|Art by Ed Benes & Mariah Benes|
Here was a character for whom the word "tornado" was no mere metaphor but a literal description of what he did, creating a tornado by twirling his body below his belt line super fast to create a tornado. The first time I saw the Red Tornado, I wondered how he did that and didn't it hurt. By the second time I saw him, I figured out he was an android.
So we have a mechanical man who could create tornados...well, maybe not out of his ass but still. It seemed all Red Tornado did was create a tornado to fly somewhere. It was some years before I saw Reddy (as he was affectionately called) generate tornados out of his hands. (I wonder if his head could also spin around real fast?)
|Red Tornado action figure |
(in case you're wondering what to get me for Christmas)
|Art by Dick Dillin & Joe Giella|
Red Tornado got blowed up real good by Len Wein during a JLA-JSA crossover. But Len brought him back because, hell, Avengers has the Vision so the JLA needs a moody android too. It was during Len's run that Red Tornado got his "iconic" red/yellow/blue outfit that was designed and created by Black Canary because she's a woman and, in the comics, all women are fashion designers/seamstresses.
Red Tornado did not seem to get a lot of respect which may explain why I was so drawn to the character. Here was a character rubbing shoulders with super heroes who were different from everyone else but he was further outside those heroes, a being of synthetic parts, not flesh and blood. Reddy was the ultimate outsider.
Because he was an android, he was an easy out to have a character "die" to give a story some drama. At the end of a story by Marty Pasko, Red Tornado has sacrificed himself for the greater good. The rest of the JLA decide to leave Reddy's parts in orbit as a memorial. What? Nobody thought to gather those parts and, I don't know, reassemble him? And really, leaving his parts in orbit as a memorial sounds more like everyone was just too lazy to go out there and get him.
|Art by Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin|
Gerry Conway began giving Reddy a domestic life with a girlfriend and an adopted daughter. It was Conway (with artist George Perez) that introduced a retcon to explain just how the Red Tornado could be so alive: his android body was host to the life force of a being known as the Tornado Champion who once fought a villain named the Tornado Tyrant and...no, I'm not making any of that up.
So, lo and it came to pass that the Red Tornado had a soul.
|Art by Carmine Infantino |
& Frank McLaughlin
Red Tornado actually scored his own solo mini-series by writer Kurt Busiek with art by Carmine Infantino & Frank McLaughlin where, I'm certain, interesting things happened to our favorite Crimson Cyclone but danged if I can remember it. (Reddy would get a new mini-series about 20 years later which I remember even less because I didn't read it.) Red Tornado was used to excellent effect as a mentor/token grown up person in Peter David's Young Justice series.
|Art by (I presume) Nicola Scott & Trevor Scott (maybe)|
Today, in DC's New 52, the Red Tornado is on Earth-Two. And a woman. Sort of. Seems the consciousness of that world's Lois Lane was downloaded to an android body with convenient boobs to remind us this is not your old man's Red Tornado. (Really, boobs. And no cape? No cape?!?!)
|"Art" by David Long|
And thus we have the current status of Red Tornado, the hero who could spin his lower extremities really fast. Reddy may not have always gotten the respect of other heroes but he got my attention early on in my comic book fan days and has held a special place among the pantheon of DC super heroes ever since.
Some blog business.There will not be a post for Thursday but an ALL NEW Broken News is coming on Friday.
Until then, be good to one another
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You