Blockbuster (DC Comics)

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Blockbuster is the name of four fictional characters and a criminal organization appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The first one was primarily a foe of Batman and Robin, while the second was the archenemy to Nightwing. The latest version first appeared in the pages of the series 52 wherein he is directed into battle against Lex Luthor's team of superheroes.

Publication history[edit]

The Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster first appeared in Detective Comics #345 and was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino.

The Roland Desmond version of Blockbuster first appeared in Starman #9 and was created by Roger Stern and Tom Lyle.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Mark Desmond[edit]

Blockbuster
Blockbuster (Comics) (Mark Desmond).jpg
Interior artwork from Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe vol. 1, #3 (May 1985  DC Comics)
Art by Michael T. Gilbert
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #345 (November 1965)
Created byGardner Fox
Carmine Infantino
In-story information
Alter egoMark Desmond
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
Suicide Squad
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength, stamina, and endurance
High-level resistance to injury

The first Blockbuster was Mark Desmond, a chemist who desired to increase his physical strength. Experimenting on himself, he succeeded in making himself stronger and taller, but as a side-effect of the process he also became almost mindlessly aggressive. The mentally debilitated Desmond was cared for by his brother Roland, a local criminal, who kept their mother from discovering what Mark had done to himself.[1]

Roland manipulated his brother into committing crimes on his behalf until they came into conflict with Batman and Robin. Bruce Wayne had once rescued a young Desmond from drowning, and he discovered that he could calm the enraged adult Desmond by removing his cowl, showing him his face, though when Blockbuster first appears he has to leap into a swamp and thrash around like him to remind Blockbuster of this. Desmond later found himself clashing with Batman on various occasions. He joined the Secret Society of Super Villains briefly for a battle with the Justice League. Later, Amanda Waller recruited Desmond for her revived Suicide Squad. He was killed fighting Darkseid's creation Brimstone.[2]

In Pre-Crisis, Blockbuster absorbed energies from the Alfred Memorial which gave him some powers and was once substituted for the super-strong undead villain Solomon Grundy from Earth-2 due to a machine that was substituting people from both Earths. Green Lantern caused him to fight Solomon Grundy, leading to them both briefly getting the fight knocked out of each other.

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Mark Desmond is a patient of Dr. Phayne's. He lives on the estate and at night he undergoes procedures to enhance his intelligence. He is exposed to small amounts of a green compound intravenously. An accident is caused by a new patient believing he is in pain and the cascade of green liquid overdoses Desmond and creates an explosion. The overdose exposes a super-strong man calling himself Blockbuster. He rampages from the building in pain and knocks an attacking Hawkman unconscious.[3] Blockbuster was later mind-controlled by Necromancer to help her steal an artifact from a Washington D.C. museum, which brought the attention of Hawk and Dove. They teamed up with Batman and Robin to stop Blockbuster and Necromancer.[4] Mark Desmond later appears as a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains upon having been recruited by Outsider. When Catwoman breaks out of Arkham Asylum, Mark Desmond and Signalman confronted Catwoman on a rooftop, which ended with Catwoman being knocked out.[5]

Roland Desmond[edit]

Blockbuster
Blockbuster (Roland Desmond).jpg
Interior artwork from Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear vol. 1, #1 (November 1995  DC Comics)
Art by Rick Burchett
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceStarman #9 (April 1989)
Created byRoger Stern
Tom Lyle
In-story information
Alter egoRoland Desmond
Team affiliationsUnderground Society
Black Lantern Corps
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength, stamina, and endurance
High-level resistance to injury
Genius-level intellect

Roland Desmond became the second Blockbuster after a severe illness forced him to be treated with experimental steroids. Like his brother Mark, Roland became a child-minded super-strong monster. He ran wild in the Southwest, but Batman and Starman (Will Payton) brought his rampage to an end.[6][7]

Desmond became obsessed with elevating himself greatly above his debilitated intellect. A pact with the demon Neron granted him a genius-level intellect and Desmond embarked once more on a career of crime and destruction. He began his revived criminal career by causing chaos in the town of Manchester, although his schemes were foiled by the speedster Impulse.

Desmond then moved to his mother's home town of Blüdhaven. He forced the crime lord Angel Marin out of power and took over the city's criminal rackets. Roland's plan was to build a criminal empire in the 'Haven, that would eventually enable him to extend his dominion over Gotham, Star City, Metropolis, and New York's underworlds. For that purpose, he bought the corrupt elements of the city's police department, most notably Police Chief Redhorn and Inspector Dudley "Deadly" Soames.

Despite his swift and vicious consolidation of power, Blockbuster's hold on Blüdhaven's organized crime was nevertheless weakened by the intervention of the city's new protector, Nightwing (Dick Grayson, the former Robin), who, with Oracle's help, foiled Desmond's plans at every turn. Oracle often removes money from Blockbuster's accounts and he has a man working to stop and find Oracle, named Vogel.[8]

Desmond's primary goal became the elimination of the young vigilante. He placed a contract on Nightwing's life, employing the services of several assassins, including Lady Vic, Stallion, Brutale, the Trigger Twins, and Shrike.

As a further result of his initial transformation, Desmond later developed albinism and a heart defect. He was restored to (comparative) health by a heart transplant from one of the talking apes of Gorilla City, and was consolidating his control over Blüdhaven and contemplating a takeover of Gotham City, when he was killed by the new Tarantula, Catalina Flores.[9]

As part of the Blackest Night event, Roland's corpse is reanimated by a black power ring and recruited to the Black Lantern Corps in Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009).

In the DC Rebirth reboot, Blockbuster appears, asking Nightwing to help with a job.[10]

Blockbuster III[edit]

Lex Luthor created a new Blockbuster in the pages of the miniseries event 52 to serve as an opponent of his manufactured hero team, Infinity, Inc.

Little is revealed about this Blockbuster, save for the fact that Luthor possesses some measure of control over his actions and level of strength. Luthor also comments that he is stronger than either of the previous two Blockbusters. This brute's cognitive abilities and appearance are very similar to the original. Blockbuster, with controlled interference from Lex Luthor, kills the superhero Trajectory.

Martian Manhunter's disguise[edit]

A Blockbuster appears among the villains exiled to an alien world in Salvation Run. In issue #3, it is revealed to be a disguised Martian Manhunter.

Female Blockbuster[edit]

A newer, female Blockbuster appears in the swamps of Louisiana and fights Mon-El.[11]

The Blockbuster's Gang[edit]

The Blockbuster's Gang first appears in Nightwing (vol. 2) #2. The Blockbuster's Gang was one of the most powerful mobs in Blüdhaven, made up of corrupt police officers and supervillains. Organization Leader: Roland Desmond. Current Members: Thrilldevil, Giz, Mouse and Mateo Flores. Former Members: Brutale, Electrocutioner II, Torque, Lady Vic, Shrike, Stallion, Tarantula, the Trigger Twins and Cicso Blane.

Powers and abilities[edit]

All Blockbusters have superhuman strength, stamina, and endurance. They also have a high degree of resistance to physical and energy attacks.

After selling his soul to Neron, Roland Desmond gained genius-level intelligence.

Alternative versions[edit]

Batman/Aliens[edit]

The Roland Desmond version of Blockbuster is mentioned as using a construction company as a Trojan horse. However, the owner and multiple workers are killed by an Alien they unearth from a bioweapons lab at a construction site.

DC Animated Universe comics[edit]

The Roland Desmond version of Blockbuster appears in Adventures in the DC Universe #1 and DC Comics Presents: Wonder Woman Adventures #1.

Batman: Arkham[edit]

In Batman: Arkham Knight-Genesis, a prequel comic to Batman: Arkham Knight, the Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster and Catman brutally beat Jason Todd, the second Robin, while dressed in Batman costumes as part of the Joker's brainwashing of Todd. Todd fought back, but was reluctant to kill them. Harley Quinn encouraged him, shooting Blockbuster in the chest to prove her point.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • The Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster is first seen in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. In the episode "Kid Stuff", he, Cheetah, Copperhead and KGBeast were fighting Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman at Fort Knox's gold vault and were defeated before Mordred used an ancient amulet to transport all of the adults in the world to another dimension; Blockbuster being among the ones teleported to the other dimension. In the episode "I Am Legion", Blockbuster is also shown as a member of the Secret Society. In the episode "Alive", Blockbuster sides against Lex Luthor during the mutiny in favor of Gorilla Grodd. He is frozen by Killer Frost and blown up by Darkseid along with the other mutineers.
  • Mark Desmond appears in The Batman animated series, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Unlike in the comics, he is African-American. In the episode "Meltdown", Desmond is a scientist working for Wayne Enterprises who is in charge of Ethan Bennett's parole agreement of not using shapeshifting powers.
  • The Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with Mark Desmond voiced by James Arnold Taylor and Blockbuster voiced again by Kevin Michael Richardson. In the teaser of "Death Race to Oblivion!", Batman has been keeping an eye on since he stole some chemicals from S.T.A.R. Labs and confronts evil child genius Desmond at a museum with a plot to steal a diamond called the Star of Bialya. The crowd objects to Batman grabbing Desmond until the boy drinks the serum that transforms him into Blockbuster. As Blockbuster, he subdues Batman. When Billy Batson steps forth, Blockbuster grabs and asks Billy if there are any last words. Billy shouts "Shazam!" and transforms into Captain Marvel who manages to defeat Blockbuster. In the episode "Night of the Batmen", Blockbuster assists Bane, Killer Croc, and Solomon Grundy in stealing a statue, only to be thwarted by Captain Marvel dressed as Batman.
Blockbuster as seen in Young Justice.
  • The Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster first appears in the Young Justice animated series, with Mark Desmond voiced by René Auberjonois while sound effects were used for Blockbuster's vocal effects. This version of Blockbuster is very different in appearance from any of his comic book incarnations, having purposefully been redesigned as it was felt the original version was too similar to the Hulk.[12] His transformation in the series involves his Blockbuster form ripping through his human skin. In the episode "Independence Day", Mark Desmond is shown as a senior member of Project Cadmus who takes his orders directly from the Light (Project Cadmus' Board of Directors) and uses the Blockbuster serum in order to combat Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Superboy. The serum to take this form seems to have decreased his intelligence, as Aqualad comments, "I doubt he is planning anything anymore". He is defeated by the four by the time the Justice League arrive and is taken away by some of the Justice League members. In the episode "Terrors", Blockbuster is seen as an inmate at Belle Reve and is acting as muscle for Icicle Sr. alongside Mammoth. He and Mammoth are defeated by Superboy. In the episode "Usual Suspects", Blockbuster joins Lex Luthor, Queen Bee, Sportsmaster and Bane in meeting with Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis. During the fight between the young heroes and the assembled villains, Lex mentions that Dr. Desmond wasn't able to add the other programs to control Superboy, blaming Dr. Desmond. Superboy manages to defeat Blockbuster.
  • While Blockbuster himself has not appeared in the Arrowverse series, the Arrow seventh season episode "Star City Slayer" does make a reference to him, with Captain Singh- head of the Central City police department- mentioning that Blockbuster once attempted to expand from Bludhaven into Central City by triggering a gang war before Dinah Drake- a former undercover cop and the current Black Canary/ head of Star City police department- stopped him during an old assignment, Singh using this as an example of Dinah's personal strength to demonstrate how he has faith she would overcome the recent exposure of her secret identity.

Film[edit]

  • Blockbuster was reportedly featured in David S. Goyer's script for an upcoming Green Arrow film project entitled Escape from Super Max. In the script, Blockbuster appeared as an inmate of the Super Max Penitentiary for Metahumans.[13]
  • In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Ultraman's henchmen Mister Action is super-powered version of Jimmy Olsen who is also based on Blockbuster .
  • An alternate unnamed version of a Blockbuster appears in Justice League: Gods and Monsters, with his vocal effects provided by Marcelo Tubert. He appears as a member of a terrorist group that fights the Justice League. He duels with Batman only to be killed when Batman reveals his vampire teeth, bites his neck, and drinks his blood.
  • The Roland Desmond version of Blockbuster appears in Batman: Bad Blood, voiced by John DiMaggio.[14] He is taken down by Nightwing while he talks to Starfire regarding their relationship.
  • The Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster appears in Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with Fred Tatasciore doing his vocal effects. He and Bane team up and ambush the Mystery Incorporated gang when they arrive at the No Man's Land part of the city. However, Shaggy and Scooby district the villains with their disguises to make their getaway.
  • The Roland Desmond version of Blockbuster returns in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay. Though he has no speaking lines in the film, his vocal effects were provided by Dave Fennoy. In the film, he is one of Professor Zoom's henchmen (along with Silver Banshee); it is stated that he is working for Zoom in exchange of "having his own island". In the film's climax, Blockbuster and Silver Banshee are later killed by Killer Frost, freezing their bodies from the inside.

Video games[edit]

  • The Mark Desmond version of Blockbuster appears as a boss in Young Justice: Legacy, voiced by Mark Rolston.
  • The Roland Desmond version of Blockbuster appears in Batman: The Telltale Series, voiced by Steven Blum. This version has blue skin and is a member of the Children of Arkham, a group of terrorists who arrive in Gotham to purge the city of corruption. As a member of the Children of Arkham, Blockbuster is Penguin's second-in-command where they work for Lady Arkham. Batman first encounters Blockbuster when the Children of Arkham raid a criminal club called the Skyline Club. Blockbuster stood by while Batman spoke to Penguin. As Penguin leaves to track down Selina Kyle, Blockbuster fights Batman and throws him out a hole. When the Children of Arkham crash the mayoral debate, Blockbuster went backstage and took Vicki Vale out to host the event. After taking down some Gotham City Police Department members when they try to raid the event, Blockbuster goes to Penguin's aid to fight Batman. After Batman subdued Blockbuster with an EMP mine, Penguin got away while Blockbuster and the Children of Arkham members present were arrested. Blockbuster later appears in Arkham Asylum, still recovering physically and emotionally from Batman's attack as an Arkham Asylum staff member keeps an eye on him. He later watches the fight between Victor Zsasz and Arkham Asylum's security guards. During the fight between the Gotham City Police Department and Arkham Asylum's inmates, Batman passes Blockbuster looking into a cell while pursuing Lady Arkham.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Blockbuster I". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 56. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
  2. ^ Ostrander, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Send For... the Suicide Squad!" Legends #3: 14 (January 1987), DC Comics
  3. ^ Savage Hawkman #18
  4. ^ Hawk and Dove (vol. 5) #6
  5. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 3) #3
  6. ^ Starman #10 (May 1989)
  7. ^ Wallace, Dan (2008). "Blockbuster II". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 55. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
  8. ^ Nightwing #44 (June 2000)
  9. ^ Nightwing (vol. 2) #93 (July 2004)
  10. ^ Nightwing (vol. 4) #22
  11. ^ Superman #689 (August 2009)
  12. ^ "Blockbuster Turn by *Phillybee". Deviant Art. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  13. ^ Mayimbe, El (May 19, 2008). "Supermax: Green Arrow Story Details + Villains/Inmates Gallery". LatinoReview.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Gerding, Stephen (January 13, 2016). "Exclusive: Nightwing's Romantic Life Takes a Hit in "Batman: Bad Blood" Clip". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 14, 2016.

External links[edit]