The strip's eponymous protagonist was an amnesiac drifter on the planet Generica, a sleazy, run-down dump with a 1950s noir vibe. (Futuristic technology such as spacecraft was implied to exist but never actually shown). Malone got a room in a cheap motel, found work in a bar called Sucker's, befriended Missy Solemnis (a singer whom he rescued from the motel's lift, where she had been trapped for two days) and became entangled with Serge, the local crime boss. Missy wanted to become famous, but on Generica the only way to do that was through Serge, and she didn't want a criminal as her manager.
Malone was eventually revealed to be a brainwashed Sinister (pictured top right) with a new face. On the run from the Downlode authorities, both legal and criminal, he had decided that the safest way to remain hidden was to conceal his identity even from himself. Readers did not discover who 'Malone' really was for some weeks, until Rocky Rhodes tracked him down and told him his real name. (He kept having nightmares of a creepy red-nosed clown which, in retrospect, were a clue to the persona lying dormant in his subconscious — as was the fact that his gaze kept being drawn to the advertisement opposite his motel window, which featured a woman smoking a cigarette. Also, his Irish accent returned after Serge's thugs hit him on the head, causing people to ask what was wrong with his voice.)
After killing Serge and regaining his mind Sinister decided to return to Downlode with Rocky Rhodes, who said that the city needed him. He readopted the name Malone, though not the persona, in the Sinister Dexter story Malone Again.