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Sunday, April 02, 2017 

What Dr. Light was really like in the mid-80s

It's time now to debunk another distortion Identity Crisis committed in 2004, when the claim was made that he'd become absurdly goofy and incompetent, supposedly out of nowhere, and the repellent miniseries went out of its way to claim the Justice League supposedly turned him that way while excusing the offensive rape he was depicting committing on Sue Dibny. But, I've found some excerpts from The New Teen Titans #37 and Batman & the Outsiders #5 by both Marv Wolfman and Mike W. Barr, an early crossover between two different series (and crossovers between individual series are decidedly far better than the company-wide crossovers seen today), which refute the whole IC retcon pretty easily. Here, for starters, are some panels from the first half:
So Arthur Light was hatching a scheme in this tale called "Light's Out" to concoct an army of mud monsters, only to discover that Psimon and the other recruits had other ideas, like turning against him and smashing him to bits because they felt he was to blame for their failures up until then. Not to mention a sinister scheme to develop a device with which Psimon could brainwash the NYC populace under his control. And Light, terrified of Psimon's formidable mental/telekinetic powers, fled in fear of both him and the mud monsters, right into the second part, where he was eventually captured by both the Teen Titans and the Outsiders, who demanded to know where and how they could stop Psimon from completing his takeover of the Big Apple. As seen in the following:
When Light refused to cooperate, Batman suggested turning him back over to the now Fearsome Four minus the Fifth, which the villain would rather not experience. So where Batman failed to intimidate Light by himself, the thought of being thrown back into the lap of Psimon, Shimmer, Mammoth and Gizmo and possibly face cruelty enacted upon him succeeded in bringing the crook to heel. A clever bit of thinking on the Masked Manhunter's part. And above all, this story proves that Light was far from being the "klutz" DiDio's staff would want unknowledgable readers to think he was at the time. The real answers were available all along, and the key moments refuting IC were probably more in the latter part of the 1983 story than in the former.

So, was Dr. Light really a dimwitted buffoon? The simple answer is, he was neither any more goofy nor any more serious than the dozens of other supervillains in DC's inventory since the Golden Age, and his appearances in the NTT and BatO during the 80s were no different. Dr. Light's very own ex-partner Psimon was the cause of any fears or incompetence he developed, not the Justice League of America. Practically every claim Identity Crisis and DC's staff tried to make at the time in defense of the indefensible falls apart under a microscope. But though they may have reversed the direction taken after IC for nearly 12 years, have they publicly apologized for all the harm they caused? Alas, no.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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