WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains
Residence: Usually Mobile
Occupation: Scientist, Professional Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age): Adventure Comics #62 (May 1941)
The criminal scientist known as the Light first came to the world's attention in the Spring of 1941. A former researcher at the prestigious 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 locale, 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
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
Slaying the Light's monstrous pet, Starman tracked
the criminal to his lair. Interrupting his gloating broadcast of the Beaver's
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 (Adventure Comics
Note: Another criminal scientist, Alexei Luthor, also once used the Light as a nom du crime (Superman #13) in roughly the same time period as the appearance of the Starman adversary. Whether the two criminal scientists were aware of each other or had some relationship beyond the shared name is unclear.
Powers and Abilities
The Light was one of the foremost scientists on Earth-Two in the 1940's, possessing a wide array if scientific skills and acumen. This included the ability the designed weapons of extremely futuristic designs, engineer vehicles for land, sea and air and quickly learn to use or reverse-engineer technology that he acquired from his others. He is patient, discipline and generally unemotional in demeanor, being truly malevolent rather than mentally ill.
Weaknesses and Limitations
The Light was a normal human specimen of average physical ability. Separated from his weapons, he was easily apprehended.
The Light is known to have existed and generally thought to have had a similar history as his Earth-Two counterpart. On this earth, he is known to have been burglarized by a minor criminal known as Johnny Sorrow, who stole a subspace vest from the Light's lab. Sorrow ultimately battle members of the JSA, resulting in damage to the vest and his relocation to the realm of the King of Tears, who drove him mad and cursed him with great powers (JSA #18).
Adventure Comics #62
First Appearance, vs. Starman
Golden Age Starman Archives #1
Adventure Comics #65
Golden Age Starman Archives #1
Adventure Comics #71
Golden Age Starman Archives #1