Abigail Mathilda “Ma” Hunkel (Red Tornado)

No new character this week in Legends of Tomorrow, but Witch Hunt provides us with a funny reference nevertheless. Among the many tokens aboard the Waverider, this time we can take a good look at what appears to be a bucket with a couple of holes on its side. That’s the legendary (…) bucket-helmet of the original Red Tornado, the working-class crime-fighting mother Abigail “Ma” Hunkel. The beloved brawling nanny only made one live action appearance thus far, and she had but a cameo in Smallville, portrayed by Deborah Cole, as one of the members of the Justice Society of America who had been framed and arrested by Checkmate. She’s one of the earliest releases, as nobody believed that a sweet pie-baking nanny could be a vigilante. But she is: let’s take a look at the first superhero parody, and one of the first female superheroes ever.

Abigail Hunkel lived in New York City in the 1940s, and her life wasn’t exactly an easy one: she had married Henry “Hunk” Hunkel, a honest worker and a good man, and had two children from him, Amelia and Huey, but then her husband died, and she found herself alone, mother of two, and without an income. Thanks to Gus Hunkel, her brother-in-law, she bought Schultz’s Grocery Store, and she started running her own activity, thus managing to provide to her family someway. Troubles weren’t over, though, as some racketeers working for local mob boss Tubbs Torponi came to collect protection money. The two unlucky gangsters discovered at their own expenses that the chubby and friendly middle-aged woman was much stronger than she looked (being a single mother of two was quite an exercise for her muscles), and she kicked them out of her shop in a matter of seconds. Torponi wasn’t someone one could easily deny money to, so he opted for another way: he had little Amelia and her friend Mortimer “Dinky” Jibbet kidnapped, and held them hostage in his gambling house until Ma Hunkel resolved to pay him. As any honest citizen would have done, Ma Hunkel reported the fact to Police Chief Gilhooley, but he told her that they had already investigated on Torponi, and had found him clean, and that they needed more evidence to proceed with an official inquiry. Ma realized that the police was simply too afraid of the gangster and, outraged, she was caught talking to herself about this by Huey and his friend Scribbly. Scribbly remarked that Green Lantern would have done a much better job than the police, and would have already rescued the children. Intrigued, once home, Ma Hunkel had the kids tell her everything about this Green Lantern, who he was and what he did. That served as an inspiration for her.

The kids had given Ma Hunkel an idea: apparently, if someone put on a mask and then proceeded to beat up the bad guys, the police would have arrested the latter without questioning the motivations of the vigilante. Wanting to test this theory, Ma put on red long johns and a cooking pot with holes on her head, using a tablecloth as a cape. Dressed in this weird fashion, she infiltrated Tarponi’s gambling house, and she found the boss just as he was about to dispose of the kids. She hit him with a bottle, and knocked him out. When the other gangsters arrived, she beat them all in a huge brawl, then she called the police. Chief Gilhooley arrived, and mistook the large masked figure for a man: as he asked “him” who he had to thank for Tarponi’s downfall, Ma came up with “The Red Tornado”. At first, Chief Gilhooley tried to claim credit for Tarponi’s arrest, stating that there was no mystery man in his neighborhood, but then Red Tornado made another appearance, this time during a press conference, directly confronting the Chief. The next day, all newspapers talked about the mysterious protector. From that day, Ma Hunkel divided her time between her family, her shop and crime fighting, somehow finding the energy for everything. She was even invited to join the Justice Society of America, but during the first meeting her long johns ripped, leaving her in her pants, and she had to flee. Because of this accident, she was regarded as a honorary member only. From time to time she teamed up with Phantom Lady, Hippolyta and Liberty Bell, but at first the heroines, believing her to be a man trying to steal their spotlight, didn’t like her much: they changed their minds when Ma unmasked in front of them, earning their esteem as she not only fought crime like them, but even grew two kids and ran a shop, all on her own. Red Tornado defended her city for years, and with time she took in two sidekicks, the Cyclone Kids (actually Amelia and Dinky), until she had to retire to enter the Witness Protection Program after meeting some tougher-than-usual crooks. As she came back, years later, she was ready to help the new heroes the best she could… even if just by cooking for them, now that she was old.

Abigail “Ma” Hunkel is a living hurricane, always full of energy and trying to maintain a positive attitude, despite a natural short temper. As the Red Tornado, she’s surprisingly strong for a woman her age, enough to be capable of knocking out a dozens of armed thugs all on her own, and her terrible clumsiness is often mistook for clever tactics by enemies and allies alike. With a remarkable luck protecting her all the time, the first Red Tornado is one of the most altruistic people who ever served in the JSA: working mother by day, crime fighter by night, she always spends her time and energy for others, never keeping anything for herself. If there’s one true hero in the Multiverse, that’s surely Red Tornado.


Emil LaSalle (Warp)

It seems impossible after more than a year, but we reached the last character in Lucy W.‘s long request. The last guy who appears in Scribblenauts Unmasked and received somewhere down the line a live action portrayal is Warp, a secondary villain who appears in Smallville portrayed by Elias Toufexis. In the show, he’s a member of the Suicide Squad with teleportation abilities, and he helps Rick Flag escape after a failed attempt against General Lane, aimed to stop the Vigilante Registration Act. In the comics, his powers are more or less the same, but he was never part of the Suicide Squad. Let’s see together.

Emil LaSalle was born somewhere in France, but where exactly it’s unspecified, and it’s just as unknown how he gained his teleportation abilities that made him Warp. One thing’s for sure: he didn’t use his powers to do good, quite the opposite, he became one of the most notorious and dangerous supervillains in Europe, and for some reason he developed a bitter rivalry with a “colleague”, the bipolar and stretchy Madame Rouge. In his homecountry he battled more than once popular superheroes like the phasing Phantasmo or the super-soldier Fleur-de-Lis, but he never operated outside national borders… until he was reached by a trio of international criminals, who had an offer for him. Monsieur Mallah and The Brain, accompanied by the psychic Phobia, were reforming the Brotherhood of Evil, and wanted him to be a part of it. At first, Warp was less than uninterested, but then the mysterious Auguste Toulon appeared, and abducted Warp along with Brain, Mallah, Houngan and Phobia, transporting them to his home reality, Earth-Eleven. Here, humans had landed on the Moon in 1952, and a nuclear war had erupted in 1966, threatening the entire planet. Warp had little choices but to cooperate with the Brotherhood and aid Tin, a hero of that Earth, to recover a space-ark from the dictator Milos, saving his people in exchange of a way to come back home. The battle ended with Tin’s victory and Toulon’s death, and the Brotherhood, Warp included, were successfully brought back home (later, it turned out that the entire interdimensional adventure had been orchestrated by Dr. Mist, as a way to save Earth-Eleven inhabitants and get rid of Toulon in the process). One such experience, however, was more than enough to convince Warp to join the group for good.

Emil didn’t have to move much, as the Brain chose as the team’s headquarters an exclusive school in Paris. The Brotherhood grew to become the most powerful crime syndicate in Europe, and of course clashed with several heroes, most usually the New Teen Titans. During a battle with them, Warp managed to settle his old rivalry, and got to kill Madame Rouge. His powers came in handy more than once, such as when he successfully kidnapped Raven in a ploy from The Brain to learn the secrets of Brother Blood. Warp stayed with the Brotherhood even when it became the Society of Sin, and remained a regular member… until The Joker altered his and many other villains’ sanity, making him go berserk. In his folly, Warp attacked the United Nations Building, and committed a carnage by teleporting the upper halves of anyone he found into open space, killing dozens. He was apparently cured by Alexander Luthor Jr., who hired him and the rest of the Brotherhood in his Secret Society of Super Villains. Warp’s talents were kept in high consideration by Luthor, who paired him with Dr. Psycho and entrusted them with a delicate and risky mission: to free the unstoppable Doomsday from his prison at the center of the planet. After the Society was defeated, Warp became a mercenary, and he was hired by Delores Winters to kidnap Icemaiden, something that he successfully did… allowing Winters to skin the heroine alive. After a time alone, however, Warp rejoined the Brotherhood: after all, even if he had been skeptical about joining them, they were still the only home he had ever known.

Emil LaSalle is a highly intelligent, and highly ruthless, man, a criminal who always used his talents for personal gain only. As Warp, he’s able to fly, and most of all to open portals between any two locations of his choice, thus being able to teleport anywhere he wishes and to bring others (or parts of others…) along with him. One of the most wanted men in Europe, Warp is a world-known criminal and terrorist, a murderer who’s literally uncatchable, always far beyond his hunters’ reach the moment they find him…

Kal-Il/Clark Kent (Ultraman)

It seems impossible, but we’re finally approaching the end of Lucy W.‘s request. Today we meet another iconic villain, Ultraman, the evil counterpart of Superman. So far, he only appeared in Smallville, always portrayed by Tom Welling: this version of the character was born on Earth-2, where Kal-El‘s pod was found by Lionel Luthor. Renamed Clark Luthor, Ultraman fully embraced his powers and used them to become an evil tyrant on his world, until he was fought by the good Clark and brought to his version of the Fortress of Solitude, to become a hero under the guidance of his universe’s Jor-El. Of course, in the comics things wouldn’t be this easy, as Ultraman is pure evil incarnate. Let’s see together… and be warned: multiple versions ahead.

The first Ultraman was Kal-Il, an alien born on planet Krypton, but on its Earth-Three version. When he was still a baby, Kal-Il was sent by his father Jor-Il into outer space on a pod, in order to make him a conqueror on alien planet Earth, where he would have acquired incredible powers. Unlike other Earths Kryptonians, Earth-Three ones became more powerful every time they entered in contact with Kryptonite, a rare radioactive mineral, and by the time that the pod had reached Earth, the toddler had encountered so many Kryptonite meteors that he was unstoppable already. He landed on Earth, where he traveled the world to look for other shards of the green stone, gaining one new power every time he found one. As an adult, he named himself Ultraman, and started a one-man conquering campaign directed to the whole world. Extremely powerful but still not invulnerable, Ultraman allied himself with other superhumans from his reality: Super-Woman (an evil Wonder Woman), Owlman (an evil Batman), Power Ring (an evil Green Lantern) and Johnny Quick (an evil Flash). Together, the five of them formed the Crime Syndicate, the world’s most powerful criminal organization, and they easily conquered most of the planet vanquishing armies and states. Not many people dared to oppose Ultraman and his men, the most notable of them being the heroic scientific genius Alexander Luthor, who led the resistance against the Crime Syndicate. Among his most precious conquests there was a tool to open portals to other realities: upon seeing powerful heroes on alternate Earths, Ultraman convinced the Syndicate to try a true battle for once, and challenged at the same time the Justice League of America from Earth-One and the Justice Society of America from Earth-Two. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, and the Crime Syndicate ended up imprisoned by Green Lantern. They eventually freed themselves, ready to resume their conquest: this time, Ultraman would have looked for allies, such as Earth-One Lex Luthor and Earth-Two Alexei Luthor, or the time traveler Per Degaton.

After a Crisis that wiped out Earth-Three and the Crime Syndicate, another Ultraman was born. This one was Lt. Clark Kent, a famous astronaut born in Centropolis, on planet Earth, but in the anti-matter universe of Qward. A star of the space program, Clark Kent’s adventures were constantly covered by the world’s best reporter, Lois Lane, who was secretly the Amazon Super-Woman, and who eventually became his wife. During one of his most daring space travels yet, something went wrong for Clark, as his ship imploded. What could have been his end changed his life drastically as he was abducted by an unknown alien species, who elected him as their expendable guinea pig. The aliens were looking for a way to empower living beings using a radioactive mineral known as the Anti-Kryptonite, and they experimented their method on Kent for months, modifying his body and crippling his mind. By the end of it, the experiment was a total success, far exceeding the aliens’ expectations: unfortunately for them, Kent was now so powerful when in proximity of Anti-Kryptonite that there was no way for them to control him. Lt. Kent killed his captors, and came back to Earth using nothing but self-propelled flight. With his mind severely damaged by the endless torture he had to endure, he was now a raging sociopath, and believing himself to be a god he renamed himself Ultraman and announced his intention to rule over the world as its sole master. Deranged yet charismatic, Ultraman managed to attract with his personality other super-powered criminals, including his wife Lois, and he formed and led the Crime Syndicate: with him as its leader, the Syndicate conquered the world, founding a dictatorship. Despite their ruthlessness, the Crime Syndicate was well-accepted on their Earth, and even sacks of resistance such as Justice Underground, H.I.V.E. or the Metal Marauders were seen as outlaws. One of Ultraman’s worst enemies, Alexander Luthor, came up with a plan eventually: he opened a portal to the positive matter universe, letting the heroic Justice League of America in to do his dirty work. This time, Ultraman had found something he could actually call a challenge…

Being either Kal-Il or Lt. Clark Kent, this man is a psychopathic egomaniac who thinks of himself of a god and treats everybody else as inferior beings worthy only of being squashed like bugs. As Ultraman, he possesses incredible powers, acquired by the exposure to Kryptonite in the first case and to Anti-Kryptonite in the second: he’s invulnerable and incredibly strong, he can fly, he possesses superhuman speed, stamina, durability and reflexes, he has enhanced senses that allow him to see also behind the barriers between realities, he can use the super-breathe, and also showed capabilities of heat vision and freezing breathe. Equal to Superman in all of his powers, but the opposite of him in morality and character, Ultraman is humanity’s worst nightmare, an evil tyrant who uses his seemingly unlimited power to kill, conquer and destroy: definitely nothing to do with “truth, justice and the American way”.

Sylvester Pemberton Jr. (Star-Spangled Kid)

With no new faces in Arrow, we come back to Lucy W. to meet the next character in her list: the Star-Spangled Kid. He appears in Smallville, portrayed by Jim Shield, as a grown old and retired teenage superhero. As all his friends from the Justice Society of America, Star-Spangled Kid was framed and arrested, but got out of jail and, years later, started training a new generation of superheroes in the person of Courtney, his former sidekick’s goddaughter. Before he can tell anything meaningful to Chloe Sullivan, he’s killed by Icicle, who’s hunting down retired costumed heroes. In the comics, he’s a Golden Age superhero who started battling Nazis: let’s see together.

Born in New York City, Sylvester Pemberton Jr. was quite a privileged kid, coming from one of the wealthiest families in the city: he was in fact the son of John Pemberton, a banker who controlled quite a huge part of American finance. When he was a kid, his father John and his mother Gloria adopted two other kids to be his playmates, “Soapy” and Meredith Creamer, so that Sylvester wasn’t alone all the time as his father worked. John wanted Sylvester to inherit his activity and financial empire, but it was clear since the boy’s childhood that he was called to something different entirely… only he didn’t know what yet. He became friends with Pat Dugan, an older kid who came from a totally different social group, but the two went along quite well together, despite the Pembertons didn’t approve of this friendship. When Sylvester was still a teenager and Pat a young adult, on July 4th 1941, the two friends went to a theater to watch a propaganda movie, but the projection was interrupted by some Nazi sympathizers (who turned out to be actual spies) who were causing a riot. Sylvester and Pat, who were accomplished athletes, intervened, and beat the protesters soundly. While they were fighting, they heard someone from the crowd wishing that the American flag could take life to kick Nazis‘ butt, and in that sentence Pemberton found the inspiration of a life-time: inspired by some of the Mystery Men who had been fighting crime as vigilantes in the previous years, he tailored two costumes, one for himself and one for Pat, the first star-themed and the second stripes-themed, in order to truly bring the American flag to life to fight justice. He named himself the Star-Spangled Kid, while Pat Dugan became Stripesy (the first time ever that a teenage superhero had an adult sidekick instead of the other way round): together, they fought evil in any form it presented itself, starting from the streets of New York.

Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy made quite a name for themselves, mostly thanks to their coordinated acrobatics and the many gadgets that Sylvester’s fortune brought to the duo, most notably the Star Rocket Racer, a limousine fast as a rocket that could also act as a helicopter. Soon, hunting for simple criminals didn’t satisfy the patriotic couple anymore, and they specialized themselves in Nazi spies and fifth columnists. Their effort didn’t go unnoticed, as they were contacted by the All-Star Squadron to be the founder members of a smaller team, the Seven Soldiers of Victory. Finally, along with their new teammates, Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy could take the action directly into war zone, and participated to many missions against the Third Reich. As the Seven Soldiers were fighting against Nebula Man, a terrible giant with cosmic powers, something unexpected happened: when Wing destroyed the villain, the energy released displaced the heroes in time, and Sylvester was sent 50,000 years in the past, in a primeval era. As he fought for his own survival, the hero found out he was sick: realizing that what for him was a simple flue could become a catastrophe in the past, maybe even a plague that would have exterminated the human species before it became dominant, Sylvester hid in a cave for days, waiting to heal, or to die. Just when he was abandoning hope, he was found and rescued by some heroes he had never seen, who called themselves Green Lantern, Aquaman and Wildcat: they were part of the Justice League of America, and had come to save him. As he came back to the “present”, however, Sylvester realized that what he had felt like mere days had actually been decades, and he was in the future. Given a choice, he decided to stay in this new time, and became a member of the Justice Society of America. Little after his comeback, Starman chose him as his heir, and gave him his Star Rod, that the “old boy” adapted into a belt: now, the Star-Spangled Kid was ready to truly reach the stars.

Sylvester Pemberton is a boy from another time, an enthusiastic and patriotic young man who’d give his life for his country and is truly devoted to the American way. As the Star-Spangled Kid, he’s a master gymnast and acrobat, and an excellent hand-to-hand fighter; with his new Cosmic Converter Belt, he’s actually able to fly, to project huge amounts of energy and to manipulate matter, also increasing his strength and agility. A long-lost hero ready to take back his place in fighting evil, Star-Spangled Kid has the enthusiasm of youth accompanied by the wisdom and solid morality of old age, a unique mix that makes him an example to be followed by many generations.

Siobhan McDougal (Silver Banshee)

Today Lucy W.‘s request leads us to a familiar face, although this one isn’t the same Silver Banshee we saw in Supergirl, but rather the original. Siobhan McDougal appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Odessa Rae: in here, she’s portrayed as a Gaelic heroine, cursed and killed by her own brother Bevan over the family castle. When Lois unwillingly damages the painting keeping her prisoner in the Underworld, she comes back as the Silver Banshee and starts a killing spree. In the comics, her origins quite mirror Smallville‘s ones, but her curse is more than intentional: let’s see together.

Siobhan McDougal was born in Ireland, the daughter of Garrett McDougal, patriarch of Clan McDougal and master of an unnamed island between Ireland and Scotland. The McDougals, isolated from the world, maintained their ancient traditions even in the modern world, refusing to embrace any form of modernity and living as if it still was the age of clans and wars, but the girl sought to open the clan to the new world. For this reason, Siobhan grew up far from her homeland, traveling the world to learn and make experience, and she came back to Castle Broen only when she was reached by the news of her father’s death. Being the firstborn, she was supposed to take the lead of the clan and to submit to the ritual that would have proven her worth, but her uncle Seamus believed that no woman would have ever been worthy of leading his people, and he wanted Siobhan’s little brother Bevan, unhappy with his sister’s modernism, to become the new patriarch. Siobhan was allowed to undergo the ritual, that summoned unnatural forces she had to prove her strength to, but just in the middle of it, when Hell itself had presented to meet the new matriarch, Bevan provided a lethal distraction, disrupting his sister’s focus and letting her be dragged away into the netherworld. Tortured by unspeakable spirits and demons, Siobhan was finally found by The Crone, a mysterious mystic being that offered her the power of a banshee and thus the means to obtain revenge, but for a price: she wanted a very powerful occult book, that belonged to her father. Siobhan accepted the deal and came back to the land of the living, only to find out that Garrett’s entire book collection had been sold by her brother and shipped to the United States. She tracked the book to Metropolis, where she used her newfound powers to kill anyone who stood between her and her prize. Unavoidably, this attracted the attention of the city’s protector, Superman.

Superman at first believed Silver Banshee’s touch to be lethal, and faced her head-on trusting his invulnerability, but this proved to be a nearly fatal mistake, as all his might couldn’t protect him from Siobhan’s voice. Barely alive, Superman sought the help of his friend, the Martian Manhunter, who spied on the Silver Banshee long enough to deduce that the condition for her powers to work was that she knew who her target was. Being things so, Superman feigned his death, while Martian Manhunter shape-shifted into his “ghost”, facing Silver Banshee in his place. Experiencing the ghost’s intangibility, and realizing her scream didn’t affect him, Silver Banshee fell for it, and retreated. Things went on like this for a while, until Batman found the book Siobhan was looking for in the loot of some art thieves in Gotham City: he brought it to Superman, and just in time, as Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, visiting Ireland, had found himself in company of Seamus and Bevan McDougal just as the Silver Banshee had paid them a visit. Once there with the book, Superman confronted the Banshee, who was still fighting with her brother and uncle over family traditions and their betrayal. Powered by her own anger and by the book’s proximity, the Silver Banshee seemed to be unstoppable this time, until The Crone herself appeared: she told Siobhan that she had been testing her, to look if the Clan McDougal truly had any chance of changing, but seeing how, granted some power, she had made the same mistakes of her ancestors and killed dozens of people, she had failed her test. The Crone took possession of the book, and dragged Silver Banshee, Bevan and Seamus to the Netherworld with her, putting an end to the curse of the McDougals. Or so it seemed: in Hell, in fact, Silver Banshee was approached by a demon, Blaze, who offered her power enough to take revenge on the Crone, with the price being Superman’s death. Not learning from her past mistakes, Siobhan accepted the offer…

Siobhan McDougal is a woman led by vengeance and bitterness: as a young girl she believed herself to be a reformist and a modernist, but eventually she walked down the same bloody path of all her ancestors. As the Silver Banshee, she’s a powerful ghost-like entity: she can fly, she can teleport anywhere through sound waves, she can heal from nearly any damage, she possesses vast amounts of superhuman strength and durability, and she can manipulate sound however she likes; most of all, she’s defined by two tremendous powers: the Death Stare, that allows her to instantly kill anyone she knows the true name of and is within her sights, and the Death Wail, a mystic scream that leads to madness, coma or even death whoever hears it. Always seeking a target to her burning anger, the Silver Banshee is vengeance personified, a ghost who’ll keep returning until her blood thirst is sated… something that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Alan Ladd Wellington Scott (Green Lantern)

Lucy W. brings us yet another Green Lantern, but this one is pretty unique, if not only for the fact that he’s the very first one (editorially speaking, at least), and that’s he’s not a member of the Corps. We’re clearly referring to Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, who so far only had an appearance in Smallville, portrayed by Doug Pinton. In a brief cameo, we see him being arrested under false pretense for fraud in his communication company, and we know that, after his secret identity is revealed, he retires to private life. Stargirl, however, confirms he’s alive and with children. In the comics, Scott never retires, and despite being more than ninety years old, he’s still quite able to kick some butt: let’s see together.

Alan Scott was born in Metropolis at the beginning of the XX Century. A brilliant young man, he became a railroad engineer after graduating in Hale University, moving all over the country to supervise important projects. On the train to his last job, Alan found a weird green-colored lantern, and he decided to keep it. Unknown to him, it was actually the lantern that had found him: that was the Starheart, the sum of all the mystic and cosmic energies from Earth-1 collected by the Guardians of the Universe during their many wars to bring peace to the galaxies, that millennia before had been fused with the evil spirit of the rogue Green Lantern Yalan Gur and fallen to China. According to a prophecy, the Starheart would have brought death, life and power. The first it did to Chang, an artisan who crafted a lamp out of the meteorite, millennia before: charged with sacrilege, Chang was killed by other villagers, and the lamp emitted a deadly burst of green light that annihilated the village itself. Centuries after, the lamp found its way to the United States with other Chinese manufactures, arriving to Arkham Asylum: here one of the inmates, Billings, fond of metal working, changed its shape from Chinese lamp to railroad lantern, and when the green light burst out once again, it cured him, giving him a new life. Finally, the lantern was in the hands of Scott, with a last gift to give: power. During the travel, a business rival named Dekker had placed a bomb on a bridge, to kill all his competition at once. The train derailed, and only Alan Scott survived the fall. Trapped under the wreckage, the young man heard a voice coming from the lantern, that instructed him on how to craft a ring from the basis of it: following the instructions, Alan forged a mystic ring, that bestowed upon him all the mystic and cosmic forces of the Starheart, allowing him to escape from certain death and to go after Dekker. Subconsciously inspired by the memories of Yalan Gur, Alan Scott named himself Green Lantern, and swore to use his newfound powers to fight evil in every form. He was one of the world’s first and most powerful superheroes.

During his years as the Green Lantern, Alan faced and defeated many foes, most notably the immortal zombie Solomon Grundy, who became his nemesis. At his own expenses, he also found out that he had inherited something else from Yalan Gur, that was his weakness to wood, as he realized when, walking unfazed from bullets and blades, he was knocked out by a simple baseball bat. He was also a founding member of the Justice Society of America, and he participated to many war missions during World War II. Fighting with the JSA he also fought against Harlequin, a villainess he started a secret romantic relation with (unknown to Alan, Harlequin was actually his secretary Molly Mayne, who had discovered his secret identity and had created one of hero own to be  close to him), and most of all the time-traveler Ian Karkull who, upon dying, released a massive amount of chrono-energy that affected all the members of the JSA, granting them an extremely decelerated aging. In order to be always advantaged in hearing of crimes and such, Alan became a radio engineer at Apex Broadcasting Company, and then moved to WXYZ Radio Station. After the JSA disbanded, he used his resources and experience to found his own company, Gotham Broadcasting Company, that assured him quite a wealthy way of life. He met and fell in love with a woman named Alyx Florin, and even married her… but unfortunately for him she was actually the schizophrenic Rose Canton, aka The Torn, an enemy of his friend The Flash. “Alyx” started a fire on their wedding night, fleeing into the night and secretly giving birth to twins, Todd Rice and Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, raised by adoptive families. Alan mourned his “dead” wife, and for a time he even stopped being the Green Lantern… but it didn’t last long, as the world was clearly in need of heroes, and Alan could very well be the most experienced (and charming) one out there.

A somewhat easy-going and carefree adventurer, Alan Scott is a wise and intelligent man, forged by decades of battles and by quite a harsh life he always managed to win over. As the Green Lantern, the Starheart grants him many powers, not limited to the “sole” solid energy constructs of the Green Lantern Corps: he can also read minds, teleport, shoot energy blasts, become invisible and phase through solid objects, hypnotize people, fly and even interact with spells and magic items. Just as powerful as he is heroic, the first Green Lantern will always jump into action, even if being nearly a century old he quite deserved some rest, fueled and motivated by his own faith, his neverending love for his wife Molly, and of course the thrill of adventure and the will to show the new superheroes around how things are properly done.

Wesley Bernard Dodds (Sandman)

With Lucy W. today we abandon space and come back to Earth, where we meet one of the DC Golden Age superheroes, the Sandman. So far, the character had three live action appearances: in the first one, he was actually a villain in the Batman tv series, portrayed by Michael Rennie, a thief allied to Catwoman who used a special powder to put people to sleep and control them as sleepwalkers. In The Flash 1990s tv series, Sandman is named Nightshade and portrayed by Jason Bernard, but he retains his looks and his sleeping gas gun. A proper version of the character appears in Smallville: this time, the real deal Wesley Dodds is portrayed by Ken Lawson, and we meet him as a retired superhero who has a prophetic dream about the death of his former teammate Star-Spangled Kid, but before he can save him he’s slain by Icicle. In the comics, the character has quite a long history and a glorious past, despite his odd looks and skills. Let’s see together.

Wesley Dodds was born in Manhattan, New York City, around the 1910s. He was the son of the rich industrialist Edward Dodds and his wife Marina, but he lost his mother when he was still a child. When his father came back from World War I, he had his son accompany him in his many travels, especially in Asia. Between China, Japan and India, young Wesley learnt a variety of things, from origami to martial arts, and he came back to the United States only to attend college. Intrigued by literature and philosophy, brilliant Wes wanted to become a professional writer, but his father’s sudden demise forced him to take the reins of the family business, and he became a businessman just like Edward. He also served his duty as a naval pilot during the 1930s, but during this period something more serious started happening to him: he became suddenly haunted by extremely vivid, horrific dreams in which he witnessed several crimes, always with a lot of details. Dodds at first believed it to be just stress, but the cause was much weirder: Dream of the Endless had been imprisoned on Earth, and to balance his forced inactivity fragments of his soul (and powers) had been splintered among several living beings, Wesley Dodds included. It didn’t take much for Wesley to realize that the crimes he saw in his dreams actually took place not much time after, and he took this unexpected gift of prophecy very seriously. He built a laboratory underneath his estate, and he resumed his Oriental teachings by practicing martial arts again, and by using his knowledge of herbalism to synthesize a number of gasses of different uses, from sleeping ones to hypnotic ones. He then collected among his father’s tokens a World War I gas mask, provided himself with a gas gun, and created a masked identity to fight crime. From that moment, he started hunting down the criminals he saw in his dreams, knocking them out and leaving them with a poem enclosed in an origami, as a signature. The Sandman was born.

During one of his early exploits, as someone was controlling the robot Elektro to try and kidnap the British Royal Family, Sandman crossed paths with the Crimson Avenger, the world’s first masked hero: after a brief fight, the two realized the real enemy was the Phantom of the Fair, and joined forces to take him down. The Crimson Avenger gave the Sandman some useful tips, and helped him perfection his design for the gas gun. While the Sandman kept earning a victory after the other, stopping a series of foes like the brutal vigilante Scorpion, the poisoner Doctor Death and the serial killer Tarantula, also Wesley Dodds went on with his life, and he made the acquaintance of Dian Belmont, a wealthy socialite who was the first one to discover his dual identity. Albeit they never got married, Wes and Dian fell in love and stayed together for their entire life. In the following years, as World War II erupted, President Roosevelt called all the Mystery Men to help their country, and Sandman answered the call, becoming a founding member of both the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron, participating to war actions across the ocean and stopping and exposing spies and foreign agents on American soil. The most bizarre adventure he had with the JSA involved a unique terrorist, Ian Karkull, a time-traveler who was targeting the men who would have become Presidents of the United States in the following fifty years. The Justice Society confronted the mad scientist and destroyed him, but upon dying Karkull released a huge amount of chrono-energy that affected all the heroes nearby, mutating their metabolism and having them age much slower than any normal human being. Back home, Wesley continued his activity as a vigilante, and took with him a sidekick, Sandy Hawkins, the orphaned nephew of Dian. With Sandy the Golden Boy by his side, Sandman knew a new, brighter time… until an accident mutated Sandy into an uncontrollable monster and forced Sandman to put him in a coma. Guilt-ridden, Wesley Dodds retired from action, dedicating his time to Dian and to find a cure for Sandy. But the dreams would have soon come back to call for him…

A brooding genius who walks between two worlds, Wesley Dodds is a brilliant philosopher and a poet, a skilled engineer and a resourceful inventor, an accomplished chemist and an infallible detective. As the Sandman, he has the gift and curse of prophetic dreams, erratic and cryptic visions that only his superior intellect can properly interpret; he also ages much slower than normal people, looking in his fifties while touching the nineties; his equipment includes an experimental silicoid gun, that can shoot sand in any known form, including glass and cement, a wirepoon gun, a modified Plymouth, and of course his trademark gas gun, that emits gasses of his own creation with a variety of effects, from simple sleeping gas to a “sleeptalking truth serum”, from one that inspires night terrors to one that puts an adult man into a permanent coma. A disciplined martial artist whose body is just as honed as his mind, Sandman inhabits both our world and Dreamworld, a citizen of two realities who walks daily on a dangerous border.