The Mercenary (Iron Man enemy) (Marvel Comics) firing a strobe gun


(Archibald Tuskwin)


This heavily-armed hitman appeared but once, in a 1970 Iron Man story.

He’s a guy with lots of advanced guns and gadgets, which is useful.

In many ways, the Mercenary is the precursor of the Spymaster, who would make his first appearance less than a year later.


  • Real Name: Archibald Tuskwin.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: About 6’ Weight: About 190 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

An expert killer, loaded with S.H.I.E.L.D.-grade gadgets.

The Mercenary is an expert shooter and fighter and excels at intelligence, B&E, demolitions and surveillance work, making him a redoubtable assassin capable of killing nearly anybody.

He mentioned that one of his weapons was his own invention, so he presumably also has superior technical skills.


The Mercenary’s impressive arsenal included :

  • A reinforced suit that allows him to take superhuman blows if he rolls with them. The gloves have a steel plate to karate chop harder, and it seemed that the suit enhanced his strength (perhaps in the two-ton range).
    The suit also has a “solar scan unit” that does… things (akin to the Alert Power in DC Heroes), and a jet stream of black smoke.
  • An armour-piercing sniper carbine with a computerised scope that can analyse the durability of its target.
  • A pair of one-shot hallucinogenic flare pistols.


  • A custom-built high-powered armour-piercing, silenced pistol.
  • A 1960s sports car with a strengthened body and chassis, and a radio.
  • Numerous miniaturised listening bugs.
  • An “electro-static jamming device” helping him defeat electronic security systems.
  • A “cardio-sonic scanner” that can track a specific heartbeat.
  • A limpet-style damper device calibrated to shut down Iron Man’s armour.
  • An advanced disguise quote to swiftly modify his facial appearance.
  • And probably many others.


Tuskwin is an orphan. He was raised from infancy by a criminal combine to become a merciless killer.

They intensively trained him, and he was apparently active throughout the 1960s.

In 1970 he was hired to kill a witness, who had learned how the Titanium Man (Boris Bullski) had been smuggled in the US. The witness escaped and sought Iron Man’s help, threatening Tony Stark at gunpoint out of desperation.

The Mercenary aims a sniper rifle

Stark, who had just clashed with the Titanium Man, agreed to take the witness to one of his fortified cabins in the Adirondack mountains.

However, the Mercenary was one step ahead of Stark and had already bugged his whole vehicles fleet. He even shot another person after Stark, Vincent Sandhurst (the brother of the Controller), so Sandhurst’s ineffective assassination attempt wouldn’t get in the way.

Cabin in the woods

However, Stark had actually detected the Mercenary’s bug – and unbeknownst to Tuskwin, had the Iron Man armour. But even the invincible Iron Man found the Mercenary to be a tough opponent, and when the Golden Avenger gained the upper hand Tuskwin produced a magnetised block that turned off Iron Man’s armour.

The Mercenary then disguised himself as Stark to gain entrance to the fortified cabin and his target. However, the fatally wounded Vincent Sandhurst had dragged himself all the way to the cabin and shot the Mercenary, thinking that he was Tony Stark, before dying.

The Mercenary was apparently slain, and was never seen again.


See peekchurs.


Arrogant and confident, but also a skilled professional. He was smart and observant, and used surveillance and intelligence extensively, accumulating tons of data about Stark and his security measures.

What defeated him were things he couldn’t know. Such as Stark’s counter-espionage gear being top-grade S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment and him being Iron Man.

The Mercenary fights tactically, using misdirection and denying perception to his opponent, and is very good at improvising stratagems, calmly relying on his arsenal of gadgets and weapons.

He has a fondness for melodramatic speeches, though, and is unlikely to react well at anything doubting his competence.


“The sensor scope has gauged the depth and density of that famed metal suit… windage and distance are automatically calibrated as I jack an armor-piercing shell and impact-head into the chambers. A slight squeeze of the trigger – and Iron Man DIES ! An amusing notion — a pity it isn’t my assignment ! But I kill for pay, not sport ! Why else have those who require my unique services dubbed me – the Mercenary !”

“Raving fool ! The Mercenary needs no one… least of all the encumbrance of a revenge-mad amateur !”

“I’m not an amateur such as you employ, captain ! I am an expert… a professional ! For hire to any cause, any country, for any purpose… and once my fee is met… I deliver ! Money does more than talk when you hire the Mercenary, captain… it KILLS !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Mercenary (Archibald Tuskwin)

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 04 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 05 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 020 HP: 035

Acrobatics: 06, Detective (Legwork): 06, Gadgetry: 07, Martial artist*: 06, Military science (Demolition, camouflage): 05, Scientist (Research): 06, Thief (Security systems): 07, Thief (Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, exotic, heavy): 06

Expertise (Surveillance).

Underworld (Low).

MIA toward Overconfidence.

Oh boy, does he have equipment :

  • BODY ARMOUR [/STR/ 07 /BODY/ 06, Alert: 08, Fog: 05, Radio communications (receive only): 08, Skin armour: 01].
  • Sniper carbine [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 03, Range: 10, Ammo: 05, Telescopic vision: 03, Detect (APs of BODY and Skin armour): 08, Limitation: Projectile weapon has No Range and uses the Range listed instead].
  • Custom-built pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 08, Thief (Stealth): 01, Limitation : Thief only to muffle the shots].
  • Bugs (x16) [BODY 01, Miniaturization: 08, Radio communications (send only): 08, Grenade Drawback].
  • STRENGTHENED 1960s SPORTS CAR [STR 05 BODY (Hardened Defenses) 07, Running: 07, Radio coms (receive only): 10, R#02].
  • Electro-static jamming device [BODY 01, Thief (Security systems): 05, Bonus : this top-quality gear can Team Attack with its user].
  • Hallucinogenic flare pistol (x2) [BODY 04, Flash: 12, Ammo: 01, Note : Flash is not resisted by Shade, but can be resisted via Sealed Systems – engaging a previously inactivated Sealed Systems even allows for a new roll to shake off the effects of the Flash].
  • Cardio-sonic scanner [BODY 01, Detect (Specific heartbeat): 03. The specific heartbeat can presumably be determined from data acquired by the Bugs above.]
  • Anti-Iron Man damper [BODY 03, Cling: 06, Neutralize (All Powers from a power armour): 18, Ammo: 01, Limitation : Neutralize has No Range ; Neutralize receives a -2CS penalty against other suit of power armours].
  • Disguise kit [BODY 03, Chameleon: 04, Limitation : Chameleon only alters facial features (-1) – though the mercenary swiftly took clothes from Stark’s closet – and may be restricted to a single subject – it is unclear whether the mask had to be prepared in advance.]
  • Presumably he had two more Omni-Gadget (C, 6 APs) – Omni-Gadgets are definitely his style, and one or two of the above devices might actually have been one.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Iron Man vol. 1 #23.

Helper(s): Frank, Roy and Niles for the Freudian slips 🙂