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Immortal Man, from Who's Who In The DC Universe
|Publisher||National Comics / DC Comics|
|First appearance||Strange Adventures #177 (June 1965)|
|Team affiliations||Forgotten Heroes|
|Abilities||Immortality via reincarnation
Flight via telekinesis
Minor pyrokinetic powers
Immortal Man is a superhero in the DC Comics Universe. He first appeared in National Comics (now DC Comics) flagship science fiction anthology comic Strange Adventures #177 (June 1965). Immortal Man was also a member of The Forgotten Heroes.
Immortal Man first appeared in "I lived a Hundred Lives" in Strange Adventures #177 (June 1965), an eight-page story drawn by Jack Sparling. It is not clear who created him. Although not a regular character in the title, Immortal Man then featured in Strange Adventures: #185 in a 16-page tale and Strange Adventures #190 and #198 in 12-page tales. Jack Sparling drew all four adventures, and Dave Wood wrote at least two of them (#185 and #190). Immortal Man also featured on the covers to all four issues.
Following this he appeared with The Forgotten Heroes in Action Comics #552 - #553 (February - March 1984) by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane and DC Comics Presents #77 - 78(January - February 1985) by Marv Wolfman, Curt Swan and Dave Hunt, a direct link into DC Comics major cross-over event 'Crisis on Infinite Earths. Nothing further was published until an appearance in Animal Man #23 (May 1990), The Flash vol 2 #48 - 50 (March - May 1991), written by William Messner-Loebs, and a final appearance written by Dan Abnett, with art by Andy Lanning, in Resurrection Man 25 - 27 (June - August 1999).
Fictional character biography
50,000 years ago the Immortal Man was Klarn, a caveman leader of the Bear Tribe, and a mortal enemy of Vandar Adg of the Wolf Clan. Vandar is made immortal by a meteorite while in battle with him, and Immortal Man fashions an amulet from a jewel from the same meteorite, a tektite, discovering it gives him the power of resurrection, super-strength and the ability to fly, along with other powers. Over the millennia Immortal Man has been a Babylonian, an Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Carthaginian, an Arab warrior and a knight, a Mongol and many other people. Each time he dies he comes back as someone else, sometimes as an adult, sometimes as a child, and throughout history he is the enemy of Vandar Adg - who later becomes known as Vandal Savage.
When he first appears in modern times, Immortal Man is an orphan named Mark with a mysterious past he has little memory of and many skills in areas such as bullfighting, Japanese Samurai culture and culinary arts without knowing why. Eventually he returns to the orphanage where he was brought up and is given a jewel amulet that shows him his past lives and powers. Shortly afterwards he instinctively uses similar powers to save a town when a reservoir bursts, but dies when a school boiler explodes during the rescue. He is next suddenly plunged into the jungle as an adult 'Jungle Man' some months later, with memories of who he was and realising that he reincarnates in a new body every time he dies. In the following months he dies saving a pair of treasure hunters from a rampaging mythical beast conjured by a mystical helmet, and saves them again and dies by exploding a rocket bomb constructed by the same helmet. By this time Helen Phelps, one of the treasure hunters, has fallen in love with him and worked out his secret reincarnation ability. She finds him again, but once more he is killed, taking a bomb to a dimensional rift in space so as to close it.
Years later, Immortal Man summons Sea Devils, Cave Carson, Animal Man, Congo Bill, Rip Hunter and Rick Flag of Suicide Squad and Dolphin, with the aim of stopping Superman, who has been infected with ancient spores by Vandal Savage. Immortal Man calls the group 'The Forgotten Heroes'. They then help Superman defeat a group of super-powered criminals under Kraklow the Magician and The Enchantress calling themselves 'The Forgotten Villains', but Immortal Man is killed saving Dolphin from a rock flung by The Faceless Hunter From Saturn, then reincarnated as 'a strapping youth'. Ultimately, Immortal Man "erased himself from all existence" to save the world during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In post-Crisis continuity the meteorite that gave Vandar Adg and Klarn their immortality was hurled through time by unknown agents and landed in what would become the Ardennes Forest 1.93 million years ago, during the Pleistocene Era.
Despite apparently having been erased from existence during the Crisis, Immortal Man apparently returns as a girl. Eight years later the rest of The Forgotten Heroes, with the help of Mitch Shelley, Resurrection Man - who they and he suspect is really Immortal Man - discover that Vandal Savage has been keeping Immortal Man prisoner for many years. Together Resurrection Man, Vandal Savage and a reluctant Immortal Man go up against a creature that had come through time on a second temporal meteorite - one that Vandal Savage had been tracking, hoping to use its power to augment that of the first one. This 'Warp Child' erases many of the world's heroes, including the Justice League and Teen Titans, from reality, and is only defeated when Immortal Man melds his 'tektite field' with the creature then overloads it - causing both to be erased from existence.
In Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1, Superman moves briefly through Earth-20, where alternate versions of a number of DC Comics older heroes exist as 'The Society of Super-Heroes', a group of 'pulp'-style mystery men led by Doc Fate and including Immortal Man. Writer Grant Morrison described it as a '1940s retro thing'.  In The Multiversity - The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors from the Counter-World #1 (2014), it is revealed that Immortal Man of Earth-20 is Anthro, who was exposed to the same meteorite that bestowed Vandal Savage's powers on him. He and Doc Fate's Society of Super-Heroes are Earth-20's last defence from an invasion by their paired evil world, Earth-40, where the militia is led by Vandal Savage and Lady Shiva.
Powers and abilities
- Immortal Man gained his powers from future tektite technology, which merged with him from a jewel that came from a 'temporal meteorite' that crashed on Earth through time. Its creators and purpose are unknown.
- He possesses the power to resurrect as a new persona every time he is killed. The reincarnations appears to happen almost immediately on death, and he does not always remember who he was before, or learns of it later. He usually retains most of the skills he has learned in previous lives.
- Immortal Man also exhibits super-strength and some hypnotic powers, as well as minor pyrokinetic talents, and can fly using telekinetic power.
In other media
- In the Arrowverse elements of Immortal Man's story are given to Hawkman and Hawkgirl as well as Rip Hunter.
- "Persistence of Vision" in The Flash vol 2 #48 (March 1991)
- "History of the DC Universe" Book 1 (1986)
- "The World at Time's End" in Action Comics #553 (March 1984)
- all shown in flashbacks in various issues mentioned here - and a hippie with excellent taste for music by The Electric Prunes in Animal Man #23 (May 1990)
- "I lived a Hundred Lives" in Strange Adventures #177 (June 1965)
- "The Man Who Died a Hundred Times" in Strange Adventures #185 (February 1966)
- "Immortal Man" in Strange Adventures #190 (July 1966)
- "The Apes with Bizarre Powers" in Strange Adventures" #198 (March 1967)
- note: accidentally called Rick Flagg in Action Comics #552
- "Another Time, Another Death" in 'Action Comics #552 (February 1984)
- "Triad of Terror" in DC Comics Presents #77 (January 1985) and "The Triad" in DC Comics Presents #78 (February 1985)
- "Death at the Dawn of Time" in Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 (January 1986)
- note: Dan Abnett mistakenly describes it as the Pliocene, - the Pliocene ended about 2.6 million years ago
- "Millenium Then" in Resurrection Man #25 (June 1999)
- "Persistence of Vision" in The Flash vol 2 #48 (March 1991), "Savage Season" in The Flash vol 2 #49 (April 1991) and "The Fastest Man Alive" in The Flash vol 2 #50 (May 1991)
- note: there is some question as to who this was - Vandal Savage claims to have had Immortal Man imprisoned for years (Resurrection Man #26), and Resurrection Man is resurrected as a woman for the first time he or anyone else knows in Resurrection Man #23. Either Resurrection Man doesn't remember the previous occasion, or Vandal Savage has had Immortal Man in captivity only for up to eight years and it was Immortal Man in Flash #48 - 50 - prior to his capture.
- "Millenium Now" Resurrection Man #26 (July 1999)
- Final Crisis Secret Files #1 (2009)
- Interview with Grant Morrison - http://www.weeklycrisis.com/2009/05/grant-morrisons-multiversity-more.html
- Immortal Man entry at 'The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe' - http://www.dcuguide.com/chronology.php?name=immortalman
- Immortal Man entry at the 'DC Database' - http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Immortal_Man_%28New_Earth%29
- Immortal Man entry at 'The Comic Vine' - http://www.comicvine.com/immortal-man/29-28862/
- Forgotten Heroes entry at 'Adam Arnold's Vanishing Point' - http://www.adamarnold.net/forgottenheroes/wwprecrisiscast.html