Joseph Martin was a Metropolis college student who began suffering periods of severe fatigue. When his regular physician was unable to offer an explanation, he was referred to S.T.A.R. Labs. His appointment coincided with Monarch's attack on the city.
Caught up in the panicked evacuation when Monarch set up a bomb on the building, Martin found the lab where the Parasite was being held in a stasis tube. An energy discharge from Monarch's equipment arched through both men. Surviving the destruction of the building, Martin stumbled from the wreckage and headed back to his apartment where he collapsed.
Waking the next morning, he found his hair had fallen out and that he was giving off an intermittent glow. Unable to reach S.T.A.R. by phone, and not having a clear recollection of the previous day's events, Martine decides to cycle back to the lab. Discovering three men stealing his bike from the apartment basement, he threatens to call the police. Two of the three proceeded to severely beat him. Enraged, he shrugged them off and grabbed the leader of the group. Taking on the speech patterns of a movie serial character, Martin immolated the leader.
Leaving his apartment, Martin made his way to a movie theater showing The Curse of the Atomic Skull, a film he had gotten tickets for prior to his appointment at S.T.A.R. When Superman confronted him in the darkened theater, the film already underway, Martin lashed out, reciting the dialogue of the film's main character in sync with the scene playing on the screen, completely fallen under the delusion that he was the Atomic Skull. Martin displayed enhanced strength and energy powers that pose a serious threat to Superman. The Man of Steel was able to subdue Martin by wrapping a boron rod around his head, absorbing Martin's excess radiation and returning him to normal.
- Unique Physiology: Normal human altered by an alien gene bomb enabling superhuman strength, stamina and durability capable of emitting tremendous blast of radioactive energy.
- Atomic Skull's Armor
- The "Atomic Skull" from the film Joseph Martin fixated on was visually patterned after the Silver Age Atomic Skull.
- 38 Appearances of Joseph Martin (New Earth)
- 5 Images featuring Joseph Martin (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Joseph Martin (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Joseph Martin (New Earth)
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