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Quote1 My name's John Steele... I kill Nazis. Quote2
-- John Steele src
 

American Civil War

John Steele was an American soldier who fought for the Union during the American Civil War.[1] At some point during the war, he was sent by the Union to spy on the Confederacy.[2][3]

In 1865, by the end of the war, Steele was discovered to be a Union spy by a group of Confederate soldiers led by Aloysius Thorndrake. While escaping from them, he stumbled into a portal that connected Earth to Mars.[2][3] The portal was a pathway through a sidereality that would become known as the Vanishing Point, where an ancient entity known as the Abyss was trapped since the dawn of time.[2] Steele and the Confederate soldiers who were chasing him were tainted by said entity's touch and became his servants. At an unspecified point after that, however, Steele got free of the Abyss' control.[3]

John Steele (Earth-616)

John Steele during World War I

World War I

John Steele was a member of the U.S. Army that saw combat in Europe during World War I. In his only recorded mission during that time, he helped to liberate a spy named Marie Antoinette from behind enemy lines.[4][5]

At some time during the end of World War I, John Steele was somehow captured by the German army and placed in stasis so he could be studied later.[6][7]

World War II

By February of 1940, John Steele's body was moved to a lab located in Frankfurt, Germany. There, Nazi scientists, including Abraham Erskine, sought to unlock the secrets of Steele's abilities for Project: Nietzsche. Their attempts were met with little success.[6]

Following Erskine's defection to the United States, his successors continued to try and learn Steele's secrets until the summer of 1940. A secret mission carried out by the Sky-Devils, Nick Fury, and Red Hargrove would see the facility in Frankfurt bombed, freeing Steele from his captivity.[8] Active again for the first time in twenty years, Steele quickly caught up with the rest of the world and began killing Nazis. He would liberate a small German town before tracking down the Sky-Devils, Fury, and Hargrove and joining them in their mission to bomb Nazi forces.[9] However, in the early days of 1941, Steele and the others would come back to the town that he had liberated earlier to find that everyone had been slaughtered by the Red Skull. Although his allies were being pulled back to their respective countries, John vowed to avenge these people and kill the Red Skull.[10]

In the summer of '41, John Steele had tracked the Red Skull to a lab where Nazi scientists were busy attempting to duplicate Erskine's super-soldier formula. He witnessed as the Skull outed Professor Eric Schmitt as a Jew and had him taken away to a concentration camp. One individual that Steele took specific notice of was the Atlantean rebel Merro (a.k.a. the U-Man), who just recently allied himself with the Nazis.[11] By the fall of that year, Steele tracked the Red Skull to a Nazi fortress where he had a meeting with the Imperial Japanese forces. Snooping through their files, Steele learned that the Nazi-Atlantean-Japanese Axis was plotting two attacks on American soil: one on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the other on Washington D.C.[12]

Steele fought his way to a Free French outpost and relayed the information to Nick Fury, warning him that the attack would happen on December 7th 1941. Steele's information would make American forces prepare for the attack on Pearl Harbor and Washington D.C. While Captain America (Steve Rogers), Bucky, and Namor succeeded in halting the attack on Washington, the Human Torch and Toro could only lessen the devastation at Pearl Harbor. The two battles led to the United States finally entering World War II. John Steele continued to operate behind enemy lines slaying Nazi forces. Shortly after the invasion of Normandy,[13] Aloysius Thorndrake lured John Steele into a trap and converted him into a member of his Shadow Council.[3]

Modern Age

John Steele (American Soldier) (Earth-616)

As a member of the Shadow Council

Decades later, Steele helped a Life-Model Decoy of Nick Fury who had all of the spy's memories (courtesy of the Zodiac Key Scorpio used to reprogram him) escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. Naming him Max, Steeele convinced the LMD to join the Shadow Council[14] and he eventually became the organization's head of security.[2]

When the Shadow Council came into conflict with the Secret Avengers, Steele developed a heated rivalry with their leader and his former ally, Steve Rogers.[15] After capturing Steele,[16] Rogers was able to reconnect with him through the Shadow Council's influence, and he became an ally.[17] However, he was later killed on an undercover mission in Bagalia by the new Masters of Evil assembled by Max Fury.[18]


Powers

Superhuman Strength: Steele displays superhuman strength to an unknown degree, although Steve Rogers did recognize that Steele was stronger than him.

Superhuman Durability: Steele's skin is extremely durable, similar to Luke Cage's and cannot be lacerated by conventional materials, his superhuman durability is such that he can withstand high caliber bullets, explosions, high temperatures and falls from great heights without sustaining injury.

Superhuman Stamina: Steele can exert himself at peak capacity for longer than a normal human before fatigue begins to affect him.

Enhanced Speed: In a fight between them Captain America recognizes Steele is faster than him.

Accelerated Healing: It is revealed that he is able to heal faster from injuries that would be fatal to normal humans, when he was stabbed and cut by Valkyrie's Sword during a fight, and recovered after a few days.

Slowed Aging: Although not immortal, John hasn't aged from his physical prime for the past three centuries.

Abilities

Skilled Combatant: Steele is an expert in hand to hand combat and is capable of successfully engaging the likes of Captain America however his success may be due to his superior physical attributes.

Strength level

Steele possesses superhuman strength, while the exact limits are not known he is substantially stronger than Captain America. Steele is strong enough to bend tank guns.It is thought that Steele's strength is in the 2-25 ton range.

  • John Steele being a superstrong and durable soldier fighting in a war makes him Timely Comics's answer to Hugo Danner.
  • It is possible that John Steele got his powers from being experimented on by aliens, given the image that kept recurring in the experimental memory recall system the Secret Avengers used to break the control the Shadow Council had on his mind.[1]

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