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Green Lantern

Tattooed Man

Tattooed Man

IDENTITY: Abel Tarrant

GREEN LANTERN 2nd series # 23
(September, 1963)
"Threat of the Tattooed Man!"

Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Eyes: blue
Hair: brown

KNOWN RELATIVES: unnamed parents


Twenty years ago, while visiting Captain Carl's Tattoo Studio by the Coast City seaport, Abel Tarrant had only expected to get a tattoo. It would be some time before he realized the path he was choosing for himself.

Tarrant was accosted by a man with tattooes across his body which had the remarkable ability to come alive. A pair of tattoo-created tigers kept the studio owner and another would-be customer at bay while the man held him up against the store's wall.

The man claimed to be him twenty years in the future. He warned Tarrant to turn his life around and not make the mistakes he did. The future man doubled over in pain, allowing Tarrant to escape. Unfortunately for his future self, young Tarrant returned to the studio where the tattoo artist would eventually hook him up with a burglary crew.

Ten years later, Abel Tarrant's career as a sailor had given way to a life as a small-time criminal. Late one night, he broke into a laboratory, planning to steal the payroll. A burglar alarm sounded after Tarrant had cracked open the lab's safe. Startled, he dropped his flashlight. Stumbling in the dark, a night watchman's gunfire made Tarrant jump back, knocking over a shelf of chemicals. Tarrant fired back, emptying his gun.

Tarrant groped in the darkness, looking for an escape. He thought he saw the shape of a bomb on the floor of the lab, but upon touching it realized it was just the spilled chemicals. Tarrant wished it was a real bomb to aid him in escaping the lab. Still touching the chemicals, Tarrant was surprised when the liquid turned solid, becoming a real bomb. He threw it at the wall, and concentrated. The bomb exploded, knocking out the lab wall and freeing him from the authorities.

Tarrant returned the next day, posing as a reporter. Using sponges, he soaked up the chemicals to study later.

Back at his boarding house room, Tarrant experimented with his discovery. He learned he needed to draw an object for it to form, and then concentrate to activate it. Tarrant painted a small arsenal of weapons such as axes, dragons, throwing anchors, and wheels of fire on his body. As tattooes the objects would always be near at hand.

Tarrant planned to steal the treasures of Baron Cranfield, a billionaire Coast City resident that his parents had worked for. As a child, Tarrant had always wished those riches were his. With his new found powers, they would be.

Wielding his tattooes, the sailor robbed the Coast City Arts Center in broad daylight. The first real threat he had to face was Green Lantern Hal Jordan. The emerald gladiator was surprised to find his power ring had no effect over the tattoo images, in fact, the chemicals Tarrant used had a yellow base, the one color the power ring could not overcome. Tarrant made his escape while Green Lantern battled an eagle tattoo.

Continuing his revitalized life of crime, Tarrant became known as the Tattooed Man. In a few days he had stolen almost all of the Cranfield treasures.

Green Lantern discovered his pattern and coated the last treasure, a set of jewels, with an invisible aura from his power ring. Two nights later, Green Lantern knew the Tattooed Man had struck.

Tarrant was ready for his emerald pursuer as well. He pressed a tattoo of a machine-gun firing plane but the hero dodged it. Next Tarrant sent a flaming pinwheel after Green Lantern.

The emerald gladiator knew his enemy could only control one tattoo at a time. The Tattooed Man tried unsuccessfully to blind his foe with a giant lightbulb and sent all his tattooes after Green Lantern. Trying to control four tattooes was impossible, and soon found he could control none of them. Knowing he would soon be defeated, Tarrant ordered his tattooes to vanish. He was taken into police custody but swore to fight Green Lantern again.
[GL2 # 23]

The Tattooed Man later joined other villains as a member of the Injustice Gang of the World. In all three of their appearances they were defeated by the Justice League of America. For a brief time, the Tattooed Man had a different appearance and tattooes than his regular "sailor" garb.
[JLA # 111, 143, 158, WhW'85 # 23]

Tarrant thought he'd have more success without the Injustice Gang and resumed his solo career on the East Coast. He made a powerful enemy when he inadvertently stole money belonging to Goldface.

The armored crimelord employed the mental powers of his gangly assistant, Stanley, to track down the Tattooed Man. The sailor managed to elude Goldface's gang, getting on board a plane bound for California. Though he was free for the moment, an unfortunate meeting with Green Lantern led to his downfall. The emerald crusader chased the Tattooed Man through Los Angeles. In the mere seconds the Tattooed Man was out of Green Lantern's sight, Goldface's mob struck. The Tattooed Man was shot, and Green Lantern found the body.
[GL2 # 144]

Green Lantern pledged to find the Tattooed Man's killers, eventually coming into conflict with Goldface once more.
[GL2 # 145]

The Tattooed Man let the world believe he was dead and relocated to New York City. He opened a tattoo parlor called the "Palace of Fine Art" in order to make an honest living. Tarrant used the tattooes on his arms to make a simple, if artificial, family life for himself.

Tarrant had left behind his life of crime and the battles with Green Lantern, or so he thought. One day his life was uprooted by a certain customer, one Green Lantern Guy Gardner.

The Justice Leaguer had come in for a tattoo and recognized the one-time crook. Gardner irritated the Tattooed Man so much that he followed the Green Lantern in battle a few hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast.

Hal Jordan learned Gardner was in the area and was ready to confront the obnoxious Green Lantern. Gardner had been following Jordan across country, just to cause problems for his fellow Green Latern. Gardner had started the fight with the Tattooed Man to get back at Hal Jordan, but the Green Lantern was not in the mood for his tricks. Rather than battle the Tatooed Man, Jordan caught the sailor in a waterspout and left Gardner to continue the fight.

After about ten minutes, Gardner had tired with the fight. The Tattooed Man washed up on shore, and was later hired as a crab fisherman. He had found the peaceful life he was looking for.
[GL3 # 2]

Evidentally, the Tattooed Man held a deep respect for Green Lantern Hal Jordan. He and Sonar attended the memorial service for Jordan held in the ruins of Coast City.
[GL3 # 81]

Recently, the Tattooed Man attended the funeral of former Injustice Gang teammate David Clinton, a.k.a. Chronos. He had not kept in touch with Clinton, for fear of violating his parole by associating with another former convict.

The late David Clinton left his friend Tarrant the pink slip to his 1965 Mustang convertible, but Tarrant was interested in something else: Chronos' time travelling equipment.

Tarrant believed this was left to Walker Gabriel, a graduate school dropout who had befriended Clinton in his last few months. He secretly followed Gabriel to sixty miles west of Ivy Town and forced Gabriel to show him how to use the time travelling equipment.

A makeshift harness allowed Tarrant to travel twenty years into the past. He arrived in Coast City, twenty years earlier. In Captain Carl's Tattoo Studio, Tarrant used his tattooes to keep others away while he tried to intimidate his younger self into turning his life around. Walker Gabriel followed him back into the past as the harness Tarrant had used would not be able to return him to the present. At some level his idea seemed to work as his skin burned and the tattooes on his body melted. When the older Tarrant doubled over in pain, young Tarrant took the opportunity to escape.

Walker Gabriel returned Tarrant and himself to the present where the tattooes stabilized themselves. Unforunately for unconscious Tarrant, the lesson had been lost on his younger self. Time had not been altered.

Some weeks earlier, a superpowered mercenary codenamed "Tattoo" had been sighted in the city of Vanity. Her connection, if any, to the Tattooed Man may just be a coincidence. The mercenary team, "Dial 'V' for Villain", was hired by LexCorp to offer a small challenge to the hero known as Aztek. Tattoo did not have a chance to display her powers before she and the rest of the team were defeated by the young hero. Their future as mercenaries remains in doubt as Lex Luthor has opted on a hitman, rather than pay their fees.
[AZTEK # 8]

Green Lantern