Abner Jenkins was a master mechanic at an aircraft parts factory who became dissatisfied with his boring, low paying job. Using his considerable mechanical knowledge, Jenkins built an armor-plated, strength-augmenting suit, a pair of gravity-defying wings, suction-fingered gloves, and a cybernetic control helmet. Calling himself the Beetle, Jenkins decided to use his battle suit for fame, wealth, and adventure. Believing a victory over half the Fantastic Four would make him an overnight sensation, the Beetle chose to lure the Human Torch and the Thing into battle. Unfortunately, the Thing and the Human Torch defeated him, and he was sent to prison.
When Baron Zemo formed the Thunderbolts, Jenkins made a new armor, the Mobile Armored Cyber-Harness, and took on the name of MACH-I. Zemo's plan was to gain the favor or the citizens of New York, which was in need of heroes after the disappearance of the Avengers and Fantastic Four after Onslaught's attack, only to gain access to classified S.H.I.E.L.D. files and eventually control the world. Jenkins and several of his teammates began to like the hero life, and decided to leave their villainous pasts behind. Zemo instead revealed that the Thunderbolts were actually ex-Masters of Evil members to the public, leaving the new heroes with a public unwilling to trust them.
The murder he committed eventually came back to haunt Abe. When Hawkeye took over leadership of the team, he convinced Jenkins to serve out his prison sentence as a gesture of good will to the public. While in prison, someone used the Beetle armor to frame Jenkins, so he broke out. Abe was given a new face and appearance by Fixer along with the alias of Matthew Davis.
Eventually Jenkins returned his features to normal and returned to prison to finish his sentence. Spending time as a hero seemed to change his outlook on life. After being released from prison, Jenkins reformed the Thunderbolts with the funding of Baron Strucker. With Songbird now in charge of the team, Abe is working with Fixer once again.
Powers & Abilities
The MACH-IV flight suit is designed to function as a form-fitting fighter plane in terms of its flight speed and offensive firepower, giving Jenkins the capabilities of a man-sized military aircraft and beyond. The suit flies by means of a winged jet pack harness, has a top speed sufficient to achieve orbital velocity, and can operate in vacuum of space for limited periods thanks in part to an internal air supply. The MACH-IV can also function underwater. In flight, the suit steers by line-of-sight, tunring in whichever direction the wearer moves his head, but an onboard flight computer can perform more complex piloting tasks or engage a form of autopilot if need be. Other suits systems are controlled via cybernetic links in the helmet. MACH-4's onboard computer can access other computers, tap into and control the avionics systems of other aircraft, download data from external sorces, and digitally transmit information. MACH-IV has extensive communications array, as well as reconnaissance and surveillance systems such as a magnetic resonance imaging array. The suit can scramble external tracking systems and emit a signal that replicates its surrounding environment, creating a "chameleon" effect that makes the suit seemingly blend into any area being electronically scanned. The suit's audio feed grants its wearer greatly enhanced hearing, its enhanced vision enables clear perception of targets up to six miles away, and its spectral analysis systems allow the wearer to perceive and scan targets based on infra-red readings, biothermal signatures, geothermic emissions and comparative topography. The suit can release and plant tracking devices for long-range or long-term surveillance. MACH-IV can also release remotely controlled, hovering miniature probes capable of scanning a target area and reporting back to the user. The MACH-4 suit enhances its wearer's psysical strength and offers greatly enhanced durability, reportedly sufficient to withstand even the heat and radiation of a nuclear blast, though it seems more vulnerable to physical peneration than to energy-based attacks. The MACH-IV housed and can discharge up to four fire-retardant foam charges, and its exterior has a non-stick coating designed to foil adhesives such as Spider-Man's webbing. The suit can build up additional reserves of power through ongoing absorption of solar energy.
As the Beetle, Jenkins wore body armor that enhanced his strenght and durability. The armor's gloves had suction-grip fingers and could release electro-static energy discharges. The armor's rear-mounted shell housed extendable ultra-tough mylar wings which allowed the wearer to fly by mimicking the motions of an actual beetle's wings (originally, the Beetle armor employed huge, bulky metallic wings that could only be operated through use of the wearer's superhuman strength; these wings could also be used as shields, battering weapons and digging devices). The Beetle armor had a constantly replenishing power supply that utilized microwaves at many prevalent frequencies, and an internal mini-computer that fed tactical data to the heads-up displays (HUD) in the armor's helmet.
The MACH-IV suit houses various weapons such as gas bombs, heat-seeking missiles, machine guns (loaded with standard ammunation or rubber "mercy" bullets), concussion blasters, electrical blasters, electromagnetic pulse grenades, and targer-locked, camera-guided missiles.