- ...But the Swordsman's going to surprise them all!
- -- Swordsman src
Jacques Duquesne was a performer at various circuses and carnivals. His act demonstrated his mastery of knives, swords, and other bladed weapons. At one carnival he met a young Clint Barton. Seeing great potential in him, Swordsman and Trickshot trained the boy in blades and archery respectively, with Clint often being a secondary performer in the Swordsman's act.
Swordsman's gambling problem left him heavily in debt. One day the carnival paymaster was robbed, and Barton later found Swordsman with the money. Barton ran from him and climbed the high wire. Swordsman cut it by hurling his sword. Barton fell to the ground and the Swordsman left thinking he was dead. Barton survived and grew up to become Hawkeye. (It is presumed that he and Barton reconciled years later.)
The Swordsman committed various crimes around the world, causing him to be barred from several nations. He sought out the Avengers thinking that posing as a hero would lead to much bigger crimes. His offer of service was refused. Angry, he attacked Captain America but was soon surrounded. The Mandarin teleported Swordsman to his location, thinking he would make a useful double agent against Iron Man. He outfitted the Swordsman's sword with several embedded devices through Makluan technology. He also sent a faked message from Iron Man asking the Avengers to allow the Swordsman to join them. Although they suspected a trap, he was allowed to become a member.
Surprisingly, Swordsman fit in well and even developed a crush on the Scarlet Witch. Ordered by Mandarin to lure the Avengers to a bomb, he feared she would be injured and tried to dismantle it. When the other Avengers arrived, it looked like he had been caught setting the bomb instead. Swordsman fled, and although he had regrets, he soon fell back into a pattern of crime. He served alongside a brainwashed Black Widow and Power Man on many occasions. He still longed to be a part of the Avengers and even joined them in Asgard to fight Ares and the Enchantress. His heart was no longer in crime, and he began to drink heavily while serving Monsieur Khruul.
The beautiful Mantis was also working for Khruul as a barmaid. She convinced him he could be a hero again. He was still reluctant until becoming injured on one of Khruul's assignments. Mantis helped him recover and the two left to the United States. Revitalized, Swordsman asked to rejoin the Avengers, and his sincerity won them over. Swordsman was a valuable member although he still doubted himself. He fell in love with Mantis but his feelings were not reciprocated by her. An angry Khruul captured Duquesne and tortured him on one occasion.
It was soon revealed Mantis was the Celestial Madonna. Kang began a mad quest to make her his bride. He was stopped by the Avengers and another version of himself, Rama-Tut. Kang decided that if he could not have Mantis, no one would and aimed a ray gun at her. Swordsman instinctively jumped in front of his love while Tut was able to grab the gun and alter his aim. The blast traveled up Swordman's sword, fatally wounding him. Mantis realized that she really loved Duquesne as he died.
Swordman's body was buried in a garden maintained by the Priests of Pama near where Mantis had grown up. This garden contained sentient plants known as the Cotati. It was actually the eldest 'tree' that was destined to mate with Mantis. It inhabited Swordsman's body and approached Mantis, explaining itself to her. Immortus married the two, then they seemingly transformed into energy and left Earth. It was later revealed that the spirits of Mantis and the Prime Cotati had actually left their human forms behind when their spirits left Earth to procreate and that the Priests of Pama had reburied the Swordsman's corpse in his original grave and had buried the body of Mantis, now in a state of suspended animation, beside him. The Celestial Messiah was later born.
Years later, Mantis approached the West Coast Avengers seeking their help because she had no memory of what had happened to her since she first left Earth. The search for answers soon led them to the temple of the Priests of Pama where the Swordsman's body burst up out of its grave, once again inhabited by the spirit of the Prime Cotati. After a fierce battle, the reanimated Swordsman killed Mantis and the shock of this death caused her consciousness to transfer from the plant-simulacrum body it had unknowingly been inhabiting and back into her original human body that was buried nearby. With her consciousness returned to her true form and her memories restored, Mantis dug her way out of her grave and revealed what had happened to her since she had left Earth. Having restored his former wife, the Prime Cotati vacated his host-form and, without its alien life-force to hold it together, the Swordsman's corpse disintegrated.
The Swordsman was a superb athlete and an excellent unarmed combatant. He was a master of bladed weapons, most notably all forms of the sword. When it comes to pure swordsmanship, he may have been unequaled.
The Swordsman possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engaged in intensive regular exercise.
- Makluan Sword: The Mandarin equipped the Swordsman's sword with special devices adapted from Makluan technology. By pressing one of the buttons on the sword's hilt, the Swordsman could project an energy beam with great concussive force, a disintegrating ray, a large jet of flame, electrical blasts or a stream of gas capable of rendering opponents unconscious
- Throwing Knives: Aside from his sword, the Swordsman usually carried throwing knives.
- It was revealed in Avengers World #8 that Swordsman has a daughter named Adelynn Duquesne who was a member of Euroforce as Swordswoman.
- 80 Appearances of Jacques Duquesne (Earth-616)
- 30 Minor Appearances of Jacques Duquesne (Earth-616)
- Media Jacques Duquesne (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 55 Images featuring Jacques Duquesne (Earth-616)
- 8 Quotations by or about Jacques Duquesne (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Jacques Duquesne (Earth-616)
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