Obsidian

Created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway

NAME + ALIASES:
Todd James Rice

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Alan Scott (Sentinel, father, deceased), Rose Canton (the Thorn, mother, deceased), Jennie-Lynn Hayden (Jade, sister), James & Shirley Rice (adoptive parents), Jeremy Rice (adoptive brother), Molly Maynne (Harlequin, stepmother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Infinity, Inc., Justice League International

FIRST APPEARANCE:
All-Star Squadron #25 (Sept. 1983)

History

"Personnel file" for Obsidian. From Infinity, Inc. #6 (1984); art by Mike Machlan.
Todd's over-protectiveness begins. From Infinity, Inc. #9 (1984); art by Jerry Ordway.
Obsidian's mother, the Thorn, kills herself. From Infinity, Inc. Annual #1 (1985); art by Ron Harris.
Obsidian discovers his girlfriend, Marcie Cooper, is the nefarious new Harlequin. From Infinity, Inc. #46 (1988); art by Vince Argondezzi and Tony Dezuñiga.

Obsidian is the son of the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. He and his twin sister, Jennie-Lynn (Jade), were conceived by Scott and a young woman named Alyx Florin. Unbeknownst to Alan, Florin suffered from multiple a personality disorder; she was also the former villainess, Rose Canton a.k.a. the Thorn. (Flash v.1 #89) Not long after the twins were conceived, Rose left Alan without a word. She delivered the children in secret, left them up for adoption, and disappeared. Jennie and Todd were raised separately, by two sets of adoptive parents and did not meet until adolescence. Todd was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by adoptive parents, James and Shirley Rice. It was later revealed that Todd's adoptive father was abusive, which resulted in serious emotional issues for him. (Infinity Inc. Annual #1)

The twins found each other after their powers began to manifest. They eventually traced their parentage to Alan Scott and joined a group of up-and-coming Justice Society protégés. Alan was surprised to learn that he had two children, but they were denied membership in the Justice Society and instead formed their own group called Infinity, Inc. Soon after Jade and Obsidian's public debut, the Thorn also resurfaced, mad as ever. (Infinity Inc. #13-14) Green Lantern intervened, and the battled was joined by another of his former foes, the Harlequin (Molly Maynne; as an undercover member of the U.S. espionage community, Maynne had kept an eye on Thorn on her children for years).

During the melee, Thorn's "good" personality (aka Rose) briefly regained control. Rose stabbed herself to prevent the Thorn from killing her children. Before she died, she revealed that she was Alyx Florin, Scott's former wife, and Jade and Obsidian's mother. The Harlequin also revealed her true identity to them and professed her long unexpressed feelings for Alan. Alan and Molly were soon engaged then married. They were happy to accept Jennie and Todd as their own children, and their bond has grown steadily. (Infinity Inc. Annual #1)

Obsidian served with Infinity for its duration, then continued to partner with his sister. During his time with Infinity, Todd had a brief relationship with Marcie Cooper, who turned out to be the new Harlequin, a villainous agent of the Manhunters. (Infinity, Inc. #46, 47, 51)

When Infinity disbanded, Jade and Obsidian stuck together for a while, helping Superman (Superman v.2 #46) and running afoul of the mind-boggling maze of Mister McEscher. (Showcase '93 #7)

Justice League

Obsidian answered Wonder Woman call to reform the Justice League after the so-called "Zero Hour." He signed on with fellow Infinitor and friend, Atom-Smasher. (Justice League America #0) During this brief but emotionally volatile tenure, he learned more about his powers and was drawn towards his own darkness. (#105) He also questioned his own sexuality during this time (coming to no definitive conclusion). He and Nuklon stayed with the League until it was disbanded by the U.N., after a controversial Extreme Justice mission. (JLA: Incarnations #6)

Mood Swings

The mad Obsidian takes his abusive father into the Shadowlands. From JSA #9 (2000); art by Steven Sadowski and Mike Bair.
Alan fights to save his son from the dark side. From JSA #50 (2000); art by Leonard Kirk and Keith Champagne.
Cameron Chase, Damon, and Todd meet Kate Spencer for dinner in Los Angeles. From Manhunter v.3 #23 (2006); art by Javier Pina and Diego Olmos.

The dark nature of Todd's powers began to affect him greatly. During his time with the JLA, he had been depressed, and his mood soon focused onto his abusive father, James Rice. He attacked Rice (JSA #5), who called in the JSA. Todd had also fallen under the influence of Ian Karkull, who commanded him to black out an entire city. The pair routed the JSA, but Obsidian overcame Karkull's possession and enveloped the entire planet in darkness. (#7-8) Alan Scott eventually forced his son into retreat, but Todd took his adoptive father with him. (#9)

Jade soon sensed that her brother was alive (#21), but by then he had allied with another dark villain — the sorcerer Mordru. These "Princes of Darkness" were joined by Eclipso and attacked the JSA once more. (#46) Obsidian was defeated by the JSA, aided by the Shade, who ventured into the Shadowlands, the place from which Todd draws his power. (#48) Alan provided the final blow, using the power of his Starheart to strip Obsidian's power and thus, his evil tendencies. (#50) Todd was now clear-headed and realized the evil he had done. He willingly submitted to custody by the D.E.O., which is headed by a former Infinitor, Mr. Bones. (#52)

After his rehabilitation and release, Todd finally came to terms with his sexuality. He moved back to Los Angeles and entered into a relationship with Damon Matthews, the assistant to District Attorney Kate Spencer (Manhunter). (Manhunter v.3 #18) Obsidian also fought crime with Manhunter and the two became friends. (#20) As always, Al (Atom-Smasher) was supportive of Todd, and visited him in L.A. (#22) He helped her fight Sweeney Todd (#25) and monsters in Juarez. (#31)

Later, Todd and Damon were rejected when they applied for an adoption. (JSA 80-Page Giant 2010 #1)

NOTE: At the conclusion of the Manhunter series, the story jumped ahead many years and showed that Todd and Damon had two children, Jen and Alan. (#37-38).

No Mere Shadow

After being freed from the Fourth Reich, Obsidian is light-hearted joke. From Justice Society of America v.3 #40 (2010); art by Jesus Merino.

After the second Crisis, the JSA founders reformed the team with a new mission: to train the next generation of heroes. They chose Obsidian to be their security specialist. (Justice Society of America v.3 #1)

When Obsidian sensed a hostile presence, he shut off access to JSA headquarters. His father thought he'd gone crazy again and disabled Todd's barrier, which allowed the evil ghost of Kung to enter. (#27)

Obsidian's powers were coveted by a group called the Fourth Reich. They forced Obsidian form to condense into the shape of an egg and it was stolen by Kid Karnevil, who'd joined the JSA in disguise for the sole purpose of obtaining the Obsidian egg. (#29-33)

The Fourth Reich used the shadow power to take over the planet and prevent anyone from reaching Earth. What followed was a decade of darkness and oppression where most heroes were executed by Karnevil. After years, Mister Terrific found a way to send a message back in time, to himself. He told the JSA that they must hatch the Obsidian egg. When this was accomplished, the timeline corrected itself and Obsidian was key in defeating the Reich and Karnevil. Todd's outlook, attitude, and relationship with his father were better than ever, free from corruption. He decided to remain with the Justice Society and help round up the remains of the Reich. (#40)

No sooner was Obsidian free from one dark influence was he enslaved by another. His father's Starheart claimed Green Lantern and all of Earth's magic-powered people. (Justice League of America v.2 #46) Obsidian was sent to attack the Shade (Justice Society #41) and then he was merged with his sister, Jade, into one possessed being. (#42) Alan Scott and the others were able to separate them only once Jade was formally returned to life by the White Lantern. (Blackest Night #8) Her new mission was to balance light and darkness. Once they were separated, Jade deduced that her return to life had drawn the Starheart fragment to Earth. She extracted its darkness from her father and became its keeper. (Justice League #48)

Alan Scott was paralyzed by Scythe, (Justice Society #44) and in seeking vengeance, Obsidian inadvertently freed Scythe from prison. (#48) Alan invented a special uniform to support his spine, (#49) but Green Lantern's suffering was brief; he died while destroying a god called D'arken. (#54)

Notes

In the DC/Marvel Amalgam universe cross-over (1996), Todd Gambit was called the Wraith.

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 seemed to have 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 Obsidian was a member. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1)

+ Powers

Obsidian possesses the power of shadows. He does this by tapping into the dark energy of a dimension known as the Shadowlands. These shadows can be used to form solid constructs, or to instill fear. Unfortunately, the dark energy affects Todd's mental state as well. His connection to the Shadowlands has been severed, for now, by the magic of Green Lantern's Starheart power.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Green Lantern v.3 #86, 109
  • Green Lantern/Sentinel: Heart of Darkness #1-3
  • JLA #1
  • JSA #1, 5, 7-9, 46-52, Secret Files #2
  • Justice League America #0-113
  • Showcase '93 #7
  • Superman v.2 #46

» SERIES:

  • Infinity, Inc., 53 issues (1984–88)
  • Justice Society of America v.3, 54 issues (2007–11)

» SEE ALSO: