Friday, November 24, 2006

Loving the Unknown

I am totally loving the new Freedom Fighters series. It's different, clever, and so very, very cool. And they keep throwing in new versions of old Golden Age characters. I love new versions of old Golden Age characters.

I just wish I could figure out who the mysterious unnamed figure bathed in neon light might be.

Wait a minute... Mysterious figure? Neon light? Would they dare? Could it be? Someone catch me: I'm fainting from the awesome. Because I think that's NEON THE UNKNOWN.

For those of you who don't know the Unknown, he's one of those many obscure Golden Age characters. He also happens to be my favorite obscure Golden Age character. Because he's just so weird and odd and nonsensical. And he's got a really interesting origin.

The original Neon the Unknown was Tom Corbet (or Corbett, according to some records). A member of the French Foreign Legion, Corbet and his comrades were betrayed by their commanding officer and sent off to die in the deserts of northern Africa.

And die they did, from exposure and thirst. All save Tom Corbet. Corbet was on his last legs when he discovered a mysterious pool of glowing liquid. And as people are wont to do when they're dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, Corbet drinks it.

In the real world people die from doing stuff like that. But since Tom Corbet lived in the world of comics he was instead granted amazing "neonic powers" and a snazzy costume (with cape, natch).

Since this was 1939, there was only one thing he could do: become a superhero. And indeed, he was recruited by Uncle Sam as a member of the original Freedom Fighters.

But it didn't last long. On December 6, 1941 Neon the Unknown and the other Freedom Fighters were warned by Uncle Sam of a terrible impending disaster. Not the type to shy away from such things, the Freedom Fighters rushed to the site of the predicted tragedy: Pearl Harbor.

And on that day of infamy Neon the Unknown died in the Japanese assault.

And yet, I have always found myself drawn to the character, despite his meager appearances. Though the name "Neon" was used for a one shot Superboy villain in the 90's, there has been no direct successor to the real Neon the Unknown -- one of the first superheroes of the Golden Age (forgotten though he may be).

No successor, that is, until today. For though I may be wrong I do hope that the mysterious unnamed figure bathed in neon light is indeed a new Neon the Unknown.

Don't buy it? Here's food for thought: the mysterious figure's ally in the latest issue of Freedom Fighters is a certain Red Bee. The original Golden Age Red Bee made his first appearance in 1940's Hit Comics #1. Alongside a certain Unknown.

Edit: it has come to my attention that the mysterious unnamed figure bathed in neon light is actually a new Invisible Hood. Though that is almost as rad, it has the consequence of rendering this entire post moot. Plus, it means no Neon the Unknown for me. Phooey.

5 Comments:

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Captain Infinity said...

Don't you hate it when you work up a whole post only to immediatley find out you're wrong? I did that only to be corrected by Gail Simone herself; which is pretty cool all things considered, but still annoying.

 
At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Crowded House said...

Yeah, I kinda figured it was the Invisible Hood when I saw him, even though I couldn't remember his name at first. That said I totally want Neon the Unknown to come back too. Sigh. Maybe in a future issue.

 
At 3:35 AM, Blogger The Fortress Keeper said...

Interestingly enough, I know all about Neon the Unknown (I always liked his name) but next to nothing about Invisible Hood.

Oh, well.

Maybe DC should resurrect the Green Lama, think he's in the public domain these days.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Scipio said...

I deem thee brilliant for having figured that out, Jim; Devon and I were completely stumped on who it could be.

 
At 4:39 AM, Anonymous muebles en jaen said...

In my opinion every person ought to browse on it.

 

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