Bartholomew Henry Allen II (Impulse)

In the last episode of The FlashCause and Effect, things get awry as, when Cisco and Julian try to prevent Barry from storing any new memory not to give any advantage to Savitar, the hero ends up losing all his memories. Amnesiac, as soon as he reads his documents he demands to be called “Bart” rather than “Barry”, thus making a reference to another speedster from the comics, who’s actually Barry’s grandchild. Barty already appeared in Smallville, making his debut in Season 4 episode Run, where he’s introduced as a teenager even faster than Clark Kent, who does pretty much what he wants with his speed, until he changes his ways thanks to Clark. Always portrayed by Kyle Gallner, he comes back in Season 6 and 8 as a member of the team gathered by Green Arrow, and he’s nicknamed Impulse by his teammates because of his impulsive nature. Now, waiting to see if Impulse will actually make an appearance in The Flash as well, let’s take a look at the original one.

Bartholomew Henry Allen II was born in the XXX Century of Earth-247, a reality different from his parents’ one: his father, in fact, was Don Allen, a hero from the Tornado Twins and the son of Barry Allen aka The Flash and his wife Iris West-Allen, while his mother was Meloni Thawne, a descendant of supervillains Malcolm “Cobalt Blue” Thawne and Eobard “Professor Zoom” Thawne. Bart represented the union of two families that had been rivals for centuries (even more, considering time paradoxes and what they do to timelines), but not everyone was happy with this: first of all, President Thaddeus Thawne, Bart’s grandfather, and last but not least Professor Zoom himself, who travelled in time to prevent the pacification between Thawnes and Allens. It was while escaping from Zoom with his father’s Cosmic Threadmill that Don Allen brought his family to the future, hiding from their nemesis. Just as his father and his grandfather, Bart possessed superspeed since his birth, but this in him had quite a grave and unexpected side-effect: his metabolism, in fact, was extremely accelerated, and he grew up much quicker than anybody else. When he was two years old, his body was already the one of a twelve years old boy. Before his parents could do anything about it, however, Earthgov hardened its policy on metahumans, who had always been persecuted by President Thawne, and had both the Tornado Twins, Don and Dawn, arrested and executed. Earthgov’s scientists realised how peculiar Don’s son was, so they took him from his mother to study him. In order to prevent the baby/boy to develop mental illness due to his accelerated growth, the scientists created a virtual reality in which he could “catch up” with the lost years, making his mind grew up as fast as his body, but this didn’t make anything for the main problem: Bart would have soon died of old age if not helped. It was Bart’s grandmother, Iris, who eventually took the matter in her own hands and kidnapped her grandchild from the facility, sending him back to the past (her present). In here, she asked Wally West, who was the new Flash, for help.

Flash forced Bart to maximum speed, thus shocking his accelerated metabolism and bringing it back to normal, stopping the hyper-growth. Now, however, Wally had to take care of a hyperactive kid who, having grown into a virtual reality, had no sense of danger at all, and did everything before even thinking about it. During an adventure against Kobra, during which Bart accompanied Flash, it became clear that the boy could be a great hero, but also that he was too much for Wally to handle alone: Bart was entrusted to Max Mercury, another speedster and a retired superhero, who could dedicate all his time to taking care of the pesky brat. Bart moved with him in ManchesterAlabama, where he both attended Manchester Junior High, where he met his new best friend Carol Bucklen, and trained in super-speed with Mercury. He even met other superheroes, and on one occasion Batman called him “Impulse”, due to his habit of acting before thinking: Bart at first took it as a compliment, but the Dark Knight clarified it was a warning. The name, however, remained, and Impulse soon started working with two other teenager superheroes, Robin and Superboy; along with them, he founded Young Justice, a juvenile version of the Justice League. Impulse proved to be quite an asset for the young team as, after saving a rich man’s castle, he had as a reward a functioning spaceship, that became one of the best resources at Young Justice’s disposal for a time. Between an adventure and the other, Bart’s mother finally made it to New Earth to take her son back to the future with her; arrived in the XXX Century along with Meloni, Impulse found out he was a wanted man in Earth-247, as his grandfather still held a grudge against the Allens and had put him in the most-wanted list. In order to protect her son, Meloni agreed “to become a Thawne again”, and remained with her father, sending Bart back to the past, where his friends were waiting for him, the two of them being separated forever. Shortly after being back, Bart suffered the loss of his mentor as Max Mercury was trapped in the Speed Force by The Rival: another speedster, Jay Garrick, took him in, taking care of him along with his wife Joan. Everything considered, Bart could always count on a family, in his adoptive dimension.

Bart Allen is an enthusiastic and light-hearted boy, with all the recklessness and the zest for life of his age; inexperienced in social relationship and with no sense of danger, he’s quite a menace for himself and others when he acts before thinking, which happens most of the times. As Impulse, he’s a speedster that takes from the Speed Force a variety of powers, the first being an extreme speed that allows him to reach unthinkable velocity; he also possesses accelerated healing, enhanced senses and durability, the ability to phase through solid objects and to create bolts of electricity once he reaches the proper speed, and the unique power of creating “clones” of himself by disrupting time, absorbing all the copies’ memories once they return to him. A little baby in the body of a teenager, Impulse is as selfless and althruistic as he can be, always ready to help anybody…only, planning just isn’t his thing.

Daniel Turpin (Brooklyn)

Next in Lucy W.‘s list comes one of the best known cops in the DC Universe, Dan Turpin, the toughest policeman in Metropolis. Just as many others, Turpin made his live action debut in Smallville, in Season 8, portrayed by David Paetkau: a young police officer, he’s a subordinate of Detective John Jones, and he’s partnered with rookie Joe Fordman…actually Clark Kent investigating on some crooked policemen. Turpin is initially a strictly anti-vigilante cop, but after cooperating with The Blur and Green Arrow to stop Talbert and the other corrupt colleagues he changes his mind. In the comics, Turpin is a long-time ally of Superman and one of the recurring characters in his mythology, with a story starting from the 1940s: let’s see together.

Daniel “Terrible” Turpin was a street kid born in New York City in the 1930s, one of the many street-smart children who grew up pretty much on their own, most of them (Dan included) being orphans. When World War II began in Europe, Dan was little more than a kid, but he wanted to make his part as well: nobody, however, was interested in sending children to war (quite comprehensibly, actually), and the US Army simply laughed his battling ambitions off. A single officer, however, took him seriously, and invited him to a one-time opportunity to make something of his life: the officer was Captain Rip Carter, the on-field leader and guardian of the newborn Boy Commandos, an elite group of children from all around the Western world who wanted to fight in the war like adults. Dan was the first American kid to be recruited, and he joined French André Chavard, English Alfie Twidgett and Dutch Jan Haasan as one of the founding members of the Commandos. The four orphans, under Carter’s supervision, accomplished many tasks the adults were unable to, thus making quite a name for themselves in such dire times; Turpin, deeply patriotic, chose for himself the moniker Brooklyn after the neighborhood he had grown up into. Obviously, being defeated over and over again by a bunch of kids made the Nazis feel quite humiliated, so that they targeted Carter’s unusual squad with unbelievable ferocity, but the Boy Commandos always managed to walk away from it with a laughter, albeit often changing their roster. Dan Turpin was among the only one of the original team who made it through the entire war, and when it ended, he came back to the United States as a war hero. Wanting to start anew, he didn’t come back to New York City, but he moved to the Suicide Slums in Metropolis, where he enlisted in the local police, having acquired a taste for kicking bad people’s butt. Albeit a young man, Turpin became quite famous within the MPD for being an extremely tough guy, who put to shame the local veterans with his incredible courage and his uncompromising attitude towards criminals.

Dan Turpin, who resumed his old nickname “Terrible” for both colleagues and thugs, was the scourge of Metropolis’ criminals, but the world was rapidly changing, as more and more superhumans popped around, crowding the city with heroes and villains alike. The MPD needed to evolve to respond to the threat, so the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit was created, a unit specialised in dealing with situations far too extreme for regular policemen to handle; needless to say, smelling a new challenge, Dan Turpin was among the very first candidates for the newborn SCU, and he was promoted inspector to join the unit. The veteran officer was partnered with Maggie Sawyer, a detective who was among the very few ones who can handle his harsh character with one that could match it, and the two formed quite a formidable couple, always on the front line even against threats they could not possibly overcome. While battling crime, Turpin had the time to had a daughter, Maisie, from an unknown wife, who eventually divorced him. The only woman Dan ever felt attraction for afterwards was Maggie, who even became his boss when she was promoted head of the SCU, but after finding out she was a lesbian he had to put away his romantic ambitions on her; he remained fiercely loyal to her, always standing on her side even against superior officers anytime her work was questioned. Despite being a subordinate, he again became quite a living legend when he battled an impossible foe, Kalibak, the rampaging New God: he assisted Lightray and Orion into fighting him, and eventually it was him who defeated the monster by hitting him with the entire city’s energy accumulated into a generator. Badly injured but alive, Dan Turpin became a role model for his colleagues, albeit from there on he had to learn to work alongside Superman and the other heroes in similar situations. When Maggie Sawyer moved to Gotham City, however, the SCU was entrusted to Turpin, as nobody could be a better candidate than he was: with Terrible Turpin as a leader, there was no supervillain the SCU wouldn’t have fought.

Dan Turpin is a tough as nails man, a no-nonsense cop who does his job the same way he did war as a kid. Feared by criminals and respected by his subordinates and colleagues (albeit he’s quite a pain in the back for his superiors), Turpin is an exceptional marksman and an expert combatant, who brings on the field an experience matched by nobody else’s; he doesn’t have any superpower, but his Simm-Bot armor, obtained from reverse-engineering a Kryptonian Warsuit, grants him enough firepower to face even superhuman threats…not that he actually needs it, as he does the same even bare-handed. A policeman like nobody else, Dan “Terrible” Turpin keeps fighting the same war he did in the 1940s, he just changed the battlefield.

Rokk Krinn (Cosmic Boy)

No more Green Lanterns for a while now, as Lucy W.‘s request takes us to the future, as the next name in the list is Cosmic Boy, one of the founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Cosmic Boy appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Ryan Kennedy in a couple of episodes: he travels to the past along with Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad to meet Clark Kent, and tells him that his influence as a hero goes beyond time and space; albeit he nearly kills Chloe Sullivan, he’s pivotal in extracting Brainiac out of her brain, and he brings the A.I. to the future to be reprogrammed. He comes back in Season 8’s finale to give clark a Legion Ring, telling him to send Doomsday to the XXX Century where the Legion is ready to fight him, as he’d be surely killed if he tries to fight the monster. In the comics, Cosmic Boy is the historical leader of the Legion in many timelines, and a precious member of the team even when he’s not leading it. Let’s see together.

Rokk Krinn was born on Earth in the XXX Century, the son of Hu and Ewa Krinn, two aliens who came from planet Braal. When he was still a kid, his parents were forced by poverty to come back to their homeplanet, where Rokk could train in the use of the magnetic powers typical of his race. His parents were very poor, and Rokk did his best to support them; in one timeline, he became a professional athlete in the Braalian sport known as Magno Ball, earning enough to take care of his family, but in the original one he helped by doing minor jobs, although it wasn’t easy on his rocky and wasted world. Still wanting to do something useful for his family, albeit being only fifteen years old, Rokk decided to leave Braal and to come back to Earth alone, hoping to find a job that would have allowed him to send money home. During the travel he met two other kids his age, Garth Ranzz from Winath, able to control electricity, and Imra Ardeen from Titan, a natural telepath: the three became fast friends, and travelled together to Earth. Once there, they sticked together trying to make up a living, until they ran into an assassination attempt against billionaire René Jacques Brande. The trio used their unique abilities to dispatch the attackers, brilliantly coordinated by Rokk himself: impressed by his saviors, R. J. Brande made them an unusual but irresistible proposal, asking them to form a superhero team he would have personally financed. Rokk Krinn didn’t have to be told twice, and accepted the offer. He took the codename Cosmic Boy, becoming the first (unofficial) leader of the Legion of Super-Heroes; Imra became known as Saturn Girl, while Garth chose the name Lightning Lad. Together, they started an adventure that would have led them to become the most renowned superheroes of their time…and not just that.

In the following year, Cosmic Boy became the official frontman of the team, and together with his two teammates he travelled the galaxy to recruit new members, enriching the Legion with unique people from all the corners of the universe. One of the recruits, a Coluan named Brainiac 5, proved to be fundamental to the Legion, as he shared with them his amazing inventions that, among other things, allowed the young heroes to travel through time, thus permitting to Rokk to find new recruits even in other eras (albeit it also caused some unforseen side effects, as it would have been later revealed). At the end of the Legion’s first year of life, Cosmic Boy had managed to gather eighteen superhuman heroes, transforming the original trio into a well-organised and well-known group of fighters for justice. At a certain point, the candidates for the team were so many that the Legionnaires started to be more selective, and many would-be heroes got rejected, either for being not fit for being heroes or for having “useless” powers; some of the latter eventually formed a team of their own to prove Cosmic Boy and the others wrong, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, that became something close to a competitor for the original Legion. In the main team, Cosmic Boy had been replaced by Saturn Girl as the team’s leader, since the other Legionnaires had voted her to guide them (a decision that Rokk himself supported, and he remained a loyal consultant to his best friend and a valuable member of the team nevertheless), while in the “unofficial” one something was going on for Rokk as well: a founding member of the Substitutes, Lydda “Night Girl” Jath, discarded because her super-strength only worked if she wasn’t exposed to sunlight, became romantically interested in him, and he found himself reciprocating her feelings. The two started dating, and this brought even the two Legions closer. In the meanwhile, he had collected money enough to bring his family to Earth: finally, things started to look brighter than the poor neighborhood he had been growing up in…at least until some bombers decided to target his parents’ cargo…

Rokk Krinn is a strong-willed and selfless young man, a natural born leader with the instinct of a hero and a charismatic personality. As Cosmic Boy, he has complete mastership over his Braalian powers over magnetism, that allow him to manipulate magnetic fields, to fly, to manipulate metals, to create force fields, to shoot powerful concussive blasts using magnetic energy, and to create bonds with a planet’s natural magnetic field; he also has access to all the Legion of Super-Heroes’ equipment, and he’s a skilled fighter and athlete. The spiritual if not factual leader of the Legion, Cosmic Boy is the one who united the Legionnaires from all around the universe and gave them purpose, and he’s the one everybody’s ready to follow until the end, a man who knows no compromise in his morality and who’s rightfully trusted to always do the right thing even in the most difficult situations.

Bruno Mannheim

With no new characters to speak about (at the moment, at least), let’s resume Lucy W.‘s request, and meet another villain: Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim, one of the DC Universe’s most renowned gangsters. He first appeared in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, with his name changed to Bill Church Jr.: portrayed by Bruce Campbell, he is the son of the leader of Intergang, and an old friend of Perry White; he manages to corrupt Superman with Red Kryptonite, but he’s eventually arrested along with his father, both of them tricked by the same woman. He then appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Dominic Zamprogna: with his original name this time, he debuts as a thug who kills his boss Ron Milano and takes control of his criminal empire, declaring an all-out war on Metropolis‘ vigilantes starting with Stiletto…who’s actually Lois Lane in disguise. More disturbing and cruel than his live action counterparts, Bruno is quite a monster in the comics: let’s see together.

Bruno Mannheim was born in Metropolis, the son of Moxie “Boss” Mannheim, the undisputed leader of Intergang, an infamous and powerful group of gangsters. When he was still a kid, Boss Moxie was arrested by the Newsboy Legion, and Intergang was left without a leader, since Bruno was the intended heir, but still too young. During this period, the corrupted businessman Morgan Edge took control of Intergang, with Bruno being held as a figurehead for reassuring the old gangsters loyal to the Mannheim family. It was under Edge’s leadership that Intergang started employing superhumans as agents and having business with some dangerous third parties, most notably the New Gods from Apokolips. While Edge was making deals with the one he believed to be Darkseid, getting advanced weapons from him, it was Bruno who discovered the first one’s true identity: DeSaad, Darkseid’s advisor, who was enjoying playing with the humans. DeSaad was intrigued by the young Mannheim, and had him transported on Apokolips, where he was trained by Granny Goodness. Bruno became and extremely ruthless and pitiless man under Goodness’ training, a living nightmare even for men like his father. He came back to Metropolis when Morgan Edge had a heart attack, and he took control of Intergang from him. He started directing some ambitious criminal activities, such as financing a war against the independent state of Kahndaq with Apokoliptian weapons and Egg-Fu‘s research. Bruno kept following Apokolips’ directive, but this kind of operations ended up attracting a lot of unwanted attention, and eventually two reporters, Clark Kent and Cat Grant, managed to collect enough evidence against him and Intergang to put the entire country’s police against him. Exposed as the leader of the gangsters, Bruno Mannheim was arrested, but he managed to use a Boom-Tube to escape. He came back to Apokolips, where Darkseid himself oversaw the end of his training.

Darkseid made Bruno Mannheim know the one book that would have changed his life forever: the Crime Bible, a religious book worshipping crime itself, whose original copy written on the very stone Cain used to kill Abel. A man reborn, now considering himself a religious messiah, Bruno came back to Earth, where he reformed Intergang into a crime-worshipping cult. Even his character had changed quite a lot, as he was now even more ruthless and violent than before: a cannibalistic psychopath, now Bruno killed and ate anyone who didn’t submit to him, thus inspiring a sacred fear from his subordinates. He started recruiting mad scientists from all around the world, and he even “converted” supercriminals to his cause: if many at first were reluctant, they all changed their mind after Mannheim killed Mirage with his bare hands and had him cooked for dinner immediately after. This way, he thickened Intergang’s ranks with the likes of Magpie, the VentriloquistKite ManSquid, Sewer King, Rawson, LamelleWhisper A’Daire and many other minor villains from all around the world. Using everybody’s unique talents, Intergang expanded outside the United States, conquering first Oolong Island, then countries like Yemen and Bialya, in an expansion that would have soon aimed to the US as well. It was at this point of his expansion that he set his sight on Gotham City, albeit his operations were spotted by The Question; while the vigilante gained the help of Renee Montoya and Nightwing, however, Mannheim had found somebody worthy to be a propitiatory human sacrifice, the new Batwoman, who also happened to be Montoya’s lover. The ceremony had already begun, with Mannheim slowly piercing Batwoman’s chest with a cerimonial knife, when the trio arrived. Montoya managed to save Batwoman, who ripped the knife from her torso and stabbed Bruno in the back with it. Apparently, the deranged criminal met his end, but alien forces were always at work around him, and he was rescued by an unknown third party, who sent him back to Metropolis soon after with new technology. This time, Bruno was powerful enough to challenge Superman head on…

Bruno Mannheim is a cunning and brutal individual, a leader born who’s been taught to serve pure evil since his childhood. A natural born tactician, trained in combat by Granny Goodness in person, he has at disposal a vast amount of alien technology, granting him a range of abilities (in one occasion he turned himself into a giant as tall as Metropolis’ tallest skyscrapers). One of the most dangerous men alive, Bruno Mannheim unites in himself the evil of two worlds, a cruel gangster who grew to be a deranged cannibal who worships crime itself.

Querl Dox (Brainiac 5)

Before breaking Iron Fist down episode by episode starting tomorrow, let’s see another character from Lucy W.‘s request, another remarkable superhero: Brainiac 5. As the name suggests, Brainiac 5 is a descendant of the infamous Brainiac, albeit his only live action appearance so far suggested otherwise: in Smallville, the Legion of Super-Heroes helped Clark exorcise Brainiac out of Chloe Sullivan‘s body, and brought him to the future to be reprogrammed; the results of their experiments are seen in episode Homecoming, where a reformed Brainiac, now calling himself Brainiac 5, takes Clark to a trip through his past, present and future in a Christmas Carol aimed to prepare him for the upcoming battle with Darkseid. This version of the character is still sarcastic and malicious, quite the opposite of his comicbook counterpart, who’s known to be extremely kind-hearted and gentle. Let’s see together.

Querl Dox was born on planet Colu in the XXX Century, the son of Kajd Dox. If all Coluans are remarkably more intelligent than the average Earthlings, Querl proved to be a genius even by Coluan standards since he was a kid, impressing everybody with his astonishing genius. Dox was a direct descendant of Vril Dox, the original Brainiac, but the title of “Brainiac” had become so infamous after his ancestors’ deeds that nobody, after Brainiac 3, wanted to be recognised as a member of that family anymore. Kajd Dox was the first one to reclaim the mantle, and named himself Brainiac 4; when Querl was only twelve years old, Kajd died in unspecified circumstances on Colu, so the boy decided to name himself Brainiac 5 to honor his memory. From that moment, Brainiac 5 dedicated himself to expanding his intellect and knowledge, and found a worthy master in the insectoid Circadia Senior, the Chronarch (expert of time science) of the Time Institute in Metropolis, on planet Earth. To follow his master and continue studying under him, Querl Dox arrived on Earth, where his genius didn’t fail to get noticed; despite this, he refused Circadia’s offer to become his assistant, and kept working on his own. Not many other students were able to understand Dox’s work, and among these there was Rond Vidar, who became Querl’s best friend and helped him devise and build the Time Bubble, an effective means of time travel that allowed the direct exploration of distant eras. Thirsty for knowledge, Brainiac 5 programmed the Time Bubble to bring him to witness the dawn of the universe…something that was considered extremely dangerous, considering the devastating consequences that the minimum interference would have caused, and thus deemed illegal. Believing that Brainiac 5 was following the same evil path of his ancestors, the Green Lantern Corps attacked him to prevent his time travel, and Brainiac 5 found himself overpowered…until he was saved by the Legion of Super-Heroes, a group his fellow student Tinya Wazzo had been telling him about. Grateful for being saved, Brainiac 5 finally accepted Tinya’s offer to join, and officially became a Legionnaire, along with another newcomer, Supergirl.

Brainiac 5’s genius proved to be an incredible asset for the Legion of Super-Heroes since his very arrival: using a new isotope discovered by Mon-El (a Legionnaire he himself had freed from the Phantom Zone due to an antidote of his own invention that cured his terminal condition), Brainiac 5 joined forces with Lyle “Invisible Kid” Norg to invent the Legion Flight Ring, which became the standard equipment of all Legionnaires, a tool that allowed its wearer to fly both inside and outside atmosphere, and to be in constant communication with the other teammates, being activated by the wielder’s will like a Green Power Ring. Not always, however, Brainiac 5’s genius was accompanied by carefulness or wisdom, as he seldomly considered the consequences of his inventions or actions thoroughly (such as when he tried to explore the dawn of the universe): wanting an intellect matching his own, Brainiac 5 created Computo, a super-computer so advanced…that it decided that organic beings were obsolete and that computers like him had to rule the universe. Computo arrived to kill one of Triplicate Girl‘s selves before Brainiac 5 created, using anti-matter, a Bizarro Computo, a very stupid robot which was promptly destroyed by the first one, but that proved his point wrong, thus stopping him upon seeing the fallacy in his logic. Another time, while still experimenting on time with Rond Vidar, he accidentally trapped Professor Jaxon Rugarth in a time-loop, thus transforming him in the nearly almighty and highly unstable Infinite Man. If Brainiac 5’s intellect proved to be dangerous if unchecked, his emotions were so even more: the Computer Tyrants, the Coluan dictators overthrown by Brainiac 2 half a century before, tried to use him to regain power, and created the android Pulsar Stargrave in the effort of winning Brainiac 5 to their cause; Stargrave convinced Querl Dox that he was his father, not killed but trapped by aliens, and he led him to betray the Legion, putting them in severe danger and even destroying their headquarters. Matter-Eater Lad managed to stop a completely insande Brainiac and his creations, but at the cost of his own sanity as well: the two Legionnaires were later entrusted to psychiatric care. Years later, healed, Brainiac 5 came back to the Legion in full force, ready to be a hero again to atone for his ancestors’ deeds…and his own.

Querl Dox is an absolute genius, extremely intelligent even for Coluan standards…and often alone because of that, since his intellect puts him on an entirely different level from the ones around him; sensitive and gentle, he’s however quite antisocial, unable to fully relate to other people and always striving to make himself understandable to his friends. As Brainiac 5, his main power is his unlimited intellect, which makes him a living super-computer with eidetic memory and high tactical proficiency, as well as an expert in physics, engineering, biology and nearly any other known field; his trademark equipment is composed of the Legion Flight Ring, which allows him to fly, and the Force Field Belt, which generates nearly impervious barriers around himself and can also be used for offensive purposes; he’s also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. A genius like no others in his time, Brainiac 5 is a hero who seeks redemption for his own past madness and for the deeds of his feared ancestors, putting his genius at the service of the entire universe…when he doesn’t get completely absorbed by his own curiosity.

Theodore Stephen Kord (Blue Beetle)

bluebeetlefilmWaiting for the Logan pics to surface (and for the tv shows to introduce somebody new), let’s go on with Lucy W.‘s request, this time with a slightly more recent hero, born in the 1960s: the second and most popular Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. Even Kord has just one live action appearance so far, despite having been name-dropped a lot of times in the Arrowverse, and it’s of course in Smallville: in the episode Booster, Kord appears as the CEO of Kord Industries, who loses control of an extraterrestrial living weapon that ends up bonding with a kid, Jaime Reyes. In the show, he never dons his blue costume nor becomes a superhero, but he proves to be quite a nice guy when he allows Reyes to keep Khaji-Da, the alien sentient weapon, and even befriending Booster Gold by allowing him to receive the keys of the city from the mayor. Obviously, in the comics there’s much more to that: let’s see together.

Ted Kord was born in ChicagoIllinois, the son of wealthy businessman Thomas Kord and of his unnamed wife. Since he was a kid, Ted showed to be extremely smart, with a natural disposition towards both science and sports. Excelling in pretty much everything, he didn’t know exactly what to do with his life, so he followed many paths, obtaining degrees in different fields such as Physics, Mathematics and English Literature; of course, a place for him in his father’s company, Kord Omniversal Research and Development, Inc., was always ready, but he wasn’t exactly interested, so he kept studying. While in college, he also started to work for his scientist uncle, Jarvis Kord, but things became a bit weird as, among his uncle’s stuff, Ted found evidence that Jarvis wanted to use his futuristic inventions to take over the world. Looking for help, Ted asked his trusted archaeology professor, Dan Garrett, for bluebeetlecomics1advisc, but the teacher did something more, promising to help him. Together, the two of them deciphered Jarvis’ documents and tracked him in his secret lab on Pago Island: they travelled there, but Jarvis had them imprisoned by his guard-droids, and later ordered the robots to kill the intruders. Facing death, Garrett was forced to reveal his secret and exposed himself as the Blue Beetle, the superhero: he destroyed the droids and freed himself and Ted, and the two proceeded to confront Jarvis directly. In the following battle, Jarvis Kord caused an explosion that killed himself, and mortally wounded Garrett: knowing he was a goner, the hero asked Ted to bring on his legacy as the Blue Beetle, and entrusted the boy with his secret weapon, the Blue Beetle Scarab, an ancient artifact that granted him his powers. Feeling responsible for what had happened to Dan Garrett, Ted Kord agreed to become the second Blue Beetle, and came back home with the Scarab, ready to begin his new life…only, a bad surprise was waiting for him: the Scarab didn’t react to his touch, and didn’t grant him any power. It was totally inert, leaving Ted without the possibility to keep his word to the dying Garrett.

Not wanting to let down his deceased mentor, Kord trained himself to physical perfection, wanting to compensate for the absence of the Scarab. Thanks to his genius, he designed and built a few technological gadgets, such as his specially designed plane The Bug and his small surveilance drones, the Baby-Bugs. After tailoring a blue costume and arming himself with the non-lethal Beetle Gun, he made his debut as the new Blue Beetle. While he fought crime as the Blue Beetle, he was also pretty busy as Ted Kord, as his father had fallen into a deep depression after the death of his wife, and had let his company fail little by little: taking over as the new CEO, Ted revitalized it, and in a matter of a few years he transformed Kord Omniversal into one of the most succesful Research & Development companies in the country, able to rival even S.T.A.R. Labs…mostly because he created bluebeetlecomics2and experimented as Blue Beetle inventions that he adapted for the public with his own company. Even his private life received a boost when he fell in love with his lab assistant Tracey, the only person he revealed his secret identity to (in the same occasion, he even saved her from the attack of two of Jarvis Kord’s guard droids, burying them under rocks and boulders). In his early years as a superhero, Blue Beetle gained a number of unusual enemies, such as the robbers known as the Squid Gang, the esoteric cult The Men of the Mask, or the mob boss known as The Enigma, but also supercriminals such as ChronosDr. Alchemy, Overthrow and the misfits known as the Madmen. He also gained a number of allies, such as the enigmatic vigilante The Question and the time-displaced Booster Gold, who became his best friend. Together with Booster Gold, Blue Beetle even joined the new formation of the Justice League of America, where he befriended another number of heroes. Known as the Blue & Gold while with Booster, Ted became sort of the prankster of the team, but he also was renowned to be one of the smartest men on the planet, as well as one of the most reliable heroes of the JLA. Even without the superpowers his legacy promised him, Ted had managed to become quite a hero on his own…

Ted Kord is an extremely smart man, a genius born who’s also a selfless and brave hero…and a funny guy who loves to hang around with his friends and to organise elaborate pranks (such as when he bought every Oreo in New York City just so that Martian Manhunter couldn’t have any). As the Blue Beetle, he doesn’t possess any superpower, but he’s an incredibly skilled gymnast, athlete and martial artist, an accomplished acrobat and an experienced spy; he possesses a number of crime-fighting gadgets, such as the Beetle Gun, that either emits an intense flash of light aimed to blind the enemies or shoots a blast of compressed air able to knock out an opponent, and his trademark Bug, a high-tech aerial vehicle armed with a real arsenal of futurist weapons and devices. Easily smarter than Batman, although nobody notices it, Blue Beetle is a self-made hero, a multi-billionaire CEO and a world-famous inventor…not bad, for someone who started his career losing his predecessor’s superpowers.

Albert Pratt (The Atom)

theatomfilmLet’s keep going with Lucy W.‘s list: today we meet another historical superhero from the DC Universe, the first AtomAl Pratt. As for now, Pratt only appeared in Smallville Season 9, portrayed by Glenn Hoffmann: in the show, he’s a physics professor who gains superhuman abilities and becomes a vigilante, later joining the Justice Society of America. When the police starts arresting masked heroes, The Atom saves his friend and teammate Wesley “Sandman” Dodds from some cops, and he’s arrested in his place; we know he’s been released at some point, but his ultimate fate remains undisclosed, albeit Doctor Fate riddles “The Atom is split”, thus hinting he might have died in the following years. Anyway, let’s now take a look at one of the first DC heroes, created in 1940.

Albert “Al” Pratt was born in Calvin CityConnecticut, from an unknown family, in 1920. Since his childhood, he had always been very short and skinny, being bullied by other kids who used to call him “Atom Al” for his size. Poor Al became a brilliant young man, a model student at Calvin College…but his size was still the laughing stock of his peers, and he simply had no chance to gain the affection of the girl he loved, Mary James. One night, while coming back home, young Al saw an old homeless man and, feeling pity for him, he bought him dinner. This proved to be the best decision of his life: the old man, wanting to repay him for his kindness, revealed himself as Joe Morgan, the disgraced box legend, and offered to train Al, promising he would have transformed him completely. With nothing to lose, Al accepted Morgan’s offer…and he never regretted it: in a year time, his skinny physique had turned into a theatomcomics1massively muscular one, and he also gained an unbelievable strength. A skilled fighter, Al didn’t become a professional boxer like his mentor, but rather he wanted to make the difference as much as he could: he tailored a costume to become one of the “mystery men” patroling the streets in those years, and chose as a moniker “The Atom”, the name other kids used to mock him with. In a matter of months, The Atom was already one of the most famous vigilantes around, using his combat skills to fight criminality day by day…but it was 1940 already, and World War II was turning Europe to ashes. Wanting to offer a decisive contribution to the war effort, President Roosevelt gathered all the “mystery men” he could find, Atom included, and organised them in the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team ever. Soon, the JSA members joined the All-Star Squadron and travelled to Europe to take an active part in the war, and during this occasion Atom met Wildcat, another masked hero who turned out to be a pupil of Joe Morgan just like him. The two became fast friends, and remained so even after World War II was won. Back to the United States, the JSA didn’t disband, and its members kept fighting crime together as a team, and as a family.

It was with the JSA that Atom fought against a powerful sorcerer, Ian Karkull: the villain was defeated, but the mystical energy released during the battle had some unexpected collateral effects, and Pratt and his teammates received the gift (or curse, depending on how you see it) of longevity, gaining a prolonged youth and life span. This was the first, but not the last time that Atom gained special abilities by battling some villain: while fighting Cyclotron, in 1948, the thorium radiation emitted by the criminal affected his physiology, giving him total immunity from radiations. Some time later, while on a mission with Starman, an accident at the Manhattan Project site filled the place with lethal amounts of radiations: without thinking, Atom ran in to save his friend, and as a result he was caught in an explosion. This extra amount of radiations, interacting with his already modified theatomcomics2body, mutated Pratt even more, and he gained superhuman strength. Wanting to learn more about what had happened to him, Pratt resumed his studies interrupted before the war, and came back to Calvin College to study nuclear physics; always the smart one, he obtained a Ph.d, and some years later he became his college’s nuclear physics professor. Also his private life had improved much after he came back from the war: he had finally declared his love to Mary James, and eventually he proposed to her, also confessing her he was secretly The Atom. The two got married, and after the government forced to retirement every superhero who refused to work directly for them and to reveal their identity (which included pretty much every member of the JSA), Al spent some happy years with his wife. After a couple of decades, another group, the Justice League of America, took the JSA’s place, but when a villainous group, the Crime Champions, proved to be too much for the JLA alone to handle, the old glories of the JSA decided to return to action to help the younglings. In this team-up, Al even met his successor, the new Atom. The battle over, the old heroes found out they still had some fight in them: it was time for the Justice Society to finally come out of the shadows once again.

Al Pratt is a brilliant and determined man, an old-fashioned tough guy who literally made himself from scratch. As The Atom, he is a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a skilled boxer and athlete; after a couple of “work incidents”, he obtained an extended longevity and a prolonged youth, as well as radiation immunity, superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina and durability. Already an extraordinary man when he was “merely” human, The Atom is now even more ecceptional, a genius with a caring heart and steel muscles: brain and brawn, all in one.