Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at that master grappler: D-Man
Appearances in Heroclix: Avengers Assemble
First Appearance: The Thing #28
Team Affiliations: Avengers, Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, Revengers
Before he was the daring hero known as Demolition Man, Dennis Dunphy was an aspiring athlete from Lincoln Nebraska. After meeing and receiving strength augmentation treatments from Power Broker, Inc. Dennis found that he was too strong to compete in normal sports and joined the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation alongside other supers like the Beyonder, Thing and Screaming Mimi. During this time, he was ordered to (and refused to) throw a fight to the Thing before being defeated by Mama Grimm’s baby boy. D-Man was later forced to attack the Thing by Puppet Master. The Power Broker went on to order D-Man to help kill Ms. Marvel, but Murphy refused and went through a painful withdrawal when the Power Broker cut him off from the Broker’s drug.
After the closure of the UCWF, Dunphy officially adopted the Demolition Man moniker and teamed up with Captain America to investigate Power Broker, Inc. D-Man rescued Capt. From Karl Malus and the pair successfully captured the villain. D-Man was then abducted by Power Broker and given further strength enhancement treatments that damaged his heart. The drug also drove D-Man temporarily insane, leading to him attacking Captain America. D-Man then suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized where they were able to reverse his second enhancement. Feeling burned out on super heroics, D-Man took over Captain America’s hotline.
After Steve Rogers was stripped of his Captain America identity by the Commission on Superhuman Activities, he went into hiding. D-Man joined Falcon, Nomad and Vagabond in a search for Rogers, who they discovered had taken on a new black costume and named himself the Captain. The five joined together as an informal team and battled the Serpent Squad, Famine, Titania as well as members of the Serpent Society. D-Man’s part of this group ended when he was arrested by the CSA and held for questioning about the Captain.
After the CSA release him, Dennis seeks out Rogers once again. Rogers inducts Demolition Man into what would be a new iteration of the “East Coast” Avengers and the new team set off almost immediately on a mission. The Captain and Battlestar investigate an ULTIMATUM Artic Base where John Walker (who, at the time, replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America) was supposedly being held while D-Man guarded the plane. During their investigation, Rogers finds a doomsday weapon in the base. He orders D-Man to set the plane on a crash course with the base. Just as he is about to bail out, an ULTIMATUM agent lands on the plane. D-Man stays on the plane to defend it from the attacking agent and ensure that it would destroy the base and the doomsday weapon. The Captain believes Dunphy was killed in the ensuing explosion.
Dunphy was later found living with the Inuit, having barely survived the explosion and rendered mute. The US Agent and Falcon find Dunphy and place him under Avengers’ care where he is able to eventually recover his faculties. He then went on to live among a group of homeless people called the Zero People. During his time as their guardian, Dunphy began to become delusional and unstable, believing that a “cosmic gamemaster” wanted him to retrieve the “seven” Infinity Gems. D-Man did this by stealing regular jewelry. Daredevil eventually finds the former hero and convinces him to seek out help.
During Norman Osborn’s stint as leader of HAMMER, D-Man seems to have fully recovered and joined the US military as Dennis Durphy. He also moonlights as D-Man, which inspires several of his fellow soldiers to adopt costumes. Durphy stops them, however, feeling that this may endanger their careers. D-Man is eventually recruited by Wonder Man into the Revengers, possibly having suffered additional mental stability issues. He is eventually defeated with the rest of the Revengers and imprisoned on the Raft.
Henry Peter Gyrich eventually arranges for Durphy’s release and brainwashes him into becoming the new Scourge of the Underworld. This brings him into conflict with Captain America who recognizes Durphy’s voice and incredible strength. Capt. pleads with Durphy to stop fighting but the brainwashed Durphy accuses Rogers of making deals with villains instead of meting out justice. Dennis is able to gain the upper hand over Rogers and is about to deliver a mortal blow with Steve’s own shield when Sharon Carter arrives and fatally shoots Durphy.