Powderkeg possesses an abnormally large, near-invulnerable physique. His most notable ability allows him to secrete nitroglycerin through his skin and thereby cause explosions whenever his body strikes anything with sufficient force. This also allows him to throw explosive punches.
Nothing has been revealed regarding the early life and origin of the man known only as Powderkeg. A mercenary, he was hired to procure high-tech circuitry on behalf of Brazilian crime lord Kristina Ramos. He inadvertently crossed paths with Captain Marvel who, in her secret identity of Monica Rambeau, happened to be commanding the ship carrying the cargo. During this time, Monica had thought her powers were burned out as a result of stopping a mutated Marrina, but she tried to confront Powderkeg by appearing in her costume and intimidating him into stopping his activities. When Powderkeg only laughed at the attempt, Monica found that some facet of her power remained, and despite her inexperience with these new powers, she defeated Powderkeg with a blow to the chin.
Later, Powderkeg battled the Avengers during a failed mass escape at the prison for superhumans known as the Vault. Later still, Powderkeg was recruited to be a member of Doctor Octopus's version of the Masters of Evil. The group attempted to storm the mansion headquarters of the Avengers when the team was away on a mission. Unknown to the villains, this feat was made easier due to the fact that many of Earth’s super-powered individuals were being replaced by monstrous doppelgangers of themselves. The Masters of Evil were thwarted by the Guardians of the Galaxy who were visiting the mansion, but both teams were forced to band together to fight their doppelgangers. After defeating them all, Doctor Octopus hoped to continue the battle against the Guardians, but Powderkeg and the others refused to turn on the heroes who had helped them survive and disbanded after forcing Doctor Octopus to flee.