Who's Brainwave Jr.?

Who's This? A villain's much better-looking son.

The facts: It seems absurd that the villain Brain Wave and Merry the Girl of a 1000 Gimmicks would get together and have a child, but there it is. At least Henry King Jr. seems to take after his mother in the looks department. (It also means the Star-Spangled Kid is his uncle so Infinity Inc. was weirder than I thought.) Roy Thomas created him with the rest of Infinity Inc. as the "next generation" of heroes on Earth-2, and premiered them in All-Star Squadron #24-27 (+Annual #2) in 1983. He was a staple of the team until it disbanded five years later. In the mid-90s, he went bad and formed a Legion of Doom to go up against Extreme Justice, and in the 2000s, a JSA storyline revealed it was all become Mr. Mind was lodged inside his brain. What a ride.
How you could have heard of him: The New52's version of Earth-2 did have a Brainwave Jr. and he was a villain. More recently, he appeared in the Stargirl TV show.
Example story: Infinity Inc. #10 (January 1985) "A Dark and Deadly Place!" by Roy Thomas, Jerry Ordway, Mike Machlan and Tony DeZuniga
Flipping through issues of Infinity Inc., I gotta say he's not one of the members who receives that much love. But then, he had a good part to play in the initial 10-issu arc. Maybe Roy Thomas didn't have much to say about him after that. As that great cover (homaging All-Star Comics #37 where the Injustice Society cuts up America) suggests, the JSA has gone bad due to the machinations of the now ape-like Ultra-Humanite and the waters of the River of Ruthlessness. Earth-2 is a weiiird place, man. So it's up to the younger generation to bring them to their senses. But as Infinity Inc. attacks the Ultra-Humanite's base, Brainwave Jr. is nowhere to be seen...

See, in issue 9, Brainwave Jr. and his uncle went to Limbo where Brain Wave (and before that, the Ultra-Humanite) were trapped in Justice League of America #197. Father and son combining powers, they're able to suck the big white ape and all surrounding heroes into Limbo.

It's kind of sweet that, though a villain, Brain Wave still goes to bat for his son.
And the opposite is true when it's the older Brain Wave who gets zapped.
And in his death throes, Brain Wave gives Junior his inheritance.
Junior now has a much better power set, and Roy foreshadows later instability by having the Ultra-Humanite recognize something in his eyes - even though you really couldn't see Brain Wave's eyes behind those bottle-bottom glasses - maybe the father's ruthlessness?
No longer Junior, you say? But that issue of Who's Who came out months after this, so SOMEbody must have kept infantilizing him. Anyway, Brainwave is the big hero of this Generations Saga, so let's all hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and get out of Limbo.
Jade is suitably impressed. They're gonna get together, these crazy kids, just you watch. As for the Ultra-Humanite, just what did Brainwave do to him?
Made him cry. This is just like that Secret Origins cover. You know the one. But he's not alone.
Brainwave wants to be alone, so could you all go round the mountain for a minute?

I guess this whole mindmeld leaves the door open to later instability so Roy and others can do a bad Dark Phoenix riff with the character. His dad was bad so he has to turn bad. Yeah, tell that to the Skywalker family. From the "Jr." on up, Brainwave never got any real respect.

Who's Next? The head of the Assassination Bureau.

2 comments:

RB said...

Si infinite inc. Regresa algundia ojala el este ally

Siskoid said...

Nadie necesita otro villano.

 

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