Dr. Light(pop culture)
In “The Last Case of the Justice League!” in Justice League of America #12 (1962), the irascible illuminator Dr. Light swaggers through the team's Secret Sanctuary, dictating to JLA junior member Snapper Carr his nefarious tale of the League's defeat. Light has banished the Leaguers to “sidereal worlds” where their environments counter the heroes' superpowers—Aquaman, who requires water every sixty minutes, is trapped on an arid sand planet; Martian Manhunter is incapacitated on a world that spews fire, his weakness; etc. Thanks to the quick thinking of JLA members Superman and Batman, the Leaguers are freed from their interplanetary prisons and return to Earth. The villain's thunderbolts, hard-light and heat beams, blinding flares, and kryptonite ray don't hold a candle to the JLA's teamwork and ingenuity, and it's lights out for Dr. Light! JLA editor Julius Schwartz took a shine to Dr. Light, having him frequently battle the solo superheroes in his stable. Dr. Light trapped the Atom in a light bulb, pummeled Green Lantern with solidlight shafts, and also lit into the Flash, Batman and Superman, and even the Justice League in return bouts. Despite his grandiose plans of conquest, Light's efforts flickered and he never scored a victory. Lowering his sights in an effort to restore his reputation, Dr. Light challenged the JLA's junior counterparts in Teen Titans #44 (1976) … and was unplugged once again. In DC Super-Stars #14's “Secret Origins of Super-Villains” edition (1977), writer Paul Kupperberg and artist Dick Ayers illuminated the rogue's background, revealing his real name, Dr. Arthur Light. In an origin that has been amplified in later tales, Light was a physicist employed by S.T.A.R. Labs. His partner Dr. Jacob Finlay created the Dr. Light garb and identity, embarking upon a shortlived superhero career in the guise, but after Finlay's unfortunate demise, Arthur Light nabbed the suit and light-based weaponry and flashed into a crime career. Dr. Light made occasional appearances in various DC titles over the next few years, losing each battle. Chagrined by his tarnished reputation, in Marv Wolfman and George Pérez's The New Teen Titans #3 (1981) the vindictive villain hired a quartet of super-rogues—Psimon, Gizmo, Shimmer, and Mammoth—and as the Fearsome Five blitzed the recently regrouped Titans. Psimon challenged Light for control of the team—“Lousy filth. I should kill him for humiliating me!”—and Dr. Light was ousted from the very team he organized. The crestfallen criminal temporarily retired and was replaced as Dr. Light by Kimiyo Hoshi in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 (1985), but by 1989 he was back in action alongside the Suicide Squad, the U.S. government–sponsored task force of heroes and villains. Years of defeats had taken their toll, and Dr. Light had become an incessant whiner and an annoyance to those in his circle. Having exhausted Dr. Light's persecution complex, in 1996 DC Comics began a gradual overhaul of the villain. Light was imprisoned inside Green Lantern's power battery, emerging as a hybrid of flesh and light. He was later recruited by Lex Luthor as a charter member of the Injustice Gang, fighting the Justice League alongside the Joker, Mirror Master, Circe, and the Ocean Master. Dr. Light was elevated to A-list status in the best-selling miniseries Identity Crisis (2004–2005), by writer Brad Meltzer and penciler Rags Morales. Light was implicated in the grisly murder of the Elongated Man's wife Sue Dibny, and the Justice League's investigation exposed a closeted secret: years ago, Dr. Light had uncovered the League's Achilles heel—the vulnerability of their loved ones. As a safeguard measure, Zatanna magically erased select portions of Light's memories and altered his personality. A cadre of seven Leaguers shielded this from the rest of the team, but Sue's murder unraveled a web of duplicities that made Light aware of what had been done to him. Now a creature of blind hate, Dr. Light has become utterly lethal. In a rematch with the Teen Titans, in Teen Titans vol. 3 #22 (2005) by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone, Light warned the young heroes as they lay prostrate before him, humbled by his blistering light attacks: “You better watch yourselves. If you learn the wrong thing, or maybe if you threaten your mentors sooner than they want to be replaced—they might do it to you. They'll take your mind.” A more light-hearted Dr. Light, voiced by Rodger Bumpass, appeared on television during season one of the Cartoon Network's animated Teen Titans (2003–2006). DC Comics' toy division DC Direct has produced a Dr. Light PVC figurine in 2001 and an action figure in 2005. The name “Dr. Light” was first used by DC Comics during the Golden Age (1938–1954) for an adversary of Dr. Mid-Nite.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.