I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s only so many names to choose from. Welcome to Ten Things: Ten ‘Name’s The Same’ Supers!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and all thirty-nine Captains Marvel, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN ‘NAME’S THE SAME’ SUPERS!
10) RED MASK
The masked identity of cowboy hero Tim Holt (based on the movie actor of the same name, who starred in dozens of westerns from the late ’30s through the ’50s), the Red Mask persona is based in-universe on a legendary masked hero from 100 years earlier. Though he initially took on the bandanna to frighten the bandit El Terror, Tim continued using it and the spiffy crimson cowboy suit to battle various owlhoots, hornswogglers and snozzwangers. Though the superhero boom was waning, Red Mask’s western hybrid adventures lasted through 1957, longer even than real Tim’s film adventures.
Though his real name was never revealed, Nedor Comics’ Red Mask was a Pacific Islander, making him a rare person of color in the comics of the late 1930s. HIs adventures were sadly short-lived, and may have been reprinted from syndicated newspaper comics (the details are really not clear), but Red Mask disappeared after the fourth issue of Best Comics in February of 1940.
The Grand Comics Database lists him as the first published African-American masked hero, but neither the African or American designation are supported by the only issue I have read. Either way, his dark skin was colored in pink on the covers of ‘Best Comics’, which is both par for the Golden Age course and deeply disappointing.
On Earth-3, where moralities are inverted and the Crime Syndicate rules with iron fists, Professor Martin Stein still stands out as extra evil. Luring unsuspecting innocents into his unethical experiments, Stein unlocked the secrets of the Firestorm matrix and fused his own form with that of a corpse, becoming the nuclear nightmare known as Deathstorm. He was murdered by Alexander Luthor, who stole his powers (but only after graphically crushing his skull.)
Wrestling fans may be thinking that Deathstorm here kind of looks like The Undertaker. That is 100% by design, as he is one of the stars of Filipino comic book ‘Wrestle Warriors Komiks’, where everybody looks oddly familiar if you know the 1993 WWF. Guided by Death herself (who looks a lot like Jim Starlin’s version from Marvel Comics), Deathstorm seeks the Sphere of Infinity, which is legally distinct from both the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Stones.
A high-profile, well-respected hero in the world of ‘Powers’, Olympia’s death was a shock to the public, especially once the sordid details came to light. The leader of the Golden Ones was left naked in an abandoned building, in the aftermath of a cardiac arrest during an illicit tryst with a groupie. The discovery of his Black Book, full of details of his extensive extracurricular sex life tarnished his reputation and left his widow wrecked, but the appearance of a pregnant ex-conquest was even more shocking.
The super-powerful second wife of Doc Noble, Olympia Noble had to deal with a number of issues in their blended super-family, including the machinations of Doc’s first wife, Gaea. Her children, Minutiae and Surge, struggled to fit in with the already-famous Nobles, but Olympia’s strength of will and love for her partner helped to hold the whole unit/super-team together.
It’s just a shame about how it all ended…
7) WONDER MAN
After seemingly dying in the explosion of an alien ion cannon, Simon Williams’ disembodied mind floated in the ether, eventually attaching itself to the Scarlet Witch, for whom he held a long-unrequited attraction. She reformed his ionic energy in order to defeat Morgan Le Fay, giving Simon a second chance on life. They even dated for a while, but when last seen, he was single and trying to live a pacifist lifestyle, despite being one of the most physically powerful beings on the planet.
Though Captain John Justice eschewed the space in his name, his atomic strength and invulnerability are equal to Simon’s. He also has x-ray vision, the ability to travel in time and a sixth sense that warns him of danger. These massive power levels are no surprise, as he is a creation of Mick Anglo, who also created Marvelman, Captain Universe and Miracle Man (who is different from Miracleman, the American version of Marvelman), all of whom are nigh-godlike in their superhero glory.
When his home dimension was destroyed in a catastrophe, Ssam-Yl was sent to Earth, where he built a life as Samuel Fox, self-made industrialist and billionaire. He has the usual power set you’d expect from a Superman-analogue, but also possesses the ability to move instantly in three-dimensional space, making him an even greater threat.
It did not, however, save him from a grisly demise in the superhuman Deathmatch that involved nearly all the supers of his world.
At the moment of his death, Jacob Kwon was empowered by a mysterious energy field known as the Ka-Chi, giving him the absolute apex of human physical abilities. Not only is he incredibly agile, strong, durable and fast, his aging is slowed and his Ka-Chi energy can actually physically affect his opponents, triggering illness, vertigo and even serious injury during combat. When you add in Jacob’s training as a surgeon, you have a truly formidable fighter, dubbed “the master of biological combat.” He is a well-regarded member of T.A.S.K., the Tactical Allied Superhuman Kommand.
With the help of a dimension-warper, Max Lord’s ex-wife Claire Montgomery assembled an all-new Conglomerate after Booster Gold and his teammates quit Max’s employ. Among them was Deadeye, whose skills with a bow rivaled even Green Arrow’s. What Claire didn’t realize was that Deadeye and all her new Conglomerate were in actuality from the anti-matter world of Qward, which at the time was the home of one of the various Crime Syndicates, and thus her new “hero” team was full of evil mirrors of the heroes of the DCU.
Hailing from Multiversity-era Earth-8, the world that approximates the Marvel Universe, Deadeye is a member of the Retaliators. Though he is “just” an archer, he stands side-by-side with super-soldiers, deities, armored dynamos and giant-men without hesitation. HIs world is sometimes also called Angor, and is plagued by the evil Extremists, all of whom would be very familiar to fans of Marvel Comics.
In my head-canon, his real name is “Flint Martin.” Your mileage, as always, may vary.
Hailing from Nigeria, Oyo Njeri is part of a long line of magical chieftains, and is capable of a vast array of magical-type spells and abilities. He is also the caretaker of powerful weather elementals called Ibejis, over whom his control is not quite as strong as his forebears. Oba is a member of the multi-national U.N. Force, ranking among their most powerful heroes.
Like his counterpart in U,N. Force, Apara was born to the West African Yoruba people, and was raised to manipulate forces that some would call magic. Apara changed his name to Oba Amutorunwa and became well-known among his people as a healer, as well as having the ability to temporarily augment his physical strength and durability and even fly. Having disappeared for several centuries, Oba resurfaced in 1981 and is now a reserve member of T.A.S.K.
The ghost of a fallen soldier of the American Revolutionary War, real name unrevealed, Sentinel’s afterlife involves being transported wherever the United States needs him most. Empowered by the Spirit of America, he fought crime for a handful of issues circa 1941, part of a literal horde of patriotic heroes to pop up in the wake of Captain America’s debut. Like many ghost heroes of the Golden Age, his powers are essentially limitless, including the ability to turn himself into a tiny spark.
A superhero fan and tech wizard, Dolante Murray became disillusioned when his favorite hero, the original Sentinel, was convicted of murder. Creating his own version of the exoskeleton that empowered the original (reverse engineered from a schematic gifted to him as a child), Dolante not only became the hero he wanted to see, he helped shape Youngblood into a new underground force, operating in secret under a fascist President/former superhero.
Known as the protector of the future, Dr. Scott Pike seems to be some sort of human/avian hybrid creature, who replaced his vestigial wings with bio-mechanical working metal prosthetics. His initial appearances as Knighthawk were in the pages of Continuity Comics, but he later appeared in books by Acclaim Comics, a completely different shared universe. So mysterious is he that, even after reading every one of his appearances, I don’t really know what’s going on with him or the mysterious Theta Force team he joins late in the series.
Police officer and karate-man Bryan Lee (no relation to Lucas or Jason, I presume) spends his nights punching crime after chasing them down on his sleek, oddly-proportioned-but-awesome motorcycle. Given his 1987 debut, I am willing to be strongly that he is influenced by Rex Smith’s short-lived TV series, ‘Street Hawk’, but his strip lasted much longer than the four-month tenure of that series. Knighthawk fought not only killers and rival biker gangs, but an invasion of man-eating aliens, and while my understanding of the Filipino language is limited, his adventures are visually impressive and exciting.
Hand-picked by Batman to be his replacement after Bane nearly killed him, Jean-Paul Valley’s aggressiveness got the better of him, and he upgraded his Bat-suit to become and armored mess of claws and sharp-edges. Trying to be Batman triggered his mental illness, and his murder of the villain Abattoir led a healed Batman to take back the mantle, leaving Azrael out in the cold, unless they needed his services, until he died.
If anything disproves the “Batman can plan for any contingency” line of thought, that storyline absolutely does.
One of the elemental Guardians of the Four Winds, Azrael is the guardian/guide of the East, able to transform from woman to eagle. An ally of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Azrael also helps oversee the Mighty Mutanimals, a group of (natch) mutated animals, I really like her whole vibe and aesthetic.
Actually, I just realized as I was writing that the gold portion of her costume is an eagle’s beak, which makes her breasts look like googly eyes or sunglasses, and now I have to take back any praise of her look. Mea culpa. Nothin’ to see here, please move along.
This week’s Ten Things Topic, Ten ‘Name’s The Same’ Supers, is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter! Or, you can 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 they just debuted a new character called Sentinel on the CW, which makes eleventy-six of those. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!