A Growing Superhero
Name: Erik Josten
Age: 35, May 12th, 1980
Martial Status: Single
Erik Josten was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A former AWOL Marine turned mercenary, he is employed by Baron Heinrich Zemo as head of his South American security/mercenary force. After Zemo’s death, Josten is convinced by the Enchantress to undergo the same ‘ionic-ray’ treatment (from a machine invented by Zemo) as Simon Williams (Wonder Man), making Josten super-strong (though not as strong as Wonder Man since the treatment was specifically calibrated to Williams and the Enchantress wasn’t aware it had to be tailored to the subject). Taking the name “Power Man”, he becomes the Enchantress’ partner and battles the Avengers at her request. She used illusions to turn the city against the Avengers, though finally Captain America used a tape recording to prove the Avengers were innocent.2 He becomes a professional supervillain and partners with the Swordsman, and the two fight the Avengers again under the leadership of the brainwashed Black Widow.3 Alongside the Swordsman, he becomes an unwitting pawn of the Red Skull’s, and fights Captain America.4 He briefly serves as an agent of the Mandarin.5 He later fights the Avengers again as a member of the first Lethal Legion.6
Eventually, Josten meets Luke Cage, a hero who for a brief time has assumed the name Power Man. The two fight over the right to use the name, and Cage wins.7 Josten then joins Count Nefaria’s new Lethal Legion under the promise that Nefaria would greatly increase Josten’s powers. This he does, but Nefaria later steals Josten’s enhanced powers (along with those of his other superhuman underlings), which greatly reduces his strength.8
His strength fading, Josten changes his costume and becomes a smuggler, taking the unimaginative yet appropriate name of the “Smuggler”. In his first and only appearance as Smuggler, he is defeated by Spider-Man.9 Spider-Man then assists Josten against the Maggia.10
Later, he gains the ability to grow to giant size from the criminal Doctor Karl Malus using a sample of Hank Pym’s growth serum. He then takes on the name “Goliath”, a name used previously by superheroes and again changes his costume. He fights James Rhodes as Iron Man and the West Coast Avengers which defeat him.11 Using his ability, he is sent by Doctor Doom to kill Spider-Man, but Goliath is defeated thanks to the hero’s newly acquired cosmic powers.
Later, Atlas joined the Thunderbolts and is one of the members that seems the most serious about reforming. He joined the group in signing the Superhuman Registration Act. He’s been working with the Thunderbolts and the group have garnered a reputation as “cape-catchers”.