The Golden Age Dr. Light

Personal Data

Real Name Unknown 

Residence: Usually Mobile 
Occupation: Professional Criminal 
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-American Comics #82 (February 1947) 
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): None

History

        Little is known of the early life of the man who would become known as Dr. Light. It is known that prior to the late 1940's, he occupied a junior faculty position at an Ivy League University but was expelled for conducting experiments with light that were deemed exceedingly dangerous. Obsessed with his research and infuriated at the scorn he had received, Dr. Light determined that what he could not obtain through legal means would be obtained through illegal means, and thus turned to crime. In early 1947, Dr. Light  found himself in need of funds to continue his work. He targeted a small New York  town containing a small industrial complex with a significant payroll. At 3 AM on a Thursday morning, Dr. Light strolled through the center of town. As he approached a factory, the city was illuminated with sufficient brightness to mimic daylight. The town arose in utter confusion and while guards and police stared numbly into the sky, Dr. Light used a special light-concentrating flashlight to burn his way into the payroll vault and abscond with large sums of cash.

        Unfortunately for the villain, Dr. Charles McNider, also known as Dr. Mid-Nite was visiting town and was likewise awakened. Using a light-detection device from his own optics research, McNider tracked the source of the light to a local park and, as Dr. Mid-Nite, intercepted Dr. Light as he return to his daylight generator. The two scuffled briefly but Dr. Light gained the upper hand and when Mid-Nite twisted his ankle, took his equipment and the cash in a hasty departure. Three nights later, Dr. Light struck again in New York City. Using a "light-thrower" he blinded the guards at Corner Bank and proceeded to loot the safe. En route to a lecture at Sheldon Hall, Charles McNider noticed the bizarre light seeping from the coal chutes and deduced that his quarry had struck again. Quickly ditching Myra Mason, he changed to Dr. Mid-Nite and caught up with Dr. Light. Using a "blackout bomb", Dr. Mid-Nite prevented the criminal from using his light-based weaponry and then waded in to capture him. Dr. Light was arrested for his crimes (All-American Comics #82) and sent to a local jail to await arraignment.

    Dr. Light was not held for long and several months later, had concocted a new plan in which he used his gadgetry to create a giant ruse to fleece the wealthy. Using the vast underground storage area of  Gray's department store, Light created a replica of a giant Roman coliseum. He then used criminal channels to pass the word of a secret civilization, which the wealthy could visit for a price. Quite by accident, Charles McNider dialed his office from a telephone booth near Gray's unaware that doing so opened a chute to this "ancient civilization" used by Light's men to gain access. Initially baffled, Mid-Nite's perspective clarified when he saw Light but the hero was quickly subdued by a large bull Light had brought into his arena for effect. His body was dumped into a sewer drain which carried him to New York Harbor. Coming to his senses, he swam to shore to contemplate his next move. Back in his home, Dr. Mid-Nite found his secretary entertaining a young man named Jim, who had been contacted about buying relics from an undiscovered Roman civilization. Suspecting Dr. Light, Dr. Mid-Nite followed Jimmy to a secret chimney passage leading to Light's ruse and caught the villain by surprise. Dr. Lights thugs immediately drew arms but were engulfed in a blackout bomb which allowed Mid-Nite to overcome them with ease. As Dr. Light made a break for the exit, Dr. Mid-Nite quickly closed the gap and apprehended the villain on the sidewalk outside the department store. Dr. Light again made his residence at a New York penitentiary (All-American Comics #89).

    Again Dr. Light was not long for a jail cell. Within weeks of his capture, he had escaped and hatch a new criminal plan. Light developed a special ray which causes plants to grow to enormous proportions and act according to his whims. After giving a carnation to banker Nathan Moray, Light activated a ray which caused the flower to grow to enormous proportions, apparently crush Moray and visiting Myra Mason beneath it. Light then slipped in through a window and proceeded to crack Moray's office safe. Along for the visit with Myra, Dr. Charles McNider witnessed the villain's approach and slipped out to return as Dr. Mid-Nite.  As Mid-Nite tried to grab his recaltriant foe, a ray of light causes a large plant to grow and push him back, while simultaneously lifting Dr. Light out of the hero's reach. Turning back to Myra, Mid-Nite was surprised to find her and the banker gone.

    Returning home, Mid-Nite found Myra in an agitated state and as he tried to speak with her, she flew into a murderous rage and attempted to kill the hero. Their confrontation was short-lived however when a ray from Dr. Light snatched the hero into the air and pulled him in a carnivorous plant grown by the Doctor's special lights. Leaving Mid-Nite to his plight, Dr. Light stunned New Yorkers when he staged a daring robbery of it's Annual Flower Day charity parade with thugs hidden in the flowery floats themselves. However, the day was not yet done.

    Using a blackout bomb, Dr. Mid-Nite had shriveled the would-be man eater and quickly caught up with Dr. Light. Arriving in the nick of time, Mid-Nite not only thrashed Light and his gang but also revealed the conspirator who had allowed his thugs to hide in the floats: Nathan Moray. The entire crew was then carted off to prison, and Dr. Mid-Nite was honored by the naming of a giant black orchid "The Dr. Mid-Nite Orchid".

    Since the late 1940's, the activities of Dr. Light are unknown. Whether he is still active, or indeed, even alive, remains to be seen. Any rumor that he may have engaged the Justice Society cannot be confirmed.

Multiversity

Prior Earth-1 = The Doctor Light of prior Earth-1 was Arthur Light, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at a large midwestern University.  In the early 1960's, he was attempting to develop a viewing technology that peered through time, offering him a glimpse of Earth's future.  Instead, in viewed through space, focusing on Thanagar and also inadvertently formed  a warp portal, allowing Light to step through it and abscond with the planet's futuristic technology.  He was quickly pursued by Thanagarian law officer who recouped the stolen tech but not before Light had adapted it to form a criminal identity as Dr.  Light (DC Super-Stars #14).  Boldly he made his first target the Justice League of America (Justice League of America #12) but once defeated, he changed his strategy to attacking individual JLA members including Green Lantern (Green Lantern #33), the Atom (Atom #8), the Flash (Flash #171) and Batman and Superman (World's Finest # 207).  He also joined group endeavors such as collaborating with Dr. Destiny (Justice League of America #61), the Star Tsar (Justice League of America #149) and founding the Fearsome Five (New Teen Titans #3). With each iteration, Dr. Light's caliber of adversary decreased, until the mid-80's, when he was a frequently defeated foe of the Teen Titans.  His arguably greatest success was his use of amnesium to learn the true identities of the JLA members (Justice League of America #122). His fate on Earth-1 post-Crisis is unknown.

Prior Earth-0 = The Doctor Light of prior Earth-0 has a history with significant similarity to the Arthur Light of Pre-Crisis Earth-1.  Variations include a different name, Arthur Smith (though Arthur Light is an alias), his employment by STAR labs rather than a Unviersity and the role of Jacob Findley, who on  this Earth actually created the Dr. Light identity to become a super-hero before Arthur Light killed him to become the criminal Doctor Light (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #37).   Like his Earth-1 counterpart, this Doctor Light also displayed a progressive reduction in caliber of adversary but it is revealed that he is a serial rapist, including victimizing the wife of the Elongated Man Sub Dibney.  As punishment for this act, Zatanna eliminates Light's memories and reduced his intellect, thus explaining his diminution as a threat over time (Identity Crisis LS).  He is also haunted by the ghost of Findley, which contributed to his difficulties. He ultimately joins the Suicide Squad but in a final indignity, is rejected from their ranks (Suicide Squad # 19-52).  Later due to exposure to a Green Lantern's power battery he is converted into pure light and when Sue Dibney is murdered, the prior mind wipe is revealed and Light's intellect and powers come back to former formidable levels. He joins the Injustice League and is a much more serious threat until he is confronted and executed by the Spectre for his extensive sins (Final Crisis: Revelations #1).  He is last seen resurrected as a member of the Nekron's Black Lantern Corps (Blackest Night #3).

On both Prior Earth-0 and Earth-1, a heroic female Dr. Light, Kimiyo Hoshi,  emerged during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.  While her costume was very similar to Doctor Light's, no connection was believed to exist between her and her villainous counterparts.

Current Earth-0 -  On the current Earth, Arthur Light became Dr. Light when he is working on a device from the Secret Society of Super-Villains.  He became a member of the Justice League where he was killed in an early case but his soul bound to light.  He now exists as a light construct with a true human form and vacillates between his heroic actions and being drawn to crime.  Light is the estranged husband of Kimiyo Hoshi and together they have three children.

Earth-17 - Preliminary evidence of the existence of Dr. Light on the post-atomic world of Earth-17 has been obtained but his history remains unknown.

Earth-21 -  A version of Doctor Light similiar to Earths 1 and 0 has been documented on Earth-21 but nothing other than his existence can be verified (The New Frontier LS).

Powers/Skills

Dr. Light is a brilliant scientist but has no super-powers (or had none by 1950 in any event). His main advantage is his extensive arsenal of light-based technology included devices to alter the growth of plants, generate enormous amounts of heat and a wide array of light emitters and photomagnetic devices.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Without his weapons, which required a steady availability of light to function, Dr. Light is an ordinary mortal.

Appearances

Issue Comment Reprinted in
All-American Comics #82 1st appearance,  vs. Dr. Mid-Nite  
All-American Comics #89 vs. Dr. Mid-Nite  
All-American Comics #91 vs. Dr. Mid-Nite  


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