Who's Doctor Light II?

Who's This? A hero in Crisis.

The facts: Created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kimiyo Hoshi was not, despite the similar costume, a replacement for the original Dr. Light, but for Supergirl, who was doomed to die and inspire this character to heroism. You tell me if it was a fair trade. In reality, the new Doctor Light didn't really soar to great heights. She was tapped to join the post-Legends Justice League and then didn't stick around, not getting a real turn until an absolutely wretched era for Justice League Europe/International. Nevertheless, she's been around, especially during crossover events, getting a bit more development in the pre-Flashpoint Supergirl book. But one does wonder what plans, if any, DC had for the character back in 1986, having gone through the trouble of creating her during its big event (in which her role turned out to be fairly minimal at that).
How you could have heard of her: It wasn't until the recent Dark Crisis that Doctor Light came full circle when writer Joshua Williamson actually showed why the Monitor had gifted her with powers. But is she once again only important for her role in some event, or will this lead to more exposure? Arrowverse fans will have seen her in live action in Flash Season 6.
Example story: Showcase '96 #9 (October 1996) "Illumination" by Joseph Illidge, ChrisCross and Caesar
So what does a Doctor Light solo story look like? We turn to Showcase '96 for an answer (for better or worse). Kimiyo is a scientist working on big ideas in Tokyo.
Holes in the ozone layer? How 90s! Well of course, some anime-looking dudes crash the lab to steal her "solar membrane". They didn't do their research though - she becomes Dr. Light right in front of them and blasts them with, uhm, light. Or maybe they're just blown away by her new 90s-ish costume.
"I'm the doctor, and you're in surgery"... Dr. Light comes out of retirement snapping lines like she's Spider-Man or James Bond! But she really is out of practice and one of the thieves grabs her from behind. All the while she's thinking about her kids and just why she took this break. For them. And if anything, this is what makes Dr. Light interesting - she's not just a superhero nor a super-scientist, she's a mom. Though really, I find her contention that superheroing took her away from home too much, when the high-profile science stuff is probably just as tough on the schedule.
After a lot of confusing special effects, she gets the thieves to point her in the direction of their boss. He is Amuro Suriyaki, a scientist who feels Japan's few superheroes have failed their country, Dr. Light especially, and who vowed to create a superhuman army and take matters in his own hands. Unfortunately, a lab explosion left him dying of radiation and he thought the solar membrane might be a second chance at life. But she didn't bring it with her, so he dies.
Wipes everything away?! That's the cold, hard Light that we've come to know and feel pretty ambivalent about. I don't know why destroying a man's very memory was the "only reasonable thing to do", nor how this incident makes her decide to BE Dr. Light again and find a way to juggle that extra ball in with her family and professional one (like, either he's a madman worshipping false gods, or he was right about you). Needless to say, this didn't really lead into anything of note, except some readers maybe stopped wondering why she showed up in the background of things despite having "retired".

Obviously, this is just a thin ten-pager, but had she had her own series, it would have contained all these elements - Japan, her family life, mad science, and anime villains. One would hope she would be more approachable as a character, however.

Who's Next? A blind physician.


Anonymous said…
I've always assumed her role was intended for the new energy-based Flash that was rumored until DC got cold feet.
Siskoid said…
Could very well be!