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Kanjar Ro(pop culture)
Extraterrestrial conqueror Kanjar Ro first ventured to Earth in Justice League of America #3 (1961), by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky. Luring the Leaguers to their Secret Sanctuary by manipulating their JLA signal devices, Kanjar Ro traps them in suspended animation by tinkling a golden bell, then immobilizes the entire population of Earth by hammering his Gamma Metal Gong. The “delon” (dictator) of the planet Dhor, Ro will only emancipate the public if the Justice Leaguers contribute their “extraordinary talents” to suppress his intergalactic rivals Hyathis of Alstair, Kromm of Mosteel, and Sayyar of Llarr. Rowing a spacefaring slave ship cosmically powered by Ro's Energi-rod, five JLAers venture to Ro's enemies' homeworlds and capture them. To keep the League at bay, Ro defiantly reneges upon his pledge to free the immotile Earthlings, but the JLA outsmarts the delon and breaks the Gong's spell, exiling Ro and his three adversaries on a habitable Meteor-World. Kanjar Ro was created not by writer Fox but by editor Julius Schwartz and cover artist Murphy Anderson during a brainstorming session in which JLA #3's cover art—Ro forcing the League to row “The Slave Ship of Space!”—was produced first, with the story written around it. Yet Fox's script succeeds in fleshing out this supervillain: Ro is tyrannical, untrustworthy, and armed with an apocalyptic array of gadgets. His Energi-rod cosmically allows him to fly and read minds, communicate through space, transmute matter, and paralyze vocal chords. Based upon looks alone, however, Kanjar Ro might not have been taken seriously: Gaunt and hook-nosed with pink skin and a blue uniform (including briefs with no leggings), he might even appear laughable, like an alien lawn jockey, were it not for his disturbing fly-like eyes and his ubiquitous sneer. The sequel to “The Slave Ship of Space!” appeared in Mystery in Space #75 (1962), in an Adam Strange story guest-starring the JLA. In writer Fox and artists Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson's “The Planet That Came to a Standstill!” Kanjar Ro escaped, abandoning his fellow fiends on their penal world: “I swore friendship while a prisoner with you! Now that I'm free—I'm your enemy again! Farewell, fools!” He routed the Justice League on a three-sunned world that tripled his powers, but the intervention of super-spaceman Adam Strange vanquished Ro—and earned his scorn. In later appearances, Ro briefly subjugated Strange's adopted world of Rann and battled both Hawkman and Superman. When he next encountered the League, in JLA vol. 2 #78 (2003), Kanjar Ro was almost unrecognizable: Clad in body armor, he had become Minister of Defense of Kylaq, provoking the planet into galactic conflict with neighboring worlds and attracting the attention of the League. While driven from Kylaq by the JLA, Kanjar Ro continues to seek out new worlds to conquer. Rene Auberjonois portrayed Kanjar Ro, in his original costume, in the two-part episode “In Blackest Night,” originally aired in 2001 on the Cartoon Network's Justice League, and Ro was one of seven JLA villains featured in a 2001 PVC set.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.