Doctor Alchemy

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Doctor Alchemy
Doctor Alchemy (Albert Desmond).jpg
Interior artwork from The Flash: Secret Files & Origins vol. 3, 1 (May, 2010 DC Comics). Art by Francis Manapul.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (Desmond)
Showcase #13 (April 1958)
(as Mr. Element)
Showcase #14 (June 1958)
(as Dr. Alchemy)
The Flash (vol. 2) #71 (Feb. 1992)

The Flash (vol. 2) #202 (Nov. 2003)
Created by (Desmond)
John Broome
Carmine Infantino
Mark Waid
Greg LaRocque
Geoff Johns
Alberto Dose
In-story information
Full name Albert Desmond
Dr. Curtis Engstrom
Alexander Petrov
Notable aliases (Desmond and Petrov)
Mr. Element
Abilities Transmute any substance into any other substance
Transform the molecular structure of the human body
Control the Stone from a distance via telekinesis
Restore abilities to other people from different timelines or worlds

Doctor Alchemy is a name used by different supervillains appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The most notable was Albert Desmond.

Publication history[edit]

The character of Albert Desmond, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in Showcase #13 (April 1958) as Mister Element. His second and more frequently used identity of Doctor Alchemy first appeared in Showcase #14 (June 1958).[1]:92 The Alchemist made his first appearance in The Flash (vol. 2) #71 (Feb. 1992) and was created by writer Mark Waid and artist Greg LaRocque. The character of Alexander Petrov made his first appearance in The Flash (vol. 2) #202 (Nov. 2003) and was created by Geoff Johns and Alberto Dose.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Albert Desmond[edit]

Albert Desmond is a bus driver who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. Desmond has two distinct personalities: one major driving personality and another criminally inclined one. Under his darker personality, he applies his knowledge of chemistry to create the identity of Mister Element. He creates elemental weapons such as bulletproof silicon to shield his cars, and discovers a new element, Elemento, a magnetic light, with which he sent the Flash into space.[1]:92

After being sent to jail as a result of his first encounter with the Flash, he learns of the Philosopher's Stone from his band mate. He escapes jail, finds the Stone, and uses its power to transmute elements to restart his criminal career as Doctor Alchemy. Eventually his good personality resurfaces, causing him to quit crime and hide the Stone. Shortly after, a new Doctor Alchemy appears and is revealed to be his astral twin "Alvin" Desmond with whom he shares a psychic link. It was later revealed that Alvin was a construct of the Stone created by Albert's criminal personality. When Albert confronts and defeats "Alvin" he resumes the role of Doctor Alchemy.[2] While incarcerated, both of his costumed identities were used by others: Curtis Engstrom using the Philosopher's Stone as the Alchemist and Alexander Petrov using the Mister Element identity.[1]:92

Curtis Engstrom[edit]

After Desmond eliminated his personality as Dr. Alchemy, S.T.A.R. Labs acquired the Philosopher Stone with intentions of using one of its fragments in their microscopic medical computer.[3] The computer and fragment were then stolen by Dr. Curtis Engstrom, an advisor on the project. Engstrom was later arrested and after escaping from prison he donned a costume (similar to that of Dr. Alchemy's) and set out to retrieve the microchip that had been taken from him by his former cellmate where he became the Alchemist. After being defeated, Engstrom was never seen again.

Alexander Petrov[edit]

Alexander Petrov is a criminologist working for the Keystone City Police Department, but in order to advance his career, he uses one of weapons that Albert Desmond used as Mister Element to freeze the lab supervisor solid. Petrov is promoted to replace the dead supervisor and discovers he likes the thrill of killing. He continues to eliminate members of the department he sees as "threats" to his position, using the weapon and ice-based effects. He uses the effects and his position as head of the crime lab to shift suspicion to Captain Cold. His plan comes undone when profiler Ashley Zolomon enters his office as he is putting on his mask. The Flash is able to stop him from killing her, but Captain Cold interrupts them before the Flash can take him into custody. Cold kills Petrov for breaking the Rogues' code of "ethics" - framing another Rogue for your own crimes.[4]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Doctor Alchemy possesses the Philosopher's Stone, which once belonged to Merlin. By pressing the stone in various points, he has the ability to transmute any substance into any other substance (e.g., steel into rubber, or oxygen into carbon monoxide) and also possesses the power to transform the molecular structure of the human body, having once turned the Flash into a being of water vapor.[1][2] Desmond can also control the Stone from a distance via telekinesis. He can also restore abilities to other people from different timelines or worlds.

In other media[edit]


  • Both the Doctor Alchemy and Mister Element versions of the character had non-speaking cameos in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance." The villains can be seen in the bar where the Flash's enemies unwind.
  • Tom Felton portrays Julian Albert Desmond/Alchemy (dubbed "Doctor Alchemy" by Cisco Ramon) in season three of The Flash, while Tobin Bell provides the character's voice when masked.[5] He is a forensic scientist and Barry Allen's rival in the CCPD; as Doctor Alchemy, he wears an outfit similar to the classic plague doctor's costume, with a face-concealing, beaked mask. An acolyte of Savitar, he can manifest from mirrors and possesses the Brahmastra, also known as the Philosopher's Stone, an ancient Hindu weapon with the ability to restore the powers of metahumans who existed in the alternate "Flashpoint" timeline created by Barry Allen when he saved his mother. Alchemy displays knowledge of the "Flashpoint" timeline even after Barry restores a variation of the original one, with Julian's presence being one of the changes made to the timeline. It is eventually revealed that Julian was tricked by Savitar into finding and unsealing the Brahmastra, allowing Savitar to possess him and force him to play the role of Alchemy. After he is apprehended by Barry, he makes amends with him and befriends and later joins Team Flash, both as a metahuman specialist and as a medium for the team to communicate with Savitar.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Beatty, Scott (2008). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. 
  2. ^ a b Who's Who in the DC Universe #6 (Aug. 1985)
  3. ^ The Flash (vol. 2) #71 (Feb. 1992)
  4. ^ Geoff Johns (w), Alberto DoseHoward Porter (p). "Ignition (parts 2 through 6)" The Flash v2, 202-206 (November 2002 – March 2003)
  5. ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 23, 2016). "Comic-Con: Flashpoint Debuts in First Trailer for 'The Flash' Season 3". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-11-02. 

External links[edit]