by Dan Swanson
In April, 1949, there was a short-lived super-hero named Vic Valor. Appearing from out of nowhere in Opal City, he fought crime for a week, becoming somewhat of a local legend, before finally disappearing.
The truth was that Vic Valor was actually Ted Knight — the retired mystery-man called Starman — wearing a suit of powered combat armor to provide simulated super-powers, which he’d built with his own advanced technology. However, Ted had also been under the partial mental control of an unknown entity who had taken advantage of his weakened mind following a mental breakdown. When the Valor entity seemingly died, Ted regained full control of his mind, then wore the armor long enough to fake Vic Valor’s death. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Times Past, 1949: Vic Valor, Invincible.]
Thereafter, Ted stored the Valor armor in his Starman trophy hall in a secret subbasement of his private observatory outside of Opal City. Over the course of the next thirty-eight years, Ted slowly upgraded the capabilities of the Valor combat armor, though he never wore it again; it was merely a hobby to pass the time, in much the same way as some men collected model trains. The Valor armor used infra-energy for power, the same power used by Ted’s original gravity rod and later by his upgraded cosmic rod. During the long years in storage, its power capacity slowly charged to maximum.
In December, 1987, Ted Knight donated his private astronomical observatory to Opal City University and moved his Starman trophies to a subbasement of the JSA Headquarters, located in a brownstone in Gotham City.
In May, 1988, a few months later, the Vic Valor armor, more powerful now than it had been in 1949, spontaneously came to life and burst from the subbasement. What followed was a pitched battle on the street outside the brownstone involving Vic Valor, Blackwing, the Huntress, Corona, Insect Queeen, Zephyr (formerly Mighty Isis), and Colonel Invincible (who was really Bat-Mite in disguise).
After much destruction of property and near-disaster for the various heroes, Zephyr called on all the storm gods around the world to bombard Vic Valor with lightning, and that drove him off, since this display of power was almost unprecedented.
Realizing that Vic Valor was incredibly dangerous, the Huntress called on Superman to deal with him, but, fueled by Bat-Mite’s misfiring magic, Superman and Valor engaged in a pitched battle that came close to destroying the city of Stamford, Connecticut, before Doctor Fate stepped in. Once again Vic Valor vanished, and Fate diagnosed Bat-Mite’s magic as the cause of many of the evening’s problems. After the mysterious Fate-Mite made an unlikely appearance before also vanishing, the Huntress prevailed on Doctor Fate to take a more active hand. Thusly, Fate retired to his tower in Salem, Massachusetts, to conduct some detective work, trying to find out more about the mysterious Vic Valor.
Another figure who would soon be drawn into the events unfolding around the return of Vic Valor was a little-known super-hero tentatively known as Strobe. Although his story began less than a year earlier, his origin stretched back to a time long before recorded human history.
In July, 1987, an architect named Jim Chisholm was walking in the mountains when a spaceship crashed nearby. Jim was drawn to the ship by a beam of white energy. Inside, he was confronted by a dying alien being who gave him two powerful artifacts, a globe and a glove. After the alien died, Jim used the power of the glove to discover that this alien was the last member of the Galactic Patrol. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Origins: Strobe: Master of the Glow.]
The Galactic Patrol had been an ancient organization, originally created by the Lords of Order, which had been destroyed in a war with the forces led by Burr, a Lord of Chaos, approximately one-hundred-thousand years ago.
The glove could be charged from the globe. It could store, release, and control a glowing white energy that was somewhat similar to Green Lantern’s power ring. Jim had some adventures as a super-hero called Strobe, but bad luck seemed to follow him whenever he used the glove, and he hadn’t been seen since that summer. The truth was that Jim had fallen on hard times.