We’ve said it before, and we can say it again: With nearly a century of supers to choose from, inevitably you’re going to get duplicate noms de guerre… Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Name’s-The-Same Supers!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and the seventeen or so characters who share the codename Thunder, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN ‘NAME’S-THE-SAME’ SUPERS!
On the left, we have Pam Harris, an average teen who discovered a magic ring that transformed her into an adult superhero. Along with her brother Bill (as the hero Nightglider) Dawnstar fought all manner of crime, albeit generally not at a world-shattering level. As the superhero mascots of Dynamite Magazine, Dawnstar and Nightglider appeared for roughly half a decade in the 1970s before disappearing from our collective consciousness.
On the right is Dawnstar of Starhaven, whose 30th Century people were descended from indigenous tribes of North America. Bio-engineered with wings that allow her to fly even through space, Dawnstar is a mutant whose tracking powers work over interstellar distances and a long-standing member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Her iteration of the Legion of Super-Heroes was recently erased by the events of ‘Doomsday Clock’, though a new Legion (with a new Dawnstar) has taken their place in the reconfigured reality.
The younger daughter of Jefferson “Black Lightning” Pierce, Jennifer Pierce had difficulties coming to grips with her electromagnetic powers. After discovering that her father AND elder sister were costumed metahumans, Lightning joined them in the field wearing a costume that is 150% percent better than her nonsensical and over-designed comic book design. Seriously, comic book Jennifer looks like a porcupine caught in a plasma globe… it’s a mess.
Once known as The Living LIghtning, Miguel Santos gained powers thanks to his father’s involvement in a strange storm cult. Briefly a member of the West Coast Avengers, Miguel also had a run with the 50 State Initiative, as part of the official super-team of Texas, The Rangers. Most recently, he changed his name to just plain Lightning (to avoid comparisons to the buffoonish Living Laser) and joined his old teammates in a battle to save Earth from the Grandmaster. Debuting in 1990, Lightning is one of the earlier LGBTQ+ characters at Marvel Comics.
In the far-flung future year 2099, Aminah Ferrara was recruited by a team of mutants seeking the Mutant Messiah, falling in with a group that became known as X-Nation. She and her teammates were immediately thrown into a series of apocalyptic crises, during which much of the world was destroyed, and was seemingly killed in a conflict with The Phalanx. Her powers included telepathy, intangibility, teleportation and full-on reality warping madness. Whether or not she was 2099’s Mutant Messiah remains, as far as I can tell, unrevealed.
Wrestling champion and detective Terry Gardner crossed paths with some wily N*zis circa 1943, teaming up with a parrot to solve the murder of the bird’s owner. One of the few supers whose costume was bought off-the-rack, Terry takes his name from a fortune he received that said “At Twilight, you will be Master.” Though he only made four appearances, he is memorable for inventing the mullet, and seemingly visually inspiring the Global Guardian called Tasmanian Devil.
One of many illegitimate offspring of Captain Dynamo (whose powers apparently included an inability to say no to an attractive partner), Gage Reinhart initially inherited dad’s telepathy and went by the alias Scatterbrain. After the members of Dynamo 5 has their powers shifted around, Gage received the ability to fly, but wasn’t nearly as skilled with it as his half-sister was. To overcome his inability to stop or steer easily, he was given an armored costume that both protected him and weaponized his velocity.
Little is known about the anti-hero/mercenary Ramjet, not even his real name, but what is known indicates that he has been active for more than three decades. As a member of Dharma’s Shadow Cabinet, he and his teammates clashed with Static and the team called Heroes over their public profile, during which time he mostly got mocked for his age. He worked with a younger partner called Windshear, but whether she was a daughter, a romantic partner or just a regular old comic-style ward is never expanded upon. His jacket is amazing, though.
On the left, in the skull-and-crossbone pajamas, we have Tim Roland, whose official superhero nom de guerre is, apparently, Kid Terror. After accidentally messing up a secret formula, Tim caused his mentor, Bob Benton, to be transformed into the superhero Black Terror, he reproduced the accident to give him super-powers of his own. Much of the time, Black Terror just called him by name, as part of the sidekick naming problem inadvertently created by Batman calling his partner “Robin”. Though he has honest-to-Kal-El super-powers, Tim carries sneezing powder for REAL emergencies.
On your right you will find Tim Mulrooney, also present for an accident that empowered his chemist mentor, Jeff “Captain Wonder” Jordan. Though Tim gained super-powers of his own, his lesser exposure meant that his own powers wore off. After Captain Wonder was lost (stuck in suspended animation during a battle in Germany), Time tried to make a go of things as Captain Tim, only to find that neither he, nor his powers, were up to snuff anymore. When Captain Wonder returned, decades later, Tim begged him to give him back super-powers, only to find that Cap no longer remember the formula. A despondent Tim then seemingly took his own life.
It’s weird that there would even BE two characters named Tim, much less two that shared a nearly identical origin story.
One of a literal army of superheroes empowered by Dr. Franklin Faze, Steven Hart, Jr. (in green on the left) is a member of the Faze-1 Fazers team. Superhumanly strong and essentially invulnerable, thanks to an infusion of Floidium alloy, he gets his name from his indomitable will. His twin brother Brian is also a Fazer, but there are literally thirty of them, so I don’t think we’ve ever seen them together.
Secret agent Adam Tanner was fatally wounded in the line of duty, but his mind and consciousness were downloaded into an indestructible artificial body to save his life. Now, he fights for a world he doesn’t recognize, to stop the machinations of the evil Dr. Alpha, who wants to something something rule the world!
On the left, in the green impractical armor, is future freedom fighter Alexander Lyons, a member of one of the many groups of Team Titans. After traveling back in time to prevent the birth of Lord Chaos, the man who turned his world into a nightmare, he fought alongside a group of teen heroes, using his field experience to keep them in line, calling himself “the drill sergeant from hell.” He and his team were erased from the timeline entirely due to #TimeTravelShenanigans during the Zero Hour Crisis.
On your right, in the red-and-blue impractical armor, we have Jackson King, field leader of Stormwatch. A powerful telepath and telekinetic (powers inherited from his father, the villain called Despot), Battalion combines his psionics with armor and guns that were further empowered by his own TK. Though Stormwatch became part of the DC Universe after the events of Flashpoint, I can’t find any Jackson King appearances in that new reality, meaning that he, too, no longer exists due to #TimeTravelShenanigans.
3) MIKE NESMITH
And this, dear friends is why Ten Things exists. In the lower panel, you see MIke Nesmith, retired superhero and troubleshooter for hire as part of Explorers, Inc. Eschewing most of the costumes and pageantry of super activity, the Explorers team got paid handsomely to investigate and/or fight forces beyond the ken of normal men. With his explosive powers, Mike can not only blast enemies, but through controlled blasting, can fly at high speed. Most of his story remains untold.
Above him, you find the Monkeeman from Texas, singer/songwriter/producer/inventor of the music video/director/all-around creative force Mike Nesmith, for whom our other Mike was certainly named. Though he only appeared as a Monkeeman in one episode and the costumed heroes only made three appearances in total, the use of Monkeemen footage in the Season 2 opening sequence have cemented them as an important bit of Monkees history. Now 77, Mike has toured as recently as 2018 and, as far as I’m concerned, canonically has super-powers.
2) SIR PRIZE
On the left, in the medieval armor, we have a mystery member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, brought in with his partner Miss Terious to replace Superboy and Supergirl after a Kryptonite-related disaster. He showed himself to be familiar with the team’s operations, so much so that the Legionnaires suspected that he was, in fact, Superboy in disguise. Instead, he was revealed to be Thom “Star Boy” Kallor, who had been ejected from the Legion for misconduct some months earlier, but whose heroism in armor got him reinstated to the team once more.
On the right, in the quasi-Spartan armor, we have Tony (last name unrevealed) who, like nearly all of Metropolis, got a strange phone call urging him to Dial-H for Hero and found himself transformed. He had hoped that having powers would bring him closer to his boyfriend, only to find said boyfriend cheating on him. He fell in with a group of other temporary super-heroes and discovered that perhaps what he had needed all along wasn’t another boyfriend, but just a working support system. People have learned worse lessons from the H-Dial.
Lawyer/ninja/superhero/bad choice for a boyfriend Matt Murdock is one of the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe. After losing his sight as a child, he was raised by a single dad and developed a strange radar sense that allows him superhuman senses. Coupled with his physical prowess, the Man Without Fear keeps the streets of Hell’s Kitchen safe, even though it’s been the gentrified hipster paradise of Clinton (home of ‘The Daily Show’) since at least the 1990s.
On the right, we have one of the few utterly perfect costumes in comic book history, worn by Bart Hill. After witnessing the death of his parents, he trained himself in combat with the boomerang and became a vigilante crime-puncher throughout the 40s. His visuals inspired Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt and perhaps the 3-D Man and, though he’s a relatively minor hero of a forgotten publisher, he is well-remembered and often relaunched. Most recently, he’s been appearing in some Dynamite Comics as The Death-Defying ‘Devil, with his costumed unchanged.
This week’s topic is all me (and one of my favorites, as I think this is the fourth or fifth time we’ve done it) but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra to suggest your own! Or, for more Ten Things madness, check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because there are only so many words in any given language, and even Power Rangers has two Green Samurai Rangers. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!