Mister Who

Personal Data

Unknown

Residence: Mobile
Occupation:
Professional Criminal
1st Appearance (Golden Age)
- More Fun Comics #73(November 1941)

1st Appearance (Silver Age) - All-Star Squadron #51(Novermber 1985)

History

    The criminal who became known as Mister Who was born in the late 19th century as a "hopeless cripple", who become the target of bullies and "normal men". Selling papers, he scrimped enough money to go to college and studies the sciences, hoping for a treatment that let him lead a normal life.  He focused on the physiology of invertebrate animals - crustaceans and insects - which have disproportionate physical strength and powerful regenerate abilities.  This "Z Solution" gives Who his youth and able body and so empowered, he desires to surround himself with the beautiful things denied when he was considered a cripple.

    Doctor Fate's first encounter with Mister Who occurred in the Fall of 1941, during the period in which Fate's mystical powers had ebbed and he was operating as a more conventional super-hero.  Fate interrupted an art heist at a local museum, engaging a gang of supposed thieves who were in fact just distractions for the real thief, Mister Who, to make off with a rare painting.  While Mister Who retreated to his hideout, Fate questioned and then trailed the hired men back to Who and confronted him.  Who, in the mean time, had taken his Z solution, a potent stimulant that reverses the effects of age and confers an array of extrahuman abilities.  As Fate moved to apprehend him, Who suddenly tripled in size and scooped up Fate, slinging him into the web of a giant spider waiting above.  Leaving Fate to his demise,  Mister Who set off to steal a diamond from an eccentric biollionare in a houseboat on the Hudson River.  Fate ultimately kills the spider and catches up to Mister Who on the houseboat where he has used the power of camouflage to steal the diamond in the presence of it's owner.  Mister Who is astonished to see Fate, whom he thought certainly dead, thrashing his men but quickly flees with the stolen jewelry in a motor boat.  Fate takes flight and captures Who before he can use his solution and crushes him through the boat, supposedly to a water demise below (More Fun Comics #73).

Returning to Salem, Doctor Fate's mystic ball revealed that he had assumed two quickly  that Mister Who had perished in their last encounter and instead, his regenerative powers had provided fins and gills for him to deftly escape further down river.  Crawling onto a nearby wharf, the weakened Mister Who re-doses with Solution Z and reverts to an even more youthful form than seen previously and intercepts his gang.  Thinking him a neophyte, they are dismissive until Mister Who grows to giant size and thrashes their ringleader to re-assert his authority.  There, he reveals a plan to dispense with the mayor of the city and take his place.  The gang ambushes city hall and subdues the mayor as Who adopts his form.  Doctor Fate, having discovered Who's abandoned home, detects a disturbance downtown and ambushes the gang.  No realizing the mayor is in fact Mister Who, Fate is solicitous of his well-being and confused when the "Mayor" dashes off.  Who retreats to his laboratory to create an "Anti-Solution Z" that weakens rather than strengthens the affected and when Fate, having found the unconscious mayor, tracks the criminals back to their lair,  Who renders him prostrate with a gas of his new solution.  Leaving Fate to die, Mister Who re-doses on Solution Z and re-assumes the appearance of the mayor.  Arriving at the bank in the mayor's form, he orders the bank to open the vaults, which he promptly empties and locks the guards inside to asphyxiate.   Back at the lab, Who has once again under-estimated Dr. Fate, who has begun to revive.  Clearing the room air by breaking a window, Fate regains full strength and tracks Who to the bank, missing his escape but rescuing the guards.  Doubling back to the lab, Fate surprises Who and his thugs, who are quickly defeated and carted off to jail (More Fun Comics #74).

In the Spring of 1942, while Mister Who languished in prison, a sudden explosion in his cell wall revealed the appearance of a metallic drone piloted (unknown to Who) by the alien worm, Mister Mind.  The drone recovered from Who from his cell and delivered to him a group of contemporary criminals who become the first Monster Society of Evil.  Ensconcing themselves in the headquarters of the Justice Society, the Society ambushed members of the All-Star Squadron and then engaged in a running battle across New York City.  Eventually abandoned by Mister Mind, the group fell under the sway of the psychotic monster Oom until the arrival of more powerful member of the Justice Society arrived, destroying Oom and defeating the remaining criminals.  Mister Who was returned to prison (All-Star Squadron #51-54). 

Later that Summer, Mister Who was involved in a routine prison transfer when he managed to slip himself a dose of Solution Z and grow to giant proportions.  While easily escape from his guard, he felt conspicuous and so shrunk himself to a few inches in size to disappear among the crowd.  Reaching a car, he regained normal size but became invisible, starting the police as the car drove away.  His first target was the estate of  eccentric multi-millionaire P.J. Moogan. Crashing a gala, he slips pasts the guests, including Kent and Inza Nelson and confronts Moogan, subduing him and robbing his safe.  As he flees, Doctor Fate finds the unconscious Moogan and pursues the criminal across the lawn.  Mister Who is prepared tho and rapidly grows to 50 feet in statute and thrashes Fate, slinging him into the distance and escaping. Who then re-connects with his old gang and shares his latest plan, to break into the hospital where P. J. Moogan is being treated and replace him, using he deception to marshal Moogan's great wealth.  The plan works initially, with the crooks dragging the unconscious millionare out of his bed and Who adopting his appearance in his place. When Doctor Fate stops in to check on Moogan, the adrenaline search at seeing his old foe activates  the Solution Z in his blood stream, causing Mister Who to increase in size and remove the disguise.   Fate promptly defeats Who's gang and then finds the Villain who has shrunk in size to escape.  No match for a hero huge in size, Who is defeated and returned to prison (More Fun #79).

The next recorded case was nearly a year later in May of 1943.  The elderly Mister Who was now considered a harmless dotard, feeding pigeons on the window sill of his cell.  Unknown to his captors, the criminal was training the pigeon and when his gang sends a letter soaked in Solution Z, he shrinks in size and uses the pigeon to escape by flight.  Meeting up with his gang, Who strategized a new crime spree and expecting the arrival of Doctor Fate, concocted a variant of Solution Z that only had the ability to shrink.  Predictably Fate intercepts Who and his gang and when he is stunned by a blow to the head, one of the  gangster poses as a helpful passer-by and tricks him into drinking the formula.  Fate shrinks to the size of a small wren and Who places him in a bird cage for later torment.  After tricking the cat into releasing him from the cage, Fate races back to his Salem tower to use a gazing ball to see where Who and his men are.  Seeing them approach a clifftop mansion, Fate quickly intervenes and use his small size to activate the alarm system and summon the police.  Who and his men are routed but see a wealthy country club and rob it.  They don't get far with the ill-gotten gains before the miniature Fate again interferes.  As the hero gains the upper hand, Mister Who moves to escape but Fate, growing in size as the Z formula wears off, knocks him unconscious until the police arrive to take them all to jail.

The final fate of Mister Who on Earth-2 remains unknown.

Multiversity

To date, no version of Mr. Who has manifest on any earth besides the original Earth-2.

Powers/Skills

Mister Who's abilities stem from chemicals of his own devising which he terms the Z Solution or Solution Z.  Solution Z confers who with extensive adaptive and regenerative abilities including  alterations in size such as shrinking, gigantism,  flattening his body sufficiently to pass very small spaces and possibly even through solid objects, alterations in appearance from a more youthful appearance of his own body to imitating the appearance of others and acquisition of non-human characteristics including fins, claws and gills.

Weaknesses/Limitations

While Mister Who's responses to Solution Z were generally considerable, he could be overwhelmed by superior force.  The primary record of his career criminal career occurred during a period when Fate's connection to Nabu was reduced by a reduction in the helmet and while Who held his own, he was usually defeated by physical means.  His abilities were limited in duration as the Solution Z eventually wore off and it's unclear how effective dosing was (how long it lasted, how long between doses were effective, did he desensitize with frequent dosing).  Finally, it was evident in some cases that activation of Solution Z was not completely voluntary, as a flight or fight response could provide physical changes without his intention.

Appearances 

Issue Comment Reprinted in
More Fun Comics #73 First Appearance, vs. Dr. Fate Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Super-Villains #8, DC's Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Super-Villains HC,  More Fun #73 Millennium Edition,  Doctor Fate Archives Vol. 1
More Fun Comics #74 vs. Dr. Fate Doctor Fate Archives Vol. 1
More Fun Comics #79 vs. Dr. Fate Doctor Fate Archives Vol. 1
All-Star Squadron #51 with the Monster Society of Evil, vs. The All-Star Squadron Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition #1
All-Star Squadron #53-54 with the Monster Society of Evil, vs. The All-Star Squadron Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition #1
More Fun Comics #91 vs. Dr. Fate Doctor Fate Archives Vol. 1
More Fun Comics #92 cameo in prison Doctor Fate Archives Vol. 1

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