February 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #155: Captain Triumph

A Golden Age hero that was the combination of twin brothers merged into one. And one of them was dead.

Firestorm is a somewhat famous DC Comics character known for being, among other things, two people merged into one more powerful hero.

He wasn’t the first such character.  For that, we should consider the Golden Age hero Captain Triumph.

Captain Triumph first appeared in Quality Comics’ Crack Comics #27.  His deal was this:  twin brothers Lance and Michael Gallant were, well, very close.  Like, really close.  Even by the standards of twins.  These two were so identical that they had the same T-shaped birthmark and their mother couldn’t tell them apart.

Well, one thing did set them apart:  when the war broke out, Michael joined the military while Lance, a journalist, would use his real power–words!–to fight the enemy.  But then tragedy occurs when Michael lands his military plane inside a hanger which mysteriously exploded.  Lance managed to pull Michael out just in time to see his brother die, and since this was obviously a murder, he swore vengeance.

As fate would have it, this is an option!  As approached by the Fates (no, really!), he can!  And Michael can help him!  See, by touching that T-shaped birthmark, Lance and his dead brother Michael’s ghost could merge into one being, the heroic Captain Triumph.

Seems legit.

So, what powers did Captain Triumph have?  You know, I had seen the guy once before in an Elseworld story by James Robinson.  That story was called JSA: The Golden Age, a series about the end of the Golden Age of superheroes and the start of the Silver Age.  Robinson chose a group of heroes who were not the best known of the batch, and that included Lance Gallant.  Michael’s ghost was hanging around, encouraging Lance to touch the birthmark and become Captain Triumph.  And…Lance wouldn’t do it.  Part of the story dealt with heroes, in the wake of McCarthyism, deciding to hang up the capes and Lance was no exception.  And then, while battling a corrupted Robotman, Lance was killed by not touching the birthmark to Michael’s astonishment.  At the time, I assumed that Lance just gained, say, twice a normal person’s strength or something along those lines.

This was actually pretty cool.

So, beyond looking good in a pair of jodhpurs, what were Captain Triumph’s superpowers?  It was the Golden Age.  He more or less had all of them.  Superstrength, shapeshifting, invisibility, and so forth.  But, like many such heroes, he gradually disappeared and even though DC seems to own the rights to the good captain in the wake of Quality going under, he doesn’t seem to have appeared much since then.  There was, briefly, a female version whose powers were limited to superstrength and flight, but that’s about it.

Not shown: her jodhpurs.

Now, plenty of Golden Age heroes have disappeared over the years, and many tended to have run-of-the-mill powers…but heroes who were a merger of two brothers, only one of whom was still alive?  That must be something different.  But then again, he’s sort of a cross between Captain Marvel (not Shazam) and Kid Eternity, so maybe it’s for the best that both brothers stayed metaphorically dead.