The Black Master was the leader of the Legion of Black Worshipers, a cult that was active in the 1940s. A master of hypnosis, he developed a means of using drugged chain letters to put wealthy men under his control in order to force them into signing over their fortunes to the cult so that they could gain power in the world.
His plan soon came to an end the day that he placed wealthy Joshua Cranton under his thrall. Craton's granddaughter Cora then contacted the Human Torch and Toro to rescue her grandfather. Failing to stop some of the Black Master's men from gathering up Cranton, the Torch deduced how he was put under his hypnotic spell and had Cora write on the drugged paper. Sensing that Cora was under his control, the Black Master ordered her to come to his hideout, planning to use her as a witness of her grandfather's contract.
The Torch and Toro followed and tried to break up the gang but were doused in the same hypnotic gas. While under the Black Master's control, the Torch and Toro were placed in coffins made of ash and buried alive in a nearby graveyard. Although they were trapped, the pair were freed by a curious grave robber. When the two heroes returned, the Black Master attempted to kill them by activating a secret panel that revealed a series of buzz saws. Unfortunately for the Black Master, he had wandered too close to the blades and his robe got caught, pulling him into the blades, and was ripped to shreds.
With his death, the Black Master's slaves were freed from his control and his cult shut down.
Powers and Abilities
By his own claims, the Black Master was a master of hypnosis. Somehow, he was able to sense who was exposed to his specially made gas and command them to do his bidding from afar. The exact limitations and nature of his hypnotic powers are unexplored.
The Black Master used a special gas that put his victims into a hypnotic trance, which then allowed him to command them from afar. He employed this gas by treating paper that would expose the gas when written on. He also armed his minions with guns that fired the gas. His home was rigged with a device that also sprayed gas, and had a hidden buzz-saw death trap.