Who's This? The owner of the Philosopher Stone.The facts:
The original Dr. Alchemy (there have been a couple others since) was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino to fight the Flash in Showcase #13 (April 1958). He was known as Mr. Element, an identity that would be taken up by someone else later. The next issue, he was Dr. Alchemy. Plagued by a split personality, but gifted with the Philosopher Stone of legend, he fought both Barry Allen and Wally West many times (sometimes as a member of the Rogues), as well as the Justice League of America and Blue Beetle.How you could have heard of him:
The current continuity's version participated in the Forever Evil event, appeared in the current World's Finest series, and in a Flash storyline in 2020-21. In live action, he showed in the Flash TV show's third season (with a big honking mask).Example story:
Blue Beetle #4 (September 1986) "The Answer Is Alchemy!" by Len Wein, Paris Cullins and Bruce D. Patterson
The Flash isn't the only science hero around, but Blue Beetle seems a little outmatched against a matter transmuter. That just makes it more exciting. Alchemy has just absorbed the properties of Prometheum (which was always cropping up in BB) into the Philosopher's Stone, so he's even more powerful now.
Ted Kord's never heard of Dr. Alchemy, but he plays catch-up pretty fast and soon air blasts the Stone out of the villain's hand. But he stupidly knocks Alchemy back, within reach of the Stone, and falls through a paper floor! For his next trick, Alchemy turns a table into a getaway vehicle, which I admit is pretty neat.
But Alvin isn't content with having restored the power of his magical Twinkie. Sure, he could get rich very easily by turning beer into gold, but he's such a butter fingers, he could so easily drop the ball.
He must BECOME the Stone. Nothing bad could happen, I'm sure. Seems simple enough too. He strengthens his psionic connection to the Stone and transfers its energy into himself... See? You don't need Neron to become a badder villain! And you don't need a deal with the Devil to have it backfire either.
What? A human body wasn't built to contain that much power? Who would have thunk? And oh no, he can't reverse the process. He runs off to S.T.A.R. Labs-Chicago to get help, and it soon turns into a violent situation. He doesn't WANT to hurt people, he just can't help it.
By the time the Beetle gets there, a lot of people have been turned into pure elements.
What follows is a game of dodging Alchemy's panicked blasts and keeping him away with air blasts. At least until the BB Gun is turned into coal. But Blue Beetle is good at improvising, and with Alchemy going haywire, it may just be a matter of outlasting the energy buildup.
Much of this is due to the Prometheum and the way it breaks the laws of physics. The more Dr. Alchemy uses the power, the more powerful (and out of control) he becomes. His final fate makes me wonder if other villains might want to break him up to all get their own Philosopher Stones. Was this ever properly followed-up on? Is this where the next Dr. Alchemy got his Stone (Curtis Engstrom, who faced Wally West)?
This was my first story with Dr. Alchemy in it and because of the Paris Cullins art, he imprinted positively on me. But matter transmuters are... a difficult prospect for superhero comics writers. When I compare him to similar villains like Mr. Element and Matter Master, Dr. Alchemy still has the best look and weapon.Who's Next?
A god with many bodies.