- I am everyone, and no one; everywhere, nowhere. Call me...Darkman.
Real Name: Peyton Westlake
Weapon of choice: Bare hands
Occupation: (former) Scientist; (now) vigilante
Equipment: Darkman Masks
Enemies: Robert G. Durant, Louis Strack
History: Dr. Peyton Westlake was an independent research scientist working in a private lab on a project that could have revolutionized the medical world. Skin grafts. There are thousands of them every year. Many are given to victims of accidents and crashes, but many more cannot be done, the injuries too severe, the techniques imperfect. Peyton was inventing a new synthetic skin, precise, computer-controlled technology - only a photograph needed to create a perfect replica of a hand, an arm, a foot, or even a whole face. But the cells of the synthetic skin were unstable, they never lasted for more than 99 minutes before breaking down and melting.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Julie Hastings, who worked at a major construction company had stumbled across a document proving that one of the city's major corporate players, a real estate tycoon named Louis Strack, had bribed most of the city council. She told this to Strack and when he asked for the documents, she told him that she left them at Peyton's laboratory. Later that night, the lights in Peyton's lab failed, and the skin did not break down. Somehow, it was exposure to light for 99 minutes that triggered the collapse of the skin's cell structure. It was a momentous day, a day he shall never forget. The day his life was destroyed. As Westlake worked, gangsters arrived.
Led by the sadistic Robert G. Durant, they'd come in search of the documents. Westlake, who didn't know anything, became one of the gang's victims. Durant and his hitmen, hired by Strack, filled the lab with gas, and after shooting Yakitito, Westlake's assistant and dear friend, before his helpless eyes and half-drowning him in a vat of lab solvent, left him behind with a bomb that would explode any minute. It did, sending Westlake up in flames through the window. He didn't die however and landed in the river which saved him from the fire that surrounded his body.
He was found barely alive on the river bank just south of the city with no ID and brought to an experimental burn clinic at a hospital, where he was listed as a John Doe. Because of the sizable population of homeless and indigents there, he was just assumed to be a derelict. He had burns covering over forty-percent of his body. The hands and the face were the most severe. Since his burns were so deep, the doctors had to use the highly unorthodox Rangeveritz Technique so that he wouldn't die of physical trauma and shock. This procedure is where the doctors severed the nerves within the spino-thalamic tract, which transmits neural impulses of pain and vibratory sense to the brain. Therefore he no longer receives impulses of pain. As in many radical procedures, there were serious side-effects to this operation. When the body ceases to feel, when so much sensory input is lost, the mind grows hungry. Starved of its regular diet of input, it takes the only remaining stimulation it has: the emotions and amplifies them. This gives rise to alienation, loneliness, and uncontrolled rage. Now surges of adrenaline would flow unchecked through his body and brain, giving him augmented strength. Hence they had him restrained. When the doctors left, Westlake woke up and escaped from the constraints and then through the window.
He attempted to contact Julie, but she ran away in panic, believing Westlake to have died in the explosion. Westlake felt that everything was completely hopeless. His desire for revenge, however, gave him renewed strength and he headed for his laboratory, since science had been the second most important thing in his life. He realized that his salvation might lie in the synthetic skin that he had been working on. Most of his equipment was destroyed in the blast, but he salvaged the essential components. He carried the undamaged equipment from the site of explosion to an abandoned warehouse and began experimenting. He created masks of his enemies and began to infiltrate their organizations wearing them. He adopted the identity of the Darkman, feeling that he no longer could return to his former life. He finally managed to destroy his nemesis, Strack along with Durant and most of his gang. Durant apparently died in a helicopter crash. Julie eventually found out the truth about what really had happened to Westlake, but Westlake chose to continue his fight for justice for the innocent as Darkman.
It turned out Durant had survived the helicopter crash, however, and after several operations returned as the crime lord to a renewed gang. The ordeal had left Durant weakened and he needed heart medicine in order to survive. Durant and his gang were developing new, high-energy weapons for sale for the underworld. Thus he would regain his status as the main arms dealer. Meanwhile, Darkman found out that an old colleague of his had made a scientific breakthrough that might be able to reconstruct his body and return him to his former self. Then, Durant tortured and killed this friend, depriving Darkman of his only hope. Darkman infiltrated his organization and finally, after many troubles, including cooperation with the dead scientist wife, managed to destroy the gang and kill Durant this time around.
Westlake continued his operations as Darkman, having a hidden base in the underground system. At one point, Darkman confronted the gang of Peter Rooker, dealer in drugs, and escaped with $100,000 of their money. Darkman bought further laboratory equipment for the money and found a formula for synthetic skin that would permanently cover his severe burns. Rooker, fascinated by the existence of a being such as Darkman wanted his power for his own. He hired a criminal friend of his, the brilliant Dr. Bridget Thorne, who was treating Westlake at the hospital after the event that lead to his condition. Thorne managed to find Darkman in his lair and offered to treat him with a new method that would give him his sense of feeling back. A reluctant Westlake accepted and upon waking up, after the operation, he was greeted, or rather gloated, by Rooker. Dr. Thorne had implanted a nervous disruptor in his spine at the neck.
By a remote control they could inflict great pain on Darkman. Their intent was to keep Darkman under control until they'd succeeding in duplicating his power. Rooker also took the disc that contained Westlake's recent scientific notes and the small sample of liquid skin that had been prepared. Dr. Thorne managed to create a steroid based on Darkman's physiology that would give other people his superior strength. Rooker decided to test the drug by giving it to five henchmen and giving them the order to physically kill one of his political enemies at a press conference. When Darkman woke up in a cellar, he began to search for tools. Upon finding a pair of pliers he used it to tear away the device from his spine. When a guard came to kill Darkman, since he now had served his purpose, Darkman threw the neural disruptor into his captors eye and activated the device, thus killing him. He then escaped and infiltrated Rooker's family, which consisted of a maltreated wife and child. The wife wanted to get away from the relationship with the daughter, but couldn't possibly do so alive.
Finding out Rooker's plans to kill the politician he intercepted the attack. The superpowered thugs were gunned down by the security guards. In a final showdown, Darkman killed Rooker, who'd just destroyed the disc with Darkman's only notes about the liquid skin. Rooker's daughter was accidentally damaged and disfigured in the face during that attack. Later at the hospital, Darkman made a visit, as Dr. Westlake, and used the only sample of liquid skin he had to repair the damage on the child. He thus returned alone to continue as Darkman.
Weight: 175 lbs.
Hair: None (Originally Light-brown)
Powers/Abilities: In order to keep him from suffering constant agony the hospital severed certain nerves, so that he now feels no pain but has also lost his sense of touch. Due to the lack of external stimulus, Westlake finds that he is prone to extreme emotional responses (anger, rage) and now adrenaline flows unchecked through his body giving him phenomenal strength. He uses his synthetic skin formula to create perfect masks (which only last so long as they are not exposed to strong light) and his vocal impersonations are improving daily, allowing him to imitate others with a high degree of success.
Darkman often uses disguise masks of his enemies in order to infiltrate the opponent's organization and life. These masks are made of synthetic skin, but they possess a limitation. Visible light catalyzes a cellular disintegration process that, from the point of first exposure, will completely destroy the mask in 99 minutes exactly. It normally takes close to nine hours of time in his laboratory to prepare a full mask of any person, which also requires a good photograph. These masks can then be carried around by Darkman until they are needed.
Description: Darkman is a mysterious looking man wearing a black long coat (complete with a mantlet), black shoes, black gloves and a black broad-hat. His head, when visible from under the shadows, is fully covered with formerly white bandages except for the eyes and mouth that are free. The skin that can be partly seen through the non-covered parts of his face are hideously scarred. Beneath the bandages his skin and face is extremely damaged, giving him a ghoulish appearance. Whenever he applies one of his synthetic skin masks he first removes the bandage. Thus, if he loses such a mask, his true face will be revealed, until he can replace/cover it with his Darkman bandages. Darkman appears to move rather clumsily and apparently slowly. His voice is normally nasty and raspy, unless he's impersonating someone.
Personality: Darkman is an avenging spirit. His existence is concentrated around the punishment of criminals and seeking justice for the innocent. When his former nemesis Robert G. Durant was still around, he spent all his energy and resources on destroying Durant and his organization. Darkman considers Dr. Peyton Westlake to have died in the explosion that destroyed his body, and Darkman to having been born then. He's fully aware that he's Westlake, but refuses to use that identity since he no longer can live his old life. Still, he presents himself as Dr. Peyton Westlake, on occasion, when interacting with normal people, using a mask of his former face. Peyton was a hard-working family man and believes that a strong man can take care of his entire family himself. He still loves children and animals and still has a soft spot for both. Westlake has more or less accepted his exile from society in the existence of his Darkman identity, since he knows that he makes a difference in the world. His main intention is to destroy criminals by use of subterfuge and science. Darkman's temper is horrible and he will rage madly in the lab whenever an experiment goes awry. He'll also rage against criminals if he sees an unjust act or an enemy; at such instances he definitely tries to kill them all. The rage originates from his horrible traumas and from the lack of any physical sensations. Westlake is fully aware of the reasons for his rage and acknowledges it clinically. He gets great relief from helping innocents and would, without a doubt, give his life in saving others. Darkman would like to return to his former life and will accept experiments and treatments that have a chance to cure his situation. His mind horribly scarred by the destruction of his body, occasionally gains traumatic flashbacks when confronted by explosions or the same threats and gloating he heard that night in the lab. He also hates to be called a freak. He's truly alive in his lab when planning something for his opponents and then works tirelessly. He'll speak to himself and break out in maniacal laughter at times.