16 min read


*This* Blackout is Marcus Daniels, a minor Marvel Comics super-villain who first appeared in 1978.

But he popped up in Nova, a deliberately retro book, so the design feels older. Especially with the Carmine Infantino art.

Honestly he never amounted to much. But there’s something about him that works. The solid darkness powers, the Silver AgeSuper-hero comics from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.-ish costume, the psychological issues, the connection with the Darkforce… He’s a good source of stories.



  • Real Name: Marcus Daniels.
  • Former aliases: Bob Hoffstetter.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Masters of Evil, Army of Evil.
  • Base Of Operations: New York.
  • Height: 5’10” (1.78m). Weight: 180 lbs. (82 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Grey. Hair: Brown.

Powers and Abilities

Blackout can open portals into the DarkforceJet-black, solid energy from another universe. Dimension. And he can control the Darkforce matter which comes out of it, for such effects as:

  • Form it into solid objects. These are frictionless, electrically conductive, self-sealing, can float in the air and have a molasses-like inner consistency.
  • Project it as blasts of energy.
  • Create black disks underfoot, which let him walk through the air.
  • Use it as a cloud of darkness. Oddly, he’s also able to create breathable air within if necessary.
  • Use the coldness of it to create ice around targets. During his original appearance, there was an emphasis on how cold his dark energy was.
  • Lace it into clouds, allowing him to control the weather.

The portals also allow him access to the Darkforce Dimension. This allows him to travel vast distances (such as from the Earth to the Moon), or to banish his enemies there.


When he first appeared, he believed his powers to be some form of light control. Thus, when he banished people to the Darkforce Dimension he believed he was turning them into black light, their atoms merging with the colour spectrum.

At this point his energy blasts could be made invisible. Though the colouring of the panel is confusing – it may just be that the blasts were shot within a darkness cloud.

In 2014, Blackout seemed to absorb within his body Electro (Maxwell Dillon)’s charge. This left Dillon depowered for a time.

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics)

History (part 1)

There have been two differing accounts of the events that gave Daniels his powers. Both were related by Daniels.

Given his deteriorating mental state the truth could be one of these, parts of each, or neither.

What is known for certain is that Marcus Daniels was a laboratory assistant to physicist Dr. Abner Croit.

First account

Croit was working on a device to harness the power of a black star. When the honest Daniels discovered Croit was defrauding his government backers, he went straight to the police.

Unfortunately Croit framed Daniels. Daniels later claimed that Croit had bribed the DA and the judge, but this was during his paranoid period, so this was unsubstantiated.

The assistant was threatened with prison if he didn’t act as a guinea pig for Croit’s experiments. Daniels reluctantly agreed.

Exposure to energies from the black star changed Daniels. For three days he had to remain isolated, the energies proving dangerous to anyone around him. Unwilling to let Croit control his power, Daniels fled the laboratory.

Second account

Croit was a kindly man who took pity on the unfortunate Daniels. He offered him a job as an assistant, and always helped him out of troubles with the law.

In this origin Croit was building an experimental device to try using another dimensionOther realms of existence that are not our universe. as a power source. The dimension in question was the Darkforce Dimension. However, a lab accident empowered Daniels as a conduit to this realm.

Croit worried about the damage this could do to Daniels, and tried to cure him. But Daniels decided he liked his newfound power. Fed up with what he saw as Croit’s condescension, he fled.

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) traps nova in the air


Whatever the truth, Daniels eventually realized his powers were becoming uncontrollable.

Adopting the Blackout identity, he returned to confront Croit. His goal was to take the stabilizer which would allow him to control the energies.

On his way to Croit’s laboratory he spotted Nova (Richard Rider) flying over Manhattan. In his growing paranoia, Daniels believed the hero was searching for him.


He attacked Nova. After realising his error, he left the young hero in a block of sticky Darkforce, continuing on to Croit’s laboratory.

Breaking into the lab, he retrieved the stabilizer and confronted Croit and his new assistant. He “merged their atoms with the colour spectrum” (actually banishing them to the Darkforce Dimension).

He then used his now-controlled powers to create unnaturally harsh weather over New York.

Blackout was discovered by Nova, and the two fought again. When the stabilizer was destroyed in the battle, Blackout again lost control of his powers. He found himself following Croit.

Project: PEGASUS

The stabilizer ended up at Project: PEGASUS. Vibrations from an earthquake reactivated the stabilizer. Then the proximity of Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau)’s energy form passing nearby triggered it, allowing Blackout to return.

Fellow prisoner, Moonstone (Karla Sofen), convinced him to free her, plus other villains imprisoned there, Electro (Maxwell Dillon) and Rhino (Aleksei Sytsevich).

They were soon confronted by the Avengers and Spider-Man (Peter Parker). After causing damage to the Project’s nuclear reactor, Blackout and Moonstone escaped while the Avengers were busy averting a meltdown.


Moonstone took advantage of their freedom to work her way into Daniels’ confidence. She offered him therapy to overcome his problems, but actually manipulated him to become reliant on her.

However, they were soon found by the Avengers. When Moonstone ordered Blackout to trap the Avengers within the Darkforce Dimension, he instead trapped himself and Moonstone.

The pair next appeared on the Moon. Moonstone was hoping to find another of the stones which empowered her. They hadn’t expected to find it inhabited, so were surprised to find the Inhumans’ city.

The Inhumans were equally surprised when a cloud of darkness (which provided the pair with oxygen, as well as concealing them) appeared near their home.

Unable to penetrate the cloud, the Inhumans sought aid from Dazzler. Working with Black Bolt, Dazzler managed to pierce Blackout’s darkness. Blackout and Moonstone fought back but were defeated, and returned to the custody of Project: PEGASUS.

Masters of Evil

When Moonstone was recruited into Baron Helmut Zemo’s Masters of Evil, she asked for Blackout to also be released. She claimed that he could be instrumental in countering Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), the most powerful of the current line-up of Avengers.

Zemo agreed, freeing Blackout. However, he was justifiably concerned about Moonstone being a threat to his leadership. Thus, he had the Fixer (Norbert Ebersol) invent a device that made Blackout believe everything Zemo told him.

The Masters invaded and took control of Avengers Mansion. Blackout engulfed it in a block of solid darkforce.

When the Avengers eventually retook it, Zemo ordered Blackout to send the entire mansion into the Darkforce Dimension. But Doctor Druid used his psychic abilities to help Blackout fend off Zemo’s control.

However the strain was too much. Blackout suffered a massive brain hemorrhage.

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) confronts scientists

Twice displaced

A version of Blackout was once time-displaced by Zarrko the Tomorrow Man. He and many others were deployed to delay the Fantastic Four. It likely was a version of Marcus Daniels from the early 1980s.

A version of Baron Helmut Zemo’s Masters of Evil was once set on a quest to locate Cosmic Cube fragments. Zemo, with Arnim Zola as his scientific advisor, had a complex plan to ally with Crescendo and conquer two versions of Earth – a Marvel Comics and a Valiant Comics one.

However, these likely weren’t the Daniels, Zemo, Zola, etc. of Earth-616The main Marvel Comics version of Earth..

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) traps rhino and rants

History (part 2)

Blackout’s body was kept alive by the authorities.

Years later, when Zemo worked with the Commission on Superhuman Activities, he was given Blackout. The goal was to recover Atlas’ younger brother, the Smuggler, who was stranded in the Darkforce Dimension.

Zemo used the artificially animated Blackout when his group confronted the Thunderbolts over the life of their member, Photon.

His disposition following this, and whether he is actually dead, in uncertain, but he probably returned to CSA custody.


In 2009-2010, a man wearing a Blackout costume was repeatedly spotted among Hood (Parker Robbins)’s mobsters. He never said anything, used any power or did anything notable. So it may or may not have been Marcus Daniels.

In 2014, Blackout was part of a Masters of Evil roster assembled by Lightmaster (Edward Lansky). This team fought the Superior Spider-Man (Dr. Otto Octavius) and his Superior Six.

During the fray, Blackout shut off Electro (Max Dillon)’s powers by absorbing his charge. But he was then stunned by a light blast from Sun Girl (Selah Burke).


Hello, my name is Bob

Marcus Daniels was then implanted with another personality and memories, as “Bob Hoffstetter”.

Mr. Hoffstetter was an insurance claims adjuster, living in a comfortable New Jersey suburb. He had a wife and two daughters (Chelsea and Hannah), and seemed to have a mundane but generally happy life.

A likely sequence of events is:

  1. This false personality and biography likely were created in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Pleasant Hill super-prison. Which likely means that Blackout was arrested some time after the clash with the Superior Six.
  2. When the Pleasant Hill prison came apart, “Bob Hoffstetter” apparently clung to his fake past and persona. Whereas most inmates were furious to realise that their lives had been simulations, making them forget about their real selves.
  3. By 2017, “Bob” was in New Jersey. He was living in a house that wasn’t his – what happened to the real owners is unclear. He maintained the fiction that the house was his, that he still was Bob Hoffstetter, and that his imaginary family was in Wisconsin to visit his mother-in-law.

Baron Helmut Zemo eventually found him, then undid the “Bob Hoffstetter” conditioning. This restored the Blackout memories and personality.

Escape from New York… if you can

Blackout was a key member of Zemo’s Army of Evil – a greatly expanded version of the Masters of Evil. These were an important part of the 2017 conquest of the United States by Hydra, led by a Fascist version of Captain America (Steve Rogers).

The Army rampaged in Manhattan, to have as many super-heroes respond as they could. They then teleported out. Zemo used a copy of the Darkhold evil mystical tome to bolster Blackout’s power, allowing him to manifest a gigantic and indestructible Darkforce dome.

This dome extended from the Southern tip of Manhattan and all the way to Central Park. It trapped millions, including dozens of super-heroes, for weeks. This removed a large number of Hydra foes from the board before Fascist!Rogers made his move.

The heroes within the Manhattan dome narrowly managed to survive. And Zemo didn’t quite break the Hoffstetter conditioning. It is possible that Marcus Daniels preferred being Bob Hoffstetter.

S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill eventually located and murdered Blackout. As he was being Bob, he was confused and didn’t resist. His death dispersed the Darkforce dome, precipitating Hydra’s fall.

A way back from the dark

In the wake of the Hydra war and occupation, Dr. Strange cast an enormous spell to restore the razed city of Las Vegas. This resurrected hundreds of thousands, but also opened a breach that the Mephisto immediately exploited.

Blackout was among those who seized this conduit back from the underworld, and won a gambling game to be resurrected.

A man in a Blackout costume soon appeared as part of a large mob of Hood made men. Though there again let’s stay a bit wary about whether this person, who said nothing and did nothing, actually was Marcus Daniels.

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) fights the Avengers


Originally – either an honest, law-abiding citizen, or a bitter, resentful thug.

But in either case, the energies that gave him his powers also affected his mind. He became increasingly paranoid.

After Moonstone worked to make him more reliant on her, he eventually became practically catatonic. He would react only to her commands, or to Zemo’s, once he gained control of Blackout.

That lasted until his mind was freed from their control by Doctor Druid. At this point he reverted to his highly paranoid mindset, even rejecting Druid’s suggestions.

Zemo later worked so Daniels would trust him. This was mostly done when he had his mild-mannered, not-paranoid Hoffstetter personality.

Daniels’ conflicting accounts of his origin sequence, and embrace of the Hoffstetter persona, form a pattern of wanting to reinvent his life to fit whatever narrative makes him more comfortable.


“Why were you spying on me ? Were you sent to stop Blackout before I’ve accomplished my goals ?”

“The black star power you shot into me is still too powerful. If I don’t siphon some of it off with your stabilizer — if I can’t correct my body’s metabolism — the black light pulsations will rip me apart ! And my atoms will merge with the light spectrum ! I’ll be lost in the rainbow — forever ! But I have the stabilizer — and I can focus my excess energy into Manhattan — and cripple this city… making it ripe for plunder — while saving my life at the same time. A double coup, Croit. A double victory for Marcus Daniels — for Blackout !”

“You tried to stop me before. Wanted me locked away, like all the rest ! Now you’ll pay, yes !”

“My body is a living generator of black star energies !”

“Get away from me ! Get away ! You’re not my friend… you’re like all the others who imprisoned me ! You… you imprisoned my mind ! Yes ! But no more. No more !!”

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) moonstone and zemo

DC Heroes RPG


Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 03
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03
Init: 012 HP: 030


Darkness: 10, Dimensional Travel: 08, Energy Blast: 11, Flight: 06, Ice Production: 11, Sharpness (Energy blast): 04, Snare: 19, Teleportation: 21, Weather Control: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All other powers are Contingent Upon Dimensional Travel (-1).
  • All of Blackout’s constructs have a frictionless surface. Adhering to one is of Extreme (8/8) difficulty.
  • Darkness can also include breathable air (+10 BC).
  • Dimensional Travel only allows travel to the Darkforce Dimension (-1).
  • Ice Production constructs can hover in the air.
  • Ice Production constructs do not have the usual attack vulnerability against heat/fire-based attacks.
  • Sharpness can only be used when attacking an obstacle, and if it’s the kind of obstacle that extreme cold would make brittle (e.g., metal). In this application, Sharpness lowers both the OV and the RV of the obstacle.
  • Snare can only be used against targets made of energy. If the target switches to a physical form, the Snare effect is replace by an Ice Production encasing application.
  • Teleportation and Weather Control are Minor Marginal (-1).


Accuracy (Energy blast, Ice production): 06, Accuracy (Snare): 09


None demonstrated.


Masters of Evil (Low).


CPI (Partially catatonic), SIA (Paranoia), MPI.




Criminal ; former lab assistant.



Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) avengers mansion trapped encased

Previous stats

Prior to joining the Masters of Evil his only Drawback was his SIA.

Before becoming Blackout, he may have had Scientist: 02 (see History).

The old block

Blackout’s most memorable power manifestation was the cuboid he created around Avengers’ Mansion. It was about 32 metres (105 feet) by 32 metres, and about 11 metres (36 feet) high. That’s 19 APs of Volume, true believer.

It was opaque, featureless and may have been impregnable. Its maximum durability is never really tested, except by the Wasp’s stings – which, no offense to Ms. van Dyne, aren’t that formidable. Blackout also had to concentrate to prevent it from slowly “melting” away.

There’s clear emphasis on this manifestation being more formidable than anything that Daniels could previously do. And he’s in an altered state when doing so, and possibly receiving Hero Points from Zemo and/or Moonstone.

Simply treating it as 19 APs of Ice Production structure should work. And it represents the sort of APs of sky-high BODY everybody seems to expect from it.

Try that Electro trick

We don’t yet have Electro stats (and certainly not for the 2010s), there are only two panels to work with, and all that is stated is that “something” happened to Electro’s power.

Still, it suggests good APs of Energy Absorption (10 ?), perhaps limited to electricity. And perhaps with further Limitations, such as only being active when he does a Neutralise roll.

And robust APs of Neutralise (16 ?), only effective against electrical Powers. Assuming that Electro has one “root” power such as Lightning, with the rest being Contingent Upon it.

Design Notes

These stats have been adjusted as Blackout’s entry was updated in 2023. Most tweaks are low-key.

The most noticeable one is that Force Manipulation was removed, since Ice Production and Energy Blast worked fine to explain everything that was going on.

Blackout (Nova and Avengers enemy) (Marvel Comics) as bob hoffstetter

As Bob Hoffstetter.

DC Adventures RPG

Blackout (Marcus Daniels) — Averaged PL8.6

01 03 02 01
03 01 01 01


Darkforce Control • 110 points • Descriptor: Darkforce Dimension
– Darkforce Flight — Flight 5
– Darkforce Blast — Ranged Darkforce Damage 10
– Array :

  • Darkness — Ranged Attack Concealment 4 (all visual senses), Area 4 (burst).
  • Dimensional Travel — Movement 1 (Dimension Travel) Linked to Movement 1 (Dimension Travel), Attack, Perception Ranged; Movement 7, Limited (only to increase DC).
  • Darkforce Constructs — Create 16, Movable.
  • Ice Production — Create 10, Innate, Permanent.
  • Teleportation — Teleport 19 linked to Teleport 19, Attack.

Combat Advantages:

Defensive Roll 3.

Other Advantages:

None demonstrated.


Athletics 3 (+4), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+7), Perception 4 (+5), Ranged Combat: Darkforce Control 10 (+11)


Initiative +2
Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 1
Darkforce Blast +11, Ranged, Damage 10
Dimension Travel +7, Close, Dimensional Travel (Dodge DC 18)
Teleportation +7, Close, Teleport (Dodge DC 29)


Dodge 8
Fortitude 8
Parry 8
Toughness 6/3*
Will 2

* Without Defensive Roll


  • Psychological Instability Blackout is paranoid. Later, his mind becomes shattered, leaving him prone to bouts of confusion.

Powers Levels:

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 13, Dodge/Toughness PL 7, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 5.
  • Points total 156 Abilities 26, Defences 17, Skills 11, Powers 110, Devices 0, Advantages 3. Equiv. PL 11.


Before becoming Blackout, he may have had Expertise: Science 2 (+3) and Technology 2 (+3).

Power stunts he has done in the past include controlling the weather by lacing the clouds with darkforce, and in early appearances, possibly making his blasts invisible.

These stats haven’t be adjusted along with the DCH ones, since Pawsplay (their author) was using a different approach.

By Gareth Lewis and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Comics.

Helper(s): marvunapp.com  , Darci. M&M stats by Pawsplay.