John Smith (Red Tornado)

Red TornadoPromotional images everywhere! This time they’re coming from the upcoming Supergirl, debuting next month. The character revealed in this pic is Red Tornado, the android who’ll be portrayed by Iddo Goldberg. In the show, he’ll be an experimental weapon built for the army by Dr. T.O. Morrow, but he’ll become sentient soon enough, posing a threat for everybody. We still don’t know if he’ll go superheroic like his comicbook counterpart or he’ll be just a “villain of the week” scrapped after a single episode (that’d be a waste), but I gues we only have to wait and see. The look isn’t exactly promising (so 1990s…), but let’s see how they’ve written the character before judging. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original one, who’s actually one of the main heroes in the JLA.

Everything began on planet Rann, in the Earth-One universe: the planet was ruled with an iron fist by Ulthoon, a despot, who was subsequently challenged by Adam Strange. Ulthoon was defeated, and the outcome of the battle convinced him that, between good and evil, the first one was the superior force. Trying to replicate the heroes of the Justice League of America he had observed on Earth, Ulthoon transformed himself into a new entity, the Tornado Champion, and acted as the JLA on a planet he had made a replica of Earth of. During the process, however, something went awry, and he actually split into two entities: the good one, the Tornado Champion, and an evil one, the Tornado Tyrant. The two clashed, and the Tyrant defeated the Champion: only the intervention of the true JLA managed to stop the villain. Victorious over his enemy, but still unsatisfied of his existence, the Tornado Champion travelled to another dimension, Earth-Two, looking for a purpose. On the alternate Earth, the elemental found evil scientist T. O. Morrow building an android to defeat his enemies of the Justice Society of America: he decided to take redtornadocomics1control of the robot, but in the merging his memory was erased. Morrow, unaware of the “invasion”, programmed his robot to believe he was the original Red Tornado, Abigail “Ma” Hunkle, back on duty: the JSA, albeit incredulous, allowed the android to accompany them on a minor mission to test him, with the android truly wanting to help them. Morrow’s programmation, however, acted subconsciously, and the android killed the JSA members one after the other, in a way that it seemed an accident. Realising T. O. Morrow was behind the death of his new friends, Red Tornado tracked him to his lair, but the scientist escaped through a dimensional portal to Earth-One, where he defeated the JLA as well. Red Tornado, however, followed him, and managed to revive some members of the JLA: along with them, he travelled back to Earth-Two, where the heroes revived the JSA. Together, the two teams and Red Tornado finally defeated the evil genius Morrow, and as a sign of gratitude the JSA alllowed the android to join their ranks, in replacement of the original Red Tornado.

Red Tornado proved to be a valuable member of the JSA, and he was also the only one able to escape from living star Aquarius‘ dimensional prison to travel to Earth-One and enlist the help of the JLA to save his friends and his entire universe. Due to his nature being thorn between the two dimensions, the Red Tornado also became the tool for the villainous cosmic being Creator² in merging the two realities: abducted by the god-like being, the android was saved by Green LanternAtomSpectre and a few others, thus preventing the destruction of both universes. During a mission against Nebula Man, however, Red Tornado seemingly died while sacrificing himself in detonating a bomb in open space: actually, the explosion created yet another dimensional portal that transported the redtornadocomics2android back to Earth-One. Feeling he had never truly belonged with the JSA, Red Tornado asked JLA for membership, and they gladly granted it to him. With the JLA, Red Tornado became more and more human: he found a job as a teacher, and decided to adopt a human name, John Smith. He even met Kathy Sutton, a woman he surprisingly fell in love with, demonstrating he had now access to the entire array of human emotions. The two got married, and even adopted a girl from Bialya (a Middle-East nation), Traya. The evolution of the android didn’t go unnoticed for T. O. Morrow, who kidnapped his “son” to try and understand how he could overcome his original programming and become sentient. Morrow deactivated Tornado and opened him, only to find inside him the two elementals, the Tornado Champion and the Tornado Tyrant, who had never been truly parted one from the other and who resumed their everlasting fight. The JLA intervened to save their friend and teammate, and during the battle the new recruit, Firestorm, managed to reassemble the android, and to merge to him both the Champion and the Tyrant, who got their memories erased once again. Back to life, Red Tornado resumed his life, now knowing what he owned to Morrow, what to Ulthoon, and what was a consequence of his own actions and decisions: master of his free will, he was now ready to be completely human as he had always wanted.

John Smith is a man who literally had to build himself from nothing: born with a pre-programmed personality and no free will, he managed to free himself from Morrow’s control and to develop his own character, learning step by step what it meant to be free and to be human. As the Red Tornado, his robotic body grants him superhuman strength and durability, as well as immunity from any kind of organic disease; he’s also highly intelligent, and he can connect with other systems and computers. The elemental Ulthoon trapped inside him gives him the power of aerokinesis, the ability to control air and wind: he’s able to create tornados, to form wind walls used as shields, to fly at high speeds, to shoot air blasts and much more. Albeit extremely powerful, Red Tornado started as a naive child to slowly grow into an adult man capable of experiencing all the spectre of human emotions: now, he fights to mantain the humanity he fought so hard to conquer.

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5 Comments

  1. […] John Smith (Red Tornado) […]

  2. […] John Smith (Red Tornado) […]

  3. […] upcoming episode Red Faced. In order to train Supergirl, the U.S. Army builds an android, Red Tornado, as a sparring partner, and the officer responsible for the whole operation is General Sam Lane, […]

  4. […] the U.S. Army will put Supergirl in a sparring match against their newest assett, the android Red Tornado, but something will go wrong…much to the dismay of the android’s creator, T.O. Morrow, […]

  5. […] in the subsequent Elemental War, and teamed up with Swamp Thing (the earth elemental) to defeat Red Tornado (the air elemental) and Naiad (the water elemental). It was during this time that Martin Stein […]


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