Red Tornado II
Tornado Tyrant created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino
Red Tornado II created by Gardner Fox and Dick Dillin
NAME + ALIASES:
Ulthoon, the Tornado Tyrant/Tornado Champion, John Smith
Kathy Sutton (wife), Traya (adoptive daughter)
Justice Society of America, Justice League of America, The Leymen, Young Justice, "Justice League of Air"
Tornado Tyrant: Mystery in Space #61 (Aug. 1960)
Red Tornado II:
Justice League of America #64 (Aug. 1968)
Alias John Smith: Justice League of America #106 (July 1973)
The second Red Tornado was an android character, an odd successor to DC's Golden Age Red Tornado, Mathilda Hunkel. Like Hunkel, the android was from Earth-Two, but its origins crossed over to Earth-One.
Years prior to creating the Red Tornado, Gardner Fox had also created the Tornado Tyrant and Tornado Champion. Eventually the android's origin story would link all of these characters together (by Gerry Conway and George Pérez in Justice League of America #192, July 1981). But before the connection was revealed, it was teased in the pages of the DC fanzine, The Amazing World of DC Comics #14 (1977). Mark Gruenwald wrote in the Red Tornado's profile, "that in order to endow the android with the power, [T.O.] Morrow trapped Ulthoon, the Tornado Champion inside the artificial body, where the computer-brain took over the wind-being's consciousness." Conway apparently took it to heart.
From its creation, the Red Tornado has been fairly underappreciated, having been destroyed many times. Most of the character's major appearances or story arcs end in his destruction or his reinvention/rebirth.
The Tornado Tyrant
The Earth adventurer called Adam Strange made frequent visits to the planet Rann via super-light speed transportation called the Zeta Beam. Strange was watched by Ulthoon of Xalthor, whose planet was due to explode. Ulthoon plotted to take Strange's place on the next Zeta Beam, which then stranded Strange on Xalthor. He jetted off the planet just before its destruction, and managed to catch another to Rann. He arrived to find Rann being terrorized by a deadly tornado — apparently being generated by Ulthoon and his hovercraft. Adam eventually deduced that Ulthoon and his flier were only illusions; it was the tornado itself that was a sentient creature. It was brought down by Rannian weapons and legends named him the Tornado Tyrant. (Mystery in Space #61)
After his defeat on Rann, a tiny portion of the Tyrant's energy remained. As he contemplated his fate, he decided to become a hero so that he might avoid such an awful defeat ever again. He watched silently as Adam Strange battled other menaces such as Kanjar Ro the help of the Justice League.
After his apparent destruction, the Tornado Tyrant's consciousness and a tiny portion of his energy remained. He watched silently as Adam Strange defeated other menaces, including the Mechanimen (Mystery in Space #75), the Corytrix (#66), and Kanjar Ro (#75). The latter adventure introduced the Tyrant to Earth's Justice League of America, which the sentient tornado found greatly inspiring.
Deciding to become a hero rather than face defeat again, Ulthoon decided to model itself on the League — literally. Deep in space, he created his own planet, with its own Justice League. He was challenged by a succession of great beasts that arose from the planet which turned out to be the constructs of a second Tornado Tyrant. It possessed the same abilities as Ulthoon, and in the battle between illusions, the Tornado Champion (the original entity) reached out to the real Justice League to defeat his darker half. On Earth, Green Lantern deduced that the tornado aliens were some kind of split personality. He identified the Tyrant's weakness ("anti-energy") and dissipated it with a blast from his ring. Back on his own planet, the Tornado Champion realized that the new Tyrant was his own evil essence, somehow cleaved from him. The Champion finished the Tyrant for good by generating sufficient energy to teleport the him into the anti-matter universe. (Justice League of America v.1 #17, 193)
The Red Tornado
The ethereal Tornado Champion eventually wandered, seeking purpose on Earth-Two, where he would be unrecognized. He happened upon the laboratory of Thomas Oscar (T.O.) Morrow who was creating a super-android called the Red Tornado. (Justice League of America v.1 #17, #193) After his defeat by the Flash and Green Lantern (The Flash #143), Morrow had transported himself to Earth-Two and created the Humaniztron machine as part of a diabolical plot to destroy the Justice League of America. He failed to execute productive crimes until the Humaniztron (which could predict the future) told him to build the Red Tornado. This creation possessed the machine's great knowledge of the Justice Society, enabling the android to easily infiltrate their ranks. (Justice League of America #64)
What neither Morrow nor the Tornado knew was that upon its creation, the Tornado Champion had entered the android's body. Something unexpected occurred: the merge caused the Red Tornado's circuits to feedback, and the Champion lost its memories. Thus a new sentient creature was born; the alien provided the android's conscience, but lost its uniqueness. The new android awoke with a body, mind and soul. (#193)
Having free will, the Red Tornado rejected Morrow's criminal scheme. Still, because of the Humaniztron it believed that it was the embodiment of the original Red Tornado — Ma Hunkel. Though his appearance (not to mention his "gender") was dramatically different, he demonstrated correct knowledge when he met the Justice Society. But when they removed his mask, it revealed a blank face. The team received a summons for help and the Red Tornado joined them on the case, eager to prove his worth. The JSA encountered groups of similarly faceless criminals, and fell to Morrow's minions. The Red Tornado survived and followed a signal back to his maker, T.O. Morrow. (#64)
The Tornado pursued Morrow back to Earth-One, where he attacked the Justice League. With the Red Tornado's help, they brought down T.O. Morrow and acquired the means to revive the JSA. In gratitude, the Justice Society offered the Red Tornado membership in the group (their first non-Golden Age member). He was honored, but wanted more. Somehow the android was driven by human desires: a personality, emotions, and a sense of home. (#65)
In his next adventure, he appeared suddenly and disoriented, at a meeting of the Justice League. He came bearing urgent news of the Justice Society, but first helped the JLA defeat a magical demon. (#72) The JSA had been captured by a mad, fallen star called Aquarius. (#73) Its defeat cost the life of the Black Canary's husband, Larry Lance. (#74)
Joining the Justice League
Several months later, the Red Tornado encountered the Justice League a third time, and seemingly sacrificed his life in delivering the Nebula Rod to destroy a galactic hand threatening Earth-Two. This enabled the JLA, JSA, and Seven Soldiers of Victory to defeat the villainous Iron Hand. (#102)
A few weeks later, however, the Leaguers discovered that the Red Tornado had actually survived; the explosion merely opened a rift between dimensions and sent him to Earth-One. There, Morrow somehow located the Tornado, sculpted him a face, and reprogrammed him to destroy the Justice League. The android was now incapable of vibrating back to Earth-Two, so the Justice League granted him temporary membership. This new chapter in his life was also marked by his adoption of an alter ego, John Smith. He found a job as a laboratory technician for Dr. Bruce (Eclipso) Gordon, where he met Kathy Sutton, whom he began dating. (#106) He also soon changed his facial features to become more human, and adopted a more lively costume. (#110) After some time together, he and Kathy became the guardians of a young Quraci orphan named Traya. (#152)
He was instrumental again during a cross-dimensional team-up with the Freedom Fighters; this time, finding the key to taking down Adolf Hitler on Earth-X. (#108)
Despite — or perhaps because of — the Red Tornado's zest for life, he sacrificed himself a second time to defeat the alien menace called Nekron. Rather than attempting to salvage and rebuild the android, his friends made the curious choice to let his remains drift in space. (#129) The JLA made no attempt to salvage and rebuild the android but eventually rounded him up and made a memorial to him in their Souvenir Room.
A few months later, the Red Tornado was instead recreated by the Construct, an artifical intelligence composed of sentient radio waves. The Construct set the Tornado against his former teammates until the android broke free its control and single-handedly defeated the menace. (#146)
When the Red Tornado first began his career, he often found himself confused by human emotions. He also suffered from doubts about his own self-worth, believing he was inferior to humans. He finally learned the truth behind his origins when he was recaptured by T.O. Morrow. His creator was searching for the reason behind the Tornado's sentience, and when the android was disassembled, it released the Tornado Champion and Tornado Tyrant from within the Red Tornado. The Champion approached the League's newest member, Firestorm, and told him the android's secret history. Using his powers of matter-manipulation, Firestorm reassembled Reddy's form and the Champion and Tyrant became re-interred therein. (#192-193)
The Red Tornado remained a member of the JLA until Aquaman disbanded the original League after the alien invasion. (Annual #2) He also encountered the evil Construct again on his own. (Red Tornado #1–4)
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The Tornado became estranged from them for a time; his android shell was destroyed during the Crisis, (Crisis #8) but this didn't keep him down for long. It seems that the Anti-Monitor's tampering had the effect of transforming the Red Tornado into a powerful elemental force. In this form, the Red Tornado encountered Justice Leaguer Captain Atom and the Swamp Thing, (Captain Atom #16-17) and became involved in the Elemental War, where he joined forces with Naiad, the newly-created water elemental. (Firestorm #90-93) At the end of this conflict, Firestorm created a new android shell for him. He recently approached Captain Atom and Firestorm for assistance in stabilizing his new form. (Captain Atom #38)
Soon after this, he joined a supernatural group called the Leymen. (Primal Force #0) When this group disbanded, he laid dormant until he was awakened by the newly formed Young Justice (Young Justice #1) He was the advisor to this group, and liaison to the JLA. He remained with them throughout their existence, helping them settle in the former JLA headquarters as their "Justice Cave." In this time, he mended his relationships to Kathy and Traya. He turned down a requests to rejoin both the JLA and JSA in favor or remaining with the young heroes. (JLA/JSA Secret Files)
Red Tornado answered the call when the JLA needed backup against the Crime Syndicate. The Syndicate recognized him as an android and thought he'd make a fine "example." Instead, they unleashed the fury of the Tornado Champion. The JLA immediately set about repairing his form. (JLA #112)
52... 52... 52...
When Alexander Luthor wrought another great cosmic Crisis, the Red Tornado was among those heroes to joined Donna Troy to venture into space to investigate a giant rift. (JLA #123) The rift collapsed when Luthor was defeated and all those heroes were sent reeling through space and time. (Infinite Crisis #7)
A week after this, several of those heroes reappeared on Earth, much worse for the wear. The Red Tornado had been ripped apart and his speaking apparatus was now fused to to the chest of the Titan Mal Duncan. Steel revived Mal, who began repeating the Red Tornado's last words: "52." (52 #5)
Meanwhile, much of the Tornado 's android body was found by a young man named Johnny Warrawa in Australia, who began building the Tornado. (#17, 21) Johnny's android was capable of channeling the Tornado spirit, but its construction was poor and it was ultimately collected by Australian authorities. (#28)
The Tornado's creator, T.O. Morrow, investigated reports of Australian weather patterns on television. (#39)
The Tornado's Path
After the Tornado's android shell was recovered, Kathy Sutton asked Will Magnus (creator of the Metal Men) to reassemble her husband. The Tornado Champion's spirit watched on from the astral plane, where he has asked for Deadman's help in returning to the living. Deadman (who was actually Felix Faust in disguise) found a suitable host in the newly deceased body of the villain Multiplex. The transfer was successful — the Tornado was human at last and retained his powers, too! John immediately returned home to Kathy, but their celebration would be short-lived. (Justice League of America v.2 #1)
It turned out that Faust was working for Solomon Grundy. Grundy himself was weary of his own cycle of death and rebirth. He sought to become truly immortal by constructing a new body — one made largely from the Tornado's former parts. He contracted Dr. Impossible to steal the android body from Magnus, and worked with Professor Ivo to enhance its the with a chip from the android Amazo.
It didn't take long for the new Justice League to track the Tornado's body to Ivo's Colorado hideout. There they encountered an army made up of four kinds of Tornados. John's friends quickly dismantled this ambush, (#2-3) but the new Amazo/Tornado was awakened. (#4)
This Amazo believed that he was John Smith and had the powers of the Justice League. It was disoriented and sought comfort in the most familiar place: with Kathy Sutton. The League moved to protect Kathy but Solomon Grundy held Reddy back, intending to seal both their fates. (#5) Grundy revealed that his intention all along had been to draw the Tornado out of his android body so that he could be killed for good. Trapped in human form, John nearly did perish. But even after having his arm ripped off, the Red Tornado mustered the strength to generate winds that ripped Grundy in half.
Once the JLA disabled the Amazo Tornado, Reddy's spirit once again came to rest in his original body, with the help of Zatanna and the Phantom Stranger. (#6)
The Red Tornado was not the first or only elemental android created by T. O. Morrow. Years earlier he created the Red Torpedo (also the name of a Golden Age super-hero). Reddy found photographs of the female-looking Torpedo, who was made in an auto facility in Czechoslovakia and first seen in Prague. From the JLA's Hall of Justice records, he learned that she was employed for surveillance and made talk show appearances with U.S. officials. She also rebelled against Morrow, due to her conscience; he shut her down and submerged her at Pearl Harbor. (Red Tornado v.2 #1-2)
There was also the Red Inferno, who was living as a boy, ignorant of his powers or nature. Morrow's rival, Professor Ivo then created the Red Volcano, who was drawn to the signals of his long-lost brethren. (Red Tornado v.2 #1)
The Volcano's violence drew the four siblings together, but after he killed the Red Inferno's parents, the Inferno allied with the others, leading to a great battle. (#3-4) In the end, the Red Volcano was weakened and disappeared into the Earth. Red Inferno was traumatized and flew away. (#6)
Note: The Red Tornado family appeared in the Young Justice cartoon episode "Humanity" (October 21, 2011), and again in "Runaways" (February 2, 2013). As in the Young Justice comic books, the Red Tornado was a regular in the animated series as the teen heroes' mentor.
In the New 52, the Red Tornado was recreated as an Earth-2 character, an android who eventually came to house the consciousness of Lois Lane.
On Earth-Prime/0, a classic-looking Red Tornado has also been "Rebirthed," in Dark Knights: Metal #1 (Oct. 2017)
The Red Tornado is an android which is inhabited by two powerful sentient air elementals: the Tornado Champion and Tornado Tyrant. He can generate cyclonic winds higher than the speed of the deadliest hurricane (over 400 mph).
His android circuitry allow him to process and contain large amounts of data, and to interact with other machine forms.
The Tornado Champion and Tyrant were very powerful entities with the ability to create entire worlds. Though these appeared to be illusions, their creations were physical constructs. They were susceptible to something called anti-energy.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- 52 #2, 5, 17, 28, 39, 46, 51, 52
- Infinite Crisis #2
- JLA #115, 117, 118, 122, 123
- Justice League of America #64-65, 72-4 82-83, 100, 102, 105-110, 112, 114, 117-119, 121, 127, 129 ... 192-193
- Justice League of America v.2 #1–25
- Tangent: Superman's Reign #2
- Teen Titans v.3 #36
- Wonder Woman v.1 #218
- Red Tornado, 4-issue limited series (1985)
- Primal Force, 14 issues (1994–95)
- Young Justice, 55 issues (1998-2003)
- Red Tornado v.2, 4-issue limited series (2009)