by Dan Swanson
As Vic Valor’s first foe, the Obsidian Warrior’s known biography was also profiled later, not by any newspaper, but only for the classified files of Operation Liberty. This potential agent summary was compiled by A. Munro from FBI and police interviews, circa 1949.
Real Name: Larry Jackson.
Occupation: Professional wrestler.
Base of operations: New York City.
Group affiliation: Global Wrestling Empire.
Height: (as Larry) 6’1″; (as Obsidian Warrior): 12’4″.
Weight: (as Larry) 250 lbs.; (as Obsidian Warrior): 2,435 lbs.
Hair: (as Larry) black; (as Warrior) none.
Eyes: (as Larry) very dark green; (as Warrior) black.
History: Larry Jackson was the first black man to wrestle for the Global Wrestling Empire. He felt that he was carrying a burden because of this, and he would do anything to present a winning image. He spent long hours working out in the gym, and he had even found a renegade chemist who made him a “secret potion” that Larry felt improved his conditioning, strength, and reflexes. The GWE gave him the identity of the Obsidian Warrior, and he was originally cast as a villain. In scripted matches, Larry always lost, but his work ethic and his demeanor were such that his fellow wrestlers felt it was his turn to win. Gorgeous George had convinced the GWE management to make the Opal City match a real match, not a scripted match, and Larry and George were actually wrestling, not acting out a script, when the accident occurred.
After the Obsidian Warrior collapsed, and Larry was taken to the hospital, tests showed that he had some kind of genetic abnormality. The doctors theorized that Larry was a genetic mutant, and the combination of the strange chemical potion he had been taking and the near-death experience he had undergone had combined with the genetic abnormality to trigger a change in his body. When he changed back to his human form, he was exhausted but completely healed.
Nobody knows if Larry will ever change back to the Obsidian Warrior again. This experience has convinced him that he shouldn’t be drinking potions with unknown side effects, so he is now back on a normal diet for bodybuilders.
The Obsidian Warrior did not seem to be criminally inclined. Vic Valor suggested that he appeared confused, and perhaps causing the earthquake was accidental rather than malicious.
Powers: In his human form, Larry is a highly trained athlete, in top condition. He has extensive knowledge of wrestling, having won the nationals for black colleges three years running at the heavyweight division. In addition, he has extensive knowledge of the techniques used in professional wrestling.
In his mutated form, the Obsidian Warrior is composed of living obsidian. He has highly enhanced strength, and high resistance to injury. He has been seen to cause an earthquake by driving his hands into the ground and concentrating, and he has also created golem-like duplicates of himself that he is able to mentally control. Because his legs are so long, the Obsidian Warrior can run very fast, about forty-five miles per hour. It is unknown how long he can keep up this pace.
Also, when Larry changes forms, his body seems to heal itself. So any damage he had taken in one form is immediately healed when he changes to the other form.
There has been speculation that Larry can control his size and weight as the Obsidian Warrior. He may be able to shrink to a minimum height of seven feet, and twelve feet is probably his maximum.
Opal City Police Headquarters, 10 P.M., Sunday, March 27, 1949:
Police Commissioner Red Bailey was working late again. His police force was far too small for the population of Opal City. They had been lucky over the past few years, as criminal activity had been kept artificially low by the threat of Starman, but everyone was starting to realize that Starman was gone for good. After all, he hadn’t been seen in Opal City since December, 1945.
Over the years after Starman’s retirement, the police department had received several tips regarding upcoming criminal activity from someone who claimed to be Starman. All of those tips had paid off, resulting in some very good busts and the prevention of several large planned thefts, which had continued to make the police look good, which in turn helped convince the City Council that the police department was in fact adequately manned and funded. But those tips had recently ceased. Bailey was certain that the spit was about to hit the fan, and he was standing directly in front of that fan. He was trying to figure out how to avoid getting covered in spit.
The police commissioner had heard much about a new hero, Vic Valor, over the past three days. Valor had supposedly adopted Star City as his new home. So far, Bailey was skeptical. The man’s full name — Ultimate Victorious Valor, Invincible — indicated incredible arrogance, even if Valor did claim that, on his own world, ultimate was a rank, and his organization was called the Invincibles. If he had really studied Earth as closely as he claimed, he should have known better and used some other translation that wouldn’t put people off. And then there was the idea that he was an extraterrestrial. The general public was more accepting of aliens from outer space than Bailey would ever have believed possible, given all the invasions the Justice Society had fought over the years. But the only aliens Bailey had any close experiences with had been enemies of Starman, and he considered any enemy of Starman to be an enemy of the police department.
So Red Bailey was working late, poring over the work schedules for everyone in the police force, trying to figure out ways to put more officers on the streets. He had his accounting men digging into budgets, looking for money to hire new officers. He had already had to let go some of his clerical staff, which shot the hell out of morale among the rest of the staff, while forcing them to work even harder, in order to pay for promotions to keep some of his best men from leaving for better positions and better salaries in other cities. They had already been over the same schedules and budgets several times, and Bailey was reduced to hoping for a miracle.
A loud thumping, apparently from the roof, interrupted his concentration. When it didn’t recur, Bailey figured it wasn’t anything important, so he called his assistant on the intercom and asked him to send someone to look into it. About five minutes later, an officer rushed into his office. Breathlessly, he reported, “Commissioner! Dat new mystery-man, Vic Vigor or whatevah — the guy what’s been all over da news today! He’s on da roof, and he wants to talk to you!”
Bailey really didn’t want to go up onto the roof. It was a cold, blustery night, and he was already running solely on caffeine. If this Vic Valor really wanted to study the methods of the Opal City Police Department as he had claimed, he was going to need to do a better job of getting on its good side than he had so far. “Did he say what he wanted? What was that thump all about?”
“Commissioner, he said sometin’ ’bout da Bat-Signal, and dere’s a big box on da roof. I t’ink you had betta see for youself!” The cop was pretty nervous.
The commissioner valued initiative in his subordinates, and reprimanded them when he had to do something he thought they should have done themselves, but the cop couldn’t see what else he might have done in this situation. He hoped the commissioner saw it the same way he did. He was greatly relieved when the commissioner sighed and said, “Never mind. Looks like this is one I’m gonna have to take care of myself.”
Bailey grabbed his greatcoat and stomped out of the office and up the stairs to the roof. He realized that it was even windier than he had expected. He saw a big man in the typical mystery-man underwear, standing next to an even bigger crate. He walked over to face the man.
“Greetings, Commissioner Bailey! I’m Ultimate Valor, of the Xadam Invincibles. I’m very pleased to meet you!” Vic Valor stuck out his hand, but Bailey ignored it.
“Charmed, I’m sure, Mr. Valor,” Bailey responded sarcastically. “What are you doing on my roof? What’s with the giant crackerjack box?” Bailey wasn’t being intentionally rude, but he was letting Valor know he wasn’t all that pleased at Valor’s choice of meeting times and locations.
“Excuse me, sir. My rank is ultimate, and the correct form of address is Ultimate Valor. Mr. Valor would be reserved for a civilian.”
“Sonny boy, around here, a rank is a sign of respect, and so far, I’ve got no reason to respect you! If you can convince me you deserve it, I’ll be happy to use your rank.” Before he could go on, Valor interrupted.
“Commissioner Bailey, when you greet police officers from other cities, don’t you offer them the respect of using their correct titles? Have I done something already to lose your respect?” Valor honestly seemed puzzled.
“I read the newspaper reports of your fight Thursday night. Made you sound like a big hero! But I heard an eyewitness who was in the auditorium when you were supposedly fighting with that Obsidian Warrior monster. He said that big guy collapsed and became normal before you even got there!”
Vic Valor couldn’t remember anyone being in the auditorium. “Was this man a reliable witness? Why didn’t he go to the newspapers with his story?”
Bailey tried to hedge on his answer. “I have no reason to doubt his report!” he said, with emphasis.
Valor thought for a second and then responded, “Then, sir, I assume that the man was inebriated and already well-known to your department?”
The commissioner was stunned. His mouth dropped open, and he just stared at Vic Valor for a few seconds. “How in God’s name could you know that? There’s no way you could possibly know this guy!”
“No, sir,” Valor agreed. “But at the first sign of the earthquake, everyone ran from the building. The only people who would have remained would have to have been too incapacitated to get out in a hurry. And the emergency crews had already removed the injured before the Obsidian Warrior and I returned to the building. So, by deduction, the man whom you spoke with must have been in the audience, and been inebriated, and therefore unable to quickly escape the building.”
Red Bailey narrowed his eyes. Maybe this Vic Valor wasn’t as big a flake as he seemed to be. He was exactly correct so far.
Vic Valor continued. “And, sir, from a study of your culture, I know that most people do not usually get temporarily incapacitated due to inebriation at events like this one. Those that do are usually consistent offenders, and most of these consistent offenders are well known to the local constabulary and are usually considered unreliable sources.”
Bailey almost let himself be impressed; the big man’s logic was perfect. “Well, Mr. Valor, it doesn’t really matter to me what this witness said!” Valor noted that Bailey had not contradicted his deductions. “If you want to get off an a good foot with the Opal City Police Department — and me — you’re starting off in a big hole, droppin’ in on me unannounced like this, so late and in this awful weather! Whattaya got to say for yourself?”
“I’m sorry, Commissioner. I can’t operate during your daylight. Your sun blinds me, so I can only meet people at night. I didn’t wait for nicer weather, because I thought you would probably want to get the beacon set up as soon as possible.”
“Kid, you’ve lost me again. What the hell beacon are you talking about?” Bailey’s bluster was somewhat blunted by Valor’s display of deductive logic, his constant politeness, and Bailey’s own curiosity about the beacon.
“I’m sorry, sir. My research shows that it is traditional for a city’s police force to have a rooftop beacon in order to reach the resident crime-fighting protector of that city. I assumed that your prior beacon had been removed, since you have not had a resident protector for several years, so I took it upon myself to deliver you a new one. Behold, the V-Signal!” Vic Valor moved very quickly, and the crate was opened almost before Bailey could blink. The commissioner was speechless for probably the first time in his life, so Valor continued. “Gotham City has its Bat-Signal, Star City has its Arrow-Signal, and now Opal City has the V-Signal!”
Inside the crate was a giant spotlight. Vic Valor turned it on with the flick of a switch. A very pale, reddish beam was projected upward, and Bailey could barely make out a large pink V on the underside of the clouds. Valor immediately turned his back, raised one arm to protect his eyes, and quickly turned it off again. “I’m sorry. I had forgotten just how bright this beacon is when you are nearby! You probably ought to wear dark glasses when you use it, to protect your eyes!”
The police commissioner was sputtering now. He was trying to talk, but he couldn’t get out anything coherent to come out, so Valor kept on speaking. “The V-Signal works off of this bank of batteries.” He pointed to a compartment in the stand that supported the spotlight. “You can charge them by plugging them into any standard wall socket.” He held out a standard plug. “And I’ve built in a gasoline generator to supply power if the electricity ever goes out! You can see, I’ve thought of everything!”
Commissioner Bailey had so much to say to this arrogant son of a gun that he couldn’t even figure out where to begin. He was saved when he heard some fire sirens, and a speaker built into the V-Signal’s control panel started announcing a multiple-alarm fire across town. “By the way,” Valor said proudly when the voice finished its report, “I’ve built an emergency channel-scanning radio receiver into the V-Signal!”
The commissioner couldn’t believe that Vic Valor was still here. “So, Valor, if you want to prove yourself to me, go help with that fire!”
“Excuse me, Commissioner Bailey? Do you think that the fire was set by a lawbreaker, or that someone will break the laws while the fire is burning?”
“No, you idiot!” Bailey’s face was turning red, and his blood pressure was causing his ears to throb. “Go help the firemen! Save people and put out the fire!”
Now it was Vic Valor’s turn to be puzzled. “I’m sorry, Commissioner Bailey, but I’m a law enforcement officer. My union won’t allow me to do work that should be properly performed by other agencies.” The way that he said other made it clear that he meant inferior.
“Your union? Your union?! Your planet must be pretty damn strange, boy! You’re on Earth now, and on Earth, the police and the firefighters work together to protect the people. If you ever want to learn anything from us, you better learn that fast, and get your ass over to that fire and do your damned best to save people’s lives! That’s your first lesson about Earth law enforcement, and it’s free!”
Almost before Red Bailey was finished speaking, Vic Valor was gone. The police commissioner looked after him in amazement and suspicion. In his prior experiences, he had found that most people who acted that arrogantly and naïvely were working a con of some kind. He didn’t know what Valor’s angle was, but he was sure the big man had one.
Well, it wasn’t easy to con Red Bailey. And if Vic Valor was the real thing, maybe working with him could postpone the inevitable crisis of having too few police officers on the streets until after Bailey retired. Things might just be looking a little better. Bailey went downstairs and had a hot chocolate with marshmallows, and then went home for the night. He had a lot of thinking to do, figuring out how to make the best use of Ultimate Vic Valor.
As he entered the limousine the police force provided him, he thought, That spotlight was almost too dim to see, yet it blinded Valor. Maybe he really is an alien after all!