Obscure DC Characters:
In 1958, the Challengers of the Unknown traced a series of thefts by men dressed as ancient Greeks or Egyptians to a mysterious island, home to the Wizard of Time, one Darius Tiko. "Former assistant to Dr. Hobart Reinmetz, the renowned nuclear physicist," Tiko claimed to have brought his research to full flower with the creation of a Time Cube. Ace suggested he may have stolen Reinmetz's ideas instead.
Tiko fled the inquiries via the Cube and the Challs followed in a smaller earlier model. After trailing the Wizard through a succession of eras, the quartet finally tracked him down in the year 3000 A.D. There, both Tiko and the Challs were taken into custody by law enforcement of the era and ordered to return home. A self-destruct mechanism installed by the future cops destroyed the Time Cube and the Wizard's island upon their return to 1958 (CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN (first series) #4, reprinted in SUPER DC GIANT #S-25).
En route to the past, Tiko had briefly escaped into 1994, where, armed with futuristic technology, he terrorized Metropolis for a few hours before the Challs and a certain Man of Steel recaptured him and completed their journey home (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #508).
The DC Super Dictionary
Please see separate entry.
Seems to be the creation of RJM (Randy and Jean-Marc) Lofficier, who were doing a lot of co-plotting on certain DC titles in the late 80s. I don't remember if the character even appeared on-camera at all.
Drache was apparently one of those villainous industrialist types, and had ties to an ex-Nazi scientist type named Dr. Cornelius, who was head of the Cornelius-Krieg company that was an ongoing subplot in BLUE BEETLE. They had a super-villain enemy of the Beetle's named Catalyst working for them. I think this also crossed over into an issue or two of NEW TITANS. And there was some kind of interplay with the Global Guardians subplot going on in the Giffen JUSTICE LEAGUE books at the time as well.
To further complicate things, the Zatanna issue of SECRET ORIGINS around this time mentioned Dekan Drache as an insane sorcerer in the early part of the 20th Century, who was destroyed and became a human host for the spirit of (get this) the Justice League's old enemy Felix Faust, who was suddenly supposed to be thousands of years old. No connection to the other Drache was specified.
BLUE BEETLE was cancelled, and Roy Thomas brought the Lofficiers with him to Marvel when he left DC, so I don't think anyone ever explained what the hell the deal was with Drache or Cornelius-Krieg.
I know that Felix Faust has appeared several times since then, and Catalyst turned up as one of the Captains of Industry, most recently working for Kobra in JSA. But I don't think the Lofficier subplots were ever addressed anywhere.
How's THAT for obscure??
He stands ever watchful and unchanging. Some say he is completely blind and others claim he can do nothing but see. He is known by many names Fate. Kismet. But none is more infamous than DESTINY.
A mysterious cloaked and hooded figure chained to an ancient book, Destiny is the eldest of the beings known as the Endless. Incarnations of universal concepts, the Endless are as old as the Universe and more powerful than gods. They will exist for as long as their function is a part of human consciousness. Along with Destiny, the Endless are Death, Dream, Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Delirium (who was once Delight).
Although he was not the first to make contact with humanity, Destiny was the first of the Endless to become involved in the affairs of the superhumans. Long before the Endless were known, Destiny appeared to several heroes during times of crisis, though he could take no action himself.
His realm is an infinite garden that twists and turns like a maze. We are all walking in Destiny's garden, though we do not realize it.
Enigmatic and aloof, Destiny is the most formal of the Endless and the most difficult to speak to, for his book records all that is, was, and shall be. At times, he himself has instigated events among his siblings, such as a family meeting that led his brother Dream to undertake a quest. But as always, a greater force motivates him and Destiny knows that even he is merely performing a necessary role at such times.
Though the future is not set in stone, it is believed that when all things come to nothing, Destiny's sister Death will come for him as well and quietly turn off the last light in the Universe before departing.
Destiny was also the host of WEIRD MYSTERY TALES and appeared in SUPERMAN v.1 #352. Also NEW TEEN TITANS v.2 #9 (baxter series). He has appeared quite frequently in the Vertigo-verse, especially Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN mythos. Recently, in CRONOS and his own miniseries, DESTINY - A CHRONICLE OF DEATHS FORETOLD.
Written by Richard Meyer
In the Manhattan branch of S.T.A.R. Labs, a pair of scientists were examining a sample of moon rocks and were ready to leave for the day when a substance grew out of one of the rocks into a large lifeform, which killed one of the men and headed up to the roof of the building. The Flash and Hawkman were there, preparing to use the hidden teleporter there to transport themselves to the newly-built satellite headquarters of the Justice League of America. The two heroes screamed as the lifeform entered the teleport tube just as the process began.
22,300 miles above the Earth, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Atom were listening to Superman tell them about the layout of their new headquarters when the teleport tube hummed and three strange creatures emerged from it, looking like corrupted versions of The Flash, Hawkman, and ... something else. The three lifeforms attacked and took out the rest of the League very quickly, knocking even Superman unconscious with a mere touch of a strange tentacle. All three creatures exhibited all the powers of both Flash and Hawkman, and vibrated through the floor of the satellite.
After the JLA'ers roused themselves, the Atom figured out that the strange beings had been created by the teleporter from the two heroes and some other creature, with its presence in the device scrambling the molecules of all three occupants. Two of the creatures were tinkering with the JLA computer, and the other being was missing. Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Black Canary went to the computer room, where the one creature with the strange tentacle touched Aquaman and took control of him and forced him to fight his friends while the creature left the room. Black Canary attacked the other, which was speed-reading through the library, with her sonic Canary Cry and actually knocked it out. Its companion knocked over a shelf of books on her and dragged the unconscious creature away.
The Atom and Superman found the third creature, which was gathering scrap metal and spare computer components. He tripped Superman with his strange, detachable legs, and exited through the airlock, drawing the Atom out with him. Inside, Aquaman awoke from his trance and Green Lantern finished his search in time to see the Atom. Green Lantern rescued the Tiny Titan, as two of the creatures worked on fashioning some sort of device onto the bottom of the satellite. Superman was stunned when he recognized that they were building a warp propulsion drive that was normally used in intergalactic travel. He realized that the lifeforms planned to skyjack the satellite, and they couldn't let them back inside.
After reviving the Atom (Black Canary performed "mouth-to-mouth" with a straw), the remaining JLA members inside suited up in pressure suits to fight the creatures. Aquaman's brief contact while being controlled by the one creature had allowed him to glean that the lifeform was called a Dharlu, and it was an alien from a distant galaxy, which had been sent here on some sort of mission, heading for somewhere called "the beginning-place". Meanwhile, the two aliens outside defeated Superman and Green Lantern, causing both to lapse into unconsciousness, and brought them inside. As the satellite began to move from orbit, Green Arrow fired a yellow sulfur arrow at Green Lantern to wake him up. Superman also awoke, and the Atom took a blow from the controlling tentacle of the one Dharlu that was meant for the Man of Steel, so Superman could blow the poisonous gas out of the satellite. In doing so, they stumbled upon the alien's weakness, which was cold.
With the three creatures temporarily incapacitated, the Leaguers also discovered that they had been reprogramming the satellite's life support systems for their own natural environment. The teleporter was able to separate the Flash and Hawkman into their proper bodies, and the Dharlu was frozen in ice by Superman's super-breath. Superman attempted to reprogram the life support systems, but discovered that the Dharlu had duplicated the conditions of a red sun inside the satellite, causing him to lose his powers. A tentacle whipped out from the computer console and put Green Lantern into a trance, as the alien had transferred its consciousness into the computer and was planning to take "the tomorrow beings to the beginning-place". Superman grabbed the microphone for the computer's voice programming system and asked the computer when the Dharlu would reproduce and how could they stop it. This caused the computer to explode, and Superman's powers returned.
After Green Lantern and Superman returned the JLA satellite to its proper orbit, the team discussed what had happened. The encounter with Hawkman and the Flash had been pure chance, as the Dharlu wanted to get to the nearest spacecraft because it was about to spawn and needed to return home, much like a salmon. When Superman asked the computer about the Dharlu, the system broke down, not being able to handle life support, Green Lantern, and the questions at the same time. Hawkman built a special cooling system that trapped the Dharlu inside the JLA computer (alive but at an incredibly slow metabolic rate). Every time they had used their powers, the resulting vibrations upset the computer's circuitry. When the Dharlu transferred into the computer, its presence corrected the flaw.
Several years later, the Atom was on monitor duty and was using the JLA computer to work out some mathematics problems when he discovered that all of his results were way off. Finding that he hadn't made any errors himself, he determined that there had to be something wrong with the computer. Checking the blueprints for the machine, he determined the general area where the fault could lie and shrank down and entered the electronic data stream of the computer. Once flowing through the data, the Tiny Titan was attacked by a similarly microscopic version of the Dharlu, which tried to attack him in much the same way the larger version had done to merge with Hawkman and the Flash. After evading the creature, he saw a whole swarm of tiny Dharlus swimming toward him in the electronic data stream. The Atom battled his way through them and was about to succumb to the Dharlu's mental control when he was able to enlarge himself and escape from the computer through a monitor. During his brief mental contact with the creature, he learned that the Dharlus were only searching for a way out of the computer, having been spawned by the original Dharlu still inside the computer, and were following their instinct to leave their "nest" and seek their own destiny outside. The Atom was able to fulfill their wishes, and the tiny stream of Dharlus left the computer and traveled away out into space.
The Dharlu also appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #141 (the Manhunter saga) when she was forced by Wonder Woman to save the life of Barry Allen.
- Justice League Of America #130, 141
- Detective Comics #489
Dial 'H' For Hero
Created by Dave Wood and Jim Mooney
Profile written by Ola Hellsten
"Sockamagee! What's happening to me?" —Robby Reed,
House of Secrets #156 (Jan. 1966)
First appearance of the Hero Dial: House of Mystery #156 (January, 1966)
To this day, six prominent users of the H-Dials have been noted:
Robby Reed (First appearance: House of Mystery #156, January 1966.)
Christopher King (Group affiliation: Titans West, First appearance: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2 #272, February 1981)
Vicki Grant (Group affiliation: Children of the Sun, First appearance: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2 #272, February 1981)
Nick Stevens (First appearance: New Adventures of Superboy #28, April 1982, First using H-Dial: New Adventures of Superboy #49)
Hero Cruz (Group affiliation: the Ravers, Titans L.A., First appearance: Superboy and the Ravers #1, September 1996, First using H-Dial: Superboy and the Ravers #5, January 1997.)
Lori Morning (Group affiliation: Work Force, Legion of Super-Heroes associate, First appearance: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4 #75, December 1995, First using H-Dial: Legionnaires #51, August 1997.)
The original H-Dial (a.k.a. the Hero Dial) is an enigmatic object whose origin is clouded in mystery. Its first recorded whereabouts are from about ten years ago, when an over-intelligent (some may call him "goofy") teenager named Robby Reed was caught in the middle of a crime rampage in his hometown of Littleville.
Pushed down a cliff at Valley Ridge, Robby miraculously survived and found himself in a previously unexplored cavern. There, Robby discovered a strange kind of dial inscribed with an unknown language (later identified as the alien "Esperanto" called Interlac). Robby took it home, and somehow—through a very good sense of language or maybe by some mental link to the dial—Robby was able to decipher the ten alien characters into equivalents of Earth's A, D, E, H, I, L, N, O, R, and V. For some reason, he then felt the urge to dial the equivalent of the letters H-E-R-O.
"Sockamagee!! What's happening to me?" Robby cried to himself. Well, what do you know. In an instant, the youngster had transformed into a super-hero. And with the transformation came an immediate knowledge of his powers and of his "hero name". As "Giant Boy", Robby fought the criminals from the Thunderbolt organization he had encountered earlier.
To this day, it has not been revealed where this dial came from. Nor has it been discovered how it could generate the identities of superheroes, a phenomenon very typical for the modern western world. But the fact remained - Robby Reed could become a new superhero every time he dialed the four letters. He became "the boy who can change into 1,000 super-heroes". Still, the public thought that Robby was a new hero every time he appeared. And in a sense—he was.
Cometeer, the Mole, Radar-Sonar Man, Hypno Man, Yankee Doodle Kid, Chief Mighty Arrow, Astro—Man of Space... in these and numerous other guises, Robby battled the Thunderbolt organization, the Cougar-Man, the Terrible Toymaster, and many other menaces. When he instead dialed O-R-E-H, he became Robby again. Sometimes the identities were very peculiar—like the super-sweet King Kandy, the infant Mighty Moppet, or the utterly ridiculous shapes of "Whoozis", "Whatzis", and "Howzis" (the latter three made Robby think the dial was making fun of him). Now and then, the Dial would also transform him into an existing superhero, like Plastic Man, or one yet to be born, like Tommy Tomorrow.
Robby Reed had been orphaned at an early age. Robby's father had been a detective with the Middleton Police Force (working together with John Jones a.k.a. the Martian Manhunter) and a good one at that, naturally making a lot of enemies. Mobsters killed both Robby's parents in an act of revenge. Robby's maternal grandfather Eli moved the boy to Littleville, where he raised him with the help of Eli and one Mrs. Millie. Eli constantly refused to talk about Robby's parents, his daughter's death on the irresponsible actions of his son-in-law. Growing up with an emptiness inside him, Robby's secret life of super-heroism may have helped him to fill that void.
Although Robby mostly had a very modest hero career in Littleville, he once had a proud adventure together with the Justice League of America. The criminal Injustice League had absorbed all the knowledge of the JLA's powers, secrets, and battling techniques, and there was nothing the JLA could do that the villains could not anticipate. The Leaguers' only rescue was to borrow the H-Dial and become heroes never previously seen. As Marionette (the Flash), Mod-Man (Atom), Miss Fortune (Black Canary), Doc Fission (Superman), Minuteman (Batman), Terra Firma (Aquaman), Poltergeist (Green Arrow), and Go-Go (Martian Manhunter) the JLA brutally outmatched the Injustice League, and later their master, the alien conqueror Agamemno. Afterwards, the JLA acknowledged Robby as their equal and he thanked them for just once letting him play in the big leagues. There has been references made to a second meeting between Robby and the JLA, but this has not yet been recorded.
The dial was not totally risk-free, either. At one time, a guy named Daffy Dagan accidentally dialed V-I-L-L-A-I-N and became the evil Daffy the Great. At another, Robby became a whole bunch of villains himself while using a temporarily rusty Dial. Still another time, when Robby had become Giant-Boy again, he inhaled a toxic gas and only escaped death by dialling himself back to Robby. This made him fear that he one day would become Giant-Boy again, and subsequently die from the gas poisoning. Luckily, this never happened.
As noted, the Dial could sometimes respond to other codes than H-E-R-O. (Robby's friend Suzy, who dialed H-E-R-O-I-N-E at a couple of occasions, is another example.) This would eventually prove fatal to Robby's super-hero career. While confronting the villain called Shirkon of the Many Eyes, Robby dialed D-I-V-I-D-E as a last resort. This had another effect than the expected. He actually split himself into two entities - One a being of pure goodness called the Wizard, the other an evil one named the Master. While the Wizard defeated Shirkon, the Master dialed the H-Dial into oblivion (H-I-D-E) and erased the past memories of Robby Reed.
Some years later, in the New England town of Fairfax, teenagers Christopher King and Victoria Grant were summoned by a mysterious vocie to the attic of the house into which the King family had just moved. There they discovered two smaller dials, each with the letters H-E-R-O inscribed upon its face. Unbeknownst to them both, these dials had actually been created by the Wizard. Though their dials had only four letters where the original had ten (the Wizard had seemingly learned from his mistakes as Robby), and their transformations were limited to an hour's duration, Chris' and Vicki's transformations were as colorful and bizarre as Robby's. Eventually, they revealed their secret to their friend Nick Stevens, a young artist whose super-hero designs, it was realized, were the ones that Chris and Vicki invariably became. Possibly, this was due to some mental link between Nick and the Dials. Among the many guises Chris and Vicki took, were: Color Commando, Captain Electron, the Sixth Sensor, Music Master, Ragnarok the Cosmic Viking, and the Martian Marshal (Chris), Futura, the Grasshopper, Thumbelina, Puma the She-Cat, Ms. Muscle, and Raggedy Doll (Vicki).
Chris and Vicki used their powers to battle super-villains like the Bounty Hunter, the Evil Eight, the Silver Fog, and Grockk the Devil's Son, many of whom were created by the evil Master. The Master sought the H-Dials, though he never understood why. Years before, the Master had apparently slain the Wizard, but in reality he had released the Wizard's spirit to a higher plane of existence, where he could search oblivion for his original Dial.
The final confrontation between Wizard and Master was witnessed by Chris, Vicki, and Nick. The astral form of the Wizard had located the original H-Dial and used it to dial himself and the Master back into one being - Robby Reed. The grateful Robby then declared himself retired from super-heroics. He let Chris and Vicki keep their dials and gave his own to Nick.
The subsequent activities of Robby Reed and Nick Stevens are unknown.
Chris and Vicki later went to college, not using the dials much by then. Chris fell in love with a girl and stopped seeing Vicki. Sadly, the homesick and unsure Vicki then became involved with a degenerated cult called the Children of the Sun, who abused her sexually, introduced her to drugs, and manipulated her through various means. During this time, Vicki accidentally dialed O-R-E-H while in her human form, and transformed into a mad, ravaging monster, running amuck. Chris encountered her with the help from the New Titans. After a hard battle, during which it was revealed that the Dial's power had started to internalize in her, Vicki was defeated, but managed to escape without regaining her sanity.
Chris continued his studies while also becoming a recurring ally of the Titans, once being among the Titans kidnapped by the Wildebeest Society. Some time later, Chris started transforming uncontrollably into a new super-hero every hour, remaining in that form until he had channelled out a certain amount of energy. Somehow, the long-time exposure to the H-Dial had made the power internalize in Chris, as it had in Vicki earlier. He volunteered as a test subject at S.T.A.R. Labs in California, to learn about his new powers.
Among the scientists examining him was ex-Titan Karen Beecher, alias the Bumblebee. When the inactive Titans spin-off group called Titans West re-formed during this time, Bumblebee dragged Chris along as a new member, replacing the absent Beast Boy, Gnaark, and Golden Eagle. This group, with Chris fighting side-by-side with Hawk, Dove, Lilith, Bumblebee, Herald, and Flamebird, only lasted one mission. Since then, Chris King has remained an infrequent hero, preferring to examine his powers at S.T.A.R. Labs. (Though he recently appeared together with every single member of the Titans when one of their comrades, Victor Stone, threatened the entire Earth.)
Hero Cruz of the young heroic Ravers discovered Vicki's H-Dial among a number of artifacts stolen by the Scavenger (the second villain of that name), a collector of weapons. Hero adopted the Dial as his own since the Scavenger had stolen his former source of super-powers, the Achilles Vest. Hero defeated the villain under the identity of "Human Justice". Shortly afterwards, Vicki came back, looking for her Dial. As she touched it, however, she lost her powers and was restored to normal, albeit puzzled and disoriented, and unsure what to do with her life. Hero is currently still using her H-Dial as his source of power, sometimes as a member of the Titans L.A. He has recently learned to master it better, now being able to choose his super-powers deliberately.
Quite recently, Vicki Grant appeared on the scene once again as part of Circe's army of female super-villains. Her evil streak and internalized powers seem to have resurfaced, but not much further is known about her return. She now goes under the nom-de-crime "Dial V For Villain".
Robby Reed's original H-Dial is currently on display in Booster Gold's theme restaurant "Planet Krypton", but it is known that it will eventually be exhibited in the Space Museum of the 25th century. While some of the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes visited that era, one of their friends, the young Lori Morning, was persuaded by the mysterious Time Trapper to steal the Dial. In the 30th century, she used the Dial to become a number of super-heroines, hoping that the Legion would admit her as a member. After helping defeat the Time Trapper in the guise of Galaxy Girl, Lori found that the Dial was jammed, and that she couldn't use it safely again. Since then, its powers have returned and she has used them as a member of the Work Force. The Legionnaire Brainiac 5 has attempted to examine the Dial, but whether he'll find out anything new about it remains to be seen.
The three H-Dials enable their users to become a new super-hero with a different super-power every time they dial the letters H-E-R-O. When the users transform, they also get instant knowledge of their powers and their "super-hero name". However, the dials can sometimes get faulty and unreliable. They can also conduct other forms of transformations if the user dials the correct words. Since the words they write are not necessarily adaptable into Interlac, it seems as if the transformations happen through some mental link between the Dial and its wielder. This theory is augmented by the fact that many of the heroes that Chris and Vicki were transformed into, were in fact products of the imagination of cartoonist Nick Stevens.
The original H-Dial creates transformations that remain until the user dials O-R-E-H. The transformations of the two newer Dials only last one hour. Another difference is that Robby could assume the same super-hero identity repeatedly, while none of his successors have become the same hero twice.
The H-Dial powers eventually internalized in Chris King and Vicki Grant. Chris now transforms involuntarily into a new super-hero every sixty minutes, and he has to use a certain amount of energy to get rid of the guise. Vicki had similar experiences, but the current status of her powers remains unknown.
Other villains not created by the Master included the Games Master (some kind of Joker protege?), Sky-Raider, Coil and Wildebeest.
Dial 'H' for HERO was always a fun and interesting concept. A teen-ager would dial H-E-R-O on a magic H-Dial and transform himself or herself into a randomly selected super-hero. The saga of the H-Dial began with Robby Reed, way back in late 1965. Robby Reed lived in Littleville, Colorado with his grandfather and their housekeeper Miss Millie. Robby was a science prodigy, with a well-stocked lab in the rear of his house. One day, he was out at Valley Ridge with some friends, when suddenly he fell into a subterraean cavern. He discovered a telephone-like dial made of a peculiar alloy, with a strange inscription on it. The dial was the handiwork of extraterrestrials. Robby took the dial home and deciphered the inscription. He learned that, by dialing H-E-R-O, he could become a randomly chosen super-hero. He reverted to normal by dialing O-R-E-H. Since he was billed as "The boy who can change into 1,000 super-heroes", one must wonder if "one thousand" was a true limit. Robby disappeared for a while, returned briefly in 1976, then faded into obscurity.
Fifteen years after the debut of the original feature, a new series began. This one however did not mention Robby Reed. Christopher King had just moved with his family to a New England town named Fairfax, into what was rumored to be a haunted house. One day, he went exploring in the attic with Victoria Grant, a fellow student at Hamilton Junior High School. The two teens found an old chest which contained a wristwatch and a watch pendant. They quickly learned that the faces concealed H-Dials. These dials differed slightly with the original, Robby's had ten dial holes while these had only four, but the concept was still the same. These new dials however had a one hour time limit. If either dial was in use, the other would glow to signal the wearer that he or she may be needed. They later learned that the dials tapped into the vivid imagination of Nick Stevens, a schoolmate of theirs, in order to generate their heroic identities. In one of their last recorded adventures, Chris and Vicki learned the origin of their dials. A few years back, Robby Reed was in one of his super-hero identities, when he became trapped by a super-villain. He dialed D-I-V-I-D-E, which transformed him into two entities: the good Wizard and the evil Master. The Wizard created the two new H-Dials, while the Master plagued the teens behind-the-scenes. The two entities ultimately merged back together, and Robby, tired of the role of hero, gave his dial to the kids' friend Nick Stevens.
Some time later, Chris and Vicki returned, but not in the way anyone would have expected. The two had gone away to college and drifted apart. Vicki had gotten in with a bad crowd and was corrupted by the cult known as the Children of the Sun. Eventually, Vicki came after Chris, with the desire to kill him. Chris went to his house looking for his dial, but found it was missing. He ran from Fairfax, and finally contacted the New Teen Titans for help. After an intense battle, during which it was learned that Vicki was beginning to store residue H-Dial energy, Vicki disappeared. Chris later learned that he too had absorbed H-Dial energy, and began to change from hero to hero against his will. Later still, Chris was abducted by the Wildebeest, an enemy of the Titans, but was soon after rescued.
Recently, the teen named Hero Cruz found Vicki's H-Dial among the artifacts stolen by the Scavenger. After some help from his friends the Ravers, Hero got to keep the dial. Soon after he acquired it however, Vicki Grant came looking for it. After a nasty fight, Vicki was subdued and returned to normal. Hero Cruz was last seen, along with Chris King, at a party hosted by members of the Titans.
Although that brings the story of the dial "up-to-date", that's not where the story ends! During a weird temporal mishap, the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes found themselves briefly in the 25th century. While there, one of their friends, Lori Morning, was secretly given Robby Reed's H-Dial by the Time Trapper, which he had stolen from its display at the Space Museum. Lori currently possesses the dial in her new home in the 30th century. When last seen, the dial had been shorted out and no longer appeared to be functional.
That *is* where the story ends! However, you can find a concise summary of the history of those wonderful H-Dials.
The current whereabouts of H-Dial #1 is unknown. It was last seen in the possession of Nick Stevens. (In the post-Zero Hour continuity, this dial will end up in the Space Museum in the 25th century. When last seen, the 25th century H-Dial was in the 30th century, where it was shorted out; it is believed to be non-functional.)
The current whereabouts of H-Dial #2 is unknown. It was last seen in the possession of a corrupted Vicki Grant and the Children of the Sun.
H-Dial #3 is currently in the possession of Hero Cruz.
The H-Dial users:
Robby Reed obtained H-Dial #1 in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #156; he gave the dial to Nick Stevens in NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #49.
The criminal "Daffy" Dagan used H-Dial #1 in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #158.
Robby Reed's girlfriend, Susan "Suzy" Shoemaker, used H-Dial #1 in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #169 and SILVER AGE SECRET FILES #1.
Members of the Justice League of America used H-Dial #1 in SILVER AGE: CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #1 and SILVER AGE 80-PAGE GIANT #1.
Chris King obtained H-Dial #2 in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES [2nd series] #272; he internalized the power by HAWK & DOVE [3rd series] ANNUAL #1; he was last seen fraternizing with the Titans in THE TITANS SECRET FILES #2.
Vicki Grant obtained H-Dial #3 in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES [2nd series] #272; she was corrupted by the Children of the Sun by NEW TEEN TITANS [2nd series] #45; she internalized the power by SUPERBOY & THE RAVERS #13; she last appeared as a villainess in WONDER WOMAN [2nd series] #175.
Nick Stevens obtained H-Dial #1 in NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #49; he was last seen in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #12.
Hero Cruz obtained H-Dial #3 in SUPERBOY & THE RAVERS #5; he was last seen fraternizing with the Titans in THE TITANS SECRET FILES #2.
In the pre-Crisis reality, the criminal Nylor Truggs used the 30th century H-Dial #2 in NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #50; it was destroyed in battle in the 20th century; this story was retconned out by the Crisis.
In the post-Zero Hour reality, Lori Morning obtained the 25th century H-Dial #1 in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES [4th series] #91; she used it to become a heroine in the 30th century; it became non-functional in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES [4th series] #125.
The Dingbats of Danger Street
Written by Rich Meyer
The Dingbats of Danger Street were basically just a colorful street gang, much in the same vein as many other Kirby (and Kirby/Simon) creations like the Kid Cowboys of Boys' Ranch, the Newsboy Legion, and the Boy Commandos. There were four young lads who made up the Dingbats:
- "Good Looks", the handsome 'brains' of the gang. A fairly non-descript leader.
- "Krunch", the group's muscle and hair.
- "Non-Fat", the skinny shrimp with a chip on his shoulder. Apparently he eats a lot and stays incredibly skinny. From the way he was drawn (knowing Kirby's style) and the way he was scripted, I have the distinct impression that he was meant to be an African-American, but either the colorist got it wrong or something else behind the scenes changed the situation
- "Bananas", the kid who looks like a geek but tries to act like a spaz. He basically comes off as a complete jerk (think Guy Gardner without the fine graces).
The Dingbats' first adventure begins with the quartet hanging out on a street corner. Good Looks is reading, Non-Fat is contemplating a hot dog, Krunch is exercising, and Bananas is spazzing out, when suddenly a man in a costume leaps the fence, being chased at gunpoint by Police Lt. Terry Mullins. the man, a criminal known as Jumpin' Jack, gets himself and Non-Fat entangled in Krunch's rubber exerciser, which allows Mullins to capture the wily criminal, giving thanks to the Dingbats for their help.
Soon after the villain is taken to jail, Non-Fat chokes on his hot dog (much to Bananas' delight) and coughs up a small cylinder containing a strip of microfilm. They are immediately accosted by Jumpin' Jack's partner in crime, a helmeted goon known as the Gasser. After a brief struggle, the Gasser flees without the film cylinder, but with Non-Fat clinging to the roof of his escape vehicle ... a camper. Apparently he spent too much of his loot on his costume and gas devices to buy a proper getaway car.
The Gasser also has a second man in the camper, a person they had kidnapped for ransom earlier. Meanwhile, Mullins is interrogating Jumpin' Jack at police headquarters when the boys barge in with the film cylinder and needing help to track down Non-Fat. Jumpin' Jack takes the opportunity to escape from custody, though he is unknowningly being followed by Mullins and a police detail (who surprisingly seem to be able to follow the nimble villain from rooftop to rooftop with ease).
Jumpin' Jack meets up with the Gasser at a deserted waterfront pier (talk about stereotypical situations), and they decide that the kidnap deal is off and that the Dingbats have to pay for interfering with their plans. As they were about to kill their hostages, Mullins and the police arrive. the Gasser uses a new weapon which amounts to a flamethrower, which he uses to burn Mullins. the police lieutenant's wounds aren't enough to prevent him from dropping the Gasser with a kick, and Jumpin' Jack is also captured fairly quickly. Non-Fat and the victim are thawed out and everything is back to normal, with Mullins telling the Dingbats they can call on him for help whenever they need it (and also finds out that the Dingbats stay together because they each had a bad experience with grown-ups at one time or another).
And that was basically it for the story of the Dingbats of Danger Street. the gang appeared one more time, twenty-seven years later, in the pages of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. As a fairly incidental part to this story (Superman, in his blue electric form, was trying to keep Intergang from getting involved in Suicide Slum's street gangs), the Dingbats and the Newsboy Legion were squabbling over squatters' rights to the abandoned Goldberg Theater. At the end of the tale, the theater was purchased by fellow 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL alumni, the Green Team, for conversion into a youth center that both gangs could use. So pretty much besides for establishing the Green Team and the Dingbats into regular DC Continuity (and putting the Dingbats in Metropolis' Suicide Slum), there wasn't much to this story either.
- 1st Issue Special #6
- Adventures of Superman #549
Fred Jenkins would do anything for his son. Diagnosed with a potentially fatal condition, the boy was in desperate need of a life-saving but very expensive operation. With no other options, Fred decided in early 1962 to take a series of high-risk, high-paying jobs to finance the surgery.
While testing a one-man propeller device above Star City, Jenkins came to the attention of Green Arrow and Speedy, who rescued him with helium balloon arrows when the flight pack malfunctioned. At an impromptu press conference, Jenkins offered to undertake any dangerous mission ("for the right price, of course") and, by evening, his name had been broadcast up and down the coast. In a chance encounter that night, the Amazing Archers rescued Fred again, this time while he was salvaging gems for the owners of a wrecked freighter.
Inevitably, Jenkins was hired by an unscrupulous client. The day came while Fred was testing a Cliff Climber, an orange tank with extendable arms and a clear plastic dome over the driver's seat. The device worked flawlessly and Jenkins reported the news via radio to its inventor, Doctor Davis.
Davis, a fifty-something man with curly gray hair, thick eyebrows and a mustache beneath his bulbous nose, had further instructions: Jenkins was to use the tank's arms to steal a rare jade statue from a suburban mansion.
Fred insisted that he couldn't comply but Davis responded that "you can and you WILL! I sent you this way because the regular road up that mountain is guarded at the bottom. What's more, I sealed you in. If you don't steal that statue, I need only press a button that will blow up the vehicle, with you in it! Think it over."
After several minutes of silence, Davis triggered the explosion, observing that "now that I know my invention works, I can build another and operate it myself." Before he had a chance to react, Doctor Davis and his two partners were captured by Green Arrow and Speedy in the company of Fred Jenkins.
Spotting the Arrow-Plane overhead, Jenkins had used the tank's arms to uproot an American flag and turned it upside down ("the standard distress signal"). Alerted to Fred's plight, GA explained that "a few acetylene torch arrows did the trick, burning off the dome."
Green Arrow predicted that Fred's reward for capturing the Davis gang "should be more than enough to cover your son's operation." Still shaken from his experience, the young man responded, "I don't mind telling you that last job cured me of risks forever" (WORLD'S FINEST #125, by Ed Herron and Lee Elias).
Though a minor adversary in Green Arrow's history, Doctor Davis had the good fortune of appearing just as writer Gardner Fox was casting about for a representative GA villain to use in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #14 (with art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs). Four months after the publication of WORLD'S FINEST #125, Davis returned in the JLA story, one of several crooks recruited by Mister Memory (a.k.a. Amos Fortune) to use a De-Memorizer on the heroes and give them amnesia. Using more of his inventions (a miniature aircraft and a lightning generating baton), Davis distracted Green Arrow until he could use Mr. Memory's device on the Emerald Archer.
Davis and his cohorts were soon captured by the League, of course, but the bad doctor achieved a bit of immortality with his five panel (only two less than WFC!) appearance in that issue (the twice-reprinted induction of the Atom), enabling fans to remember his name when nearly all the other evil scientists of the era are long forgotten.
Doctor Cyclops, the Master of Lenses, was on a crime wave through Zenith City. He used his magnetic money lenses to rob a crowd of onlookers. Word of the fantastic robberies carried to Robby Reed's lab shack, where he again used his H-Dial to become a super-hero to combat the villain. This time, he transformed into a human wave called Zip Tide, and took the river into town. Doctor Cyclops was robbing an armored car when Zip Tide found him, using his inferno opticals to burn a hole in the side of the vehicle. A barrage of water pellets distracted the villain from his crime, but before Zip Tide could do anything else, he noticed a guard inside the back of the armored car, trapped by the molten metal. Zip Tide enveloped the truck in his watery form, cooling it down and saving the guard's life. Doctor Cyclops used the distraction to escape, though.
During dinner that night, a radio report warned that the insane villain was attacking the Diamond Exchange, prompting Robby to excuse himself and grab his H-Dial once again. This time he became Super Nova, a hero filled with "brilliant star energy". He flew into Zenith City in time to find Doctor Cyclops pulling people and diamonds from high windows in the exchange with his anti-gravity goggles. Super Nova sped in and destroyed the goggles, which also caused everyone to start to fall. Super Nova then created a swift undercurrent in the air to lower everyone safely. Doctor Cyclops, in the meantime, had changed lenses to ones with his "ice glare" and froze Super Nova solid in mid-air, causing him to plummet.
Super Nova concentrated on generating atomic power and melted the ice enough to burst free before he fell to his doom. He landed and was met with a beam of darkness from Doctor Cyclops' eclipse lenses. As the villain escaped, Robby felt his Super Nova powers waning, so he again used the H-Dial, this time transforming into Robby the Super Robot. Flying through the air on small rockets, the Robot used his built-in radar-sonar unit to track Doctor Cyclops to where he was pulling another job, heisting valuable artwork from the museum with his diminishing glasses, which shrunk the paintings down to the size of postage stamps. Seeing the Robot approaching, he switched to his anti-metallic glasses, which repulsed the Robot's metal body.
To counter the villain's unique gimmick, the Robot used a molecule transformer in his chest cavity to transform his body into wood, and shot "splinter spears" at Doctor Cyclops. The villain was quick enough to change to his inferno opticals and burn them in mid-air, and then switched to his zoom lenses to make a quick getaway. The Robot reverted back to his metal form, and then used a robotic sniffer to track Doctor Cyclops by scent. He trailed the villain to his underground lab. Unfortunately, the villain was ready for him and trapped the Robot under the stare of a giant optical icer, freezing him to the spot.
Since his robotic body could withstand great impacts, the Robot flew into the walls of the cave to shatter the icicles from his body. Doctor Cyclops headed for his optical utility belt, planning to use his death stare on his foe, but the Robot was quicker, changing his control gears to enlarge and stretch his fist across the room and shatter all of Doctor Cyclops' glasses. After delivering Doctor Cyclops and the stolen property to the authorities, the Robot flew off.
Doctor Cyclops reappeared as a member of the Science Squad in the series, 52.
- House Of Mystery #164
Written by Richard Meyer
(Please note: this is one of the few DOOM PATROL issues that I'm currently missing. This synopsis of Doctor Tyme is taken verbatim from the entry in The Official Doom Patrol Index #1).
"The rivalry between Mento and the Doom Patrol members over Elasti-Girl continues, as they face Dr. Tyme, who has discovered a means of controlling time at various speeds. A tiny Elasti-Girl is captured after she stows away on the bumper of the villain's getaway car, and Mento accompanies the Doom Patrol to rescue her. When Negative Man is trapped outside Larry Trainor's body in Dr. Tyme's suspension ray and a bomb threatens the life of an unconscious but giant-sized Elasti-Girl, Mento uses his psychokinetic helmet to save both, but Dr. Tyme makes a successful getaway."
Doctor Tyme reappeared as a member of the Science Squad in the series 52, and resided on Oolong Island. He appeared again afterwards in other limited series including the 2009 Doom Patrol (#4).
- The Doom Patrol [1st series] #92
Written by Richard Meyer
The Dogs of War were a creation of S'Ven Tarah, one of the foremost Terran scientists from a far-flung future era. Tarah planned to lay in a defense for Earth in preparation for an invasion by the intergalactic conquerors known as the Xxggs. In his own era, the Xxggs had established a tyrannical empire the likes of which had never even been dreamed of before on Earth. Tarah knew he would need powerful assistance if his plan was to succeed, and first considered using the Legion of Super-Heroes, but on his first attempt to travel to their time period using an appropriated chronal teleporter, he had been ensnared by Reinhold Borten's "time-net" and brought to the year 2047 A.D., several years after a devastating nuclear war laid waste to much of the world. Borsten wanted to become the absolute ruler of the planet, and Tarah helped him close in on his goal with his own futuristic technology. Tarah was concentrating on his own plan, which was to build a starship in that time period and send it out to engage the Xxgg invasion ship many generations before it arrived on Earth and use a "nucleotide injector" on the race's gene plasm to hopefully spawn an exploitable weakness in them many centuries hence.
Unable to get aid from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Tarah created his own band of super-powered beings from the many warriors that Borsten had brought from various time periods to fight for the entertainment of the wealthy. The Dogs of War were:
Centurion, a Roman Legionary from the army of Caesar
Manta, former Maori War Chief transformed into a flying, manta-like creature.
The Sun Hawk, ninja Asura Yormitsu, who becomes possessed by an Oni (demon)
Starkad the Slayer, Norseman
Stanley Harris, U.S. Soldier from the Vietnam War, who has the ability to accelerate time with his touch (forcing him to wear gloves of spun gold constantly).
The Dogs of War were first seen saving a band of traveling gypsies ferrying a water tank across the desert from an attack by a gang of Road Reapers. They took the Reapers into custody and set them to work in the Project. After delivering the new slaves, the team next attacked a Soames Processing Facility (Soames was the unique chemical tablet that could neutralize radioactivity in water and was used as money in the wasteland future world of HEX). Harris was able to age the protective dome that secured the plant until it crumbled, and the Dogs of War entered and took the guards and workers hostage and back to the Project. They next appeared and blew up the entrance to a mining facility, so that they could take the miners prisoner.
After the new workers were rounded up, Manta happened upon the man known as Jonah Hex outside the mine, having barely survived a battle with the Chain Saw Killer. Manta blasted and captured Hex as well, who was put to work in the project with all of the others. Hex escaped, but in doing so ended up in a drag-down fight with Starkad, until Harris finally met up with his old friend Hex (who had also been pulled from his own time period by Borsten). Hex's ladyfriend Stiletta also met up with them, having been captured by the project's guards while trying to rescue Hex.
An elite Xxgg liquidation team was sent back through time to stop Tarah and his plan. The aliens landed outside the starship project, but Tarah refused to let the Dogs of War attack them, preferring to use his now-expendable army of android guards (even though the Xxggs' bio-armament far out-classed that of the droids, which where a thousand in number). All five Dogs of War were needed to pilot the ship on its journey to the Xxgg's ship in deep space, so Tarah did not want to jeopardize any of them. He also released the multitude of workers he had imprisoned to battle the liquidation force, hoping to buy enough time to launch the ship.
Eventually, Tarah was forced to relent and send the Dogs of War into battle against the alien invaders. Centurion and Harris were forced to withdraw from the fight as they were nearly overwhelmed by the Xxggs, but Sun Hawk's demon form took out one that nearly killed the ninja (though he apparently got better) and Starkad was able to briefly down a second alien. Unfortunately, Tarah had to summon them all back to the ship because the time of the launch was growing near and they would have to take their chances that the remaining Xxggs did not reach and destroy the ship before it went up. Hex, however, had a plan and Tarah agreed to it, though he believed the situation to be hopeless. Hex and Stiletta actually lured the Xxggs to the starship, and trapped them in the exhaust as the ship was lifting off.
The Dogs of War left on the starship to complete their mission against the Xxggs, and Tarah returned to his own time, wiping any memory of his plan from himself so that his interrogation would not compromise the situation. He told Hex that after being mind-scanned, he would be executed.
- Hex #13-17
Written by Richard Meyer
On the waterfront in the slums of Star City, Green Arrow was on patrol and heard shots. He came upon a night watchman in a firefight with a bunch of thugs, and used a flare arrow to illuminate the alley. The light helped the watchman, who turned the tables on the gunmen and disarmed them with relative ease, shooting their guns out of their hands. As Green Arrow moved closer, his flare arrow fell into the river, igniting it into a raging inferno. Realizing he was out of his depth, Green Arrow hit his JLA signal device, which summoned Superman and Green Lantern to his assistance. The two powerhouses contained and extinguished the blaze quickly, and Green Arrow told them he thought he knew why the water started burning. The three heroes flew off, not noticing the night watchman, who was trying to attract their attention, believing he had something that the whole future of humanity might depend on.
The three heroes headed to a large city on the Eastern seaboard where Superman and Green Lantern told their friend about the Justice League's new headquarters, which was a satellite orbiting 22,300 miles above the Earth. They used a Thanagarian relativity beam system to transport up to the satellite, to where the Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary, and Batman preceded them. After a brief tour, the Atom reminded them that the JLA was scheduled to make a charity appearance in Star City that night.
The night watchman also knew about the charity event and planned to crash it to warn the Leaguers. As he headed there, he was again attacked, this time by a car that started shooting at him. The watchman shot out one of the car's tires and it collided with a streetlamp, but the occupants appeared to be all right. The night watchman escaped and continued on his journey. The event was in full swing and Superman had just formally presented Black Canary as the team's newest when the night watchman made it inside. Green Arrow recognized him as the man he had helped earlier, and Black Canary noticed men behind him drawing weapons. She jumped toward them, but they drew faster and fired at her. Luckily, a shield from Green Lantern's power ring saved her from the shots, and then both she and Batman waded into the crooks. Superman checked out the men with his x-ray vision and saw that they were really automatons set to explode, and protected the rest of the people in the room from the blast with his invulnerable body.
The night watchman picked up the guns of the robots, having lost his own weapons earlier, and related his tale to the JLA. He had been hired as a night watchman at the new chemical factory, where he had noticed that the place was spewing poisonous chemicals directly into the air and water. None of the workers seemed to know what kind of products were made there, and the watchman determined that, in fact, the only thing the factory was producing was pollution. He swiped a bunch of papers from the office and ran out, with the "owlhoots" from the factory in hot pursuit, and had been cornered by them when Green Arrow had shown up earlier that night. Green Arrow mentioned that he noticed the flames from the river hadn't touched the factory at all, which appeared to be protected by a force-field of some sort.
Green Arrow also said the man was obviously no ordinary watchman. The man admitted that his name was Greg Sanders, and that he used to be in their line of business as the Vigilante. He said he had just gotten weary and decided to retire, and then gave the heroes the paperwork he had stolen from the factory office. There were chemical formulae for pollutants like acid, grease and smoke, as well as a star map with a circle around a planet in the Sirius star system. The team decided to split up, with Superman and Green Lantern heading for Sirius and the others going with the Vigilante back to the factory. Green Arrow decided to first call the city manager to find out what they knew about the situation. He wasn't very happy finding out though, as the Star City Council had approved the factory because it brought in thousands of dollars in taxes. The City Manager became enraged at the Emerald Archer's attitude and angrily had a pair of guards take him to be thrown out of the building.
While Green Arrow talked to the manager, the Vigilante had made some purchases at a western shop and was back in costume. He and Black Canary headed off on her cycle to the factory, with Batman and the Atom following behind.
Superman and Green Lantern had reached the planet that was circled on the star map. Green Lantern remembered that the inhabitants called it Monsan. The two heroes found the world to have an atmosphere that was almost pure carbon monoxide. The soil of the planet was like ash and Superman couldn't detect any plants or animals. The two heroes set out trying to find any of what remained of the population.
When the rest of the League reached the gates of the factory, they found a sign saying that all employees were excused from work until further notice, and they were immediately set upon by a horde of the same kind of gunsels that had tried to kill the Vigilante. The four heroes were holding out against the automatons, and the leader of "The Doomsters" was watching the battle from inside the factory. He pressed a button and the "shooting irons" that the Vigilante had taken from the other gunmen suddenly started melting into a gas that knocked all four of the heroes out. The robots took them and placed them in a steel-cable net and the four were slowly lowered into a vat of noxious chemicals...
The guards that escorted Green Arrow out turned out to be very sympathetic to him and let him go instead of having him jailed as the City Manager ordered. The Emerald Archer immediately headed to the factory, and was surprised to not see any sign of his companions. He did find the Vigilante's lasso on the ground, which made him believe that they were in trouble. He used a flare arrow to cut through the fence around the plant and headed in. Green Arrow found his fellow heroes as they were about to be immersed in the chemicals and shot an arrow into the gears of the hoist to stop their plunge.
The men guarding the factory saw him and started firing at him with their strange guns. Green Arrow realized that he needed help and took the explosive charge out of some of his arrows and shot them at the unconscious Leaguers, hoping that the oxygen in the arrowheads (which was used to enhance the incendiary effects of the arrow) would revive the four heroes. It did so, and as they awoke, he told them all to cover their eyes. A dazzle-arrow blinded the gunmen in the factory. The heroes climbed up the cable of the hoist and attacked their unseeing attackers, defeating them all easily. The remainder of the men fled into a chamber that they sealed after their entry, trapping them in a windowless box. All of a sudden, the entire complex began shaking violently and the entire building that the men had entered suddenly launched itself like a rocket into the sky.
Batman thought they should review facts up to that point: The operators of the factory had been poisoning the air and water of Star City. The fact that they had super-weapons and robots unknown on Earth, along with the rocket ship, indicated that they had been battling aliens.
Superman and Green Lantern found a survivor on the planet Monsan, in a valley that seemed to have slightly better air. The alien wanted to warn them about the plans of one of his people's leaders, named Chokh, who was scheming to make other planets like they had made Monsan. After years of reveling in their industrial might, the scientists of Monsan warned that they were making the planet into a wasteland, but no one listened to their pleas, until after people began dying from the pollution. All efforts to reverse what was happening failed. Chokh had a solution in which certain Monsanians carried a gene that allowed them to have their body chemistry altered in a radiation bath that would allow them to breath the toxic fumes and drink the polluted water without any harm. Unfortunately, more than just their bodies changed, as their minds also became twisted. They began calling themselves the Doomsters, and Chokh led them off-world, voyaging into space to seek other worlds like Monsan and change them into environments where the altered Monsanians could thrive. The Monsanian had struggled to stay alive in hopes of warning someone, and after he did, he died. Green Lantern wanted to destroy the polluted world, but Superman intercepted the beam from his power ring, saying it would be better to let Monsan stand as a monument to ignorance and a warning to what could happen to other worlds.
Meanwhile back on Earth, Batman contacted Hawkman in the Justice League satellite, warning him about the launch of the alien rocket and telling the Winged Wonder that it had to be stopped. Hawkman got into his Thanagarian spacer and followed the building, which was traveling relatively slowly for a spacecraft. He caught the ship in his gravity beam and was attempting to ease it back to the ground when the outside of the building exploded, revealing a sleek battle cruiser underneath. Hawkman's controls jammed and he was forced to abandon ship before the battle cruiser shot and destroyed it with a barrage of blaster and disruptor fire. Hawkman was stunned and enveloped by the cold of airless space, as his anti-gravity belt kept him from falling back to Earth.
Inside the Doomsters' spacecraft, Chokh had ordered a new phase of his plan to begin, with the vessel dropping huge canisters into rivers and the soil all over the world. He then sent out a message to everyone on the planet, saying that he would give the inhabitants of the planet one hour to make peace with themselves and then start releasing total pollution (and destroy the planet's ecosphere). Batman and the others teleported up to the satellite, and Superman and Green Lantern returned from their trip to Sirius. They luckily spotted Hawkman in space and brought him back into the satellite, where he was given proper medical attention. The satellite's sensors couldn't find the pollution bombs, but the ionscope was able to pinpoint the Doomsters' ship, which Superman and Green Lantern went after. The two heroes entered Chokh's control room before he could detonate the bombs, but the Doomsters' leader escaped while they were making short work of his crew. His super-weapon easily penetrated the defense shield of the JLA satellite, and he entered the headquarters and held the heroes at gunpoint. Black Canary and the Vigilante sprang into action, but the Vigilante was hit by a ricocheting blast from Chokh's gun, and he held his gun at Black Canary after she slipped on an oil slick. Chokh ordered all of the heroes into the airlock, and planned to put them into space. Batman and Green Arrow tried to stall him by talking to the heroine, with Green Arrow admitting he loved her. The Atom, who had previously shrunk out of site, appeared suddenly and struck Chokh down, making him drop his weapon. Green Arrow wanted to see the alien's face, and took off Chokh's mask. Chokh couldn't breath the fresh air of the satellite and suffocated.
Later, Green Arrow and Black Canary returned to Star City and Green Arrow told her that he had meant what he said up in the satellite. Black Canary said she liked the archer, but she was still full of memories of her late husband. It would be awhile for her to ready herself for someone else, and said she thought that they should just be grateful that they had saved the Earth. Green Arrow looked at all the factories and smokestacks on the skyline and wondered if they really had.
- Justice League Of America #78-79
The Duke of Deception
With apologies for repeating what Bgztl has already written (and profuse thanks to Michael Fleisher, whose 1976 WONDER WOMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA was a godsend), here's my take on the Duke of Deception:
During the latter half of 1942, Major Steve Trevor disappeared on a secret mission and his "angel," an Amazon princess named Diana, feared the worst. A consultation with the goddess Aphrodite revealed that Steve was a prisoner of Mars, God of War, in an unearthly realm overlaid with the planet Mars. "No mortal can enter Mars's domain except as a shackled prisoner ... Mars takes prisoner only the souls of the dead." The goddess provided Wonder Woman with an "elixir of living death" that would enable Diana's astral form to enter the hidden land.
Once there, Wonder Woman soon identified the war god's three lieutenants, chronic complainers Lord Conquest and the Earl of Greed and the fawning Duke of Deception, who kept his true opinions about Mars to himself. He also kept the true identity of the new slave to himself, preferring to use the inevitable conflict to his advantage.
The Duke was an elderly balding man of medium build with shrunken cheeks, warts and shrivelled skin. Like Mars and Conquest, he wore the garb of a Roman legionnaire, complete with a blue crested helmet and breastplate.
Once Mars was defeated by Wonder Woman, the embarrassed God of War was determined to avenge himself but a retaliatory attack by Greed on the Amazon proved a failure. Deception was tapped for the next assignment. As part of his plan, he would use his "false forms, or phantasms of living people, which he animates with his astral body."
Operating behind the scenes, Deception arranged for Wonder Woman to be framed for the murder of Naha, a Hawaiian dancer though only he knew that the victim was a phantasm. Naha was, in fact, a slave of the Duke and captured Wonder Woman with the intent of transporting her to Mars. Once the Amazing Amazon had gained the upper hand, she convinced Naha to reveal her master's plans, including the secret of the phantasms.
Elsewhere, a disguised Duke was manipulating Emperor Hirohito into launching a new attack on Hawaii. The renewed invasion was deflected by Wonder Woman while Etta Candy (disguised by a WW phantasm) decoyed the Duke and his forces. Once the genuine Wonder Woman arrived, Deception was dealt a humiliating defeat. Diana knocked him from his phantasm shell, destroyed his Martian spacecraft and sent his astral form fleeing back to the realm of Mars in the form of a slave girl.
The God of War was not amused, ordering the Duke thrown in the dungeon even as he summoned Lord Conquest for another go-round with the Amazon princess. The third agent actually succeeded in bringing Diana to Mars and the jubilant warlord ordered Deception and Greed set free while Wonder Woman was chained in their place. Diana's captivity was short-lived and she left the realm with Mars' armory and castle in flames. For a time, at least, the God of War would be preoccupied (WONDER WOMAN #2, by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter).
In 1943, reports reached Mars of the surging presence of "women in war activities." Fearing that "if women gain power in war, they'll escape man's domination completely ... (and) achieve a horrible independence," the God of War demanded that his unholy trinity "go to Earth and put these upstart females in their place." The trio balked at the prospect so Mars drafted Deception, noting "you're the one to fool females." The Duke sought out an Earth agent named Doctor Psycho, prodding him into the first of many battles with Wonder Woman.
In the wake of Psycho's defeat, the Duke slipped and mentioned that Mars had been no more successful. "Deception's admiration for Wonder Woman and her sex is touching," noted the war-god. "Take him to the women's prison and make him their slave." The Duke was mortified but used his guile to draw the women to his side, telling them that he wanted "to get freedom for you women leaders." The ensuing mutiny put the Duke on the throne before an audience of adoring women while the imprisoned Mars, Conquest and Greed were forced to flee the planet in disgrace (WW #5, by Marston and Peter).
The Duke enlisted his daughter, the beautiful blonde Lya, to help firm up support among the Martian women and grant him absolute power. Deception's daughter, however, was just as duplicitous and persuasive as her father. She proclaimed that "Deception, like all Martian men, believes women are inferior and only fit to be slaves." When her father begged for his life, Lya agreed to make him a political prisoner in permanent exile aboard a spacecraft. In a last minute bit of trickery, the Duke manipulated his daughter and her disciples into coming aboard the ship while he remained on Martian soil.
In early 1948, Wonder Woman was lured to the spacecraft, where Lya captured her and created a phantasm of the Amazing Amazon. ("It's lucky father left this ectoplasmic flesh-like clay in his spaceship.") As Wonder Woman, Lya attempted to steal Earth's atomic weapons and use them when she renewed hostilities with Mars. Instead, the genuine article escaped and rounded up the entire band of alien women. They would be detained on Transformation Island and, with time, reformed (COMIC CAVALCADE #26, by Marston and Peter). The Duke had unwittingly been spared a new uprising but the God of War was looming around the corner.
With the death of Wonder Woman's creator William Moulton Marston in 1947, Bob Kanigher eventually assumed the writing chores on the series, still illustrated by H.G. Peter into 1957. Regrettably, most of classic rogues gallery faded with Marston. Indeed, virtually the only Golden Age villain to continue to be revived by Kanigher throughout the 1950s was the Duke of Deception.
Kanigher's first treatment of the character seems to have been in 1949's WONDER WOMAN #34, where Mars had returned to the planet of his origin and dispatched the Duke of Deception to eliminate the person he blamed for Earth's lack of warfare Wonder Woman. As a phantasm of Paula von Gunther, the Duke took control of her "transmaterialization machine" and used it to wipe Etta Candy's Holliday College off the face of the Earth.
Eventually, Wonder Woman traced the disappearance to the God of War and, using Aphrodite's elixir, sent her astral form to the realm of Mars. While there, the Amazing Amazon faced duplicates of both Etta (secretly the Duke) and Steve Trevor (a phantasm that concealed explosives) before rescuing the Holliday Girls and their school from its captivity in Limbo.
A vengeful Mars, Lord Conquest and Duke attempted to destroy Earth with a solar death-ray. Bound by her own magic lasso and held by the Duke, Wonder Woman threw a pebble at her captor's hand, breaking his grip and enabling her to stop the threat (SENSATION COMICS #92). In 1951, The Duke followed up with a solo mission that sealed Washington, D.C. in a forcefield that was actually a kind of gateway for Martian invaders (WW #47) and, with Mars and Conquest, another assault on Paradise Island (SENSATION #104).
After that, the Duke of Deception seems to have cut all ties with the war-god and taken the planet Mars as his own. Late in 1953, he posed as a Professor Dekon, using his trademark misdirection to send Wonder Woman chasing into space after an imaginary fleet of invaders while his own Martian forces struck Earth (WW #63).
That plot failed but the Duke's next attempt in 1954 left Earth a wasteland. With the aid of benevolent archaeologists from Jupiter, Wonder Woman was recovered from the planet's surface and sent back in time to change history. Earth's fall had begun when a box secretly containing miniaturized Martians had washed onto the beach of Paradise Island. The enlarged invaders set foot on the land, stripping the Amazons of their power and beginning a chain of events that would culminate in the end of world. Forewarned, Diana opened the box in waters far from her home and sent the fleet into the path of an undersea volcano (WW #65).
Eventually, the Duke began to advocate the consolidation of several otherworldly armies into a single massive invasion force. Hoping to overcome their reluctance to fight Earth, the Duke brought Earth's finest athletes to Mars for an Olympic-style ceremony in which they would be defeated, thereby proving the alien races were superior. The plot backfired when Wonder Woman fought and won the competitions on behalf of the Earthmen (1954's WW #66). A second attempt to defeat Wonder Woman herself before an audience of prospective invaders of Earth met with similar failure (1956's WW #84). He finally made a second failed attempt to lure Wonder Woman off-planet while the Martians attacked (1957's WW #88). The Duke's joint Mars-Pluto-Saturn armada wouldn't come to fruition until late 1958 (WW #104).
When he wasn't drumming up support for an invasion force, the Duke was trying out super-weapons. A "brain-wave deceiver"rendered Wonder Woman incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality (1956's WW #81) while "shrinking rays" got the jump on Brainiac by miniaturizing Skyscraper City (1957's WW #93) and a "gigantic inter-stellar cannon" keyed in on Wonder Woman's invisible jet and threatened the Amazing Amazon (1957's WW #94).
By the late 1950s, the Duke had received a make-over along with the rest of the Wonder Woman cast, the result of the new art team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. With no visual references to work from, I can't say precisely when the transformation occurred but the Silver Age Duke had abandoned his Roman garb altogether. He now work an orange and black costume and hood and, characteristic of a master of illusion, the color of his skin changed from yellow (WW #104) back to pink (#140) and then to green (WW #148, 153).
In the five years that passed between the Duke's appearances in WW #104 and 140, the Wonder Woman series had begun its slide into the non-canonical world of "Impossible Stories." On a semi-regular basis, the Amazing Amazon now joined forces with her teenaged and infant personas in Amazon home movies depicting events that would otherwise be, well, impossible.
The environment was an entirely appropriate one for the Duke, who menaced the Wonder Family in #140 (1963), directed his Martian armada at Paradise behind the scenes in #152 and replaced Wonder Girl's face with a Harvey Dent-like visage using Martian transplant technology he claimed to have used to create Medusa and Mister Hyde (1965's WW #153). Not to worry, though. The Wonder Family recovered the teenager's true face in the wreckage of the Duke's spacecraft and "our Amazon scientists will be able to graft it back on." Suffering Sappho!
The only honest-to-goodness, Earth-One, no-Wonder-Family-here clash between Wonder Woman and the Duke of Deception in that period occurred in 1964's WW #148. Herein, "the imperator of illusions" had been so desperate to achieve victory over Wonder Woman that he'd been subconsciously projecting mirages of a captured Wonder Woman and cheering Martian followers to himself on the desolate surface of the red planet. With his sanity on the line, "the master of matter" redoubled his efforts to defeat his foe. The Amazing Amazon was subjected to an onslaught of threats, most illusory but with enough real ones thrown in to keep her off guard.
Once Diana had been convinced that all of the threats were illusions and stopped fighting them, the Duke sent in a giant serpent to capture Wonder Woman and bring her to Mars. Before an audience of increasingly skeptical Martians on the red planet, the Duke of Deception ordered Wonder Woman to compete against his followers in the Olympics of the Doomed. The twist: she had to win every match from within a small cage AND she had to exit the inescapable cell and place the Duke within. Despite the odds, the Amazing Amazon won every bout.
Holding the cell above a deep pool of water, the Duke explained that "all you have to do to win the game, Amazon is escape from your cage and the embrace of that sea creature after I drop you to the bottom of that pool." When the cage was pulled back to the surface, the impossible seemed to have happened. It was empty! As the audience began to snicker, the Duke transformed his finger into the key to the cage, insisting to his followers that "only I could have opened the door for her! Only I! Only I! It was impossible for her to escape!" As he climbed into the cage, the door slammed behind him. Wonder Woman had been inside all along, disguising her presence with (I guess) Amazon magic.
As per Martian custom, the victor of the Olympics was free to go. The loser, however, found himself unable to exit the cage that he'd created. "That's YOUR problem, Duke," laughed Diana. "And while you're imprisoned in your own cell better think about reforming before you get into worse trouble!"
The Impossible Stories and the Duke himself were kicked out of the series in #158 to pave the way for an ill-advised experiment that attempted to replicate the look of the Golden Age strip (#159-165). Mars, unseen since 1950's SENSATION #104, reappeared in #159 and 160. Once the focus shifted back to Earth-One, Mars showed up once more (#169) while a Martian invasion story (rewritten from WW #65's Duke of Deception episode) appeared in #173 minus the original ringleader.
Outside of a reprint of his appearance in WW #5's Doctor Psycho story (reprinted in Ms. Books' 1972 WONDER WOMAN hardback), the Duke failed to reemerge until 1975's WW #217. Scripted by Elliot S. Maggin and illustrated by Dick Dillin and Vince Colletta, it was well worth the wait.
At the time, Wonder Woman had been undergoing self-imposed monitoring by the members of the Justice League to determine whether she still had what it took to be part of the team. Green Arrow was observing Diana Prince when her United Nations workplace erupted into chaos. Everyone including GA himself suddenly began seeing their own personal illusions. Wonder Woman quickly realized who was at the center of the crisis and used her mental radio to isolate her foe's mind.
"The Duke of Deception, at your service, dear Princess Diana." Though clad in a tuxedo rather than Roman garments and in possession of a full (if graying) head of hair, the baggy-eyed Duke once again bore a resemblance to his original incarnation. "I have not had an altercation with you for many years. When first we met, I was in the employ of Mars, the war-god. But since I've been on my own, my powers have increased."
In the unavoidable conflict, Wonder Woman lost her lasso to the Duke, who wasted no time in wrapping it around her wrists and giving it the appearance of chains. "And you need not be reminded that when you are shackled by a man you lose your Amazon strength."
The battle came down to a battle of wills, with Diana taunting the Duke with the fact that "you failed as the top aide to the God of War ... and now you want to compensate. ... Is it drivel that you've changed from a self-assured, logical plotter to a less-than-sane Mad Hatter shuffling people through a patternless tea party ... once a super-villain now a bitter, old HAS-BEEN ?"
"No ... no! NO! Don't make me unsure of myself ... I can't concentrate when you confuse me like that !"
The tide had turned and Wonder Woman, her bonds now dissolved, encircled the Duke in her lasso of truth and demanded to learn his goal. "I planned by driving the United nations delegates mad ... to make myself their master. I'd plunge the entire world into WAR ... and make Mars, the war-god, bow to ME ... as Mars once made ME bow to HIM." Disgusted, Diana took her captive "to a place where Aphrodite can deal with you."
Late in 1976, DC embarked on a second, more successful flashback to the Golden Age in WONDER WOMAN (#228-243) to reflect the World War Two time period of the Lynda Carter television show. Late 1977's WW #239 and 240 (by Gerry Conway, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta & Joe Giella) brought the Duke into play.
The story was set in June of 1942, shortly before the Amazon Princess had met Mars' underlings not that she'd have recognized him anyway. This Duke of Deception was a tall, youthful handsome specimen whose looks only enhanced his lies. The Duke proposed to Mars that they take advantage of a recent run of bad publicity that Diana had received. "If we could cause that disfavor to DEEPEN into outright hostility ... and provoke a confrontation ... wouldn't that achieve BOTH your aims? The destruction of Wonder Woman ... and a worsening of the World War?"
Mars was delighted with the plot and sent his underling to Earth, where the Duke soon manipulated Wonder Woman into toppling the Statue of Liberty (which she'd seen as an animated attacker) and attacking American military forces (whom her eyes had perceived as Nazis). The Flash's attempt to intervene was met with an illusion designed for himself. When his speed caused the mirage to fade, Jay Garrick realized that something was very wrong.
Hoping to expose the mastermind behind the illusions, Jay disguised himself as a Nazi super-villain called Siegfried the Speedster and raided the courtroom where a more docile Wonder Woman was attending a preliminary hearing for her actions. With public opinion threatening to turn back in the Amazon's favor as she fought the "Nazi," the Duke countered by providing a Prohibition-era gangster with an "illusion-lens." Suddenly, Diana found a concrete behemoth in her path and, finally cognizant of the fact that she was being manipulated, she simply stopped fighting. In a moment, Wonder Woman found herself amidst a heap of gray dust and rock. "I was battling the sidewalk itself ... literally pounding myself to death against the concrete."
Napoleon Jones, the gangster in possession of the lens, was taken into custody even as he accused a mysterious Duke of being the mastermind. In Olympus, the rogue was about to pay a stiff penalty for his failure. "You've always been so VAIN about your deceptive good looks," snarled Mars. "Let your punishment be the stripping of illusion! Let the world see you as you REALLY are deep in your SOUL. There is your punishment, Deception!"
Now a bald, toothless, shrivelled shell of his former self, the Duke of Deception made a vow. "This is YOUR FAULT, Amazon! You'll PAY for this, U swear. If it takes forever ... I swear you'll suffer! SUFFER!"
Roy Thomas, incidentally, introduced the "real" Siegfried the Speedster into his 1942-era ALL-STAR SQUADRON continuity, thus making the convenient appearance of a Nazi speedster in the courtroom a bit less obviously a hoax. As Zyklon, the Nazi version of the Flash debuted in ALL-STAR SQUADRON #45.
Little more than a year after his first chronological appearance, the Duke of Deception made his last. In a contest judged by the Gods, Diana had lost her Wonder Woman title to a redheaded Amazon named Orana but took it back when her successor was killed. In early 1979, Wonder Woman found herself facing a new trial when the Angle Man hijacked the space shuttle and the NASA personnel seemed to be working on his behalf by creating a super-weapon. Noting a General's reference to "conquest,"the greed displayed by the project coordinator and the deceptive behavior of an astronaut, the Amazon princess began to ascertain what was going on.
Striking astronaut Mike Bailey, Wonder Woman watched the Duke of Deception emerge from his body. "You defied the Gods became the Wonder Woman again AGAINST our will with no true TEST to regain the title. This mission is that test and you are going to FAIL!" The Duke's prediction notwithstanding, Wonder Woman defeated the Angle Man and expelled Mars himself from the villain's body. The goddess Athena proclaimed Diana "the one true Wonder Woman. Go ... and know that all is right with you and your gods" (WW #254, by Jack C. Harris, Delbo and Giella).
As the Crisis On Infinite Earths was bearing down on the DC Universe in 1985, the Duke of Deception was granted a brief half-page biography in WHO'S WHO #7. He was never seen again.
Or was he? With his phantasms, he could make you believe he was anyone. With his powers of illusion, he could make you believe anything. The Duke of Deception has not been sighted in the modern DC Universe but that does not mean he no longer exists. Be afraid ... be VERY afraid ...
The Duke is one of Wonder Woman's earliest foes. He first appeared, I think in WONDER WOMAN #2 (first series) as a crony of Mars, the war god.
I think this needs some background because the Wonder Woman of the 1940's is so radically different from the modern version. If any of you are "modern" Wonder Woman fans only, the Golden Age atories can be sort of jarring. "Charles Moulton" (psychologist William Marston) raided Greek and Roman mythology on only the most superficial level.
He created Wonder Woman as an Amazon (woman warriors who fought the Greeks during the Trojan war) but then he made the Amazons pacifist. He named Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sensuality and romantic love, as the goddess of Love in the more platonic sense, i.e., the love of humanity.
And the foe of the Amazons who were the children of Ares, the Greek war god according to some myths? Well, Mars, the Roman god of war. In a double twist, Mars actually lives on Mars where he rules with an iron hand and has imprisoned political prisioners (almost all scantily clad women).
In Mouton's universe, Mars was the doppelganger for fascism and the sworn foe of Wonder Woman, peace and democracy. It didn't really make much sense but there it was. On with the tale.
Mars had three henchmen: the Duke of Deception, Count Conquest and the Earl of Greed with whom he plotted to rule the world. Each was depicted in Greco-Roman armor. The Duke's armor was blue with orange or yellow piping. It included a crested helmet.
The Duke was skinny, short and scrawny. He looked older than Mars and the other henchmen. In early stories he was depicted as a white-haired man with a receding hairline, an aquiline nose, protruding chin, missing teeth and warts on his face. In one later appearance he was depicted as thin and slight but more dapper with a receding hairline and widow's peak but only a flash of grey at each temple.
Through his fascist proxies, Mars had started a global assault on peaceloving people. The Duke of Deception was his most reprehensible agent. Mars selected the Duke for his most important mission. The duke was to capture Wonder Woman. He is prepared. He and Mars already have some plots hatched for her.
The Duke reveals a room where macabre phantasms of living people hang from a wall like carcasses in a butcher's shop. These phantasms are like gloves that the Duke can put on. Along the wall are the phantasms of Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito and Wonder Woman. Slipping into the phatasm of Wonder Woman, the Duke goes forth to defeat her. But it is he who is defeated.
Subsequently, the Duke was imprisoned by Mars and made the slave of Mars' own enchained slaves, the women prisoners. Turning to his greatest weapon, lies, Deception convinces the women that he planned to be arrested for their benefit.
Eventually he leads a slave revolt, freeing the women prisoners. Then he managed to find a way to trick Mars and Count Conquest down tino the cells and paralyze them with electric rays. [Mars' status as a true god was never very clear from story to story].
But the women had merely exchanged one jailer for another. They proclaimed Deception as their new King. But it was not to last. Once again the Duke's deceptions were inadequate to stop the triumph of good.
On another occasion, Deception used Dr. Psycho as a pawn to try to defeat Wonder Woman. They failed again. But the connection with Dr. Psycho was important for a different reason. Later on some of Dr. Psycho's powers seemed to rub off on the Duke.
My first real encounter with the Duke was in WONDER WOMAN #217. At that time, Diana was proving herself worthy to rejoin the justice league by enduring twelve trials or labors like the labors of Hercules. Each of the twelve adventures was "reported" back to the league by one of the members. In #217, Green Arrow had his turn.
The adventure began as Oliver Queen made his way to the United Nations building in New York City. As he followed Diana about the building, he suddenly sees an amazing sight. Green Arrow is getting into the elevator with Diana. The door of the elevator closes as Oliver Queen is rushing forward.
Inside the elevator, "Green Arrow" begs Diana to change into Supergirl to save some Pacific Islanders from a volcano. Diana is having none of it. She says, "Where do you get the idea I'm Supergirl ?" "Green Arrow" quickly pulls out one of his rubber tipped arrows and tells Diana to shine her heat vision on it.
Amazingly, the arrow melts as if Diana had the heat vision power. As the smoke fills the elevator, "Green Arrow" leaps out at the next floor. Diana changes quickly to Wonder Woman. The real Green Arrow tells us that the phoney GA went off o change clothes. The astute reader might suspect it was actually to change phantasms.
Regardless, a policeman appears in the hallway asserting he had just seen Green Arrow run down the hall.
Diana quickly figures out that the occupants are all suffering from different delusions. From there it was a sort hop onto the solution. And sure enough she's right. The Duke of Deception is watching her in a bowl of water used as a scrying mirror.
As Green Arrow leaps back into the Duke's illusions by re-entering the building, Diana summons her invisible jet. Boarding her plane, the Amazon Princess uses her mental radio to view the delusions suffered by the occupants of the U.N. building.
She also located the one mind NOT affected by the illusion, the Duke of Deception's. His eyes blazing, the Duke claims that his powers had increased and he was no longer in Mars' employ. He then confronts Diana on the top floor of the U. N building. He tricks Diana into lassoing a simulacra of himself. Then he stealthily snatches the lasso from her hands and uses it to bind her. [Diana lost her Amazon strength back then when she was bound by a man.]
The Duke attempted to confuse Diana further and held a sort of trial by fire for her in the middle of a circus ring. As Diana was about to catch him again, he materialized a number of duplicates around her. Next he materializes as a mad doctor who has chained Diana to an operating stretcher made of nails.
But Diana psyches him out instead.
She points out that he was clearly trying to overcompensate for no longer oworking for Mars. His once brilliant schemes and plots had been replaced with a mad and pointless scheme to shake Diana's confidence.
"Once a super-villain, now a has been."
As his confidence faded, the Duke's maintenance of the illusion that she was captured failed. Leaping up she grappled witht he Duke. He had one final trick. Like Proteus, he began to change his form from viper, to eagle, to dragon to pig. But it's too late. As he rushes in pig shape towards the window, Wonder Woman's lasso captures him.
Then, his real plan was revealed. He wanted to make the world bow down to him so that Mars would also have to bow to him. Wonder Woman hauled him off to where Aphrodite could deal with him, ending the adventure. I don't know of any subsequent appearances off hand, although I believe there were more. Anyway, the upshot was that the Duke went from otherworldly plotter to Protean-like mastermind. But he was still a cad.
Duke of Oil
Appeared in OUTSIDERS (1st series) #6, #7 and ADVENTURES OF THE OUTSIDERS #44, #45. His appearance in AOTO is a reprint of his appearance in Outsiders. "Nothing Can Stop the Duke of Oil" reads the cover to OUTSIDERS #7. Well, not exactly.
Earl J. Dukeston is an oil baron from Texas and the owner of Dukeston Oil. His company wants to see Station Markovia, an automated ocean research station off the coast of Los Angeles which also serves as the Outsiders HQ. After Brion Markov (Geo Force) and Dr. Jace have given him a tour of the station, Dukeston attacks the two, and it is revealed that he is an agent of an unknown scientific company that wants to steal Dr. Jace's research.
The Duke reveals that 20 years ago, he was caught in an explosion at his oil company. Thinking he would die, he woke up later and found that all that was left of him after the explosion (his brain) was put into a robotic body. Kind of like the Golden Age Robotman, huh? Well, the scientists who did this to Dukeston told him that they were growing another body for him using cloning technology, but it would take about twenty years to do so. In the meantime, the Duke did their bidding. Ultimately, when the Duke confronts the rest of the Outsiders, looker discovers that he is emitting no brain waves, Katana then throws her sword into his robotic head, and we learn that the Duke doesn't have a human brain after all, he's just a machine programmed with Dukeston's memories.
Finding out that he's not even partly human drives the malfunctioning Duke of Oil nuts, and he escapes into the Pacific Ocean below. The Outsiders search for him, but can't find a body. He remains currently at large.
The Duke reappeared in Star City and opposed Green Arrow. Arrow was able to shut him down by piercing the back of the Duke's skull. (Green Arrow v.3 #47-48, Apr-May.05)
The Duke is superstrong, and can stretch his neck, arms and legs like Elongated Man can. He wears fake skin in order to conceal his robotic appearance, but it is easily burned off or destroyed.
The Duplicate Man
The Duplicate Man began his criminal career by stealing from a scientific exhibit devoted to optics in Gotham City. Batman and Robin were on hand, but were kept back when the Duplicate Man threatened to use a vibration device to destroy all the glass in the building. Robin managed to blind the criminal with a large mirror, allowing Batman to swing up and upend him. Suddenly, another Duplicate Man showed up to heist a valuable lens. He kept Robin at bay with a slippery glass surface on which the Boy Wonder stumbled and twisted his ankle. the Duplicate Man then touched the strange knobs at the ends of his fingertips together and the man that Batman was fighting dematerialized into a ghost-like being that merged with the other Duplicate Man. the villain fled, vowing to steal the world's greatest inventions and become the most powerful criminal in the world.
Batman pursued the villain outside, but the Duplicate Man had again split into two people, each running in opposite directions. the one the Caped Crusader followed disappeared, having apparently rejoined the original, so Batman headed back to his injured partner. the Man of Steel, who arrived on a tip from the Daily Planet, joined the Dynamic Duo. the three decided to keep all the major laboratories and exhibitions of scientific equipment under surveillance to await the next crime of the Duplicate Man.
The next day, the Duplicate Man used a giant lens to burn his way into the New Age Research Institute, were a ray that absorbs all light (completely blacking out an area) was being tested. As the thief loaded the device into his helicopter, Batman confronted him. the Duplicate Man charged and knocked them both off the roof, and then had his duplicate summon him back, leaving the Dark Knight to fall to his death. Luckily, Superman spied the situation with his telescopic vision and was able to fly to Batman's rescue. He also disabled the Duplicate Man's helicopter, but the pilot was another duplicate, who was summoned back to the original Duplicate Man, who was escaping with the black light device. the Duplicate Man pulled off a pair of crimes at the same time the following morning, stealing a special television camera in Metropolis and a high-pressure air machine in Gotham City. the black light device and his duplicate again helped the criminal escape with his ill-gotten gains.
The next day in Metropolis, a scientist demonstrated his teleportation machine to a group of startled reporters, which also caught the eye of the master criminal. Unknown to anyone, including the Duplicate Man, the scientist had actually been Superman, using his super-speed to create the illusion of teleportation. the Duplicate Man used the air pressure machine to wreck the walls of the prison, causing a jailbreak to keep Superman busy, while his duplicate attacked the building housing the teleportation machine. However when he sat down in the device, a strange swirling wheel popped up and a recorded voice hypnotized the villain, causing him to summon his duplicate back to him there. Batman and Robin removed his duplication gadgets and the Duplicate Man led them back to his hideout, where all the stolen loot and inventions were found, as well as the notes to the design of his duplication devices. the three heroes destroyed the notes, which were so complicated that by the time the Duplicate Man got out of prison, he wouldn't be able to construct another device.
- World's Finest Comics #106 (Dec 1959)
1st and only appearance: Superman #206 (May 1968), "The Day Superman Became an Assassin"
Appearance: Brown crew-cut. Yellow loose-sleeved shirt, trunks, and boots; light green domino mask, open vest, tights, and wide belt with dark green starburst buckle.
Powers: Able to project a variety of beams from his "power fingers," including a freeze beam, heat beam, force beam, blade-beam, blue attractor-beam, and propulsion beams (which allow him to fly).
Dyno-Man is the hero of the planet Sorrta, and an "old buddy" of Superman's, which is why the Man of Steel was invited to Sorrta to participate in a parade in Dyno-Man's honor. During the parade, the vehicle Dyno-Man was riding in exploded, killing the hero. Dramon, the head of Sorrta's security police, accused Superman of murder and had his men slap a red-sun belt on him to neutralize his powers.
Superman was assigned an attorney, an attractive blonde named Rilora Dorc, but the evidence was against him: witnesses claimed they saw a heat ray from Superman's direction destroy the vehicle (even though his heat vision is invisible); a forged videotape showed Superman fighting with Dyno-Man on an earlier visit to Sorrta; and a confession made by Superman (under the influence of a drug).
Rilora uncovered evidence that Dramon killed Dyno-Man and framed Superman as part of a plan to make himself dictator; but before she could present it, a crazed lynch mob broke Superman out of jail and tried to execute him. However, Dyno-Man showed up at the last second, saving Superman and removing his red-sun belt. It seems that Dyno-Man knew about Dramon's plan, and substituted a lifelike android for himself in the parade. Together, the two superheroes rescued Rilora from death at Dramon's hands, and Dramon himself fell into the path of his own metalizer ray, transforming him into metal and fusing his body to a metal wall in the Sorrtan prison. The parade was rescheduled, this time honoring three heroes: Dyno-Man, Superman, and Rilora.
Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.