162. Ryan Choi and Paul Kirk (9 points each)
Ryan Choi, as described by DC solicitations, is "a young hotshot professor who's filling the extra spot on Ivy University's teaching staff. .. and who inadvertently ends up filling the old Atom's super-heroic shoes". This new Atom is based on a redesign by Grant Morrison. He debuted in the Brave New World one-shot, a preview of upcoming projects, and then appeared in the series, The All-New Atom, written by Gail Simone.
Born in Hong Kong, Ryan was a longtime protégé of Ray Palmer who had been corresponding with him through letters. After Palmer's disappearance, Ryan moved to Ivy Town in America to assume his mentor's place on the staff of Ivy University. Following clues left by Palmer, Ryan discovered a "bio-belt," allegedly the size and density-manipulating device used by his predecessor, and became the new Atom with Palmer's apparent blessing. Though taken with the superhero lifestyle, Ryan is a scientist first and foremost and approaches many of his adventures from the perspective of scientific discovery and investigation.
Since taking his mentor's place, Ryan has found himself at the center of a conflict between the forces of science and magic. It has been claimed that the impossible feats performed by Ray Palmer during his super heroic career caused the very fabric of reality to warp in Ivy Town's vicinity, making it a nexus of paranormal activity. Many parties, including the ancient "Cancer God" M'Nagalah and the microscopic aliens known as "The Waiting," consider Ryan a key player in the war and have made attempts to recruit, capture, or kill him. He is advised by among others Ivy Town Police Chief, Liza Warner (Lady Cop).
As The Atom, Ryan has faced numerous challenges, including the shrinking serial killer Dwarfstar, his strict and disapproving father, and being seduced, kidnapped, and even swallowed alive by the size-changing villainess, Giganta. Through it all, his ingenuity and keen deductive mind have served him in good stead.
Ryan Choi was involved in the search for the missing Ray Palmer, traveling into the restored Multiverse along with Donna Troy, Jason Todd and a Monitor nicknamed "Bob". Literally plucked back to New Earth, he leaves his role of dimension-hopper to Kyle Rayner, returning to defend Ivy Town from a monster invasion. Later he is led to a mistaken belief that Ray Palmer has become an egocentric madman, and Ryan himself may be only a pawn of his mad fantasies. This is later revealed to be a ploy by Ray's old nemesis, Chronos. The All New Atom series ended with issue 25, when Ryan, with some help from the returned Ray Palmer, is able to discern between the truth and the lies fed by Chronos and his new assistant, Lady Chronos, a former sweetheart of Ryan turned to crime. Ryan eventually discovers that Ray Palmer never knew of Choi: instead the bio-belt was a tainted gift from Jia, and the Ray Palmer letters a clever forging by Chronos, meant to force Ryan into accepting the Atom mantle, and taking the blame for the staging menaces sent against the city. However, due to Ryan's ability into sorting out the mess, besting the Chronos couple and restoring Ivy to normalcy, Ray finally gives him his blessing.
Both Ray and Ryan are later employed by Checkmate, as their powers are necessary to activate the Black Gambit, the plan to transport the last free humans on Earth-0 to another universe. Ryan expresses his desire to find a new identity for himself, since Ray, despite giving him his blessing earlier, had resumed using regularly his Atom identity. In Justice League: Cry For Justice #1, Ray and Ryan are seen fighting Killer Moth together and at the end of the battle both of them show respect towards each other, with Ray asking Ryan to continue using the Atom name.
Another outsourced character. You know, I love the design of this costume. I really do. It simple yet sophisticated. There was enough color without making it look to gaudy, ya know? Anywho, on with the entry.
Paul Kirk, big game hunter, detective and the (powerless) super-hero known as Manhunter, was killed by a stampeding elephant in the late 1940’s.
And that’s where his saga begins.
His dead body was taken and preserved by a shadowy outfit called “The Council”. They cloned Kirk’s body multiple times and brainwashed each and every one to be their assassins/soldiers.
One day the Council successfully revived Paul Kirk from the pale shade of death and bade him to do their bidding. They gave him a healing factor and coerced him into siding with their goal of world control. At first willing, Kirk’s morals eventually got the better of him and he purposely failed an assassination he was to complete.
For defying the Council, Kirk was now enemy #1. They and their Paul Kirk clones pursued Kirk across the globe in a cat versus mouse game. Once meeting up with the Batman it became a mouse versus cat game and Kirk, sacrificing his second life, destroyed the Council.
Various clones however survived, most were killed by Council hunters, one joined the Power Company (only to be killed by Manhunter III (Mark Shaw) and another formed the original Secret Society of Super-Villains (he was killed during battle against Darkseid).
161. The Creeper (10 points)
Jack Ryder was a Gotham City television talk show host fired due to his outspoken nature. Finding employment in network security, he attempted to rescue a scientist named Dr. Yatz whom mobsters had kidnapped in order to obtain his newest discoveries. The chief mobster hosted a masquerade party at his mansion. To gain entry, Ryder improvised a costume from yellow tights and facial make-up designed to look like skin, a green wig and trunks, and red gloves, boots, and furry cloak. Ryder located Yatz inside, but the mobsters detected him and opened fire, wounding him. Yatz injected Ryder with a serum and implanted a device in his wound. The serum conferred the power to almost instantly heal any wound and granted Ryder enhanced strength and agility. The device, used with its activator, caused the costume to disappear, leaving Ryder naked. Yatz inadvertently left the activator out of the wound, but did not realize this until after the tissues had healed. At this point, the mobsters found their victims again, this time killing Yatz. Ryder discovered that with the activator, he could regain the wild costume whenever he wished. With it, a crazy laugh and his enhanced physical abilities, he had no trouble routing the crooks.
The eventual revision of The Creeper's origin eliminated the serum and claimed that the scientist surgically implanted two devices (some accounts claim a single device with two effects) that enhance Ryder's physical abilities and can re-create an object whose "imprint" is stored in its circuitry). The scientist performed this surgery to save Ryder's life after criminals he was investigating attacked and drugged him. Because the scientist was unaware of the drugs in Ryder's system he inadvertently recorded their "imprint" at the same time he recorded the "imprint" of the costume. Thus the device that recreates Ryder's costume when he becomes The Creeper also recreates the drugs in his system, explaining The Creeper's odd personality. These drugs so overwhelmed Ryder's system that their effect became cumulative and The Creeper gradually became more irrational. But when The Creeper became Jack Ryder, the drugs disappeared and with them, the psychosis. Eventually, Ryder came to believe that he and The Creeper were two entirely different people instead of two character roles played by the same man; he also held this belief in his Creeper persona, which became increasingly disdainful of "Jack Ryder." The Creeper once regained his rationality while bound by Wonder Woman's magic lasso, but the implications of this have never been explored.
In 2006, The Creeper's origin was retconned again. Jack Ryder appears as the host of a controversial TV show, You Are Wrong!, promising $1,000,000 to the person who catches The Creeper. He also deliberately antagonizes his guests to raise attention to such themes as stem cell therapy and medical nanotechnology. Ryder seeks a scoop on the revolutionary "nanocell" therapy of Doctor Vincent Yatz, a mixture of nanotech and stem cell therapy able to enhance the body's regeneration to the point of giving a new skin to a badly scarred burn victim. Ryder is caught attempting to steal Yatz's newly-discovered technology. Unable to escape, Yatz injects the last sample of nanocells, still unstable, into Ryder's body in an attempt to keep the sample safe from the villains. But when the villains shoot Ryder in his head, the regenerative substance interacts with his body chemistry resurrecting him as The Creeper. Ryder dispatches his opponents, discovering that he is now able to call forth his bestial alter-ego at will.
This version of Jack Ryder appears in the Brave New World one shot, set close after the events of Infinite Crisis. Jack discovers evidence that a U.S. Senator is set to be assassinated. Unfortunately, it is not concrete enough to take to either the police or the air. Jack agonizes over the situation, ultimately making his way to a rally held by the Senator and, as The Creeper, literally taking a bullet for him. The Creeper manipulates a security guard, forcing the man to fire upon the gunman, who is slain. Later on his show, Ryder then offers the money for the capture of The Creeper.
160. Simon Dark (10 points)
Simon Dark is a creature similar to Frankenstein's monster in that he's made from stitched together pieces of other bodies. His face and size reveal that he's approximately 17 or 18 years old, but he usually wears a mask to cover it. Simon doesn't know who he is or how he got to where he is now. He can remember everything he's ever read or seen, but he can't remember his past. He lives in the remains of an old, blown up church with his pet cat and things he's scavenged.
Simon is very stealthy, often appearing behind enemies without them knowing it. He is also exceptionally agile and strong for his size (or even for a normal human). Though Simon walks and talks like a normal person, he may be just a living corpse. He was able to travel across Gotham's rooftops shortly after being shot repeatedly by police and pronounced dead by a coroner, so he probably doesn't react to physical trauma the same way other people do. However, he was not totally unharmed by the shooting, so exactly how his body works is unknown. Simon Dark seems to have been created from a number of dead bodies and, as such, has no memory of his past. He exhibits some super-human abilities such as enhanced speed and agility, as well as extraordinary strength. He also states that he remembers everything he reads, which implies he may have a photographic memory.
Simon Dark is named after a children's nursery rhyme popular in Gotham City. This is how the song goes:
"Lurks in the shadows. Hides in the dark.
Simon. Simon. Simon Dark.
If you're good he'll stay away.
If you're bad he'll make you pay.
Lurks in the shadows. Hides in the dark.
Simon. Simon. Simon Dark."
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