There were two other Quality heroes who commanded fantastic vehicles. Before
the Torpedo there was the brief “Swordfish” feature, about a one-man sub piloted
by plainclothes Ensign Jack Smith (Hit #22, June 1942). The Blue Tracer came
a year later in Military Comics #1 (Aug. 1941); it was part tank, part bomber,
and part sub. The Red Torpedo was the only costumed man among Quality’s naval
heroes, and the feature had more consistency in its supporting cast than many
of its contemporaries. The hero’s arch foe, the Black Shark, appeared in almost
all his adventures. Red Torpedo’s creator, Henry Kiefer, used the pen name
“Drew Allen” and he did the strip for its entire run. (He also created “Blaze
Barton” for Hit Comics #1.)
When U.S. Navy man Jim Lockhart invented a human-guided one-man sub, his
superiors in the military rejected it. Not to be deterred, he took to the private
sector, and with his fiancée, Meg, built it on their own. In their first mission,
Lockhart donned a mask and saved an American ship from European aggressors. (Crack
The Red Torpedo languished in obscurity until the early 1980s when Roy Thomas
resurrected, then killed the character in one crack. In All-Star Squadron #32,
the Red Torpedo joined Uncle Sam as
one of the first members of the Freedom
Fighters. Their mission was to stop the Japanese en route to Pearl Harbor.
They nearly succeeded, but a surprise attack left Lockhart dead in the water.
Or so it seemed (Secret Origins #26) Somehow, Lockhart
survived and was known to aid other heroes in creating a new Starman in 1951.
When Ted Knight was unable to continue his mission in Opal City, Lockhart helped
Charles McNider (Dr. Mid-Nite) to build a fantastic “star-ship.” (Starman
In the post-war era, the robotics madman/genius T.O. Morrow also created
an android Red Torpedo, a water elemental and predecessor to his Red
Given a female form, this Red Torpedo was made in an abandoned auto facility
in Czechoslovakia. Morrow wanted to create an enforcer he could sell, but to
his surprise he found that she was sentient! All the better for him; he commanded
her to steal money, then weapons for him. She was first seen publicly in Prague,
and named “Red Torpedo” by the press. The android soon developed a conscience
and rebelled against Morrow. He responded by shutting her down and placing
her body in the torpedo bay of a downed ship at Pearl Harbor. (Red
Tornado v.2 #1-2)
On Earth 2 in DC's New 52, the Red Torpedo is also Jim Lockhart. He was one of several "Red Files." On this Earth, the World Army put together a task force as insurance against future aggressors (it also included the Red Tornado, Red Arrow, and Red Bee). Jim Lockhart was one of these, though he served more as an inventor than a costumed operative. He aided fellow agent, Captain Steel, by supplying a super-vehicle called the Red Torpedo for a mission into a smoldering firepit in Rio de Janeiro. (Earth 2 #13)
The Red Torpedo had no super-powers. However, he was a gifted engineer and
his submersible boasted many impressive features. Most of all, the torpedo
was agile in the water. It could snare things with its spear-tip, emit a cloud
into the water, grind through ice, and use its tip as a spear.
Lockhart himself was an accomplished swimmer. He once dove into freezing
waters and made it back to his sub.
The second Red Torpedo is a very powerful android with elemental control over
water. Her body is exceptionally impervious and rust-proof. It was suggested
that her sentience is the result of contact with the same Tornado elemental
that now resides in the Red Tornado.