WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains
The Spirit King
Name: Roger Romaine
First Appearance: Justice League of America #171 (October 1979)
Very little is known of what appears to be a somewhat extensive history of Roger Romaine, The Spirit King of Earth-Two. It is known that he had encountered and been defeated in several encounters by Mr. Terrific, though the number and origin of these encounters has not been revealed. It is also know that he had tangled at some point with the Flash of Earth-Two, but the details of these encounters are likewise unknown. His abilities over time are also unclear.
The first documented evidence of his activities occurred in the Fall of 1979, when he stole a seismograph from Gateway University, where Terry Sloan was working as an English professor. When Sloan attempted to thwart the theft, Romaine vanished with his ill-gotten gain. Using the seismograph allowed him to track and intercept the Flash on the way to meeting of the Justice Society prior to one of their fabled meetings with the Justice League of Earth-One. Taking possession of the Flash, he remained hidden in his body until he arrived on the JLA satellite with the JSA, including Mr. Terrific. As the meeting advanced into the social hour, he caught Mr. Terrific alone and unawares and emerging from the Flash’s body, strangled him to death. Using the Flash’s super-speed, he staged an explosion to cover his actions, leaving the corpse of Mr. Terrific among the wreckage.
Acting quickly, the JLA and JSA sealed the satellite to find
the murdered. Using mystical powers of
unclear origin, The Spirit King stunned the mind of Zatanna when she tried to
use magic to identify who killed Terrific and used Flash’s speed to explode a
computer terminal when Batman and The Huntress began to get too close to the
truth. The Huntress survived the explosion
and confirmed her findings to Batman, who revealed that the Flash being
controlled by the Spirit King. After a
brief melee, Romaine escaped the satellite via the transmatter cube to
The outcome of this case on Earth-Two remains unknown (Justice League of America #171-172).
NOTE: A second Roger Romaine is known to exist on Earth-Two as the Gadgeteer, a foe of Commander Steel (Steel: The Indestructible Man #3-4). No relation between the two is known to exist.
Powers and Abilities
extent and origins of the powers of the Earth-Two Spirit King are unknown. It is known that in the late 1970’s, he had
the power to become incorporeal, to transport otherwise solid materials in the
incorporeal state and to occupy and
control the bodies of other, even super-powered individuals. It is suspected that his powers are mystical
in nature given his ability to fend off Zatanna’s magical intrusions. His age and mortality are generally unclear.
Weaknesses and Limitations
A documented defeat of the Spirit King of Earth-Two is unavailable and thus his weaknesses remain unknown.
Significantly more detail is unknown of the backstory of Roger Romaine in the Prior Earth-0 timeline. The first documented case occurs in Portsmouth of 1953, when Romaine is revealed to have made contact with the elder demon Shaitan and had been offering sacrifices of local women to gain power for himself. He is cornered in a large cathedral during mass being pursued by both Mr. Terrific and the Spectre. While Terrific argues that Romaine must stand trial for his crimes, the Spectre brings the judgement of God down on him, banishing him to Hell (JSA #60).
It is thought the role of the Spirit King and the Flash in the death of Mr. Terrific is largely similar to events on Earth-Two. Additional details are that Flash had been in battle with the Fiddler previously, that Garrick’s hands actually strangled Mr. Terrific and that characters and components unique to Earth-Two (The Huntress, the transmatter cube) were obviously missing (JSA #61).
In this timeline, when the Flash escaped the JLA satellite,
the JSA pursued him to Stonehenge, where he took the body of Power Girl, then
Green Lantern and ultimately Dr. Fate.
Allowing the Flash to escape, The Spirit King imprisoned the JSA inside
Fate’s towel in Salem, turning the interior into a gateway to Shaitan’s
realm. As expected, the Flash contacted
the Spectre who joined him in engaging the Spirit King. As the heroes engaged, Shaitan himself
emerged and while Spectre engaged the demon, the Flash engaged the undead form
of Terry Sloane until the spirit of the real Mr. Terrific emerged and shifted
the tide, forcing Shaitan back to Hell and flinging the defeat Spirit King in
after him (The Spectre Vol. 3 #54).
The Spirit King remained there for several years until Jim
Corrigan was released from hosting the Spectre and the duty passed to Hal
Jordan, disgraced from his actions as Parallax.
While Jordan struggled for redemption, the Spectre prior acts of damnation
were weakened and the Spirit King re-emerged from Hell at the head of an army
of the undead. While the JSA battled the damned, Romaine
again possessed the Flash. The battle
resolved with Jordan accepting the wrath of the Spectre and banished Romaine’s
army to the inferno whence it came, rendering a final judgement on the Spirit
King (JSA #62).
Whether the Spirit King of this timeline is truly gone is unclear and whether any of these events align with the Earth-Two timeline is unknown.