Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Two Face Plus Two Origins Grodd and Doctor Light

Secret origins were all the rage in comics for a time....and finding out here to now unknown facts on characters was an interesting idea.

So, when DC Super-Stars #14 (May-June, 1977) rolled around, here was a chance to explore the beginnings of two villains, Gorilla Grodd and Doctor Light, (but with different heroes helping them get their start as shown on this Jim Aparo cover), as well as the origins of the master of duality.....Two-Face!

But, there are dangers with this as well....

G -- As In Guardians, Green Lantern And Gorilla Grodd

First, a story where the Guardians of the Universe revealed unknown facts to the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (Hal Jordan), about one of his early cases, in a story by Bob Rozakis, Rich Buckler and Bob Layton

Here, it was suggested that it was Green Lantern that, unknowingly, brought Gorilla Grodd, Solovar and the rest of Gorilla City to Earth, as an extension of one of his missions to the planet of Calor in Green Lantern #1 (July-August, 1960).

Nice idea, but impractical, as around this time, Flash was first encountering the Trickster in his own magazine, having encountered Grodd a while ago (and Flash and Green Lantern were co-founders of the JLA before this as well, with Flash encountering Grodd before the JLA formed).

A later telling of the origin in Secret Origins #40 (May,1989) by Cary Bates, Greg Weisman, Carmine Infantino and Mike DeCarlo, had the gorillas here on Earth mutated in the later 1800s by a meteor that crashed to Earth, and constructed a device to shield their city from outsiders after an encounter with some explorers (until Barry Allen stumbled upon the city later).

Double Take

The second story of the issue, by Jack C. Harris, Ed Davis and Josef Rubinstein, was an interesting exploration of the origins of Two-Face, looking at the career of District Attorney Harvey Dent, and how he worked with detective David Davis to take down Boss Moroni and the corruption of Gotham.  Dent learned that Maroni was really aiming for the detective when Dent was hit by Maroni's throw acid in the courtroom (the tragedy that led to Dent becoming Two-Face).  Oddly, his time as Two-Face served him well, as his two-sided coin deflected a bullet that would have killed him (and, as chance would have it, deflected into Maroni).

Consistent with his usual origins, but oddly lacking Batman in this tale (though slightly tied to his appearances in Teen Titans with his "daughter", the Joker's Daughter/Harlequin...a crazed bit of continuity confusion herself!).

Secret Origins Special #1 (1989) by Mark Verheiden, Pat Broderick and Dick Giordano, explored Harvey's relationship with his wife, his becoming district attorney and working with Batman, and tragic turn into Two-Face (yet that he still loved his wife, Grace - called Gilda, pre-Crisis, as he had recently saved her as Two-Face from Dalton Perry, a criminal Dent had put away in jail).

Let There Be Dr. Light

Last, but not least, is the story of Arthur Light, by Paul Kupperberg, Dick Ayers and Jack Abel, where Light invented a device that allowed him to transport to another planet, in this case, Thanagar, where he was able to steal technology that was based on light, which he used to fashion his villain identity of Dr. Light (imagination was not his strong point).  Dr. Light fought a young Thanagarian officer on his supposed first trip to Earth, Katar Hol, though he did not get the light devices back, so Dr. Light was still able to become a menace to the JLA, including Green Arrow, as well as the Teen Titans.

Problem arose with this story as well, as Katar Hol wasn't as available to be that Thanagarian police rookie (checking his extended origins in Brave and the Bold), and before the Crisis, the origin was amended to be "a Thanagarian police officer" who faced Dr. Light.

Secret Origins #37 (February, 1989) by Craig Boldman, Mike Parobeck and Ken Branch pull a Dr. Light of their own, stealing a thought from that past origin (but add to it and change it).  Arthur worked at S.T.A.R. Labs, but was a failure, until he stole the light costume from scientist Jacob Farley, who invented the costume to be a hero like the JLA, but died before he got a chance to.

The DC Super Stars issue also contained on page summaries (with earlier art) on Brainiac and the Shark...and provide an interesting look at the thoughts of creators in the 1970s, trying to link various heroes and villains (and serve as a nice example now, of some of the differences between the DC Universe, from pre-Crisis to after the Crisis On Infinite Earths!).

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