Thursday, January 18, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Memorial to dead childhoods."

Your Top DC Heroes part 36

Written by Chris Mitchell on Tuesday, January 19 2010 and posted in Features
Three characters I can see chap bitching endlessly about. Yay.


85. Doc Savage (29 points)

docsavage.jpgWill someone please get this man a fucking shirt? Holy crap, I mean really...

Doc Savage, whose real name is "Clark Savage, Jr.", also known as "the Man of Bronze", is a physician, surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and musician — a Renaissance man. A team of scientists (assembled by his father) trained his mind and body to near-superhuman abilities almost from birth, giving him great strength and endurance, a photographic memory, mastery of the martial arts, and vast knowledge of the sciences. Doc is also a master of disguise and an excellent imitator of voices, though he admits to having trouble with women's voices. "He rights wrongs and punishes evildoers." Dent described the hero as a mix of Sherlock Holmes' deductive abilities, Tarzan's outstanding physical abilities, Craig Kennedy's scientific education, and Abraham Lincoln's goodness.

He resides on the top (86th) floor of a New York City skyscraper, implicitly the Empire State Building, reached by Doc's private high-speed elevator. Doc owns a fleet of cars, trucks, aircraft, and boats which he stores at a secret hangar on the Hudson River, under the name The Hidalgo Trading Company, reached from his home by a pneumatic-tube system called the 'flea run'. He sometimes retreats to his Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic--which predates Superman's similar hideout of the same name. All of this is paid for with gold from a Central American mine given to him by the local Mayans in the first Doc Savage story. (Doc and his assistants learned the little-known Mayan dialect of this people, allowing them to communicate privately when others might be listening.)

Doc's greatest foe, and the only enemy to appear in two of the original pulp stories, was the Russian-born John Sunlight, introduced in October, 1938 in the Fortress of Solitude. Early villains in the "super-sagas" were fantastic schemers bent on ruling the world. Later the magazine was retitled Doc Savage, Science Detective, with a more realistic detective feel where Doc broke up crime rings. With a new editor, the last three magazines returned to the super-saga, then was canceled, as were most other pulp magazines.

A keynote of Doc's adventures is that no matter how fantastic the monster or menace, there was usually a rational scientific explanation at the end. A giant mountain-walking spider was revealed as a blimp, a scorching death came from super-charged electric batteries, a "sea angel" was a mechanical construct towed behind a submarine, Navy ships sunk by a mysterious compelling force were actually sabotaged, and so on. But Doc Savage also battled invisible killers, a murderous teleporter, and super scientific foes from the center of the Earth.

In early stories some of the criminals captured by Doc received "a delicate brain operation" to cure their criminal tendencies. The criminals returned to society fully productive and unaware of their criminal past. It is referred to in Truman Capote's book, In Cold Blood, as an older Kansan recalls Doc's "fixing" criminals he had caught.

84. Jesse Custer (29 points - 1 first place slot)

jessecuster.jpgJesse is the son of John Custer, a U.S. Marine, and Christina L'Angelle, a troubled runaway. The couple met when Christina, encouraged by the Vietnam War-protesting group she was traveling with, spat in the eye of the first soldier she saw returning from overseas. Despite the assault, the two recognized a sense of displacement in each other, and a relationship formed. Quickly, John and Christina fell deeply in love and gave birth to a son, Jesse.

It was in Jesse's early years that his father instilled a love of cowboys in him, and taught the boy to protect women, never tolerate fools, and "to be a good guy, 'cause there's way too many of the bad." Their happiness was short-lived, however, as Christina's family finally caught up with them with the intention of bringing her home. Psychotic thugs Jody and T.C. were prepared to murder John until they realized he was the father of Christina's son and were obliged to take him along.

Jesse was taken back to the family home and introduced to his maliciously intelligent, yet decrepit Grandma, who began to teach him to both love and fear God. John and Christina were married, although John secretly vowed to escape with his family after a suitably safe period of time had passed. Sadly, they were caught during the escape attempt, and Jody killed John in front of young Jesse's eyes. After further torment from Jody, Jesse vowed never to cry again.

After that, Jesse and a normal childhood were "ships that passed in the night," with the only nods being his loving mother, a pet dog, and his best friend Billy-Bob, a one-eyed, inbred swamp-dweller. Gradually, however, his family managed to cruelly take these from him, too. Jesse was educated largely by his mother, while the sadistic Jody taught him mechanics, fighting, and shooting. He was frequently punished by being placed in an airtight coffin and then submerged at the bottom of a river. Jesse's sanity was held intact by the company of a spirit taking the form of cowboy legend John Wayne. Whether this spirit is a genuine manifestation of the Western hero, or if it is simply a coping mechanism spawned from his movie-watching history with his father is uncertain. In either case, there's no question that "The Duke" held him together.

By his late teens, the death of his parents and his best friend Billy-Bob gave Jesse the necessary drive to escape the L'Angelle family and run away.

Jesse was a cocky young man, using his skills and good looks to get easy money and girls. Eventually, he ran into a woman who would change his life forever: Tulip O'Hare. The two fell in love and, along with Tulip's friend Amy, pursued a life of crime, stealing expensive cars and never getting caught. The three soon became indebted to a criminal who also stole horses to sell on the meat market. With the help of a former Texas Ranger, Jesse and Tulip freed the horses and defeated the thieves, and Jesse hanged the French meat-dealer for horse-rustling and murdering the ranger, whom Jesse had grown to like and respect (as seen in "Preacher: Tall in the Saddle").

Jesse and Tulip enjoyed a high life of crime and sex on the highways — Jesse planned on proposing to Tulip but the sudden reappearance of Jody and T.C. prevented that. Threatening to kill Tulip if he ever spoke to her again, Jesse simply 'disappeared' from her life and was pressed into the clergy by his Grandma. Finally admitting defeat and turning to alcohol, he began practicing as reverend to an ungrateful and ignorant Texas town.

Soon enough, the John Wayne spirit that had appeared to Jesse now refused to talk to him, condemning him as a "faggot." Jesse's desire to point out the hypocrisy of his congregations' lives was finally resolved when he chanced to encounter the comedian Bill Hicks (in either Dallas or Houston, as Jesse was a trifle too drunk to remember properly). Watching the performance of Hicks' cynical, caustic yet utterly truthful wit inspired Jesse to live to a higher standard; when he heard of Hicks' death, he decided to confront his congregation in the local bar, where he pointed out the residents' dirty little secrets. Eventually, Jesse was cut short when he accused a drunk of having raped a hitchhiker. The rapist, whose father had paid off the judge, beat Jesse unconscious with a pool cue.

During a sermon the day after he was attacked in the bar, Jesse was suddenly struck by a supernatural force later identified as Genesis, grafting itself to Jesse's soul and releasing an explosion of energy that destroyed the church and the town, killing the whole population. By a well-timed coincidence, Tulip had hitched a lift with an Irishman named Cassidy after having just bungled her first job as an assassin. The two discovered Jesse among the rubble of the church and, after some discussion, agreed to help him to safety, although Tulip was still furious with Jesse over his sudden abandonment of her five years before. The death of the townsfolk and the rumored appearance of a stone-faced, dual-pistol wielding cowboy brought the involvement of both local law enforcement and the FBI.

Through subsequent bloodshed and black humor, the following is revealed: Merging with Genesis has given Jesse "the Word of God," a power which forces the listener to obediently follow his commands, so long as the listener can hear and comprehend what is said. This power is signified by Jesse's eyes glowing an eerie red. The highly charismatic Cassidy, while appearing to be human, is actually a vampire well into his 90s. The mysterious cowboy is the unstoppable Saint of Killers, sent on a mission from Heaven to find Jesse and subsequently Genesis. Genesis is the result of a sexual union between an angel and a demon, something not defined by good or evil, and perhaps more powerful than God Himself. It escaped its confinement in Heaven and fled to Earth, finding Jesse.

When Genesis was born, God left Heaven, and no one knows where He went or why. Much of this information was forced from an angel using Jesse's newfound power. Jesse also made a new friend in Cassidy after initially calling him an abomination for drinking blood. Unfortunately, Jesse also discovered he was being followed by the Saint of Killers, who was sent to hunt down the mortal who had merged with Genesis.

Following these revelations, Jesse decided to use his power to track God down and make Him face up to His own wrongdoings as Creator. Jesse's quest for God would take on the form of an unconventional road trip. He visited many American landmarks, including New York, Texas, and New Orleans.

83. Damian Wayne (30 points)

damienwayne.jpgDamian Wayne, he is The Hood of this list. Oh yes.

I am gonna do a write up based on his Robin act. Cool? Cool. After the events of Battle for the Cowl Dick decides it’s time he takes up the mantle of his mentor but says they have to do it his way. The first thing he does is move himself, Tim, Damian and Alfred out of Wayne Manor and locked up the Batcave, and moved into the penthouse in Wayne Tower. They also used a massive secret bunker that Bruce built as their Batcave. Dick said “the Batcave was him and this will be me”, Dick’s first act as Batman was to stop the Scarecrow unleashing his fear toxins on Gotham.

Dick’s first big decision as Batman was to give the mantle of Robin to Damian so he could keep an eye on him, but he did this without consulting Tim. Tim feels betrayed, but Dick tells him he wants Tim to be his second in command, his partner, not his sidekick, but their conversation is interrupted by Damian, now wearing a new Robin suit. He begins to mock Tim, but he quickly regrets this when Tim punches Damian in the face, and is only held back by Dick. Tim walks out with Dick shouting after him. Tim became Red Robin and traveled the world to find out if Bruce Wayne is really dead.

Dick and Damian build a flying Batmobile which they uses for the first week of their partnership, Damian is hostile towards Dick often saying he wasn’t the real Batman.

Dick and Damian respond to the bat-signal, when they arrive on the police station’s roof they meet Jim Gordon and two other policemen where they are about to talk about Mr. Toad and his connections, when the policemen are radioed about trouble in the police station. Batman and Robin set out quickly down the stairs to the front desk to help the police. When the Dynamic Duo leave the roof, Gordon and the two other Policemen comment on how different Batman and Robin are, saying they used to be taller.

At the front desk a man who is on fire is injuring and burning police officers and is then joined by a very, very fat man dressed in a tutu and three martial arts monks strapped together. Batman and Robin arrive to the front desk. Batman lets Robin fight the three monks, but he can only fight them to a stand still, and unable to beat them, so Batman steps in and easily defeats them.

Damian goes against Batman’s orders and goes after the fat man while Batman fights the other gang members. The fat man revels they are there to free Mr. Toad but he is stopped by Robin. The fat man is massive compared to Damian, but during the fight Robin brutally breaks the fat man’s arm and then violently interrogates him. Damian is only stopped when Dick has to physically restrain him. When Damian was fighting the fat man someone managed to sneak into Mr. Toad’s cell and kill him.

When they arrive back at the Bat-bunker Dick and Damian yet again come to verbal blows, Damian calls Dick a mockery to Bruce’s legacy and then rips the Robin badge of his uniform and tells Dick he will find a teacher he respects, he then gets on his motorbike a leaves.

Dick confides in Alfred telling him he’s having trouble adapting to his new role, after a lengthy conversion Alfred tells Dick his Batman needs to be more of a performance and less of a memorial, Dick agrees and goes to look for Damian on a new Batbike called the Bat-Quad.

Damian manages to track down where the fat man’s gang came from. He finds out they came from a circus where he finds a girl with a mask on crying and tied up, begging Damian for help, but before he can help the girl he is attacked by a massive group of Dollotrons. Damian is overwhelmed by the numbers of the group and a Professor Pyg walks out, talking to Damian while he tries to defend himself. One of the Dollotrons then set of a massive explosion.

Batman is tearing up the city looking for Robin, he begins to integrate a prisoner from the circus who tells him where Robin is, meanwhile Robin in a circus tent wakes up bound to a chair with ropes and in the presences of a man wearing a pig mask and he is putting doll masks on other people, after a short conversation, the pig Professor orders one of his goons, who all have the same plastic face burned on to their real face, but one of the faces on to Robin. Damian breaks the ropes that where holding him to the chair and starts to fight the goon’s and easily beats them and Professor Pyg.

Meanwhile Batman stops one of Professor Pyg’s goons who has a bomb but when looks to disarm it he finds out it empty and realizes that they’re not carrying bombs they’re carrying germs and protects himself from the goon spitting germs at him. Back at where Damian is being held, Robin is fighting more goons, he finds a teenage girl with one of Professor Pyg’s plastic faces on her asking for help and Damian says that he promises to get her out, in the same room is the girls father who also has a plastic face and is being dragged around by Professor Pyg, the girl gets a Bunsen burner and burns him with it.

Professor Pyg escapes through a window and jumps onto a rollercoaster cart, Robin follows him but he leaves the girl he promised to get out, Doctor Pyg is still on fire, the two begin to fight but come flying off the cart at the corner, before Damian can get up Professor Pyg hits him over the head with a burning piece of wood but before he could deliver the final blow to Robin, Batman speeds in on the bat-quad Professor Pyg gets up and tries to escape but runs into a wall. Batman and Robin finish off the rest of the goons. Batman then realizes that this must be the place where they are keeping the deadly germs and goes looking for the antidote in case anyone was infected and calls Commissioner Gordon. Robin remembers the girl he left behind but the room is empty so she must have got out.

Later on while talking to Commissioner Gordon Batman revels that Professor Pyg was Lazlo Valentin and he created a new generation of narcotics (drugs) and was selling it to Russian gangsters to finance his strange opposition with making doll people (the goons with the plastic faces) and that the drug is extremely addictive (this is the same drug one of the doll people tried to spray Batman with) and he was going to hold Gotham City to ransom.

Later they track down part of the Black Glove, the group that came close to killing Bruce and nearly lobotomized Dick.

That night in Gotham hospital the young girl that Robin left in Pyg’s room was going around the hospital killing all the other doll face people even her own father until she is caught by security but before anything can be done the security guards get their heads blown off by a mysterious man asking for her help to clean up Gotham, the mysterious man is revealed to be the new Red Hood.


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