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Red Tornado
Justiceleague22.jpg
Promotional art for Justice League Of America #22. Art by Ed Benes.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance as Red Tornado:
Justice League of America #64 (August 1968)
as Ulthoon:
Mystery in Space #61
(August 1960)
Created by Gardner Fox (writer)
Dick Dillin (artist)
In-story information
Place of origin Rann
Team affiliations Justice League
Justice Society of America
Young Justice
Primal Force
Notable aliases Tornado Tyrant of Rann, Ulthoon, Tornado Champion, John Smith
Abilities Air and wind manipulation,
Superhuman strength, physical resistance and speed,
Self-repair/healing factor

Red Tornado is a fictional character, a comic book superhero in the DC Comics universe. He first appeared in Justice League of America #64 (August 1968), and was created by Gardner Fox and Dick Dillin.

Contents

Publication history

The Silver Age Red Tornado's first appearance was in Justice League of America #64 (August 1968), written by Gardner Fox. He is an android created by the supervillain T. O. Morrow for the purpose of infiltrating the Justice Society of America (part of the plan involved giving the android a false memory indicating that it was the Red Tornado who had attended the first JSA meeting). After the android was complete, it was merged with two other entities: Ulthoon the Tornado Tyrant of Rann and the Tornado Champion.

Fictional character biography (Pre-Crisis)

Tornado Tyrant and Tornado Champion

These two tornado entities originated from the planet Rann in the Earth-One universe. This being, originally one entity, confronted Rann's adopted champion, Adam Strange, and was defeated. Following that defeat, the being contemplated the nature of good and evil and decided that good was the superior force. It observed the exploits of the JLA and then departed Earth and settled on an abandoned planet, which it transformed into a perfect replica of Earth, right down to its populace. The only absence was that of the Justice League of America, and the tornado entity split itself to become the JLA of this world, taking for itself the name of the Tornado Champion. However, this life was not to last for long, as it discovered that it had inadverdently split itself into two separate entities, based on its decision as to which side was superior. The second entity, which embodied the Tornado Champion's previous evil side, dubbed itself the Tornado Tyrant. Confronting the Tyrant, the Tornado Champion was easily defeated. Disheartened, the Tornado Champion lured the Tyrant to Earth-One, where the Tyrant was defeated by the real JLA. The Tornado Champion decided that there was little satisfaction in being an imitation, and journeyed to Earth-Two in an attempt to find a new identity. The Tornado Champion came upon the criminal T. O. Morrow, who was creating an android with which to infiltrate and defeat the Justice Society of America. The Tornado Champion decided to assume control of the robotic form. The merging had an unexpected side effect, however: The Tornado Champion's memory was erased. Red Tornado thus seemed to be a new life-form.

As Red Tornado

Believing itself to be the original JSA associate, Red Tornado visited JSA headquarters and announced its return to active duty. The JSA, not recognizing the android, was incredulous but allowed the Tornado to accompany them to defeat a theft at a nearby museum. Through a series of mishaps choreographed by Morrow, Red Tornado seemingly killed the JSA members. Red Tornado then tracked Morrow to his lair and seemingly defeated him. When the remaining JSAers arrived to investigate, a booby-trapped weapon felled them all. Morrow then traveled to Earth-One, where he defeated the JLA as he had the JSA before them. Red Tornado, recovered from his previous injuries, followed Morrow and revived the JLA. The JLA and the android then defeated Morrow, uncovering a method to revive the JSA back on Earth-Two. Morrow confessed that Red Tornado was his android construct, but the JSA still admitted him as a member in good standing.

When the mad Star-God Aquarius attacked Earth-Two, many JSA members were captured and sealed in a magical bubble as Aquarius phased Earth-Two out of existence. Red Tornado escaped, reaching Earth-One and contacted the JLA. The JLA disregarded the android to tend to their own affairs, ultimately hearing him out two weeks later. When they realized the JSA's dilemma, the JLA members quickly journeyed to the Earth-Two universe, defeating Aquarius and returning Earth-Two to normal.

Red Tornado often felt he was an outsider in the JSA, and that he was not appreciated as a sentient, independent organism. When he stumbled across the Creators monitoring Earth-Two, he sought to impress his colleagues by defeating the aliens single-handedly. Instead, Red Tornado was captured and used as a conduit to bring Earth-One and Earth-Two together. The JSA defeated the Creators and rescued Red Tornado; however, his easy defeat and manipulation left Red Tornado more dejected than ever.

During the 100th meeting of the Justice League of America, the JLA was summoned to Earth-Two to assist the JSA in defeating the Iron Hand, a sworn foe of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The Iron Hand had created an orbiting weapon, shaped like a hand, that threatened Earth-Two. Doctor Fate summoned a being known as the Oracle, who informed them of the Iron Hand's last defeat, which cost the life of one of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The JLA and JSA split into teams and rescued the members of the SSV, who had been scattered throughout time, and with their help created a weapon that would destroy the Iron Hand's device. The delivery of the device to its necessary location was a suicide mission, one which Red Tornado secretly took while the other heroes were engaged in dealing with the Iron Hand and debating over who would go. In the resulting explosion, Red Tornado was believed to be destroyed. Red Tornado survived, however, and was catapulted to the Earth-One universe, where he ultimately became a member of the Justice League of America. In the JLA, Red Tornado finally found a measure of acceptance.

As John Smith

However, the Tornado's adventures with the League caused him to repeatedly be destroyed, such as when he sacrificed himself to help defeat the alien villain Nekron, and was later reassembled once more under the control of the Construct in a plot against the League, which the android managed to overcome. While a member of the Justice League, the Red Tornado developed a human alter ego appearance, that of John Smith, and formed an attachment with a woman named Kathy Sutton. In addition, he adopted an orphan from the middle eastern nation of Bialya named Traya, and they formed a makeshift family. He formed friendships with his teammates, particularly Hawkwoman and new recruit Firestorm.

Eventually, T.O. Morrow returned as two individual personas, the Future Man (with a hyper-advanced brain providing him with psionic abilities) and a replica of the original T.O. Morrow body, this one equipped with an advanced battle suit. It is unknown how there were two T.O. Morrows except perhaps the original Morrow from Earth-Two and the one later found on Earth-One (when Red Tornado reappeared) may have merged when they both ceased to exist following their confrontations with their two superhero team enemies. A conflict with the latter Morrow caused the Tornado's android shell to rupture, and at this point the above origin of the Tornado Champion/Tyrant's merging with the android body was revealed. Red Tornado soon regained his body and gained renewed confidence in now knowing he was truly a sentient being. This would not last for long, as tragedy would soon strike once more.

Fictional character biography (Post-Crisis)

Air Elemental

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Tornado Champion was again separated from his android host body, becoming an air elemental due to the Anti-Monitor utilizing him as a weapon against the combined might of both the Justice League and Society.

After the Crisis, history was changed. In this new timeline, the android part of Red Tornado's origin remained the same, but he was never the Tornado Champion; instead, he was Earth's Air Elemental, created by Maya (the spirit of the Earth) to protect the environment. Like other elementals such as Swamp Thing, this spirit needed to have a human host before manifesting; the host was meant to be Professor Ivo's infant son, but he died early, so the spirit went instead to the android body Ivo had created.

The Elemental War

Air pollution had an adverse effect on the Red Tornado/Tornado Champion, driving him half-mad and into conflict alongside Naiad against Firestorm and the Swamp Thing in The Elemental War. Eventually, Firestorm calmed both the Red Tornado and Naiad, and manufactured a new body shell for the Red Tornado. It appears this new body was imperfect, as the Red Tornado began to experience serious malfunctions. His humanity was almost lost, and his physical appearance became more and more damaged, dirty and clearly not right. During a period of near-total malfunction, Red Tornado had been a member of the Leymen. During this period, he would experience odd jerks and spasms as he moved, and malfunctioning gears and mechanisms clanging together could be heard coming from within the android's body. He also could only speak in a halting, emotionless, mechanical monotone. During the course of his association with the Leymen, the original Red Tornado personality began to re-emerge, and slowly, his emotions and humanity as well.

Young Justice

Red Tornado spent some time silent and unmoving in the old, empty JLA headquarters located in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. The three young heroes, Robin, Superboy and Impulse spent a sleepover there. Impulse's behavior annoys Red Tornado to such an extent, he voluntarily reactivates himself.

Upon re-establishing his abilities to move properly and communicate, the Red Tornado re-established his connections with the Justice League and the regular super hero community. He served as an advisor for Young Justice, and as an auxiliary member of the JLA. During this period, he attempted to renew his relationship with his wife, Kathy Sutton. While he did not succeed in fully reuniting with Kathy, their adopted daughter, Traya, has readily accepted the Red Tornado into her life, regardless of his appearance or state of repair. Because of Traya's attachment for the Red Tornado, Kathy allows Red Tornado regular visitations and contact. He has not, however, returned to his John Smith identity, instead acting as Traya's adoptive father in his superheroic/robotic identity.

Identity Crisis

In the events following DC's Identity Crisis mini-series, Red Tornado is attacked by the surviving members of the original Secret Society of Super-villains. His body is completely destroyed before the JLA arrive. Batman takes the remains to the Batcave, building an upgraded android body. When the League is attacked by Despero, Red Tornado is essential to his defeat, as he is immune to Despero's telepathy and mind control.

Infinite Crisis and 52

Red Tornado was one of the heroes recruited by Donna Troy to fight against the menace in space during Infinite Crisis. According to a conversation between Doc Magnus and his creator T.O. Morrow in 52, the Red Tornado sacrificed himself during the Crisis (in fact he was utterly destroyed, hit by a stray Zeta beam signal). Morrow's response to this news is to question how many times the Tornado has actually died now, clearly indicating he expects the Red Tornado to return to active status eventually. Morrow also alludes to another android he created, called the Red Inferno. No other data is given on this possible sibling to the Red Tornado.

During the fifth week of the 52 event, after the other heroes were beamed back down to Earth at Uluru, the Tornado's speaker embedded in Mal Duncan's chest replayed a warning message for his comrades, "It's coming! 52! 52!", implying that shortly before his destruction he may have seen something pivotal to the DC Universe future, the rebirth of the Multiverse.

Twelve weeks later, in 52 Week 17, it was revealed that the Red Tornado, now largely in pieces, was beamed back down to the Earth with the other heroes, but apparently missed by the search team. Conscious but unable to say anything other than "52," the Tornado was discovered by a group of young Aborigines in the Australian outback. At the end of 52 Week 21, he was shown to have been reassembled with car parts by an Australian mechanic. Malfunctioning, but at least able to access his aereokinetic powers, in 52 Week 28, he was set against a group of Intergang enforcers evicting a tribe of Aborigines from their shanty town. Defeated, he was disassembled and trashed, and his head used in a contemporary art sculpture. T.O. Morrow manages to buy his head back, hoping to discover his secrets. As T.O. Morrow is used as a bait to trap Mr. Mind, Red Tornado's head falls in Rip Hunter's hands, who combines his head with his own Time Bubble to navigate safely into the restored universe.

One Year Later

After the events in DC's One Year Later story-line, Red Tornado's android body is fully repaired. Kathy Sutton spends some time with it, talking with the heroine Platinum and thinking how she has done this seven times before, waiting for John to come back to his body.[1] However, his soul chooses to enter a human body offered by Felix Faust (posing as Deadman). When the Justice League of America calls him back as a member, John Smith returns as a human being, showing the same wind powers of his robotic form, but lacking the stamina and resilience of his android body.[2]

His android body is stolen from Will Magnus' lab by Dr. Impossible. Magnus notifies Red Tornado, who then leaves to find his stolen android body.[3] Arsenal (later to take the title Red Arrow), Black Canary and Green Lantern join the search using a beacon planted by Will Magnus inside Red Tornado's android body. They track the signal to a remote mountain base and confront Professor Ivo who has regained his human appearance. Ivo then releases a swarm of various activated Tornado Androids to assault the heroes. After the androids are defeated, and Red Tornado arrives, it is revealed that this has been orchestrated by a revived and intelligent Solomon Grundy.[4]

Solomon Grundy confesses that he masterminded the plan that put the former android in a human shell meant to cripple him, slowly robbing Red Tornado of his health and aereokinesis, although a mishap let Tornado keep his powers even in his weakened form. Grundy also had the Red Tornado Android body infused with a multitude of super powered objects, along with one of Ivo’s Amazo chips, to create an invincible shell to house his soul so he will never die again. The assembled heroes, along with others, go after the Red Tornado/Amazo android, who, thinking himself to be John Smith, goes to see John’s family. While they run off, Grundy keeps the now weak human Red Tornado separate in an attempt to kill him. Tornado, who is no longer a match for Grundy's superhuman strength, is beaten and mutilated by the undead brute and through sheer force of will is able to summon winds that snap the immortal monster like a tree.

The Amazo form is slowed down by Apokoliptian technology given to Kathy Sutton by Big Barda (after recent tragedies the JLA had armed their loved ones). The assembled heroes manage to neutralize Amazo.[5]

Slowly dying, he asks his wife to quickly rebuild the Red Tornado android and allow him to return. Zatanna lifts the spell trapping his soul thus allowing Red Tornado to again be able to inhabit his android shell upon "death".[6] Although he was offered to keep the various enhancement planted by Ivo, Red Tornado divested himself of all augmentation, joining the Justice League of America with his usual array of powers. However, since the return to his robotic body, Red Tornado has begun behaving out of sorts, even losing control of his powers at one point and nearly killing Red Arrow. He also became increasingly cold and detached from his friends and family, acting more like a machine than a sentient being.

After the team's battle with the Injustice League[7], Red Tornado's body was badly damaged[8], and his consciousness has been placed into the Hall of Justice's computer systems.[9] His feelings slowly returning, he's warned that this time a jump into a new host body could be a damaging experience for his soul, and even if the new shell Magnus built for him mimicks perfectly every function of a human body, its computational abilities are far inferior than his current cybernetic mind. Nevertheless he accepts the deal, to get a new chance at life with his family.

The Justice League, calling upon Zatanna and John Henry Irons, initiate the transfer. However Amazo, still present in the previous body of Red Tornado as a dormant program, takes control of the self-repairing routines, fights Irons and steals for himself the Magnus shell, giving battle to the whole League.[10][11] In the end, Zatanna is forced to unleash against him the only force Amazo is unable to mimic, the very soul of Red Tornado in his primal, elemental form. Red Tornado is then restored in a spare body.[12] The Tornado then proposes marriage to Kathy and she accepts. After helping to capture Professor Ivo, Red Tornado takes a leave of absence from the League.[13]

Legion of Super-Heroes

The The Lightning Saga crossover[14] features a group similar to the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths versions of Star Boy (now called Starman), Dream Girl, Wildfire, Karate Kid, Timber Wolf, Sensor Girl, Dawnstar, and Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Wildfire reveals that his containment suit was built out of the Red Tornado's robotic shell.[15] Before returning to the future, Wildfire cryptically says to Red Tornado "Fight what's inside you, John. I know you can."

Final Crisis

Red Tornado was among the heroes who responded to Article X. He, Firestorm, and John Stewart engage Genocide, but were no match for her.

Following Final Crisis, a Red Tornado mini-series chronicling his origin and the reveal of a new "Android family" that may cause conflict between Tornado and his wife and adopted daughter. [16]

Powers and abilities

Red Tornado is capable of creating tornado-like vortexes, channeling these forces through his arms and legs to produce bursts of cyclone-force winds and high speed forward velocity powerful enough to affect Superman-level beings[citation needed]. On occasion, Red Tornado used his high-velocity movement to render himself invisible to unaided human vision and travel at speeds on par with Superman, Power Girl and Green Lantern[citation needed]. His android body possesses superhuman strength and resilience sufficient to withstand a direct hit from a missile and can repair itself. He is also extremely intelligent. He can access information at any time from computer systems due to his immense memory and hacking skills, but he has problems relating to human emotion and is trying to change himself to understand them.

Other versions

Kingdom Come

Three versions of Red Tornado exist in the Elseworlds story Kingdom Come. One is Red Tornado, which has standard wind powers, the other is Ma Hunkel in powered armor, and the other is Tornado, a being said to be the ghost of the Tornado Champion.

In other media

SuperFriends

Although not appearing in the show, he did appear in some of the related comics with the show. [17]

Television

Justice League Unlimited

In Justice League Unlimited, Red Tornado has made a number of cameo appearances. He first appears briefly at the end of "Initiation". He has one line ("Soooeeeyyy!") in the episode "This Little Piggy", in which he helps search for Wonder Woman, who has been transformed into a piglet by Circe. He next appears in "The Return", where he briefly fights Amazo before being destroyed. He is rebuilt some time after that with no on-screen explanation as to how. In "Panic in the Sky", he helps repel an attack on the Watchtower by the cloned army of Ultimen, simultaneously defeating three clones of Wind Dragon (with wind powers similar to his own) with negligible difficulty. He appears in a flashback scene in "Epilogue", fighting The Royal Flush Gang alongside other JLU members. The Red Tornado appears in "The Great Brain Robbery" as one of the featured heroes of the episode. He, along with Green Lantern, Doctor Fate and Mister Terrific try to capture a Luthor-possessed Flash. He was voiced in this instance by Powers Boothe.[18] The Red Tornado's final appearance was in "Destroyer", the series finale, in which he races out of the Justice League's headquarters with almost every other hero.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Red Tornado appears in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Corey Burton. He occasionally prefixes his statements with the type of declaration he is making (ex. "Observation: It is the logical thing to do."). He lives in a suburban neighborhood in his civilian identity as "John Ulthoon", a college archeology professor.

In the episode "Invasion of the Secret Santas!", Red Tornado tries to understand the spirit of Christmas, while helping Batman stop Fun Haus' holiday crime spree. He gives Batman a mug with the words "World's Greatest Detective" written on it. Red Tornado destroys Fun Haus's giant robot and defeats the villain, but his body is destroyed due to an overload. However, shortly before exploding, he finally experiences the "tingling sensation" that he believes to be Christmas Spirit. His pieces are picked up by hazmat-clad scientists and taken to be rebuilt at S.T.A.R. Labs.

"Deep Cover for Batman" features Red Tornado's Crime Syndicate counterpart, Silver Cyclone, who is also voiced by Corey Burton. After the "Injustice Syndicate's" plan to invade Batman's world is thwarted (the plan was changed to destroy Batman's world after Batman posed as Owlman), and his teammates are captured, Silver Cyclone attempts to set off his bomb (revealed to only affect organic life) on his own world. Silver Cyclone reveals that, in contrast to Red Tornado's desire to learn about and mingle with humanity, he hates organic life and wishes to destroy it. Red Hood stopped him by throwing one of his red aces into the side of his head, causing his head to blow up.

Red Tornado appears again in "Hail the Tornado Tyrant!", building a robotic son capable of emotion whom he named Tornado Champion (voiced by Carl Lumbly). Though Champion's emotions do not kick in at first, they manifest after he is hit by lightning during a battle with Major Disaster. The emotions cause Champion to develop disdain for human life. When Major Disaster attempts a breakout and knocks out Red Tornado, Champion nearly kills him in an insane rage before attacking Batman for getting in his way. Seeing no other logical way, Tornado activates a failsafe within Champion to shut him down. However, Champion had already removed the failsafe prior as he uses Red Tornado's technology to upgrade himself into Tornado Tyrant with the intent to destroy humanity, starting with Coast City. Batman and Red Tornado manage to defeat him with a scrambler device, though Red Tornado is nearly destroyed trying to reason with Tyrant. Red Tornado then jams his hands into Tyrant, whose last word is, "Father?", and tears him apart with a tornado blast, then has his remains melted down for good measure. Through it all Red Tornado manages to find a piece of humanity by shedding a single tear; he dismisses it as oily discharge and runs a diagnostic on himself. He appears in the teaser of "The Power of Shazam", fighting the Faceless Hunter and many Starro controlled heroes. During the fight, he's destroyed by the Faceless Hunter.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Red Tornado appears as a reserve member of the JLA in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.[19]

Music

Post-hardcore band HORSE the band included the song "The Red Tornado" on their 2007 album "A Natural Death" about the character.[citation needed]

DC Universe Online

Red Tornado is set to appear in the upcoming video game DC Universe Online.

References

  1. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #1 (November 2006)
  2. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #2 (December 2006)
  3. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #3 (January 2007)
  4. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #4 (February 2007)
  5. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #5 (March 2007)
  6. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #6 (April 2007)
  7. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #13 (November 2007)
  8. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #15 (January 2008)
  9. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #16 (February 2008)
  10. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #22 (August 2008)
  11. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #23 (September 2008)
  12. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #24 (October 2008)
  13. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #25 (November 2008)
  14. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #8-10 and Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #5-6, April-June 2007
  15. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #9
  16. ^ http://blog.newsarama.com/2009/06/11/dc-announces-red-tornado-mini-series/
  17. ^ 'Super Friends' #8 featuring Red Tornado
  18. ^ http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?p=2089028#post2089028
  19. ^ http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k158/ponyboyzero/jl3.jpg?t=1266523910

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