Thursday, December 6, 2018

Arrow Shots: The Early Days of Dr. Destiny

If you follow your dreams, you can find your destiny.   That's what the scientist called Dr. Destiny tried to do.....except his dreams were to eliminate the Justice League of America and to take over the world.

Not exactly dreams friendly toward the rest of the world, but such is where stories start.

Here's where the story of Doctor Destiny begins.....

When Gravity Went Wild

As JLA members were dealing with a prison break featuring some of their fiercest foes (like Flash's Captain Cold, Green Lantern's Puppet-Master, Martian Manhunter's Getaway Mastermind, Aquaman's Electric Man, Wonder Woman's Professor Menace and Green Arrow's Clock King, the heroes found themselves hampered in trying to stop their foes...all by one of their own,  the JLA's newest member, Green Arrow!  This is the story of Justice League of America #5 (June-July, 1961) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

But, Green Arrow had a reason for his madness, and seeing his teammates in action helped prove it....the team had been infiltrated by a villain (disguised as Green Lantern), but a new one, Dr. Destiny.

Dr. Destiny then used the machines he had used to manipulate gravity to send the JLA members floating away, but, all this time gave the captive Green Lantern time to get free, save the day and stop Dr. Destiny and save his friends, which also showed the team that Green Arrow, the JLA's newest member on his first case after joining the team, was a good choice.

This story has been reprinted many times, including in the first Justice League of America Giant issue, Justice League of America #39 (November, 1965), as well as in the first volume of every JLA reprint Archive, Omnibus, Showcase Presents or Tradepaperback.

The Super-Exiles Of Earth

Next up, the members of the JLA find themselves confronted by more powerful, yet villainous, versions of themselves in Justice League of America #19 (May, 1963) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, under a shocking cover by Murphy Anderson.

The real JLA members are blamed for the crimes of their counterparts, sentenced to be exiled despite the efforts of Atom's lawyer (and fiance) Jean Loring and exiled into space.  That's when the team members realize that these super-version of themselves were created by Dr. Destiny using a newly invented weapon of his (the Materioptikon, which allows the doctor to manifest dreams) and that the team has to return to Earth.

The super heroes return in their alter egos (except Aquaman, who really has no other side to disguise as), facing their foes again (with little success), until the Atom manipulates the minds of the dream-JLA at subatomic size, allowing the heroic alter egos to beat their more powerful versions, and after capturing Dr. Destiny and returning Aquaman from exile, use Superman's Amnesium to erase their knowledge of each other's alter egos (except for those that already had shared those facts) from each other's minds.

This story was reprinted in Justice League of America #112 (May, 1963), the third Justice League of America Archive, the second Justice League of America Showcase Presents and Tradepaperback, and the first Justice League of America Omnibus, as well as in the JLA: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB.

The Deadly Dreams Of Doctor Destiny

Next up, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman and Atom all have strange dreams where they gain new abilities due to an encounter with an odd object, but this leads them all to their doom, as originally related in Justice League of America #34 (March, 1965), by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs, under a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.

Scarier still, Snapper Carr finds those objects in the JLA's Secret Sanctuary (a ring for Batman that gives him uncontrollable speed, gloves for Hawkman that hinder his flight, glasses for Superman that remove his Kryptonite vulnerability but give him vulnerabilities to yellow and fire, a mask for Wonder Woman which broadcasts her thoughts and an antennae for the Atom which gives him uncontrollable telescopic vision), and the items leave the JLA's Souvenir Room, to find their dreamers (and they start down the dooms their had dreamed!).

Thankfully, knowing their dooms via dreams helped the JLA, as they where able to stop their foes (like Batman's Joker and Hawkman's Chac) by knowing how to avoid their mistakes.  The teammates realize that Dr. Destiny must be behind this menace, and go to his prison cell to stop him, realizing he has been able to create a new Materioptikon within his own dreams, and arrange psychiatric treatments to stop him from being able to dream that way again.

This story was reprinted in the Limited Collector's Edition #C-46, in the fifth Justice League of America Archive, the second Justice League of America Showcase Presents and Omnibus, and in the fourth Justice League of America tradepaperback.

Operation: Jail The Justice League

Green Arrow is the focus of this issue, Justice League of America #61 (March, 1968) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene, wherein our hero again discovers that the JLA has been infiltrated by Dr. Destiny.

To smoke out the villain, Green Arrow reveals his identity as Oliver Queen and that he is quitting being Green Arrow. The male members of the team think he must have been influenced by something, so all go out disguises as Green Arrow, and end up facing one of their own villains (Luthor for Superman, Penguin for Batman, Dr. Light for the Martian Manhunter, Tattooed Man for Green Lantern, Captain Boomerang for the the Flash, Cutlass Charlie for Aquaman, I.Q. for Hawkman and the Floronic Man for the Atom).

The heroes are defeated, and the villains change identities with the heroes, putting the JLA in jail as their foes.

Oliver learns that it was Dr. Destiny disguises as the villains, using his Materioptikon, and stops him from capturing the Atom, then after calling Wonder Woman and Snapper Carr, and getting the heroes changed back to their normal selves, end up facing the real versions of those villains at the Secret Sanctuary.

After defeating them,  Hawkman realizes who Dr. Destiny disguised himself as -- the Atom -- as the Atom was the first one to the meeting where Oliver presented his resignation (and Atom, who travels by telephone line, couldn't have been the first one he needs someone there to pick up the phone to let him in!).

This tale has been reprinted first in the Limited Collectors' Edition #C-41, as well as in the eighth Justice League of America Archives, the fourth Justice League of America Showcase Presents and the second Justice League of America Omnibus.

I'll Kill You In Your Dreams

Dr. Destiny had undergone major changes before he appeared again in Justice League of America #154 (May, 1978) by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin (all foreshadowed by a cover by Michael William Kaluta and Al Milgrom).

As the Justice League couldn't let Dr. Destiny sleep, they had psychiatrists hypnotize him into not sleeping, which caused the doctor many problems, as his body started to wear out, become pale and draw in, making him look like a living skeleton.

But, Dr. Destiny was a model prisoner, and got himself an early release, to go back to building a physical Materioptikon, and using the dreams of Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Atom and Black Canary against them (as they stayed in a new Gotham Starscraper hotel).

After the JLA members dream their doom, they nearly face it again in reality, or would have, if his plot hadn't been discovered, and the Atom manipulated his new machine to give the heroes a happy ending (not so much for Dr. Destiny).

This issue is scheduled to be reprinted for the first time with the Justice League of America Bronze Age Omnibus Volume 3.

But Can An Android Dream?

Red Tornado is the focus of Justice League of America #175 (February, 1980) by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin (under a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano).

The android JLAer was not feeling up to snuff, thinking his lack of a life is preventing from being a helpful teammate, so Reddy resigns from the JLA for a time, to reestablish his alter ego as John Smith.  As John Smith, Reddy adopts the orphan girl Traya he had rescued, as well as restarting his relationship with social worker Kathy Sutton.  During this time, members of the JLA are attacked by dream monsters from their psyche....including Red Tornado, who is able to defeat his menace (and realizes if he dreams, he can do dream to do better as well, and plans to, as a member of the JLA).

Sadly, this issue has yet to be reprinted.

The Dream Factories Of Doctor Destiny

The story from the last issue continues in Justice League of America #176 (March, 1980) by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin (under a Dick Dillin/Dick Giordano cover).

Joined by Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Zatanna, Red Tornado tracks down Dr. Destiny, whose previous work was only a test run of his real plan, to trigger three Materioptikons across the world simultaneously, locking the population of the world into a world of waking nightmares (which he feels is just revenge for his own loss of dreams).  The heroes split into teams of two and head to locations to stop the machines, which they do.

This story has yet to be reprinted.

A Dream Of Demons

Next up, a smaller group for Dr. Destiny to face, as he only haunts Superman and Black Canary in DC Comics Presents #30 (February, 1981) by Gerry Conway, Curt Swan and Vince Colletta, under a cover by Rich Buckler and Steve Mitchell.

Dr. Destiny is settling in to Arkham Asylum, and even sleeping well, unlike Black Canary, who is having dreams of Larry Lance, warning her of some evil to come (sending her to seek out Superman for help at his Fortress of Solitude).  Seems Dr. Destiny has found a way to tap into a Dream Dimension, and is working on controlling it as a way to attack the world.  Superman builds Black Canary a way to get into the Dream Dimension, unknowing finding Dr. Destiny there, and, as the heroes face off against Dr. Destiny's dream horrors, Black Canary finds strength from Larry in her dream state and uses her Canary Cry to make the area unstable, allowing her and Superman to leave, trapping Dr. Destiny in the Dream Dimension (which leaves him sleeping in Arkham Asylum).

If I Should Die Before I Wake....

This leads Dr. Destiny to the Justice League of America Annual #1 (1983) by Paul Levitz, Len Wein, Rick Hoberg and Dick Giordano, with a cover by Hoberg and Giordano.

This time, Dr. Destiny faces a JLA a little in turmoil, with Green Lantern Hal Jordan confined offworld (with John Stewart showing up in an early rare outing as Earth's Green Lantern of the time) and Batman off forming the Outsiders.  So, Commissioner Gordon has to use Elongated Man to let the JLA know that Doctor Destiny has escaped Arkham Asylum.   The JLA split up and go across the world, but end up being captured by Dr. Destiny's dream machinations, except for one member, who gets help from Jack Kirby's second (red and yellow) Sandman, master of the Dream Dimension (who had hijacked the Sandman's realm as a place to hold the JLA).

They freed the team and defeat Dr. Destiny...and even offer this Sandman a membership to the JLA (but, as he can only exist in the real world for an hour at a time, Sandman declines).

Dr. Destiny, like most of the DC Universe, shows up next during the Crisis On Infinite Earths, though his role is little more than a cameo.

Continued Dreams

Dr. Destiny continues to scheme against the JLA and others, getting an alter ego (the name of John Dee) as he faced off against Morpheus (Neil Gaiman's Sandman, also known as Dream of the Endless), who, by his captivity had supplied Dr. Destiny the original red ruby which was the power source for the Materioptikon (and, in getting his power back from the ruby, Morpheus granted Dr. Dee some dreams in his sleep).  Sadly, Dr. Destiny started to dream up alternate realities to defeat the JLA, and still continues to do so.

Destiny Written 

Dr. Destiny is not to be confused with the Book of Destiny, used by Destiny (of the Endless).   Destiny was one of the hosts of horror tales from Weird Mystery Tales and Secrets of Haunted House (like Cain and Abel for the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets), and carried with him the Book of Destiny, in which one's fate is written.

Destiny was always careful with this book, as, in the wrong hands, history could be rewritten....

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