Publication Date: 6th Jul 2023
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


Christopher Colchiss was a young man whose mutant powers tragically manifested one day during his idyllic suburban home life. While excitedly explaining his day at school to his parents, Chris was gesturing with his hands when, suddenly, his new power flared up and melted his mother and father, leaving behind a horrifying puddle of liquid flesh. Murdering his parents, even by accident, was a deeply traumatic experience for Chris and it colored his self-image for years to come. By his teens, Chris was still afraid of his powers and searching for some form of guidance in his life.

Somehow, possibly through the foster system, Chris met a girl named Lisa Molinari who crafted an identity for herself as “Coat of Arms” using the magical coat of Tiboro. Lisa was an abstract artist interested in examining the idea of heroism. In the age of H.A.M.M.E.R., heroes were fighting each other more than ever, with multiple groups declaring themselves “the real” Avengers and working at cross-purposes. Coat of Arms wanted to put together their own team of Young Avengers to explore what being super-heroes really meant in modern times, and she wanted “Melter” to lead the team. Chris had genuine but naïve and traditional ideas about heroism, wanting to find meaning and redemption in his powers. Lisa hoped Chris’ beliefs about heroism proved to be right but, as an artist, she wanted to remain neutral about her work while it was in progress.

Together, they assembled a motley crew of teenaged vigilantes. Chris began a relationship with Sylvie Lushton, a girl from Broxton, Oklahoma spontaneously gifted with Asgardian magic as the Enchantress. She conjured an “Invisible Manor” for them to crash in at Central Park. They were also joined by the rich kid and gun-toting vigilante Executioner, and Big Zero and Egghead from a microscopic universe. Melter tried to lead these Young Avengers to act as heroes, but his good intentions did not come with any particular charisma or assertiveness. When Sylvie stole things to amuse herself, Chris justified it as taking from the rich, like Robin Hood. Many of his teammates were willing to commit murder, which he justified by comparing them to Wolverine or Punisher, as long as they only killed “bad people.” The group only half-heartedly listened to him, as Melter was just too easily impressionable to make a stand for his principles.

Melter also wasn’t very useful in the field, which may have contributed to his poor standing among his team. While he had a potentially very useful power, Chris was afraid to use it and had gained very little control over the years since it manifested. It was too easy for him to kill with a wave of his hand and, even when he tried to aim, Melter ended up damaging something he didn’t mean to strike. Once, he tried to cut off the escape of some robbers by melting the pavement, only to cause it to collapse on the subway running underneath the street. Chris allowed Sylvie to convince him her “mystic senses” detected nobody was harmed, despite the screams he heard. Even walking down the street, Chris ran into trouble. When a woman tripped over him at a street corner, she overreacted and started screaming when he tried to pick up her groceries for her. Chris tried to get her to calm down and recognize that he was helping her when she maced him in the face. That moment of pain caused him to impulsively lash out and, suddenly, the woman was nothing more than a bubbling pool of melted flesh.

Just after fleeing the scene of his latest accidental murder, Chris found the original Young Avengers accosting his team in the Invisible Manor. Patriot, Hawkeye and their crew had seen reports about Melter’s group on the news and tracked them down to defend their name. After an obligatory skirmish to fit Coat’s artistic tropes, the two groups compared notes. Patriot remained defensive about the name Young Avengers but offered to let Melter and his team “try out” with the seasoned teen heroes. As they discussed it later, many of Melter’s teammates were against the idea, but Sylvie magically influenced them into going along with the idea. Chris noticed and tried to chastise her for manipulating their friends, but she convinced him it was their destiny to become “real” Young Avengers.

During a Hydra attack on Manhattan, the two teams paired off members to face different threats. Melter and Patriot teamed up, but Chris’ hesitation and lack of confidence helped convince Patriot he was hiding something. The Young Avengers ended up offering provisional membership to Enchantress and Coat of Arms, while asking Melter to rename his team and serve as a link between the two groups. Chris and the others objected to this heavy-handed decision, thinking the Young Avengers would have accepted all or none of them. Melter chose to stand with his old teammates, and angrily drove off the Young Avengers.

That night, Melter found a business card Norman Osborn previously gave to Coat of Arms when he inadvertently inspired her hero piece. He offered to make a deal with Norman and his Avengers to help capture the unregistered Young Avengers in exchange for a place in H.A.M.M.E.R.’s Initiative as official heroes. Coat overheard the call and told Melter afterwards she was disappointed this was the path he chose for them to be heroes. As an artist, she still wanted to stand neutral and let things play out organically without her interference, but she had hoped he would rise above his insecurities and inspire the team to better things. Sadly, Chris told her upon self-reflection that she had backed the wrong guy. In the end, he was too weak to stand by those beliefs he claimed to hold.

After Enchantress was also tossed out of the Young Avengers for her behavior, Melter arranged a trap with the Dark Avengers and his new Young Masters to snare the Young Avengers. The Iron Patriot and his team took advantage of the opportunity to strike at the unregistered young heroes, and Melter tried to act with conviction now that he had “chosen the side of law and order” instead of unregistered vigilantism. Even so, he saw how Osborn was just as fallible as the other heroes, and Chris realized he hadn’t necessarily picked the winning side. As the plan fell apart around them, Melter had Enchantress teleport the Young Masters away so that they could reconsider their future. [Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1-5]

After Norman Osborn lost control of the Initiative and Steve Rogers returned to usher in a new Heroic Age, the Young Masters were more confused than ever on how to be heroes. Sylvie’s mind seemed to be fraying ever since her patron, Loki, died during the Siege of Asgard. Melter was willing to abandon any question of “heroes” or “villains” if it meant stealing money to get her treatment. [Age of Heroes #2]

Melter and the Masters ended up going their separate ways. Executioner assumed control of the remaining Masters, and Chris’s relationship with Sylvie was never resolved. Instead, he found himself recruited for his name as a legacy member of Iron Man’s rogues’ gallery. Ezekiel Stane and the Mandarin surgically-implanted RepulsorTech into various super-villains to augment their natural or suit-based power levels. What the rogues didn’t know until later was that the implants also contained micro-bombs to kill them if they failed. Chris thought this was his chance to join the big leagues, and eagerly agreed to go after Tony Stark in the name of the original Melter. Some of the veteran rogues like Blizzard and Living Laser tried to mentor the kid and get him to understand the stakes, but the power boost had made Chris too cocky to listen.

The Mandarin was working a number of angles along with Hammer Industries and General Babbage of the U.S. military to humiliate and ruin Tony Stark. After proving Stark had operated the Iron Man armor while drunk, his associates got a court order to attach a governor to Stark’s repulsor arc reactor, letting them remotely shut him down at will. While Iron Man battled Whirlwind, Melter created chaos in another part of the city. Babbage and Hammer shut down Stark so their own U.S. liaison operative, War Machine, could take the field against Melter instead. Chris stood toe-to-toe with Jim Rhodes and even melted away part of his armor before Whirlwind arrived to back him up. Rhodey was still on his feet, but he was heavily outmatched when the Living Laser joined the rogues too. Melter liquefied the armor off of a prone War Machine’s chest, and the Laser delivered a lethal photon shot, which apparently killed the Avenger before Rescue or a powerless Iron Man could stop them. [Invincible Iron Man (1st series) #513-515]

The Mandarin’s plot succeeded in breaking down Tony Stark, and eventually his arch-nemesis was brought to Mandarin City and forced to work under the warlord’s thumb. Stark even ate in the mess hall with Melter, Blizzard, and the rogues who were still bound to serve the Mandarin thanks to the bombs in their chests. Chris was still too cocky for his own good, and he tried to start a fight with a founding Avenger who had been combat-trained by Captain America. After Stark beat him down, Melter attempted to activate his powers, which was against the rules of Mandarin City. The Mandarin triggered the slow-burning bomb in Melter’s chest, causing him to suffer and panic over his fate before it would finally detonate. Stark pleaded to Mandarin’s security monitors not to kill the dumb kid, but to no avail. Finally, he used the arc reactor in his chest to drain the RepulsorTech behind Melter’s bomb, rendering it inert and saving the teenaged super-villain’s life. Iron Man, Blizzard and some of the other rogues eventually brought down the Mandarin, but Melter was apparently too injured to take part in the uprising. [Invincible Iron Man (1st series) #521]

Later on, Chris resurfaced with the Young Masters as the team reunited as an adjunct to the full Masters of Evil roster. Baron Zemo had assumed control of the criminal nation of Bagalia, populated with dozens of super-villains serving as his Masters. The mercenary Constrictor was one of Zemo’s top lieutenants who oversaw the training and deployment of the Young Masters on missions. Melter and the Young Masters lived in Constrictor’s Snakepit, doing as they pleased with wild parties and debauchery during their down time, living without rules or responsibilities. [Avengers Undercover #2] Zemo’s Masters lured in the teenaged survivors of Arcade’s Murderworld game and convinced them to work with the Masters. When the young heroes tried to sell the Masters out to S.H.I.E.L.D., Zemo instead trapped them in Bagalia’s underground city long enough to raid the outside world. Melter and the Young Masters were last seen attacking the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy. [Avengers Undercover #6-10] He may have been captured, because Chris was next seen in Pleasant Hill, one of the many super-villains brainwashed into a small town life by S.H.I.E.L.D. and their sentient Cosmic Cube, Kobik. [Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6]

Finally, Chris thought he found a place to belong when the X-Men founded a mutant homeland on the sentient island of Krakoa. All past crimes were forgiven for mutants who sought sanctuary and citizenship on Krakoa. Melter was still desperate for guidance and a way to prove himself as a vital part of Krakoa’s society. Krakoa was overseen by the Quiet Council, filled with legendaries like Charles Xavier and Magneto. Chris decided to seek out their private meeting place to announce himself and be accepted as an active contributor to Xavier’s dream and the new mutant culture.

Unfortunately, his good intentions did not match his actions. One of the Three Laws of Krakoa was “Respect this Sacred Land,” for Krakoa was a sapient being and their host, lightly feeding off of mutant energies en masse to satisfy its needs. When Melter began practicing with his powers, the damage he did to the island compelled Krakoa to rapidly absorb mutant lifeforce from Chris and many people in his immediate area. Melter got his wish and met Charles Xavier, but only because Xavier came to admonish him for misusing his powers. A starry-eyed Chris wanted to thank Xavier for their nation and play a bigger part, but the professor clearly saw him and his search for the Quiet Council as a nuisance. He was warned about using his powers destructively and about respecting the Council’s privacy. Melter persisted despite his warning, and the next time he damaged Krakoa he was brought before the Quiet Council, not as an ally, but to be condemned.

Though all mutants received amnesty upon arriving on Krakoa, some broke the Three Laws and so a prison was needed on the island. “The Pit” was designed as a void of exile deep within Krakoa for those who broke its laws, as decided by the Quiet Council. Sabretooth was the first to be swallowed by the island, but Xavier and Magneto soon oversaw the trial for other law breakers like Melter, Nekra, Oya, Madison Jeffries and the Third Eye. They were all consigned into the void, but even Krakoa and the Council didn’t know what Creed’s mind had made of the Pit. Melter and the others found themselves in an astral illusion of Hell, ruled over by Sabretooth. Creed tormented them at first, but soon tried to bond with the other prisoners over the unfairness of the Quiet Council’s laws. Trusting Sabretooth was difficult, but he dangled the idea of freedom in front of them.

Melter remained loyal to Krakoa and his idea of Xavier’s dream, even in the Pit. Sabretooth tried to use the Pit’s illusions to fool Chris, but Melter saw through it and tried to fight back. In his physical body inside the Pit, Melter reached out his hand and melted Sabretooth’s real body with his powers in the name of protecting Krakoa. It was nearly disastrous, for Sabretooth was so deeply tethered to the other prisoners that killing him might’ve killed them all, if Third Eye’s psychic powers hadn’t preserved them. Surviving this trauma triggered a secondary mutation in Chris, giving the Melter a new, almost-liquid burning form. Sabretooth’s escape plan worked as he intended (for him alone), but Krakoa and its voice Doug Ramsey met psychically with the prisoners. He offered these “exiles” their freedom if in exchange they would hunt down Victor Creed for Krakoa. Melter and the others were joined by additional prisoners Toad, Nanny and the Orphan-Maker to pursue Sabretooth on the open seas. [Sabretooth (3rd series) #1-5]

Their mission wasn't easy, as Sabretooth had already been captured by Dr. Barrington on behalf of the Orchis corporation. The Melter grew friendly with the Orphan-Maker, although Peter continued to mistake Chris for the Human Torch. Barrington kidnapped Orphan-Maker when they first crossed paths, and Sabretooth and the Exiles followed her to the next Orchis station to get him back. They uncovered a thousand mutants being used as test subjects, and many more in a mass grave at another station. Sabretooth left them again when the opportunity came, but Melter and the Exiles became custodians of these mutant refugees. They warned them that Krakoa was not the paradise it claimed to be, and the Exiles began to make their own plans for the future. [Sabretooth & the Exiles #1-5]