LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES

Karate Kid Characters

All profiles were original written by John Censullo

Commander Blud

First appearance: Karate Kid #5-6 (Nov. 1976–Feb. 1977)

It is Veterans Day, and Karate Kid and Iris Jacobs are on the sidewalk watching the parade. Without warning, soldiers marching in the parade begin to fire at the crowd! They use the resulting panic to grab Karate Kid, but it isn't him they want ... its Iris. Suddenly, a signal device in Karate Kid's wrist band beeps. He rushes off, leaving Iris in the soldiers' hands.

Ten minutes later, in his West Side apartment, Karate Kid speaks to someone through a floating orb. He is angry because Iris might be killed. The person speaks of rules and a test that Karate Kid agreed to. One rule is to report to the monitor globe whenever the signal coil commands. The person adds that how well Karate Kid overcomes his personal obstacles to follow those rules will weigh heavily in the final judgment.

After finishing his conversion, Karate Kid heads out to try and find Iris. A man posing as an old lady leaves the hero a clue, which leads him to the Empire State Building. There he is attacked by Frederik Sanguine, a.k.a. Commander Blud, and his men. Iris, he learns, was just the bait. Blud wants Karate Kid's knowledge of the future. He has dedicated his life and resources to the art of combat, and now Karate Kid will help him further that dedication by telling him which countries will fight in the next world war. He intends on allying himself and his mercenaries with the losing side! That way, he can help tip the balance of power and prolong the conflict, giving even more men the chance to taste the splendor of battle. Karate Kid is sickened by what he hears.

Blud begins striking Karate Kid, and a battle between the two ensues. Just as it appears Karate Kid has beaten Blud, the villain shoots knockout gas out of his ring. When Karate Kid wakes up, he is bound next to Iris. They are strapped to a machine of Blud's own design. It works on principles of pain tolerance, developed from years of research into brainwashing techniques. Blud is happy to give the hero a little demonstration -- unless he wants to be smart and give Blud the information he seeks voluntarily. Karate Kid replies that Blud's insane plan would not only change history, but wipe out his own future in the process. In response, Commander Blud turns on the machine. The pain causes Karate Kid to snap and go berserk. He breaks free and begins tearing up the room in a rage, attacking all within reach.

Cosmic Boy, Star Boy, Sun Boy, and Princess Projectra arrive just in time to stop Karate Kid from killing Commander Blud. They knock out their teammate, but Blud escapes in the confusion. Upon seeing Projectra tenderly holding Karate Kid, Iris Jacobs leaves.

When Karate Kid awakens, his sanity has returned. The Legionnaires explain that their time-scanners at Legion headquarters detected someone trying to tamper with the timestream. They traced that tampering to this location. Karate Kid is angry that they let Blud escape, a man whose plans could destroy the future. He tells them to leave, but Cosmic Boy says the responsibility for stopping Blud can't be left to one man. Karate Kid storms off.

Projectra is concerned that he is not himself. Cosmic Boy has a feeling that Karate Kid has a deeper reason for coming to the 20th century other than the ones he's told them. They will have to worry about it later though. Right now they need to stop Blud.

Karate Kid is walking down the street, when suddenly he is grabbed by a large robot bird. The bird brings him to an artificial dome under the Hudson River, where he is attacked by Blud's elite cyborg corps. Karate Kid quickly defeats them all. Blud then tells the hero that he has gathered his finest robot warriors along with a fleet of submarines to take them to the site of the next world war, as soon as Karate Kid tells him where it will be.

Blud reveals that he has captured the other Legionnaires. They followed clues he left and fell right into his trap. He states that the force field holding them protects him from their powers, but also enables him to dissipate their mass. Blud activates the mechanism which causes the heroes to begin fading. Blud says they will soon disappear completely if Karate Kid doesn't cooperate.

Karate Kid rushes over to try and help Projectra. When it appears he can do nothing, he agrees to help Blud. Just then, the dome cracks and water begins pouring in. Karate Kid disables the force field and frees the Legionnaires. Suddenly, the crack and water are gone. Karate Kid had in fact whispered to Projectra to use her illusion powers, which were unaffected by Blud's force field. Blud orders his robot troops, Squadron D, to attack and destroy the outsiders, but the Legionnaires easily defeat them. Blud tries to escape in a mini-sub, but Karate Kid captures him.

Projectra asks Karate Kid to come back with them to the future. He says he can't, that his work in the 20th century is not yet done. The Legion time-projector glimmers once more and the four heroes return to their own time.

The Gyro-Master

First Appearance: Karate Kid #7 (Mar-Apr 1977)

Karate Kid is arrested outside his apartment for the murder of his landlady, Mrs. Geichman. Suddenly, the ground ruptures nearby and a spin-borer vehicle emerges, right in front of the Metropolitan Museum. As his underlings battle the police, a villain named the Gyro-Master goes into the museum. Karate Kid breaks out of his handcuffs and tries to help.

Inside, the Gyro-Master steals the Milan Gyro. The criminal thinks back to when he was just Elroy Soames, a top industrial spy. He had broken into the research facilities of a powerful toy cartel to steal plans for a new super plastic designed to make toys spin at the merest touch. Unfortunately, the security system signaled the guards. Attempting to escape through the labs, he stumbled, falling into a monstrous cyclotron used in the company's super plastic experiments. It took the guards only moments to stop the machine, but in that time Soames had been spun at more than 1000 revolutions per minute. It was so fast that the super plastic mixture had been forced into the very pores of his skin. As he finally clambered to his feet, he began to turn -- faster and faster. He spun so fast that he was able to deflect people, billy clubs ... even bullets. He soon learned to control his new abilities, and set about using them to good advantage. His early capers brought him funds with which to develop certain aids. This latest item will bring him a fortune.

Karate Kid enters the museum and battles the villain, but is beaten back. The police follow, but the Gyro-Master escapes, turning down a blind hallway and disappearing into thin air. Aaron Temple, the curator of the museum, tells police that the thief stole one of the earliest gyroscopes known to exist, one designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself. It was part of a display loaned to them by the Italian government, and was due to be shipped back the next day. The diplomatic repercussions could be disastrous. Karate Kid slips away with his friend Iris Jacobs before he can be arrested again.

Karate Kid sneaks into his apartment through a window. Two police officers, having heard noises coming from the apartment, barge in. They try to arrest Karate Kid, but he holds them off. Iris, concerned about her friend, follows the police into the apartment. She says something that prompts Karate Kid to figure out how the Gyro-Master disappeared earlier at the museum.

He slips away and heads back to the museum, telling the Gyro-Master to show himself. Karate Kid realized that the thief never left, that he was simply spinning faster than the human eye could see. The Gyro-Master reappears and attacks, using various weapons against him. As the criminal is about to escape, Karate Kid knocks him out cold. The hero quickly leaves before the police can arrive on the scene.

Master Hand

First Appearance: Karate Kid #4 (Sep-Oct 1976)

Karate Kid aids the Legionnaires in the 30th century, where they battle a raider robot that is pillaging an entire mining asteroid. After defeating the menace, Karate Kid asks the others to send him back into the past, which they do via a Legion time-projector.

Karate Kid arrives to find PS38, the school at which his friend Iris Jacobs teaches, in the hands of a bunch of terrorists. From a window, the leader, Master Hand, demands that all western trade and influence in the orient is to be removed within one month or the streets of every major American city will flow red with blood. They have 24 hours to agree, or he will begin the blood-bath ... starting with Iris! The police prevent Karate Kid from interfering, so he storms off.

Inside the school, Master Hand tells Iris that he is a samurai -- a member of a warrior aristocracy as old as Japan itself. Only a cruel jest of nature robbed him of that heritage when he was born without hands. He was instead trained for an office job. That gave him the time to observe the corrupting influence of western culture on his country, tearing at the very foundations that once made Japan supreme. One day, the spirits of his ancestors appeared before him and he knew the responsibility for restoring Japan was his. He replaced one of his demeaning hooks with his ancestral sword, and swore to bring that blade the honor it deserved.

Karate Kid sneaks into the building from the roof, battling Master Hand's warriors. The hero reaches and attacks Master Hand himself, but the villain's men threaten the students. Karate Kid convinces Master Hand to fight him one-on-one and earn his honor. The samurai agrees, but states the fight will be to the death. The two engage in battle, and Karate Kid is ultimately victorious. Master Hand tries to commit suicide, but Karate Kid stops him and shatters his sword.

Pulsar

From Karate Kid #9 (1977). Art by Ric Estrada and Joe Staton.

Benjamin Day had a congenital heart defect that kept him from getting decent work. This made him turn to crime to support his wife, Liz, and their two children. He started working for a mobster named Kade, and was among a group of Kade's thugs when the police busted up one of their jobs. In the excitement, his heart gave out. He later woke up in a lab. He discovered that mob scientists had saved his life by giving him an experimental atomic heart, as well as increasing his muscle power with new surgical techniques. He soon learned that circuitry had been implanted between his heart and a contact in his hand. Whenever a special fiberglass staff touched that contact, it turned him into Pulsar, focusing the power from his atomic heart into pulse-bolts. After he recovered, he was forced to become a mob assassin. He didn't want to kill, but Kade had foreseen that and had a two-phase control switch made. The first phase shuts his heart off, giving him a simulated coronary attack. The second phase overloads his heart, turning him into a walking atomic bomb. Kade never let him forget what would happen if that second phase was activated while he was with his wife and kids.

One day, in his quiet Long Island home, Ben receives a phone call. He suddenly becomes very serious, leaving his family in the living room while he goes upstairs to gather the weapons he needs to perform his next assignment. A few hours later, Ben arrives at Washington Square Park. He slips away from the weekend crowd into a nearby alleyway, where he transforms into the assassin known as Pulsar. The costumed killer emerges from the alley and fires off a warning shot, telling the crowd that he has a job to do and anyone who gets in his way buys it. Pulsar approaches a bum named Eddie "the Lip" Vacarro, who ratted on the mob. Before he can assassinate his target, Karate Kid intervenes. (Karate Kid, who is in self-exile to the 20th century, was enjoying the park with his friend, Iris Jacobs.) Pulsar stuns the hero with his staff, then chases after Eddie, who runs into the street and is killed by a horse-drawn carriage. Pulsar secretly changes back into Ben Day and slips away.

Back at his Long Island home, Ben learns that Kade has shown up at his house. Kade says he has another assignment for Pulsar, but Ben responds that he's through. When Kade reminds him what will happen if he refuses, Ben reluctantly accepts the new mission.

Later, as night falls, Commissioner Banner is speaking before the annual police convention at Madison Square Garden. He talks of the recent wave of executions carried out by Pulsar. His anti-crime committee is going to make Pulsar its prime target. Pulsar suddenly appears, blasts the podium, and leaps on stage.

Back in Karate Kid's apartment, he and Iris are speaking with his landlady. A news bulletin comes in over the radio, stating that Commissioner Banner has been kidnapped by Pulsar. They are informed that he is currently being held in the auditorium's lighting control room. Karate Kid rushes to the convention site.

Pulsar tells Banner he never wanted to hurt anyone, but there are other lives at stake. He will make the assassination as painless as possible. Karate Kid arrives and dashes past the police, smashing through the door. He attacks Pulsar from one side, while the Commissioner attacks from the other. Karate Kid kicks Pulsar into a control board, shorting it out, which begins electrocuting the killer. The hero kicks Pulsar free, which surprises him, but Pulsar says more than he will pay if he is taken in. He breaks free, grabs his power staff, and sprints outside.

Karate Kid follows, but has lost Pulsar again. He sees Ben Day with a walking stick in the crowd, recognizing him from the park. Before he can follow that line of thinking, the Commissioner interrupts to shake Karate Kid's hand.

Late that night, Pulsar meets Kade on a deserted riverside wharf. The assassin states that Karate Kid saved his life and he won't kill him. Kade says the hero must be eliminated after interfering in the last two assignments. Kade and his associates have invested a great deal of money developing Pulsar, and they require a return on that investment. Kade presses a switch and Pulsar collapses in pain. He leaves saying he looks forward to results by this evening.

An hour later, Karate Kid arrives home, where Iris is waiting for him. As they walk in, she takes the hero by surprise, kissing him in the doorway. Suddenly, the light is turned on. It is Princess Projectra, Karate Kid's girlfriend from the 30th century, who came back because she thought he might need help. Projectra is furious, and she and Iris start arguing. Pulsar, who was watching from an adjacent building, blasts Karate Kid and leaps in the window, but Karate Kid kicks the killer back out. He tells Projectra to protect Iris, and leaps to the street below, where the fight continues. Pulsar succeeds in knocking Karate Kid unconscious.

Later, in the early evening, Kade is conducting business in his office in the back room of a posh East Side restaurant. His men are reporting on their ventures, when Pulsar arrives with a bound Karate Kid. Kade is furious that Pulsar brought the hero to his office. Pulsar says that Karate Kid is his trump card. The only thing holding the hero back is the atomic bonds from his staff. If Kade will hand over the switch, he'll hand over Karate Kid, otherwise he'll let him go and then help the hero to take Kade down. Kade responds by having his men pull aside a curtain, revealing Pulsar's wife with a gun to her head. Kade says she'll remain safe as long as he remains docile. The assassin complies, but Kade says Pulsar has turned into a poor risk and he no longer wants him. One of Kade's men knocks the reluctant hitman out.

Hours later, at midnight, Pulsar wakes up. He and Karate Kid are bound in Kade's "disposal system", an over-sized microwave oven. The mobsters leave the two men to die. Karate Kid doesn't even know why he is there, so Pulsar explains the situation. Soon afterward, Karate Kid breaks them free. Just as Kade is about to kill Liz Day for knowing too much, Karate Kid and Pulsar appear and take down Kade's men. Kade starts the overload process and runs off. Pulsar tells Karate Kid to take his wife to safety while he holds the thugs off. Instead, Karate Kid grabs Pulsar's staff and follows Kade. He knocks Kade out and uses the switch to shut down the overload. Both men then join forces to defeat the rest of Kade's thugs. Shortly, the police arrive. Pulsar knows he will have to pay for his crimes, but he is glad it's finally over.

Two years later...

Karate Kid once again travels back in time to the 20th century. He knocks on Iris Jacob's window, but no one is there. He moves on to his former landlady's room and wakes her, asking her where Iris is. She tells him that Iris moved to Gotham City not long after he moved out.

In Gotham City, Batman arrives at Gotham City Jail. Criminals called the Black Hearts are looking to get revenge on one of their former members, Katy, for betraying them to the police. She is now in protective custody. Suddenly, the building shakes. Pulsar blasts into the cell to kill Katy. Batman saves her and fights the assassin. Katy, a vicious killer herself, escapes. Pulsar disables Batman and discovers his target had fled.

Katy wraps a shard of glass in a handkerchief and uses it to kill a motorist. She takes the handkerchief with her, but fails to notice that a small piece has been torn off. She steals the car and flees. Having suffered injuries during Pulsar's attack, Katy crashes the car three miles away. She collapses, but is helped by Iris Jacobs. Katy claims she was attacked by a mugger, so Iris takes the supposed victim into her apartment to allow her to clean up and rest. Iris tells Katy to take a shower, which she does.

While Katy is in the bathroom, Karate Kid arrives through the living room window. Iris is delighted, and hugs and kisses him. Karate Kid sneezes, remarking that he must have picked up a cold. He says he was in such a hurry that he didn't get the proper immunizations. He grabs a handkerchief, which just happens to be the one Katy was carrying. Karate Kid tells Iris he wants to talk to her about something, but just then a news report appears on the television announcing that Pulsar has attacked Gotham City Jail. Karate Kid says he needs to look into the Pulsar situation and leaves.

Katy comes out of the bathroom and sees the news report. She shuts off the television before Iris can see her image on the screen.

Karate Kid soon arrives in Gotham City and goes to the crime scene outside the jail. There he meets up with Batman, who introduces the Legionnaire to Commissioner Gordon. Batman then finds a shred of cloth on the dead motorist. When Karate Kid sneezes again and pulls out the handkerchief, Batman notices that his shred is a piece from that same handkerchief. Karate Kid tells Batman that he picked it up at Iris' apartment, so they hurry back to her place.

The Black Hearts and Pulsar arrive at Iris' building. They were monitoring the police frequency and heard a report of a wrecked car at her address. They see spots of blood on the sidewalk and follow them to Iris' apartment. They enter through the door just as Batman and Karate Kid enter through the window. Iris and Katy are trapped in the middle. Karate Kid takes on Pulsar, while Batman handles the gang.

Pulsar tells Karate Kid to keep back, that he has no quarrel with him. Karate Kid says Pulsar told him he was going straight. The Legionnaire attacks the assassin and accidentally knocks him out of the window. He follows his opponent, but then sneezes again, giving Pulsar some warning. The villain blasts Karate Kid with his staff. He then explains that when he was in prison, the mob bosses he turned on had their revenge. They killed his wife and two children. Any decent feeling he ever had died with them. When the Black Hearts asked him to join them, he had no reason not to. Karate Kid uses his weighted sash to snatch the power rod from Pulsar. He then easily knocks the assassin out.

Peter Travers, the leader of the Black Hearts, watches from the apartment window. He presses a switch which triggers Pulsar's atomic overload. Karate Kid barely escapes as Pulsar explodes. Batman continues to fight the gang members inside. Karate Kid enters through the window and helps Batman defeat them all. Iris also helps out by stopping Katy from escaping.

After the police take the Black Hearts away, Karate Kid finally gets to talk to Iris. She thinks he has come back in time to be with her, but he tells her he only came back to invite her to his wedding to Projectra. Tears well up in her eyes, then she gets angry. Iris turns away, asking him how he could possibly think she could stand to see him marry someone else! She tells him to leave. Karate Kid complies, returning to the 30th century in his time bubble.

Appearances:

  • Karate Kid #7-9
  • The Brave and the Bold #198

The Revenger

First Appearance: Karate Kid #3 (July-Aug 1976)

It is morning in Manhattan. Karate Kid and Iris Jacobs are standing on a long line in a midtown bank. Iris has been putting Karate Kid up at her place for the past few weeks, ever since he arrived from the 30th century. They are waiting to deposit a donation from the city's Good Samaritan Fund, given to Karate Kid for defeating Major Disaster. Karate Kid will now finally be able to afford his own apartment.

Suddenly, a villain calling himself the Revenger bursts in. He is after the bank president, William J. Grant. Karate Kid tries to stop him, but fails, and Grant is killed. The murderer leaves a note behind that states the jeweler is next.

A short time later and some blocks away, while he feeds his pet birds, Dr. Norman Grimes reflects on why he became the Revenger. A few years earlier, Grimes joined the nation's leading think tank, Universal Concept. The board of investors consisted of Grant, Knight, and Spencer. The men were very interested in Grimes' heavy-metal formula. They assured him that they shared his dreams of building cities with indestructible materials that would last centuries, eliminating slums. Grimes worked hard for years, until he finally achieved success. He agreed to keep the discovery a secret while the board searched for the best way to use it to help mankind. When Grimes discovered that they were working with the military, intending to use his work to build weapons, he became furious. He was determined to make them pay. He soon created a deadly whip made of the same material he had invented, and a specially constructed power-arm to enable him to wield the weapon.

Elsewhere, at that moment, Karate Kid and Iris are looking at an apartment with the landlady, Mrs. Geichman. She comments that her son Sidney, the doctor, had lived there previously. Karate Kid tells Mrs. Geichman that he has decided to rent it. Just then, on the radio, he hears an announcement about a costumed maniac rampaging through the city's jewelry district. Karate Kid rushes to the scene. There he sees the Revenger, but is distracted by looters. By the time he gets to Knight Jewelers, the owner is dead. The hero finds another note, which says the leader will be the third and final victim. Karate Kid hurries to the police with the message.

As midnight approaches, the Revenger smashes into the office of D. F. Spencer, the administrator of Universal Concept. Karate Kid is there instead, waiting for him. The hero informs him that Spencer has been placed in protective custody. The killer then attacks Karate Kid. They clash briefly, then the Revenger heads to the roof. During the ensuing struggle, while trying to protect his pet birds, the villain is crushed by a falling billboard sign.