some soul searching Mark decides, even though the LHPD is looking for him,he has to help. While saving some hookers and crackheads from a fire Mark uncontrollable passes out. He wakes up to see Mister S, who is really Devon, Mark's thought to be dead little brother.
Devon tortures Mark and finds out how Mark got his powers, and tells Mark how he got his powers to control minds. He then makes Mark pass out again and this time Mark wakes up in a church. This is where Mark does some more soul searching and realizes he must turn himself in. His tattoo of Kabuki Dan had killed Diamond and he had been in control.
While in jail Roy Harper of the Justice League explains that due the charges and the fact that Mark isn't giving the JLA any answers he is no longer a Justice League member. Mark later gets out of jail, with the help of a lawyer named Ahmad Strurges, and goes after Devon. He finds Devon has made himself the leader of the DED boyz and teh Avenue Reds and planning on burning Liberty Hill to the ground.
Mark with the help of Kabuki Dan and Altera destroy Slipknot's arm and almost kill Devon. Mark then takes control of the new DED Boys and Avenue Reds and puts Cri$on in charge. He then is willing to listen to the proposal from Deathstroke.
Villains for Hire
Not long after Slipknot had killed his son, Leon, Mark's wife blames him for the death of their only son, and Deathstroke is there to tell him she's right. Deathstroke points out that Slipknot is a loose end that Mark couldn't tie up and as a result Leon is dead. But Deathstroke promises that he can get Mark, Slipknot's head on a platter, all he has to do is join Deathstroke's new team. Deathstroke calls the new team Titans, but it also goes by Villains for Hire. It consist at first of Mark, Cheshire, Osiris, Cinder and Deathstroke.
There first mission is to kill the newest Atom, Ryan Choi. Although Mark isn't the one to give Ryan the death blow his involvement will haunt Richards for a while. Next Richards and Cheshire steal a set of digital schematics from Deftech Industries, where they run into to some of Drago's crew but Mark is able to make them an escape route.
The next mission is more complicated, the team thinks they are trying to assassinate Lex Luthor, but they are really there to flush out the real assassin, Facade. Mark is with the street level team when Cinder blows up Lex's limo. He is later in the sewer with Osiris when Facade, disguised as Deathstoke attacks. Mark is able to cut Facade in two with a tattoo blade. This doesn't stop Facade but when the real Deathstroke shows up he is able to use an EMP bomb on Facade shorting it out.
Sometime between that mission and the next Mark has a talk with Cinder about how she had that look of a death wish during their last battle, showing that he really cared about the young girl, but they are interrupted by Osiris.
The next mission Mark and Cheshire go undercover to Elijah's drug lab under the Mojave Desert, but when Cheshire learns that Elijah is harvesting young children for his drug Bliss she blows the cover and Mark has to help her fight their way out. Luckily Deathstoke and the rest of the team, including its newest member Arsenal, show up but so does Elijah's team, the Dominators. Mark and Dj Molecule go toe to toe but it's not until Deathstroke helps that Mark can beat the energy blasting enemy.
While on a mission with Villains for Hire, to break Allegra Garcia out of Arkham Asylum, Mark gets a face full of Fear Toxin from the Scarecrow. He sees his dead son Leon blaming him for his death. Luckily Batman shows up and give Mark the antidote. But when its time to leave Mark still turns his back on the hero and goes with Deathstroke.
The next day back at the Labyrinth, the team's base, the Villains for Hire start to turn on Deathstroke, but he has a solution. He has tracked down Slipknot and has him as a prisoner for Mark. This enrages Mark and he storms off to find the locked up Slipknot, but when he get to the room, Slipknot has escaped. Slade says he did this for Mark, because he'd never forgive himself if he killed a man in cold blood.
Slipknot and Mark have a fight that takes then through the Labyrinth and end in the Holo-thought room, that Mark has programed to look like Liberty Hill. Here in front of Holo generated people Mark beats Slipknot to an inch of his life. Then Mark uses his barbwire tattoo to decapitate Slipknot, he then tells Slade he's done and leaves the team, even though Slade promises he'll be back.
While Deathstroke, Cheshire, Cinder and Arsenal are off at Drago's secert lair, Mark heads back to Liberty Hill where the residents seem afraid of him. Then he runs into Crim$o and learns that his old gang has been keeping the people of Liberty Hill in line through fear and strong arm tactics. Once Mark gets back to Hit Red Gym is plans on telling his crew to stop their tactics but Vixen interrupts.
Vixen thinks that Mark would be a perfect fit for her new team she is developing but now that she sees what his crew has done in his name, she isn't so sure. The two have a clash of ideals. Mark thinks the League has gotten too big that is doesn't worry about the little guy, like his crew and the people of Liberty Hill. Vixen believes that the League does but that it take time to help, and that is why she is forming the new team.
Vixen threatens to take Crim$o to jail for what he has done but this escalates thing, and Vixen is forced to fight Mark's crew. Mark then steps in and fights Vixen directly. He feels the system is broken but she feels people like him and his crew are what breaking it. Vixen attempts to be the better person and tries to walk away, but Mark's crew tries to stop her. Mark realizing that Vixen might be right stops them and after she leaves Mark fallows. He knows he has some unfinished business with Deathstroke and his old team.
The Methuselah Imperative
When Mark returns to the Labyrinth he finds the team gone but runs into Doctor Impossible, who shows him the Methuselah Machine. Then Mark sees Dr. Sivana who explains that machine can make it so a man can become immortal and that it is powered by DJ Molecule. The Doctor then gives Mark a teleportation devise so he can help Slade get the final piece. Mark is shocked by all that's happening but he goes anyway.
Mark teleports to Kahndaq, in the middle of fight between the Villains for Hire and the Justice League, lead by Ray Palmer. Slade orders Mark to take down Supergirl, but Mark object demanding he wouldn't kill again. Slade convinces him he won't have to kill and that they'd be even if he did this one last request. Mark agrees and uses his black magic tattoos on Supergirl bringing her within rage of Slade's kryptonite sword.
The battle is quickly halted when Isis, back from the dead, kicks everyone out of her country. Back in the Labyrinth after Slade heals his son Jericho with the Methuselah machine he explains that the machine could bring back the teams dead loved ones.
Mark, Cheshire and Osiris what to use the machine, but Cinder and Arsenal believe it to be wrong. The team fights but when Cinder sacrifices herself to destroy the machine everyone has to escape the Labyrinth before it blows up. Outside Mark informs everyone he is going back to Liberty Hills and they should all leave him alone.
In the alternate world of Flashpoint, Mark is a member of Deathstroke crew on the Ravager. He is part of the group that tries to stop Aquaman and Ocean Master after they attack the ship and stab Deathstroke. He tries to use his snakes against Ocean Master but Ocean Master pins him to the wall with his lance. Mark is still alive but then Scavenger melts him with a ray gun that was aimed at Aquaman. Richards dies while screaming, "You Idiot..."
Mark several tattoos over his body that can come to life and obey his will. Then can enteract with other people and some have personalities that mirror or obect to Marks mood. he has...
- Kabuki Dan- a ronin samurai who can manifest and use a katana, as well as a seemingly unlimited number of shuriken throwing stars. Like Altera, he is unique among Mark's tattoos in that he possesses sentience along with a unique personality. He appears to act as the voice of reason, and can be seen as Mark's conscience in a lot of ways.
- Altera- A beautiful demon woman with large horns, who uses a whip in combat in tandem with goring opponents on her horns. Like Dan, she is the second of Mark's living tattoos to have actual sapience, along with an individual personality. Whereas Dan can be seen as the manifestation of Mark's conscience, Altera can be seen as his desires and lust given form, which could explain her romantic interests in Mark.
- Fiery Flying Skull- A sort of independent drone, the skull can fly of it's own accord, breathe fire, and create bone constructs, such as a ladder.
- Barb Wire
- A Chinese Dragon
- The word "Fist" on his fist.
As a former Marine, Mark has also had considerable combat training, to the point where he's capable of holding his own in combat with the likes of Batman himself.