Big Science Action

The Super Young Team's Japanese predecessors were a group of "Silver Age" heroes. The team first came together during a war began with the Ultimon (Ultimate Monster Killers) in battle against a trio of colonizers called the Scarrba Clan: Scarrba the Protector, a Hydra-like being with death rays; Kry-Torr the Burrower with centipede-like legs; and Lorloxx the Layer who laid monster-hatching eggs. Then the master Ultimon died, he transferred the last of his powers to his apprentice, Dai Yokohama. Though the last of the Ultimon defeated the Scarrba Clan, an army of monsters rose from the smoke and ruin. As the new Ultimon prepared to die in performance of his duty, in defense of Tokyo, the sun rose... and out of the sun came Japan's defenders to his aid. Never before had they teamed together, but that day demanded a miracle. They were originally led by ...

Junior (later Senior) Waveman, Riki Kimura. From Final Crisis Sketchbook (2008). Art J.G. Jones
Cosmo Racer from Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #4 (2009); art by Chrischross.
  • Rising Sun (Isuma Yasunari), known in the West more for his membership in the Global Guardians. He can control and radiate light waves, and project great heat. He draws from the sun's magnetic field to defy gravity.
  • Boss Bosozuko was a hot-headed, nuclear man. He rode a nuclear-powered motorcycle. He has been succeeded by Boss Bishonen; his final fate is unrevealed.
  • Cosmo Racer is a robot child from space, lost and unable to find his home world. He skates on interstellar roller boots at the speed of sound. He remains active with the team today.
  • Goraiko (or some earlier predecessor), an atomic synthetic being that later became a member the Ultramarine Corps. ("Goraiko" means "holy light.")
  • Hammersuit Zero-X (Miss Kusanagi), walking proof of Japan's technological prowess! Gundam meets Gigantor with huge steam-hammer hands -- spunky young girl scientist schoolgirl has created this giant robot suit to run around and right wrongs in. She remains active with the team today.
  • Sunburst (Takeo Sato). Sato was a Japanese film star who gained solar powers. His current status is unknown.
  • Junior Waveman (Riki Kimura, now Senior Waveman II), who was saved by the society of Wavemen when his parents' yacht was terrorized by a sea monster. His parents died and Kimura was raised by Senior Waveman Otomo (now deceased). The Junior Waveman secretly loved his mentor's daughter, and they conceived a daughter who became the Super Young Team's Aquazon.
  • Ultimon-Alpha (Dai Yokohama), is the supreme monster-killer, one of an entire secret society of the saem. The Ultimon are super-samurai with advanced technology and weapons. (He is based on real world TV hero, Ultraman)

After their first battle, they established a headquarters, a halo-shaped base that hovers above the great Mount Fuji.

The only recorded battle of the original team was against the villain Fushikuraje at Mount Fuji. (Final Crisis #2)

  • Boss Bishonen, the successor to Boss Bosozuko NOTES: In the Final Crisis Sketchbook, Boss Bosozuko is drawn in the manner we later see his successor, Boss Bishonen.
  • Nazo Baluda, "dark Star stealth warrior" and recent recruit. NOTES: In Dance #4, Nazo says that her first case was against Scarrba Clan, however this was case, described by Grant Morrison, that brought BSA together for the first time.
  • Shiny Happy Aquazon (Kim Kimura). Super strong, and good in the water.
Boss Bishonen, Hammersuit Zero-X and Bazo Naluda. From Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #4 (2009). Art by Chrischross.


Of Big Science Action, Grant Morrisson said "Imagine a Japanese Justice League made up of Ultraman, Astro Boy, Marine Boy, Gigantor, etc., fighting Godzilla and Mothra."

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Previewed: Final Crisis Sketchbook (July 2008); in action: Final Crisis #2 (August 2008)

» SERIES: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance, 6-issue limited series (2009)


Super Young Team

Sketched designs for Superbat, Atomic Lantern, Canary, Lightning Flash and Aquazon. From Final Crisis Sketchbook (2008). Art by J. G. Jones.

The Super Young Team is a second-generation group of young Japanese heroes. To outside appearances, these teens are obsessed only with fashion and the Tokyo nightclub scene. Though their detractors may have cause to criticize, these young adults are intent on proving their worth as heroes.

They include:

  • Most Excellent Superbat, Heino, their super-rich leader. Superbat has no powers but insists he's "so rich [he] can do anything." He once had his own TV show, which he left when their club satellite was built.
  • Big Atomic Lantern Boy is a rather shy boy who wields some sort of plasma energy device on his chest. His massive crush on his teammate has gone unreciprocated by...
  • Shiny Happy Aquazon (Kim Kimura). Super strong, and good in the water.
  • Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, who is onlyl ever several inches tall. She has wings and emits a sonic cry: "sumimasen!" (which means "I'm sorry" in Japanese).
  • Well-spoken Sonic Lightning Flash (Kiego). This speedster unwittingly steals Aquazon's affections from Big Atomic Lantern Boy.

The Super Young team burst into greater visibility during the third called "Crisis." While partying in a Tokyo nightclub, they encountered the Super-Sumo (Sonny Sumo), whom they idolized. After a brief dust-up between Sumo and his nemesis, Megayakuza, Sonny was approached by Shilo Norman—Mister Miracle. Norman brought word of a grave threat to the multiverse and he was recruiting help. Sonny claimed he only fought for money, but acquiesced. Meanwhile, members of the Super Young Team were attempting to obtain the Super-Sumo's autograph. (Final Crisis #2)

The Final Crisis arrives. Middle panel: Mister Miracle rallies the SYT, with Super-Sumo of Earth-51 (right). From Final Crisis #6 (2008); art by J. G. Jones.

The Young Team pursued Norman and Sumo to the airport (still, for the autograph), where the heroes were inexplicably attacked. The SYT saved their heroes, swooping in with their Wonder Wagon. Mister Miracle thanked them for the rescue but claimed the path ahead would be too dangerous for them to follow. (#3)

Norman could not dissuade the team from such a golden opportunity for adventure. They accompanied him and Sumo to their next stop, Checkmate's castle headquarters in Switzerland. (#4) Mister Miracle brought crucial news to the resistance about fighting Darkseid. He revealed that a symbol, inscribed on their faces could protect them. This symbol was a letter in the language of the New Gods which meant "freedom from restriction." (#5) After delivering this news, he prepared the Team for the worst. When Norman learned that Sonny Sumo was from an alternate Earth, he readied the Young Team to escort refugees across the Bleed to Earth-51. (#6) They succeeded in saving many lives before Earth-0 sheared away from the Multiverse. (#7)

The Super Young Team have been harshly criticized by Japan's elder super-statesman, Rising Sun. Decades before, he was part of a group of Japanese defenders called Big Science Action. He can often be found railing against their shallow behavior on national television. The young heroes largely ignore him.

Following the crisis, Super-Sumo declined an offer to join them and the Team was skillfully guided away from their home country. A man named Mr. Itami hired a public relations firm to send the Super Young Team on a global branding tour. Itami's mission was to distract the SYT from something sinister in Japan. They were installed in their very own orbiting nightclub, 52 miles above Earth. There in the new satellite, Superbat was approached by the ghost of Ultimon-Alpha (another member of Big Science Action). Ultimon called Superbat to a higher service. Their first villain, Razzle, also made a stink after being rejected by Aquazon. (Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1)

Itami also procured a residence for the group in the city of Las Vulgar. There they learned that the villain Doc Dread was living nearby, and undertook a mission to bring him in. Aquazon stayed behind to test a new product endorsement called Oxy-Gen. She quickly learned that Oxy-Gen was a mind-control agent for the Brain Drain. The Team saved her and Lolita Canary's cry destroyed the microscopic entity. (#2)


Grant Morrison created these heroes while writing for the series 52. He found them more useful in Final Crisis, whose story had a global scope. He said:

"In the '90s, these [Japanese] musicians ...  took inspiration from Western pop records, but mashed up genres, beats, lyrics and imagery in a way that resulted in music that was both oddly familiar and radically modern. ...  We decided to create a team of super-heroes whose look was based on recognisable, cut-up and rearranged motifs from western superhero costumes."

The Team's "Wonder Wagon" is a concept borrowed from other young teams' vehicles, including the Super-Cycle used by the Forever People, and the Whiz Wagon used by Young Justice.

The original Sonny Sumo went back in time and died in feudal Japan. He first appeared in Forever People #4 and last in #7 (1971-72). The current Super-Sumo is from Earth-51. No details have been given about his travel to Earth-0.

Mark Waid created a different group of Japanese heroes in Kingdom Come. None of them found their way into Grant Morrison's creations.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Previewed: Final Crisis Sketchbook (July 2008); In action: Final Crisis #2 (August 2008)


» SERIES: Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance, 6-issue limited series (2009)


Rising Sun

Real name: Izumi Yasunari

Isuma Yasunari is one with the sun. He can control and radiate any light wave right down to a proton, and project great heat. He draws from the sun's magnetic field to defy gravity.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Historical: Super Friends #8 (Nov 1977). Post-Crisis: Infinity, Inc. #32.


  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #12
  • DC Comics Presents #46
  • Infinity Inc. #32
  • History of the DC Universe #2
  • Infinity Inc. #34-37
  • JLA: Year One #12
  • Justice League America #55, Annual #3
  • Justice League Europe #2, 3, 29, 30, 49, 50, Annual #1
  • Justice League Quarterly #5, 6, 7, 8, 17
  • Secret Origins v.2 #27, 33
  • Super Friends #8, 45, 46
  • Who's Who #9
  • Who's Who '91 #7


TV Samurai

Real name: Toshio Eto

First appearance, television: The All-New Super Friends Hour, episode 8/4 "Volcano" (29 October 1977).
Fatured TV appearances: Episodes of the All-New Super Friends Hour (1977), Challenge of the Superfriends (1978), The Super Friends Hour (1980), The Super Friends (1981), Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984), The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985).

First appearance, comics: Super Powers v.3 #1-4 (1986); DC One Million 80-Page Giant (Aug 1999).

Origin told: Super Powers v.3 #2 (Oct 1986)

Read the Samurai's origin. From Super Powers v.3 #2 (1986); art by Carmine Infantino.

History: After overthrowing Darkseid, Orion and Mr. Miracle attempted to maintain the peace on Apokolips. Concerned that they may need help, the heroes enlisted the scientist Kronar to develop a means of creating more heroes. He invented "Omega Energy," a force loosely related to the Omega Effect. When applied to a human with the proper genetic structure, it produced radical changes in their bodies, resulting in the release of latent energy.

For the first trial of his "Project Super-Hero," Kronar choses two Earth subjects. One of the subjects was Japanese history professor, Toshio Eto, who is struck by the energy in Hokkaido, Japan. The next day, the transformed Eto appeared in Metropolis as Samurai, along with the other hero, the Golden Pharaoh. Both were temporarily driven mad by the shock, but were subdued by the Super Powers Team. Samurai joined the heroes against the threat of Darkseid. (Super Powers v.3 #2)

POWERS: Samurai's primary power is to channel the winds by saying "kaze no yō ni hayaku" ("swift as the wind"). He can turn to flames by saying "higa moen" ("great flame"). And he becomes invisible with "tōmei ningen" ("transparent man"). He also possesses martial arts skills.


There was a Samurai action figure as part of the Super Powers, series 3 (1986).

This Samurai made a cameo appearances in DC One Million 80-Page Giant (1999) and the Infinite Crisis collected edition.

» SEE ALSO: Seanbaby: Samurai

+ Earth-0 Samurai

Toshio the Samurai of the year 1223. From JLofA 80-Page Giant (2009); art by Daxiong.

Real name: Toshio

First appearance: Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #1 (November 2009)

In current DC Universe, there was a samurai warrior named Toshio who lived in feudal Japan in 1223. He originally pledged his loyalty to a commander who was in fact Steppenwolf, the god of Apokolips. When imperial and rival samurai clans moved against Steppenwolf near Koto, his indentured advisor, Amerat advised him to put Toshio in charge of their men. When Toshio refused to kill innocent civilians, Steppenwolf killed him. His death spurred Amerat to break her bonds and go to Toshio. She bestowed onto him the powers of the wind, the flame, the earth and the "essence of the world." When he arose, he encountered Superman and Dr. Light, who'd been thrown back in time. After a misunderstanding, they allied and Superman recognized Steppenwolf. Toshio drove him off. (JLofA 80-Page Giant) NOTE: "Amerat" might refer to the Japanese goddess Ameratsu, who was a sun goddess that illuminated the heavens.


There have been no fewer than seven distinct characters in DC's publishing history to bear the name "Sunburst." No more than five of them remain in current Earth-0 continuity. The one who is considered to be a co-founder of Big Science Action is Takeo Sato.

Future Sunburst

Created by E. Nelson Bridwell, Win Mortimer and Murphy Anderson

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Action Comics #379 (August 1969)

Legion villain Sunburst. From Action #379 (1969); art by Jim Mooney.

The first character DC published by the name of Sunburst actually appears last, chronologically. Once, in the 30th Century the Legion of Super-Heroes fought a Sunburst. He wore a red suit with black vest and boots, and robbed the Metropolis Mint. The costume was lined with super-scientific devices that enabled Sunburst to "surround him(self) with an electro-magnetic force-field," generate bursts of blinding light and fire the requisite bursts of solar radiation. The villain was finally apprehended when he was blinded by Shadow Lass.

Unknown to the Legion, Shadow Lass was being impersonated by Uli Algor, who was working in tandem with Sunburst to convince the team that she was for real, as a prelude to stealing the secrets of the LSH. Shady's boyfriend, Mon-El, discovered the switch and brought the mimic to justice.

Omar, the Arab Sunburst

Created by Gerry Conway and Dick Dillin

» FIRST APPEARANCE: DC Special Series #1 (September 1977)

The first 20th century character to bear the name "Sunburst" was a wealthy Iranian oil baron named Omar. He had discovered the origin of a jeweled globe that had been in his family for centuries. "The eternal secret of total energy" was implanted in the sphere "by a man whose name has been lost to antiquity." It was given to Omar's ancestor for safe-keeping as the forces of Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 334 B.C.

After eight years of searching, Omar learned that the globe possessed "power enough to convert the sun's solar energy into a field of force—transforming a man into a human sunburst, and giving (him) strength enough to recreate the Persian Empire." In a burst of energy, Omar adopted an armored uniform, his exposed flesh turned blood red and his hair became a mane of fire.

En route to the United Nations to deliver an ultimatum, the flying Sunburst had a chance encounter with a distraught Aquaman, only hours after the murder of his son. The Sea King was swiftly defeated by the villain, who left him for dead in the desert. Unable to use his aquatic powers, Aquaman found a small basin of water that he rationed as he walked through the desert night. Spotting a plane on the horizon, he used a metal can to make a glare and catch the pilot's attention. "There's a certain irony here: sunlight was used to trap this man, and now, appropriately, sunlight is used to free him."

Arriving in Bakushi, Iran, Aquaman found Sunburst making new threats at an embassy. Dodging the villain's heat-vision, the Sea King declared that "my desert experience taught me a man has OTHER powers than those based in his body — and THOSE powers — his wit and cunning — are the greatest powers of all!" Pulling out a mirror, Aquaman reflected Sunburst's powers back at him, burning out the solar tyrant's might.

Nothing in this tale excludes Omar from current Earth-0 or Aquaman continuity.

Takeo Sato, the first Japanese Sunburst

Created by Paul Kupperberg, Alex Saviuk and Kurt Schaffenberger

» FIRST APPEARANCE: New Adventures of Superboy #47 (October 1983)

"It started the day of my birth — or so I am told. You see, I was born in a tiny village, within sight of an active volcano. On the day of my birth, the volcano was belching fumes prior to an eruption. Fumes, I imagine, that I inhaled with my first breath."

Thwakked! From The New Adventures of Superboy #46 (1983). art by Alex Saviuk.

Takeo Sato grew up normally, and as an adult pursued acting. He won the role of a costumed super-hero called Sunburst. In a low-budget production he leared to "fly" on wires. One day on set, the wires holding him snapped; but as he screamed in terror he soon found himself in flight! The studio decided to keep Sato's powers a secret, preferring to release his super-stunts as state-of-the-art special effects. (New Adv. of Superboy #47, 1983)

Sato's natural powers eventually came to the attention of criminals, who abducted Takeo's parents and blackmailed him into going on a public crime spree as Sunburst. The string of robberies soon drew the attention of Superboy, who found Sunburst to be an adroit opponent. Sato had quickly mastered his power over super-heat, flight, speed and agility.

After a series of skirmishes with the Boy of Steel, Sunburst seized on a moment of concealment to reveal the extortion plot and enlist Superboy in a plan to capture the kidnappers. After his parents were rescued, Superboy offered to help Takeo learn how to use his powers. Sunburst chose instead to undergo super-hypnosis in order to block his powers, and go into dormancy. The plan was a success and the short career of Sunburst was brought to a close. (#45-47)

Not long after, Earth — and the universe itself — found itself imperilled by the threat of the Anti-Monitor. Heroes from all over the globe were mobilized. Somehow Takeo regained the knowledge of his powers and he gallantly joined Japan's defense efforts. Sunburst was killed in the skies over Tokyo, struck down by a Shadow-Demon. (Crisis #12)

Sunburst's death during the great Crisis was a blow to Japan, doubly so when it was revealed that he had also been film star Takeo Sato. After the first Crisis, Sunburst's origin changed and now involves Japan's native hero, Rising Sun (taking the place of the now non-existent Superboy). (Who's Who #22) The general sequence of events remains the same.

Sunburst had a cameo in flashback, and was said to be a well-regarded national hero, in a solo Dr. Light solo story. (Showcase '96 #9)

Timothy Walton, the American Sunburst + Team Titan Sunburst

From New Teen Titans v.2 #36 (1987). Art by Eduardo Barreto.

Created by by Marv Wolfman, Eduardo Barreto and Romeo Tanghal

» FIRST APPEARANCE: In-continuity: New Teen Titans v.2 #36 (October 1987). The Team Titan: Team Titans #11 (August 1993)

Timothy Walton had designed golden body armor, complete with glider wings, that was powered by solar energy. Its defensive capabilities included bursts of force and solar energy channelled through his hands. Unfortunately for the would-be criminal mastermind, he attracted the attention of the Teen Titans almost immediately and was ultimately blasted from the sky by Starfire's own solar energy bolts.

The story might have ended there had the entire conflict not been observed by the Wildebeest. The villain stole Walton's armor, used it to kill a business rival and created a situation in which it appeared that Starfire had accidentally slain the man herself. Thanks to Nightwing's detective skills, the plot was exposed. (New Teen Titans v.2 #36-37, 1987) Sunburst's armor, however, was never recovered and presumably was adapted into the Wildebeest's catalog of weapons.

Later, Marv Wolfman used another version of Sunburst as one of the "Team Titans." In current DC continuity, the Team Titans are considered chronal anomalies created by the Time Trapper. They were freedom fighters who had "come from" the early 21st Century to combat the threat of Lord Chaos. They were sent back in time. One (III) such agent was code-named Sunburst IV, whose "whole team was killed in the time-transfer." On top of that, Sunburst had arrived three years earlier than intended. He waited until a time when other Team Titans appeared to reveal himself. This solar Titan could encase himself in a fiery force bubble and, like most of predecessors, was capable of generating solar blasts through his hands. Sunburst was attacked by a Chaos-drone from the future and, despite an alliance with other factions of the Team Titans, he was ultimately killed when the robotic manhunter fired a blast into his chest. (Team Titans #11-12, 1993)

The second Japanese Sunburst

Post-Crisis Sunburst. From Doom Patrol v.2 #26 (1989). art by Richard Case.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Doom Patrol v.2 #26 (Sept. 1989)

Meanwhile, in Japan, Sato's legend was being continued by a media savvy Sunburst II, whose every action was televised on "The Adventures of the New Sunburst," described as "the country's most popular television show." Clad in a similar costume, this Sunburst could channel solar energy through his hands but the full extent of his powers is unknown. He was attacked by a strange psychotic woman called Quiz, who was recruited by Mr. Nobody for his Brotherhood fo Dada. (Doom Patrol v.2 #26, 1989)


The new Sunburst was not named. In the Final Crisis Sketchbook, Grant Morrison introduced Japan's Big Science Action. In text, he says that "Sunfire" was a member. Clearly, he meant "Sunburst"; Sunfire is an X-Man. There are no further details.

TV's Sunburst

On-screen Sunburst. From Superboy v.2 #18 (1991); art by Jim Mooney.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Superboy v.2 #18 (July 1991)

The legend of Takeo Sato was also revisited by Paul Kupperberg when he wrote for the next Superboy series—which was set within the continuity of the "Superboy" TV series (1988–92). In this version, Takeo was a film student at Shuster University who produced and starred in the amateur production Sunburst Over Tokyo. Takeo had discovered a talisman in Japan that granted him solar powers but members of the Yakuza tracked him to the U.S. hoping to use the amulet for themselves. Superboy defeated one of the solar-powered thugs and returned the talisman to Takeo, suggesting that the young man use the power altruistically.

Instead, the aspiring filmmaker smashed the jewel, declaring that "I picked my destiny years ago, when I decided to become a Spielberg instead of a Superboy." As the Boy of Steel began to argue that someone else could have used the talisman for good, Takeo pointed out that it could just as easily fall into evil hands.

This Takeo Sato really never acquired super-powers or appeared as Sunburst in public.

Kingdom Come

Tokyo Rose, S.H.O.G.U.N., Kabuki Kommando, Jade Fox and Samurai. From Kingdom Come #2 (1996); art by Alex Ross.

Mark Waid and Alex Ross created several Japanese characters that were portrayed as villainous. No team name was ever given for them, but in Kingdom Come #2, the new Justice League was shown fighting:

  • Jade Fox
  • Kabuki Kommando, the Fourth World's Japanese champion. (Alex Ross said that he intended the name and character as a tribute to the work of Jack Kirby, "if Kirby had ever got into a Japanese period")
  • Samurai, champion of Japan, from the Batmen of many nations
  • S.H.O.G.U.N., a giant robot
  • Tokyo Rose, a Japanese martial arts assassin.
  • Tusk, described as an elephant-shaped man-o-war ... a Japanese giant robot armor design crossed with an elephant.

The Mark Waid/Alex Ross annotations that were printed in the limited edition "Revelations supplement" point out that Kabuki Kommando and Jade Fox were designed by Aldrin Aw.

» SEE ALSO: Kingdom Come Annotations

Other Japanese Super-Characters

  • The Ace Archer of Japan was one of the Green Arrows of the World. He used a "jiu-jitsu arrow." The Ace first appeared in Adventure Comics #250 (July 1958). This group itself was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in World's Finest #250 (1958). SEE: Obscure: Green Arrows of the World.
  • Dr. Light IV, Justice League member
  • Judomaster III (Sonia Sato) is a JSA member and daughter of the original Judomaster
  • Katana, a well-known member of the Outsiders
  • O-Sensei, created by Denny O'Neil, is a martial arts master who trained the Bronze Tiger and Richard Dragon.
  • Sensei, a leader among the League of Assassins.
  • Sonny Sumo (of the Fourth World, deceased) and Sonny Sumo of Earth-51 (aided the Super Young Team)
  • Tiger aka Avatar (Tiger Tanaka), who was the sidekick of World War II hero Judomaster. He has since turned villanous.
  • Tsunami + Deep Blue, the Young All-Star and her daughter