Red Tornado

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This article is about the Silver Age character. For the Golden Age character, see Red Tornado (Ma Hunkel). For the Kingdom Come character, see Cyclone (DC Comics). For the weather phenomenon, see tornado.
Red Tornado
Red Tornado (Ed Benes's art).png
Cover art for Red Tornado #1 (Spet. 2009).
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
Full name 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
Abilities Superhuman strength & Durability
High-Level Intellect
Air & Wind Manipulation
Ability To Access Information From Any Foreign Computer System And Change From Android To Human Form At Will

Red Tornado is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics universe. The character first appeared in Justice League of America #64 (August 1968), and was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dick Dillin. Originally depicted as a comical superheroine with the secret identity of Ma Hunkel, the character was replaced with an android with the ability to generate tornado-speed winds (enabling him to fly and perform other wind-related feats). Originally, the character was a member of the fictional Justice Society of America, but quickly moved to another dimension and joined the fictional Justice League of America. It became a trope for the Red Tornado's body to be heavily damaged or destroyed. The character was retconned in 1981 so that an older alien supervillain, the Tornado Champion, inhabits the android body (which is no longer depicted as sentient). In a second retcon in 1984, the Tornado Champion never inhabited the android body; instead, an air elemental took over the robot form. A 2011 reboot of the DC Comics "universe", known as "The New 52", eliminated the Red Tornado from DC Comics, although various characters have hinted at his existence.

Silver Age Red Tornado[edit]

Ulthoon, the Tornado Tyrant, and the Tornado Champion[edit]

In the fictional character's biography, the Red Tornado was formed through the merger of two different entities: an android body created by supervillain T. O. Morrow and the Tornado Champion from the Earth-One planet Rann. The Tornado Champion itself was the morally good part of a sentient tornado on the fictional alien world of Rann. Known as Ulthoon, the Tornado Tyrant of Rann, this being battled the hero Adam Strange, who defeated it.[1] The defeated Tyrant "contemplated the nature of good and evil and decided that good was the superior force".[2] Ulthoon is aware of Strange's adventure with the Justice League of America (JLA), and in a 1963 story decides to move to an unpopulated planet where it replicates Earth in every detail. Ulthoon takes on the form of the Justice League. Ulthoon's evil side, later known as the Tornado Tyrant, emerged and defeated Ulthoon/Justice League. Determined to understand its failure, the Tornado Champion went to Earth, where the Tornado Tyrant emerged again and battled the real Justice League. The League is defeated, but in a second attack banishes the Tornado Tyrant to an "anti-matter universe" where they believe it is destroyed. The Tornado Champion ends his experiment with a duplicate Earth and JLA, and decides to continue being a hero (since good always defeats evil).[3] This story is somewhat retconned in Justice League of America Vol. 1 #193. There, the Tornado Champion tells the JLA member Firestorm that it and it alone traveled to Earth in 1963 to "recreate" its failed battle against the Tornado Tyrant. Having learned how to defeat its evil half, it returned to the replicate Earth, defeated its evil half, and banished it "forever".[4]

In the Red Tornado's fictional biography, the next step in its evolution came in summer of 1968, although in chronologically this story was not published until 1981.[4] In this story, the Tornado Champion (seeking an Earth where no one would recognize him) goes to the alternate dimension known in the DC Comics universe as Earth-Two. It encounters T.O. Morrow, a supervillain from Earth-One who is creating an android to use against the Justice Society of America (JSA). Morrow, attempting to dupe the JSA, gives the android Ma Hunkel's memories. The Tornado Champion entered the android's body, but in doing so caused a short circuit in Morrow's computer which loses its memory in the process.[4][a]

Justice Society of America adventures[edit]

In 1968, according to the character's fiction biography, the Red Tornado shows up at the JSA's headquarters on Earth-Two claiming to be the "original" Red Tornado (Ma Hunkel). The JSA is suspicious, but Red Tornado has all of Hunkel's memories. Morrow has other robots attack a museum and vaporize relics. The JSA responds. Red Tornado, programmed to appear inept (and thus keep the JSA from apprehending his true nature), manages to expose all the JSA members to the dust created by the vaporization. All but one of them falls into a coma. Programmed to return to Morrow's lair, Red Tornado does so. Morrow's computer predicts that keeping the Red Tornado active will allow Morrow to continue to be successful at crime. JSA member Doctor Fate, who escaped his coma, gathers the remaining JSA members and manages to release the others from their comas. Once more, Red Tornado betrays his fellow JSAers by telling them to use Morrow's energy weapons. The devices are rigged to explode and they put the JSA and Red Tornado into comas again. Morrow returns to Earth-One to attack the Justice League.[6] Morrow defeats and puts the JLA into comas twice, once by using energy duplicates and a second time by using energy duplicates of their most deadly enemies. Red Tornado, who was not incapacitated by the energy backfire on Earth-Two, travels to Earth-One and revives the JLA members. The JLA easily captures Morrow. Red Tornado returns to Earth-Two and revives the JSA. The JSA admits Red Tornado as a full member in gratitude.[7][8]

With no Justice Society comic book being printed at the time, Two Red Tornado's appearances were limited to JSA/JLA team-ups. These were popular stories, and DC Comics usually printed one a year.[9] Red Tornado appeared again in 1969, this time traveling alone Earth-One to carry a warning. The JLA ignores him as they battle a gang and try to save Hawkman, who has been turned into a pillar of salt. As the JLA battles the demons responsible, Red Tornado (investigating where they came from) unleashes a gas which restores Hawkman.[10] Red Tornado then delivers his message: Aquarius, a "living star", has wiped out the Earth-Two universe. Doctor Fate has managed to protect the JSA and Black Canary's husband, police detective Larry Lance, inside a magic bubble, but this was two weeks ago.[11] The JLA rush into the Earth-Two universe, finding themselves in Doctor Fate's bubble. Aquarius forces the mind-controlled JSA to do battle against the JLA, but his hold over the heroes is broken when Larry Lance sacrifices himself to save Black Canary. The JLA tricks Aquarius into entering an antimatter universe, where he is destroyed.[12]

Red Tornado's feelings of insecurity and his sense that he has never been completely accepted by the JSA worsen in the subsequent JLA/JSA team-up. Red Tornado is easily captured by the alien known as Creator2. Creator2 wants to merge Earth-One and Earth-Two into a paradise of his own making, and uses Red Tornado (who has been in both dimensions) as the "anchor" for this effort. Creator2's servants incapacitate several JSA members, but the dimensional merging is already at play and several JLA members are also rendered comatose. The Earth-One Green Lantern and the Atom realize Red Tornado is in the clutches of Creator2. With the help of Spectre (who is not a JSA member), Doctor Fate, Johnny Thunder, and Thunderbolt free Red Tornado and end the threat—although Spectre is presumed dead.[13]

Red Tornado has his final mission with the JSA in 1972. The JLA is being visited by the heroes Elongated Man, Metamorpho, Zatanna, and Wonder Woman when the JSA calls for help. The JLA discovers that the villain known as Nebula Man has created a planet-sized magic metal fist which is crushing Earth-Two. The heroes contact Oracle, a super-being with vast knowledge, who tell them that only the Seven Soldiers of Victory (SSV) have the power to defeat Nebula Man. But the SSV were scattered through time by Nebula Man, and now the JSA and JLA begin to rescue them.[14] Readers discover that an old SSV opponent, Iron Hand (also known as The Hand), is behind Nebula Man's attack. The rescue of the time-lost SSV members begins.[15] When the last of the Seven Soldiers are retrieved, the JSA and JLA learn that Wing, sidekick to the Crimson Avenger, died saving the SSV from Nebula Man by using a secret weapon. JLA's Wonder Woman defeats Iron Hand, but his device controlling Nebula Man is smashed and now not even he can stop Earth-Two's destruction. After the SSV recreate their weapon, Red Tornado takes the device into orbit, where it detonates and he is killed.[16][b]

Early Justice League of America adventures[edit]

Red Tornado makes his first appearance on Earth-One in April 1973, a year after the character's apparent death. Elongated Man is made a JLA member, and leads the JLA in investigating a group of pliable, putty-like men who are assembling a super-weapon. Various JLA members are saved by a mysterious individual, who later turns out to be Red Tornado.[18] Readers would have to wait three months to learn that Red Tornado did not die in the explosion, but instead was hurled into the Earth-One dimension. His face was damaged, and his memory temporarily lost. He believes a blind hermit remolded his face (which penciller Dick Dillin made more human-like), and after some months regained his memories. He's since discovered he cannot return to the Earth-Two universe. Unfortunately, the "blind hermit" turns out to be T.O. Morrow, who has implanted a device inside Red Tornado that will kill the JLA when Red Tornado uses his JLA signal device for the first time. The JLA uncovers the plot, and deactivates the device. Morrow, who can only exist if Red Tornado does not, now fades away.[19] Red Tornado attempts to return to Earth-Two by stowing away in the JLA's new Trans-matter Cube (which allows interdimensional travel), but his presence causes the JLA and JSA to Earth X—a world when Nazi Germany won World War II. The two super-hero teams meet a third fictional group of heroes, the Freedom Fighters. Learning that Nazi Germany rules the world using mind-control devices, they destroy one of them.[20] Three more devices are located and destroyed, but a fourth device exists and cannot be located. As the JSA and JLA come under Nazi control and begin to attack the Freedom Fighters, Red Tornado (immune to the device's effects) locates and destroys the fourth device.[21]

Over the next several years, the Red Tornado character has many adventures with the Justice League. Many of these end with him being heavily damaged or even destroyed. In February 1974, Red Tornado accidentally frees the alien supervillain Eclipso from imprisonment inside the human being Bruce Gordon, and is damaged in the resulting explosion.[22] In the story "The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus!", the JLA's old nemesis The Key appears, threatening to destroy St. Louis, Missouri. The JLA must run a gauntlet of traps to reach his bomb, and Red Tornado is apparently killed in one of these snares. In fact, the hero known as Phantom Stranger has saved him. As a Christmas gift, the JLA gives Red Tornado a new and more colorful costume.[23] Red Tornado is again severely damaged when the aliens known as Adaptoids mistake the JLA for tyrants rather than heroes.[24]

Red Tornado is apparently killed again in 1976. The alien super-being known as Nekron causes the JLA to suffer an extreme fear of death and disband.[25] The then threatens to destroy Midway City with a solar flare. Nekron demands that Hawkman attempt to stop the flare, as Hawkman is one of the weakest JLA members. Red Tornado disguises himself as Hawkman and is destroyed stopping the flare—giving the real Hawkman and Wonder Woman (who is immune to Nekron's fear-inducing power) time to evacuate the city. Nekron is defeated with an overdose of intense fear.[26]

On Earth-One, Red Tornado slowly becomes more human-like. He develops more of a distinct personality, and adopts the name John Smith. He takes a job teaching school, where he meets and develops affection for employment counselor Kathy Sutton.

The Construct[edit]

A new Justice League villain composed of radio and other electromagnetic waves, Construct, appeared in the Justice League of America comic book in 1977. At the beginning of the first story involving the Construct, he is apparently defeated by the Atom.[27] The Construct remains alive, however, takes up residence in the Injustice Gang Satellite. Construct reforms the Injustice Gang, but the JLA defeats them (and destroys the satellite), although the JLA does not realize that Construct was controlling the supevillains.[28]

Without warning, Red Tornado reappears at the end of Justice League of America #145, apparently brought back to life (along with Hawkman and Superman) by the death of the wizard, Count Crystal.[29] When tested by Superman, however, the Red Tornado attacks his comrades. When the Injustice Gang satellite blew up, Construct fled into the nearest android body—which happened to be the remains of Red Tornado, in orbit. Defeated by Hawkman and Hakwgirl, Construct leaves the Red Tornado's body. Reassembled, Red Tornado comes to life again and rejoins the Justice League. Although most members of the JLA believe he's still under Construct's control, Black Canary, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman support him. Red Tornado confronts the Construct, and while the two are locked in a battle of wills, Wonder Woman activates Amazonian technology that dispeses and disrupts Construct.[30]

The creation of the Construct character proved important in the future history of Red Tornado. For a time, the Construct becomes one of the nemesis of the android,[31] and the Construct will play a major role in a 2005 story by helping the Justice League rout the Weaponers of Qward, the Earth-devouring Void Hound, and the Crime Syndicate of America.[32] and a portion of the Construct (merged with the Void Hound) helped save the antihero Enigma. This also helped to reincarnate Engima's daughter, and aid Engima in fighting the Crime Syndicate.[33]

Later Justice League adventures[edit]

Red Tornado next helps the JLA defeat a new foe, the Star-Tsar. The former Manhunter Mark Shaw has adopted a new heroic identity, the pirate-themed Privateer. Doctor Light defeats the JLA, but another villain (Star-Tsar) frees the League as he perceives Light to be a competitor. Snapper Carr is revealed to be the Star-Tsar,[34] and the JLA's old foe The Key is found to be backing him. The Key, too, is defeated, but is shown to now have a physical deformity that eliminates him as the Star-Tsar. Red Tornado, however, uses his robotic memory to reveal that Shaw went missing during crucial moments in the adventure—and Shaw is unmasked as the Star-Tsar.[35]

Red Tornado meets his future adopted daughter, Traya, in Justice League of America Vol. 1, #152 (March 1978) after she finds a powerful alien orb and gains super-powers, and he and Phantom Stranger save the JLA from Oceanic gods in Justice League of America Vol. 1, #157 (August 1978). Red Tornado assists new JLA member Zatanna in locating her mother, Sindella, in the multi-issue "Homo magi" storyline in 1979, during which time he is badly injured.[36] Still recovering, he is attacked by the Secret Society of Super-Villains and defeated twice—once by the villains, and again by the villains (whose minds are actually those of other JLA members).[37] He was put on trial before the World Court for various violations of human rights by the superhero Ultraa, who was being manipulated by the alien known as the Over-Complex. (Ultraa ended the trial once he realized he was being duped.)[38]

In DC Comics Presents Vol. 1, #7 (March 1979), Red Tornado saves the world from the Weaponers of Qward. The Qwardians capture Superman and take him to Qward, where they intend to use his Kryptonian body as a lens to concentrate Q-rays and immobilize everyone on Earth. They then intend to invade the planet. The process begins, but Red Tornado is immune due to his android nature. Tracing the Q-rays to their source in the Qward dimension, Red Tornado manages to free Superman by concentrating too much Q-energy through the Man of Steel's body. The rift between the two dimensions closes.

Despite his success in saving the Earth, Red Tornado resigns from the League in Justice League of America Vol. 1, #175 (February 1980) after concluding that he is unreliable in combat. He becomes Traya's foster father, and resumes his relationship with Kathy Sutton. But long-time JLA foe Doctor Destiny escapes from prison and causes havoc by causing people's nightmares to materialize, Red Tornado not only successfully battles his own dream-demon but stops the villain. His confidence restored, he rejoins the League (who defeat Doctor Destiny yet again).[39] He later is one of two League members who discover that the deadly Starro has returned. Although Starro is using small duplicates of himself to take over the minds of millions of people in New York City—including those of most of the Justice League—Red Tornado's android mind is not affected and he is able to cause a city-wide blackout that deprives Starro of the energy source needed to dominate so many people.[40]

Revelation of the Tornado Champion[edit]

In Justice League of America Vol. 1, #192 (July 1981) a Red Tornado attacks his fellow Leaguers without warning, severely injuring several of them before being destroyed. A second Red Tornado attacks as well, and is destroyed. The androids were duplicates created by T.O. Morrow, back from wherever he disappeared to in JLA #106. Morrow used a program to summon the real Red Tornado. Readers discover that Morrow developed a device to steal technology from the future, which included a super-computer that taught him how to build a "humaniztron" device to make Red Tornado sentient and thus capable of destroying the JSA. The computer did not predict that Red Tornado would become independent, however, and Morrow was defeated. Morrow fled to Earth-One, where the super-computer predicted he would "fade away" after 28 days if the Justice League was not destroyed. When the damaged Red Tornado also crossed dimensions and fell to earth near Morrow's hideout, he tried again to program it to destroy the JLA and failed.[41]

Morrow reveals that the super-computer had wrongfully predicted his death. When Morrow didn't die at the end of the 28-day period, the computer used future technology to try to dematerialize him. But faulty programming actually led to Morrow being divided into two beings. One (the "original" Morrow) materialized on an alien world, here he discovered a powerful sceptre-like device that allowed him to control the planet's ecosystem. He kidnapped Atom's wife, Jean Loring; the Flash's wife, Iris West Allen; and Linda Danvers (Supergirl) and transported them to this world, hoping to lure the Atom and the Flash there. Although Morrow was able to defeat Atom and Flash, he hadn't counted on Supergirl's presence, and was defeated.[42]

The other copy of T.O. Morrow stayed on Earth. This version, which Morrow believed to be a future version of himself (and therefore was known as "Future Man"), was heavily mutated. He attempted to switch minds and take over the Red Tornado body. Although successful, Red Tornado was able to reverse the switch and "Future Man" died of his mutations.[43][c]

After "Future Man's" death, the "original" Morrow escaped from prison, consulted his super-computer, and learned how he'd been split in two. With the computer's help, he also attempted to determine what "flaw" had allowed Red Tornado to become independent. Morrow concluded some "outside force" was responsible.

In Justice League of America Vol. 1, #193 (August 1981), Aquaman discovers Morrow's hideout and is nearly killed when Morrow uses his alien sceptre on him. Morrow attempts to dissect Red Tornado to discover the "outside influence", and releases Tornado Champion/Tornado Tyrant within the android shell. Tornado Tyrant defeats the JLA, except for Firestorm. The Tornado Champion informs Firestorm about how he and his alter-ego became fused with the Red Tornado android, and Firestorm manages to place both sentient beings back into the android body. Red Tornado wakes, and only Firestorm is aware of the true nature of the windy wonder.[4] However, Red Tornado's dual-origin was not fully revealed until Morrow had re-captured him in order to figure out how he became sentient. When Morrow opens up Red Tornado, both the Tornado Champion and the Tornado Tyrant come out of the body; the Tyrant had never truly left the Champion. After a battle with the JLA, Red Tornado was reassembled by Firestorm, with both the Tyrant and the Champion being returned to the android and with both their memories being erased.[2]

Red Tornado's friendship with Firestorm deepens in Fury of Firestorm #4 (September 1982). The super-villain Killer Frost freezes New York City's eight million people. Her hold on sanity weak, she demands to be queen of New York, and asks that her consort be movie star Curt Holland. The JLA arrives to help, but Firestorm fights them off. Heading to the JLA Satellite, Firestorm reveals his twin secret identities as teenager Ronnie Raymond and middle-aged physicist Martin Stein. While Stein works on a device to unfreeze the people of New York City, Red Tornado takes Ronnie to Hollywood where Holland rebuffs them. Later, Firestorm brings Holland to Killer Frost in New York. But it is Red Tornado in disguise, the one member of the JLA immune to her touch (which can instantaneously freeze anyone). Red Tornado uses the freezing unit hidden in his chest to immobilize Killer Frost, and then the two work together to unfreeze the people of the city.

Final years[edit]

Red Tornado discovers where the body of Larry Lance has been taken in Justice League of America Vol. 1, #219 (October 1983) and Justice League of America Vol. 1, #220 (November 1983), as well as the secret origin of the Black Canary. Shortly thereafter, he discovers he is one of the few heroes who can defeat the power-mimicking super-villain Paragon in Justice League of America Vol. 1, #224 (March 1984).

In the aftermath of the Mars/Earth War[45] Aquaman disbands the Justice League. He reforms it, but only includes members who are willing to devote themselves full-time to JLA business. Red Tornado is not among these heroes, and is not a member of the reformed League.[46]

Just prior to the 1985-1986 multi-title cross-over storyline "Crisis on Infinite Earths", the Red Tornado's last adventure as John Smith was recorded. The Construct later faced the Red Tornado in his first mini-series. In this limited series, the Construct takes over the entire world, brainwashing everyone with energy emissions from most electronic objects. The Red Tornado tries to resist as much as he can, given that he cannot be brainwashed. Eventually, Red Tornado battles Construct in a virtual world composed of electromagnetic particles, and defeats him.[31]

Crisis on Infinite Earths[edit]

Red Tornado makes his final appearances in his original form largely in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book miniseries. As has long been attested in books published by DC Comics, the multiverse was created when an alien scientist named Krona attempted to meddle with the creation of the universe. An embodiment of the power of the Earth-One universe, the nearly all-powerful Monitor, discovered that an antimatter version, the Anti-Monitor, lived in the Qward universe. When a scientist named Kell Mossa (later known as Pariah) destroyed his dimension, the Anti-Monitor became more powerful than the Monitor—which led the Monitor to begin assembling his galaxy's greatest heroes and villains to aid his cause.[47] But the Monitor's assistant, Harbinger, has been possessed by one of the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons, and she kills the Monitor even as groups of heroes fan out throughout the universe and time to turn on devices ("cosmic tuning forks") the Monitor has placed to stop the advancing antimatter wave destroying the multiverse.[48]

Red Tornado makes his first appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 (July 1985). The Psycho-Pirate has been whisked away from his mission to protect a cosmis tuning fork, and now Red Tornado and the Flash are similarly teleported away. The Anti-Monitor has kidnapped them, and now refashions Red Tornado's body into a powerful weapon. The Anti-Monitor tells the Red Tornado that he is more than a machine, even more than a man (a comment Red Tornado fails to understand). Under the Anti-Monitor's control, he wreaks destruction on a massive scale across Earth-One and Earth-Two (which have been temporarily saved from destruction) before being torn apart by numerous heroes.[49] Supergirl gravely injures the Anti-Monitor and destroys the machine which was tearing the remaining universes apart. In saving the universe, she dies.[50] Red Tornado again appears in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (November 1985). Firestorm, the Atom, and the hero known as Blue Devil take the remains of the Red Tornado to the Justice League satellite. They bring T.O. Morrow to the satellite to repair him. But a bomb inside the Red Tornado goes off, destroying the satellite.

Red Tornado, however, is still alive inside the wreckage of the satellite. In Justice League of America Annual Vol. 1, #3 (August 1985), he links with the still-functioning JLA computer to learn more about himself. A bolt of energy sends the wreckage down to Earth, where the Martian Manhunter finds Red Tornado's head. Red Tornado, however, sends his consciousness into a nearby S.T.A.R. Labs weather-control satellite. Gathering energy to give himself physical form, he also uses the satellites to wreak havoc on Earth. The JLA destroys the satellites one by one, eventually freeing the now-corporeal Tornado Champion. Red Tornado has tried contacting Kathy Sutton via several electronic devices. The JLA takes her to the Tornado Champion, who declares he now has the power to remake worlds. Kathy convinces him that he needs to be more human in order to be accepted. He seems to accept Kathy's reasoning, but a brief attack by Superman angers him and he heads off into the universe.[5]

The Crisis on Infinite Earths ends when the Spectre confronts the Anti-Monitor at the moment when Krona creates the multiverse.[51] The villainous god Darkseid and the Earth-Two Superman then destroy the weakened Anti-Monitor.[52]

Post-Crisis Red Tornado[edit]

Air Elemental[edit]

The Crisis on Infinite Earths changed history. Although the Red Tornado's android origin remained almost the same, he was never the Tornado Champion. Instead, he was an 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 becoming manifest. The host was meant to be Professor Ivo's infant son, but the boy died at a young age. So the elemental went into an android body that Professor Ivo created.

The Elemental War[edit]

Air pollution has 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 calms both the Red Tornado and Naiad, and manufactures a new body shell for the Red Tornado. This new body is imperfect, as the Red Tornado begins to experience serious malfunctions. His humanity is almost lost, and his physical appearance becomes more and more damaged, dirty, and clearly not right. During a period of near-total malfunction, Red Tornado is a member of the Leymen. During this period, he experiences odd jerks and spasms as he moves, and sounds from malfunctioning gears and mechanisms clanging together come from within the android's body. He also only speaks in a halting, emotionless, mechanical monotone. During the course of his association with the Leymen, the original Red Tornado personality begins to re-emerge, and slowly, his emotions and humanity as well.

Young Justice[edit]

Red Tornado spends 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 spend a sleepover there, Impulse's behavior annoys Red Tornado to such an extent he voluntarily reactivates himself, realising from his feelings of annoyance towards the group that he is not as removed from humanity as he previously thought.

Upon restoring his abilities to move properly and communicate, the Red Tornado re-establishes his connections with the Justice League and the regular super hero community. He serves as an advisor for Young Justice, assisting them on their missions if the situation requires it, and as an auxiliary member of the JLA. During this period, he attempts to renew his relationship with his wife, Kathy Sutton. While he does not succeed in fully reuniting with Kathy, their adopted daughter, Traya, has readily accepts 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 does not, however, return to his John Smith identity, instead he acts as Traya's adoptive father in his superheroic/robotic identity. During this time, he also plays an important role in Superman's defeat of Brainiac 13; when Brainiac takes 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, reactivates 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 and builds 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 is 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 sacrifices himself during the Crisis (in fact he is 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, 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 are beamed back down to Earth at Uluru, the Tornado's speaker embedded in Mal Duncan's chest replays 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 is revealed that the Red Tornado, now largely in pieces, is beamed back down to the Earth with the other heroes, but is apparently missed by the search team. Conscious but unable to say anything other than "52," the Tornado is discovered by a group of young Aborigines in the Australian outback. At the end of 52 Week 21, he is shown to being reassembled with car parts by an Australian mechanic. Malfunctioning, but at least able to access his aereokinetic powers, in 52 Week 28, he is set against a group of Intergang enforcers evicting a tribe of Aborigines from their shanty town. Defeated, he is 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.[53] However, his soul chose to enter a human body offered by Felix Faust posing as Deadman. When the Justice League of America call him back as a member, John Smith returns as a human being, and shows the same wind powers of his robotic form, but lacks the stamina and resilience of his android body.[54]

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.[55] Arsenal (who later took 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.[56]

Solomon Grundy confesses that he masterminded the plan that put the former android in a human shell meant to cripple him, and slowly rob Red Tornado of his health and aereokinesis, although a mishap let Tornado keep his powers even in his weakened form. Grundy also has 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 could never die again. The assembled heroes, along with others, go after the Red Tornado/Amazo android, who, thinking himself to be John Smith, went 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.[57]

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 which allows Red Tornado to again be able to inhabit his android shell upon "death".[58] Although he is offered to keep the various enhancement planted by Ivo, Red Tornado divests 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 the ordinary, even losing control of his powers at one point and nearly killing Red Arrow. He also becomes increasingly cold and detached from his friends and family, in which he acts more like a machine than a sentient being.

After the team's battle with the Injustice League,[59] Red Tornado's body is badly damaged,[60] and his consciousness is placed into the Hall of Justice's computer systems.[61] When his feelings slowly return, he warns 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 in order to get a new chance at life with his family.

The Justice League, calling upon Zatanna and John Henry Irons, initiates 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 the Magnus shell for himself, giving battle to the whole League.[62][63] 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,[64] after which the Tornado proposes marriage to Kathy, which she accepts. After helping to capture Professor Ivo, Red Tornado takes a leave of absence from the League.[65]

In 2009, DC comics announced a Red Tornado mini-series, which chronicles his origin and the revelation of a new "Android family" that may cause conflict between Tornado and his wife and adopted daughter, following the events of Final Crisis.[66]

Blackest Night and Brightest Day[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.[67] 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, and claims to have a plan to make him indestructible.[68] With his new body still under construction, Red Tornado's severed (but sentient) head is left behind by Cyborg when the team abruptly 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 when he activates his unfinished body and uses it to attack Impossible and his cohorts.[69]

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 to beg 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.[70] Cyborg manages to free Red Tornado with his matrix.[71]

Later, Red Tornado aids the JLA during their mission into Hell, where he helps Superman defeat the demon Minos.[72]

The New 52[edit]

In 2011, DC rebooted its continuity as part of its "The New 52" initiative. There have been some allusions to Red Tornado in the primary New 52 continuity of Prime Earth (Earth-0):

  • In the series Earth 2, set on the world of that title, the Red Tornado's body is mentioned as being still under construction,[73] and is shown to be kept in Tokyo, Japan. This Red Tornado is a gynoid.[74] On Earth 2, Red Tornado appears very similar to the pre-reboot version, except it is a feminine robot inhabited by the consciousness of Superman's wife Lois Lane. Lois's father Sam Lane transfers the mind of his daughter into the robot's body. who is forced to contend with her new existence as a robot and with the reappearance of her now evil ex-lover. After Red Tornado snaps Superman from Darkseid's control, Superman and Lois leave for the Kent Family's farm.[75]
  • During the battle between the Justice League and Atlantis, Dr. T.O. Morrow mentions that his weather machine can 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-Two) and unstable.[76] Morrow later tries again, going so far as to say, "But the Tornado could...".[77]
    • Red Tornado appears for the first time facing the Metal Men.[78]

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 is 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]

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.[79]

The narrative of the TV series Smallville was later continued in comics. In that series, Tess Mercer (an alternate version of Lena Luthor) becomes Red Tornado following her death after downloading her saved consciousness into a cyborg body.

In the alternative timeline of Flashpoint event, Red Tornadoes are androids created by Doctor Morrow. They defended in Japan from the war between the Amazon forces and the Atlantean forces.

Red Tornado appears in Injustice: Gods Among Us comic, as part of Superman's vision of what his life could have been like. Tornado is among the heroes gathered at Congress to hear the Man of Steel's daughter's speech.

In other media[edit]


  • The character has made several minor appearances in the animated series Justice League Unlimited (2004 - 2006) voiced by an uncredited Powers Boothe. In "Initiation", Red Tornado was one of the many heroes to join the Justice League when it boosted its roster. In "This Little Piggy", He participated in the search for Wonder Woman when Circe transformed her into a pig. In "The Return", he served as the second line of defense against Amazo's pursuit of Lex Luthor, along with Supergirl, Rocket Red and Fire. During the engagement with Amazo, Red Tornado was destroyed; however, in "Dark Heart", he was back on duty by the time of the Dark Heart incident. In "The Great Brain Robbery", Red Tornado was also one of the few heroes on the Watchtower present when Lex Luthor took over the body of the Flash and confronted him many times during the incident.
  • Red Tornado appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011), voiced by Corey Burton. In the episode "Invasion of the Secret Santas!", Red Tornado tries to understand the spirit of Christmas, while helping Batman stop Fun Haus's holiday crime spree. Red Tornado destroys Fun Haus's giant robot and defeats the villain, but his body is destroyed due to an overload. However, shortly before exploding, he finally experiences the "tingling sensation" that he believes to be Christmas Spirit. His pieces are picked up by hazmat scientists and taken to be rebuilt at S.T.A.R. Labs. He appears in "Game Over for Owlman!". When Owlman framed Batman by posing as him, Red Tornado was among those hunting Batman only to be caught in a trap set by Owlman. Owlman tries to kill him by having him pulled to pieces by a magnetic field but is saved by a Zorro-like Batman and helps defeat Clock King. He eventually becomes lonely in "Hail to the Tornado Tyrant!" and thus builds himself a son named Tornado Champion. Red Tornado adds human emotions to him, but, due to interference by the villain Major Disaster. Champion goes insane and wants to wipe out mankind. Renaming himself Tornado Tyrant. Batman and Red Tornado battle with Tyrant, Red Tornado seeking to reason with his son but suffering severe damage in the process. In the end, Red Tornado is begrudgingly forced to destroy his own son by driving his hands into Tyrant's chest and blasting with his powers. Despite the fact that he claims to have no human emotion, the ending of the episode sees him shed a tear at the loss of his son, though it seems Red Tornado does not understand what this means (he stated that it was 'oily discharge'). This episode also shows he considers Batman a close friend, so close that he wanted him to witness the creation of his son. He makes a cameo appearance in "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!" defeating the Top in Smallville. In "Sidekicks Assemble!" he is shown as a member of the Justice League. In "The Power of Shazam!", he was killed by the Faceless Hunter, since he is immune to Starro's mind control.
  • Red Tornado appears multiple times as a recurring character in Young Justice voiced by Jeff Bennett.[80] In the series, he acts as a mentor and self-proclaimed "den mother" to the team of young heroes, taking residence with them in their base in an attempt to learn to be more human (a goal he could not reach by spending time with the Justice League themselves). Tornado has a prominent role in several episodes of the show's first season, particularly in the episode "Humanity". Several episodes deal with attempts made by his creator, T.O. Morrow, to reclaim Tornado into his "family" of similarly elemental-themed robots - Red Torpedo and Red Inferno. In the end, Tornado ends up saving his "father" from his newest sibling, Red Volcano, though at the cost of the lives of Torpedo and Inferno.
  • Red Tornado appears in the Supergirl episode "Red Faced",[81] portrayed by Iddo Goldberg.[82] This version is an combat android designed by T. O. Morrow (also played by Goldberg) and the United States Army.


Red Tornado appears in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) in a non-speaking role. When Superwoman infiltrates the Watchtower, Red Tornado, among with other heroes, help to defeat them in battle. At the end of the film, he becomes an official member of the Justice League.

Video games[edit]


Web series[edit]

Red Tornado appears as a teacher at Super Hero High in DC Super Hero Girls, voiced by Maurice LaMarche.


  1. ^ The Red Tornado's body is destroyed in Justice League of America #193, releasing the Tornado Champion. Tornado Champion tells this story to Firestorm, who agrees to keep it a secret.[4] The existence of the Tornado Champion inside the android body is not revealed until a story published in Justice League of America Annual #3 in 1985.[5]
  2. ^ Many of the details of this event were subsequently retconned in 2000.[17]
  3. ^ Red Tornado began appearing as a back-up feature in World's Finest Comics in a supporting role in Hawkman stories in May 1980 and September 1980.[44] Beginning with World's Finest Vol. 1, #265 (November 1980) and continuing through World's Finest Vol. 1, #270 (August 1981), Red Tornado had his own back-up feature in World's Finest. His fight against the android-hating Robot Killer concluded (after a one-issue hiatus) in World's Finest Vol. 1, #272 (October 1981), and the Red Tornado back-up feature ended.
  1. ^ Mystery in Space #61 (August 1960).
  2. ^ a b "Tornado Tyrant". Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #17 (February 1963).
  4. ^ a b c d e Justice League of America Vol. 1 #193 (August 1981).
  5. ^ a b Justice League of America Annual Vol. 1, #3 (August 1985).
  6. ^ Justice League of America, Vol. 1 #64 (August 1968).
  7. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #65 (September 1968).
  8. ^ "Red Tornado". Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Misiroglu 2012, p. 209.
  10. ^ Justice League of America, Vol. 1 #72 (June 1969).
  11. ^ Justice League of America, Vol. 1 #73 (August 1969).
  12. ^ Justice League of America, Vol. 1 #74 (September 1969).
  13. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #82 (August 1970).
  14. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #100 (August 1972).
  15. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #101 (September 1972).
  16. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #102 (September 1972).
  17. ^ Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 (April 2000).
  18. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #105 (April 1973).
  19. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #106 (July 1973).
  20. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #107 (October 1973).
  21. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #108 (November 1973).
  22. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #109 (February 1974).
  23. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #110 (March 1974).
  24. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #118 (May 1975).
  25. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #128 (March 1976).
  26. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #129 (April 1976).
  27. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #142 (May 1977).
  28. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #143 (June 1977).
  29. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #145 (August 1977).
  30. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1 #146 (September 1977).
  31. ^ a b Red Tornado Vol. 1, #1 (July 1985); Red Tornado Vol. 1, #2 (August 1985); Red Tornado Vol. 1, #3 (September 1985); Red Tornado Vol. 1, #4 (October 1985).
  32. ^ JLA #107 (December 2004); JLA #113 (June 2005); JLA #114 (July 2005).
  33. ^ Trinity #41 (March 11, 2009); Trinity" #48 (April 29, 2009); Trinity #51 (May 20, 2009).
  34. ^ Justice League of America, Vol. 1, #149 (December 1977).
  35. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #150 (January 1978).
  36. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #162 (January 1979); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #163 (February 1979); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #164 (March 1979); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #165 (April 1979).
  37. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #166 (May 1979); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #167 (June 1979); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #168 (July 1979).
  38. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #169 (August 1979).
  39. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #175 (February 1980); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #176 (March 1980).
  40. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #189 (April 1981); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #190 (May 1981).
  41. ^ See also the Red Tornado origin story that T.O. Morrow/"Future Man" gives in World's Finest Vol. 1, #265 (November 1980).
  42. ^ Super-Team Family Vol. 1, #11 (July 1977).
  43. ^ World's Finest Vol. 1, #266 (January 1981); World's Finest Vol. 1, #267 (March 1981); World's Finest Vol. 1, #268 (May 1981); World's Finest Vol. 1, #269 (July 1981).
  44. ^ World's Finest Vol. 1, #262 (May 1980); World's Finest Vol. 1, #264 (September 1980).
  45. ^ Justice League of America Vol. 1, #228 (July 1984); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #229 (August 1984); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #230 (September 1984).
  46. ^ Justice League of America Annual Vol. 1, #2 (October 1984); Justice League of America Vol. 1, #233 (December 1984).
  47. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 (April 1985); Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October 1985).
  48. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 (July 1985).
  49. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 (August 1985).
  50. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October 1985).
  51. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 (February 1986).
  52. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March 1986).
  53. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #1 (November 2006)
  54. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #2 (December 2006)
  55. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #3 (January 2007)
  56. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #4 (February 2007)
  57. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #5 (March 2007)
  58. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #6 (April 2007)
  59. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #13 (November 2007)
  60. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #15 (January 2008)
  61. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #16 (February 2008)
  62. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #22 (August 2008)
  63. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #23 (September 2008)
  64. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #24 (October 2008)
  65. ^ Justice League America (vol. 2) #25 (November 2008)
  66. ^ "Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » DC announces Red Tornado mini-series". 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  67. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #39
  68. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #42
  69. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #43
  70. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #46
  71. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #48 (August 2010)
  72. ^ Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011
  73. ^ Earth 2 #5 (Oct. 2012)
  74. ^ Earth 2 #6 (Dec. 2012)
  75. ^ Earth 2 Vol 1 #23
  76. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #16 (Jan. 2013)
  77. ^ Aquaman #16 (Jan. 2013)
  78. ^ Legends of Tomorrow (vol. 1) #2 (April 2016)
  79. ^ Kingdom Come #2
  80. ^ [citation needed]
  81. ^ "CBS' "Supergirl" to Feature Red Tornado, General Lane & More". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  82. ^
  83. ^ "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]