Very little is known of Dumas' early history. It is known he was born somewhere in the American South but specifically where and when is unknown and all records have apparently been purged. He has the ability to morph his appearance (muscle and bone) to make him look and sound like anyone he wishes. If he loses concentration, however, his features run and his face looks like putty. As such it is likely Dumas no longer recalls his original appearance. At some point in history he chose to use his powers to become an assassin in the Far East. He developed a code that requires him to complete a contract once accepted no matter what. He has also developed a passion for kabuki masks.[1]

It is revealed that one of Stephen's identities he maintained was that of American woman, Olivia Vancroft. A woman who was "famous for being famous" Olivia was beautiful, rich and the talk of New York High Society in the 1930's. In 1950 she built a home (called Cliff House) in southwest Wisconsin where she became a recluse amidst rumors of having lost a child.[2]

Assuming Stephen was at least of similar age as Olivia seemed to be in the 1930's, Stephen could not have been born much later than the 1910's.

Dumas was killed in a fight with Manhunter (Mark Shaw) while attempting to fulfill a self-assigned contract (Dumas, as Olivia Vancroft, hired Dumas, as Dumas, to take Manhunter's mask).[3] His body was abducted by ex-CIA agents looking to duplicate his powers. During their examination, lead scientist Rankin stated, "These platelets...incredible! They look like cancerous chromosomes--the gene must unlock and rebuild the spiral according to the mutant DNA encoding!" In other words, Dumas' powers were likely genetic. Rankin was able to create a serum capable of transfering the powers which ultimately were bestowed on one of Dumas' followers, who became the second Dumas.[4]




  • Due to a retcon presented in Issue 13 of the third Manhunter series, Mark Shaw was purportedly brainwashed into having a second, hidden personality known as Dumas. It is unclear if there was ever a real Dumas, if Shaw always unknowingly acted as Dumas, and/or if "encounters" with Dumas were all imagined or hallucinated. Thus certain aspects of his history may not be considered canon.