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Not much is known about the history of the man who would become Captain Flame. What is known is that before the outbreak of World War II, he was but a mild-mannered carpet salesman. He was also homosexual, which given the social standards during the 1940s, was something he tried to keep a secret out of fear for discrimination and persecution. He was the central part of a military action called Operation: Firefly. The exact nature of Operation: Firefly is unrecorded at this time, but it is believed to have involved the Norse god of mischief, Loki. It was also likely to have been the source of his powers.
Major Story Arcs
All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes
Lieutenant Cortez was a member of the Crazy Sues, an off-shoot of the All-Winners Squad that fought abroad with Captain America during WWII. During a street skirmish against the Nazis, Cortez demonstrated mastery over combustion when he took direct fire from a tank and repelled it back at his attackers. Fellow superhero and teammate Merzah the Mystic subsequently used his psychic powers to persuade the shell-shocked Cortez to stand down out of the line-of-fire and seek medical attention. Decades later, an aging Bill Bryon (once known as Golden Age hero the Young Avenger) revealed that Cortez' and his wartime adventures as Captain Flame were featured in Super Hero Comics #1, a Timely propaganda comic that never saw distribution.
Powers and Abilities
Captain Flame is capable of absorbing, channeling, and redirecting flames. He can use this ability to even absorb explosions from things like cannon fire or grenades and redirect the explosive force at opponents.
Unfortunately, Frank Cortez suffered from his own personal doubts in combat, the guilt of using his powers to kill, and struggled with his homosexuality, among other apparent but unidentified mental issues. All of these issues affected his combat performance and the use of his abilities.