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The Key(pop culture)
Borrowing the name of a criminal who fought the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics #57 (1951), the Key first tumbled with DC Comics' premier superheroes in Justice League of America #41 (1965). Writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky's “The Key-Master of the World!” begins with Superman's startling motion to disband the League—“It's about time!” echoes Wonder Woman. The heroes gleefully toast the team's dissolution while Green Lantern levels their headquarters with his power ring. They are under the influence of the behavior-modifying “psycho-chemical” created by the Key, a mastermind flourishing key-shaped weapons and a key-like headpiece that barely contains his rampant ego. With his costumed Key-Men, the Key unlocks a string of heists under the oblivious noses of the Justice League, until Hawkgirl, not under the drug's control, helps the JLA close the door on the villain. This original incarnation of the Key has twice been captured in plastic, as a 1967 figurine and a 2001 PVC. While his real name has never been disclosed, the Key is a former Intergang chemist who injected himself with psycho-chemicals to unchain his mind's full potential. He sold his soul to the demon Neron in exchange for a higher state of consciousness— and a gruesome new form. Now with a chalky pallor, glowing red eyes, and a spinal attachment pumping his psycho-chemical into his cerebral cortex, the Key, often abetted by robotic Key-Men, wields a Neural Shock Rifle that dispenses mind-controlling drugs. He once trapped the JLA in an artificial reality, and is concocting new ways to unlock chaos.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.