Identity: Jacques Duquesne
- The Mwakluan Sword: It is made of Monstrous material, causes 10 pts edged damage and 16 points blunt damage. The Mandarin equipped the Swordsman’s principal swords with special devices adapted from Makluan technology. By pressing one of the buttons that the Mandarin installed on the sword’s hilt, the Swordsman could:
- Disentegrator: Remarkable damage to non living targets.
- Electrical Attack: Fire a bolt for Remarkable damage.
- Flame Blast: Emit a large jet of flame for Incredible intensity and damage.
- Kinetic Bolt: project an energy beam with Remarkable concussive force
- Sleep Gas: Project a stream of Excellent intensity gas that would render an opponent temporarily unconscious.
- Weapon Specialist: Sword
Originally the Swordsman was a star performer at various circuses and carnivals, where he did an act demonstrating his extraordinary mastery of knives, swords, and other bladed weapons. At one carnival he met a boy named Clint Barton in whom he saw great talent in archery. The Swordsman trained the boy, who idolized him, to be a secondary performer in his act. Eventually, the Swordsman came under pressure to repay a large gambling debt. When the carnival paymaster was robbed and Barton found the Swordsman in possession of the money, Barton fled in panic onto the high wire, which the Swordsman then slashed by hurling a sword. Barton fell to the ground, and the Swordsman left him for dead. But Barton was still alive, and grew up to become the costumed adventurer Hawkeye.
Over the years following his attempted murder of Barton, the Swordsman, in his costumed identity, led a notorious criminal career in Europe, during which he was deported from a dozen nations. Returning to the United States, he offered his services to the Avengers, intending to use his Avengers status to commit even greater crimes. However, the Avengers turned him down. Subsequently he entrapped and unsuccessfully tried to kill Captain America, then the leader of the Avengers. As Captain America and the Avengers surrounded the Swordsman, the Swordsman was teleported away by the Mandarin to the latter’s castle in China. The Mandarin intended to use the Swordsman to destroy the Mandarin’s archenemy, the original Iron Man. To this end, the Mandarin faked a message from Iron Man recommending the Swordsman for membership. The Avengers, suspecting a trap, played along and accepted him as a member.
The Swordsman came to admire the Avengers and also to admire the beauty of the Scarlet Witch, one of their members. One night the Mandarin ordered the Swordsman to set off a bomb the Swordsman had hidden in one of the Avengers’ control panels to attract the Iron Man. The Swordsman, not wanting the Scarlet Witch harmed, went to disconnect the bomb. Captain America and Hawkeye saw him and thought he was planting the bomb instead. A fight ensued between the Swordsman and the Avengers, ending with the Swordsman’s escape.
The Swordsman returned to crime. The Black Widow, who had recently been brainwashed by Communist Chinese intelligence into doing its will, enlisted him in an unsuccessful assault on the Avengers. She teamed him with his frequent partner in crime, the original Power Man (now known as Atlas) on this venture and the Swordsman and Power Man team was later recruited by the Red Skull to battle Captain America. During the following years, the Swordsman made several alliances including at one point membership in Batroc’s Brigade and the Grim Reaper’s Lethal Legion, each of which ended in his defeat. He turned back to crime in areas where he was unlikely to encounter Captain America or the Avengers. He traveled the world committing crimes, but part of him longed for the noble purpose he had briefly felt as an Avenger. Indeed, at one point this longing was so strong that he accompanied the Avengers in their battle to free the realm of the Olympian gods from conquest by Ares and the Enchantress.
Afterwards, the Swordsman returned to crime, but his heart was no longer in it. Hunted by legal authorities in most of the countries of the world, he was unable to find employment with major criminal organizations. Worst of all, he had no respect for himself or his life. He ended up in the employ of Monsieur Khrull, the head of a criminal organization in Indochina, performing the same work for him that an ordinary hired gunman might do. In despair and self-contempt, the Swordsman turned to drink and became an alcoholic.
It was then that he met Mantis, whom circumstances had forced into working for Khrull as a bar girl. She encouraged the Swordsman to begin a new life. However, he did not take her advice until he was seriously wounded on a mission for Khrull. Mantis found him and nursed him back to health, thereby saving his life. He and Mantis then went to New York City, where he told the Avengers what had happened to him and asked for a second chance as a member of the Avengers. The Avengers gave him that chance, and they soon realized that he was indeed both sincere and valuable to the team, and they granted him full membership.
Although the Swordsman did render important service to the Avengers in their subsequent missions, he was wracked with self-doubt and insecurity, especially after some more failures. Moreover, although the Swordsman was deeply in love with Mantis, she rejected him. Finally, Kang the Conqueror discovered that Mantis was the Celestial Madonna for whom he was seeking. Determined that if he could not have the Celestial Madonna, then no one would, Kang aimed his ray gun at Mantis. The Swordsman rushed forward to protect the woman he loved. Kang’s energy bolt hit not Mantis but the Swordsman’s sword. The energy traveled up the sword into the Swordsman’s body, and he died in the arms of Mantis, who finally realized that she loved him after all.
The Avengers buried the Swordsman in the garden of the Priests of Pama, where Mantis had grown up. Unknown to them, the large tree and many other plants in the garden were actually Cotati, members of a race of sentient life with great psionic powers. It was the “tree,” which was actually the eldest and most highly developed Cotati on Earth that was to mate with the Celestial Madonna. In order to do so, the eldest Cotati resurrected the body of the Swordsman, from which the consciousness of the Swordsman himself had departed, and projected at least a portion of its own consciousness into it. The Swordsman’s body was now animate and glowed green. On a subsequent journey to Indochina, Mantis encountered the eldest Cotati within the Swordsman’s body, who explained what had happened. Mantis and the eldest Cotati were married by Immortus. She and the Swordsman’s body (animated by the eldest Cotati) then transformed themselves into energy and left Earth.