Apparently Powerless is releasing episodes in a different order than the one announced by the production. Next one will be Emergency Punch-Up, which will see the debut of a new villain, Doctor Psycho, already seen in the promo: he’ll attack Charm City with a poisonous gas, with the immediate effect of locking Emily and her colleagues in their office, unable to come out. This marks the first live action appearance of Psycho, who’s actually a pretty old villain, who debuted in the 1940s. This character crossed four eras of publication, with his deeds being changed and reinvented from time to time, but with his origin story pretty much the same all over Earth-One, Earth-Two, New Earth and Prime Earth. Let’s see together who this madman is.
Edgar Cizko was born possibly in Washington D.C., where he attended college as a medical student, impressing his professors with his superior intellect. Short in size and with a disproportionate head, Cizko was mocked by his fellow students, who called him names and excluded him from any possible friendship; the only relief in his life was Marva Jane Gray, a girl who, albeit she clearly didn’t find him beautiful, agreed to marry him, becoming his fiancée. Cizko, however, had suspicions that Marva was secretly in love with the beautiful and athletic Ben Bradley, and he had a confirmation of this in the worst way possible: one night, some precious radium was stolen from the University’s lab, and Marva testified that she had seen Edgar escaping with it, charging him with theft (actually, the culprit was Ben, who had used a costume to look like Cizko, with Marva knowing nothing of it). In jail, Edgar learnt that Marva was now engaged to Ben Bradley: mad with hatred and jealousy, he lost his mind, and started nurturing a grudge against all women. When he finished his term, he started to study different disciplines than medicine, and albeit becoming a skilled scientist, he also medded with occultism. Inspired by Ares, in the person of his lieutenant the Duke of Deception, Cizko used his new skills to obtain revenge: he tracked down Ben Bradley right before his marriage with Marva and hypnotized him to submission; then, he tortured him and interrogated him, leading him to admit that he was the one who had stolen the radium…trying to exonerate himself, however, Ben lied and told Cizko that Marva was his willing accomplish. Not inclined to spare him under any circumstances, Cizko forced him to eat one of the radium bars, killing him, and then proceeded to meet his once-beloved Marva. By that time, Cizko hated her, but he didn’t want to kill her, as this would have not been enough for his thirst of vengeance: with hypnosis, he forced her to marry him, and he transformed her into his slave, also using her as a guinea pig for his occult experiments. His mental powers kept growing at an alarming rate.
After the Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Cizko’s story remained pretty much the same, apart from the fact that he had studied psychology instead of medicine, and that among the monikers his colleagues used to denigrate him there was “Doctor Psycho”, one that he eventually came to like and use. His hatred for women didn’t change from a reality to the other, and almost inevitably he started to target Wonder Woman, the heroine who incarnated everything he despised. In an attempt to destroy Wonder Woman, he even teamed up with another woman, Circe, whom he considered the lesser of two evils: in a plot aimed to separate the heroine from her closest friends and allies, Psycho implanted horrible nightmares in the mind of Vanessa Kapatelis, Wonder Woman’s friend, and drove her mad, turning her into the new Silver Swan. In the meanwhile, Cizko was also posing as Dr. Charles Stanton, a child psychologist in Boston, and was forcing through hypnosis the students of Adams Junior High School to improve their grades. His “regular” activity was almost spoiled by Helen Andersen, the school’s guidance councillor, who was investigating on the unexpected and innatural improvement of the students’ grades. Doctor Psycho found her and knocked her unconscious, only to start torturing her by projecting horrifying nightmares in the mind of her unborn baby (she was eight-months pregnant), nearly driving her insane and aiming to kill both her and the baby; in that moment, however, Wonder Woman arrived: the heroine had read through Vanessa’s memories and had located her enemy, and she intervened just in time to stop him from killing Helen. Imprisoned in Slabside Penitentiary after briefly joining Circe’s team of villains, he was kept in a dormant state in a straitjacket, as a mental patient, but when the telepath Saturn Girl used her powers to call for her teammates of the Legion of Superh-Heroes, this boost of mental energy was enough to awaken him. Restrained, Doctor Psycho was no match for the guards nevertheless, and he incapacitated many of them running to his freedom: finally, his crusade could continue.
Edgar Cizko is a cruel and sadistic man, bent on a revenge crusade that targets everyone reminds him of the people who used to mock him (that means, pretty much everyone on the planet); a grudging misogynist, he particularly hates women, and enjoys torturing them in any possible way. As Doctor Psycho, he’s one of Earth‘s most powerful telepaths, comparable to the likes of Saturn Girl and Martian Manhunter: he can read people’s minds, he can project hallucinations realistic enough to kill, and he’s also able to mind-control people to do his bidding; through his occult studies, he’s also able to summon ectoplasm to the physical world, shaping them into life-like beings that he uses for a variety of purposes, from sheer combat to infiltration. A skilled psychiatrist who can understand a person’s fear to use it against him, Doctor Psycho is an extremely dangerous mastermind, whose mind compensates greately for his physical lacks. A man who hates women, Psycho is a serial murderer and torturer who takes pleasure from the screams of his victims, bent on a life-long crusade that will never end.