Red Tornado

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Red Tornado

Promotional art for Justice League Of America #22.
Art by Ed Benes.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance as Red Tornado:
Justice League of America #64 (August 1968)
as Ulthoon:
Mystery in Space #61
(August 1960)
Created by Gardner Fox (writer)
Dick Dillin (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego John Smith
Place of origin Rann
Team affiliations Justice League
Justice Society of America
Young Justice
Primal Force
Notable aliases Tornado Tyrant of Rann, Ulthoon, Tornado Champion, John Smith, John Ulthoon
Abilities Air and wind manipulation
Superhuman strength, physical resistance, and speed

Red Tornado is a fictional character and a comic book superhero in the DC Comics universe. The character first appeared in Justice League of America #64 (August 1968), and was created by Gardner Fox and Dick Dillin.

Publication history[edit]

The Silver Age Red Tornado's first appearance was in Justice League of America #64 (August 1968), written by Gardner Fox.

Fictional character biography (Pre-Crisis)[edit]

Tornado Tyrant and Tornado Champion[edit]

The character is an android created by the supervillain T. O. Morrow for the purpose of infiltrating the Justice Society of America (part of the plan involved giving the android a false memory indicating that it was the Red Tornado who had attended the first JSA meeting). After the android was complete, it was merged with two other entities: Ulthoon the Tornado Tyrant of Rann and the Tornado Champion. These two tornado entities originated from the planet Rann in the Earth-One universe. This being, originally one entity, confronted Rann's adopted champion, Adam Strange, and was defeated.

Following that defeat, the being contemplated the nature of good and evil and decided that good was the superior force. It observed the exploits of the JLA and then departed Earth and settled on an abandoned planet, which it transformed into a perfect replica of Earth, right down to its populace. The only absence was that of the Justice League of America, and the tornado entity split itself to become the JLA of this world, taking for itself the name of the Tornado Champion. However, this life was not to last for long, as it discovered that it had inadvertently split itself into two separate entities, based on its decision as to which side was superior.

The second entity, which embodied the Tornado Champion's previous evil side, dubbed itself the Tornado Tyrant. Confronting the Tyrant, the Tornado Champion was easily defeated. Disheartened, the Tornado Champion lured the Tyrant to Earth-One, where the Tyrant was defeated by the real JLA. The Tornado Champion decided that there was little satisfaction in being an imitation, and journeyed to Earth-Two in an attempt to find a new identity. The Tornado Champion came upon the criminal T. O. Morrow, who was creating an android with which to infiltrate and defeat the Justice Society of America. The Tornado Champion decided to assume control of the robotic form. The merging had an unexpected side effect. The Tornado Champion's memory was erased. Red Tornado thus seemed to be a new life-form.

As Red Tornado[edit]

Believing itself to be the original JSA associate, Red Tornado visited JSA headquarters and announced its return to active duty. The JSA, not recognizing the android, was incredulous but allowed the Tornado to accompany them to defeat a theft at a nearby museum. Through a series of mishaps choreographed by Morrow, Red Tornado seemingly killed the JSA members. Red Tornado then tracked Morrow to his lair, but was hit by an energy weapon. However Morrow discovered to succeed in his robbery the Red Tornado would have to be present, and revived him, the Red Tornado seemingly defeated him. When the remaining JSAers arrived to investigate, a booby-trapped weapon which the Tornado hoped would revive the 'dead' members felled them all. Morrow then traveled to Earth-One, where he defeated the JLA as he had the JSA before them. Red Tornado, recovered from his previous injuries as the weapon partially protected him from its energy, followed Morrow and revived some members of the JLA. The JLA and the android then defeated Morrow as he attempted to set Earth-1 and Earth-2 at war with each other, uncovering a method to revive the remaining JLA and JSA back on Earth-Two. Morrow confessed that Red Tornado was his android construct, but the JSA still admitted him as a member in good standing, though the Tornado still felt like an outsider and wanted to find his place.

When the mad Star-God Aquarius attacked Earth-Two, many JSA members were captured and sealed in a magical bubble as Aquarius phased Earth-Two out of existence. Red Tornado escaped, reaching Earth-One and contacted the JLA. The JLA disregarded the android to tend to their own affairs, ultimately hearing him out two weeks later. When they realized the JSA's dilemma, the JLA members quickly journeyed to the Earth-Two universe, defeating Aquarius and returning Earth-Two to normal.

Red Tornado often felt he was an outsider in the JSA, and that he was not appreciated as a sentient, independent organism. When he stumbled across the Creators monitoring Earth-Two, he sought to impress his colleagues by defeating the aliens single-handedly. Instead, Red Tornado was captured and used as a conduit to bring Earth-One and Earth-Two together, the Creators hoped the destruction of the two worlds would release enough energy to construct a new planet. The JSA defeated the Creators and rescued Red Tornado; however, his easy defeat and manipulation left Red Tornado more dejected than ever.

During the 100th meeting of the Justice League of America, the JLA was summoned to Earth-Two to assist the JSA in defeating the Iron Hand, a sworn foe of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The Iron Hand had created an orbiting weapon, shaped like a hand, that threatened Earth-Two, the JSA had been unable to stop it. Doctor Fate summoned a being known as the Oracle, who informed them of the Iron Hand's last defeat, which cost the life of one of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The JLA and JSA split into teams and rescued the members of the SSV, who had been scattered throughout time, and with their help created a weapon that would destroy the Iron Hand's device. The delivery of the device to its necessary location was a suicide mission, one which Red Tornado secretly took while the other heroes were engaged in dealing with the Iron Hand and debating over who would go. In the resulting explosion, Red Tornado was believed to be destroyed. Red Tornado survived, however, and was catapulted to the Earth-One universe, where he ultimately became a member of the Justice League of America. In the JLA, Red Tornado finally found a measure of acceptance.

As John Smith[edit]

However, the Tornado's adventures with the League caused him to repeatedly be destroyed, such as when he sacrificed himself to help defeat the alien villain Nekron, and was later reassembled once more under the control of the Construct in a plot against the League, which the android managed to overcome. While a member of the Justice League, the Red Tornado developed a human alter ego appearance, that of John Smith, and formed an attachment with a woman named Kathy Sutton. In addition, he adopted an orphan from the middle eastern nation of Bialya named Traya, and they formed a makeshift family. He formed friendships with his teammates, particularly Hawkwoman and new recruit Firestorm.

Eventually, T.O. Morrow returned as two individual personas, the Future Man (with a hyper-advanced brain providing him with psionic abilities) and a replica of the original T.O. Morrow body, this one equipped with an advanced battle suit. It is unknown how there were two T.O. Morrows except perhaps the original Morrow from Earth-Two and the one later found on Earth-One (when Red Tornado reappeared) may have merged when they both ceased to exist following their confrontations with their two superhero team enemies. A conflict with the latter Morrow caused the Tornado's android shell to rupture, and at this point the above origin of the Tornado Champion/Tyrant's merging with the android body was revealed. Red Tornado soon regained his body and gained renewed confidence in now knowing he was truly a sentient being. This would not last for long, as tragedy would soon strike once more.

Fictional character biography (Post-Crisis)[edit]

Air Elemental[edit]

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Tornado Champion was again separated from his android host body, becoming an air elemental due to the Anti-Monitor utilizing him as a weapon against the combined might of both the Justice League and Society.

After the Crisis, history was changed. In this new timeline, the android part of Red Tornado's origin remained the same, but he was never the Tornado Champion; instead, he was Earth's Air Elemental, created by Maya (the spirit of the Earth) to protect the environment. Like other elementals such as Swamp Thing, this spirit needed to have a human host before manifesting; the host was meant to be Professor Ivo's infant son, but he died early, so the spirit went instead to the android body Ivo had created.

The Elemental War[edit]

Air pollution had an adverse effect on the Red Tornado/Tornado Champion, driving him half-mad and into conflict alongside Naiad against Firestorm and the Swamp Thing in The Elemental War. Eventually, Firestorm calmed both the Red Tornado and Naiad, and manufactured a new body shell for the Red Tornado. It appears this new body was imperfect, as the Red Tornado began to experience serious malfunctions. His humanity was almost lost, and his physical appearance became more and more damaged, dirty and clearly not right. During a period of near-total malfunction, Red Tornado had been a member of the Leymen. During this period, he would experience odd jerks and spasms as he moved, and malfunctioning gears and mechanisms clanging together could be heard coming from within the android's body. He also could only speak in a halting, emotionless, mechanical monotone. During the course of his association with the Leymen, the original Red Tornado personality began to re-emerge, and slowly, his emotions and humanity as well.

Young Justice[edit]

Red Tornado spent some time silent and unmoving in the old, empty JLA headquarters located in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, feeling that he had become isolated from humanity. However, when the three young heroes, Robin, Superboy and Impulse spent a sleepover there, Impulse's behavior annoyed Red Tornado to such an extent he voluntarily reactivated himself, realising from his feelings of annoyance towards the group that he was not as removed from humanity as he previously thought.

Upon re-establishing his abilities to move properly and communicate, the Red Tornado re-established his connections with the Justice League and the regular super hero community. He served as an advisor for Young Justice, assisting them on their missions if the situation required it, and as an auxiliary member of the JLA. During this period, he attempted to renew his relationship with his wife, Kathy Sutton. While he did not succeed in fully reuniting with Kathy, their adopted daughter, Traya, has readily accepted the Red Tornado into her life, regardless of his appearance or state of repair. Because of Traya's attachment for the Red Tornado, Kathy allows Red Tornado regular visitations and contact. He has not, however, returned to his John Smith identity, instead acting as Traya's adoptive father in his superheroic/robotic identity. During this time, he also played an important role in Superman's defeat of Brainiac 13; when Brainiac took control of the robotic heroes until they were shut down by an EM-pulse generated by Lex Luthor in a stolen Kryptonian battlesuit, Kelex, Superman's fortress robot, reactivated Red Tornado so that they could use him to break Brainiac 13 down into his component nanobots and trap him inside Luthor's battlesuit.

Crisis of Conscience[edit]

In the events following DC's Crisis of Conscience mini-series, Red Tornado is attacked by the surviving members of the original Secret Society of Super-villains. His body is completely destroyed before the JLA arrive. Batman takes the remains to the Batcave, building an upgraded android body. When the League is attacked by Despero, Red Tornado is essential to his defeat, as he is immune to Despero's telepathy and mind control.

Infinite Crisis and 52[edit]

Red Tornado was one of the heroes recruited by Donna Troy to fight against the menace in space during Infinite Crisis. According to a conversation between Doc Magnus and his creator T.O. Morrow in 52, the Red Tornado sacrificed himself during the Crisis (in fact he was utterly destroyed, hit by a stray Zeta beam signal). Morrow's response to this news is to question how many times the Tornado has actually died now, clearly indicating he expects the Red Tornado to return to active status eventually. Morrow also alludes to another android he created, called the Red Inferno. No other data is given on this possible sibling to the Red Tornado.

During the fifth week of the 52 event, after the other heroes were beamed back down to Earth at Uluru, the Tornado's speaker embedded in Mal Duncan's chest replayed a warning message for his comrades, "It's coming! 52! 52!", implying that shortly before his destruction he may have seen something pivotal to the DC Universe future, the rebirth of the Multiverse.

Twelve weeks later, in 52 Week 17, it was revealed that the Red Tornado, now largely in pieces, was beamed back down to the Earth with the other heroes, but apparently missed by the search team. Conscious but unable to say anything other than "52," the Tornado was discovered by a group of young Aborigines in the Australian outback. At the end of 52 Week 21, he was shown to have been reassembled with car parts by an Australian mechanic. Malfunctioning, but at least able to access his aereokinetic powers, in 52 Week 28, he was set against a group of Intergang enforcers evicting a tribe of Aborigines from their shanty town. Defeated, he was disassembled and trashed, and his head used in a contemporary art sculpture. T.O. Morrow manages to buy his head back, hoping to discover his secrets. As T.O. Morrow is used as bait to trap Mr. Mind, Red Tornado's head falls into Rip Hunter's hands, who combines his head with his own Time Bubble to navigate safely into the restored universe.

One Year Later[edit]

After the events in DC's One Year Later story-line, Red Tornado's android body is fully repaired. Kathy Sutton spends some time with it, talking with the heroine Platinum and thinking how she has done this seven times before, waiting for John to come back to his body.[1] However, his soul chooses to enter a human body offered by Felix Faust (posing as Deadman). When the Justice League of America calls him back as a member, John Smith returns as a human being, showing the same wind powers of his robotic form, but lacking the stamina and resilience of his android body.[2]

His android body is stolen from Will Magnus' lab by Dr. Impossible. Magnus notifies Red Tornado, who then leaves to find his stolen android body.[3] Arsenal (later to take the title Red Arrow), Black Canary and Green Lantern join the search using a beacon planted by Will Magnus inside Red Tornado's android body. They track the signal to a remote mountain base and confront Professor Ivo who has regained his human appearance. Ivo then releases a swarm of various activated Tornado Androids to assault the heroes. After the androids are defeated, and Red Tornado arrives, it is revealed that this has been orchestrated by a revived and intelligent Solomon Grundy.[4]

Solomon Grundy confesses that he masterminded the plan that put the former android in a human shell meant to cripple him, slowly robbing Red Tornado of his health and aereokinesis, although a mishap let Tornado keep his powers even in his weakened form. Grundy also had the Red Tornado Android body infused with a multitude of super powered objects, along with one of Ivo’s Amazo chips, to create an invincible shell to house his soul so he will never die again. The assembled heroes, along with others, go after the Red Tornado/Amazo android, who, thinking himself to be John Smith, goes to see John’s family. While they run off, Grundy keeps the now weak human Red Tornado separate in an attempt to kill him. Tornado, who is no longer a match for Grundy's superhuman strength, is beaten and mutilated by the undead brute. In spite of his severe injuries, through sheer force of will he is able to summon winds that snap the immortal monster like a tree.

The Amazo form is slowed down by Apokoliptian technology given to Kathy Sutton by Big Barda (after recent tragedies the JLA had armed their loved ones). The assembled heroes manage to neutralize Amazo.[5]

Slowly dying, he asks his wife to quickly rebuild the Red Tornado android and allow him to return. Zatanna lifts the spell trapping his soul thus allowing Red Tornado to again be able to inhabit his android shell upon "death".[6] Although he was offered to keep the various enhancement planted by Ivo, Red Tornado divested himself of all augmentation, joining the Justice League of America with his usual array of powers. However, since the return to his robotic body, Red Tornado has begun behaving out of sorts, even losing control of his powers at one point and nearly killing Red Arrow. He also became increasingly cold and detached from his friends and family, acting more like a machine than a sentient being.

After the team's battle with the Injustice League,[7] Red Tornado's body was badly damaged,[8] and his consciousness has been placed into the Hall of Justice's computer systems.[9] His feelings slowly returning, he's warned that this time a jump into a new host body could be a damaging experience for his soul, and even if the new shell Magnus built for him mimicks perfectly every function of a human body, its computational abilities are far inferior than his current cybernetic mind. Nevertheless he accepts the deal, to get a new chance at life with his family.

The Justice League, calling upon Zatanna and John Henry Irons, initiate the transfer. However Amazo, still present in the previous body of Red Tornado as a dormant program, takes control of the self-repairing routines, fights Irons and steals for himself the Magnus shell, giving battle to the whole League.[10][11] In the end, Zatanna is forced to unleash against him the only force Amazo is unable to mimic, the very soul of Red Tornado in his primal, elemental form. Red Tornado is then restored in a spare body.[12] The Tornado then proposes marriage to Kathy and she accepts. After helping to capture Professor Ivo, Red Tornado takes a leave of absence from the League.[13]

Following the events of Final Crisis, a Red Tornado mini-series chronicling his origin and the reveal of a new "Android family" that may cause conflict between Tornado and his wife and adopted daughter.[14]

Blackest Night[edit]

Following the events of the mini-series, Red Tornado is once again destroyed, this time during a fierce battle with Black Lantern versions of deceased JLA members Vibe and Steel.[15] Once the Blackest Night ends, the JLA disbands and is replaced by a new roster. Former Titan Cyborg is among the new members of the League, and immediately sets out to rebuild Red Tornado, claiming that he has a plan to make him indestructible.[16] With his new body still under construction, Red Tornado's severed (but sentient) head is left behind by Cyborg when the team abrubtly leaves the JLA Watchtower to face down a group of villains on Blackhawk Island. While waiting in Cyborg's workshop, Red Tornado witnesses Green Arrow's battle with Doctor Impossible, and ultimately saves the archer's life by activating his unfinished body and using it to attack Impossible and his cohorts.[17]

Brightest Day[edit]

Following this, Cyborg takes a leave of absence from the JLA in order to finish the work on John's new body. With the repairs finally completed thanks to the use of self-replicating nanites, he invites Kathy to the S.T.A.R. Labs facility in order to reunite with her husband. Once there, Red Tornado lashes out and attacks Cyborg, and begins begging his friend to kill him before he hurts someone. Though not yet known to Cyborg or Red Tornado, his insanity is revealed to be the result of Alan Scott's Starheart power, which is able to possess metahumans with magical or elemental abilities.[18] Cyborg manages to free Red Tornado with his matrix.[19]

Later, Red Tornado is shown aiding the JLA during their mission into Hell, where he helps Superman defeat the demon Minos.[20]

The New 52[edit]

On Earth 2, the Red Tornado's body was mentioned as being still under construction,[21] and was shown to be kept in Tokyo, Japan. This Red Tornado is a gynoid.[22] The Sam Lane of Earth 2 transfers the mind of his daughter Lois into the robot's mind; Lois must now contend with her new existence as a robot and with the reappearance of her now evil ex-lover.

During the battle between the Justice League and Atlantis, Dr. T.O. Morrow mentions that his weather machine could take control of the weather from the invading Atlanteans, but Dr. Silas Stone rejects the idea because the technology is from another dimension (specifically, Earth 2) and unstable.[23] Morrow later tries again, going so far as to say, "But the Tornado could...".[24]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Red Tornado is a highly intelligent android possessing superior strength and durability, and capable of creating bursts of cyclone-force winds that enable flight, enhanced speed and the creation of storms. The character can also access information from any foreign computer system. Red Tornado was upgraded and provided with a new body composed of microscopic nanites and now possesses the ability to change from android to human form at will.

Other versions[edit]

Kingdom Come[edit]

Three different versions of Red Tornado exist in the four issue limited series Kingdom Come (1996).

  • One is an older armor-wearing Ma Hunkel, her wind-manipulating meta-human granddaughter Maxine, and another is a spirit of the Tornado Champion simply called "Tornado". All 3 of them serve in Superman's Justice League. [25]

In other media[edit]




Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #1 (November 2006)
  2. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #2 (December 2006)
  3. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #3 (January 2007)
  4. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #4 (February 2007)
  5. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #5 (March 2007)
  6. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #6 (April 2007)
  7. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #13 (November 2007)
  8. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #15 (January 2008)
  9. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #16 (February 2008)
  10. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #22 (August 2008)
  11. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #23 (September 2008)
  12. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #24 (October 2008)
  13. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #25 (November 2008)
  14. ^ "Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » DC announces Red Tornado mini-series". 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  15. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #39
  16. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #42
  17. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #43
  18. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #46
  19. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #48 (August 2010)
  20. ^ Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011
  21. ^ Earth 2 #5 (Oct. 2012)
  22. ^ Earth 2 #6 (Dec. 2012)
  23. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #16 (Jan. 2013)
  24. ^ Aquaman #16 (Jan. 2013)
  25. ^ Kingdom Come #2
  26. ^ Gross, Edward (2010-08-19). "YOUNG JUSTICE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Producers Greg Weisman & Brandon Vietti". Comic Book Movie. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Batman: The Brave And The Bold Video Game, DS Gameplay Featurette | Video Clip | Game Trailers & Videos". 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 

External links[edit]