Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #233: Obsidian

I used this column last week to talk about how, because DC Comics did the New 52 thing, the character of Jade basically ceased to exist.  Well, Jade had a twin brother named Obsidian.  And yes, if you lose one, you have to lose the other.

I’m not 100% sure why, but it happened.  Maybe I should just blame Doomsday Clock or something and be done with it.

Obsidian was one Todd Rice.  He, like his twin sister Jenny-Lynn, was given up for adoption by his mother, the original Rose and Thorn.  Different families took each twin, but the twins eventually met up as adults and have been close ever since.  They tried to join the Justice Society, but they were too young or something.  Instead, they joined the new Infinity Inc team and I wrote all this stuff last week.

That said, in terms of personality, the two couldn’t have been more different.  Perennially chipper Jade with the light/fire powers or whatever they were stands in harsh contrast to gloomy Todd with his shadow powers.  Naturally, his superhero name was Obsidian.  And despite being the same age, Todd took the role of the overprotective big brother.

But yes, Obsidian had a variety of shadow-based powers.  He could plunge a room into darkness, turn into a shadow himself, and do the sorts of things shadows can do in fiction.  Because shadows in the real world don’t really do anything but provide shade.

Now, I will say this for Obsidian:  he’s a real team-player.  After Infinity Inc broke up, he eventually joined the Justice League with former Infinity teammate Nuklon.  That, however, was the League that appeared immediately after Zero Hour, and we’re better off forgetting that run from writer Gerard Jones for all eternity.  For Obsidian, we should remember it for one thing:  his sexuality.

This run did some stuff with personal gender identity that in certain ways was probably way ahead of its time.  But I’ll have more to say on that with next week’s Misplaced Hero entry.  For now, I’ll say simply this:  Jones’ take on Obsidian was an extremely depressed man who discovered, to his own shock and horror, he couldn’t even kill himself because he was just a living shadow.  But at the end of the run, the press spotted Todd on a date with another man.  Nuklon at least asked if he was gay.  Obsidian said something about how he’s just a shadow.  Shadows don’t have a sexual orientation.  And then he wondered why everybody had to have a label.

Again, I’ll have more to say about that next week.

After that, an evil force corrupted Obsidian.  He attacked the newly reformed Justice Society, but they cured him.  Then he became the team’s security system, monitoring their headquarters in his shadow form.  He also started dating a federal prosecutor as seen in the Kate Spenser Manhunter series.  He seemed a lot happier from here.  Oh, and at one point, he learned to fly a helicopter.

Wikipedia listed the pilot thing under his skills and abilities.

As time passed, most Obsidian stories showed him turning evil or co-dependent or something.  And then, like Jade, he disappeared.  The New 52 made his father Alan Scott too young to have adult children, but they did make him gay on Earth-2 to maybe make up for the loss of Obsidian.

Still, he has appeared in live action.  The series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow featured him for a few episodes.  Heck, in the one where he got to actually speak and show his face, professional spooky guy Lance Henriksen played him.

Basically, this guy got around.  A lot.  But now?  Well, I’m sure he’ll be back.  Unless he never left and has been every shadow in the DCU.

I would not put that past anybody.

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