Major Force (Clifford Zmeck) is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. He is a supervillain that first appeared in Captain Atom vol. 3, #12 (February 1988).
Major Force is a product of the same U.S. Federal project which created Captain Atom during the Vietnam War. The government, in a project headed by Wade Eiling and the scientist Megala, was experimenting with the effects of atomic energy on an alien metal they had taken from a crashed spaceship to determine its full protective abilities; such as protecting a human being from a nuclear blast. After the disappearance of Nathaniel Adam and the perceived failure of the Captain Atom Project, the government restarted the project with a new subject, Clifford Zmeck and increased the amount of metal used (Captain Atom #36 Dec. 89). While in the USAF, Zmeck had been jailed in a high security prison for rape and murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was offered a pardon in exchange for participation in the high-risk governmental experiment. The results were the same as with the Captain Atom Project and Zmeck disappeared into the Quantum Field, emerging one year after the return of Nathaniel Adam. This time, the government was ready and implanted microexplosives under the metal while it was still malleable, in order to control Zmeck in case he went rogue. During one mission, a government operator (who was actually the son of the woman Zmeck had murdered) activated one such explosive, amputating one of Zmeck's hands. Introduced as an ally, then successor to Captain Atom, Force's brutality betrayed his government-concocted role of superhero and brought him in frequent conflict with Atom. Major Force is now arguably Captain Atom's arch-enemy. Eventually, he became a hired gun for General Wade Eiling's purposes.
Crime and punishment
In Green Lantern vol. 3, #54 (August 1994), Major Force killed Alexandra "Alex" DeWitt, girlfriend of the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, and stuffed her remains in a refrigerator where Kyle would find her. Rayner tortured Major Force after their fight, but was stopped by forces of LAPD's Special Crimes Unit. Alex's demise inspired writer Gail Simone to create the website Women in Refrigerators, which in turn coined the term of the same name.
In Guy Gardner: Warrior #43 (June, 1996), Force killed Arisia, a former Green Lantern and dear friend of Guy Gardner. Force was apparently confronted in Kyoto, Japan. Guy Gardner seemingly kills him in revenge. In reality, Force is made of energy and not matter. He cannot die and has effectively gained immortality.
In Superman/Batman #3 and #4 (December 2003 and January 2004), Force is part of a Government Task Force led by Captain Atom, in addition to Green Lantern John Stewart, Power Girl of the JSA, Starfire of the Teen Titans, Outsiders and allies of Batman Katana and Black Lightning. He is saddled with Captain Atom by President Lex Luthor in order to bring in Superman when a Kryptonite asteroid was headed for Earth. Superman and Batman escape them in Washington, D.C., but met up with them again in Tokyo. Power Girl and Katana reveal they are double agents working with Superman and Batman the whole time. When Captain Atom and his squad pursue them to Japan, Power Girl strikes at the Major. When he returns fire, Katana chops his hands off, releasing the atomic energy he harbored. Batman convinces Captain Atom to absorb the energy leaking from Force, which threatened to decimate the city. Captain Atom absorbed all the energy and disappeared, moving several years into the future in a quantum leap.
As indicated in Superman/Batman #25, a copy of Major Force's mind, his thoughts, his anger, gets mixed in with the essence of the new Kryptonite Man.
In an issue of Guy Gardner, Major Force seemingly slays Guy's mother in the same manner as Kyle's beloved girlfriend. After some confusion, it is learned Force had killed a neighbor who had been house-sitting. In Green Lantern vol. 3, #180 (October, 2004), Force apparently decapitates Maura Rayner, mother of Kyle Rayner, and stuffs her severed head in an oven. He later says it was just a mannequin. Kyle snaps, decapitates Force (whose head was still talking), seals it in a bubble of Green Lantern energy and sends it into outer space (Kyle later finds out his mother is alive and well).
"One Year Later"
Major Force reappeared in the new Battle for Blüdhaven book, a title set a year after the events of Infinite Crisis, as the field leader of project S.H.A.D.E. In issue #5, he rips the right arm off a government hero named Major Victory, and beats him with it (Major Victory reappears in issue #7). He also picked a fight with Hal Jordan, as Force vowed to kill any Green Lantern on sight after his last encounter with Kyle Rayner. Jordan personally wants to put an end to Force's murderous rampage, as he's enraged by the knowledge of Alexandra DeWitt and Arisia's murders, and even sent Force to a hard-light constructed refrigerator in a similar fashion as Force done to DeWitt during the battle. However, Captain Atom was revived by the Atomic Knights in issue #6 (as Monarch), and Force's rampage was quickly brought to an end when Atom drains him of his energy, leaving nothing but a husk. Force's corpse was last seen falling into the chaos left by Atom's energy expenditure.
His image appears in the series Ion as a representation of Kyle Rayner's fear.
Major Force's body is seen being kept in a secured crypt beneath Justice League of America's Hall of Justice in Washington, DC during Blackest Night #1.
However, he is subsequently seen alive and well among a band of villains that includes Eclipso and Dr. Polaris in during Justice Society of America #29. He is also seen in the pages of Action Comics #882, as part of the government project 7734, attempting to capture the rogue Captain Atom, who had since returned to his former identity.
Powers and abilities
Major Force is coated with the same Dilustel alien alloy that covers Captain Atom. As a result, he also can access the Quantum Field and use its energies for a variety of powers. However, his abilities stemmed from a different spectrum of field granting him different powers from Atom, aside from the superhuman strength and durability. This was theorized to be a result of the Major Force Project using double the amount of alien alloy and detonating a different type of bomb.
When he debuted, Major Force seemed to control matter much in the way Captain Atom controls energy. Therefore, he could project blasts of dark matter from his hands. He could manipulate this matter into various shapes and quantities. He used this ability to create a hand to replace one that was blown off by explosives implanted under his skin. He did not possess the ability to fly, but rather leapt great distances or traveled on ramps made of dark matter.
Major Force had a counterpart on the antimatter universe's Earth named Q-Ranger, a member of the Justice Underground.
In other media
Major Force appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Powerless!" voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He ends up stealing the Quantum Vacuum and uses it to steal Captain Atom's powers regressing him back to Nathaniel Adams. Then he drains the energy of a nuclear plant before engaging the other Justice League International members. Martian Manhunter states to Nathaniel Adams and Aquaman that Major Force defeated the Justice League International members that fought him. When Batman, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter try to fight them, Major Force manages to knock them down causing Nathaniel Adams to take action and crashes a jet into him. When Major Force grabs Nathaniel Adams, the Quantum Vacuum overloads which ends up releasing the stolen powers. Upon regaining his powers, Captain Atom ends up defeating Major Force.
Major Force appears in Young Justice with Fred Tatasciore reprising his role.
Major Force appears in the animated film Superman/Batman: Public Enemies voiced by Ricardo Chavira. His role in the film is very similar to that of the comic with the difference that he personally kills Metallo in order to frame Superman. It is hinted that he knew firsthand about Lex Luthor's plans for world domination and deliberately kept it a secret in exchange for Luthor allowing him to kill Metallo (something Batman makes note of). In the end, he is killed when Captain Atom succeeds in absorbing all the radiation that leaked out of a hole in his suit, otherwise it could've destroyed the whole city of Metropolis. In the movie, he shares Captain Atom's power of flight, whereas he doesn't in the comics.