Who's Earthworm?

Who's This? Who's Who vol.VII, bottom of page 15, this ugly puss:
The facts: Earthworm is a Bronze Age Earth-2 villain who gave the Huntress problems in a single story told over five 7-page back-ups in Wonder Woman #309-313 by Joey Cavalieri and Tim Burgard (with Dan Spiegle handling the art on the penultimate chapter).
How you could have heard of him: Apparently, Earthworm survived the end of the multiverse because he was next seen getting a power boost from Neron during Underworld Unleashed (UU #1), to he could face Guy Gardner (in GG:Warrior #36). Given the 90s art on that, they managed to make him look even grosser.
Example story: Wonder Woman vol.1 #309-313 (1983-84)
This skinny, sallow-skinned creep with mental powers over sewer animals is real scum, you know that? His preferred crime is BABY TRAFFICKING! He steals heroin-addicted babies from desperate junky parents and sells them to families who want them, buyer beware (or alternately, leaves them on the doorstep of henchmen who've done him wrong as a warning, a variation on the burning bag of poop). As a side-line, he's got a handsome would-be-politician ruining the Huntress day by running an anti-vigilante campaign the people of Gotham really buy into. So much so, they actually take the law into their own hands and try to arrest/lynch her. Uhm... Great logic there, Gothamites.
But this is Batman's daughter, it takes a lot more than a mob to stop her. Hell, even Earthworm's pet sewer alligators can't do it.
Tracking missing babies and dope fiends, Huntress finally finds the villain and it looks like being raised in a cave by an obsessive father have paid off. She just brushes off Earthworm's army of rats and sonically stuns them. Of course, it's her resolve that should be admired:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Huntress is a hero that YOU CANNOT GROSS OUT. You simply can't do it. She'll eat anything. She'll look at anything. She's not even phased by someone puking in front of her. Unfortunately, Earthworm escapes at the end the story, so it must be assumed he keeps selling crack babies, somewhere out there, at least until the Crisis merges his Earth with Earth-1.

His complete absence until Underworld Unleashed makes his presence there slightly dubious since the villains who sign with Neron presumably have a loser's CV they're trying to get away from. So in the revised continuity, did Earthworm still fight (the Bertinelli) Huntress? Was he actually defeated by her or some other hero? In any case, Neron makes him a demon with stretchy arms and a "digging" ability, but also the same rat-controlling powers. Making him more like his namesake I think made him less compelling, but I'm probably responding to the 90sness of it.

Who else? I think I'm done with volume VII of Who's Who for now. I might have done the Jonah Hex villain El Papagayo, but I think we know what Hex stories are like. I have very little interest in Flash villain the Eradicator, but I might do him and the Fadeaway Man on the next pass.


Martin Gray said...

Ah, good old Earthworm. Still, I liked the days when any given month might bring a new villain. Some, like Earthworm, might be rubbish, but others, like Nocturna or Killer Croc, would stick around.

As for who next, what about Bug and Byte from Firestorm? They were well naff.

Siskoid said...

Well I'm going forward, not back, but I can catch them on the second pass! Ultimately (and I know it can never be done), I'd love to do an article like this for every entry in Who's Who, even the well-known characters (in their pre-Crisis state, of course).

Next up is a Golden Age character...

Anonymous said...

Well, I think he is disgusting enough to deserve a return. Heck, guys like him justifies the Punisher!


American Hawkman said...

Aww... I was really hoping for the Fadeaway Man.

Siskoid said...

Roger: I guess his niche was stolen by the Rat Catcher..?

Sorry AmH! Fadeaway Man is certainly deserving. I'll catch him some time!

Bully said...

Should this have a tag of "Who's Who" instead of "What If?"

Siskoid said...

Probably! It does now! Thanks, Bulls!


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