Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Superwomen of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

While the greatest superhero on any world is Superman, the woman... or rather women... behind him goes by the name of Lois Lane. And, on rare occasions, as Superwoman!

We've already earlier considered a couple notable Superwomen in Kirsten Wells and Susan Semple, who were Girls of Tomorrow that aided their respective worlds' Supermen on occasion. And of course, there are the preeminent superwomen in the Supermen's Kryptonian cousins of Kara Zor-El and Kara Zor-L aka Supergirl and Power Girl.

Then there was the nasty Amazon of Earth-Three known as Superwoman, Wonder Woman's counterpart, who was the sole female member of the Crime Syndicate and found herself exiled in interdimensional limbo with her cronies for years after facing the Justice League and Society on two occasions.  She perished along with her world during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, while trying to save it.

Of course, the most famous Superwomen that went by that name in their costumed identities were the Lois Lanes of Earths One and Two, although they're careers were extremely short. For Lois-One, this was when her boyfriend made a device that transferred his Kryptonian powers for a limited period of time to her. For Lois-Two, this occurred when her husband's Kryptonian abilities transferred to her temporarily due to an exotic extraterrestrial plant he had bought her.

In the 30th century, the apparent descendants of both Supermen and Lanes followed in their ancestors' footsteps. Laurel Kent was a student of the Legion of Super-Heroes' Academy due to her young age and that the sole superhuman power was invulnerability. Her counterpart Lois 4XR, who seemed to have all the powers of her parents at the peak of their prowess, however with none of the good judgement or discipline. As such, a grown Superman had to rescue Lois 4XR several times before he returned to the 20th century. Laurel met the teenage Superboy while he was meeting up with his Legion allies. The Boy of Steel initially fell for her before learning her identity, and then returning to his native time knowing that this girl would resemble the woman he would one day marry.

However, later stories seem to indicate that Laurel, and perhaps Lois 4XR, were in actuality android agents of the Manhunters, sent to infiltrate superhuman societies in the 30th century.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Future's Finest: Fantastically Fabulous Fellas

Most fans of the sub-class of heroes from the future may be aware of one of the first published, that being Gary Concord, aka the Ultra-Man of the 22nd century. Actually, there were a few Concords operating under that name, which mirrored the appearance of Overlord and his clones, Futurio and Futurio-XX, who threatened the Super Friends repeatedly.

Concord has been acknowledged as having existed on  a "parallel Earth where history was drastically different"... although his tales ran concurrent with those of heroes originating on Earth-Two. Similarly,  In fact, there has been conjecture that his tales did not occur in that universe, given key events in his origin tale. Let's see why this is not true, that he is from the world where the Justice Society called home.

In 1915, Concord was born in war-torn France. When he was left an orphan due to the conflict, Gary resolved to use his considerable intellect to defeat the root cause of war for good. Decades later, a universe away, wealthy mogul Sandor Fane wanted an orderly well just like Gary, however for a different reason altogether. Instead of peace, Sandor wanted power. Manipulating various individuals such as the Kingslayer and creating pawns such as the Elementals, Overlord nearly succeeded in his schemes until each time his dupes encountered the Super Friends. While Fane's methods were outright villainous and audacious, Concord's were more thoughtful.

To that end, Concord was enlisted as a prime military strategist in the United States after having migrated there as a youth. However, his methods were somewhat unorthodox, to say the least. Early in the conflict involving World War II Concord was enlisted into Elwood Napier's Brain Trust, together creating a space ship and android alien in order the threaten the world. This impending invasion was a hoax with the intent of uniting the world against a common threat. However, the Trust's trust was jeopardized when one of its members in Anton Hastor usurped controls of the vessel, the android and the very minds of his scientific comrades. He was eventually defeated by members of the Justice Society and All-Star Squadron, freeing Concord and the others. However, embittered with this experience, Gary retreated into an underground bunker for years in order to perfect the means to eliminate war.

As for Overlord, as his own human pawns weren't securing the control over humanity he craved, he sought to employ clones of himself. Mutating them to have advanced mental capacities, his two "sons" were names Futurio and Futurio-XX. Like Ultra-Man I and Ultra-Man II, who fought against the legacy of their father-in-law and grandfather Rebborizon the dictator, Futurio and Futurio-XX never fully agreed with their "father's" methods or means... thinking him crude and insignificant. After these additional failures, And, like the Ultra-Men, their superhuman physique and mental might far exceeded typical man and even those who developed them in the first place. Overlord retreated once more to the seclusion of his riches rather than incur the further wrath of his superhero foes and ungrateful spawn. 

As for Concord, his goal for peace seemed have a chance at success thanks to his invention of a curious substance. This chemical concoction, a foam of seeming soap suds, could immobilize humans. Around this time, an archaeologist accidentally awoke four kings from an ancient kingdom in Africa. Together, the foursome had awesome mental abilities, and soon lured the Justice Society to their lair and paralyzed the heroes for an entire year. Then, the quartet of dictators each formed their own private armies in four sections of Earth-Two in order to conquer it. This was in 1950, the same year when Gary's life changed forever.

In Washington, D.C. where Concord had setup his underground bunker, he received signals of imminent war on the horizon. These were fomented by thought projections of Mister Crown, one of the four kings. This produced mass hysteria that caused the televised warning on Gary's television. Additionally, Crown was aware of the threat Concord poised for him, and had his forces the Swordsmen seal Gary within his bunker. This caused the foam to be unleashed, immobilizing Concord and transforming him into a gigantic Ultra-Man who would awake 225 years later!

Thus, accounts that have made mention that Gary Concord's origin was tied to a "second world war" in 1950 are erroneous, as his origin tale states that the "heel of oppression" tied to war was already occurring prior to Mister Crown's appearance. From Concord's perspective, from Crown's mind control and his coordinated attack against the scientist, it seemed like another world war was looming. However, shortly after Gary fell into his two century long suspended animation, the Justice Society themselves returned and defeated the malevolent monarchs.

Unfortunately, aside from an encounter alongside with Napier and the Brain Trust, Gary Concord never had the opportunity to interact with Earth-Two's superheroes as had Overlord and his replicas. However, the Futurios and their creator...though perpetual pests of the Super Friends... were themselves not seemingly entrenched in the lore that is Earth-One. In fact, the Super Friends tales have been said to have resided on "Earth-1A" just as the alternate future of Ultra-Man took place on "Earth-2A". And in reality, it is the Futurios and the Ultra-Men, as well as Gary and Sandor, who were products of a future era of technology for the most part far removed from the 20th century.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winged Warriors in Gotham City: Both Good and Bad

While most notable for having the Caped Crusaders known as Batman and Robin gliding above the streets of Gotham City, this metropolis had its fair share of other individuals who made short but notable impressions on this town.

In June of 1951, the first of these individuals whom we'll considered today debuted. An unnamed man from a Scandinavian country known publicly as the caped crusader Wingman appeared. Inspired by the successful career of Earth-Two's Batman, Wingman joined him on a month's worth of cases in Gotham in order to train under the more experience mystery man. Since Robin would be laid up in a cast for six weeks while recovering from an injury, this provided the Dark Knight with capable help.

Wingman took advantage of this opportunity to acquire the needed edge to become an experienced superhero under the tutelage of Batman.  This caused a rivalry between Wingman and Robin, until the Boy Wonder finally discovered that Wingman would be returning to his native home in northern Europe to engage in a solo career.

On Earth-One, his counterpart was a soldier and demolitions expert named Joe Rigger, who experienced repeated tragedy when members of his family perished during accidents at three separate buildings. His sanity lost, Rigger adopted the alter ego of Firebug and used his extensive athletic abilities and training to become a misguided vigilante. Able to emit flames from his gloves thanks to napalm tanks he incorporated into his costume, Firebug came into conflict with Batman. During their final recorded clash, Rigger seemingly perished atop the Gotham State Building, although he actually survived and would return another day to torment Gothamites while incurring the wrath of the city's Dark Knight protector.

Another pair of caped crusaders in Gotham were the Wrath and Blackwing, each embodying qualities of their worlds' Batmen. The Wrath was orphaned at a young age when his parents, a pair of burglars, were mistakenly shot by a young policeman who was to become Commissioner James Gordon while they were sneaking out a window. Traveling the world, training himself as a master assassin, Wrath eventually returned to the city of his birth to seek vengeance against Gordon. However, he found opposition when facing James' friend the Batman, who was also the Wrath's opposite number. After a few confrontations, the villain perished after attempting to avoid his own explosive capsule's detonation and falling to his death.

While the Wrath's path deviated from evil to good and back again on Earth-One, his counterpart on Earth-Two was the noble and courageous Charlie Bullock. An aspiring junior lawyer at the law firm of Cranston, Grayson and Wayne, Bullock recalled his earlier training under the guidance of Ted "Wildcat" Grant... and under the inspiration of the late Batman and his daughter the Huntress... Charlie adopted a new alter ego. As Blackwing, he was intent on stifling the Boa's protection racket in Gotham, only his lack of ability led to his capture. Still, thank to his creative thinking and ingenuity, he saved the Huntress' life and gave her the evidence to put away to Boa. Whether Bullock continued his costumed career after this has yet to be revealed.

Our final set of fearsome foes glided through the air seemingly effortless, while plundering the fair metropolis below. First, there was Charles Brown of Earth-One, an inventor who was obsessed with kites since young, and designed several to use in his crusader of crime as the Kite-Man. However, he too had to face Batman and Robin, then later Hawkman and Hawkgirl as well as Zatanna. On none of these occasions did he prove victorious even when employing a gang. Another gang of Kite-Men on Earth-Two tormented America in behalf of the Imperial Japanese in the early days of World War II, until the Black Condor upset their schemes and those of their leader Karlo Klug.

Many others would swing from the skyscrappers of both Gothams throughout the decades. However, these winged and webbed wonders were among the most lively... next to the Dynamic Duo themselves, of course.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Quigley's Quirky Quandry: The Hangman and the Archer

Thomas Quigley was a piece of work, on both worlds where he existed. Using various ancient techniques to assassinate his adversaries, both Quigleys nearly got away with their criminal conduct. Until the faced the World's Finest Heroes, and their red-haired allies.

The Earth-One Quigley was a master of various robes and nooses which he used to execute various members of Gotham City's Hangman's Club as the Hangman. While it was at first thought this was so he could have access to the treasuries of the Club, in actuality he was trying to cover for his own secret identity as his prime prey was his wife whose wealth he would stand to inherit after her death. Thankfully, the Batman and his Justice League colleague Elongated Man finally roped him in.

The Earth-Two Quigley was the son of a wealthy member of society, who had a falling out with his father leading to him being disinherited. Thirsting for money which he now lacked, as the Archer Quigley preyed upon rich individuals in Metropolis. This brought him to the attention of Superman, who after a few encounters thanks to the help of young cub reporter Jimmy Olsen was able to corner Quigley. Years later, the Archer would return with specialized arrows that seemingly removed powers from Superman. Thanks to the hero's wife Lois and, once more, Jimmy the Avenging Archer was again defeated, never to return.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Twice-Told-Tales: Sinister Sovereign of the Stars

This Twice-Told-Tale may seem a bit recycled, as we previously considered Vandal Savage's final battle versus the Justice Society of America as paralleling his battle with Earth-One's Superman. Both had Savage confront the Supermen of two worlds, however since that second tale was erased from Earth-One's history when Superman went back in time and changed events back to the way events originally occurred... a new tale took its place.

On Earth-One, a long lost survivor of Krypton-One appeared and sought out vengeance against those humans from his home world which he blamed for its destruction. The first whom he encountered was Superman, who found that this powerful caveman of ancient Krypton had been imbued with radiation as their planet of birth exploded, becoming a Kryptonite Man. However, a race of beings known as the Seeders were tracking Kryptonite Man throughout the cosmos, themselves seeking revenge for that caveman's using one of their vessels to siphon off energies in order to stay alive. And in nearly killing, and severely disfiguring, the head priest of the Seeders.

Eventually, the battle of the two Kryptonians drew in Supergirl's attention, and the two were able to keep both the caveman and Seeders from destroying their adopted world due to their personal grudge match. Eventually, Kryptonite Man used his superhuman powers to wipe out the Seeders' fleet and himself as well.

Meanwhile, on Earth-Two, Savage sought to regain his own immortality through an infusion of Kryptonian energies. Concocting an elaborate plot whereby Savage lured the Justice Society along with the Shining Knight back to the age of Camelot, assuming the alias of the sovereign known as King Arthur,  After subterfuge, Vandal was able to achieve what he felt was the means to restore his long last vitality which had not failed him for untold eons before this encounter.

Vandal drew Superman and Power Girl to an artificial world, Colu-Two. There, under the influence of a Kryptonite sun of his own creation, while channeling the cosmic energies of Star-Spangled Kid's cosmic converter belt and Power Girl's own super powers, Savage battled with Superman in order to steal the Man of Steel's power. This, he theorized, would restore his immortality... however he was instead defeated.

However, a couple of mystery men pulled Vandal through a worm hole in space and kept him from being captured. This would be result in his journeying to Earth-One, in order to change history as mentioned above. It should be noted that Vandar Adg, the caveman of Earth-Two who would eventually become Vandal Savage, had created a temporal clone by journeying back in time from the 20th century to days of King Arthur, and then to Colu-Two. This superpowered Savage empowered by Superman's cousin under the Kryptonite sun was the counterpart to the Kryptonite Man. *

On another occasion, Savage's counter part Ra's Al Ghul had been revived from apparent death during his last encounter with his arch-enemy, the Batman. Once more the Lazurus Pit was the catalyst through which Ra's was given another chance. Would he once more squander it, or use it to redeem a life time of vain pursuits? Sadly, he was not a student of history... despite having lived a considerable portion of it... and was thus doomed to repeat it.

Inspired by the Pit's chemical concoction to harness the power of the sun, he assumed the alias of the Messiah of the Crimson Sun (rather than a Kryptonite Sun). Seeking to utilize his solar weaponry to decimate Gotham City, Ra's once more drew the attention of Batman. With a loyal legion of followers basking in the radiance of his domineering attitude, he reminded one of Savage's King Arthur persona, complete with flowing cape and gaudy raiment. Interestingly, Vandal renewed his enmity with the Shining Knight, whom as Genghis Khan he encountered centuries earlier during an encounter orchestrated by time travel fiend Doctor Doome, and once more when the Knight was exiled back to Khan's time on another occasion. It may well be said that, while Ra's had his Dark Knight in the Batman to plague him perpetually, so too had Vandal with his Shining Knight, both of whom also saw one another in the days of Camelot in their younger days during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Back to the malevolent machinations of Al Ghul and Savage in their faux-identities as inspired leaders of men. As had so often happened time and time again during their recurring encounters with masked men of the 20th century, Al Ghul came out the loser while his vessel hurtled into the sun. Just like Savage had been centuries before, a universe away.

Would Ra's survive his doomed voyage to Sol... and would Vandal finally find the means to restore his immortality? Cut off from his artificial source of life extension that allowed them to operate for untold centuries, it is doubtful. 

* While Savage had many aliases such as Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar, who were individuals on Earth-One, his prime opponent Immortal Man was actually multiple individuals throughout history who possessed his memories, while that hero's cosmic twin General Immortus was a single immortal throughout the centuries like Vandal.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rose and Thorn: How Many Were There?

Rose Forrest of Earth-One and Rose Canton of Earth-Two were counterparts who themselves had twins... evil twins to be precise. 

While Forrest experienced a psychological split when her father, a police officer, was murdered by the criminal gang known as the 100... for Canton it was a childhood affliction that manifested when she became infected by a toxic thorn which imbued her with superpowers.

While the former became a heroine of Metropolis, even garnering the respect and admiration of Superman, the latter was a villain in Keystone City, bringing her into repeated conflict with the Flash.

We've previously considered the history of these two women, and a twice-told-tale of the Thorns, as well as the romance that one had with the golden age Green Lantern, now we consider another dynamic of these femme fatales.

On Earth-Two, Rose and Thorn were actually separate women as Thorn's physical form manifested when Rose was unconscious, and visa versa. She had oscillated from Rose's blonde self into a red-haired and brunette version at different times. Eventually, she was captured and taken by the Flash's friend Wonder Woman to Reformation Island, where over a period of two decades Rose regained mastery over herself, with Thorn purged.

At least, for awhile. Eventually returning to America, she sought out the man who had brought her to that Island, Flash's other ally Green Lantern, whom she fell in love with. Assuming a new alter ego of Alyx Florin, she gained the trust and love of Lantern's alter ego Alan Scott, whom she surmised was his secret identity. However, on their wedding night, her intense feelings for him awoke the Thorn, who nearly killed him. Deciding to "kill" Florin, Canton retreated until one day the Thorn grew dominant in both Rose's body and her own. After a defeat at the hands of Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice Society... Thorn was captured although Rose somehow escaped and retreat to the island where her sister was born. 

There was another women slated to be the Thorn on Earth-One, years earlier. Outfitted by a costume maker by the name of Albert Talbot, who had been working for the 100, he initially wanted the lady to rob from them as his cut from his bosses wasn't big enough. However, he soon became more prominent in their organization, and withdrew his offer to her. 

Years later, captured by Rose's Thorn, Talbot summoned his former ally to visit him in prison to tell her his story. Apparently, Forrest obtained his weaponry and one of the Thorn costumes. Seeking retribution, the woman enlisted her daughter Pythona, a local dancer, to steal from Thorn as the newer and wickeder Thorn,

However, a hit man sought out Pythona while wearing the Thorn costume, thinking she was the 100's arch-enemy. Saved by her opposite number, Pythona parted from her "twin" seemingly abandoning her claim on the Thorn identity. This mysterious woman, with no other name, is the doppleganger to Alyx Florin who had been born on Reformation Island, the civilized version of the villainous Thorn. And as for Canton/Florin, this amalgamation of conflicted women perished saving her family from the Thorn's attack on Alan and their two children, Jade and Obsidian.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stunning Silver Sirens of the Batman Family

Elegant, dignified, deep. These are words that could be used to express Ms. St. Cloud and Ms. Morrison. Although with the former, it represented who she naturally was. For the latter, it was more of a front.

Silver St. Cloud met Batman and his alter ego shortly after the hero defeated Dr. Phosphorous. It was because she had a knack for observing human behavior that she soon after was able to piece together that the Bruce Wayne who she had been dating was not the same man she was with now. In fact, it was arch-criminal Hugo Strange assuming his adversary's identity after capturing the Dark Knight Detective. 

After a brief and potent relationship, Silver pulled away from Wayne. Later, after witnessing Batman's battle with the Joker, she approached her beau in the bat-suit and confirmed his suspicions that she knew his double identity all along.

And, what is more, she could not bare to be with him while he continued to place his life in perpetual danger. Despite his deep love for her, deeper than perhaps any women in his life, Batman could not retire his mantle to claim his love.

That was on Earth-One, while on the parallel planet of Earth-Two around the same time, that Batman had retired exactly because he lost his true love. In his case, it was because his wife Selina Kyle perished, after resuming her career as the Catwomen due to being blackmailed by her former henchman. From this encounter, one hero hung up his cowl while enough adopted the mantle.

This Dark Knight's heir was the detective's daughter, Helena Wayne who assumed the alter ego of the Huntress. Around the same time, another young women by the name of Lucinda Morrison fell in with a bad crowd. Used as a pawn of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, who used Arkham Asylum as a front for their criminal enterprise. Thanks to the Huntress' fighting spirit, she was able to bring their house of cards down, and freed Lucinda of their drug-induced influence on her life.

Now seeking a new start, the platinum blonde assumed a new identity as Dr. June Moorman. However, one of her first patients was the Huntress, seeking help to overcome the torment she felt being Catwoman's daughter. And evil tendencies that were pulling her more in the direction of the Cat rather than the Bat motivated her to take action. However, the help she sought thought in Dr. Moorman was the wrong kind, who thought the Huntress was trying to corner her. After a brief confrontation, Lucinda revealed her secret, and the Huntress left to seek out help through some other source. Would the torment end for Lucinda, now that the Batman Family was out of her life? Did it end for Silver?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dark Knight Detectives' Darling Damsels and Debutantes

Batman had several love interests throughout the years, in both his golden age and modern day incarnations, and we've considered some already. There was the Batwomen and the Catwomen. Then there were the unpredictable Talia and Nyola. This doesn't even include larcenous ladies such as Poison Ivy and her counterpart "the Lady in Evening Dress" who gravitated more towards Bat's comrade the Sandman. What of the non-heroic or villainous females in the lives of Bruce Wayne?

We would have to start with the trifecta of the golden and silver age, the three non-costumed lasses that captured both Wayne's hearts. First there was Julie Madison, who was engaged to Wayne although her acting career and his crime fighting career pulled them each in opposite directions. After a couple of confrontations with Clayface, they two drifted apart. On Earth-Two, Julie changed her name to Portia Storme as she became a Hollywood star. On Earth-One, she became Princess Portia as she wed the ruler of Moldacia in Europe.

Then there was Linda Page, a rich debutante and heiress to an oil fortune, although what she truly was invested in was her engagement with Wayne. Again, Batman got in the way, and once she began her career as a nurse she too found greater fulfillment in helping others... which is what ensnared her beau in the bat-suit. What became of her on Earth-One is unknown, although on Earth-Two she eventually married shortly before that Bruce finally found his true love. And, of course, during that period Kathy Kane eventually decided to settle down with another man, marrying and having kids on Earth-Two. Her Earth-One twin never found love, only the tragic end to her life at the hands of the Bronze Tiger. Something that mirrored what became of Earth-Two's Catwoman, torn from her husband and daughter in the prime of her life, while the Earth-One Selina Kyle had an on-again off-again relationship with her Bruce over time.

Then there was the momentary pauses in their lives, in which Wayne-One briefly pursued policewoman Patricia Powell while Wayne-Two chased after musician Linda Lewis. Neither of these developed into anything more. However, there were a couple of platinum haired ladies that added wrinkles to the dynamics of the Batman Family, in different ways... for good and for ill.

There was Silver St. Cloud, a party planner of Gotham City who immediately captured Wayne's attention as no other woman had, save perhaps for Catwoman and Talia. And she came without complications that would develop from leading a double life, as had occurred with the other ladies. However, after she began to date Bruce she met Batman, and right away made the connection between the two. Fearing for Wayne's life when he moonlighted as a superhero, Silver eventually broke off their relationship. Something that is telling, however, is when the Earth-Two Batman's daughter Huntress was visiting the Earth-One Batman, and he reflected on how he yearned to start a family with St. Cloud. Sadly, it was not to be.

And on the Huntress' world, it was while the heroine was tracking down some corrupt psychologists at Arkham Asylum that she encountered Silver's doppleganger in Lucinda Morrison. Licinda was manipulated by drugs into working for the crooks, and once she fled the scene she assumed the new identity as psychiatrist Dr. June Moorman. It was at her place of employment that she was enlisted to have a therapeutic session with the Huntress, whose alter ego of Helena Wayne was being tormented with fear she may follow in her mother's wicked ways. After a confrontation between the two, Morrison was held in custody and went to jail to pay for her criminal deeds. Morrison never met Bruce, but found torment from his heiress after his passing just as St. Cloud a universe away.

In the end, it would be the twin gals known as both Selina Kyle and Catwoman that would be the true measuring stick from which all other women would be measured against in the annuls of the Batmen. Perhaps one day, they will settle down with their Dark Knight Detective.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Suns Set on Supervillains: When twin Atoms met Japanese Allies

Isuma Yasunari was a prominent solar physicist on Earth-One who, through his studies, obtained for himself powers derived from the sun. Carving out a niche for himself as Japan's sole superhero, following the legend of motion picture actor Takeo Soto, who inherited heat powers himself as a baby during volcanic activity in his village. However, where Soto was mainly a champion for good on film, during his brief costumed career in real life Takeo was a pawn. Hence, Isuma as the Rising Sun rekindled confidence in his fellow Japanese that justice would once more prevail. Eventually, Yasunari teamed up with America's Atom as the two helped save Earth-One from a bomb implanted by evil alien Grax. Later, Rising Sun was invited by Doctor Mist into the Global Guardians, and helped defend his land during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Doctor Daka of Earth-Two had created an invisibility cloak, then stole the anti-gravity rod from Starman. Eventually, Daka built an electronic brain that enabled him to control the minds of others. Utilizing these devices, Daka led his forces first against the All-Star Squadron... and later with his League of the New Order versus his world's Batman and Robin. After a series of battles, Daka perished with only a tarnished legacy.

Morrie Fushido wasn't a prominent man in his community as was his counterpart Soto nor his fellow Japanese in Daka, yet Fushido was still among the most prolific minds in the field of energy on Earth-Two during World War II. Morrie came in contact during an adventure with an atomic globe which the Black Dragon Society employed by Daka was attempting to steal. Teaming up with the Atom, the pair were able to secure the globe before any threat ensued. After this adventure, Fushido retired from heroics to be a prominent member of the Japanese community, seeking to overturn strongly entrenched prejudices brought on by World War II.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Criminals Create Clock Chaos Continuously

While most of David Clinton's costumed career as Chronos was spent utilizing cheesy clock-themed weaponry versus his arch-enemy the Atom and, later, his foe's teammates of the Justice League... his hidden passion was to master the flow of time to his will. Although he used various criminal endeavors, by solo and alongside the Injustice Gang and Crime Champions, to obtain the finances in order to build his ultimate time machine... such was years from fruition. After a series of defeats, David seemed to submerge himself into his research away from friend and foe alike.  

To that end, under the tutelage of the mysterious "Doctor Fox" (or rather, journals left behind by this temporal apparition), Clinton was enticed by the enigmatic Power Broker into defeating the World's Finest heroes in order to unlock the secrets of Fox's research. Apparently, this powerful being held the key that his new lackey had been searching for throughout the years.

In order to gain this key, Chronos sent time bombs into the past to lure Superman away, while enticing Batman to change his own personal history and save his parents. His goal, and that of his master, was to have both caped crusaders alter history so that they no longer existed, thereby removing the threat they displayed to evil. Still, the dynamic duo shrugged off such efforts on Clinton's part, forcing him to retreat from them into the time stream, seemingly never to return. Or did he?

On Earth-Two, David's counterpart Kale was not as intelligent yet still managed to assist to time traveling tyrants in Per Degaton and the Ultra-Humanite. As a result, three versions of Kale exist in the time stream of that world, which corresponds to Chronos, Fox and the Power Broker. All three appear to be the same man, with Fox a version of Chronos in the past having gained knowledge while the Broker remained in the future to secure power through his present day version. None of these ultimately obtained what they all wanted, complete mastery of time and space.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chronological Clones Create Continuum & Can Cause Chaos

In three separate eras, the 20th century, the 30th century and the 38th century... a trio of time travelers sought out adventures that led them each towards meetings with the Justice League.

  • For Rip Hunter of the 20th century, it was when he joined the Forgotten Heroes to aid Earth-One's Superman, before aiding the Man of Steel and his fellow Leaguers during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. 
  • For Brainiac Five of the 30th Century, it was when he met a younger version of the same hero in Superboy, who joined the lad's Legion of Super-Heroes. 
  • And for the Lord of Time from the 38th century, it was when this temporal tyrant attempted to conquer the League's era repeatedly.
  • The Lord had a daughter, named Olanda, cloned from his own body as well as her six brothers who were vanished by the Leaguer Steel.

On the parallel plane of Earth-Two, one chronological criminal used four versions of himself as well as his handful of personal temporal troopers to terrorized his native time and other ages.

  • The first version of Per Degaton had journeyed to the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. in order to change history in the 20th century. This brought him to the attention of the Justice Society, who after a decade of rule defeated Degaton
  • The next version of Per Degaton had a short-lived career before the Society and the All-Star Squadron combined to defeat him in 1941, erasing this version.
  • The third version of Per Degaton succeeded in changing his native decade by journeying to a parallel Earth and future time. After four decades of rule, the Society, All-Stars and League combined forced to dethrone him.
  • Finally, the core version of Per Degaton lost his opportunity to steal Professor Zee's time machine, as his other clones had done, and instead became a member of the Injustice Society... still beaten by the Justice Society on three occasions.

A member of the Brainiac Five's Legion, Triplicate Girl, had the ability to create clones of herself. These young heroes had in times past traveled through the centuries to Superboy's era for various adventures, and thus were no strangers to the machinations of the time stream.

These three girls correlated with the three time traveling clones of Degaton, much like Little Miss Redhead's three allies the Blue Boys including Little Boy Blue and his pals Tubby and Toughy. This young team of teen titans were members of the Squadron who continued to perplex Degaton time and again. These three distinct lads correlated with the three distinct dudes of Hunter, Five and the Lord... in the cosmic balance of the cosmos, that is, with the fourth Per being a variation on Olanda.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Webs of Intrigue: Sensation Spider-Men

The pinnacle of bug-themed superheroes would be Spider-Man. And other bug boys who have bravely bedeviled bad guys are the Blue Beetle, the Fly, the Web... to name just a few. The two we now consider may not have as long or prestigious of careers as their contemporaries, yet they measure up in terms of adaptability and creativity amid the sea of supermen.

Eric Needham was a troubled youth, under the grip of drugs which led him into a life of crime. Ultimately, this would pull him into a situation that would forever awaken the morbid reality his world had become, when during a heist he unintentionally killed his own father. Forsaking the addictive influences that held him in their thrall for years, Eric immersed himself into training to make him a skilled assassin in order to remove the gangs fed by the drug traffic trade that poisoned Gotham City. Throughout all of this, a mystery benefactor provided Needham the means to become the Black Spider.

Jonathan Law was an aspiring writer who sought to pen a literary masterpiece detailing the lives of mystery men, who began operating on Earth-Two in the 1940's. Taking inspiration from his pet tarantula, Law adopted this alias while wearing a spandex suit designed by the Sandman's girlfriend Dian Belmont. Dian had herself adopted her boyfriend's alter ego, only to find herself perishing in an automobile explosion. This led to the Tarantula and Sandman teaming up, wearing similar uniforms based on Dian's sketches. Utilizing adhesive web-lines ejected through a special pistol along with unique suction cups helping him adhere to any surface, Tarantula became a force for good.

As for Black Spider, he incorporated high-caliber rifles and other weaponry as one-by-one he eliminated the kingpins of crime in his city, bringing him to the attention of his fellow vigilante the Batman. Seeing the Spider's brutal form of justice as irreconcilable with true justice, Batman tracked down Needham. After several confrontations with his one time role model, Black Spider decided that he need to ally himself with several of Gotham's supervillains in order to defeat their common foe. On this occasion, it was Catwoman who bested Needham in battle.

Tarantula also joined a group of masked men, only these were the heroic members of the All-Star Squadron, of which he was a core member throughout the early days of World War II. Eventually, after retiring from being a costumed crusader, Law published his defining work in Altered Egos which chronicled the lives of Tarantula and other superheroes.

As for the Black Spider, after his brief foray among ferocious felons, he once more assumed his mantle as the predator of the substance abusers who robbed his city of peace, and robbed him of his father. Nevertheless, the Batman would always be there to thwart Needham's misguided pursuit of vengeance. 

Other arachnid adversaries that existed concurrent with Needham and Law were the Frank Lesters of Earths One and Two, the first a vigilante versus the Masher Mob of Metropolis and a foe of Earth-One's Superman and Lois Lane, while the latter was himself a gangster who quarreled with Earth-Two's Doctor Mid-Nite. Both were one-hit wonders.

Another Tarantula, a Mister Crossart, was an elderly masked marauder who first faced Earth-Two's Sandman and then met that hero again alongside fellow Justice Socialite the Atom... while Crossart's Earth-One twin was a pesky villain-turned-hero known as Ambush Bug.

Twice-Told-Tales: Metal Menaces Meet Men and Maiden of Might

The heroic members of the Justice League and Justice Society faced many and varied threats over the years, and among the most dangerous were robot rogues that wielded sufficient abilities to match and exceed their enemies.

For instance, Amazo... the android built by Professor Ivo off the template of athlete Helmet Schultz deceased brain waves... utilized his power absorbing abilities to defeat the Justice League and prolong his master's life. Amazo succeeded, although the cost to Ivo for immortality was inhumanity. Then there was military scientist Helmet Streicher who sought to see the future and harness futuristic technology to provide him a cybernetic armor. He triumphed although as the Red Panzer found continual defeat versus members of the Justice Society.

While the Panzer initially faced Batman, Flash and Green Lantern... it was Wonder Woman who was his most persistent opponent. Similarly, after a series of battles with the League... their most powerful member Superman became Amazo's primary foe. Each metallic menace faced off against the Man of Steel and Amazing Amazon on a couple of occasions, the last of which found decisive defeats from which they never truly recovered.

Interestingly, the Wonder Woman of the Justice League twice journeyed to Earth-Two to aid her counterpart. Although the two twins initially fought, they soon reconciled and tackled Red Panzer together... then on the Earth-One Princess' return trip aided her Justice Society doppleganger versus the Angle Man. A parallel event happened on her own world when she and her Justice League allies battled the automaton Super-Duper, created by criminal Joe Parry, on one brief occasion before it was recreated by T.O. Morrow once more. Super-Duper possessed several attributes of five Leaguers, with the head of Wonder Woman herself! This character was a minor footnote in history.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Power Power Players and Scarlet Suited Superheroes: Changelings and Cyclones

On Earth-Two, the Red Tornado had steady partners in the Cyclone Kids, a pair of children inspired by her example to defend their  poor neighborhood. The trio had several adventures in the 1940's before they all retired to seclusion of secret identities. What of their twins?

On Earth-One, the Black Orchid mysteriously appeared in the mid 1970s, always changing her appearance in order to infiltrate crime syndicates. Eventually, she encountered Gotham City's Super Friends, including their teen apprentices Zan and Jayne aka the Wonder Twins, themselves shape changers. Zan could transform into any aquatic element, Jayna into any form of wildlife.

The Kids were really Huey "Dinky" Jibbet and his neighbor, Amelia "Sisty" Hunkel. Amelia was the daughter of the original Red Tornado, Abigail "Ma" Hunkel, and although they had no super powers they were extremely creative in their strategy and fearless in their approach to crime.

The Twins were from the planet Exxor, and were recruited into a traveling space circus when no one on their world would adopt them due to their mutation. When they arrived on Earth-One, and aided the Super Friends versus crime genius Grax, the heroes decided to train the pair while Professor Carter Nichols adopted them under the aliases of Johan and Joanna Fleming.

Eventually, the Super Friends disbanded after the training regime of the Wonder Twins as well as that of Marvin White and Wendy Harris had concluded. Presumably, the duo returned to their native Exxor to become that planet's protectors. In an alternate future timeline, Dinky and Sisty resumed their costumed careers as members of "Old Justice",to oversee the new generation of heroes.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Twin Teen Teams Triumph: Junior Justice

Among the sensation teen titans of the present and the future, today's entry expanded the quantity and quality of such young heroes

There was a young woman named Dawnstar, from an alien of partially native American origin born on the world known as Starhaven. Given wings allowing her to fly in any environment, gliding even on solar currents, with a body also adaptable even to the void of space... Dawnstar sought adventure on 30th century Earth-One as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. With her faster than light flight power as well as an acute ability to track any object through space and time, she became a valuable ally for her new team.

Then there was the other-dimensional entity known as Conscience that came to the aid of the Justice Society. Herself of mysterious origins, she like Dawnstar had the ability to fly through space and time while tracking any object she envisioned. On one occasion, in finding the source of intolerance and prejudice on Earth-Two, she aided the Society repeatedly on cases while winning their respect.

In fact, it was partially due to Conscience' influence that the Junior Justice Society was formed, a band of heroic youths who allied themselves with their adult mentors on various cases during the 1940's.

Meanwhile, the seeds were planted for the Teen Titans, who were a 20th century precursor to the later Legion which Dawnstar would join. This was partially due to the legend of the first costumed youth on Earth-One in Superboy.

While Earth-One's Titans were comprised of Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, Speedy and later members Mal, Lilith, Hawk and Dove, Bumblebee and Joker's Daughter... Earth-Two's Junior JSA had many normal members, as the actual counterparts to the Titans were busy with other teams (Robin and Johnny Quick with the All-Star Squadron, Speedy with Law's Legionnaires, Wonder Girl with the Holiday Girls, etc.). However, one such member Don Brent infiltrated the Crimson Claws, which his brother Chick was involved with, and inspired his teammates in the JJSA into action versus the crooked Claw. Don and his allies were the Earth-Two counterparts to the Legion Academy, which Dawnstar was herself once a member, consisting of aspiring super-teens from other worlds attempting to join the Legion.

Likewise, the pair of junior crime fighters recruited by the Justice League known as Marvin White and  Wendy Harris were recruited as apprentices of the Super Friends... trained by the Titan, Robin. Their twins on Earth-Two were the baby of the real Diana Prince and her husband and Wendy Harris Tyler, who married Rex "Hourman" Tyler.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Second Fastest Men of Two Earths: Or Maybe Quicker?

While Barry Allen and Jay Garrick have gained the notoriety as the Fastest Men of their respective worlds, there has never been an actual race wherein this pair competed head-to-head... or rather... foot-to-foot, with this pair. 

For Wally West, nephew of Barry's wife Iris, his speed came from another freak bolt of lightning shattering a cabinet of chemicals like has happened with Allen earlier. Adopting an alias in honor of Barry's Flash alter ego, as Kid Flash Wally eventually joined the Teen Titans before learning that his abilities were slowly killing his maturing body. Also, the origin of his abilities was suspicious given that Barry gained his from his future energized body from the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

For Johnny Quick, it was through the speed formula 3x2(9yz)4a which gave him temporary bursts of superhuman abilities. Although this was only one of several alphanumeric formulas that gave residents of his universe superpowers, photojournalist Johnny Chambers harnessed this gift into a long career both solo and alongside the All-Star Squadron. His body never deteriorated from the speed force as had Wally since it had been fully developed, and since this energy wasn't a permanent facet of his physique as with West.

Would the adult Kid Flash, after having been given a boost of immunization from Uncle Barry's lightning form, been as fast as his mentor... or even faster? Would Johnny Quick, had his super speeding momentum not lent itself towards causing him to fly at a slower pace, enabled him to perhaps beat Jay in a footrace? Perhaps we will never know.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Twice-Told-Tales: The Hawkmen and Mermen Meet Monster Menaces

Hawkman-One and Hawkman-Two faced plenty of monsters in their time, but none quite like these loathsome lackeys. This Twice-Told-Tale truly has remarkably similarly plot elements and story beats showing the common features on both worlds. And the uncommon, as well.

For the silver age Winged Warrior, it was when he as Hawkgirl were drawn into a conflict with Atlanean exile Tyros.  Naturally seeking to gain control of his former home city, Tyros is drawn into conflict with Aquaman and Aqualad. Meanwhile, he gains the means of controlling Hawkman's wife and transforming her into a harpy type being to attack her mate.

This evil exile gained the power to transform into creatures while controlling both swimming and flying beasts. The golden age Feathered Fury found himself alongside old ally Neptune Perkins, drawn through unorthodox means to the planet Venus (or a facsimile thereof) by its inhabitants. Turns out, the Venusians are unable to protect themselves from two dominant creatures that terrorize their world, a Roc and a Kraken. Much like the mythological beasts they are patterned after, it takes superhuman beings to defeat and destroy these aggressive antagonists.

On Earth-One, Tyros nearly seizes complete victory in his quest for dominance of the undersea kingdom, however Aquaman grabs the gem and Hawkman the horn that were the means for the tyrant's powers. Transforming Hawkgirl back to normal and with Aqualad's help, the pair of Justice Leaguers beat Tyros who is then exiled once more.

On Earth-Two, Hawkman and his world's Aqualad... Perkins... succeed in killing both the Rok and the Kraken. Once the Venusians find peace once more, they send the pair of All-Stars back to their homeworld victorious. On this occasion, the original Hawkgirl is otherwise preoccupied while the golden age Aquaman missed out on the tale given his being on the opposite side of the globe from Neptune... whom he apparently never had occasion to meet.

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