Characters : Cardiac
Well muscled, Afro-American
Professional medical skills. Highly intellegent and good strategist. Owns and runs a private hospital.
Extendible metal staff to project electric bolts and assist in acrobatic maneuvres. Staff projects wings to allow moderate-powered flight.
Elias now depends on his new beta-particle heart for his very life. The experimental device borrowed from his friend Tony Stark can, and does, falter - leaving Cardiac at the mercy of the technology which gives him his tremendous powers.
Can manipulate electricity to cause shock and melt metal. Can project electric bolts through his staff. Bullet-proof metal beta-mesh skin. Can fly with the aid of extruding wings built into his staff.
Superior Human. Super-Human speed and agility. High resistance to impact attacks.
None other than his staff.
Owner and Director of his hospital
PhD, Medical specialist
Mother. Brother (dead)
Presumable criminal record as Cardiac
Dr. Elias Wortham
"Hearts and Powers"
Spider-Man met Eli Wirtham one night while surveying a warehouse full of chemicals. The chemicals were vital ingredients for the manufacture for cocaine but as they were listed as "for agricultural purposes only," their sale to South American countries was perfectly legal. Spidey was there to get pictures for the Daily Bugle but was surprised to see a man in a white and blue costume appear and begin assaulting the armed guards. Spider-Man briefly stopped him, telling him that while the operation was shady, it was legal. The man used his electronic staff to bring down the warehouse and escape.
The "removal procedure" as he called it, was noticed by Justin Hammer, the CEO of Hammer Industries. The attacked company was a facade company of Hammer Industries and the financial losses had been significant. In response, Hammer hired the Rhino to act as a guard. Later that night, Cardiac arrived at Sapirdyne Chemicals only to find that the regular security forces were missing. Rhino showed up and began to toss the masked man around until Spider-Man arrived. Rhino turned his attention on Spidey, who was soon rescued by Cardiac. Wirtham declared them to be even and then destroyed the vats containing chemicals. Spider-Man protested but after Cardiac explained that the chemicals were flammable, all three costumed men wisely decided to retreat. News of another destroyed warehouse reached Hammer, who decided to put Spider-Man on his payroll. (Amazing Spider-Man #344)
"Gun From the Heart"
Cardiac soon attacked an office building owned by Herschel Sapir, looking for certain computer records. They had been moved according to Mr. Sapir's demands and Cardiac escaped when guards arrived. Meanwhile, Peter Parker was at ESU when he noticed an advertisement from Silver Sable, looking for Spider-Man's assistance. Later, she introduced him to Sapir, who hired him to go after Cardiac for $5,000. Cardiac himself was having trouble with his artificial heart, supplied by Tony Stark. He held himself together long enough to act on a news report that claimed that Sapirdyne was importing a large shipment of chemicals to New York. Spider-Man was watching over the shipment and took on Cardiac when he arrived to destroy the chemicals. Little did either of them know, but Hammerhad also hired the mercenary known as Boomerang to kill the winner of the battle. He got impatient and took them on at the same time, his sonic boomerang momentarily stunning Cardiac. Spidey beat the hit man but the distraction gave Cardiac time to recover and blast a hole in the hull of the ship with his staff. Wirtham escaped, satisfied that Sapirdyne was now finished as a business. (Amazing Spider-Man #345)
"Guilt by Association"
Some time later, Spider-Man and Cardiac met again after Spidey dealt with Styx and Stone. The mercenary duo were escaping when they were confronted by Cardiac, who demanded to know if they were working for William Gant. (Cardiac claimed that Gant was a film maker that had questionable ethics.) If fact, they were working for him and they managed to knock him into the burning building that they were fighting on. However, Cardiac recognized Stone after his mask was removed.
Back at his hideout, Wirtham reflected on his life. He remembered being a brilliant young man but one that was indifferent to the injustice of the world. That changed after his brother died of an illness that the insurance company refused to pay for. He dedicated his life to medical research and to the pursuit of justice. Wirtham went so far as to have his heart surgically removed and replaced with a compact beta particle reactor that increased his speed and agility. He also created a staff that could fire power bursts. He also replaced his skin with a vibranium mesh alloy.
Later, he used his contacts to find the location of Styx and Stone. As he was about to confront them in their posh hideout, he was distracted by a man beating his wife. He intervened, unaware that Styx was about to kill Spider-Man. (Amazing Spider-Man #376)
Styx's cancerous touch didn't have any effect on Spidey, as he was wearing a inorganic mask. Cardiac arrived soon after and told his to back off of Styx and Stone. The hired killers fled and Cardiac escaped. Later, Wirtham met with Stone at a diner and discussed how he became the mercenary known as Mr. Stone. Stone had been a fellow doctor that hoped to cure cancer but he accidentally created Styx, a man that killed others with a cancerous touch. Stone stayed by his side to keep the unbalanced Styx under control and from killing random innocents. Wirtham offered his help to cure Styx permanently and secretly swore to kill him if there was no cure. Stone tricked Styx into going to Cardiac's hideout (Wirtham had told Stone that he knew Cardiac but wasn't him) and Styx was placed into a diagnostic tube to be cured. Stone soon realized that Cardiac was going to kill him instead of cure him and tried to stand up to Cardiac but was quickly beaten. Spider-Man arrived and chided Cardiac on the ethical line he was crossing. As they fought, Stone retrieved his weaponry and saved Styx from the diagnostic tube. Cardiac stopped them by blasting their turbo thruster flying machine. Styx and Stone were unconscious and Cardiac escaped with his own flying device. (Amazing Spider-Man #377)
Soon, Cardiac attacked a cargo ship full of cancer drugs that had been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration as unsafe. The manufacturer needed a way to sell its tainted drugs and decided to ship them overseas where medical safety concerns were more lenient. As Cardiac disposed of the armed guards, he was confronted by their boss, the Scorpion. Gargan managed to separate Dr. Wirtham from his staff and knocked him out. (Web of Spider-Man #107)
The staff flew back to Cardiac before Scorpion could finish him off. The pain of holding on to the flying device was terrible but he managed to circle back around and hit the shipment of tainted drugs with blasts from his staff. The next day he returned to the headquarters of Tamco, and headed to the CEO's office after knocking out the guards. Scorpion was waiting for him in the elevator and hit him with his tail. Cardiac managed to hit him with a blast from his staff and caused the tail to malfunction. Scorpion couldnt keep control and fell down the elevator shaft. Cardiac made his way to the CEO's office, who tried to reason with the vigilante. If he died and word of the scandal got out, it would end the company and cause hundreds of innocent employees to lose their jobs. Other, untainted medications that only Tamco made would also cease production. Cardiac killed him anyway, then bought the company and saved the employees jobs. (Web of Spider-Man #108)
Cardiac was soon at odds with Spider-Man once again, as he was trying to destroy Morelle Pharmaceuticals for their shady business practices. The web head was soon joined by the Black Cat, who was looking for a shoulder to cry on after her recent break up with Flash Thompson. They both saved each other from Cardiac and the doctor escaped after he destroyed a power coupling for an air condition unit. (Black Cat #1)
Cardiac briefly joined the Great Game,a contest set up by wealthy individuals to see if "their" super human could beat other super humans. In this particular round of the Game, the contestants were Spider-Man (Ben Reilly), Joystick, Prowler, El Toro Negro, Rocket Racer, Polestar and Chance. (Spider-Man Unlimited #14)
Recently, Cardiac decided to destroy a tainted medicine shipment, only to encounter Spider-Man. After a battle, Cardiac succeeded in destroying the shipment and left a wounded Spider-Man to his fate. Spidey told him we was a lousy shot with his staff, to which Cardiac replied "Oh? I came to destroy a drug shipment-- not a misguided super hero." He then escaped on his flying device. (Marvel Team Up vol. 3 #5)
Years later, Dr. Wirtham re-opened the former F.E.A.S.T. clinic, operated by Martin Li, aka Mister Negative. As he was being interviewed by Norah Winters and Phil Urich, he claimed that the new H.E.A.R.T. clinic would aim to help the city's poorest citizens. In reality, he was using the secret corridors and rooms for off the record medical procedures. One of his patients, Amy Chen, was suffering from brain damage and needed a device called a Neurolitic Scanner. However, the contraption was created by Dr. Otto Octavius and had been impounded after one of his arrests. Cardiac went to the "Boneyard" to steal the device but was interrupted by the Superior Spider-Man, who was none too happy to see one of Octavius's creations being stolen. Despite being drained, Cardiac managed to escape with the Scanner. (Superior Spider-Man #7)
Back at H.E.A.R.T. (Hospital for Emergency Aid and Recooperative Therapy), the Scanner was being used on Amy Chen but Wirtham was certain it could do more. Unfortunately, the only person that knew all of the devices functions was Dr. Octavius, who was dead. Meanwhile, the Avengers had noticed a major personality change in Spider-Man and forced him to undergo a physical and psychological evaluation. While they didn't uncover the new Spider-Man's secret, he did notice a minor anomaly in his brain patters. He went after the Neurolitic Scanner, knowing that it could do a deeper scanning of his mind. He followed the Spider-Tracer he had placed on Cardiac and found him at H.E.A.R.T. After a brief fight, Spider-Man found the Scanner being used on Chen and was about to remove it when Cardiac explained that the girl was in that condition because of Octavius. He explained that she had been in a serious car accident and suffered brain damage, which was compounded by the heat caused by Octavius's global warming scheme. After Spider-Man used the Scanner to perform surgery on Amy, Cardiac gave him the device to use. (Superior Spider-Man #8)
Wirtham was later employed by Otto at Parker Industries and he performed the nanotechnology surgery that gave May Parker the ability to walk again. (Superior Spider-Man #22) He was also present when Otto brought in Flash Thompson as a guinea pig for his robotic limbs. While Otto and Elias did give Flash the ability to walk again, they also separated him from the Venom symbiote with a sonic weapon disguised as a diagnostic scanner. (Superior Spider-Man #23) Wirtham saw that the symbiote was effecting Spider-Man's mind and told him to give it up, or have it taken from him. The symbiote lashed out at him, destroying his electrical gauntlet. Dr. Sajani bandaged up his wounds but broke the news to Flash that he had been bonded to the alien for so long that his body needed it to survive. Wirtham wanted to go find it, but Flash told him about the creature's camouflage abilities. (Superior Spider-Man #24)
Dr. Wirtham was concerned about Flash's deteriorating condition and wanted to bring back the symbiote, despite his own fragile condition. He was stopped by Dr. Sajani and Iron Man, who arrived to discuss the rampaging Spider-Man with him. Stark patched up Wirtham's wound and explained his idea to defeat the symbiote influenced Spider-Man. Stark distracted Spider-Man alone, while Thompson wore the Iron Man suit and snuck up behind him. The fact that there were still traces of the symbiote in Thompson's system meant that Spider-Man wouldn't detect him. (Superior Spider-Man #25)
As the Green Goblin's "Goblin Nation" tore apart New York, Cardiac went into action to defend the H.E.A.R.T. Center. The facility was destroyed when the Goblin detonated a bomb to spite the Superior Spider-Man, who had spent much time there helping the sick. Cardiac was caught in the explosion. (Superior Spider-Man #29) The Avengers soon arrived to help Cardiac evacuate the patients, but Iron Man told him that they couldn't ignore that he was running an illegal medical clinic using untested methods. Captain America said that Spider-Man had taken part in the work there and would have to be arrested. (Superior Spider-Man #30)
|Feb 1991||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #344|
|Versus Sapirdyne Chemicals, Spider-Man, Rhino, and Boomerang.|
|Mar 1991||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #345|
|Apr 1993||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #376|
|Versus William Gant, Spider-Man, Styx & Stone. Origins told.|
|May 1993||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #377|
|Jun 1993||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #378|
|Jul 1994||App: Black Cat #1|
|Versus Morelle Corporation.|
|Apr 2005||Cameo: Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 3) #5|
|Jun 2013||App: Superior Spider-Man #7|
|Jun 2013||App: Superior Spider-Man #8|
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.