Jab’s Builds! (The Eradicator! Silver Banshee! Superboy-Prime!)

Where in all of your character write ups will go.
Sidney369
Posts: 273
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:18 am

Re: The Modern Day Prankster

Post by Sidney369 »

Jabroniville wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 2:03 am
-The Prankster is a natural fit for the Silver Age as well, doing silly things like teaming up with the Toyman to drive Superman crazy by breaking "ridiculous obsolete laws" like putting pennies in their ears in Honolulu
That story actually was good at showing the dynamic between him and Superman. Superman knew he was up to something, but didn't know what and couldn't prove any wrongdoing, and so his interactions with the Prankster looked like he was bullying him. The fact the Prankster knew this and antagonizing him as much of possible didn't help.
Image
Always ask before you use someone's Original Character.
Never ever use them without permission. Only Villains do that.
Skavenger
Posts: 319
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:56 pm
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Skavenger »

Regarding Power Girl, there's a ton of storytelling potential there, possibly even more than Superman's, and it's a shame that they've never fully embraced it at DC beyond "Superboobs."

I can hear people gnashing their teeth, but hear me out.

It's telling how often a superhero's life is forged by a tragedy. Spider-Man's existence became fully formed after the death of a single person. Batman became destined to be Batman after the death of two people. But they're still both "just" humans (albeit super-smart, and in one guy's case the master of everything he does because he lives in a world where it only takes half a day to master things and everybody else on the planet is just lazy, I guess). Superman is greater than any other single person, and for a storytelling feat like that, he loses and entire world. Every scrap of culture, every achievement, every wonder, every tragedy, every story, every legend, everything from Krypton is gone. Poof. Wiped from the universe outside from the odd scrap now and again, but it's that massive loss that also cements Superman as "Clark Kent" first and foremost, not Kal-El. Earth is more a home to him than Krypton ever was, but the fact that an entire planet can be wiped out at once, I feel, fuels his need to save everybody just as much as anything Ma and Pa Kent ever instilled in him. Whether it's one person or the entire planet, he knows that once someone's gone, so too is what they've ever done and what they could do (unless they're super-famous or something, but think of all the people who died that we'll never know anything about).

Supergirl, on the other hand, is a brilliant twist on it. She isn't "New Name from Earth" first and foremost, she KNEW Krypton and its achievements. She knew the culture, she knows the songs, she knows the stories, to her the loss is much more personal. She's a Kryptonian first, Earthling second, and placing her on Earth is a lot more complicated, because Superman (primarily) only knows Earth culture, so if he's suddenly quizzed on US History or something, he grew up with it. Kara doesn't have that luxury, she's hiding more secrets than just her powers, and it makes her almost a prototype X-Man before the X-Men existed, except that the world would love her if they knew she existed, not hate and fear her. She also acts to protect Earth in a different way, because while Superman knows that Krypton blew up and feels that Earth is delicate, for Kara it's more personal, because if something happens to Earth, it would be having everything being taken away from her for a THIRD TIME. It isn't selfishness that she protects humanity and the planet, but it's a passion that's equal albeit completely different from what drives Clark.

She's also a peer to Superman, someone who wears the same clothes, has the same powers, and isn't just a sidekick or a "lesser version" by any means. She's also taking something that sold really well and adapting it to be accessible to a new audience, which is why it's rather mind-blowing that it took 20 years before we got a super GIRL, but by then we already had a super DOG.

It kind of embodies gender politics in comics in a nutshell, but that's neither here nor there.

It's also telling that once she arrived, Binder and Plastino did everything they could to minimize her impact, from having Superman ship her off to an orphanage in the BIGGEST DICK MOVE possibly in comics history, to having her become a "secret weapon" he kept hidden away who could take his place when he was busy, thus making her someone else's problem...even if it was usually still their own problem later on. I, personally, don't like it when too much of Krypton shows up in comics (aside from Krypto, everybody loves Krypto), because it pokes a hole in the whole "Clark Kent of Earth" thing by reminding us that he's different, an alien, something isolated from humanity, when he should be the most human person on the planet. John Byrne's origin of Superman in Post-Crisis is, I think, the best version because it shows how Krypton was already a dead planet before Jor-El launched his son to a new life, and how it isn't the fact that he was smart enough to build it and do it that's important, but that he rebelled against the sterile standards of Krypton life where a husband could never embrace his wife, and in his defiance sent away his only son and then told his wife he loved her, a spark of "humanity" right before it was all consumed in fire. It's really, really poetic and beautiful.

But back to Power Girl. As a former Supergirl, she has all the tragedy of Superman AND Supergirl added to her, because not only did her home world died, but then her home DIMENSION died. She could easily fit in if she put on a sweater and jeans and pair of sunglasses (well, in a predominantly white culture she could, less so in, say, Egypt or Thailand or many other places), but when she met people with the same names and faces she knew before, it was always a small knife in her side because they weren't the person she knew, that whole plane of existence was gone, never to come back. Power Girl should be just as driven, if not MORE driven than Superman, to show up and fight back whenever there's any huge cosmic threats, because she's only of the only people who remembers what can happen when that kind of power goes unchecked, how it isn't just a "blip" and everybody's gone, but there's pain and suffering on a scale no other person in existence can comprehend.

That isn't to say she should be emo and sulking the whole time about "boo-hoo, everything I knew was gone." Have her be based in a city different from the one she knew growing up, have her be proactive around the world in checking in on people who became supervillains or cosmic threats in her timeline, and intervening before they get to that level, whether it's saving them from the machine that transforms them, being a sympathetic ear when tragedy does strike them, or finding ways behind the scenes to make sure disasters never happen to begin with. And by being "proactive" I don't mean what comics usually means by "have them actively hunt down criminals before they can do criminal activities and punch them repeatedly to teach them that they better NOT attempt anything" (ugh), but being proactive so that the stories, songs, and culture that were wiped from her home aren't destroyed here, that while she'll love her home and would love to have someone ask her about it so she can share the memories that she alone carries, she wants to make this one brighter and better by acting in it in a way nobody ever could on hers.

It would honestly be a great book if DC had some behinds the scene villain who was attempting to arrange these origins of supervillains so he could weaken key superheroes or distract people from his own machinations, but Power Girl was unintentionally foiling them because this same plot had happened on her world, and even though she never knew there was someone making it all happen, she had already seen the effects of it. You'd have a superhero already aware of the bad guy's plan and stopping it without even being aware of doing it, and a villain who has to defeat a superhero who already knows what their plot is and trying to adapt without thinking of something that their Earth-2-self had also thought of.
User avatar
Batgirl III
Posts: 3545
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:17 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Batgirl III »

The “trickster” is just a classic archetype of storytelling, as evidenced by the legends, myths, and folklore from darn near every culture… and a villain who uses weaponized children’s toys is just a great visual and comics are above all a visual medium. So, the trickster with lethal toys is a natural fit as a comic book villain.

Of course, as today’s DC Comics wasn’t always one company, it’s an amalgamation of their own original properties and those of the dozens of other publishers they absorbed over the years: Charlton, Fawcett, National, et cetera et cetera. So when they folded the heroes from those books into their single universe, they often had to keep the rogues… and thus we have 9,001 different “tricksters with toys” bad guys.

Marvel Comics largely sat out The Interregnum (that long span of time between the end of WWII and the birth of the Silver Age) at least on the superhero side. So the Marvel Universe as we know it really didn’t get started until ‘61… DC was stuck with thirty extra years of Superman, Wonder Woman, the Batman and the nine hundred superheroes they bought from other companies.

If I were in charge of DC, I’d probably just quietly drop all of the trickster with toys villains except the Joker, Toyman (Schott and Okamura [as a rarely used foreign super team type hero]), Harley Quinn and the Trickster. The Joker and Harley would remain primarily foes of the Batman and other Bat Family books; Toyman would be pushed into more of an Arcade style “journeyman jobber” for stories set in elaborately built “play sets”; and the Trickster would be the guy you use when you want to tell a Joker story but don’t want to to be full noir. He’s the “PG Rated” alternative to the “Hard R” of the Joker.
BARON wrote:I'm talking batgirl with batgirl. I love you internet.
Jabroniville
Posts: 22013
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Jabroniville »

Skavenger wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 4:56 am John Byrne's origin of Superman in Post-Crisis is, I think, the best version because it shows how Krypton was already a dead planet before Jor-El launched his son to a new life, and how it isn't the fact that he was smart enough to build it and do it that's important, but that he rebelled against the sterile standards of Krypton life where a husband could never embrace his wife, and in his defiance sent away his only son and then told his wife he loved her, a spark of "humanity" right before it was all consumed in fire. It's really, really poetic and beautiful.
You're probably the first person I've ever heard with the take that Byrne's was the best, because I swear DC spent the next 30 years going "takesies backsies" on that, to much fan rejoicing.
But back to Power Girl. As a former Supergirl, she has all the tragedy of Superman AND Supergirl added to her, because not only did her home world died, but then her home DIMENSION died. She could easily fit in if she put on a sweater and jeans and pair of sunglasses (well, in a predominantly white culture she could, less so in, say, Egypt or Thailand or many other places), but when she met people with the same names and faces she knew before, it was always a small knife in her side because they weren't the person she knew, that whole plane of existence was gone, never to come back. Power Girl should be just as driven, if not MORE driven than Superman, to show up and fight back whenever there's any huge cosmic threats, because she's only of the only people who remembers what can happen when that kind of power goes unchecked, how it isn't just a "blip" and everybody's gone, but there's pain and suffering on a scale no other person in existence can comprehend.
This was, more or less, what Geoff Johns was trying... just clumsily and because he's gotta be god-tier dramatic with EVERYTHING, he also wipes out her cousin Superman I and Lois Lane... then she's not even a major part in the crossover after a point and she's just kinda "around" in the revamped JSA title because he has other toys to play with.

He attempted the whole "I can't find something to put here!" with her boob-window costume and other drama, but as soon as Palmiotti & Conner took over, it was "LOL Boobs". And the JSA All-Stars book which was otherwise her key series for a while... wasn't great and faded away into nothing. Actually, the Huntress/Power Girl New 52 book is more or what you were talking about, as BOTH women were orphans of Earth-Two in that series, but it kinda never went anywhere and just became an "Earth-Two" book after a while. I barely remember a single thing that happened in those 20+ issues, despite the George Perez art in the first part.

Part of the issue was that Power Girl was kind of... an ugly and unnecessary character for like FIFTEEN YEARS before they figured out what to do with her. I honestly don't know why they didn't just kill her off with the Crisis, too, as she was extra weird with the random origins. Or at least have HER be the "Supergirl" that joined the Legion or something, I dunno. But all of that stuff in the '90s JLI books led to her gravitating from "Womyn Power" to "Nasty Team Bitch" so fast, and then she was everyone's least favorite Flying Brick so NOBODY wanted to deal with her.
User avatar
Ken
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:40 pm
Location: DeKamore, Madiganistan

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Ken »

Jabroniville wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:18 amPart of the issue was that Power Girl was kind of... an ugly and unnecessary character for like FIFTEEN YEARS before they figured out what to do with her. I honestly don't know why they didn't just kill her off with the Crisis, too, as she was extra weird with the random origins. Or at least have HER be the "Supergirl" that joined the Legion or something, I dunno. But all of that stuff in the '90s JLI books led to her gravitating from "Womyn Power" to "Nasty Team Bitch" so fast, and then she was everyone's least favorite Flying Brick so NOBODY wanted to deal with her.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Kids.

It's like this. Power Girl and Huntress were, relatively, the breakout stars of the All-Star Comics revival. And, well maybe, Doctor Fate. They weren't huge stars, but they gave Kara a tryout in Showcase in 1978, and if the "DC Implosion" hadn't happened shortly afterwards, I'm not sure what would have happened. In the early 1980s, they gave Huntress the backup strip in Wonder Woman when DC decided to expand all their books from 17 to 25 story pages.

The Crisis happened, for good or ill. And there's really no way to make "Batman's daughter" fly in a Marvelized DC Universe where Batman is still active. But Power Girl? Why kill off a character when she can be repurposed? Paul Kupperburg made his pitch early. The issue of Secret Origins that introduced the Atlantean origin came out the same month as Superman #2 (vol. 2). And she was still being used in Infinity Inc.. Mid-1988, they gave her a limited series. Yeah, and then she ended up in Justice League Europe and just LIKE EVERYONE ELSE FROM that team, she got flanderized.

It wasn't that no one wanted to use her. She appeared in Flash, Starman, Peter Cannon - Thunderbolt, and Birds of Prey. She's a character with something akin to a Red Guardian fanbase. No, she's not a star. She's not even at the level of Hawkman or Green Arrow. But she's one of those named characters that DC kept trying with. Hell, you didn't even mention her year she was a member of the Sovereign Seven. Yeah, I know, it wasn't mentioned in your research, right?

She was never gone from the DCU for very long. They kept trying with her. Yes they f'ed up her origin. It took them a long time to figure out that her Red Guardian Fanbase overlapped significantly with the JSA's Red Guardian fanbase. And once they started leaning back into that it helped.

But DC wasn't about to kill off a character with a significant fanbase just because society can't decide if a sexy woman is powerful because her sexiness gives her influence or does being sexy hold women back?
"he can't even run his own life; I'll be damned if he'll run mine" ― Jonathan Edwards "Sunshine"
Jabroniville
Posts: 22013
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Amalak

Post by Jabroniville »

Image
Image

"Krypton destroyed my home-world! I will have my vengeance upon it! Every survivor of its destruction-- Superman, Supergirl, the Bottle-City of Kandor-- All of them will die at my hands!"

AMALAK- Pre-Crisis
Created By:
Jim Shooter & Wayne Boring
First Appearance: Superman #190 (Oct. 1966)
Role: Anti-Kryptonian, Forgotten Villain
Group Affiliations: None

-Another forgotten villain, Amalak hails from Jim Shooter's run at DC, where he was the sole survivor of a doomed planet. He blamed Krypton for the disaster, via means that were never revealed, and came to Earth seeking out he and other survivors from Krypton for revenge. He otherwise made his living as a space pirate. His first scheme involved turning four random humans into energy beings under his control- naturally, one of these randomly chosen individuals was CLARK KENT, and the blast meant for him deflected off into another person and halved his powers instead. He therefore struggled against the four beings more than normal, but Amalak was taken out by feedback from the devices controlling the beings. Recovering, he arrogantly wanted his own directions to be responsible for Superman's death, and this stalled the beings just enough for Superman to take back the lead- Amalak's ship was blown to pieces during the conflict and the day was saved.

-Amalak later returned, teaming with a man he convinced to blame Krypton after his own world was destroyed by a Kryptonite asteroid- Superman & Supergirl convinced him otherwise and he helped save the Earth from destruction. Years later, Amalak was brought to Clark Kent's apartment along with a group of other villains (Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Mister Mxyzptlk, Terra-Man, Parasite, Toyman, Prankster, Kryptonite Man) by Clark's even next door neighbor (an alien shapeshifter named Mr. Xavier)- Amalak & Brainiac teamed up against Supes with a force field & laser rifle, but he beat both of them. In his final appearance, Amalak tried to convince Superman to break his vow to never take a life. He teamed with the Kryptonian scientist Nam-Ek and set off a plague on Earth- Supes beat Nam-Ek but Amalak took Supergirl hostage and thought her dead when his ship exploded. Amalak's plan was to make the plague vector, a non-living creature, into a living one at the last second when Superman "killed" it to stop the plague... but Supes just brought the creature to its own planet. Superman beat Amalak (who had by this point beaten Flash & Green Lantern), and the villain committed suicide, saying it was Superman who did it. Supes, however, immediately dismissed the notion as he knew he couldn't have. Amalak thus cursed Superman with his last breath and died. Jesus this story had a lot of moving parts.

-Amalak was... an evil Space Scientist I guess. He usually had high-tech gear and gigantic (but explosion-vulnerable) spaceships. His gear contained things that could challenge Superman, but typically not stop him, so he often had a lot of labyrinthine plans.

Image

AMALAK- Post-Crisis
Created By:
Jim Shooter & Wayne Boring
First Appearance: Superman #190 (Oct. 1966)
Role: Anti-Kryptonian, Forgotten Villain
Group Affiliations: None

-Eons later, in 2007, Amalak was returned. It was now explained that his planet was once part of Krypton's interstellar empire in the old days, and his world was devastated by Admiral Dru-Zod. Amalak was the sole survivor, and swore vengeance on all Kryptonians, just like the original had. Super-strong and durable, he attacked Superman and the people of Kandor, and upon learning that Christopher Kent was Zod's son, he put focus on killing him. He was ultimately arrested by Karsta, a Kryptonian who'd initially planned to flee, but was inspired by Superman's courage.
Jabroniville
Posts: 22013
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Jabroniville »

Ken wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 8:17 am It's like this. Power Girl and Huntress were, relatively, the breakout stars of the All-Star Comics revival. And, well maybe, Doctor Fate. They weren't huge stars, but they gave Kara a tryout in Showcase in 1978, and if the "DC Implosion" hadn't happened shortly afterwards, I'm not sure what would have happened. In the early 1980s, they gave Huntress the backup strip in Wonder Woman when DC decided to expand all their books from 17 to 25 story pages.

The Crisis happened, for good or ill. And there's really no way to make "Batman's daughter" fly in a Marvelized DC Universe where Batman is still active. But Power Girl? Why kill off a character when she can be repurposed? Paul Kupperburg made his pitch early. The issue of Secret Origins that introduced the Atlantean origin came out the same month as Superman #2 (vol. 2). And she was still being used in Infinity Inc.. Mid-1988, they gave her a limited series. Yeah, and then she ended up in Justice League Europe and just LIKE EVERYONE ELSE FROM that team, she got flanderized.
The thing is, both her & Huntress had weird origins- Power Girl's is tied to Superman directly. So it's weird to me that one was discarded and the other kept- they couldn't just make Huntress the daughter of Wildcat or something? I mean, look at Fury and how weird HER origin became! PG didn't show up much on Infinity Inc. after the first set of issues, though the "someone in the back was obviously a fan" seems to explain most of it. as she showed up a few times thereafter, getting that new origin story.
It wasn't that no one wanted to use her. She appeared in Flash, Starman, Peter Cannon - Thunderbolt, and Birds of Prey. She's a character with something akin to a Red Guardian fanbase. No, she's not a star. She's not even at the level of Hawkman or Green Arrow. But she's one of those named characters that DC kept trying with. Hell, you didn't even mention her year she was a member of the Sovereign Seven. Yeah, I know, it wasn't mentioned in your research, right?
Wikipedia has two sentences on it, but mentions that the book is out of continuity and the only note is that she "joined it" so it was non-notable. I mean, I don't even know what Sovereign Seven IS.
User avatar
Batgirl III
Posts: 3545
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:17 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Batgirl III »

Is it me or did Pre-Crisis Amalak go from Vincent Price to Keanu Reeves?
BARON wrote:I'm talking batgirl with batgirl. I love you internet.
Jabroniville
Posts: 22013
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Acid Master

Post by Jabroniville »

Image
Image

ACID MASTER (Philip Henry Master)
Created By:
Jim Shooter & Wayne Boring
First Appearance: Action Comics #348 (March 1967)
Role: One-Off Foe
Group Affiliations: None

-Another one-off, this Jim Shooter creation was a traitor who joined an Iron Curtain country and committed acts of espionage and chemical warfare against Western powers. The FBI combatted him using a special agent they recruited for his timid, quiet personality: Clark Kent. They figured a dynamic personality would draw too much attention, and figured this milquetoast reporter fit the bill. Naturally, Clark was QUITE effective at countering his opponent, using not only his FBI training, but secretive use of his super-powers, and the Acid Master was defeated before he could sabotage the U.S. space program. He has never reappeared.
Jabroniville
Posts: 22013
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

The Lightning Master

Post by Jabroniville »

Image
Image

THE LIGHTNING MASTER (Real Name Unknown)
Created By:
Jerry Siegel & Leo Nowak
First Appearance: Superman #14 (Feb. 1942)
Role: One-Off Foe
Group Affiliations: None

-A weird one-off villain, the Lightning Master held Metropolis for ransom in a 1942 story, using a giant lightning cannon. However, he was killed during the fighting. In 1982, Roy Thomas brought the character back, making him an agent of Ian Karkull's- his mission was to kill future American President Harry S. Truman, but Superman teamed up with Johnny Thunder to send the villain to jail.
greycrusader
Posts: 953
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:25 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by greycrusader »

Lightning-Master was more effective in his All-Stars appearance, where Superman couldn’t make it through multiple blasts of an upgraded lightning cannon without the Thunderbolt’s help. My mental continuity is that he was a recurring foe for Kal-L, along with Alexi Luthor, Ultra Humanite, and a few other Golden Age enemies.
Jabroniville
Posts: 22013
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

The Ultra-Humanite

Post by Jabroniville »

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

"--Unfortunately for mankind, I prefer to use this great intellect for crime. My goal? DOMINATION OF THE WORLD!!"

THE ULTRA-HUMANITE (Real Name Unknown, aka Gerard Shugel, Delores Winters)
Created By:
Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
First Apperance: Action Comics #13 (June 1939)
Role: Powerhouse Scientist, Another DC Ape-Themed Villain
PL 11 (166)
STRENGTH
10 STAMINA 10 AGILITY 3
FIGHTING 11 DEXTERITY 0
INTELLIGENCE 10 AWARENESS 3 PRESENCE 4

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+7)
Athletics 2 (+12)
Deception 6 (+8)
Expertise (Science) 9 (+17)
Expertise (High Culture) 4 (+12)
Insight 2 (+5)
Intimidation 2 (+4)
Perception 2 (+5)
Stealth 3 (+6)
Technology 9 (+17)
Vehicles 5 (+5)

Advantages:
Beginner's Luck, Chokehold, Diehard, Equipment 5 (Sci-Fi Gear), Fast Grab, Great Endurance, Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Improved Hold, Inventor, Languages (Various), Ranged Attack 10

Powers:
"Animal Senses" Senses 3 (Acute & Extended Scent, Low-Light Vision) [3]
"Ape Strength & Long Arms" Strength-Damage +0 (Feats: Reach) [1]
Features 1: May Use Hands as Feet [1]

Offense:
Unarmed +10 (+10 Damage, DC 25)
Initiative +7

Defenses:
Dodge +10 (DC 20), Parry +11 (DC 21), Toughness +10, Fortitude +10, Will +6

Complications:
Motivation (Power)- The Ultra-Humanite wishes nothing less than total world domination.

Total: Abilities: 102 / Skills: 48--24 / Advantages: 25 / Powers: 5 / Defenses: 10 (166)

The Ultra-Humanite- Superman's Forgotten Early Iconic Foe:
-The Ultra-Humanite is a guy created VERY soon after Superman's debut, and was actually the FIRST super-villain faced by Superman- curiously, HE was the bald villain, and Luthor had red hair. An artist's error drew admiration from Siegel & Shuster, who dropped Humanite and made Luthor the main, bald villain- and so this would-be mega-villain had a run of only ONE YEAR. The Humanite later had an extra to him- he started putting his friggin' brain into the bodies of APES, making him the very first ape-based villain at DC! Now, why there are so many damn albino apes in the DC Universe I have NO idea, but when there's an entire city of TALKING ONES, I guess I can lower my disbelief a few notches. Unfortunately, he kind of lost appeal over the years, as "Earth-One" Superman's stories took over, and he was mostly left on "Earth-Two", fighting the Justice Society of America. The only comics I've read featuring him was the pretty-cool "Villain-Controlled World" story of JSA where he took over the world by putting his brain in Johnny Thunder's Alzheimer's-ridden body to command THE THUNDERBOLT, and a rag-tag band of misfts (Hourman II, Jakeem Thunder, Crimson Avenger II, Power Girl, Captain Marvel & Icicle II) had to save all reality. That series did GREAT "Epic" events.

The Golden Age Ultra-Humanite:
-So the Ultra-Humanite is actually the very FIRST true "Super-Villain" faced by Superman all the way back in Siegel & Shuster's Superman stories- the polar opposite of Superman, he is a criminal mastermind with a crippled body (paralyzed from the waist down) but a brilliant mind. It's pretty clever that the most powerful man on Earth would be beset with troubles at the hands of a crippled villain using only his mind. The Ultra-Humanite was a top-tier villain whose goal wasn't thievery, but world domination. His genius was said to be the result of an unknown experiment- in his first appearance, he's behind an attempt at controlling the taxi union (THE FIEND!), and actually KNOCKS OUT Superman with electricity enough to kill "five hundred men", then makes his escape- Superman awakens and deliberately crashes the plane (this is back when most Golden Age foes laid waste to their villains), but no corpse is found.

-Superman's next encounter with him involved using a company to deliberately build substandard subway tunnels (yes, industrial fraud was once a regular thing superheroes had to fight- Superman fought injustice of ALL kinds, remember- something that slowly got forgotten as the books got obsessed with supervillains and aliens & junk), then cruise line extortion, then creating an artificial plague. With no true name ever having been given, he was a mystery. In that last story, Superman places the villain in front of his own gun, killing him, but he's temporarily revived "via adrenalin" next issue, and begins the most iconic phase of his career- body-hopping. He has his men transplant his brain into the body of actress Delores Winters. She "retires" from acting and hosts a Hollywood party on a yacht, then has "her" men rob everyone at gunpoint for ransom. She gets the ransom money but decides to kill the actors anyways (I love that focus on evil)- Superman breaks the electrocution device and saves the day. Dolores escapes and recurs in this form, holding Metropolis for ransom after seducing and torturing a scientist with an atomic weapon. Captured once again, Dolores leaps into a volcanic crater to his/her apparent doom. The "Luthor" character soon stole this guy's thunder, and the Ultra-Humanite ended up forgotten.- the villain stopped appearing only one year after his debut (the second Luthor debuted), then vanished for several decades.

The Modern Ultra-Humanite:
-It would be many decades later before the Ultra-Humanite reappeared- this time after the Multiple Earths had shown up and the revelation that the Golden Age Superman had lived on and married Lois Lane. In the Superman Family anthology comic, the villain came back as the most prominent of the Golden Age villains. It would actually be *1981* before the character would attain his iconic "Albino Ape" appearance, having his brain transplanted into the ape's body in an annual JLA/JSA crossover! He formed Brain Wave, Monocle, Rag Doll, Psycho-Pirate, Mist, and four villains from Earth-1- Plant Master, Signalman, Cheetah, and Killer Frost- into a new Secret Society of Super Villains. Roy Thomas using him in The All-Star Squadron, and as the very first villain faced by Infinity Inc.- the Humanite took control of the minds of the Golden Age Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman & Flash and the Infinitors had to save the day and stop him- the villain Brain Wave would sacrifice his life to empower his son, Brainwave Jr., with the power to render the Ultra-Humanite brain-dead.

-The Crisis on Infinite Earths re-wrote DC continuity and removed Earth-Two from existence, with a new Golden Age on the sole existing Earth- the Ultra-Humanite was used in this context, with old stories being "retold" to involve other 1940s heroes instead. He's even stated to have killed Lee Travis, the Golden Age Crimson Avenger. However, the character doesn't show up very much- the 1990s didn't have a lot of use for an albino ape super-villain (yes, they'd kept him in that look), but in 2002's JSA: Stealing Thunder, the character returns, having his body taken from the ape's body and placed in the Alzheimer's-ridden body of JOHNNY THUNDER, who takes back the Thunderbolt from a nervous, admiring Jakeem and immediately uses it to take over the entire world. ALL of it. He controls the minds of all DC's superheroes (except Wildcat, the only one immune- "Of all God's creatures, only one cannot be made the slave of the lash. That animal is the cat. Mark Twain said that"), has Alan Scott's "Green Flame" empower his giant city, and holds total power. Ultimately, only a ragtag band of people who proved immune or got sprung can save the day- Captain Marvel, Jakeem, Hourman II, Crimson Avenger II, Power Girl, Sand and ICICLE of all people. This story puts Marvel & Hourman on the JSA (the Golden Age Hourman suggests they "Short Out" the Thunderbolt and Jakeem gets it back, reversing time to before the Humanite got the pen that controls him). The villain seems ready to escape justice, but the computer housing his brain is destroyed by the Crimson Avenger, avenging the death of the Golden Age Crimson Avenger.

Later Stories:
-The Ultra-Humanite is brought back and given more backstory, as well as a real name (Gerard Shugel, based off of Siegel & Shuster). It turns out he was born with a great intellect, but a degenerative disease ate away at his body and he started his brain-swapping habit. He and a colleague found an albino gorilla in the Congo. It was revealed that in 1948 Per Degaton and Despero saved the Delores Winters version from a hospital and engaged in the transfer (... did they retcon the earlier story then?), forming the "Time Stealers" until they were beaten by Booster Gold & Ted "Blue Beetle" Kord. He appears as a Journeyman Villain after this, losing to Blue Beetle & Guy Gardner and Power Girl (in a story where she does some of her greatest power feats ever... but is still bloodied by a punch from what is essentially a normal ape)- Power Girl has Terra III's people of Strata give UH a new body, and he pretends to be reformed. And that's where continuity ends- he shows up in both the New 52 and Rebirth eras.

The Ultra-Humanite's Powers:
-The Ultra-Humanite's Power Level makes him a decent threat, but it's his inventions that are the real danger- his Mind Control devices are potent enough to make slaves of DC's Golden Age heroes, and his plots are advanced enough to make him one of very few villains to have SUCCESSFULLY taken over the world. The character's tech can be as impressive as Lex Luthor's, and his mind every bit as devious. Also I think he gave himself mental powers once?
Last edited by Jabroniville on Thu Jan 26, 2023 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Davies
Posts: 4248
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:37 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Davies »

It's been theorized that the Ultra-Humanite may have been Siegel and Shuster's way of continuing to write about the first, villainous Superman that they'd created, from their short story "The Reign of the Superman".
Skullmageddon: "Ah, for that you'll need Ghost Peppers. About six I'd say."
Kyoko: "What's a hot pepper gonna do to a magic-y vine?"
Skullmageddon: "No, a literal ghost pepper. They're the ghosts of peppers prematurely eaten."
Kyoko: "This town is so weird."
User avatar
Batgirl III
Posts: 3545
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:17 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Batgirl III »

He’s a disembodied super-genius evil brain in the body of an ape.

Which would make for absolutely hilarious interactions with Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, but alas, I don’t think the Brotherhood of Evil has ever met the Ultra-Humanite…
BARON wrote:I'm talking batgirl with batgirl. I love you internet.
User avatar
Ares
Site Admin
Posts: 4747
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Jab’s Builds! (N.R.G.-X! Power Girl! The Prankster!)

Post by Ares »

Batgirl III wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:07 am He’s a disembodied super-genius evil brain in the body of an ape.

Which would make for absolutely hilarious interactions with Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, but alas, I don’t think the Brotherhood of Evil has ever met the Ultra-Humanite…
Unfortunately for the Brain and Monsieur Mallah, the only other sentient ape I recall them meeting was Gorilla Grodd that time when all of Earth's villains were banished to another planet. It went . . . poorly for the villainous duo.
"My heart is as light as a child's, a feeling I'd nearly forgotten. And by helping those in need, I will be able to keep that feeling alive."
- Captain Marvel SHAZAM! : Power of Hope (2000)

Want to support me and Echoes of the Multiverse? Follow this link to subscribe or donate.
Post Reply