Years ago, a young Earl Dukeston was building himself an empire of oil when he was caught in an explosion at one of his wells. When he awoke, he was told that his human brain was now occupied in a robotic body, and would continue to be so until his rescuers cloned a duplicate of his human form, into which his brain would then be transplanted.
In return, they would receive a share of Dukeston's profits, and have access to his technology. Dukeston agreed, convinced this was the only way he would ever again be fully human, retaining his sanity by telling himself that he was a human being, not a machine, as long as he still possessed a human brain.
Dukeston's mysterious benefactors soon revealed themselves to be the extra legal organization known as Skull. Following Skull's orders, Dukeston infiltrated the headquarters of the Outsiders in an attempt to steal the scientific secrets it contained.
While battling the Outsiders, Dukeston discovered, to his horror, that his metallic skull contained only a highly sophisticated computer containing the memories of the real Earl Dukeston and not a human brain. His last link to humanity snapped, Dukeston attacked the Outsiders and was plunged into the Pacific Ocean, in what The Outsiders believed was a suicide attempt. However, Dukeston's metallic corpse was never recovered, and Metamorpho warned his team mates, "He'll be back."
The Duke of Oil would appear as a member of Luthor's Secret Society of Super-Villians. Green Arrow, the new Speedy, and Arsenal would defeat him while dealing with a locked down bank with a bomb in it. He had new powers that he could control nearby mechanical devices.