As a child he would spend hours watching the leaves fall from the trees, studying their descent, and on one occasion made a pair of wings and jumped from a barn in an attempt to fly. It was this fascination with flight that led to him finding a career in the U.S. Space Program. He gained great fame for being the first man to orbit the planet Venus. This was accomplished as part of Project Vulcan. The same project called him to travel to the next furthest planet from Earth, Mars.
However during the mission contact with him was lost for a period of eight minutes and since then has on his first night home his vision blurs as he cooks streaks for him and his wife. Moments later he looses all sense of balance and collapses unconscious. Over the next couple days he finds the temperature increasingly cold. Another peculiarity is that he manages to drink scalding coffee as if it were water. Barton begins having strange nightmares of some type of lifeform he saw on Venus. After falling asleep in a dangerously heated sauna his hands became grotesquely mutated, now having a scabby appearance with webbing between the fingers. A blood test from his personal physician revealed his white blood cells are mostly gone and his red cells have become distorted. The doctor concludes his body chemistry is progressively changing. Not long afterwords his arm caught fire though he appeared entirely unfazed, in fact he realized the comfort brought by the heat and willingly held his hands over the flame. His doctors in time found a way to treat his condition and prevent it's advancement. He took to wearing gloves to conceal his mutated hands.