John Dee (Doctor Destiny)

Series changed places this week, as the crossover Elseworlds is finally here… and it’s far more entertaining that I dared to hope for, at least as for what concerns the first episode. In The Flash, we witness the beginning of everything, with The Monitor appearing to give his reality-shaping book to an unorthodox psychiatrist, Dr. John Deegan. Portrayed by Jeremy Davies, Deegan tries to convince his colleagues to use eugenics to treat their patients, but he’s met with foreseeable contempt. Now, with such a power in his hands, he’s rewriting the world as he sees fit… with a lot of incredible side effects. In the comics, his name is slightly different, John Dee, and he does have immense powers, albeit he starts as a “simple” mad scientist with a lot of gadgets. Let’s see together.

John Dee was never a “good boy”, he even changed his name to match the one of the great alchemist from the XVII Century. He was the son of Ethel Cripps, a professional swindler, and Ruthven Sykes, the second-in-command of the dark mage Roderick Burgess, Ethel’s lover; he was born when his parents decided to betray Burgess and escape with a ton of money and mystic artifacts. Since his childhood, John was encouraged on a dark path, and he followed it willingly, using his incredible intelligence to dedicate himself to something different than magic: science and technology. Following his mother’s example, John used his talent to make money first and foremost, and he built an anti-gravitational device that he used to capture Green Lantern and to replace him for a while, until he was exposed by Green Arrow and defeated by the other members of the Justice League of America. He presented himself as Doctor Destiny, and he became a recurrent foe of the planet’s most powerful heroes, always coming up with more and more complex and futuristic devices, most notably a will-deadening beam that could break the will of even Superman. Like many others before him, though, Dee couldn’t prevail over such powerful foes, not with his tools, and he eventually decided to resort to one of his mother’s “souvenirs” from Burgess’ house, a red gem she called the Dream Ruby. This stone had been stolen by the dark mage from his most prized prisoner, Dream of the Endless, the embodiment of stories and dreams, and Doctor Destiny believed he could use it for his goals. He united his technology to the Ruby, and he transformed it into the Materioptikon, a device that could alter reality through dreams. He experimented on many patients before it was perfectly calibrated on his mind, and his first use of it was magnificent: he bent reality, giving birth to a fascist dystopia where the JLA was his personal death squad, and where he ruled as a king. The world was finally of his liking.

The real Justice League was kept prisoner and tortured by Destiny’s one, and the villain would have gladly kept everything in this state, if he wasn’t stopped by Blue Beetle, who at the time was in a coma, and thus able to access the Dream World and force Dee to return things to normal. Dr. Destiny’s power was so great that the JLA had to be drastic in dealing with him: they locked him in Arkham Asylum and, with the help of the doctors, removed his ability to dream via hypnosis and psychic manipulation; in the meanwhile, Martian Manhunter and Mister Miracle hid the Materioptikon in a place where he would have never been able to find it… theoretically speaking. One of the doctors of Arkham was Garrett Stanford, the current Sandman, and Dee, albeit shriveled to a human husk because of his lack of dreaming and his addiction to the Materioptikon, manipulated him to let him out, and used his equipment to put to sleep most of the Justice League and use their dreams against them. Some of the reserves, led by Zatanna and Elongated Man, intervened, and put an end to Destiny’s schemes locking him back in Arkham. Here, some time later, he was reached by his mother, Ethel, who brought him an amulet to protect him… and to ease his escape. Upon realizing how much her son had been corrupted, Ethel committed suicide, but she had given her contribution to the possible end of the world, though: thanks to her amulet, John managed to escape, and was drawn to the Ruby by the stone itself. With his sanity eroded by his time in the asylum, Dr. Destiny reached a diner, and used the Materioptikon to materialize the customers’ worst fears, to force them to have sex with each other, to worship him like a god, and ultimately to kill themselves… all the while influencing the whole world to go mad. Finally, he was reached by Dream in person, who was unable to reclaim the Ruby due to its corruption, but wanted to end its madness. Believing that, since the stone contained the essence of Dream, the two were bonded, Destiny shattered the Materioptikon… but by doing so he simply gave Dream all of his powers back. The Endless brought him back to Arkham peacefully, and returned him his ability to dream, hoping that this would have quelled his madness. Dr. Destiny, however, had it all planned, and as soon as he could dream again, he dreamt of the Materioptikon, bringing it back to reality…

John Dee is just as mad as he is brilliant, a full-fledged genius whose psyche has been eroded by a long stay in Arkham Asylum, by his meddling with different worlds and realities, and by his own immense ambition. As Doctor Destiny, he’s a genius scientist who invented a number of futuristic tools and weapons, and he’s also a proficient occultist, but his main power derives from the Materioptikon, a device he obtained by uniting his technology to the Dream Ruby, a gem imbued with the essence of Dream of the Endless: with it, Destiny can reshape reality starting from his or other people’s dreams, materializing nightmares, manipulating emotions, giving birth to alternate realities. Obsessed with his power and addicted to it, Dr. Destiny is not even human anymore, he’s now a creature of immense power suspended between two worlds, with all the power and the folly needed to merge them into a third, horrific one.


The Monitor

Supergirl delivered quite a satisfying episode this week, for once, and the final part was even better, an off-world prologue for the upcoming crossover Elseworlds. In the last minutes of Bunker Hill, we’re brought to a burning Earth Ninety, where a dozen superheroes (all of them familiar faces) are laying lifeless on the ground after a massive battle. The Flash from the 1990s tv series appears to be the sole survivor, and he’s immediately confronted by the one who appears to be the responsible of the catastrophe: The Monitor, portrayed by LaMonica Garrett. This particular Monitor is called Nar Novu, and he carries along a book capable of reshaping reality that he entrusts to gifted individuals on the several Earths, apparently testing them in a way that Earth Ninety has spectacularly failed. Garrett’s look is incredibly faithful to the comics’ one, but his nature is definitely different, as The Monitor is more of a benign entity originally. Let’s see together.

The being known as The Monitor was born eons ago, on a lifeless moon named Oa. Here, a scientist from an immortal race, Krona, defied all the laws of his people and conducted a series of dangerous experiments aimed to understand the origin of the universe. Probing the moment of creation literally ripped the fabric of reality, dividing the universe into a Positive Matter Universe, and a mirror Anti-Matter Universe; both this new realities, then, included in themselves a nearly infinite number of parallel universes. This was the moment The Monitor was born, from the very ground of Oa: imbued with an unimaginable amount of power, he spent thousands of years meditating, understanding his own nature and the universe itself. He expanded his infinite mind to the borders of creation, until he sensed that in the Anti-Matter Universe, on Oa’s equivalent Qward, a being with his same power was born, the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor had already used his powers to conquer the entire Anti-Matter Universe, but as soon as he sensed the existence of The Monitor, he directed his attention to the only one he could perceive as a threat. The two “brothers” fought in a war of cosmic proportions, an exhausting battle that lasted for one million years, but neither of them could prevail, as their powers had been created by the cosmic balance to be perfectly equal. Eventually, the war ended in a draw, with the two cosmic beings damaging each other so much that they rendered each other unconscious, a state they remained in for nine billion years. As both The Monitor and the Anti-Monitor slept, the respective universes grew and expanded, filling themselves with more and more complex life forms. Finally, as one reality reached its scientific apex, a young scientist named Kell Mossa replicated Krona’s experiment… awakening the Anti-Monitor and creating a breach that the Anti-Matter Universe could use to reach and conquer the Positive Matter one.

The catastrophic breach in the space-time continuum awoke The Monitor too, and the threat was so great that he immediately understood that he would have had to resume hostilities with his double, if he wanted to protect the Multiverse. He located Mossa, who had survived the end of his universe and called himself Pariah, and used him as a compass to always locate the Anti-Monitor and follow his campaign. As more and more planets and entire planes of reality fell to the Anti-Monitor, The Monitor became increasingly weaker, but he organized a counter-offensive, knowing that his counterpart had become strong enough to possibly destroy even him, but wanting to set in motion a chain of events that would have deemed his nemesis’ downfall before the Anti-Matter Universe absorbed every aspect of existence. He selected a young girl, Lyla Michaels, to be his agent, and imbued her with cosmic power transforming her into Harbinger. Along with his new assistant, The Monitor focused his attention on Earth, a small planet that had an unusual concentration of beings with superhuman powers, and observing all versions of it he started selecting the ones that would have become his champions in his upcoming battle against the Anti-Monitor. The Monitor and Harbinger selected five realities that would have been the last bastions of the Positive Matter Universe: Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-X, Earth-Four and Earth-S, all presenting a number of extremely powerful beings, both heroes and villains. He selected some of them, namely Cyborg, Killer Frost, Solovar, Blue Beetle, Psycho-Pirate, Firebrand, Geo-Force, Dawnstar, Doctor Polaris, Kal-L, Obsidian, Psimon, Green Lantern, Arion and Firestorm, to guard and protect the Vibrational Forks, devices that could protect his artificial Netherverse from the Anti-Monitor. Then, he sent Harbinger to retrieve Alexander Luthor Jr., a child who was pivotal to the balance of the universe… and let himself be killed by his brainwashed assistant. His death, however, gave power to the Forks, thus balancing the forces at play and giving a chance to the hundreds of champions he had gathered to fight the ultimate battle. If the universe would have survived, The Monitor would have been reformed along with it…

The Monitor is a wise and impossibly intelligent being, nearly as ancient as the universe itself, bonded to it beyond any comprehensible level. As the embodiment of the creative energy of the Positive Matter Universe, The Monitor is amazingly powerful, but the extent and nature of his abilities is never explored in depth: according to Metron, he can create with a mere thought, and he’s capable of imbuing lesser beings with cosmic powers; he’s also connected to the universe to the point that he can immediately sense everything happening in every corner of his domain, and he grows stronger or weaker depending on how much the Positive Universe is extended; he’s immortal and virtually invulnerable, and he can manipulate nearly infinite amounts of energy. A living manifestation of the universe itself, The Monitor watches over his domain and protects it from any impending threat, ready for the ultimate sacrifice to accomplish his mission.

Weather Witch

As all villains in The Flash before her, even Joss Jackam gets a nickname from Team Flash, but this one belongs to a separate character in the New Earth continuity. In O Come, All Ye Thankful, realizing that Reina Hardesty‘s character has connections to Mark Mardon and shares his powers through meta-tech, the team ends up calling her Weather Witch, something fit considering that her staff (simply an antenna on her van before the Enlightenment) grants her weather-manipulation abilities. As we said, in the comics the Weather Witch is a totally different character, and albeit she’s definitely not Mardon’s daughter, she has some ties with him… and she shares with her show’s counterpart a desire to kill him. Let’s see together.

Nearly nothing is known about the woman who would have become the Weather Witch. She was born and raised in Gotham City, and she was a very poor young woman. She became a prostitute, a gear in the huge machine that was the criminal empire of The Penguin. There weren’t many opportunities for career advancement, considering her profession, but somehow she had The Penguin notice her for a different set of skills, and he made her one of his New Rogues, a team created to replace the original Rogues, giving her an old Weather Wand belonging to the original Weather Wizard. With most of the villains exiled on planet Salvation, Weather Witch and her teammates (Chill, Burn, Mr. Magic and Mirror-Man) ruled the streets of Gotham, proving to be a valuable asset in the turf war the Penguin was hellbent on winning. Apparently, the Weather Witch was the only one who truly cared about her teammates, as she showed true concern when Burn was shot by Vigilante during a battle… although not concerned enough not to abandon him when she was ordered to. The team successfully defended the Iceberg Lounge from hostile forces, and Weather Witch had her moment of glory when she successfully kidnapped one of Penguin’s most dangerous rivals, Tobias Whale. Then, the tides of battle changed drastically when DeSaad sent to Gotham Johnny Stitches, his new favorite puppet and leader of the local branch of Intergang: with otherworldly forces at play, Weather Witch and her mates unanimously decided to leave Penguin to his destiny, and to abandon the war to look for fortune somewhere else.

As freelance supervillains, the New Rogues soon found a new boss, Libra, who welcomed them in his Secret Society of Super-Villains. The first task for the team was quite ironic, everything considered: the New Rogues had to hunt down the “old” Rogues and force their hand in joining the Society. The team moved as one, targeting the Rogues’ allies and families, striking and leaving for dead first their best civilian asset, Paul Gambi, who tailored their special costumes, and then kidnapping Captain Cold‘s father. They apparently got what they wanted, as the Rogues accepted to meet them in an abandoned meat facility… but what ensued was a battle better described as a massacre, as the old Rogues didn’t fail to make their “replacements” realize how their lack of experience put them on an entirely different level. Weather Witch tried her best to battle the Weather Wizard, but her knowledge of the Weather Wand was limited at best, and she mostly used it to create bolts of lightning, failing to grasp the wider array of skills that her weapon disclosed to her. Weather Wizard didn’t treat her with gloves because of this, quite the opposite: after mocking her for her arrogance and her weakness, he didn’t hesitate in electrocuting her with a lightning shot at short range, killing her on the spot. At least in the afterlife, the Weather Witch would have had a small consolation, as none of the so-called New Rogues survived the battle, sign of an inferiority that had doomed her and her team from the very beginning.

Weather Witch is an arrogant and violent woman, thinking too high of herself just because of the nasty toys she’s been given, but with no real grasp on the width of the game she’s been called to play. Her Weather Wand gives her mastership over all kinds of weather and atmospheric phenomenon, but she only uses it to summon lightnings. As brutal as she is, the Weather Witch is the only one of the New Rogues who shows to care for her teammates, something that sets her apart from the others… at least as long as her companions are not a hindrance to reach her main interest, of course.

Joshua “Josh” Jackam

Another episode of The Flash, an this time, the new character is two-in-one, as she’s a mix of two different characters from the comics. In O Come, All Ye Thankful, strange atmospheric phenomena have been putting in danger an experimental core, and while all suspects point to Weather Wizard, the culprit turns out to be his daughter: Joslyn “Joss” Jackam, portrayed by Reina Hardesty. This is yet another gender swap in the show, as in the comics the Wizard has a son named Joshua, rather than a daughter named Joslyn… and, unfortunately, little Josh doesn’t live long enough to develop his tv counterpart’s grudge against his father. Let’s take a look.

Little Josh Jackam was born from a one-night stand between renowned criminal Mark Mardon, better known as the Weather Wizard, and Julie Jackam, a police officer in Keystone City. Julie decided not to tell Mardon anything about her son, in order to keep him safe from his influence, and she also didn’t tell anybody who was Joshua’s father. She kept working at the Keystone City Police Department, while Josh stayed with a friend, an old woman named Rita, during all the time the woman worked. Although Josh spent more time with Rita, his mother always managed to come back home to him, never renouncing to be with her son… until she was untimely murdered by a lunatic who had been seduced by Cicada and his cult. Since the little orphan had become sort of a “kid of the precinct”, he was adopted by one of Julie’s colleagues and best friends, Detective Fred Chyre, who took him in. Not much changed for the little boy, as also Fred asked Rita to take care of him while he was out at work, thus maintaining the baby’s life protected from traumatic changes… this, at least, until Josh started to manifest metahuman powers similar to his biological father’s technology-induced abilities.

Such an information became pretty valuable, valuable enough to reach the ears of Blacksmith, who in turn informed the Weather Wizard of the existence of his son. Mardon found the news intriguing at least, and he went on the move to retrieve his son… and to dissect him, trying to understand what the source of his power was. With a power like his own, the Weather Wizard was hardly stoppable, and he passed the defenses put on by Fred Chyre and even The Flash, until only Linda Park remained to protect the baby, an obstacle he easily overcame. When the moment came, though, the Wizard found himself simply unable to harm the baby: he recognized him as his son, and he gave back the crying baby to Rita, asking her to keep taking care of him. Tragically, this peace didn’t last long for Josh: as Libra was trying to recruit the Rogues into his Secret Society of Super Villains, he decided to kidnap the baby to force the Weather Wizard’s hand, and was used as leverage to lure Mardon and his partners Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Mirror Master and the Trickster, to a stand-off. As the villains were facing each other, a third, unwanted guest appeared: Kid Zoom, the former Inertia now newly appointed assistant of Zoom, who killed the baby for no reason in the world. The battle over the corpse of the baby didn’t last long: the Rogues joined forces and attacked Kid Zoom all at once, pulverizing him with their weapons and avenging a boy whose sole fault was being born from the wrong father.

Josh Jackson is a baby who suffered far too much in his young life, surrounded by a lot of love of affection, but also by death and violence. As the son of the Weather Wizard, he somehow inherited his father’s Wand‘s powers, and he can manipulating weather on an entirely unconscious level, being an infant, usually by emitting bolts of lightning when scared or angry; he also appears to be able to increase the strength of his father’s abilities when in close proximity. With no real understanding on what’s happening to him since his birth, baby Josh passes from crisis to crisis, doomed by his father’s sins.

Raelene “Rae” Sharp (Razorsharp)

Almost up to date but not quite there yet, we land on The Flash. In the last episode The Icicle Cometh, while Team Flash was busy at the North Pole, we briefly follow Cicada in his quest for vengeance, and we see him attack another metahuman going by the name Raelene, portrayed by Cassandra Ebner. As confirmed by her powers, that’s Rae Sharp, named Razorsharp for obvious reasons, and she proves to be more than a match for the serial killer… at least until he negates her powers with his dagger. Even if not for long, we get to enjoy a stuntwoman like Ebner delivering one of the most satisfying martial arts scenes yet. If you want more, come take a look at the original Rae in the comics.

It’s unknown where and when Raelene “Rae” Sharp was born, especially because she hid most of her personal data and erased them from the web, but she mostly lived and operated in Gotham City. She was a professional hacker, and a very talented one, going by the name Razorsharp on the net. Wanting to monetize her talent, she joined forces with other hackers like her: Reginald “Hackrat” Hackman, Carter “Channelman” Channel, Cullen “Output” Thrane and Michael “Mega-Biter” Wasko. Together, they were the Psyba-Rats, a group of young and capable hackers accepting contracts from whoever had money enough to afford their services. At one point, the Psyba-Rats were hired by the mysterious Collector for an industrial espionage job: they had to access a satellite property of Wayne Enterprises, something they could do only by connecting from a WE building. The task was difficult but not impossible, and Razorsharp and the others managed to break into a Wayne building… but they didn’t expect the kind of security they found, as they were greeted by Robin himself. The group escaped with the Boy Wonder on their trails, but the Collector decided they weren’t worth the risk of having masked vigilantes to his doorstep, so he sent some of his men to silence them. In the following attack, Output and Mega-Biter got killed, and Razorsharp led her two remaining teammates to a nearby warehouse to hide. Unfortunately, the shelter was occupied by someone much worse than the Collector’s men: a giant alien predator, a Bloodline Parasite known as Venev, who attacked both the three hackers and the gangsters following them. Venev killed all the criminals, and tried to feed on Rae and her friends too, but she only managed to bite them, trying to suck their spinal fluid. The parasite’s saliva, however, had unexpected results when mixed with Rae’s blood, as it activated her latent Metagene.

After the alien attack, Rae was now truly “razor-sharp”, as she could turn her arms into sharp blades. The first thing she could think of, together with Channelman and Hackrat who had gotten powers too, was to exact their revenge on the Collector, avenging the death of their friends. While Channelman deactivated the Collector’s security, Razorsharp and Hackrat broke in the gangster’s building, but they were soon reached by Robin, still looking for them. As Razorsharp told the hero the reason they were in the building, Robin decided to help them defeat the Collector, but he warned her not to kill him. Razorsharp was more than willing to ignore the advice, but when the occasion came, she made a different choice: she had the chance to kill the Collector, but the criminal had just thrown Robin off a window, and she jumped and saved him using her parachute. Robin commended her for her decision, and he decided to let her and her friends go… but not before they had made the young hero a honorary member of the Psyba-Rats. From there on, the Psyba-Rats continued with their usual operations, but this time Razorsharp was the team leader, and they could up the scale with their new powers. They stole a million dollars from corrupt billionaire T. Clyde Pontefract, and even stole the legendary formula of the Zesti Cola for a business rival, earning a fortune. During their activities, they clashed with the Collector again, but also with Robin, as they met him and Catwoman while they targeted the house of the dead madman C. Carstairs Biddle. In one occasion, Razorsharp and Robin led their respective teams, Psyba-Rats and Young Justice, against Blockbuster, forming an unusual but effective alliance. Razorsharp left the team for a while when her friends convinced her to apply for a reality show on superheroes and became a member of Blood Pack, but the adventure ended when she realized that the team had been manipulated to pave another alien invasion: Blood Pack defeated the aliens and then disbanded, leaving Razorsharp free to come back to her friends and do what she did best.

Rae Sharp is an adventurer always looking for a thrill, and more than happy to make money from her exploits, being it “good” or “bad” money. As Razorsharp, she’s a terrific hacker, and she has the ability to transform her arms and legs into sharp blades that can cut through a variety of materials, and that she can use to climb vertical surfaces, to protect herself even from bullets and, of course, as weapons. Definitely not an idealist, Razorsharp uses her many skills mainly for personal profit, but she’s fiercely protective of her friends and teammates, the bond between them being the only personal value she’s ready to risk her life for.

Peter Merkel (Rag Doll)

Today we jump to The Flash, to meet one of the creepiest villains added yet. In All Doll’d Up, a curious thief is making a series of weird robberies, spoiling his victims of all they hold dear: that’s Rag Doll, portrayed by contortionist Troy James and voiced by Phil LaMarr. In the show, Peter Merkel has been crushed by pieces of The Thinker‘s satellite, becoming a metahuman with complete and impossible flexibility and turning to crime to punish his emotionally detached mother Theresa. In the comics, Rag Doll is not a metahuman, as he’s a natural contortionist (much like Troy James himself), and Barry Allen is not the Flash he fights. Let’s take a look.

Peter Merkel was born somewhere in the Midwest, and although he mainly lived between Keystone City and Opal City as an adult, in his youth his existence was quite nomadic. He was born with a rare, if not unique, condition: triple-jointedness, an even more flexible and plastic version of the rare but more usual double-jointedness. His father was a side-show barker, and Peter had been used to fairs and circus since he was a baby: as a young man, he joined a local carnival, where he exhibited as a weird dancer and, of course, as a contortionist. Somewhere in the early 1940s, the carnival went bankrupt, and Peter suddenly found himself jobless and penniless. Growing hungry and desperate, with no chance to find another job, Peter had the idea of a lifetime as he saw some workers delivering toys to a department store. Among the many different supplies, there were some rag dolls big enough for him to hide inside them: he did exactly this, and as disjointed and light-weighted as he was, the workers didn’t even notice the difference between him and the other toys. Once inside, he waited for the closing time, and then robbed the department store. This first theft went so smoothly and perfectly that Peter decided this would have become his living. He didn’t even throw away the rag doll “suit”, as such an unlikely look helped him in going unnoticed (nobody could ever suspect a simple doll). He robbed store after store, sometimes even larger targets like banks, and in a few years he became a living legend in the underworld: the mysterious Rag Doll was an infallible and uncatchable criminal, and other street thugs and simple thieves joined him, fascinated by his unusual style and eager to profit on his skills. Rag Doll let them all in, and formed a huge criminal activity, with himself as the undisputed leader.

From heist to heist, Rag Doll and his men arrived to Keystone City in 1943, targeting Geralda Cummins, a young and wealthy heiress. Cummins was holding a party in which every guest would have donated $10,000 (with the total being the prize for a treasure hunt game). Rag Doll was delivered as a present to the heiress, and listened to the details of the night game directly from the organizer, Joan Williams, who clearly couldn’t imagine that the doll was listening. That night, as the guests hunted for the first clue in the museum, Rag Doll sent his henchmen after them, while he planned to question Joan about the whereabouts of the treasure… but Joan was helped for her job by her boyfriend, The Flash, and Merkel had to wait. As his men made their move, Flash ran to the museum to stop them, and Rag Doll used this time to drug Joan and steal the clues from her, in order to find the treasure first. Merkel solved the first four clues without much difficulty, but was reached at the local aquarium by The Flash, who had solved them at super speed to catch him. The two fought, but Rag Doll surprised his adversary with his flexibility, and managed to throw the hero into a huge tank with a giant octopus inside. He then rushed to Cummins Estate, where he solved the last clue… bust just as he was about to claim the prize, he was reached by The Flash, who had freed himself from the octopus, and tied with his own flexible limbs. Arrested, he was imprisoned in the local jail, but he didn’t stay there for long, as his impossible body made regular cells unable to hold him. With his fame of uncatchable ruined, Rag Doll committed himself to defeat The Flash, and decided to stay in Keystone City until he had cleansed his reputation. This took him long enough, as thirty years later he was still there, trying to foil his historical foe. As the latter retired, Rag Doll found consolation in his replacement, a new Flash who was just as challenging an adversary as the original… and just as good a chance to reclaim his title.

Peter Merkel became a criminal out of necessity, but remained one simply because he enjoys it: always happy and joyful, he appears even creepier due to a childish attitude that makes him quite scary. As Rag Doll, his natural triple-jointedness makes him impossibly flexible, with his weird movements making him also an unforeseeable and unpredictable fighter; in his youth, he was agile enough to even dodge bullets, but as he grew old he developed other skills, and he’s now able to hypnotize people using his voice (he also regained his youth thanks to a pact with Neron). A charismatic leader and a master of stealth, despite his innocent look Rag Doll is a force to be reckoned with, a formidable thief who, with time, expanded his field of interests to other forms of crime…

Auerbach (Spin)

One week late, we take a look at last week’s new villain featured in The Flash. If metahumans weren’t enough, News Flash sees the official debut of metatech, and the first example comes from Spencer Young, an ambitious blogger portrayed by Kiana Madeira whose phone is capable of hypnotizing people inducing them to do whatever she likes for her exclusive scoops. This is an original take on another known villain from the usual rogue gallery, and the name of Spencer’s blog, Spyn Zone, directly references him: we’re talking about Spin, a character who has similar abilities in the comics, and who triggers them through technology as well, albeit a different one. Only, the original Spin is a man, but this is certainly not the first gender swap we witness in the show. Let’s take a look.

Auerbach, first name unknown, was born in Keystone City, Kansas, and was the son of a local media mogul. Auerbach was interested in pursuing his father’s career and, as a young man, he chose to become a journalist, believing that it was better for him to work his way bottom-up in his father’s company rather than becoming the new CEO with hereditary privileges (not that the final result changed much). As a reporter he traveled much in and outside the country, and covering a certain report he found, in a hospital, a deformed metahuman with an uncontrollable ability: he was named Edwar Martinez, and he was able to sense people’s fears and anxieties, and to manifest them. Where most people saw a dangerous monster or a tragic story, Auerbach saw an unprecedented opportunity: if he was able to channel Martinez’s ability, he would have been able to actually create the news, reporting them before anyone else… and possibly, he would have also been able to do something more with a power like that. He secretly moved Edwar Martinez to the basement of KN News, his father’s main tv channel, and in the following years he developed a technology able to channel his powers. He connected Martinez 24/7 to the news channel, so that he could monitor and perceive the people’s fears based on what the tv told them, then he built a suit for himself to channel specifically selected fears, and move freely while everyone else lost their mind around him. He also had a helmet that was actually a tv monitor, so that he could target single individuals and force them to do what he told them manipulating them with Martinez’s powers. With such a power in his hands, first Auerbach became the new boss of KN News, next he became the supervillain Spin, in both cases using as a parasite the powers of Edwar Martinez.

Martinez’s secret influence soon made KN News the most viewed channel in the country, announcing scoops moments after they happened. Plus, also the debut of Spin was a total success: since people had been shocked by reports of a earthquake in Hub City, Spin summoned an earthquake in Keystone as well, exploiting the ensuing chaos to steal a Fabergé Egg from the city’s museum. Of course, the first thing a thief had to do in Keystone to have some future was to dispose of the local hero, and Spin did so without effort: since The Flash had mentioned some financial difficulties in a recent interview, Spin channeled people’s doubts about him and forced him to steal a number of valuables from the audience at the baseball stadium, during a match of the Keystone City Salamanders. From there, he led a double assault on the speedster: as Auerbach, he tried to convince viewers that the hero of Keystone City was clearly different from what everybody believed him to be, while as Spin he kept fueling the citizen’s anxiety towards the hero. As a coup de grace, he summoned the first Flash to battle his successor, making so that everyone witnessed the revered Golden Age hero reclaiming his blessing from an unworthy heir. The Flash, of course, soon realized that something was amiss, and he started investigating on his own. It didn’t take much to him to identify the source of the many “disturbances” in the KN News building, and this forced Spin to make an even bolder move to protect his secret. He had Martinez scan The Flash directly, and selected among his enemies the one that scared him the most. When he found what he was looking for, he summoned Gorilla Grodd to Keystone City. Grodd, however, wasn’t too happy to be forcibly teleported to Keystone, and didn’t want to cooperate: he started wreaking havoc in the city, causing massive damage that even separated Edwar Martinez from Spin’s machinery, making his powers go wild and affecting everybody in the city. Maybe, this time Spin had unbottled a genie far too hard to control…

Auerbach is an unscrupulous and immoral man, ready to do anything to obtain the maximum share with his channel, and capable of unleashing world-shaking catastrophes just to enrich himself. As Spin, he can summon his special suit just by spelling “Load theme”: with it, he can channel Edwar Martinez’s powers, thus scanning and materializing people’s fears and anxieties, causing events, teleporting things or people, or even forcing people to do what others fear they might do. Spin has no power nor special skills, but he has intelligence enough to exploit other people’s ones… even if he’s not exactly aware of the potential consequences of his actions.