The Light

Personal Data

Real Name Unknown 

Residence: Mobile 
Occupation: Scientist, Professional Criminal 
First Appearance (Golden Age): Adventure Comics #62 (May 1941) 
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): None 
Pre-Crisis Fate: Unknown 
Post-Crisis Fate: Unknown 

 

History

        The criminal scientist known as the Light first came to the world's attention in the Spring of 1941. A former researcher at Opal City's Scientific Institute, the man who became the Light was rejected by the traditional scientific establishment and turned to a life of crime. His first recorded foray into crime began when he created a "diminishing ray" which he used to take revenge on those who had scorned him. His first target was Dr. Daniel Selby, dean of the Scientific Institute, whom he shrank to a height of 12 inches. Leaving the dean, who barely remembered him, in a diminutive state in his home, the Light moved on to the next phase of his crimes. His attention was diverted however, when Selby contacted Woodley Allen, local liaison to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After Allen had been briefed by Selby, the Light made a threatening call to his office, offering the same fate as the shrunken Selby. Allen then immediately contacted Starman to assist in the case.

    The two met in the traditional local, a shack outside of Opal City. Starman recommended that Allen allow the Light to capture him, permitting Starman to track him through  radio communication. Unaware to either man, the Light had managed to plant a transmitter to Allen, permitting him to see everything via an advanced "ultra-televison-screen". Preempting the heroes efforts, the Light trailed Allen in a space-ship of his own design, capturing the federal agent before the plan could be enacted. Luckily for the captured lawman, Starman witnessed the abduction and quickly boarding the vessel. To his surprise, his first encounter was Doris Lee, shrunk to a diminutive height. The debutante had presumably been captured as hostage against Allen. As Starman tried to calm the panicky socialite, the Light appeared and cordially invited Starman in to see his handiwork. There he found Woodley Allen now shrunken as well and as Starman objected, he was overcome by a strange mist and fell unconscious. When he awoke, he found that he two had been reduced to a mere 12 inches in height.

    Confident in his victory, the Light revealed that his captives were merely the beginning. He would reduce world leaders, heads of state and important experts to a diminutive size to serve him while he ruled the world as head of a Master Race. Leaving his supposedly helpless hostage, the Light return to the controls of his ship. Left alone to taunt the hero, one of the Light's stooges lifted Starman into the air and toyed with him. Seizing the advantage, Starman broke free of the thug's grasp and grabbed him still normal sized control rod. Moving quickly, he destroyed the small statue the Light used to contain his knockout gas and hoisted the thug into the air until he agreed to reverse the effects of the diminishing ray. Roused by the noise, the Light returned to find the now-normal sized lawmen with control of the room. The villain was ultimately defeated by his own device when his hasty attempt to turn the diminishing ray on Starman once more resulted in a backfire, apparently reducing the Light to nothingness (Adventure Comics #62).

    The Light was not dead but went underground to form a new criminal operation known as the League of the Octopus. Turning his vast scientific acumen to marine technology, the Light developed an advanced submarine from which he could capture and loot merchant marine vessels. Running along the Atlantic seaboard, the Light's vessel would fire a missile filled with the Light's own concoction of knockout gas. When the smoke cleared, the Light's vessel would surface and extend a bridge between the two ships. Foot soldiers of the League of the Octopus could then board and take control of the vessel.

    By the autumn of 1941, the League of the Octopus had captured more than 30 ships, crippling the defense industry's Lend-Lease production. Woodley Allen was appointed as special investigator of the case by the U.S. Defense department and contacted Starman after the disappearance of the last vessel, the S.S. Aurora. Disguising himself as an ordinary sailor, Starman boarded the S.S. Beaver carrying defense goods up the coast. Less than 12 hours out of port, the Beaver was rocked by an explosion. Quickly changing, Starman flew high into the air to observe from above. The astonished hero witness the massive seagoing headquarters of the League of the Octopus rise out of the sea and hooded soldiers board the helpless vessel. The unconscious crew was thrown into the prison cells and the ship began to be unloaded. Stowing away,  Starman witnessed the final destruction of the Beaver and followed the hooded men into the bowels of the ship. Spotted by a guard, Starman was trapped in a corridor which was then flooded and a giant octopus was released to dispatch the hero.

    Slaying the Light's monstrous pet, Starman tracked the criminal to his lair. Interrupting his gloating broadcast of the Beaver's demise, Starman was immediately accosted by an army of Octopus League guards. As the hero struggled, the Light struck a vicious blow with the butt of his pistol, knocking Starman unconscious. When the hero awoke, he found himself staring into the point of his own gravity rod, now wielded by his adversary. Planning to slay the hero with his own weapon, the Light was thwarted by his ignorance of the device and the press of a wrong button slammed the would-be conqueror to the floor. Quickly freeing himself, Starman regained his weapon and rendered the Light unconscious. To defeat the remaining army of the League of the Octopus, Starman freed the sailors from their cells and in short order, the submarine was under Starman's control. The Light was turned over to the federal authorities and the ship itself sent to the research division of the U.S. Navy (Adventure Comics #65).

    The Light eventually escaped prison and organized a new gang. Rather than reveal his true name, he operated as the Unknown and targeted the work of Professor Juniper Grimm, a specialist in time research. Grimm had invented a spherical  time machine which could travel thousands of years into the future.  After knocking the hapless scientist unconscious, the Unknown and one of his assistant boarded the craft and traveled to 2000 years into the future. After recovering plans for a large electro-cannon, the Unknown waged war on America's petroleum industry. A single shot from this cannon unloosed a cloud of powerful thunderbolts that ignited over it's target. After the destruction of several facilities, Woodley Allen contacted Starman.

    Starman encountered the results of the electro-cannon at  a production plant of the National Oil Refinery corporation.  When the thunderbolts formed out of a cloudless sky, Starman suspected human guidance and followed the electrical trail back to the laboratory of Juniper Grimm. Once there, Starman was quickly assaulted by the agents of the Unknown while the villain himself escaped into the time machine. Starman made short work of the poorly trained criminals, who explained the Unknown's plans. After turning the petty thugs over to the local police, Starman waited out the Unknown in Grimm's laboratory.

    When the machine returned, it was not the Unknown who emerged by giant men clothed in an indestructible fabric. Unable to deal with these "Futurites", Starman was overcome and thrown into a basement cell with Professor Grimm. As the Futurites waged war across the city, the Unknown returned to kill Starman after the sun had risen and the gravity rod lost it's power. Starman bided his time and goaded the Unknown into revealing his true identity: The Light. As the Light gloated, Starman watched the skies as the moon moved over the sun, providing a temporary eclipse and recharging the gravity rod. No match for the well-armed hero, the Light was knocked unconscious and bound for the authorities. Meanwhile, Starman tracked the Futurites who had handily bested both the police and the military. By a stroke of luck, Starman unhooded one of the future men, who immediately fell to the ground, gasping for breath. The air of the future had become so rarefied that modern pollutants were poisonous to the Futurites, who beat a hasty retreat into Grimm's time machine and the future.

    The activities of the Light since 1942 remain unrecorded. Whether he survived into the late 20th century or produce an heir is as yet unknown.

Power and Skills: The Light possessed no super-powers but had a keen scientific intellect and was a master planner.  He has devised a shrinking ray, a formidable space ship and an underwater movable fortress. After using the time machine of Professor Juniper Grim, The Light also possessed information on future technologies which may have served him in later cases.

Weaknesses and Limitations: The Light was an ordinary mortal and separated from his arsenal and usual army of thugs, he was easily overcome.

Golden Age Appearances
Adventure Comics #62
Adventure Comics #65
Adventure Comics #72

Post Golden Age Appearances
Starman Archives #1 - reprints Adventure #62, 65 and 72

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