Nuke (Marvel Comics)

Nuke (Marvel Comics)
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Daredevil vol. 1, #232 (July 1986)
Created by Frank Miller
David Mazzucchelli
In-story information
Alter ego Frank Simpson
Team affiliations Weapon Plus
Notable aliases Agent Simpson, Scourge
Abilities Cybernetic enhancements grant superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and sturdiness
Second heart
Remote-controlled vital functions.

Nuke (real name Frank Simpson) is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Universe. The character first appears in Daredevil #232 and was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Nuke's most distinguishing feature is an American Flag tattooed on his face.


Fictional character biography

Nuke was actually a test subject of the Weapon Plus program, the supersoldier program that had created Captain America and would later transform Wolverine into a killing machine. The enhancing and conditioning process went awry, leaving Nuke seriously deranged.

Early life

The origins of Nuke are explained in the series Wolverine: Origins & Endings.

The disturbed son of a wealthy, abusive, alcoholic, upper-class woman in Ohio, Frank soon developed an unhealthy affection for his babysitter, the only real maternal figure in his life. The young woman, who was harboring feelings for his father Charles, capitalized on Frank's affection and talked the boy into killing his mother. Wolverine, who at that time was an operative for Weapon Plus had been sent to kidnap Frank Simpson. Wolverine showed up, dressed as a cop. He then stalked Charles Simpson and the babysitter, eventually shooting the girl with Charles' gun, after which Charles committed suicide. Wolverine then went to Frank's place and abducted him for the supersoldier project.[1]

Years later, Frank Simpson was sent into the Vietnam War as a black-ops agent. Captured by the Viet Cong, Frank was severely tortured by Logan (who was posing as a Russian intelligence liaison), shattering Frank's still unbalanced mind. While torturing him (even carving into his face the American flag that years later would become part of his superpowered personality), he implanted the phrase "No V.C.!" as a trigger word, along with the compulsion to kill gruesomely, in retaliation for the tortures suffered, anyone who uttered the words. He then allowed Frank to escape, testing his work with a village of peasants, who, seeing an American soldier, tried to soothe his anger and convince him to spare them, shouting the "No V.C.!" phrase, meaning that they weren't Viet Cong. Frank, in response to the trigger word, burnt the village to the ground killing every inhabitant. The experiment being a success, Logan was installed as his handler. Due to his trauma, Nuke often hallucinates that the enemies he is fighting are the Viet Cong.[2]

At some time during the war, Nuke was inducted into the final part of the Project Homegrown, the Weapon VII programs, that turned him in a partial cyborg with a subdermal mesh able to deflect bullets, and a second heart that, working in conjunction with some (placebo) pills, controlled his aggression, leaving him addicted as well. His whereabouts after the war are still unknown.[3]

First appearance

Nuke resurfaced, employed by Generalissimo Felix Guillermo Carridad, of Tierra Verde, to destroy a rebel base. Carridad was impressed with his skills, and he enjoyed using Nuke periodically as a superhuman iconic symbol.[4]

In the Born Again story arc, the Kingpin hired Nuke through several corrupt military officials and sent him to kill Daredevil. Nuke went on a rampage in New York City, blowing up part of Hell's Kitchen, causing Daredevil and the Avengers to capture him. He escaped soon after, going for Daredevil again, but was intercepted by Captain America and shot by a military chopper. Daredevil took the dying Nuke to his friend Ben Urich at the Daily Bugle, and the resultant exposure of the Kingpin's involvement severely damaged Fisk's reputation.[5] Apparently dead, Nuke was in fact taken in care by the Government, still controlled by the Tierra Verde enclave.[6]

Wolverine: Origins

After Wolverine discovered his full past and set out to take care of loose ends, the U.S. government dispatched Nuke, who was kept at the United States embassy in Chile, to hunt down Wolverine.[7]

Wolverine, with some efforts, quickly dispatched his foe, seeking a way to redeem, or kill him. After the battle he discovered that Nuke's enhanced physiology was further mutated, and he has become a cyborg, with artificial limbs, bones and skull, able to survive and being rebuilt after the most gruesome injuries, yet devoid of any personality or conscience. Acknowledging that now he was beyond any hope of redemption, he tried to kill him, only to be stopped by Captain America, who had arrived because he believed that Nuke was a failed subject of the Super Soldier Program. Now without any legs, the leftovers of Nuke's body were handed over to Emma Frost by Wolverine, who wanted Emma to try to restore Nuke's broken mind, if possible. And, if it turned out impossible, Logan told Emma to call him, because in that case he'd come back and kill Frank.[8]

Apparently Nuke's metabolism is now remote controlled from a secret base on Tierra Verde, whose technicians are able to shut down the biomech systems in Nuke's body.


Norman Osborn adds a man named Scourge to his black ops team the Thunderbolts; Osborn seems to know who Scourge is, but does not reveal Scourge's identity.[9] On their next mission, Osborn orders Yelena Belova to lead the current Thunderbolts to kill former Thunderbolt, Songbird. During the mission, Osborn promotes Scourge to field leader, and Belova is revealed to be the original Black Widow, Natasha Romanova in disguise.[10] Scourge leads the team into capturing the Black Widow, Songbird, and Nick Fury.[11] When Scourge orders the Thunderbolts to execute Songbird, Headsman turns on him and tries to kill him. Paladin helps out by shooting Scourge, and Ghost uses an electro-convulsive shock to make Scourge forget what happened as Songbird and the Black Widow escape. When Osborn confronts Scourge about the botched mission, the man reveals himself to be Nuke, stating that his new name is not who he really is; Osborn then demotes Nuke from the position of team leader.[12]

When Osborn sent the Thunderbolts to eliminate the Agents of Atlas, the mission went poorly. The Agents had the upper hand, until Scourge's schizophrenic mind caused him to apparently split the insides of the Uranian.[13] However, he only maimed the Uranian's mental projection of himself. The Uranian and Jimmy Woo then implanted a secret order for Scourge to kill Osborn when he sees him. However, when a holographic message of Osborn is played, Scourge reacts by shooting at the hologram; the bullet passes harmlessly through the image, and strikes Headsman in the head.[14]

Osborn sends the Thunderbolts to steal the Spear of Odin from the Asgard armory during the events of Siege. The team is opposed by members of the recently disbanded Mighty Avengers. Nuke uses Odin's spear to sever U.S. Agent's left limbs[15] before being shot in the face by teammate Paladin.[16] His injuries leave him in a coma and he is taken to the Raft maximum security prison where he is kept in the infirmary. U.S. Agent becomes the new warden of the Raft and tells the medical staff they should focus on more deserving cases with more chance of reform.[17]

Pill colors

Nuke has a second heart, and takes different colored pills to produce different bodily effects. Nuke's pill colors are: red, for increased adrenaline; white, to bring him down; and blue, to keep him docile between missions.

It was originally stated that the red pills Nuke took affected his adrenal glands, sending him into his bloodthirsty rages.[volume & issue needed] The Wolverine: Origins series retconned this, stating instead that these pills are placebos, suggesting that Nuke lives in a constant state of increased adrenaline, but doesn't know it. The pills, therefore, trigger his violent behavior, but the effect is psychosomatic.[volume & issue needed]

Powers and abilities

Nuke possesses various superhuman physical attributes as a result of various cybernetic enhancements. Nuke's bones have been replaced with advanced cybernetic components, granting him superhuman strength of an unrevealed limit. Aside from his strength, Nuke's body is considerably more resistant to physical injury than that of an ordinary human, even the arcane nerve strikes Daredevil learned from his training by his sensei, Stick, have no effect. Nuke's skin has been replaced with an artificial type of plastic that looks identical to human skin but is much more durable. In addition, he has an artificial second heart that works in conjunction with his colored pills. Nuke is the victim of decades of systematic physical and mental abuse and conditioning at the hands of various individuals working for the United States government. As a result, Nuke is insane. He is now little more than a puppet in the hands of his current handler, and able only to follow issued commands. Also in his first appearance on "Daredevil" Nuke was equipped with a monstrous multi-barreled assault rifle which, in addition of being able to shoot out massive volleys of bullets, fragmentation grenades and rockets, it was also (due to mechanisms left unexplained) able to 'keep count' of the casualties inflicted. Nuke also had a habit of resetting the counter after noting down each 'score' trying to 'better' it in the coming assignement.

Other versions

Civil War: House of M

Nuke is one of the government agents (alongside Mimic and Agent Barnes) sent to Genosha to kill Magneto and as many of his followers as possible. He and Mimic served as a distraction while Agent Barnes sneaked into Magneto's headquarters.[18] When Nuke entered Wanda's bedroom in order to kill her, he was disassembled by her.[19]

What If

What If v2 #48 showed what would have happened if Daredevil had saved Nuke. This story manifests as Ben Urich pondering the situation and thinking of alternatives.

Ultimate Comics

Frank Simpson appears in Ultimate Comics: Captain America #1 as the man who was given the Super Soldier Serum given during the Vietnam War when Steve Rogers was MIA after World War II, but his origin is more of the Grand Director, a Captain America post World War II. Like his mainstream counterpart, Simpson has the American Flag tattooed onto his face.[20]


  1. ^ Wolverine: Origins #3 (2006)
  2. ^ Wolverine: Origins #2 (2006)
  3. ^ New X-Men #145
  4. ^ Wolverine (vol. 2) #18
  5. ^ Daredevil #232-233
  6. ^ Wolverine: Origins #2
  7. ^ Wolverine: Origins #1-2
  8. ^ Wolverine: Origins #3-5
  9. ^ Thunderbolts #133
  10. ^ Thunderbolts #134
  11. ^ Thunderbolts #135
  12. ^ Thunderbolts #136
  13. ^ Thunderbolts #139
  14. ^ Thunderbolts #140
  15. ^ Thunderbolts #142
  16. ^ Thunderbolts #143
  17. ^ Thunderbolts #145
  18. ^ Civil War: House of M #3
  19. ^ Civil War: House of M #4
  20. ^ Ultimate Comics: Captain America #1

External links

  • Nuke at
  • Nuke at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe

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