The first Blockbuster was Mark Desmond, a chemist who desired to increase his physical strength. As a teenager he was a scientific genius, one who'd been awarded high school and college diplomas years ahead of his contemporaries. With no friends his own age, the socially awkward teenager seemed content to live with brother Roland on an island near Gotham. "He had been a scrawny kid," Roland later explained, "so he worked out a serum that would affect certain endocrine glands to make him grow big and strong. But he was over-anxious -- he never bothered to test his discovery first. What nature gave with one hand, it took away with the other. An over-active anterior lobe of the pituitary gland made him shoot up like a giant -- with tremendous strength! But simultaneously, a faulty endocrine gland retarded his mental development." After experimenting on himself, Mark succeeded in making himself stronger and taller, but a side-effect of the process became almost mindlessly aggressive. The mentally debilitated Desmond was cared for by his brother Roland, a local criminal, who kept their mother from discovering what Mark had done to himself.
Roland manipulated his brother into committing crimes on his behalf. The end result was "The Blockbuster Invasion of Gotham City". At the command of the exploitive Roland, the monstrous simpleton began looting Gotham businesses, defying police as bullets bounced off of his chest and pummelling Batman and Robin into unconsciousness. A reporter on the scene seized on Robin's rhetorical question, "How does anyone fight a blockbuster like that?" and "The Blockbuster Bandit" was born, soon coming into conflict with Batman and Robin.
Convinced that a more devious mind was behind the creature, the Dynamic Duo opted to let his next robbery pass without interference and followed him home. Batman was stunned when he recognized the Blockbuster's island hideaway as the site where Bruce Wayne had once rescued a young Mark Desmond from a quicksand bog. The clue convinced the Dark Knight that their foe was a mutated Mark and he resolved to make a risky gamble. Removing his costume, Batman hoped the sight of Bruce Wayne would somehow break through the fog of Mark's memory. The ploy seemed to fail but, convinced he was correct, Bruce led the Blockbuster towards the quicksand, reenacting the earlier rescue with himself in Mark's place. Hesitating for a moment, the Blockbuster held out a branch and rescued the man who had saved his life. Aware that Mark wouldn't remain docile for long, Batman hustled Robin and the captive Roland off the island as quickly as possible. When they returned, Blockbuster was long gone.
Blockbuster returned early in 1966, now in the thrall of the Outsider. Batman managed to calm the enraged adult Desmond by pulling off his mask, showing him his face. But indoctrinated by Roland to hate Batman, Blockbuster seemed unstoppable—especially after the Outsider's super-science prevented the Dark Knight from placating the beast by appearing as either Bruce Wayne or Roland. The Blockbuster was finally taken down by a punch to the jaw from Batman, his glove hardened by a calcium compound.
Mark was left in the care of scientists at the Alfred Foundation until a cosmic phenomenon caused by the Anti-Matter Man caused the behemoth to be transported to the other-dimensional Earth-Two—trading places with Solomon Grundy, whose hatred of the original Green Lantern rivaled that of the Blockbuster's loathing of Batman. In the end, Hal Jordan used his power ring to bring the two monsters together. They virtually knocked the hate out of one another, embracing after a long battle as Grundy declared, "Us be friends!"
In the year that followed, Mark made remarkable progress at the Wayne Foundation, slowly reacquiring his speech patterns and possessing a degree of independence with an on-site job as a handyman and a modest salary. His hatred for Batman still existed, though, and a series of events set him off on another rampage in Batman # 194. The Dark Knight seemed to break Mark's Bat-fixation for good when he convinced Blockbuster that he was secretly Solomon Grundy!
"Batman good! Batman friend! ... Mask no fool me. Me know Batman has face of Solomon Grundy."
Blockbuster's association with villains would continue to plague him in years to come. 1976 found him under the control of Queen Clea in JLA # 135. Late in 1977, the Wizard abducted the Blockbuster from the Wayne Foundation facility to serve in his war against the Justice Society. Thanks to chemicals introduced into his system by the Floronic Man, Mark's manic hatred of Batman surged back to life.
The Wayne Foundation turned Mark over to S.T.A.R. Labs, who had developed a promising radiation therapy that would "cure him ... or kill him". The latter seemed to be the case but the announcement of Mark Desmond's death proved premature. On Christmas Eve, he returned to the streets of Gotham in Batman #309, discovering a young woman who'd overdosed on sleeping pills. With his painful "death" at S.T.A.R. still fresh in his mind, Blockbuster was unwilling to take the woman to a hospital and, because his speech had been negated by the treatments, he couldn't explain to Batman that she needed help. In the end, Mark saved her life but he disappeared beneath the waves of the Gotham River in the process.
Mark crawled out of the water in Bleak Rock, a rural coal-mining community in West Virginia. The mute young man was welcomed into the home of Willie Macon, finally gaining a bit of peace and acceptance with his adoptive family. A chance news report led Batman to Bleak Rock but, after working alongside the behemoth to free miners from a cave-in, the Dark Knight concluded that "the Blockbuster is dead. He died in a dark mine shaft ... and when he reached the light, he was reborn."
Months later, while playing with one of the Macon children's computer games, Mark became one of several victims to fall under the spell of General Electric, leading to a brief clash between him and Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman # 294. During the chaos of Infinite Crisis, Blockbuster was among those transported to the Monitor's satellite and, despite a brief clash with Hawkman, participated in a heroic mission on the planet Oa.
Despite this, Desmond later found himself clashing with Batman once again on various occasions. He joined the Secret Society of Super Villains briefly for a battle with the Justice League. Later, Amanda Waller tried to recruit Desmond for the government's covert Suicide Squad. The promise of a cure finally pulled Mark from his safe haven with the Macon family to join the Suicide Squad in a mission to defeat the Apokolips-spawned Brimstone, of Darkseid's creation. Blockbuster would not live to regret his decision. He was killed during the mission fighting Brimstone.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
All Blockbusters have super human strength, agility and endurance. They have a high degree of resistance to physical and energy attacks.