Obscure DC Characters: V


See standalone profile: Vartox

The Vatmen

The Vatmen were apparently one of the first groups of corporate super-heroes (much like Hero Hotline, the Conglomerate, or the Power Company). I believe the "Vat" referred to how the team was created/grown, rather than any Value Added Tax. All of the group either died or went crazy.

The only surviving Vatman we have seen was the man known as Synth, who was a shape-shifter. Synth's brain was also in a state of constant mutation, becoming super-smart one day and not recognizing his own reflection the next. Synth was working with a criminal organization and was guarding Mindy Falconer, the daughter of the man who used to be a super-villain known as The Piper. The Piper was being forced to rob a bank in the city of Vanity, otherwise his daughter would be killed. This brought Piper into conflict with the murdering hero known as Bloodtype and with Aztek the Ultimate Man. Synth and Mindy were actually working together, in order to take over the crime business in Vanity, but their plan backfired and Synth ended up killing Mindy when his IQ changed during the caper.


  • Aztek The Ultimate Man #1 (mention and appearance of Synth) and #2


First (and only) appearance: Fury of Firestorm Annual #4

A Los Angeles based medical student and user of Venom-X, Todd Walton, a hallucenogenic drug with side effects, who transformed into a snake-like man. Todd infected Felicity Smoak with Venom-X and went on a killing spree in Los Angeles, killing Mr. Shark, the drug lord responsible for getting him hooked on the drug. Stopped by Firestorm (whom he also sprayed with the drug through his wrist-shooter...but did he die facing Firestorm, or was his death an hallucination?). No known links to Eddie Slick, who had introduced a mutigenic drug to wrestler King Crusher, or to Kobra, who had been based in Califonia and later had agents who were transformed into snake-men, but one never knows...


Written by Rich Meyer

The man known as Vext is a god. Not a New God, but a god in the sense of Thor, Odin, Apollo, and Ares. Vext was a member of the "Jejeune Realm" (also known as the Borough of Mawkish Indifference) in the Pan-Dimensional Pantheons. Vext was, in fact, the "patron deity of mishap and misfortune." He was the embodiment of the principle of "Murphy's Law" - whatever can go wrong will.

The problem was that the Jejeune Realm was being phased out (read: obliterated from all existence) because they were no longer being actively worshipped by mortal beings. Vext and his fellow Gods were being evicted from their plane of existence, and unfortunately, Vext did get the paperwork in the mail to choose his new home. After a lot of confusion and waiting, Vext was sent to Earth, where he was to have access to the whole planet and to live among human society, so long as he didn't try to deliberately influence the course of human affairs, or attempt to take over the planet, or become a super-hero. So the series was basically about Vext's adventures as he tried to understand humans and try to fit in to the routine in Delta City.

Vext took up residence in Apartment 4-A of Mr. Danforth's building in Delta City. He is right next door to Colleen McBride, aspiring writer and temp. Colleen became Vext's friend and does her best to help him adapt to the ways of the world.

Mr. Danford, the landlord, is very hard of hearing and introduced Vext to his archenemy: The Murphy Bed. It has a mind of its own and is trying to kill him. Really. Vext's other arch-enemy is the toilet, which never stops running. You're just supposed to jiggle it, but we all know that never works.

Vext did manage to grab a couple of high-class guest stars in his first issue. Superman and Zauriel of the JLA came by to warn Vext against attempting to wrest control of the planet from Mankind. Not that that was something that had really crossed Vext's mind.

Meanwhile, in a plot thread across town, the series' also followed the adventures of rogue archaeologist Aaron Caldwell in his attempts to collect icons and statues of "minor deities" - the ones that were worshipped or idolized in peoples' homes rather than temples - in various cultures, and gain power from them. His two lovely assistants are Samantha and Louisa, and they don't necessarily share Aaron's enthusiasm for his quest...but they are very good at shooting people. In the first story, the trio went to the Amazon River basin and secured an icon of Qrttglbrnglrtch, the nigh unpronounceable Patron Diety of Inadvertant Armageddon (and as such, the fact that Sam and Louisa massacred the tribe came as no surprise to the victims).

Vext met his first and only "super-villain" in his second issue. Well, he wasn't really a super-villain...just a stressed-out driver in a car who may or may not have had his metagene activated by the fact that Vext, during his driver's test, turned on the same empty stretch of road that the driver wanted to use. The driver became one with his car, which changed into a really cool looking machine and off they went..CRASH! In similar fashion, Vext also had trouble buying furnishings for his new apartment (at "Not Too Shabby Discount Furniture").

VEXT #3 features the delivery of Vext's furniture. What a stir that solicitiation must have caused in the comic book world! Naturally, the furniture came unassembled. Colleen attempted to help Vext, but ended up taking him to the emergency room when the furniture came alive and attacked! No...not really. Vext did manage to trip and fall on a drawer handle in such a way that he was used as an object lesson and was berated by a puppet for being careless during a skit in the kiddie ward.

Across town, the folks at GeneTech discovered that their smart germs had taken a powder and scarpered away. They had escaped all the way to Burger Biz and were well on their way to complete control of the planet when they all ended up on Vext's burger. They couldn't handle Vext's digestive system, and the world was saved.

Soon after Vext's arrival, most of Aaron's collection of minor icons destroyed themselves, and Aaron (somehow correctly) deduced that this meant that their plane of existence had ceased to exist. He also figured out that the four remaining icons were intact because the Gods they represented had physically manifested themselves on Earth (three of these would obviously be Vext, Paramour and Rypta Gud'n. The fourth was never mentioned).

Paramour, the Patron Deity of Relationships Gone Hellishly Wrong showed up on Vext's door step in the next issue. She is Vext's sister...or maybe his fiancée...or his ex-wife. We're not really sure. She was there to stay with Vext, as her last romantic dalliance had ended with his wife throwing her out. She got the bed and she snores.

Aaron and Louisa went on expedition to the M'Tanga Plateau in Zaire, Africa. They had already been to Madagascar, Tasmania, Iraq, Turkey and Timbuktu and not found what Aaron was looking for, which was Rypta Gud'n (the Patron Deity of Ill-Timed Flatulence). Louisa got to the heart of the matter with the local tribe (blowing away the chief and all the witnesses) and went into the methane-filled temple (which had been sublet to Rypta from Ch'mbalamba, the Serpent God). After a rather Indiana Jones-esque exit from said temple, Aaron and Louisa met Rypta outside the temple, where they convinced him (and each other) to go back with them for observation and tests to figure out how to siphon off his godly abilities. Naturally, they didn't tell him that last part.

Paramour caused considerable confusion in issue #5, when trying to explain her relationship with Vext to Colleen. Vext admonished Paramour to tell Colleen the truth, and she did. Unfortunately, it was the truth about her and Vext being gods exiled on Earth. Luckily, Colleen took it pretty much in stride, since in the world of super-heroes and super-villains, "demonic and angelic visitations have become so commonplace these days".

In another plot thread across town, Aaron and the girls had Rypta in their now rather smelly penthouse and were setting up the "testing equipment", which was actually a device that Aaron hoped would channel Rypta's Godly abilities into himself, making him immortal. The girls fled the building to wait, and bet that Aaron would forget to ground the machine. The top of the building exploded. Rypta was dead, but Aaron was unharmed, and apparently had succeeded in his quest...but he had ALL of Rypta's abilities, including the flatulence bit.

While all of this was going on, the Pan-Dimensional Zone Monitor Surveillance center had watched the situation unfold with Colleen, Paramour and Vext, and we're going to take a hand in things. Vext told Colleen that it really wouldn't be a good idea for her to write about the God-thing, as just her knowing as much as she did was usually grounds for immediate termination by the Zone Monitors. She didn't take that news nearly as well as she did the Vext-God stuff.

While Vext and Colleen talked, Paramour prepared herself for a trip to the "Better Than Nothing" dating service. She picked a very hapless case for her first date: Aaron.

Our final issue opened with Vext dying on the battlefields of Asgard, Colleen being "modified" by the Zone Monitors, and Aaron sneaking off to avoid Samantha and Louisa (who kept one step ahead of him where ever he went in the world). Well actually everyone was just having bad dreams. Vext was invited in for a cup of cocoa with Colleen. The End.

NOTE: Vext is the second "super-hero" to set up shop in Delta City, the first being, of course, The Heckler.


  • DC Universe Secret Files And Origins 1999
  • Vext #1-6

Viking Commando

Appearances: ALL-OUT WAR #1-6

The Viking Commando appeared in ALL-OUT WAR #1-6, plus a left-over episode in UNKNOWN SOLDIER #266 and 267 and the entry in WHO'S WHO '87 #25.


Only appearance: Green Arrow #12

Created by Kevin Smith, Virago was a female superhero operating out of Philadelphia. An apparent rookie, she had about a dozen arrests to her credit, mostly muggings, breaking and enterings, etc. While out on patrol on the rooftops of the city, she was lured into a trap by a tape recorded cry for help. The mysterious villain, Onomatopeia, wounded her with a rifle and then, as she lay kneeling helpless and wounded on the ground, he put a pistol to her head and shot her dead.

Instant obscurity.

Her origins and identity were unknown. She had no apparent powers although she did the usual swinging on the rooftops with a rope. If she had any powers, they didn't come in handy against a guy with a gun.

Her name was supposed to be ironic because she was actually quite a good-looking lady. I assume she was created mainly to show what a dangerous fellow Onomatopeia is.


Real name: Ren Uoxon
First (and only) appearance: "The Heroine Haters," Adventure Comics #384 (Sept. 1969), by Cary Bates, Win Mortimer and Jack Abel.
Known relatives: Danon (father), Mara (mother)
Base of operations: Torma ("second planet of Star-Sun 447B")
Powers: Magna-vision, magna-strength and possibly other powers analogous to Supergirl's. Volar gained these powers from exposure to the "magna-beam" invented by Danon.

After her roommates at Stanhope College get computer dates, Linda "Supergirl" Danvers bemoans her fate - "They're perfectly happy with the guys the computer chose for them! But even with fellows I like, I still have the uncomfortable realization that I'm SUPER... and they're NOT! No boy on Earth could meet my standards..."

This gives Supergirl an idea. Superman keeps records on thousands of champions on other worlds, so she flies to the Fortress of Solitude and uses his computer for "Operation Super-Match." Superman arrives and begins to protest just as the computer selects a super-being named Volar (an anagram for Valor, perhaps?), who fights crime on the planet Torma. "What a handsome hunk of hero!" the Maid of Might cheers.

Superman reminds Supergirl that his computer is only a machine and that appearances can be deceiving, but she refuses to listen and goes to Torma to meet Volar.

The two become friends and fight crime together. Supergirl realizes she "could really go for Volar." But she senses something strange about the Magna Marvel and is confused when he shows no romantic interest in her. Meanwhile, Volar's father frets that "X-Day" is approaching.

Supergirl is also surprised to learn that she is a pariah on Torma. Troman men consider all women inferior thanks to the teachings of the Visitor, a philosopher who visited the planet long ago.

The Visitor (who was apparently stood up for the junior-high Harvest Moon Dance) traveled space, spreading the message that women were worthless and weak and backing it up with a "suppressor-beam," an energy beam that brainwashed women into submission. Over the following centuries, each generation was indoctrinated into believing the Visitor's teachings.

After overhearing Volar and his father discussing X-Day, Supergirl confronts him. Volar tries to send her away, but, believing him to be terminally ill, she refuses. When X-Day arrives, Supergirl learns Volar's shocking secret and flees Torma thinking, "I'm heading back to Earth — where I BELONG! I found out VOLAR was no HIT... but a REAL MISS!"

A miss, indeed. Volar is actually a woman masquerading as a male to avoid sexual discrimination. Danon had created a "living mask" to hid his daughter's true gender. On X-Day, however, he ran out of the last of the "vitalizing serum" that made the mask so life-like and which made Volar's voice sound deeper.

"You saw how our men treated SUPERGIRL! The same thing will happen to you if TORMA finds out its mighty hero is a GIRL!" Danon says. "...You must give up your career!"

"No, dad!" Volar responds. "SUPERGIRL never let those sneers and jeers stop her... and I won't either! I'll teach people that a girl can be as good as ANY man... and BETTER than SOME!" Volar is last seen on patrol as a woman.

Curiously, on the cover (by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson) Volar bears a passing resemblance to Pete Ross. He has redish-blonde (orange) hair and wears a brown top and boots, a white utility belt, black trunks with yellow highlights and green tights. Inside, he has brown hair and wears a baggy purple top with white sleeves, a yellow utility belt, black trunks, white tights and purple boots and cape. About the only things the two versions of Volar have in common are their "mod" sideburns. After Volar "outs" herself, she sports a mostly black uniform with purple trunks and boots and a large white "V" on her torso.

Vox, the Bionic Bandit

Profile by <erdmann>

His sole comic book appearance was inauspicious, campy and an issue late. Yet, somehow, he managed to earn a guest shot on TV's "Justice League," something even Hal Jordan and Captain Marvel can't swing. To whom do I refer? Why, none other than Vox, the Bionic Bandit!

Vox, who was actually a mad scientist cyborg, not a bandit, was the creation of writers Jack C. Harris and Martin Pasko and artist Joe Staton. Originally slated to appear in the 50th issue of DC's revived METAL MEN series, Vox's tale "Killing Me Softly with his Scream", fell prey to the Dreaded Deadline Doom and was bumped back to issue #51 (April-May 1977). Issue #50 was a partial reprint of METAL MEN #6 (featuring the Gas Gang), with a new framing sequence. The issue ended with the Metal Band and Doc Magnus taken into custody by U.S. soldiers assigned to Project Automation under the orders of Col. S.M. "Whip" Craven.

In issue #51, it was revealed that Craven wanted Doc to turn over the secret of the Metal Men's shape-shifting abilities so the government could use it to create superior robot troops. While they talked, the storage room in which the Metal Men were held was attacked by a group of silent para-military types whose uniforms bore a large white "V" on the front. The robot captured them and when Craven attempted to interrogate one, the soldier "willed himself to die" rather than speak.

Vox, who spoke through a mechanical larynx, had an aversion to the human voice because it reminded him of the kind of voice he would never have again. When one of him men attempted to inform him about the capture of the troops, Vox screamed, unleashing a sonic blast that killed the man.

The creator of a breed of cyborg soldiers called "Cyboriginals", Vox also wanted the Metal Men's secret so he could make the troops he provided Communist Block counties invincible. Leading a second attack himself, Vox captured Doc, Craven and Iron.

Back at his HQ, Vox failed to extract the secret from Magnus, so he decided to cut off the stubborn inventor's head. Craven offered to tell all if Vox would spare Doc and replace his faulty pacemaker with a cyborg heart. Vox agreed and Craven told him of the responsometers, the mini-computers inside each Metal Man's head. Realizing he could reverse engineer them from studying the one inside Iron, Vox promptly went back to trying to kill Doc. Enraged at the betrayal, Craven suffered a fatal heart attack.

Meanwhile, Gold, Lead, Tina, Tin and Mercury took the forms of Cyboriginals and tricked the survivors of the first attack into leading them to Vox's base. There they merged to form a single giant robot (the first appearance of Alloy from "Kingdom Come," perhaps?) and attacked. Vox ordered the polarity reversed on the giant electro-magnet holding Iron, sending the robot crashing into his fellows. It didn't slow Mercury, however. He decked Vox, smashing his mechanical voice box. Unfortunately, the giant buzzsaw about to decapitate Doc was programmed to only respond to Vox's voice commands. Fortunately, the Metals were able to fling Lead into the saw, destroying it at the last minute.

And so, with the creator saved, Craven dead and Vox and his troops defeated, the Metal Men were ready to call it a night.

And that was the end of Vox... until a couple weeks ago when Cartoon Network aired an episode of "Justice League" in which a character named Vox appeared as a flunky to Vandal Savage.

This Vox could also unleash sonic blasts from his mechanical larynx to devastating and deadly effect. In many ways, he was similar to the henchmen James Bond's enemies always keep around — ruthless, single-minded and loyal — fitting for an episode that had a Bond-style plot. Another difference was appearance. While the TV Vox wore military garb, the comic book version dressed in a tight, pale green jumpsuit that sported a large white V that framed his bare chest. He also wore a purple cape, light blue hip boots and a skull cap (which may have been attached). His lower jaw was metal, whereas the TV version appeared to have a relatively normal face.

Vox actually could be used to go effect. He was a homicidal insane genius who though nothing of harvesting body parts from his fallen men to use on new cyborgs. With a better wardrobe and less campy dialogue, he could be a really creepy contender against many DC characters.

The Vultures

Written by Richard Meyer

Blackie Stover was an ace pilot with a big problem - he was an alcoholic. He was able to ride along on his piloting skill, until one day when he was grounded because he was inebriated before he was scheduled to fly a passenger flight out of the Metropolitan Flying Field. Stover didn't take kindly to this and forced himself on the plane, knocking out Charles Collins, the substitute pilot, and taking it up. Collins woke up as Stover was just trying to take off and the resultant scuffle caused the plane to crash. No one was injured, but Stover's career as a pilot was over.

Two years later, Charles Collins was killed by English spies as he tried to save the life of Deborah Wallace. Collins body was brought back to life by the ghost of Keith Everet, who had dwelt for many years in Castle Connaught, so that he could be near Deborah, who was the namesake and near-doppelganger for his own dead love. Everet was known at times by the sobriquet the Grim Ghost (originally the Gay Ghost).

Soon after the new Collins returned to America, he and Deborah ran into Stover in a bar. Unfortunately, Everet-as-Collins did not have the memories of the original man, and when Deborah asked him to say hello to Stover, he was very awkward and told the disgraced pilot that they should call off their differences. Stover asked if Collins would like to work for him as a pilot, and Collins agreed to talk to him the next day (Stover believed that he must be in some kind of trouble to even come and talk to him).

The next day, Stover admitted that his "wings" had never been clipped, as it were, and he had organized other grounded flyers like himself into an outlaw organization known as the Vultures, complete with costumes. Their activities were apparently very profitable, and Stover took Collins along on the next raid because then the pilot would be in "as deep as the rest of us - simple, isn't it?". Unfortunately, as Stover was about to force Collins aboard a plane at gunpoint, Deborah happened by in her car. Collins moved in front of the woman and refused Stover's invitation to join the Vultures, and was rewarded with a gunshot wound that looked to have killed him. Stover then kidnapped Deborah aboard the plane, with the invisible spirit of the Grim Ghost close behind.

The Grim Ghost first disabled the weapons of the other planes in the Vultures' squadron, as they closed in on a gold plane flying in from the coast. As Stover led the planes in their attack run, the Ghost materialized in Stover's plane and freed Deborah, handing her a large wrench and telling her not to use it until they got "the goods on this Vulture crowd". The Ghost then appeared in front of Stover's plane, whose machine gun bullets passed harmlessly through him. The Ghost gave the word and Deborah clubbed Stover with the wrench, while wave after wave of the Vultures' planes made totally ineffective runs against the gold plane. The confused pilots of the gold plane contacted the Army air field as the other planes continued their useless foray.

The controls of Stover's plane were different than any other Deborah had ever flown before, and she lost control. The plane went into a terrifying tailspin. The Ghost streaked back and took control of the plane, and Deborah thanked him, but wished that he could do something for Collins, whom she thought was dead. The Ghost told her that the man was still alive and would be all right when they got back (and when the Ghost could reanimate him). The Ghost kept the pilots captive at their hidden landing area, until the Army Air Force planes arrived to take them into custody.


  • Sensation Comics #8

Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.