Red Bee

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Personal information

Real Name: Richard Raleigh

Residence: Superior City, Oregon
Occupation: Assistant District Attorney
First Appearance (Golden Age): Hit Comics #1
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All-Star Squadron #31 (July 1940)

Character History

Little is known of the life of Richard Raleigh prior to his first documented case in 1940.  Raleigh was employed as an assistance District Attorney in the Pacific Northwest city of Superior City.  In 1940, the city was dominated by a corrupt administration headed by Boss Elijah Storm who ran a series of rackets to fleece city largely through graft.  The District Attorney Thomas Darrow felt powerless to stop Storm and he confided as much to his assistant Richard Raleigh.   Through machinations largely unrevealed, Raleigh decided to adopt a costumed identity as The Red Bee to thwart Storm.  Using trained bees and no small amount of nerve, Raleigh tormented Storm and his operations until he was able to recover documents revealing the extent of Storm's graft.  When finally brought to trial, Storm was beset by the Red Bee's stinging pets and confessed to escape their constant assaults and was summarily sent to prison.

After this, Red Bee became a fixture in Superior City,  Most of his crimes were fairly mundane, often thwarts medium-level criminal rackets operating out of the city's Chinatown (Hit Comics #10), a racketeering operation targeting milk transport (Hit Comics #13) 0r breaking up a gang war (Hit Comics #22).

He also was drawn into Superior City's rather high murder rate solving cases involving a photographer who witnesses a crime (Hit Comics #3), a victim of a jilted lover (Hit Comics #14), serial murderer Leo Madden (hit Comics #15) and a man in Chinatown caught up in an opium smuggling ring (Hit Comics #16).

Particularly high profile cases involved a bizzare criminal named Kulak and his mercenary soldiers using electrified swords.  Kulak attempted to steal an exceptionally large diamond found in Egypt until he was thwarted by the Red Bee and his bizarre scientific devices caused his house to collapse on him and his henchmen (Hit Comics #6).   In the Spring of 1942, Notorious racketeer Blackey Meyer was released from prison and attempted to resurrect his old gangs.  The Red Bee thwarted this effort and returned Meyer to prison (Hit Comics #21).

In early 1942, The Red Bee also came to the attention of the All-Star Squadron and invited him into an all-call meeting of any active mystery man operating in the United States. During this meeting, Uncle Sam, the living embodiment of the American Spirit, appeared and shared that he had been operating on a parallel world known as Earth-X where Axis powers were slowly winning World War II.  Uncle Sam had lost his first expeditionary force and assembled another composed of the Red Bee, Phantom Lady, the Ray, Black Condor and the Human Bomb to stop a Japanese Invasion of the West Coast.  When the team of new Freedom Fighters arrived on Earth-X, the discovered the Nazi overlord Baron Blitzkreig overseeing the invasion. The first thing they noted was the one of the first team - Hourman- had survived their initial encounter and been captured by the Baron.

The Freedom Fighters engaged the Baron and his men but the Nazis eventually gained the upper hand, leveraging the Human Bomb's explosive potential back against them, scattering the heroes into unconsciousness. In the explosion, Red Bee vanished and was presumed dead.  The Baron hauled the heroes back in chains when he tortured them physically and mentally with abuse and lectures.  As Hourman quietly smuggled another dose of Miraclo, the drug that provided his powers, toward his mouth, the Red Bee emerged from hiding and attacked the Baron with a large piece of wood, attempting to render him unconscious.  While the young hero fought bravely, the super-power Nazi gained the upper hand and broke the Red Bee's neck and back of his knee, killing him instantly.  The site of his comrade's murder was sufficient to push Hourman into a Miraclo-augmented rage and beat the Baron back. Joined by Uncle Sam, the Baron was overwhelmed but eventually escaped back to Earth-Two   In the aftermath, the Ray, the Black Condor and Uncle Sam were forced to remain behind to preserve a cosmic balance and force the nexus of Earth-X first team of super-heroes (All-Star Squadron #31-35)

Powers and Abilities

Richard Raleigh was an exceptional natural athlete in peak human condition.  Strong and agile, he was also notoriously daring and comfortably with placing himself in risky situation to obtain his goals.  He maintained a colony of bees, one of which named Michael was exceptionally intelligent and could comprehend the Red Bee's intentions and act accordingly.  Michael was extraordinarily long-lived, continuing for months when most bees die in weeks.  The nature of Raleigh's bees and his relationship with him have never been revealed.

Weaknesses and Limitations

The Red Bee had not obvious super-human abilities and confronted with sufficient force, could be injured or killed as a normal human would be.

Multiversity Villains

Multiversity

Earth-0

In the Post-Crisis timeline, the history of the Red Bee is thought to have many parallels with the Earth-Two version.  While a cross-over to Earth-X did not happen, a similar battle with Baron Blitzkrieg occurred and the Red Bee was again killed.  The exact details are unknown.  He is also known to have had a case with Starman, the details of which are unknown (Starman Vol, 1 #37).  Whether this case is paralleled on Earth-Two is unknown.

Earth-22

The Red Bee of this timeline is thought to have a largely similar history as the Earth-Two version except that he survived World War II and lived until 1950 When he participating in the battle against Dyna-Man and was killed in the process (The Golden Age LS)

Golden Age Appearances of Red Bee