Major Disaster

NAME + ALIASES:
Paul Booker (a.k.a. Bennett Brodsky)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Army of Crime, Injustice League, "Justice League Antarctica," Suicide Squad, Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Green Lantern v.2 #43

+ History

Originally, Paul Booker was a cheap crook with a police record, on the run from the law. Finding an unlocked apartment window, he slipped inside to hide from the pursuing police. By chance, he had chosen the home of Thomas Kalmaku, the former friend and confidant of Green Lantern. Furthermore, he accidentally activated a control for a hidden panel, revealing Thomas' Green Lantern Casebook.

Upon reading the volume, Booker learned the secrets behind both Green lantern and the Flash. Using the knowledge to his advantage, Booker adopted the costumed identity of Major Disaster. He immediately hired a group of brilliant criminal scientists to fashion devices that could create disasters. He then set about to expose the identities of Green Lantern and the Flash, but the heroes defeated him quickly, accidentally causing an explosion that apparently killed him. (Green Lantern #43)

But the Count of Calamities was not dead. His device had scattered his atoms, but months later, they coalesced and he returned to normal. His scientists came up with a new device to protect Disaster from any destruction he created. (??)

Seeking revenge against The heroes, Disaster used his knowledge of GL's identity, but was defeated a second time. However, he tried to reveal Jordan's secret to the police but discovered that the power ring commanded Booker to be unable to say Jordan's name aloud. Also, Disaster had tried to internalize the disaster-causing power but found it slowly destroying him, so he tried to transfer the increasing surplus power into a super-hero, choosing Superman. The Man of Steel stopped Disaster from succeeding and imprisoned him. (Superman v.1 #341)

After many months, Disaster returned, seeking final revenge against the Emerald Crusader, but was frustrated to find John Stewart now wielding the ring. Disaster nearly destroyed portions of Los Angeles before begin driven seemingly insane (he believed that everyone was actually Green Lantern). (GL #183)

But throughout his career as a villain, Paul Booker was nagged by what he knew in his heart: the real difference between right and wrong. Though he next became the leader of a group of wisecracking villains (the second Injustice League [Justice League America #23]), he tried to minimize the damage their crimes would do. Ever in search for the next big score, Disaster and Big Sir broke the bank in the casino of the newly formed "Club JLI," on the island of KooeyKooeyKooey. But before they could spend their winnings, the island itself got up and went! In face of geological chaos, Disaster was recruited by the JLA to help stabilize the island. Aquaman guided him beneath the waves, where he anchored the island to an underwater volcano. Instead of fleeing, Disaster chose to return topside and face justice. (JLA #34-35)

Max Lord, the JLI chief, gave Booker and the Injustice League their first chance at reformation after the villains inadvertently stopped a terrorist attack. To keep them in check, Max set them up as "Justice League Antarctica" and they were joined by two other pests: G'nort and the Scarlet Skier. This embassy was quickly destroyed when Major Disaster defeated some killer penguins. (JLA Annual #4) The group defaulted back to crime and attempted to steal from the cult of Minister Sun. In the end, their fruits were again stolen from them. (JLQ #4)

When Neron began offering wishes in exchange for souls, Major Disaster accepted the deal. In it, he gained greatly enhanced chaos-causing abilities. (Aquaman v.5 #14) His second break came when Disaster and his colleagues were recruited for a mission in the Suicide Squad. Big Sir and Clock King perished (Multi-Man is immortal), but afterwards, Major Disaster stayed on with the Squad. This Squad was very short-lived, but in exchange for his services, Booker was granted freedom. (Suicide Squad, v.2 #1) After this group's leadership fell apart, Disaster accepted another mission at Superman's request. The Man of Steel offered Booker a chance to turn his life around and help him battle several villians. (??)

Oddly enough, Major Disaster's career was closely followed by the Batman. Apparently the Dark Knight saw something essentially good in Booker because he was recruited to join a substitute JLA when the main team was lost in time (JLA #69). Since the original JLA's return from the past, Major Disaster has remained with the team, hoping to continue proving his worth.

Booker's fate changed the day Vera Lynn Black approached the JLA with a proposition. It seemed that a powerful chaos was emanating from the Earth's very being. The mother goddess, Gaea, was awakening and in her anger she threatened to destroy humanity. The JLA and the Elite subsequently staged an elaborate battle and convinced Gaea that humans were worthy of inheriting the planet.

After this, Vera boldly proposed the formation of a sort of "black ops" JLA team: the Justice League Elite. Superman and Batman denied Vera membership in the League, which angered several of their teammates, including Disaster, the Flash and Manitou Raven, who all believed that Black had proved herself worthy. They left the main JLA and allied with her in this new venture. (JLA #100) Thus the Justice League Elite became a sort of "not-exactly-sanctioned don't-ask-don't-tell covert operations unit. Their mission was to hunt and eliminate extranormal threats to the Earth before they went public. (JLA Secret Files 2004)

This new undercover branch of the League moved to a secret base in New Jersey called The Factory. (JL Elite #1) In their first mission, they infiltrated an organization of assassins that led to the takedown of the despotic dictator, Hi-Shan Bhat. With Bhat in custody, Vera's disembodied brother, Manchester Black, began asserting some control over his sister, who blacked out while Bhat was being held. In her unconsciousness, Menagerie secretly coaxed Coldcast into killing Bhat. (#3)

During this time, Booker took to drinking heavily and became a true alcoholic. This contributed to the Elite's next, equally tragic case. The Elite went undercover against a villain called Aftermath, which brought them into conflict with the Justice Society! During the brawl, Major Disaster used his powers to boost Coldcast's, but instead sent him out of control. This caused Kasumi to accidentally impale Hawkgirl with her blades. Booker was unfazed and the Elite continued their mission to another dimention. (#5-6)

When Manitou Raven followed the team in pursuit of Aftermath and died taking the brunt of a bomb. (#8) Booker witnessed this and felt grave responsiblity for Raven's death. he returned Raven's artifacts to Dawn and then went on to privately attempt suicide in a bathtub. But Raven's spirit transcended death and reappeared to Booker. This revelation shook Booker free from his stupor; he picked himself up, left the Elite and joined a program to treat his alcoholism. (#9-10)

In the Elite's hour of need, Booker reluctanty agreed to help save Vera Black from the possession of her brother, Manchester. After their success, he returned to his treatment and asked his friends to give him some time away from "the life." (#12)

NOTES: There is some debate about whether Major Disaster perished in Infinite Crisis #7. There is an uncited claim floating around the Web that Dan DiDio himself claimed the person who died in that issue was not Major Disaster, but Boss Moxie. If true, this might be a little bit of post-Infinite Crisis retconning, as the two characters do not look alike. Also, Disaster's memorial statue is shown (also rather ambiguously) alongside other dead JLAers in 52 #24 (10.06).

Major Disaster also appeared in the Elseworlds story, The Nail. He and Count Vertigo were manipulated into framing Green Lantern but were beaten by GL and Disaster's mind was destroyed by a preset command upon interrogation.

+ Powers

Major Disaster originally relied on a variety of unique weapons to cause natural disasters to happen. He has since managed to make that power part of himself and can now generate disasters — great and small — at will. Disaster was one of those who accepted an offer from the demon Neron. Booker gained immense power from the deal, the ability to perceive the strands of chaos running around him. These he can then manipulate to various effects (usually catastrophic). He can even divine the fates of individuals by observing these chaos lines.

There does not appear to be any limitation on his power, but even when Disaster is not concentrating, he can cause trouble. Disaster also has devised a personal force field.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Action Comics #509, 783
  • Aquaman v.5 #14
  • DC Retroactive: JLA—The ’90s #1
  • Flash v.2 #125, 126, 128, 129
  • Green Lantern v.2 #43, 57, 182, 183 
  • Green Lantern v.3 #126
  • JLA #69, 71, 73
  •  Justice League America #34, 35
  • Justice League America Annual #4
  • Justice League Europe #6
  • Justice League International vol. 1 #23
  •  Justice League Quarterly #4
  • Outsiders v.1 #25
  •  Suicide Squad v.2 #1, 6-8
  •  Superman v.1 #341
  •  Underworld Unleashed #1, 3
  •  World's Finest Comics #279-281

» SERIES:

  • Suicide Squad v.2, 12 issues (2001-02)
  • Justice League Elite, 12-issue limited series (2004-05)