Doctor Sivana

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Doctor Sivana
Doctor Sivana, from Outsiders #14 (September 2004). Art by Tom Raney.
Publication information
Publisher Fawcett Comics (1940 - 1953)
DC Comics (1972 - present)
First appearance Whiz Comics #2 (1940, historical)
The Power of Shazam! graphic novel (1994, canon)
Created by Bill Parker
C. C. Beck
In-story information
Alter ego Thaddeus Bodog Sivana
Team affiliations Injustice League
Fearsome Five
The Society
Monster Society of Evil
Sivana Family
Science Squad
Notable aliases The World's Wickedest Scientist
Abilities
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Brilliant inventor
  • Skilled manipulator and strategist

Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck. He first appeared opposite superhero Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940) by Fawcett Comics. Sivana was soon established as Captain Marvel's archenemy and most frequent foe, a role that he continues to hold to this day in his appearances in DC Comics who eventually acquired the rights to those characters from Fawcett. In 2009, Doctor Sivana was ranked as IGN's 82nd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1][2] Beck has said Parker created Sivana's name by combining the name of the Indian god Siva with the word "nirvana".[3]

Publication history[edit]

Fawcett Comics and pre-Crisis DC Comics[edit]

Infamously evil, Doctor Sivana appeared in well over half of all of the Golden Age Captain Marvel comic stories, and the first four stories, after having deduced Captain Marvel's dual identity as boy radio broadcaster Billy Batson early on. Depicted as a brilliant, if evil, scientist, Sivana used all manner of unusual inventions and techniques against the Marvels. He somehow held high status among the beings of the planet Venus. Along with the Marvel Family, Sivana entered publishing limbo in 1953, following a ruling in the National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications court case finding that Captain Marvel was an illegal infringement of Superman.

National Comics (today DC Comics) acquired the rights to the Captain Marvel characters, relaunching them in a new title, Shazam! the following February. The characters' twenty-year absence from publication was explained as the result of Doctor Sivana and the Sivana Family having trapped the Marvels, their friends, other superheroes, and, by accident, themselves in a sphere of Suspendium, due to Sivana Jr. distracting Doctor Sivana by slapping him on the back in congratulation, and making him crash the spaceship into the Suspendium sphere, a compound that kept them in suspended animation from 1953 until 1973. They were released when the Suspendium sphere neared the Sun, melting it enough that Captain Marvel was revived, he and the other Marvels then pushed it back to Earth. The Sivanas escaped in their spaceship, but were captured by Captain Marvel in the same issue despite another attempt at world domination. He still makes many attempts at world domination, including a multi-issue storyline where he traveled across America, threatening to destroy entire cities unless he was acknowledged as Rightful Ruler of the Universe.(Shazam #25 to #29). In Shazam #28 he was responsible for bringing Black Adam back using his reincarnation machine.

Shazam! The New Beginning and The Power of Shazam![edit]

Sivana continued to appear in Shazam!-related stories through the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series in 1985. He was reintroduced by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake in the miniseries Shazam! The New Beginning in 1987. This Sivana was the same mad scientist that the previous one had been, except that he only had two children (Beautia and Magnificus), and was Billy Batson's step-uncle.

Jerry Ordway revised the character of Sivana for his 1994 graphic novel The Power of Shazam! and the resulting ongoing series, and this revision has been retained in all following DC publications. The modern Sivana, in addition to being a mad scientist, was also a powerful and influential tycoon (a la Lex Luthor of the Superman comics). The former CEO of his own Sivana Industries, Sivana's corrupted dealings and crossing of Captain Marvel led to his own destruction and his intense hatred of the Marvel Family. Beautia and Magnificus Sivana are reintroduced again in this series; their mother, Sivana's ex-wife Venus, is briefly seen in Power of Shazam! #27.

Later appearances[edit]

After The Power of Shazam! series ended in 1999, Sivana was rarely seen until Outsiders #13 -15 (August–October 2004), in which he reorganizes the supervillain group the Fearsome Five, appointing himself leader. Sivana and his four associates Mammoth, Psimon, Jinx, and Shimmer (a fifth, Gizmo, is killed by Sivana for challenging the scientist's position as resident genius) continued to appear at irregular intervals in the pages of Outsiders.[4]

The evil scientist appears briefly in the "Infinite Crisis" storyline. Sivana also appeared along with Lex Luthor in the four-issue 2005 limited series Superman/Shazam: First Thunder by Judd Winick and Joshua Middleton, which depicts the first meeting between Superman and Captain Marvel.

In the 2006-2007 limited series 52, Sivana was abducted to Oolong Island, a tropical paradise run by Intergang, where he and many other DC Universe "mad scientists" are allowed to live a hedonistic lifestyle while creating the inventions of their wildest dreams and pitting them against one another. They create the Four Horsemen of the Apokolips and succeed in capturing Black Adam, whom Sivana then tortures for weeks, until Adam is freed by heroes storming the island.[2] Georgia and Thaddeus Jr. were reintroduced in 52 Week Twenty-Six (November 1, 2006), in which they appear alongside Beautia, Magnificus, and their mother Venus, who wants Sivana found and has a charity dinner with the Black Marvel family.

Dr. Sivana turned out to be indirectly responsible for the main conflict of 52: disruptions in the fictional time stream caused by a mutated Mr. Mind. Sivana had captured Mind, a worm who happened to be another of Captain Marvel's villains, and the scientist had bombarded it with treatments of Sivana's own "Suspendium" time-travel compound. As a result, Mr. Mind mutated (Or, according to himself, matured - as he had apparently been in larval form all this time) into a "hyperfly", a (sometimes) planet-sized moth-like figure with the ability to travel in time and across realities, posing a serious threat to the Multiverse. He is finally thrown back in time to the day where Dr. Sivana found him.[2]

On the cover of Justice League of America #13 (vol.2), it shows Doctor Sivana as a member of the new Injustice League. Doctor Sivana is one of the villains featured in Salvation Run.

Final Crisis[edit]

In the 2008 miniseries Final Crisis, he is placed on the new Society's inner circle by Libra.[5] Dr. Sivana was with Libra when Calculator was accused of sending computer codes that would help the resistance.[6] Sivana joins with Lex Luthor in betraying Libra, after being made to watch one of his own daughters succumb to the Anti-Life Equation. Sivana creates a device to shut down the Justifiers helmets, allowing Luthor to attack Libra.[7]

Doctor Sivana later shows up as a member of Cheetah's Secret Society of Super Villains.[8]

The New 52[edit]

He makes his appearance in Justice League #7 as part of The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe). He is depicted as a respected scientist desperate to save his family from an unknown plight. With science having failed him, he turns to magic (specifically the legend of Black Adam).[9] Dr. Sivana's team finds what he believes to be the tomb of Black Adam; while attempting to open it, the scientist is half-blinded by magical lightning to the face (which has the side-effect of letting him see magic).[10]

After Doctor Sivana alliance with Black Adam fails, he heads to the Rock of Eternity where can't get in because of a magical shield. He cries out for someone to help him save his family saying that while science has failed them, magic could save them. A voice is then heard saying it is indeed possible. The voice also says it's been watching him with the magic eating away his body but not his mind. Doctor Sivana asks for the voice's name and discovers a caterpillar-like creature trapped in a bottle. The creature claims that people call him Mister Mind and makes note that he and Doctor Sivana shall be the "best of friends."[11]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Sivana is a short, bald, self-described mad scientist with a penchant for developing unusual technologies, and who often plots to do away with Captain Marvel and his Marvel Family, but is often thwarted in his plans. His trademark phrases are "Curses! Foiled again!" and his mocking laughter "Heh! Heh! Heh!" He also coined the insulting name Big Red Cheese to refer to Captain Marvel, a name that the Captain's friends have adopted with which to light-heartedly tease him.

Sivana, with his children Sivana, Jr and Georgia. Art from The Marvel Family #10 (1947), art by C. C. Beck.

Thaddeus Bodog Sivana,[12] born in 1892,[13] began with the best intentions and was one of Europe's best scientific minds, with progressive scientific ideas that could revolutionize industry but was rejected by everyone he approached. Laughed out of society by people who called his inventions impractical and his science a fake, Sivana took his family to the planet Venus in a spaceship he had invented, where he stayed until his children were grown, and Earth not as backward as when he left it; since his children were adults by 1940, his departure from Earth would implicitly have been the late 1910s or early 1920s. During his years away, struggling to tame the Venusian jungle, Sivana turned bitter and planned his revenge against the world that had shunned him.[14] He initially plotted his revenge with a radio silencer that would disable all radio communications permanently, he tried to extort $50,000,000, only to be stopped by Captain Marvel in his first adventure. Cap broke through the window of the building, and defeated the guards. In a moment both of Sivana's terrified assistants were securely bound with tubing ripped from the radio-silencer.[15] He was apparently killed when caught in the blast of his Atom-Smasher with which he planned to kill Captain Marvel, but he was delayed from escaping by his returning army which angrily asked why Captain Marvel had defeated them in their war against America despite their highly advanced weaponry while Cap leapt through the window and escaped.[16] Sivana returns a short time later, having somehow learned Captain Marvel's identity, using it to lure Captain Marvel to the planet Venus by sending a letter to Batson about the trip and disguising himself as a 'Professor Xerxes Smith'.[17] He then tries to take away Billy's memory while after has been bound and gagged by Sivana's two henchmen, but when Billy accidentally says Shazam after he stumbles into the cave where Shazam gave him his power, his memory returns and the Memory Mangler is destroyed in an explosion set off by Sivana's rebellious henchmen. Sivana and Beautia were ironically saved by Cap as the henchmen had left them to die.[18] This began his own long enmity with the Marvel Family while still nursing his megalomaniacal grudge against humanity so intensely that even his later winning of the Nobel Prize for Physics, due to Captain Marvel revealing his benevolent inventions he himself considered useless, was not enough to placate him. In fact, he was insulted by the prize and reiterated that only when he was crowned Ruler of the Universe would he consider himself properly honored.

The Golden Age Sivana was a twice-widowed father with four children: good-natured adult offspring Beautia (first appearance: Whiz Comics #3B (April 1940)) who when first seen is Empress of Venus and has bewitching beauty which affects men like a drug, which Sivana once used to try to make her win an election, and the Super-strong Magnificus (first appearance: Whiz Comics #15 (March 1941)), and evil teenagers Georgia (first appearance: Mary Marvel Comics 1 (January 1946)) and Thaddeus Sivana, Jr. (first appearance: Captain Marvel Adventures #52 (December 1945)). Georgia first went to Earth to finish Mary Marvel, after Sivana said he was going after Captain Marvel, and Jr going after Jr. Sivana Jr., and Georgia constituted the super-villain group Sivana Family, the evil counterpart to the Marvel Family (first group appearance: The Marvel Family #10 (April 1947), where they time travel to Ancient, Modern, and Future Atlantis after gaining access to the Rock of Eternity using faster-than-light spaceships, and attempt to steal materials to make a machine which can prevent the Marvels calling their lightning down by creating a barrier around Earth which deflects the lightning, and succeed in capturing, binding and gagging all the Marvels though releasing them to mock them, although the Marvels stop this when they break into the lab and turn off the machine, then capture the unsuspecting Sivanas). They both possess brilliant minds like their father. Magnificus and Beautia, however, were not enemies to the Marvels (although Magnificus fought Cap when he first appeared); in fact, Beautia has an unrequited crush on Captain Marvel (whom she does not realize is really an adolescent boy, Billy Batson although she later realises it).

Following the Crisis on Ininite Earths miniseries, Sivana was first reintroduced as Billy Batson's step-uncle in a 1987 miniseries, Shazam! The New Beginning. Magnificus and Beautia were depicted as his only children.

A second retcon in 1994 established Sivana as a wealthy tycoon with political influence, similar to Lex Luthor, only to have the events surrounding an archaeological expedition to Egypt he sponsored lead to both the creation of Captain Marvel and the fall of Sivana's fortunes. Blaming Captain Marvel for his fall from grace, Sivana dedicates himself wholeheartedly to using his inventions and intellect against the Marvel Family. In current continuity, Sivana's ex-wife Venus is still alive, as are all four Sivana children. They resemble their Pre-Crisis counterparts.

Other versions[edit]

  • In Superman: Red Son, Dr. Sivana briefly appears as a United States defector to Superman's Russia.
  • In Jeff Smith's 2007 limited series Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, Sivana is introduced in issue #2, as the new Attorney General of the United States. While ostensibly dedicated to stomping out terrorist threats, Sivana is more interested however in gaining technology from the invading alien Mr. Mind to develop into weapons, and to use the fear caused by the Mind's Monster Society to start a new war he can profit from. He is eventually caught on live TV throwing Mary Marvel from the top of one of Mr Mind's war machines, and is arrested.
  • Dr. Sivana made a cross-company cameo in Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #335, in which he fights Captain America at a staged charity battle.
  • In Brazilian Portuguese this character was named "Dr. Silvana".
  • Dr. Emil Gargunza, a major antagonist in Miracleman (né Marvelman), is based on Dr. Sivana. In Alan Moore's retcon, Gargunza is a super-genius who elevated himself from childhood poverty through crime, then became a scientist. He created the Miracleman family at the behest of the British government with alien technology recovered from a crashed vessel. All of their Golden Age fights (including ones against Gargunza) were hallucinations induced by him to program their minds. Miracleman eventually acknowledges Gargunza as his "father", then kills him.
  • Dr. Sivana will appear in Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!. Mike Kunkle's design differs greatly from other versions: He's actually taller than Billy and Mary Batson.
  • Lex Luthor refers to Sivana in Kingdom Come as the source of the mind altering worms used to induce schizophrenia on Captain Marvel.
  • Sivana appears in issue 15 of the Justice League Unlimited comic book, when he tried to rebuild Mister Atom.

In other media[edit]

Animation and live-action[edit]

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Doctor Sivana is number 82 IGN. Retrieved 10-05-09.
  2. ^ a b c Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Doctor Sivana", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 106, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  3. ^ An Interview with C.C. Beck, 1998
  4. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Fearsome Five", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 120, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  5. ^ Final Crisis #1
  6. ^ Morrison, Grant (w), Various (a). Final Crisis #5 (2008). DC Comics.
  7. ^ Morrison, Grant (2), Various (a). Final Crisis #6 (2008). DC Comics.
  8. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 3) #30. DC Comics.
  9. ^ Justice League #7. DC Comics.
  10. ^ Justice League #9. DC Comics.
  11. ^ Justice League Vol. 2 #21. DC Comics.
  12. ^ Whiz Comics #14 (March 1941)
  13. ^ Captain Marvel Adventures #138 (November 1952)
  14. ^ Whiz Comics #15, (March 21, 1941)
  15. ^ Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940)
  16. ^ Whiz Comics #3A (March 1940)
  17. ^ Whiz Comics #3B (April 1940)
  18. ^ Whiz Comics #4 (May 1940)

External links[edit]