|Thomas O'Malley was born and raised in Chicago, into an Irish cop family with a history of service to the city over two centuries long; one of his great-uncles was a member of the Untouchables, various uncles, cousins, and second cousins held positions ranging from beat cop to district chief, and both his father and older brother were on the force and were shot in the line of duty while Thomas was growing up. Far from discouraging Thomas, the deaths of his father and brother only made him want to be a policeman even more.
During high school Thomas took part in the Sheriff's Explorers program in addition to his other passion, the marching band, and was all lined up to transition smoothly into the Police Academy after graduation. He aced the entrance exam, but out of nowhere failed the physical due to a heart murmur he hadn't even known he had. Devastated, Thomas left the Academy and slowly wandered the streets in a daze. Fate seemed to have a different plan for young Thomas than being a police officer however, for as he drifted down a deserted alley in his stupor he was blinded by a very bright flash of light and felt an incredible, searing pain that dropped him to his knees and then into unconsciousness.
Thomas awoke many hours later to the sound of a woman struggling. Coming to his senses, Thomas discovered that he saw the world differently now than he had before, in much greater clarity and across a greatly expanded wavelength. He could also "hear" radio transmissions burbling in the back of his mind and if he concentrated he could even hear cell phone conversations and tune in on broadcast media of all sorts. Looking down at his arms his skin was metallic, his veins were replaced by circuitry, and all of his joints were articulated and robotic. Even more oddly, his fingertips were shaped like nozzles and sealed by something like irises. Standing up he discovered that when he moved he felt tremendously powerful and coordinated. In fact, his reaction time was so accelerated, the world seemed to be moving at half speed.
Then he remembered the girl sounds. Looking to the side he saw three young thugs attempting to sexually assault a woman behind the shelter of a dumpster two blocks away, but with perfect clarity as if he were looking through binoculars. Moving with an alarming quickness Thomas crossed the intervening distance and set into the villainous scum from behind. The first he grabbed by the back of the shirt and threw backwards across the alley into a wall, the second he struck across the face as he turned to confront Thomas, but the third pulled a gun, and without thinking Thomas reflexively fired a green bolt of energy from the fingertips of his right hand, striking the gunman squarely and propelling him backwards into the side of the dumpster which caused the lid to slam down and crush the would-be rapists head.
Stunned by the suddenness of the fatality Thomas froze for a moment, but fortunately for them the other two goons turned tail and ran. Pulling himself together, Thomas got the girl to a rape shelter nearby despite her fear of his robotic appearance, and then found his way to a corner of a quiet park near the alleyway as night settled in. The body was found that night and Detective Jamie O'Malley, one of Thomas's uncles, took the case. Watching from the park, Thomas was haunted by the sound of the thugs head popping like a melon; it invaded any unguarded moment and wouldn't let him rest. Finally he resolved never to take another life if it could be avoided by any means.
Further, he realized if he didn't leave town he might be forced to elude the custody of a kinsman, or worse perhaps come into an armed conflict with him. As the thug's death proved Thomas couldn't be sure of his own capabilities for mayhem; he might kill his uncle by mistake. Thus, though it pained him to do so, Thomas departed his beloved Chicago that night. At first he traveled on foot, but for some reason after a while felt an urging which resulted in him trying to fly, and succeeding.
After reaching the outskirts of Millennium City hours later Thomas holed up in an abandoned warehouse and began to discover more about his new and freakish state. After several days of self experimenting he discovered he could switch back to his normal form by an act of will, after finally succumbing to sleep after a week of no need to rest and waking up normal. At first he thought the whole thing had been a dream, or that perhaps he was going crazy, but merely thinking about the other form was enough to cause his transformation back. Struck by an idea Thomas thought about being his normal self again, and after some initial difficulty he learned how to switch back and forth with a mere moments thought.
Able to blend in if necessary, Thomas went out to learn more about this new city and perhaps make a new home for himself. He found shelter at a halfway house run in South Dearborn by a kindly older priest called Father Paul Tremain, and started to get his life in order. However he quickly found himself obliged by his code of behavior to protect many innocents and victims from the despoliations of street scum of various stripes and became active throughout the area as a crime fighter and protector of the downtrodden.
Eventually he managed to get a trumpet from a pawn shop and started applying his only real job skill, playing the Trumpet, by day in downtown Millennium City, parks, or on trains for sympathy cash, and fighting street crime by night. After his initial foray into crime fighting, Thomas decided he needed a call sign like other superheroes have and started calling himself War-Man, for he had decided that he had been made into a holy avenger by God to carry out a war on crime. He has since rethought the divine angle and realized it was in fact merely an accident that caused his condition, but the name stuck.
Eventually as War-Man he became involved with several other supers in the area and eventually they banded together in a loose team known as the Millennial Men. It wasn't long before his determinedly heroic drive distinguished him and earned the respect of the other supers and War-Man was named leader of the group.
As War-Man Thomas registered with PRIMUS, made contacts with members of law enforcement, and generally found acceptance among servants of the government, which is close enough to being an actual cop to entice and fulfill Thomas. Meanwhile as himself Thomas forged ties among the local downtrodden, homeless, and helpless of the city and became recognized by some as a good guy that can be trusted. Despite the rocky start he got off to he has adapted well to his unexpected life as a superhero.
What Thomas does not know is how or why he actually got his powers. Unbeknownst to him, across the city of Chicago on that fateful day a set of Dr. Destroyer's wardroids were embroiled in a fight with some local hero's that were snooping around the good Dr's activities. One of the wardroids sustained a massive injury to its internal systems and core programming which caused it to randomly teleport away in the middle of the fight.
As Thomas was moving down the Alleyway in a freak accident that defies explanation and all probability, the wardroid teleported in right on top of Thomas causing the two of them to merge together and become one being.
The resulting entity has some of the abilities of the wardroid plus a few more that seem to be influenced by Thomas himself, and both the memories and emotions of Thomas. The wardroid's core programming and systems were inexplicably and irrevocably integrated with Thomas's nervous system, and its CPU did not survive the merger. The resulting entity of War-Man is a molecular molding of both organic and artificial properties and is quite possibly unique.
Thomas maintains his secret id carefully, though he often does street level recon, scouting, and investigative work in his normal form.