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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)
|Full name||Albert Desmond
Dr. Curtis Engstrom
|Notable aliases||(Desmond and Petrov)
|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
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).: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
Albert Desmond is a lowly chemist 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 Mister Element identity. 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.: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 cell mate. He escapes jail, finds the Philosopher's 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 Philosopher's 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 Doctor Alchemy role. 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.:92
Dr. Curtis Engstrom is an advisor on the project when S.T.A.R. Labs acquired the Philosopher Stone with intentions of using one of its fragments in their microscopic medical computer. He stole the computer and fragment but he was later arrested. After escaping from prison, Engstrom donned his own Dr. Alchemy costume 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 is a criminologist working for the Keystone City Police Department. But in order to advance his career, he uses one of Albert Desmond's weapons 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 Zolomon, but Captain Cold interrupts them before the Flash can take him into custody. Captain Cold kills Petrov for breaking one of the rules of the Rogues' code of "ethics" - framing another for your own crimes.
Powers and abilities
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. Desmond can also control the Stone from a distance via telekinesis.
In other media
- Both Doctor Alchemy and Mister Element have non-speaking cameos in Justice League Unlimited. In the episode "Flash and Substance", both villains can be seen in the bar where Wally West's enemies unwind.
- Tom Felton portrays Julian Albert Desmond in season three of The Flash, while Tobin Bell provides Doctor Alchemy's voice when masked. The character is a forensic scientist and Barry Allen's rival in the CCPD while Doctor Alchemy 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 Philosopher's Stone which has the ability to restore the powers of metahumans who existed in the alternate "Flashpoint" timeline. Alchemy displays knowledge of the "Flashpoint" timeline even after a variation of the original one is in place, 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 Philosopher's Stone, allowing Savitar to possess him to play the Alchemy role. After he is apprehended by the Flash, Julian makes amends with Barry then befriends and later joins Team Flash, both as a metahuman specialist and as a reluctant medium to communicate with Savitar. Julian moved back to Britain prior to the beginning of the fourth season.
- In Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Doctor Alchemy's costume can be seen in a display at Flash Museum during the fight between Barry Allen and the Rogues.
- Beatty, Scott (2008). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
- Who's Who in the DC Universe #6 (Aug. 1985)
- The Flash (vol. 2) #71 (Feb. 1992)
- Geoff Johns (w), Alberto Dose, Howard Porter (p). "Ignition (parts 2 through 6)" The Flash v2, 202-206 (November 2002 – March 2003)
- Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 23, 2016). "Comic-Con: Flashpoint Debuts in First Trailer for 'The Flash' Season 3". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-11-02.