|First appearance||World's Finest Comics #142 (1964)|
|Created by||Edmond Hamilton (writer)
Curt Swan (artist)
|Alter ego||First - Joseph Meach
Second - Xan
|Notable aliases||Xan - Amalgamax|
|Abilities||Possesses the combined powers of Superman and many members of the Legion of Super-Heroes.|
Fictional character biography
Joseph Meach was a diver who had fallen on hard times. In an attempt to draw publicity to himself, Meach set up a water tank on a sidewalk in Metropolis and dove off a building. Unbeknownst to Meach, the tank was leaking and Meach would have died if not for the intervention of Superman. Upon learning of Meach's misfortunes, Superman obtained a job for him at the Superman Museum where Meach was employed as a janitor. Meach's bitterness did not subside and being surrounded by artifacts and mementos of Superman's career directed his anger towards Superman. One night as Meach was sweeping in front of a series of statuettes depicting the Legion of Super-Heroes, a bolt of lightning passed through an open window and struck the display. The statuettes (which were actually miniature lifeless duplicates of the Legionnaires) unleashed an energy blast that struck Meach. Meach discovered that he was endowed with the combined powers of the Legion members. Determined to defeat Superman, Batman, and Robin, Meach used his shape-shifting power to turn his skin green and form a costume that was half Superman's costume, half Batman's costume. Calling himself the Composite Superman, Meach left the message in both heroes' bases to meet him on a mountain and told the heroes that if he was not allowed to join their team, he would expose their secret identities, which he learned via telepathy. The Composite Superman then created situations for Superman or Batman to handle, but which he intentionally sabotaged to humiliate the heroes, then sorted them out himself. When Superman and Batman deduced Meach's evil intentions, the Composite Superman forced the team to retire or he would expose their identities. They faked their deaths while hiding in a lead chamber using robots, with which they also intended to see if the Composite Superman was prepared to let them die. Artillery shells, apparently made of kryptonite, were fired at the robot "Superman", making it seem as if he was falling to his death. Then, robotic versions of Batman and Robin asked the Composite Superman to help, which he refused, after which the Batplane they were flying in was shot down. But Meach found out about this as he had hidden in the Bat-Cave using his shape-shifting ability to impersonate a Joker statue while the plan was being made. The World's Finest heroes soon discovered that the Composite Superman's intent was to rule the world after they looked through a museum of himself he had made. Meach used his vast array of powers to keep the duo at bay, impersonating a statue of himself and striking Batman with lightning, and imprisoning Superman in a Kryptonite ring. He then tried to reveal their identities, but the Composite Superman was defeated when his charge of powers turned out to be temporary. Meach reverted to human form with no knowledge of his activities as the Composite Superman and Batman freed Superman from the ring as they were dropped allowing Superman to save him and Robin. Meach tried to write down the secret of his powers in the Superman Museum, but his memory faded before he could finish (though he managed to write down about the lightning striking the statues, but nothing more).
Composite Superman re-appeared a few years later. An alien villain named Xan came to Earth to avenge his dead father, a criminal who was captured and imprisoned by Superman and Batman and who asked his son to avenge him before dying of a disease. Xan studied the Composite Superman and decided to restore Joseph Meach's powers by recreating the accident that endowed him with superpowers. Meach's memories returned and he used the powers of Sun Boy and Lightning Lad to destroy the statues of Superman and Batman leading to investigation by the Duo. He confronted them in the Batcave and escaped. This time, the duo were able to deduce their enemy's identity as they checked the museum employees who were not around when the Composite Superman was sighted. The Composite Superman soon captured Superman and Batman by impersonating a captured and chained Robin and then the Batmobile despite Superman destroying the statues with his heat vision. The Composite Superman used his super-intelligence to find a fitting way to kill them and tried to kill the team by using his powers simultaneously turning half of their bodies to anti-matter which would soon annihilate them. Meach's powers wore off before he could accomplish this though and soon Xan appeared explaining why he wanted Superman and Batman to die. Xan then fired a lethal energy blast at the heroes with his Magna-Gun, but a remorseful Meach intercepted the blast killing him instantly. A statue was made to honor Joseph Meach saying that he "lived a villain, but died a hero."
Outside of the information listed above, Xan escaped from prison and traveled back in time to recreate the event that endowed Joseph Meach with his powers, but with himself obtaining the powers. A still-vengeful Xan assumed the identity of the Composite Superman and displayed greater control over his powers and understanding over his weaknesses such as timing his needed restorations of energy to maintain his power. Xan soon discarded the Composite Superman identity and created an original costume with the new name Amalgamax. Superman traveled to the 30th century to ask the Legion of Super-Heroes for assistance. Superman, Batman, and the Legion defeated Amalgamax by making him believe that the disease that killed his father had developed in him and that his excessive power was causing the disease to develop rapidly.
Composite Superman's origin was reimagined as an early attempt of Professor Ivo's to duplicate the Justice League's powers by creating clones of the Justice League. It was only ever referred to as "Composite". Believing it to be a failure, Professor Ivo buried his creature in a field. The clones later revived themselves, merged into one being, and stole Superman and Batman outfits from a store sewing half of each together. Acting as both Superman/Batman and their alter egos of Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne, the Composite creature kidnapped Lois Lane and Tim Drake in an attempt to live the lives of both of its counterparts. He was later attacking Metallo when Batman and Superman arrived, but the duo could not defeat him and he escaped. They tracked him down and told him if he wanted to be both of them then go ahead. They told him of many crimes taking place and he could not decide who to help first. Composite lost it and ripped himself apart before they could help him.
Following the Zero Hour reboot of Legion history, Composite Superman was removed from continuity. Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 4, #68 introduced a new "Composite Man", a Durlan who had the ability to duplicate any Legionnaire's powers and appearance. Rather than the clean, split-down-the-middle appearance of Composite Superman, Composite Man had a shifting mixture of costume elements from all the Legion members. Both he and his sister had been given these abilities by the Durlan government to be weapons, and resented this. However, while she chose to make her own destiny, he joined the Dark Circle to gain revenge on Durla.
On the planet Durla, there was a long cultural struggle between secular and religious movements. Before the formation of the United Planets, the Secularists of Durla created a program to produce living weapons through mutation. The goal was to acquire soldiers capable of not only mimicking the appearance but also the function of any species.
When they lost their grip on power, the Secularists found their program deemed sinful by the theocratic government and the test subjects were imprisoned in crystals, denying them their ability. During regular maintenance to keep the living weapons contained, one of the crystals is damaged and an unnamed Durlan mutant breaks free, killing the entire priest class of Durla. His quest for revenge unquenched, the living weapon goes in search of Durlan priest and Legionnaire, Reep Daggle. When battling the Legion of Super-Heroes the living weapon not only imitates the Legionnaires' abilities, but also parts of their respective appearances. Composite Man meets his end when Saturn Girl uses her telepathy to shut down his mind, leaving her in a catatonic state.
Powers & Abilities
In terms of abilities and raw power, the Joseph Meach version of Composite Superman was one of the most powerful enemies Superman and Batman ever faced. He had all of Superman's powers, but to a far greater degree, derived from Supergirl and the similarly-powered Mon-El and Ultra Boy. The Composite Superman also possessed numerous special powers, derived from various Legion members:
- The ability to grow to giant size (Colossal Boy)
- The ability to shrink (Shrinking Violet)
- The ability to divide into 3 people (Triplicate Girl)
- The ability to fire lightning bolts (Lightning Lad)
- The ability to generate heat and light (Sun Boy)
- The ability to make things super-lightweight (Light Lass)
- The ability to make things super-heavy (Star Boy)
- The ability to consume absolutely anything (Matter-Eater Lad)
- The ability to turn invisible (Invisible Kid)
- The ability to inflate into a large ball (Bouncing Boy)
- The ability to stretch any part of his body (Elastic Lad)
- The ability to shapeshift (Chameleon Boy)
- Telepathy (Saturn Girl)
- 12th level intelligence (Brainiac 5)
- Magnetic powers (Cosmic Boy)
- X-ray vision that could see through anything, even lead (Ultra Boy)
- The ability to transmute elements (Element Lad)
- The ability to phase through solid matter (Phantom Girl)
In Impulse #56, Crayd'l, a nanotech computer belonging to Bart Allen's archenemy Inertia, accesses Young Justice's files and uses information on Robin and Superboy to become a "Composite Superboy", with the half-and-half, green-skinned appearance of the original. Crayd'l intended to access information on the other members of Young Justice, but Impulse tricked him into downloading a music CD instead, turning him into Superboy's favourite rap artist.
In Superman/Batman #6, Hiro Okamura creates a spaceship in the form of a mecha version of the Composite Superman. In a more recent arc in Superman/Batman, a new Composite Superman Batman was created when Mister Mxyzptlk merged the Supermen and Batmen of several alternate realities together. Startled to be joined together, Batman mentally exclaimed to Superman, "Clark, your mind races, I never knew"; Superman replies, "And yours Bruce, is so dark". This ends at the battle's conclusion, and all the Batmen and Supermen who did not "need to be here" were sent away (Leaving only the normal DCU Superman and Batman).
In other media
- Composite Superman made a cameo in Justice League Unlimited in an episode called "The Greatest Story Never Told". Unlike the comic, this "Composite Superman" is the product of a battle with the dark lord Mordru. It's actually a fusion of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman with the appearance of Composite Superman, but with Wonder Woman's voice, resulting from some twisted spell used in the intense magical conflict. The spell was undone by the time Mordru was defeated.
- In the animated film Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the Japanese Toyman built a Mecha/ship to destroy the incoming kryptonite meteor. The ship's design (as in the comic) bears a striking resemblance to Composite Superman.
- Composite Superman appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Travis Willingham.
- DC Direct released a Composite Superman action figure in 2005, and a second one (based on the Superman/Batman vengeance 5 version) in 2008.
- In the Robot Chicken episode "Easter Basket," there was a Christmas sketch featuring Dragon Ball Z characters and one of the villains in the sketch was called Composite Santa Claus (voiced by Christian Slater): a creature who is half-Santa Claus and half-Frosty the Snowman making him a homage to Composite Superman. When Goku was asked what Composite Santa's powers were, he said he did not know but its appearance freaked him out. Composite Santa was beaten when his snowman half was melted by the intense heat from an energy ball that destroyed the Nutcracker, making the Santa half vulnerable. In the episode "In a DVD Factory," his origin is explained as a mad scientist (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) had his henchmen gather the DNA samples of Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman to create Composite Santa Claus. Composite Santa Claus then shoots the mad scientist and his henchmen. After drinking milk and eating cookies, Composite Santa Claus goes on a rampage on Christmas. An anchorman reports that Composite Santa Claus has been apprehended and is standing trial before a United Nations Tribunal. In "Saving Private Gigli," Composite Santa Claus is among the Robot Chicken characters assembled by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich to fight for Season 5 in the opening Saving Private Ryan parody of this episode. Composite Santa Claus' snowman half dissolved in the water while the Santa Claus half was bombarded by bullets. In "Fight Club Paradise," Composite Santa Claus is one of the mad scientist's line of defenses that the Robot Chicken had to fight through in order to rescue his wife. The Robot Chicken manages to defeat Composite Santa Claus by beating him down the stairs with a baseball bat. In "Immortal," a sketch that parodied The Cabin in the Woods had Composite Santa Claus amongst the Robot Chicken characters locked up in the cube cells where his cell was seen next to Skeletor's cell.
- World's Finest Comics #142 (June 1964)
- World's Finest Comics #168 (August 1967)
- World's Finest Comics #283 (September 1982)
- Superman/Batman Annual #3 (March 2009)
- Superman/Batman #25 (May 2006)
- Composite Superman at Comic Vine
- Supermanica: Composite Superman
- A more indepth look into Composite Superman