Gamma Powered Gas Soldier
Real Name: Victor Vernon
Birthplace: Truth or Consequences, NM
Known Allies: Jonathan Vernon (father, deceased), Patricia Vernon (mother, deceased), Laura Lynch (occasional love interest), Rick Jones (AKA Bucky, AKA Captain Marvel, AKA Hulk, AKA A-Bomb, best friend), Lanh Long (AKA Miss Saigon, occasional partner and love interest), Dr. Robert Bruce Banner (AKA Hulk, friend and ally), Professor Harold Hunter (“creator” and friend)
Known Enemies: Gunther Grauss (AKA Dr. Hemorrhage), AIM, Hydra, Quan Chien (AKA Major Tet), MODOK, Emil Blonsky (AKA Abomination)
Group Affiliation: Defenders (former member), Teen Brigade (former member)
First Appearance: Tales to Awe #69 (Dec. 1969)
Biography: Victor Vernon spent an idyllic childhood growing up in the mesas of New Mexico with his loving parents, Jonathan and Patricia. During his formative years, he met and became fast friends with Rick Jones; soon, the two of them formed a band of adolescent CB radio enthusiasts known as the “Teen Brigade (Teen Brigade: Year One #1; Sept., 1990).” Around the same time, Victor made the acquaintance of local girl Laura Lynch, with whom he was instantly smitten. Despite his loyal friendship to Rick, Victor was among the peers who dared Rick to drive onto the experimental field at Gamma Base during the initial test of the Gamma Bomb, leading to the transformation of Dr. Robert “Bruce” Banner into the Hulk (Incredible Hulk #1, May, 1962).
Shortly after the “Hulk” incident, Victor was drafted into the Vietnam War, where, due to his rebellious nature, he was selected to participate in “Operation: Orange,” an initiative designed to increase the resilience of GIs against enemy chemical weapons. Because he had spent a great deal of time around Rick Jones after his near-death experience with the Gamma Bomb, the level of latent G-radiation in Vernon’s system interacted strangely with the caustic gasses he was exposed to, Victor found himself transformed into a gaseous being. Unsure of how to cope with the situation, he drifted into the desert where he soon found himself in conflict with the mutant superhero group, the X-Men. After some misunderstanding, which involved believing Vernon to be a mutant and member of Magneto’s “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants:” Professor Charles Xavier determined that Victor was not, in fact, a mutant, and took pity on the poor boy, ending the contest in a truce.
Powers/Abilities: Agent Orange has the ability to alter his body on a molecular level and transform himself into, quite literally, a living gas cloud. He can alter his body chemistry to produce different types of gasses, including knockout gas, laughing gas and powerful hallucinogens. In order to maintain physical integrity during combat, Agent Orange usually wears a stylized costume into battle that is, in fact, and advanced containment suit with filters that allow him to release gas as needed. Because his body continually regenerates, Agent Orange can dissipate as much gas as necessary without “losing” himself.