Obscure DC Characters:

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Arcana I

Created by Todd Klein and illustrated by Mike Chen and Joe Del Beato, "Arcana" centered around the Perrys, an eccentric family of mystics in a New Jersey suburb (NEW TALENT SHOWCASE #12). They included the elderly Oren and Thalia, middle-aged Whelan the Magnificent (with the traditional tuxedo and razor-thin mustache), young Anastasia (or Nasti) and the family dog, Barkis, a sheep dog-esque creature that fired red force bolts from his eyes. In the first story, young Tom Hawthorne, visiting his grandparents for the summer, entered the Perry property on a dare and was given a tour by Nasti. It was hinted that Tom's grandfather (his namesake) had dealings with the Perrys in his youth and, indeed, he was quite interested in his grandson's visit when young Tom returned home.

Peering through the window, Thalia wondered, "Is he the one, Oren? The one to release us from our long exile?"

"Only time will tell, sister ... but I certainly hope so."

Arcana II

The creation of Gerard Jones, the Arcana were mysterious power-brokers who loved to manipulate the major players of the world. Card terminology was abundant but no connection with the Royal Flush Gang was ever established.

JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #94 found Maxwell Lord hospitalized, diagnosed with a swiftly- growing malignancy attached to his cerebrum. "With proper treatment," a doctor tells him, "we should be able to keep you alive, perhaps until the malignancy can be stopped. But...you won't have a mind anymore." Elsewhere, listening via a wiretap, a man places a phone call: "Queen. This is Nine. We may need to find a new Three."

Soon after, a cloaked figure (later revealed as the Kilg%re) materializes in Max's hospital room, offering "a way for your consciousness, for your will, to survive." As Fire reaches the hospital, she learns that Max has just died (JLA #95) and Leaguers past and present turn out for the funeral.

Elsewhere, Max is revealed to have been a member of the Arcana (#96), having joined soon after the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #11-12 (see JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA ANNUAL #9). The Arcana moves quickly to induce Blue Devil to join the JLA, thus becoming their new set of eyes in the League (#97-98).

Kilg%re finds an appropriate vessel for Max's mind in #98, revealed (to the reader but not the League) in issue #100 to be the body of Lord Havok. As Havok, Lord moves todestroy the Arcana. Arriving in human fo rm at their headquarters, Lord/Havok announces that "Maxwell Lord always does things his own way. Just like I'm taking over the Arcana...my own way" (JLA #111). Alerted by Havok that the League is headed their way, the Arcana begs him to save them. Havok responds by having his agent (the brother of the man killed at the U.N. back in JUSTICE LEAGUE #1) blow up the group and its headquarters. "I think we'll have no more opposition from the Arcana," says Havok. "It will be ours to use. The aces are no longer high. There's a joker in the deck...and the Joker's wild"(#113).

Arriving on the scene, the League finds no sign of life but Flash spots "the source of the signal! And it's marked ... Lord Enterprises?!"

The Arcana appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #94-97, 101, 104-105, 110 (mention), 111, 113 and ANNUAL #9.

The Archer

He first appeared in a 1941 Superman story. Basically, he dressed in a skintight costume with a feather on the hood. He would send threatening letters to rich men, demanding they pay up or he would kill them.

Powers and abilities: he was a skilled archer and a good stalker/hunter. But he fired only normal arrows, not trick arrows.

Obviously such an antagonist should not have posed much of a challenge to the man of steel. Except that Superman was hampered by various obstacles such as:

— Lois Lane at her shrewish worst, who sent Clark Kent on a wild goose chase so she could scoop him. — A nutbar who showed up in a costume, insisting he was the real Archer. — The police, who at the time, still considered Superman a dangerous vigilante and tried to arrest him. (He evaded them rather than hurt cops.) — The Archer's potential victims who did not even recognize Superman as a hero at the time.

This story is noteworthy because it contained the first appearance of a red-haired office boy called Jimmy who eventually became Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter. The office boy asks Perry White if he can cover the case in the absence of Clark and Lois and Perry answers, "you might do a better job than Clark at that." (This Jimmy still did not have freckles, a bowtie, a plaid shirt or a signal watch but the potential was there.)

Eventually Jimmy sneaks into Lois's car, saves her hide and helps in the capture of the Archer, getting his first byline.

And the Archer? He is unmasked as "Quigley, the big game hunter." He confesses that he thought hunting humans would be more profitable than animals. Maybe he was looking for a more exciting sport.

The Archer returned in SUPERMAN FAMILY's "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" strip. He was out for revenge (of course) and the whole gang from the first story (Clark, Lois, and Jimmy) took place in capturing him.

He was never seen again. But if someone ever has a mass gathering of good and evil archers in the pages of Green Arrow, this guy is still available.

Argent

See also: Suicide Squad

Argent, the successor to the O.S.S., was created in 1951 and partially made up of members of that organization, including Falcon, Fleur, "Iron" Munro, Phantom Lady I, and a woman resembling Dina, the deceased wife of O.S.S.'s leader, Control. Argent was the civilian branch of Task Force X I, intended to deal with metahuman threats once handled by the recently-disbanded Justice Society. The original Suicide Squad covered international situations (SECRET ORIGINS #14).

After confronting and arranging the murder of a government official indirectly responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, Control ordered all records of Argent destroyed and pulled the organization deeply undercover. Following Control's death, his granddaughter began operating in his name, fearing that news of his demise would damage the group's already dwindling membership. With only six members left, the group retired after a confrontation with the third incarnation of the Suicide Squad (SUICIDE SQUAD ANNUAL #1).

Argent appeared in DAMAGE #11, MANHUNTER (1988 series) #6, SECRET ORIGINS #14 and SUICIDE SQUAD ANNUAL #1.

Armstrong of the Army

Affiliated with United States Intelligence, Armstrong of the Army spent the final months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor capturing saboteurs and tracking down new scientific discoveries that could be adapted for military purposes. He was in STAR SPANGLED COMICS #1-6, the first five episodes of which were illustrated by Ed Moore, blessed with a simple, clean art style influenced by Roy Crane.

Benedict Arnold

It was BATMAN FAMILY #1, published in 1975, as excitement over the coming Bicentennial was growing.

It had a clever story by Elliot S! Maggin and fantastic art by Mike Grell. And in many ways, it was the first sign of the Dick Grayson-Barbara Gordon romance that has since blossomed in other comics.

The story opens in Washington D.C. where Congresswoman Barbara Gordon is appearing in a documentary on American history. Dick Grayson, on vacation from Hudson University, is working as her aide.

Just as she is recounting Benedict Arnold's betrayal, a mannequin of Arnold comes to life and starts hacking up the TV cameras with his sword. Dick and Babs (who still don't know each other's secret identities) change to Robin and Batgirl. But Robin finds Arnold can shrug off his acrobatic kicks (Robin: "You're like a stone wall.", Arnold: "That was another general.") and Arnold teleports out of Batgirl's lasso.

He later reappears in the city, leading an army of Redcoats and accompanied by a silent figure in a red suit. Batgirl and Robin confront him and are captured. Arnold puts them on display in a deathtrap where each of the two can throw a switch that will free the other — but will kill him/herself. Of course, being heroes, they both pull the switches simultaneously — and still manage to escape in a wonderfully drawn Grell sequence.

A panicked Arnold says he was supposed to break their wills. The man in red tells Arnold he has one last chance to beat them. The man in red equips all the parties with rapiers and a swordfight breaks out.

Robin and Batgirl hold their own until finally, they (accidentally) reach the safety of a church. The man in red now reveals that he is the Devil, and he let Arnold out of Hell just to give him a chance to break the will of America's defenders so their souls could be his. But Arnold failed so he is sent screaming back to Hell.

As the story closes, Robin gives Batgirl a friendly kiss on the cheek, and counsels her to leave the heroics to the veterans. In response, Batgirl strikes a coy pose, then grabs Robin and plants a kiss on his lips. Robin swings away with a strange smile on his face.

Later in the series, they would acknowledge that 18 year-old Robin, despite having a girlfriend in college, had a deep attraction to 25 year-old Batgirl but both had trouble admitting it.

It was only after Lori, Dala, Starfire, and Batgirl's being crippled, that they finally hooked up.

In his appearance, Benedict Arnold had vague magical powers. His main weapon was a flaming, lightning-firing sword, but apparently all these powers and abilities were granted by the Devil.

Arsenal I-II (Nicholas Galtry)

Created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani

Nicholas Galtry was the guardian of Garfield Logan (variously known as Beast Boy I and Changeling III). He was normally just an average (though evil and avaricious) man out to get rid of Garfield for the fortune he was next in line for; I think this was the name under which he fought Beast Boy and his friends, the original Doom Patrol. He appeared in DOOM PATROL #100, 101, 105-107, 109 and 110 (1965-1967), losing custody of the green boy to Steve and Rita Dayton in the final issue.

He didn't appear again until 1982's TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #3 (mini-series), where he attacked Beast Boy in the guise of Arsenal for the last time (in this story, the distain that Galtry used every time he used the "Beast Boy" name had helped convince Gar he needed a new super-moniker! (And I don't blame Geoff & Ben - it's "the powers that be..."). He also revealed that he had hired an earlier Arsenal to attack the Doom Patrol (DP #113).

The Asgardians

In BATMAN #127 (October, 1959), there was indeed a story in which Thor battled the Caped Crusader. Museum curator Henry Meke channels Thor in the final story.

Drawn by the great Dick Sprang.

The Norse gods also appeared in BOY COMMANDOS #7.

The Thor from ALL-STAR SQUADRON #18 originally appeared in a Golden Age Sandman story from ADVENTURE COMICS #75 (reprinted in both FOREVER PEOPLE #6 and ADVENTURE COMICS #499).

A list of Norse gods in the DCU:

ALL HIGHFATHER ODIN:
Bullets and Bracelets #1
Thorion of the New Asgods #1

ATLI/ETZEL (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

BALDUR:
Justice League Europe #31
The Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad #3 (Balder)
War of the Gods #2

BRAGI (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

DONNER (Earth-1854; also see THOR I: E2, et al.):
The Ring of the Nibelung #1

ERDA:
The Ring of the Nibelung #1-3

FREYJA (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

FREYR (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

HEIMDALL (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

HEIMDALL (Earth-One):
Captain Action #2 (mention)

HEIMDALL (Earth-Two):
Arak, Son of Thunder #46

HEIMDALL (current):
Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1

HEL:
The Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad #1-4

LOKE (also see LOKI):
Legends of the Dark Knight #35-36

LOKI (Earth-Two):
Arak, Son of Thunder #46
New Comics #2 (behind the scenes)
Sensation Comics #83

LOKI (Earth-S):
Whiz Comics #50

LOKI (Earth-One):
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #55

LOKI (Earth-Twelve):
The Inferior Five #4

LOKI (current; also see LOKE):
Justice League Europe #31
Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1
New Gods [third series] #7
Sandman #24, 26-28, 57 (behind the scenes), 58-59, 61, 63, 65-66, 69
War of the Gods #2, 4

LOKI (variants):
House of Mystery #138
Tales of the Unexpected #16

MIMIR (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

NJORD (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

NYAL (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

ODIN (Earth-Two; also see WOTON: ES):
Arak, Son of Thunder #46
Comic Cavalcade #17
DC Special Series #9
New Comics #1 (behind the scenes)
Wonder Woman [first series] #23

ODIN (Earth-One):
All-Out War #1-3, 5-6
Captain Action #1, 2 (mention)
Our Army At War #162-163

ODIN (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

ODIN (current; also see WOTAN I: C, E1854 and ALL HIGHFATHER ODIN: E496):
Jack Kirby's Fourth World #3-4, 8
Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1
Mythos: The Final Tour #1-3
The Sandman #24, 26-27, 56, 63, 66

ODIN (variants):
House of Mystery #138
My Greatest Adventure #53

SIEGFRIED (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

SIEGFRIED (Earth-One):
Wonder Woman (1) #184

SIEGFRIED (Earth-1854):
The Ring of the Nibelung #3-4

SIEGMUND (Earth-1854; also see SIGMUND: E12):
The Ring of the Nibelung #2

SIF (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

SIGMUND (Earth-12; also see SIEGMUND: E1854):
The Inferior Five #4

THOR I (Earth-S):
HIT COMICS #38
Whiz Comics #50

THOR I (Earth-Two):
Arak, Son of Thunder #46
BOY COMMANDOS #7
The Brave and The Bold [first series] #3
DC Special Series #9

THOR I (Earth-One):
Captain Action #1
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #55
World's Finest Comics #135

THOR I (a.k.a. Don R. Blitz; Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4, 7

THOR I (current; also see DONNER: E1854 and THORION: E496):
Action Comics #761
All-Star Comics 80-Page Giant #1
Jack Kirby's Fourth World #1-3
Justice League Europe #31
Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1
New Gods [third series] #26
The Sandman #24, 26-27, 56, 66
War of the Gods #2

Thor II was the Dan Richards' dog in the Manhunter series (POLICE COMICS #8). The Sandman fought the third Thor in ADVENTURE COMICS #75 (who returned in ALL-STAR SQUADRON #18). The fourth, fifth and sixth villains by that name appeared in MARVEL FAMILY #23, BLACKHAWK #89 and BATMAN #127. A Thor also appeared in HIT COMICS #38 from 1945!

THOR I (variants):
All-Star Comics #31
House of Mystery #138
Strange Adventures #171
Tales of the Unexpected #16

TYR I (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

TYR I (Earth-One):
Captain Action #1

TYR I (current):
Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1

The second TYR is a foe of the Legion of Super-Heroes (SUPERBOY #197).

VIDAR:
Captain Action #2 (mention)

VOLSUNG (Earth-12):
The Inferior Five #4

WOTAN I (current; also see ODIN: C):
New Gods [third series] #7

WOTAN I (Earth-1854):
The Ring of the Nibelung #1-3

The second WOTAN first encountered Doctor Fate in MORE FUN COMICS #55.

WOTON (Earth-S; also see ODIN: E2, E1):
Master Comics #42

The Assassination Bureau

The Assassination Bureau was a well kept secret until they were hired by the 2000 Committee to kill Firestorm. The organization had been formed by Breathtaker, a mysterious figure hidden beneath a robe and cloak. The Nuclear Man easily defeated the Bureau's first operative, the wind-controlling Stratos, but Firestorm was far more susceptible to the illusions of the Mindboggler. While attacking what he perceived as threats, Firestorm was actually posing a threat to civilians. Mindboggler was unable to bring her actions to a conclusion thanks to the arrival of fleet of police officers, more than the spellbinder felt she could control (FURY OF FIRESTORM #29-30).

Meanwhile, another Bureau member had disobeyed orders and tried to take down Firestorm on his own. The arrogant Incognito was a being capable of transforming into a double of anyone but whose natural form was a black silhouette. Failing in his objective, Incognito was subdued by Firestorm and revealed the location of the Bureau's lair (FOF #30).

The Nuclear Man succeeded in knocking Mindboggler unconscious and quickly defeated Breathtaker, despite the latter's own seeming hallucinogenic powers. Exposed, the mastermind was a small man — barely four feet — with skin so pale and tight that he resembled a skeleton. His more imposing form was the result of a sophisticated exoskeleton. Resentful of Breathtaker's treatment of her, Mindboggler agreed to help Firestorm take down the 2000 Committee (FOF #31).

Mindboggler received a lenient sentence for her actions but was lured back into crime by Multiplex, who convinced her to join his anti-Firestorm league (FOF #45-47; BLUE DEVIL #23). In custody once more, she was released into the Suicide Squad but was shot in the back and killed by the Jihad's Rustam (SUICIDE SQUAD #1-2).

Through unknown circumstances, the Jihad used Mindboggler's brain patterns to form a deadly electronic intelligence called the Ifrit that was programmed to destroy the Suicide Squad. The Squad took possession of the Ifrit (SS #17-19) and, after extensive efforts, to reprogram her (#26), succeeded in restoring her core personality thanks to an Israeli artificial intelligence known as the Dybbuk. The Dybbuk (now calling himself Lenny) and Mindboggler (Leah Wasserman) announced their plans to wed (#63).

Oracle, a witness to the declaration, offered to host a bridal shower. "Is there any software you guys need?"

Astralad

Joseph Silver works as a scientist in a dream-research facility in Metropolis.

Although he has a brilliant career, he is deeply unsatisfied because he is ugly and lacks all social skills. He thinks back to his childhood in Smallville when he was called "Mr. Inferiority Complex". He is deeply jealous of "the other mother's boy" in his class, Clark Kent, who made it to be a popular anchor man on television.

Joe Silver decides to use his years of research to turn his life around and tries out his invention of a machine that allows his astral body to travel back in time and possess his teenage body to give his younger self some badly needed self-confidence.

It soon becomes clear that while the older Silver possesses Joey's body, he is more than a mere human: He easily tosses two bullies halfway through the gym.

During a concert of up and coming beat band The Doodles, Joey makes his first appearance as Astralad, having used his powers to turn himself into a handsome, athletic stud with a manly mane of black hair and black and purple costume.

Superboy recognizes his classmate with x-ray vision and uses his super-breath to suck him away from the crowd. He confronts him with his real name (how would Superboy know a nobody? Giving away your secret ID here Kal, tsk tsk), and Astralad replies that he does not intend to keep his identity a secret. He wants all of Smallville to know that Joe Silver is a super hero now. He easily traps Superboy with energy rays from his fingers and tosses him into orbit.

Later, Astralad approaches Lana Lang and tells her he plans to form a super-team with Superboy. Lana says his voice sounds familiar, and Joe takes off his mask and transforms his face back to his normal features. But the girl cannot recognize him, as Superboy uses his heat vision to make the air flicker between them. He then disperses the sound waves to keep Lana from hearing Joey say his name.

Astralad then stops bank robbers from getting away in a balloon, but Superboy steals his thunder by knocking the wind out of him and taking the robbers to the police himself.

After Superboy stops Joe once more of revealing his other ID, he confronts Astralad and explains to him how dangerous it could be for him and his family to just come out like that. Astralad thinks he is just jealous and flies off.

Astralad breaks through the Kent's roof and kidnaps Clark. He says he wants to use him as a bargain chip in his dispute with Superboy. In a cave outside Smallville, Clark claims to recognize Joe's voice, and Astralad tells him the full story of astral time travel and such.

Clark pretends to lose his temper and knocks Astralad through the cage. Astralad lashes out with energy beams from his eyes, which tear most of Clark's street clothes off and reveal his Superboy costume. He convinces Astralad that his subconsciousness must have influenced his dream powers to turn Clark into Superboy to show him the error of his ways.

Astralad realizes that it's wrong to want to change the past and leaves Joey's body to travel back to modern day Metropolis, where he looks up an old Smallville newspaper in which Superboy speculates that the suddenly-departed Astralad must have been an alien.

He sees a Clark Kent billboard and muses that Clark as a super hero is even more ridiculous than he himself.

Astro

I first saw Astro mentioned by Mike Tiefenbacher in THE COMIC READER #197 (which includes a color picture of the character, by the way) and it was because of that write-up that I sought out a copy of HOUSE OF MYSTERY #140. Mike described "The Return of Astro" (illustrated by Howard Sherman) as follows:

"Bruce Mills returns to his ancestral home in the Iron Curtain country of Dolomain to find his parents' village being terrorized by a guy dressed up as the legendary wizard Count Quivius. To battle him, he costumes himself in Quivius' enemy's costume, rigging tricks to make it look as if he really is the equally-legendary Astro — and ends up discovering that the costume really was Astro's and that it gives him his magical powers. After vanquishing Quivius, Mills thinks 'As for the cloak of Astro — with its fantastic powers — perhaps I'd better guard it very closely from now on!' Sounds to me like they were doing a pilot story here."

Aten, Supreme God Of The Sun

ISIS #5 (June-July 1977)

By the mid 14th century B.C., under the reign of Amenhotep IV, the worship of the gods of Egypt had waned. This led the gods to turn their attentions elsewhere, leaving the people to follow their own paths. It was at this time that the spacecraft of an alien named Aten was damaged and forced to land on Egypt's sands. All feared him save for the brave king. Amenhotep showed Aten his civilization and evidence of his gods. But Aten saw no sign of the gods themselves. He observed that they had been there, then left, leaving the people to dry up and die. Aten believed he was their salvation. Amenhotep changed his name to Akhenaten in the alien's honor. He and his wife, Queen Nofretete, proclaimed Aten their new god — and his fiery ship the Chariot of the Sun. The people still believed in the old gods, but Akhenaten, Nofretete, and Aten maintained the new way. The alien taught them much, and they taught him about the power of the ancient gods and their pyramids.

Aten remained in Egypt for nearly two decades, until Akhenaten died. The alien believed that the people would soon revolt in favor of the old gods. Aten knew it was time to leave, but before he did, he planted a signal device to warn him if the gods ever did return. He returned to his home planet, but was surprised when the High Council banished him for interfering with the development of a primitive world. Remembering the pyramids, from which the Egyptian gods had derived their power, Aten crossed the void back to Earth to seek revenge on those in the Council. He remained in orbit around the planet, until such a time as one of the gods again accessed the power of the pyramids.

It wasn't until the late 20th century that the reincarnated goddess Isis did just that. Aten attempted to wrest control of the mystical pyramid from Isis. She had no choice but to destroy the pyramid, which Aten believed was the sole source of her power. So moved was he that she would sacrifice her own power to stop him, that he repented and vowed to travel the stars doing penance for his sins. After Aten left Earth, Isis used her magic to restore the pyramid to it's original state.

Atlas II

Alter Ego: None
Occupation: Defender and avenger
Known Relatives: None
Team Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Various
First Appearance: 1st Issue Special #1 (April 1975)
Height: ~ 6 ft. 6 in. Weight: ~ 280 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

History: Many eons ago, in a time when mankind was rising out of barbarism, there lived a mysterious people who came from the fabled Crystal Mountain. One fateful day, an evil slaver and his men attack the village of these quiet people, burning their homes and capturing the inhabitants as slaves. Hidden by his parents in a nearby cave, the child named Atlas watches the terrible scourge. Atlas sees that his mother is among the captured, but his father resists against overwhelming odds, exhibiting strength many times that of an ordinary man. Eventually he is overpowered and is struck down. The grief-stricken Atlas runs to his father's aid, only to be snatched up by the cruel slaver. With a single blow, the child fells the brutish man. Swift as he is strong, young Atlas races to a marsh for safety.

A traveler named Chagra, who had been hiding in the marsh, grabs Atlas, covers his mouth, and tells him to keep quiet. Soon, the slavers give up the search and depart. The child, still in Chagra's grip, grabs Chagra and tosses him into the marsh. Atlas rushes back to the village, only to find his father among the dead. An annoyed and perplexed Chagra watches as Atlas digs through the ruins of his home, only to emerge with a large, glowing crystal. Chagra realizes that the villagers had come from the Crystal Mountain, kneels, and offers his apologies to Atlas. Chagra states that it is said that the leader of Atlas' people bears a piece of that mountain, and must pass it on when he dies. Atlas proclaims that he is the new leader. Chagra tells Atlas that where Atlas leads, he will follow. The grief-stricken boy is indifferent to Chagra's offer, telling Chagra the choice is his — only vengeance is on his mind.

Chagra follows Atlas for years, until the boy becomes a man. The two share times of great hardship and danger. Many are witness to Atlas' exhibitions of strength and courage, and the legend of "Atlas" spreads. Heroic deeds become his mark. Victory follows victory. Atlas wins many trophies and gifts, such as the golden Helmet of Champions.

One night, Chagra confesses his true motivations to Atlas. He explains that he has waited for years, until Atlas was ready to bargain. He will lead Atlas to his goal, the evil slaver who killed his father and captured his people, if Atlas will in turn lead Chagra to the Crystal Mountain. Atlas understands, and a bargain is struck. Their next stop would be the Lizard Kingdom of Hyssa. Having lived in the accursed kingdom himself, Chagra leads Atlas past the illusions of the fire wizards, through the dismal gloom of a giant cavern filled with great lizards, and into Hyssa, a city of great wealth and power.

Chagra brings Atlas to the marketplace, where Atlas shows off his strength by crushing two large blocks of stone under his mighty arms. When the crowd proclaims that it must be a trick, Chagra asks if anyone dares challenge Atlas. Kargin, the strongest one present, known throughout Hyssa, takes the challenge. With a single blow, Atlas vanquishes Kargin. At first the crowd is amazed, but they quickly turn on the duo when they suspect treachery.

The angry crowd causes delay to an approaching noble of the king, and the slaves who carry him upon their shoulders. The noble's two warriors attack Atlas, but are easily defeated. When the king's noble tells the two strangers that they'll answer to him, Atlas scatters the noble's slaves, toppling the cart upon which he sat. Atlas grabs the noble, who screams for their deaths. The king's archers arrive and take aim. Atlas holds the noble out as a shield.

Suddenly, Atlas hears a voice from his past, the voice of the slaver who captured his village. It is the voice of Hyssa, who is now king of the city that bears his name! Hyssa asks what manner of fool dares to mistreat one whom he favors. He looks deep into the eyes of Atlas and grows uneasy. Hyssa asks if they have met before, then asks who he is. Atlas replies that he is Hyssa's conqueror!

Although the outcome of the conflict has never been chronicled, there can be no doubt as to it's resolution.

Weapons and Powers: Atlas rarely has need for weapons, relying instead on his mighty strength and agility. It is not clear if his superhuman abilities derive from the glowing crystal taken from the Crystal Mountain, or are instead inherent in his genetic makeup. Although it is clear that his father was mortal, there is evidence that suggests Atlas may himself be an immortal.

Comments: Based on comments about the spread of his legend, implying he is the Atlas of Greek myth, the adventures of Atlas must take place at least 3,500 years ago. However, given the historical link between his name and the city of Atlantis, it is possible that Atlas lived during the era of that ancient city, which existed from around 1,000,000 years ago to around 45,000 years ago. A character resembling Atlas appeared in Kingdom Come #2-4 (1996), which is set in the early 21st century AD. The character, also named Atlas, is described in the Kingdom Come card set as a "legendary demigod figure", suggesting that he is the same character described above.

Atlas III

Alter Ego: Unknown
Occupation: Hero
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: 10th? century BC Greece (Earth-One)
First Appearance: Superboy [first series] #110 (January 1964)
Height: ~6 ft. 5 in.
Weight: ~255 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blonde

History: Who was the blonde-haired Greek hero that men called Atlas? He wasn't the black-haired Titan of myth, who once lifted the world itself on his shoulders (metaphysically speaking, of course). Nor was he the ancient demigod who hailed from the Crystal Mountain. The truth is, very little is known of this man, including whether or not he was himself a demigod.

Atlas' only known contact with the 20th century comes when he is drawn into the future by magical forces. When Lana Lang breathes in the scent of a weird tropical plant, called the hate flower, she develops a deep hatred of Superboy. Using a magic mask from the supernatural section of the Smallville Museum, she summons various people from the past. The magic of the mask compels those summoned into doing whatever Lana commands. At one point, she calls upon Hercules, Samson, and Atlas. She commands them to destroy the Smallville Scientific Institute, then sees to it that the destruction is blamed on Superboy. After the deed is carried out, the three heroes are returned to their own eras. Eventually, Lana is cured by her father, Superboy, and Krypto.

Weapons and Powers: Atlas possesses tremendous strength and stamina.

Comments: Superman met Atlas the Titan in ACTION COMICS #353 (Aug 1967). Atlas of the Crystal Mountain was introduced in 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #1 (Apr 1975).

Atlas (Earth-One, 10th? century BC): Superboy [first series] #110 (Jan 1964)

Atlas (Earth-One, criminal in disguise): Superman [first series] #112 (Mar 1957)

Atlas (Parallel Earth): Action Comics #320 (Jan 1965)

Atomic Knight(s)

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COMMENTS

The original series was later revealed to have been merely a series of dreams that Gardner Grayle had while he was locked in a NASA sensory deprivation tank. I personally like the idea that the Atomic Knights were real in some reality, and that the Gardner Grayle seen in DC COMICS PRESENTS somehow "tuned in" on his counterpart's life in his own dreams. (He wouldn't be the first Earth-1 dweller named Gardner to have dreams in another universe...) As someone recently noted on an Internet list, Dan Mishkin (who introduced "The New Atomic Knight" in the pre-crisis WONDER WOMAN tale) may have been writing out of sheer political correctness...at the time few right-thinking people thought humanity could survive a nuclear war (as it had in the original John Broome series) at all. I'd personally have preferred to leave the series in an alternate reality and not brought the character back in the mainstream at all...though I didn't mind his recent "Silver Age" appearance by Mark Waid, which deliberately left it vague as to his future would be that of Broome or Mishkin ...or even, given the recent resurgence of alternate futures, both!

The Atom-Master

The Atom-Master was an unnamed criminal mastermind who invented a special helmet that could create incredibly realistic illusions. His first use of his invention was to attack Metropolis and Gotham City with illusions of Superman and Batman turning on the general populace - Superman was shown emptying a cage of huge, horrific beasts onto the streets of the city, while Batman and Robin flew the Batplane low through Gotham and gleefully tossed out sticks of dynamite - both of which caused a general panic in each city and naturally caught the attention of the real heroes. Superman easily solved the problem of a major traffic jam in Metropolis, while the Dynamic Duo managed to calm the citizenry and disavow their doubles' actions. the Atom Master then assembled a gang of criminals to steal money to finish the final phase of his plan, using his illusions to keep the heroes busy while his men robbed and looted various stores and banks. the criminals did, however, leave a clue at their final robbery that allowed the Batman to determine where the Atom-Master's headquarters was located (in an old pottery plant outside Gotham City). In the meantime, the Atom-Master finished his improved device, a Super-Ray Machine that, instead of just creating illusions, could rearrange the atoms in dust to materialize solid matter in the shape of his projected thought image illusions. Superman, Batman, and Robin suddenly burst into the Atom-Master's hideout. Activating the Super-Ray, the mastermind captured the Dynamic Duo in the beam and threatened to have his men turn it on full power and doom them if Superman came any closer. Superman acquiesced, but a large dinosaur formed out of the Super-Ray, attacking the Atom-Master's men. Superman was able turn off the device, freeing Batman and Robin, and was able to capture the thugs. Superman had used his super-speed to knock out the Atom Master. the dinosaur had been an illusion of his own creation.

After serving a prison sentence for his crimes, the Atom-Master used a mini-helicopter and an improved device (now a more compact helmet) to begin a crime spree in Metropolis, robbing the Midtown Bank. Superman came to apprehend him, but his monstrous creations kept the Man of Steel at bay. Superman destroyed the mini-helicopter the villain was flying in, but Atom Master's helmet allowed him to create a set of wings on his back to continue his escape. Superman did almost catch him, until the villain disappeared in a ray of light. the ray had come from the robot Ultivac, who had been ordered by Mr. Poseidon to retrieve Atom-Master, so as to hopefully shift the balance of power in his favor in his dealings with the Enchantress and Kraklow (in a loosely-knit criminal organization known as the Forgotten Villains). the Enchantress was not happy with Poseidon's recruiting efforts, and blamed Atom Master for leading Superman to her headquarters (having followed the unique radiation signature of his helmet). After escaping, the Enchantress used her magic to torture the villain until he managed to convince her that the power of his helmet could help in her efforts to form the triad of sorcery with fellow wizards Kraklow and Yggardis. After several fights between the Forgotten Villains and the Forgotten Heroes (with Superman), the Enchantress saw her wishes come true and her powers increased accordingly. the Atom Master, seeing the villainess descend into madness, attacked her with creatures created by his helmet. Mr. Poseidon joined the attack by ordering Ultivac to use his weaponry on the Enchantress as well, causing her to lose her concentration at an inopportune moment, which broke the triad and her power. the Enchantress teleported away, swearing revenge on Atom-Master and Mr. Poseidon.

In the Post-Crisis DC Universe, Atom-Master was assembled as one of the Forgotten Villains again, this time acting as agents of Vandal Savage in a search for fragments of the primordial meteor that gave both Savage and Forgotten Heroes' leader Immortal Man their powers and immortality. Atom Master was also in control of the giant robot Ultivac (instead of Mr. Poseidon). He and Ultivac were stopped by a combined attack by Congorilla and Dane Dorrance of the Sea Devils.

Appearances (pre-Crisis):

  • World's Finest Comics #101 (May 1959)
  • DC Comics Presents #77 (Jan 1985) - #78 (Feb 1985)

Appearances (post-Crisis):

  • Resurrection Man #25 (Jun 1999)

Aurora

Another of the clone-slaves of the Master, created to confront the Dial H duo.

Automan

Created by Lee Elias

First appearance: TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #91, November 1965.

(main source: WHO'S WHO #2)

Alter ego: Robot #32198
Occupation: Robot for hire
Known relatives: Miller Sterling (creator), Ilda (wife)
Group affiliation: None
Base of operations: Robot Tech University
Timeframe: Late 21st century
Height: 6'11"
Weight: 514 lbs.
Eyes: Photocellular
Hair: None
"Skin": Golden metal

History:

Dubbed "Automan - the automatic man" by his creator, Professor Miller Sterling, robot #32198 was the first graduate of Robot Tech, an institute for higher learning designed exclusively for mechanical men, a.k.a. "computer men". These artificial intelligences were fed a wealth of information via intricate teaching computers, then programmed for independent action.

After graduation, Automan embarked on a successful career as a robot-for-hire, working as everything from a mechanical manservant to a beautiful blonde actress. His missions inevitably made him come into contact with danger, adventure, and heroism, often together with his master Miller Sterling, and the latter's beautiful daughter Stella. (TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #91, October-November 1965, #94, April-May 1966, and #97, October-November 1966.)

At the end of the 21st century, Automan encountered the intergalactic detective known as Star Hawkins, and his robot secretary Ilda. While Hawkins got romantically interested in Stella Sterling, Automan fell in robotic love with Hawkins' android assistant Ilda. They chose each other as life-mates and now consider themselves married. (DC COMICS PRESENTS #33, May 1981)

Automan's body apparently still exists in the late 30th century, and will be displayed at the robot section of the Time and History Museum in Metropolis. (LEGIONNAIRES #68, February 1999)

Powers and weapons:

Constructed entirely of meteorite manganese, Automan's body is completely bullet- and fireproof. The robot's internal equipment includes a forehead film recorder, a radar-scanner, a powerful electromagnet, laser-beam eyes, and a self-contained parachute system. Furthermore, Automan possesses superhuman strength and, by virtue of his programming, is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. His knowledge and intelligence rate is extremely high according to human standards.

Azrael I

This winged amnesiac from another planet came to earth in TALES OF THE NEW TEEN TITANS #43. After he forged a romantic bond with Lilith Jupiter (a.k.a. Omen, who recently got offed in GRADUATION DAY), the Titans agreed that they would help him find the answers to who he was and where he came from. However, before they could do so, the Titans learned that Lilith was the daughter of Thia, one of the Olympian Titans and Goddess of the Sun, and she elected to stay with her mom from then on; Az chose to stay with her. Later TITANS issues made that part of Lilith's family heritage suspect, and she came back to the United States with modified powers; Azrael was not with her, and his present whereabouts and activities are not known, since this plotline was never resolved.

Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.