Alphonse Luzano

This week’s episode of Supergirl introduced yet another character, and quite an obscure one in the comics. In Truth, Justice and the American Way, the serial killer Master Jailer is targeting the escapees from Fort Rozz, and one of them is the peaceful Professor Alphonse Luzano, portrayed by Todd Sherry. In the episode, Luzano had been arrested for drug smuggling, but it turned out that he only stole drugs for his sick wife, desperately trying to cure her despite the impossible price of the medicals she needed…and he’s also a pretty decent guy, who became an astronomy professor on Earth trying to reinvent himself after incarceration. That’s kind of weird: so far, in Supergirl, they took some hero from the comics and turned him/her into a bad guy, while this time they did exactly the opposite, as Luzano in the comics is quite the supervillain, despite only appearing in a couple of issues. Let’s see together who this deranged scientist is…and no, he’s not an alien.

Almost nothing is known about Alphonse Luzano’s early life, with no informations at all regarding his family or place of birth. He grew up to become a brilliant scientist, specialised in nanotechnology, but his ideas and projects required human experimentation, something that was obviously considered illegal everywhere in the country…unless you didn’t have the right connections. Seeking potential in Luzano’s research, the criminal scientific organization known as The Lab hired the scientist, and founded his study. Luzano didn’t disappoint his new founders, as he developed his nanotechnology until he created something totally new, devices that he named Tektites: the Tektites were microscopic machines able to self-replicate, which could be injected in a living organism to perform a variety of functions, first of all the healing of tissues from virtually any injury. Of course, Tektites had to be tested in order to be perfectioned, and Luzano found the perfect lab rat in Mitch Shelley, a crooked lawyer from ViceroySouth Carolina, who worked for the local mob. Shelley was abducted and forcefully injected with the Tektites, which immediately began to work on the new organism. The effect the machines luzanocomics1had on Shelley surprised Luzano for first: the man apparently didn’t receive any “upgrade”, but in reality, any time he died, the Tektites restored him to life, each time giving him a new ability, a new superpower, that lasted only until the next death. Days of gruesome experiments proved to Luzano that the new power emerging was determined by the way Shelley got killed the previous time, thus hinting at a high adaptability of the Tektites. Shelley also suffered from amnesia, following the experiments, and didn’t remeber anything about his past…a side effect that could be perfectioned with time. His first and only lab rat, however, was later taken into custody by the Justice League of America, and he later became the heroic Resurrection Man; thanks to his efforts, The Lab was exposed and disbanded, and Alphonse Luzano ended up in jail for his illegal experiments, sentenced to life imprisonment in Garrett Federal Penitentiary in PendroyMontana.

Years later, Luzano was broken free by the most unlikely allies: Resurrection Man himself, and Supergirl. The heroine, in fact, was running against time to find a cure for cancer, in order to save a five-years-old boy she had grown attached to, Thomas. Supergirl believed Luzano could use the Tektites to cure the boy’s cancer, and the scientist confirmed it. Resurrection Man had doubts on involving the scientist, and plainly distrusted him. Supergirl, however, decided to try and trust Luzano, believing that he acted badly only because nobody ever gave him the choice of doing the right thing…of course she was wrong. In the following days, in a lab Supergirl covered with lead so that her cousin Superman wouldn’t have been able to find them, Luzano kept working on Tektites, but he didn’t find a way to adapt them to the boy’s DNA, given to him by the heroine who had retrieved some of Thomas’ hair, but to his own. Resurrection Man tried to warn Supergirl, but she kept trusting the scientist…until his work was complete. He revealed to the heroes that he had been using the Tektites on himself, using them to become immortal just as Mitch Shelley was, and gaining a number of new abilities learning from his previous mistakes. He didn’t have any intention of helping an unknown boy just to come back to luzanocomics2prison immediately after, and he made it clear by killing Shelley with a single plasma blast and then attacking Supergirl with his new strength. The battle between Luzano and Supergirl went on for a while, until it destroyed the entire lab. Just when it seemed that the two enemies’ powers equalled each other, Resurrection Man came back to life with a brand new ability: healing. He used it on Luzano, “healing” his body from the nanotech he had injected himself with. Acting before the Tektites could rearrange themselves, Supergirl physically removed them from the scientist’s body, shutting him down. Supergirl later met Superman, pointing him to where the comatose body of Luzano was, and the Man of Steel brought him back to prison. Despite all Supergirl’s efforts, Thomas had died, and not even Resurrection Man’s blood was enough to bring him back. Eventually, Luzano’s betrayal had taught a hard yet necessary lesson to the young and inexperienced superheroine.

Alphonse Luzano is a brilliant yet deranged scientist, a genius whose mind is driven by ego, greed and personal ambition. After the Tektites injection, Luzano gained a number of powers: superhuman strength, speed, durability and stamina nearly equal to a Kryptonian‘s ones, invulnerability and regeneration, plasma generation and heightened senses. Dangerous and lethal as both a normal human and a superhuman, Luzano is a man with no moral, ready to sacrifice everything and everyone to his researches.

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