Dave was raised a Lutheran, but lost his faith completely after the death of the rest of his family. His brother Mark committed suicide in 1983, his father died of cancer in 1984, and his mother died of illness in 1985. It was suggested that his mother died in part because she waited too long to go to the hospital.
On September 20, 1986, Dave woke up after a night of drinking with co-workers, suffering from extreme localized muscle spasms. He was also extremely hungry. He called a female co-worker named Sue to help, but because he didn't want to be taken to a hospital, the help was limited to buying large amounts of groceries.
Over the next week, without any exercising and while experiencing extreme pain, David put on over two hundred pounds of muscle. He also lost most of the hair on the top of his head and grew a foot taller.
Dave eventually attempted suicide, by consuming two bottles of painkillers, but Sue found him unconscious and phoned the hospital. He was taken to Winnebago County General Hospital, where he was treated in the emergency room by Dr. Randy O'Brien.
Dave woke up while he was being treated and began throwing people around until Randy was able to sedate him. When he next awoke, Dave explained what happened to Randy, who promised to help him.
Randy was also experiencing some strange paranormal phenomenon, and when he encountered an ad for the Clinic for Paranormal Research, he wondered if it might not be the solution to both problems. Randy's shadowy double (or antibody as it came to be called) sought Dave out and showed him what Randy read. Dave escaped from the hospital and showed up at Randy's door.
The next day, the two drove to the Clinic, where they met with a doctor, who gave them a tour of the Clinic. They decided to give their treatment a try, and were assigned to Therapy Group C, where they met a number of other paranormals.
Dave developed an instant crush on Stephanie Harrington, one of the members of his group, but because she was married and he was insecure, Dave refrained from telling her for many years. Still, she was one of a number of reasons Dave stuck with the Clinic and began to accept his situation. He found that regular exercise reduced the pain of new muscles.
After a month at the Clinic, Dave was awoken by Randy's antibody and shown that the Clinic had been spying on them. When he went to talk to Randy about it, he found Randy being carried by Clinic chief of security Harlan Hackbarth. Hackbarth used his paranormal ability to induce a severe muscle spasm in Dave to get past him.
Dave rallied the rest of their therapy group to go after Randy, but when they confronted Hackbarth he used his ability to control the physiologies of others against all of them. Dave worked against extreme pain and knocked Hackbarth unconscious. From there, the group decided to flee the Clinic.
After they acquired transportation, Dave suggested that everybody hole up in his trailer in its trailer park. Before they got there, they were attacked by a trio of paranormal bounty hunters hired by the Clinic. After defeating them, Dave decided to take his trailer on the road.
At one point while on the run, Dave was mistaken for the Wompus, a creature out of local legend, that was supposedly mutilating cattle. Dave was forced to wait in jail while his friends proved his innocence.
At several times while they were together, Dave exerted his will over the group to do what Stephanie wanted to do. The first occasion was when he took her home to see her children, only to find that their father had been sent to live with their grandmother. He also called the clinic bounty hunters on them, so they were forced to flee. Later, despite his general disbelief in religion, Dave went through with a failed attempt to remove their paranormal powers through an exorcism.
Finally, when Stephanie began to miss her kids too much, they concocted a secret plan to go kidnap her kids from their grandmother. He traded in his trailer for a Winnebago owned by his uncle, and the group split up, with Dave traveling with Stephanie and Lenore Fenzl.
They picked up Stephanie's oldest son from school, and then went to Stephanie's mother-in-law's house to pick up her daughters. While Stephanie was inside, Dave noticed her husband Chuck visiting, and attempted to detain him. Chuck hit him with a baseball bat and Dave, enraged, threw Chuck on the roof, severely injuring him.
Dave later let Stephanie visit Chuck in the hospital to try and heal him, but she went missing. After searching for her for quite a while, Dave and Lenore reluctantly decided to return the children to their grandmother.
They were forced to subdue the police officers a neighbor called, but, when they returned to the Winnebago, they found a bounty hunter waiting for them. He tranquilized them both, but Dave's large size allowed him to shake off the tranquilizers and get away. He considered going back for Lenore, but he was too afraid of being caught.
While on the run solo, Dave found himself in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin, where he was found by a Woodsman who lived apart from civilization. He stayed with the Woodsman for months, learning how to fight and to survive in the wild, before deciding he needed to return and see if he could do something for his friends.
Running from more bounty hunters, Dave was rescued by a small group of paranormals with psychic powers calling themselves the ESPeople. They hid from the rest of the world, and invited Dave to join them, but when he refused the group decided that they didn't want anybody to find out about them through Dave. Their leader implanted a mental block in Dave's mind to keep him from remembering their encounter, and in the process installed a mental security system to prevent psychic tampering.
Unfortunately, Dave was surprised by bounty hunters shortly after leaving the ESPeople, and was brought back to the Clinic. When Clinic doctors attempted to brainwash him, the security system knocked them both unconscious.
Dave found Randy and attempted to go and rescue the others, only to find that most of them had been brainwashed, and Stephanie was in some kind of coma. They encountered Clinic head Philip Nolan Voigt who revealed himself to be a paranormal capable of copying any other power. Randy and Dave fought with him until Voigt generated a giant antibody and was pulled inside of it. When Dave destroyed the antibody, Voigt was nowhere to be found.
Randy convinced Dave to stay at the Clinic until they found out if Dave was the only 'bad apple' at the Clinic. Dave was also interested in finding out what happened to Stephanie. He threatened Dr. Dexter Charne, who claimed that Hackbarth was trying to kill Stephanie, and when he tried to stop it, Stephanie was accidentally caught in the backlash. This prompted Dave to attempt to kill the comatose Hackbarth, until Randy's antibodies pulled him off the man.
Shortly afterwards, Charne put the Clinic's new interim director into a coma as a bid to gain power. When Dave learned of this, he assumed she was responsible for Stephanie. He was prepared to kill the man, but before he was able to, one of Randy's new antibodies strangled the man to death.
For the next several months, Dave was at the Clinic. He joined their sanitation department and later security, and tried his best to preserve the Clinic he'd recently spent all his effort staying away from. He spent much of his free time by Stephanie's bedside, reading to her. Another paranormal, Merriam Sorenson developed a crush on Dave, although he was still hung up on Stephanie.
Dave's friend Jeff Walters left the Clinic suddenly in the aftermath of the disaster that came to be known as The Pitt, because he had family in the area affected. When Randy suggested going after him, Dave reluctantly left Stephanie to join him. Sponge also tagged along, as did Lenore, Charlotte Beck, and George Mullaney, who had stowed away.
They drove as far as they could in Dave's old Winnebago, and then walked the rest of the way, until they fell over the side of the Pitt. Dave fell all the way to the bottom while waiting for Randy's antibodies to come back and rescue him. There he found Jeff, circling the bottom of the Pitt. He tried to save Jeff by climbing out, but when a sheet of rock broke off they fell to the bottom, and would have died if they'd not been saved by Jenny Swensen in her MAX Armor. Dave was weak and nearly unconscious for a while after that until Sponge managed to wake him up in order to deal with a vicious paranormal named Pit-Bull. Immediately after the fight, the group was surrounded by the United States Army and captured.
Dave, Randy, and Jeff were informed about a paranormal draft, and in order to escape prosecution for being in a restricted area, were signed up.
At boot camp, Dave learned that the Clinic had been closed, and felt extreme guilt about leaving Stephanie. He also came into conflict with members of Psi-Force as they attempted to rescue one of their own. Eventually, Dave let them go, recognizing that they needed to escape, a desire he understood.
The army's dream analyst, Dr. Keith Remsen learned about Stephanie from Dave's dreams and informed the Army, thinking her healing ability would make her a valuable asset for the army, and Dave was instructed to accompany Major Zentner, a paranormal bloodhound who had previously tracked Dave for Voigt, to attempt to recruit her.
There, Dave saw that Stephanie had reunited with her husband. Instead of talking her into enlisting, Dave struck the Major and told Stephanie to run. Then he broke the Major's nose and ran for Canada, but he was soon caught.
The army placed Dave into solitary confinement, in part because he proved immune to the drill sergeant's power of projecting despair. After almost a month of being alone in the dark, with nobody else to talk to, Dave began to hallucinate. Eventually, he attempted suicide by impaling himself on a sharp spike of metal torn from the wall.
Randy O'Brien and others performed surgery on Dave to save his life, and he was transferred to a less solitary holding facility. There he was offered a deal. Dave and two other troublesome paranormals would be dropped over The Pitt to search for a missing civilian science team. In exchange for finding them, the criminal charges would be dropped. Dave agreed after being threatened with life imprisonment in solitary confinement.
One of the paranormals Dave was sent with was convinced the mission was designed to get rid of them and that nobody would be coming to pick them up, and attempted to kill Dave for his food, but died in the attempt.
Randy came after Dave, determined not to let his friend down again, but was incapacitated over the Pitt. Dave was able to find him and rescue him from an oncoming lava flow. Then, he climbed the side of the Pitt for days to get out.
Confident the army was no longer interested in the two of them, Randy and Dave headed for New York, where they learned Voigt was now a presidential candidate.
At his campaign headquarters, they confronted Voigt, who, upon learning that he couldn't mind control them, revealed a number of Dave's former friends, including both Stephanie and Sponge. Voigt ordered the girls to kill Dave and Randy and, unable to resist the mental compulsion, they obeyed.
Just before they killed Dave and Randy, Voigt stopped them and warned them that if they tried to interfere with his plans, he'd order the women to kill themselves. The reunited group were then able to become friends again, even moving in together. Later, Dave and Randy were able to convince a holder of the Star Brand to take on Voigt on their behalf.
Dave remained in New York with the others. He was aware that Merriam had a crush on him, but he was still attracted to Stephanie. When he learned Stephanie wanted to go back home to Wisconsin but felt trapped in New York, he rented her a car and, dressed as Santa, and presented it the details to her for Christmas. He also offered to drive her and her family there.
Dave hoped that he'd get the chance to tell her how he felt and offer to stay with her and build a family, but he kept chickening out, and, when the trip was over, let her go with no more than a "Write me sometime.".
As he was about to start back, he was approached by Michael Crawley, a teen from the Clinic, who told him that Dennis Cuzinski was involved in a cult. Dave attempted to rescue Scuzz, bringing him to New York, although Scuzz wasn't too thrilled with the idea. Dave was eventually forced to concede that even if Dave didn't believe in the religion, it had done Scuzz some good, and let him go his own way.
After giving up his chance with Stephanie, Dave decided to give a full-fledged relationship with Merriam a chance. They began to date, but less than two months later, Stephanie showed up back in New York, having found that the people back home couldn't accept her. He realized he was still in love with her, and when Merriam felt threatened and asked Stephanie to leave, Dave saw it as his last chance. He tracked Stephanie down and told her how he felt. They kissed, and Dave returned home to find Merriam had already left.
During the Exiles World Tour, an alternate version of Mastodon came into existence after the Exiles battled the Proteus possessed Justice shortly after DP7 escaped. His history, demeanor, and powers remained the same, but how the Exiles affected his future is yet to be revealed.
- Since his paranormality manifested, Dave has experienced regular muscle growth, providing him with superhuman strength and endurance. He continues to experience regular muscle growth. His skin is also durable enough to resist small arms fire.
- Because of a mental block placed in his mind by the ESPeople, Dave is immune to many forms of paranormal mental influence.
Dave has had army training, and is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant thanks to his training with the Woodsman. Dave is also a skilled driver, including buses and trucks.
Dave has superhuman strength and can lift in excess of 10 tons.
- As part of his paranormality, Dave suffers from male pattern baldness, but the hair on the back of his head and his beard grows at an accelerated rate.
- 42 Appearances of David Landers (Earth-148611)
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