WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains
Residence: Usually Mobile
Occupation: Scientist, Professional Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age): Adventure Comics #67 (October 1941)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): Brave and the Bold #61 (August-September 1965)
Little is known about the early life of the man who was to become known across the world as The Mist. On Earth-2, he is scientist during the 1940's who has developed a solution that caused items and humans washed in it to become invisible and possibly waged his first campaign of crime against the Sandman as The Unseen Man (Adventure Comics #64). At some point, he attempted to again broker a deal with the U.S. Army but was rebuffed. At this point, a line was crossed and the Mist devoted the remainder of his extremely long life to crime. In 1941, he determined to repay the government for it's rebuke by destroying the steel producing factories in Pittsburgh, Bethlehem and other western Pennsylvania cities. Setting up a base in a large cave in Kentucky, he sent henchmen bathed in invisio-solution to steal plans for key installations from the office of Woodley Allen in Opal City. The Mist's plan were complicated when a group of tourists, including Ted Knight and Doris Lee were conducted a tour of the very caves he had taken as his base. After Ted Knight, as Starman, was distracted by the theft at Allen's office, the tour group was taken hostage by the Mist. Hearing a broadcast on the case, Starman rocketed back to Kentucky and confronted the Mist's men. Taken off guard by one of the so-called "invisible raiders", Starman was captured and flung into an abyss by the Mist. The Mist then attempted to coerce Allen's niece Doris Lee to join him but when he was rebuffed, she also was thrown into the abyss.
As the Mist deployed his agents to bomb western Pennsylvania,
Starman came to and used his gravity rod to return to the surface. En Route,
he managed to catch Doris Lee in mid-flight and left her outside the caves
while he pursued the bombers. The Mist, boarding the last of the planes
personally, re-captured the federal agent's niece and took her hostage
on the flight. Meanwhile, Starman had intercepted and destroyed the Mist's
plane and now turned his attention to the late-arriving Mist. Burning a
hole through the wall of the Mist's ship, Starman confronted the villain
and knocked him unconscious. Rescuing Doris, he allowed the Mist's ship
to crash. The Mist survived and was presumably captured and arrested by
the local authorities (Adventure Comics #67).
The Mist was not long for jail and with a few months had smuggled enough invisio-solution to make his entire jail cell, with himself included, seem to disappear. When the guards tried to investigate, he slipped out and reorganized his old gang. While in jail, The Mist concocted a plan to coat various items of worth (jewelry, wallets,etc.) with a hypnotic drug that the Mist would then use as a method of getting them to commit crimes for him. Initially, his plan was a great success when he got a bank clerk to bring him $50,000 and a jeweler to empty his diamond trays for the criminal. His plan went awry when one of his trinkets was found by an honest woman who returned it to the police. When the story was reported to the police, Starman paid the young woman a visit only to find her accosted by the Mist's men. After capturing the men, Starman tracked the Mist to his hideout in a windmill outside of Opal City and after a brief confrontation, returned the criminal to the federal authorities (Adventure Comics #77).
In 1951, hearings by the House Un-American Affairs
Committee forced most heroes to scale back their activities or give up
their costumed identities entirely. The Mist's activities in these intervening
years are unknown. In the mid-1960's, when
heroes were becoming active again, he re-established his criminal
career with a plot to use a methodology he developed in the 1940's to coerce
innocent victims to commit crimes. This time, he targeted a local flower
shop in Federal City, 1960's home of the Golden Age Black Canary. The shop
was owned by Dinah Drake Lance, the Black Canary herself. At some
point, the Mist's men had gained access to the heroine and under the influence
of the Mist's solutions, drugged flower arrangements she sent to wealthy
clients. In turn, the Mist compelled these affluent individuals to commit
crimes on his behalf. The Mist was foiled when a visit by Ted Knight led
to a teaming of himself as Starman and Black Canary to track the villain.
After a confrontation with his henchmen, the Mist himself was brought to
justice (Brave and the Bold #61).
Over the years,
the Mist's powers began to change. At some point, he no longer needed the
invisio-solution to become invisible and he additionally developed powers
of intangibility as well. Most of the activities of the Mist during this
period are unrecorded. The next known activity of the
Mist occurred when in the mid-1980's when he took revenge on some former henchmen by driving their car over a cliff, revealing that he had become sufficiently immaterial to escape as the car plunged to it's destruction. While surveying the wreckage, he was contacted by the Ultra-Humanite
to form a new Secret Society of Super-Villains. After punishing some former
henchmen whose testimony had sent him to prison, the Mist joined the Ultra-Humanite's
organization. The Ultra-Humanite had devised a machine that, for the sacrifice
of ten heroes to be held in stasis, five from each Earth, all the heroes
on Earth-2 would disappear. Each villain then was assigned a target and
the Mist delivered the Black Canary. As the other members of the Secret
Society completed their task, the heroes were dispatched to Limbo, clearing
Earth-2 of costumed heroes. Unfortunately, the Ultra-Humanite had deceived
the heroes of Earth-1 into helping and while the Mist and his colleagues
waged a massive crime wave on Earth-2, the villains of Earth-1 rescued
the captured heroes in Limbo. In short order, the Secret Society of Super-Villains
were themselves consigned to Limbo and the balance of heroes on Earth-2
was restored (Justice League of America #195-197).
Shortly thereafter, the Ultra-Humanite contacted himself in the 1940's, allow the earlier form to rescue the Secret Society from Limbo. Once there, the Ultra-Humanite planned to use the villains to change the course of history, allowing the Ultra-Humanite to rule. After some initial success, the Mist, along with the Secret Society, Vulcan and several of the Humanite's 1940's era henchmen were routed by the All-Star Squadron and quickly returned to Limbo (All-Star Squadron #24-26, Annual #1). The Mist was witnessed as a participant in the Crisis on Infinite Earths (Crisis on Infinite Earths #5,9) but his ultimate fate remains unknown.
Powers and Abilities
The Mist is an accomplished scientist and his powers stem from the work of his own research. In the early phases of his career, he possessed no real super-powers, relying on an invisio-solution to give him the illusion of invisibility. He also used his ill-gotten gains to finance his own research, developing elaborate flying craft and potent narcotics. As time passed, either through chronic use of various chemical or direct manipulation of his own biology with devices of his own design, the Mist developed true super-powers, specifically invisibility and intangibility.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Early in his career, the Mist's principal limitations were his humanity and reliance on his accessories. What his limitations were at the peak of his powers have never been revealed
The backstory of the Mist in
this timeline is better understood. Known to be a man named Kyle, he
was born shortly before the turn of the 20th century in Canada, the country
where he was raised. He enlisted in the army early during World War I and rose
to the rank of Captain quickly. During the latter days of the War, he was
station in Europe and became part of the infantry along the German lines. One
night, pinned by superior forces, he faced a crisis of character as Germans
bayoneted his men and bid to kill them all before the evening was done. Kyle
snapped and, in a patriotic rage, led a heroic charge against the Germans.
Miraculously, every bullet fired at him missed as he slaughtered his way across
the plains and into the German trenches. His men rallied and the Canadian forces
held the field. Kyle was awarded the Cross of Valor for his efforts (revealed in Starman vol. 2 #24).
After the war, Kyle enrolled in college and obtained
a degree in the sciences, most like physics. He developed a wide array
of inventions using his own funds but met little success in promoting them.
The two main inventions he generated was an invisibility solution and a
matter destabilizer. The invisibility solution, or "invisio-solution", was
a light-refractive liquid that caused a bending of any light that struck
it. Objects washed in this solution appeared invisible (introduced in Adventure
Comics #67). The matter destabilzer was a more primitive device, but
potentially much more powerful. Anything bathed in the rays of this device
became structurally unstable and disintegrated. However, at least when
originally conceived, the device was unpredictable, having various lag
times before the target disintegrated (introduced in Sandman Mystery
Disgruntled with his lack of success in Canada, the Mist moved to America and took up residence in New York City. Lacking adequate funds and now victim to an alcohol habit, the Mist took the name Smythe and contacted various criminal elements in the city, using his device as a threat against their enemies. In 1939, he entered into a competition to win a War Department contract to develop technology for the US Army. The public display of his technology was alarming and aroused suspicion regarding several crimes in the area. Pursued by the Golden Age Sandman and drinking heavily, the Mist made a mistake and when contracted by the mob to destroy a building, obliterated the wrong one. The mob took a terrible vengeance, submitting the scientist to his own matter destabilzer and leaving him for dead. The Mist, however, was saved by the very unpredictability of his own device and fled New York City severely injured for his experience. His crimes during this period were never officially solved (Sandman Mystery Theatre #37-40). The extent to which any of this is true on Earth-Two is unclear.
From this point, the Mist's history is thought to be largely similar to his Earth-2 counterpart. A major difference is the time frame in which powers converted from invisibility to intangibility. On Earth-2, this does not occur until at earliest the 1970's. In the prior Earth-0 timeline, it appears to have begun in the 1940's. Some casework on this earth is recorded that may or mat not be similar. For example the Mist attempted to blackmail banker Sanderson Block into provided him with his next supply of money. To do this, he took Block's wife hostage and demanded a large sum of money. Block himself thwarted the Mist's plans however when he murdered his own wife to establish himself as the stronger of the two. The entire affair was witnessed by Starman who captured several of the Mist's cronies. The villain himself escaped and his capture has never been recorded (Starman 80-Page Giant #1). Post-Crisis, The Mist attempted to take vengeance on David Knight while the elder Starman was in Limbo. At one point, he gained even greater powers and took the name "Nimbus", but the powers were short-lived and he was foiled by David Knight and Will Payton, each acting as Starman (Starman vol. 1 #26-27).
By the mid-1990's, the Mist was nearly 100 years
old. Aged and forgetful, the villain wanted to launch one final campaign
against his most persistent adversary: Ted Knight, Starman. Starman, himself
now aged by the outcome of the "Zero Hour" crisis, had passed his mantle
to his son David. A neophyte hero with little training, David was an easy
mark for the Mist's on Kyle, who he groomed to replace him. The Mist then
destroyed Ted Knight's primary observatory and a museum wing dedicated
to Knight's deceased wife Doris. Finally, the Mist captured Ted Knight
himself and held him hostage to blackmail the entire city.
The Mist's scheme was foiled by two miscalculations:
The unlikely heroism of Jack Knight and the mercurial mood of the Shade.
The Shade had long made Opal City his home in various guises when he was
not actively participating in criminal activity and did not care for the
Mist's wanton destruction of it. Instead of abetting the aged super-villain,
the Shade alerted Jack Knight to the intentions of Kyle, the Mist's son
and the police to the location of the Mist. In the meantime, Jack Knight
confronted Kyle in a major aerial battle over Opal City and in a fit of
pure rage, slew the Mist's only son. The capture of the Mist and his daughter
Nash by the police and the death of his son crushed the fragile old man's
mind. Reduced to incoherence the Mist was committed to an insane asylum.
The legacy of the Mist, however, was not ended as Nash as assumed the role
of the Mist and managed to conceive a son by Jack Knight himself.
Eventually, the Mist was revealed to be at least partially restored by Neron (Starman #71). In exchange for his health and mental faculties, the Mist pledged the destruction of Opal City and the Knights, a price he was all too wiling to pay. In his final confrontation with the Knights, he murdered his own daughter Nash and revealed that he had rigged a large skyscraper with a nuclear warhead. The warhead would explode when the aging villain failing heart finally ceased to beat. As he had too many times in the past however, the Mist had underestimated Ted Knight. The elder hero arrived with a backpack version of his cosmic rod and levitated the building, the Mist and himself into space, destroyed all three and saving Opal City one last time (Starman vol 2 #73). The dynasty of the Mist lives on merged with Kyle Knight, grandson of both hero and villain alike.
|Adventure Comics #67||First Appearance , vs. Starman||Starman Archives #1, Superman #252, The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told|
|Adventure Comics #77||vs. Starman||Starman Archives #2, Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Super-Villains #6, DC's Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Super-Villains HC|
|Brave and the Bold #61||vs. Starman and the Black Canary||Justice League of America #116, Black Canary Archives #1, Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 1|
|Justice League of America #195-197||joins the Ultra-Humanite's Secret Society of Super-Villains, vs. the Justice League and the Justice Society||Crisis on Multiple Earths TPB Vol. 6, DC Classic Library: Justice League of America by George Perez Vol. 2|
|All-Star Squadron #26 and Annual #2||with the Secret Society of Super-Villains, vs. the All-Star Squadron||Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga Vol. 1|