Doctor Mid-Nite

+ Doctor Midnight + Doctor Mid-Nite II

McNider created by Robert Kanigher & Carmine Infantino
Beth Chapel created by Roy Thomas and
Pieter Cross created by Matt Wagner and John K. Snyder III

Doctor Mid-Nite

NAME + ALIASES:
Charles McNider

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATION:
Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
All-American Comics #25 (Apr. 1941).
Hooty: All-American #25 (Apr. 1941).
Myra Mason: All-American #25 (Apr. 1941)
As Starman II: Starman v.2 #77 (May 2001)

FEATURES:

  • All-American Comics #25-102 (Apr. 1941–Oct. 1948)
  • All-Star Comics #8-57 (Dec.1941/Jan. 1942–Feb./Mar. 1951)
» SEE ALSO:

Doctor Midnight

NAME + ALIASES:
Doctor Beth Chapel

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed parents, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (brothers)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Infinity, Inc.

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Beth: Infinity, Inc. #19 (Oct. 1985)
As Doctor Midnight:
Infinity, Inc. #21 (Dec. 1985)

APPEARANCES:

  • Eclipso #11-13
  • Infinity, Inc. #19-53

Doctor Mid-Nite II

NAME + ALIASES:
Doctor Pieter Anton Cross

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnmaed mother (deceased), Theoric Cross (father, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Doctor Mid-Nite #1 (1999)

NOTABLE APPEARANCES:

  • Doctor Mid-Nite, 3-issue prestige series (1999)
  • JSA Classified #19-20, 23-24
  • JSA, 87 issues (1999-2006)
  • Justice Society of America v.3, 54 issues (2007–11)

History

Dr. Charles McNider

For a brief time in 1951, McNider took the guise of a new Starman. He did this to help fight crime in Opal City while his friend, Ted Knight underwent psychiatric care. The stint was brief, and he gave it up to Ted's son, David (Starman VI) when the young man appeared from out of the future.

Charles died of injuries incurred during the "Zero Hour," in battle with Extant. At the time of his death during Zero Hour he had no known living relatives. He only ever briefly met his successor, Doctor Pieter Cross.

In the past there has been speculation that Charles McNider was gay. This might have been sparked by the story in Secret Origins #20 (Nov. 1987), which contained a statement about his nurse/assistant Myra Mason:

Charles McNider: "It was a love doomed from the start. I could never quite bring myself to tell her. I guess I should have... even before [the accident]..."

Was their love was "doomed" because of his career as an adventurer? It was probably just melodrama. John Moores asked writer Roy Thomas about this directly and Thomas responded, "I don't believe I meant that Doc was homosexual. I'll have to do what I always do in such a case, which is to quote William Butler Yeats when he was asked about the meaning of a line in one of his poems. He said, 'When I wrote that line, only God and I knew what it meant. Now, only God knows.' But I don't believe I meant that Doc was homosexual."

An "old friend," Miss Alice King appeared once in All-American #90 (1947). And in The Flash #161 (a flashback to 1947), he had an unnamed girlfriend who may have been Alice. His Golden Age features left little room for the exploration of his love life.

Finally, in JSA #40 (2002) McNider's successor, Pieter Cross said, "McNider loved [Myra]... more than he was ever willing to admit to her."

Doctor Midnight

Beth Chapel makes a resolution. From Infinity, Inc. #20 (1985); art by Mike Hernandez and Steve Montano.
Doctor Midnight pleads in vain to save her friend, Wildcat. From Eclipso #13 (1993); art by Audwynn Jermaine Newman and Ray Kryssing.

Doctor Beth Chapel, was a medical intern from South Carolina, and protégé of Charles McNider in Los Angeles. She had known about his double identity and his special sight for some time when she was first introduced to his super-hero lifestyle. It was when Jade was rushed to the hospital for treatment against Mr. Bones' cyanide touch. (Infinity, Inc. #19) McNider tried to keep his secret identity from Beth even though later she admitted that she'd already guessed it. She also helped McNider treat Nuklon and that day she had lunch with them as well as Rex Tyler (Hourman) and his son, Rick. Just then an earthquake struck and Beth leapt into action to protect the hospital's patients. She was caught in a fiery blast and although she was saved by Rick, she had lost her sight. (#20)

Chapel returned home to Orangeburg to recover. It was difficult; her father was a minister and she had left the church long ago. As Hourman II, Rick Tyler came to her family home and met her brother, John. He said that the Justice Society and Infinity had disappeared. This was during the first Crisis, and soon she and Rick were beset by the shadow demons of the Anti-Monitor. Her life was on the line and she prayed for her sight to return. Fate intervened and in the darkness of the shadow creatures, Beth found that like Charles McNider, she too could see in the dark. They drove off the shadows and when her parents returned home, she told them everything. Her mother helped create a costume for Beth, but her father disapproved of her decision to become Doctor Midnight. She left immediately with Hourman. (#21)

The Crisis was in full swing and the new heroes helped defend Orangeburg from the destruction—including Civil War soldiers and dinosaurs from the past. (#22)

Along with Wildcat II, they applied for membership in Infinity, Inc., but were not immediately accepted. Eventually they were admitted, but their careers were short-lived.

Beth had begun a romantic relationship with Rick Tyler

After Infinity disbanded, Doctor Midnight and Wildcat were recruited by the U.S. government for a mission to defeat Eclipso. Both women died on that mission along with the Creeper, Commander Steel, Peacemaker and Major Victory. (Eclipso #13)

Earth-2, Post-Infinite Crisis

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the original Earth Two was merged into all other surviving Earths. After the Infinite Crisis, the multiverse of the DC Universe was restored, there was again an Earth-2. Their history seemingly unfolded as if the first Crisis had never happened (picking up approximately after Infinity, Inc. #24). On it, Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society merged to form Justice Society Infinity, and Beth Chapel remained a member. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1)

Doctor Mid-Nite II

Doctor Mid-Nite. From JSA Classified #24 (); art by Steve Uy.
A kiss with the Black Canary. From JSA #21 (2001); art by Buzz.

Dr. Pieter Anton Cross, the second Doctor Mid-Nite, is the son of a noted Norwegian scientist, the late Theoric Cross. In fact, Pieter was delivered from his mother's womb by the original Doctor Mid-Nite, who had just saved his mother from vagrants in Norway. Years later, Pieter was unable to save his mother from a disease called chagas, which she caught in Brazil while visiting her son. (JSA: All-Stars #6)

Cross is a brilliant doctor who serves poor and at-risk patients with his sometimes experimental treatments. Operating from the city of Portsmouth, Cross ran afoul of organized crime, pushing a drug called A39. Cross was injected with the drug then put behind the wheel of a car. In his dementia, he crossed the median and collided with a woman named Katherine Blythe, who died. Upon waking from this accident, Pieter found he had lost his sight, but gained metahuman vision. He could see using infrared vision and even switch to ultrasonic. (Doctor Mid-Nite #1-3)

Not long after Pieter's transformation, the Justice Society of America reformed. During a battle against Ian Karkull, the villain blacked out Milwaukee and the new Doctor Mid-Nite stepped in to help. (JSA #7) He joined the JSA soon thereafter, alongside his future best friend: Michael Holt, aka

. (#11)

As with Karkull, Doctor Mid-Nite's blindness was sometimes an asset. Johnny Sorrow was a menace whose visage could kill, and Mid-Nite apparently died from his gaze. (#17) His blindness saved Pieter from this fate, (#19) and he vanquished Johnny Sorrow by replaying the vision the villain's face back to him. (#20)

Doctor Mid-Nite went in alone against the Shadower II (grandson of the original Doctor Mid-Nite's foe, the Shadower). He threatened to kill a room of school children unless Mid-Nite could save his grandfather's life. Pieter was unsuccessful in doing so, but his teammate Captain Marvel took down the Shadower just in time. (#40) NOTE: The Shadower was a modern-day creation.

Doctor Mid-Nite returned to Portsmouth to take down the Crime Doctor, and was visited by Per Degaton. (#59) The JSA's time-traveling foe predicted the death of Mid-Nite's assistant, Ice Sickle, and very soon his prediction came true. The Spirit King returned from Hell and orchestrated the killing. (#60) The Spirit King was taken down by the Spectre before he could kill Mister Terrific as well. (#61-62)

As a member of the JSA, Doctor Mid-Nite quickly became the metahuman community's expert go-to physician. He performed the autopsy of the Elongated Man's wife, Sue Dibny, and discovered evidence that led to her killer. (#67)

His next solo case involved the reappearance of Delores Winters, whose body had housed the brain of the Ultra-Humanite. Her friend had actually transferred her brain as well, and now as Endless Winter, she began stealing the body parts of metahumans. Doctor Mid-Nite was summoned to S.T.A.R. Labs to investigate and narrowly escaped Winter's harvesting his own eyes. He put an end to her thievery and helped restore her victims to health. (JSA Classified #19-20)

In Portsmouth, Mid-Nite found a trail of victims that led to a vampire-like creature called Mircea. (#23) Cross found that A39—the same drug that altered his own physiology—was responsible for Mircea's condition. (#24)

After the second great Crisis, the JSA was broken. When its founders found a new mission—to train a new generation of heroes—Doctor Mid-Nite was a founding member. He helped recruit a mysterious new Starman in Opal City. (Justice Society of America v.3 #1)

Pieter's sight was restored when the Third World god called Gog was awakened and began performing "good deeds." (#17) Gog eventually became a threat and just before his defeat, he rescinded his gifts, including Doctor Mid-Nite's sight. (??)

A zombie version of the original Doctor Mid-Nite returned as a Black Lantern along with other dead JSAers. (Blackest Night: JSA #1) These Black Lanterns were destroyed by a bomb devised by Mister Terrific. (#3)

Pieter keeps mostly to himself but is an indispensable part of the JSA. He shared a promising but short-lived romance with Black Canary, which was cut short by the return of her lover, Oliver Queen (Green Arrow). He has no other known relatives, but he has an extensive network of friends and allies.

Notes

Geoff Johns on Doctor Mid-Nite: "Doctor Mid-Nite is a visionary, figuratively and literally. Blinded by an accident, he’s able to see on all spectrums through the filters on his goggles. And as Troy said, in an age of E.R. and HOUSE, Doctor Mid-Nite is more relevant and important to the DC Universe than he’s ever been before."

+ Powers

Doctor Mid-Nite's "sight" functions much like Daredevil's; he can "see" though objects to others beneath. Like his predecessor, his primary weapon was the "blackout bomb" which released pitch-black gas, blinding his opponents and leveling the playing field. He can see in much the same was as an x-ray or MRI.

The original Doctor Mid-Nite possessed perfect night-vision, and the infrared lenses of his goggles allowed him to see in the light, which normally blinded him. Doctor Mid-Nite was a superb fighter and athlete. For a time he used a weapon called a "cryotuber" which could either control the nervous system of an opponent, or fire bursts of heat or cold.

He also shared a rapport with his pet owl, Charlie. Charlie is trained to aid Doctor Mid-Nite in battle.

Pieter Cross is also the world's premier physician for metahuman medicine. Though his standard licence to practice medicine has been revoked, he conducts medical research and procedures from the JSA headquarters. When a hero is in critical condition, he is the first person called. He has saved his teammates' lives repeatedly; he performed the critial autopsy on Sue Dibny (JSA #67); he excised Brainiac's presence from Barbara Gordon (Oracle) (Birds of Prey #85); and worked with John Irons to deconstruct Lex Luthor's Everyman procedure. (52 #29)

Doctor Cross uses his medical expertise as a hand-to-hand weapon. Once, when challenged to arm wrestle, he won by triggering the proper nerves in his opponent's arm.