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A world-conquering mad-doctor type from comics' Golden Age (1938–1954), Brainwave (Brain Wave) made his first appearance in All Star Comics #15 (1943) in a story written by Gardner Fox and penciled by Joe Gallagher. Introverted psychiatrist Henry King possesses the ability to construct realistic images by projecting his own thoughts. Unsatisfied with his life as a do-good doctor, King establishes an identity as Brainwave and sets about amassing wealth and power. The crimelord soon turned to truly supervillainous acts, including partnering with several crooks and offering them his unique psychic talents in exchange for proceeds from their criminal activities. One of his first crime-brokering deals was with Professor Elba, who developed with Brainwave an “insanity serum.” In an effort to bring about the Justice Society of America's (JSA) demise, Brainwave planted post-hypnotic suggestions into the minds of its members; shrank several members down to 8 inches tall; and—in a bogus identity as dream psychologist Dr. Forest Malone—solicited the team to volunteer for a test of his dream analyzer, nearly driving them mad. Brainwave appeared throughout the 1940s, during which he battled such heroes as Green Lantern, Starman, Johnny Thunder, and other JSA members, both solo and as a member of the early supervillain team the Injustice Society of the World. Over time his powers became more sophisticated and polished, and have included telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to generate bolts of raw mental force. Brainwave was killed in battle with the Ultra- Humanite, but not before passing on his remarkable mental powers to his son, Henry King, Jr., the DC hero Brainwave.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.