Working as a spy for the Reich, Death immigrated to the United States where he became a famous Hollywood actor in the likes of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks. For his efforts, the British Empire knighted him and offered him Lordship.
In 1936, Death served in the Spanish Civil War, working in the guise of a war correspondent. In truth, he was flying sorties for the German Luftwaffe on behalf of Francisco Franco. During a raid on Madrid, Death came into conflict with rival aviator Janos Prohaska. Prohaska was flying in the Bill Heywood Squadron at the time and had yet to cultivate his reputation as wing commander of the famed Blackhawk Squadron. Their fight ended in a draw, but Prohaska exposed Mayhew's identity, and the world at large learned of his treasonous, subversive acts. The exposure ended his Hollywood career, and his British Lordship was revoked.
In 1941, Death Mayhew made a public appearance with Adolf Hitler at the Berchtesgarten. Hitler appointed Mayhew Reich Marshall of England. Later that year, Death conspired with Russian agent Fyodor Vlaslov to acquire an atomic bomb. Through various underground contacts, they hired the Jewish gangster Emil Bronski to find the bomb and have it transported to Russia. When Bronski discovered that his employers were actually members of the Third Reich, he angrily rescinded the offer, citing that he would instead sell the bomb to anyone who was willing to deploy it against Adolf Hitler. Members of the Blackhawk Squadron (secretly working for the O.S.S.) learned of the incident between Bronski and Mayhew, and tracked the bomb's whereabouts to Morocco. Death found Bronski and shot him to death in his hotel room. Upon leaving the hotel, he had another brief altercation with Janos Prohaska, but managed to escape to France. He recovered the bomb and kept it at various secret locations throughout France.
At about this time, Mayhew discovered that he had developed a terminal illness and would not live out the year. Rather than go out quietly, Mayhew was determined to insure the legacy of the Third Reich by placing himself as the architect of an ambitious attack against the United States. He collaborated with the S.S. to engineer a massive fighter craft that could make a trans-Atlantic flight in a single trip. This seemingly impossible plane was dubbed the New York Bomber.
Working with Russian soldiers loyal to Joseph Stalin, Mayhew formed the White Lions – a fighter squadron flying German JU 88 dive-bombers. The White Lions were to function as counterparts to the Blackhawk Squadron and its pilots wore white uniforms with a stylized lion's head insignia across the breast. One of the first missions of the White Lions involved flying sorties across farmlands in Moscow, for which group captain Lieutenant Jankel received special recognition.
The Anti-Bolshevik propaganda that illuminated the White Lions was countered by reverse-propaganda against the Blackhawks, who at the time were labeled as communist sympathizers. This was due in no small part to U.S. Senator Shadrack Hightower, secretly an agent of the Nazi regime. Shadrack conspired with Mayhew to acquire the atomic bomb for his intended attack against New York, but even he felt that Mayhew had grown arrogant and uncontrollable. When Hightower was of no more use to Mayhew, he had him shot and killed inside of his car in New York.
In June of 1941, Mayhew ordered the White Lions to strike at the Valentine-Prendergast Airplane Factory in Moscow. He knew that his old foe Prohaska (as well as the other Blackhawks) would be present, and felt that the attack would make for a strong a show of force – one that he had hoped would also destroy his old adversary. The battle-ready Blackhawks repelled The White Lions, but veteran Blackhawk pilot Captain Stanislaus Drozdowski was killed during the battle.
Soon after, Death Mayhew's New York Bomber was completed, and he was prepared for his final attack against New York. His target – the Empire State Building. Mayhew and his paramour, Reba MacMahon flew to Manhattan, but MacMahon had little knowledge of Death's true motivations. When she eventually discovered that he intended on destroying the entire city, she fled from him, locating Janos Prohaska to warn him of the attack. Janos raced to the Empire State Building and engaged in a final fight with Mayhew. During the scuffle, Prohaska gunned Mayhew down and managed to detonate the bomb via remote while it was still at sea.
- Illness: Prior to his death, Death Mayhew suffered from a terminal illness, which greatly weakened him and sent him into fits of coughing.
- 4 Appearances of Death Mayhew (New Earth)
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