Underrated Heroes and Villains – Day 18: The Tattooed Man

Underrated Heroes and Villains – Day 18: The Tattooed Man

If you haven't already, please check out Days 1 – 17 of

"Underrated Black Heroes and Villains"

previously posted on this website

Here we are again, Day 18.  I hope you are enjoying what I have to say. If at any point you have any suggestions on how I can improve my articles, please feel free to comment. I will only get better with your help.

Tonight I’m going to talk about another villain, DC Comics’ own The Tattooed Man. The Tattooed Man’s real name is Mark Richards, and he first appeared in DC Comics’

Green Lantern

: Volume 4, Issue 9 (April, 2006). Mark is the third super-villain to go by the name “The Tattooed Man.”

While Mark was serving his county as a Marine, his helicopter crashed while on a mission in the nation of Modora. Although the bodies of his fellow Marines were found after the crash, Mark’s body was never recovered, so he was presumed dead for seven years. But Mark was very much alive. He was found by the Kril Tribe of Modora, where, after months of being tortured, he would be finally be welcomed into the tribe. They would teach him the art of Sin Grafting. Sin Grafting allowed Richards to burn his own sins into his flesh in the form of tattoos. Mark could also graft the sins of others onto himself, which would unburden that man of his sins. From some unknown reason, Sin Grafting gave Mark the power to bring the tattoos to life. With this newfound power Mark would become a gun-for-hire and would return to the States.

Mark’s first stop was



. Mark was in


for at least a month and had killed four men before he was even a blip on Batman’s radar. 

Batman would call on the aid of the Green Lantern, Hal Jordon, because of Hal’s history with the perverse



The two were able to track down Mark to a motel, where he had just taken a contract from the mobster Tobias Whale to whack Two-Face.  An epic brawl took place between Batman fighting the Tattooed Man and the Green Lantern taking on one of the Tattooed Man’s tattoos that came to life. Because he is an ex-Marine, Mark is able to take on Batman, but in the end it proved too much to fight Batman and constrain his desire to make his tattoo real. Batman is able beat Mark into submission.

The Tattooed Man was one of the super-villains that was exiled to Prison Planet.  Mark wouldn’t stay a prisoner for long, and he was soon up to his old tricks. We would see him again in the Final Crisis event. He would try his hand at being a good guy while trying to save his family. Some time later, he would come across Justice League member Black Lighting. He used his powers to save Black Lighting while she was being chased by Darkseid's Justifiers.

  Black Lighting in turn sacrificed himself so that Mark and his family could get away, but before he did this, he gave Mark a message.  This would send him on an important mission that would stop Darkseid in his tracks, breaking his hold over the earth.  For this act of taking down Darkseid, the Tattooed Man would be made an honorary member of the Justice League.

His time as a superhero, however, would be short-lived; Mark was later arrested for murdering a gang member. While in prison, Mark was visited by another JLA member, Red Arrow. Arrow would inform Mark that his actions caused him to be removed from the team. Upon his release from jail, Mark would join Deathstroke’s new team, The Titans, 

with the hopes of killing the man that killed his son.  Mark would be a key player on the team’s first mission, which was killing the newest Atom, Ryan Choi.

Mark would be forever haunted for the part he played in ending the Atom’s life.  

We would then see the Tattooed Man turning his back on the Titans and being a super-villain after he finds justice for his son. He would then try to do some good in the name of his son, by returning to clean up his old neighborhood. The Tattooed Man did make an appearance in the Flash Point event where we see Mark, a member of Deathstroke’s crew, being killed in a battle with Aquaman and Ocean Master. He has yet to make an appearance in the

New 52


Mark’s tattoos peel away from his body by him just using his willpower. He can mentally control them. Some of the tattoos have their own personalities.  He has several tattoos that he most relies on during battle, including Kabuki Dan (a Ronni Samaria), Altera (a female demon), a flaming flying skull, and a dragon for example.

Well, that about wraps up Day 18.  If you want to read up on the Tattooed Man, you can pick up


Issues 24-38. The month is almost over -  if I haven’t done a hero or villain that you want to know more about, just leave a comment, and I will try to add it in before the month is out.

Remember to check back tomorrow for the next episode of

Underrated Black Heroes and Villains. Check out our weekly Geek Brew podcast, which you can now download through iTunes, and you can listen to us on Stitcher. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and the Tumblr.  Also check out http://thegeekbrew.spreadshirt.com/ for all your Geek Brew merchandise.

And here is tonight’s question:

How many children does

Deathstroke have? Can you name them all?