AIR WAVEMedium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1978
Creators: Denny O'Neil (writer) and Alex Saviuk (artist)
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Comic book history is littered with teenage superheroes. At first, a majority were kid sidekicks to adult heroes, like Robin or Kid Flash, but that eventually changed. The first major one who started superheroing in high school, without adult guidance, was Spider-Man, and as the genre itself proliferated, independent teen superheroes — Robby Reed, The Hawk & the Dove, etc. — proliferated
with them. Air Wave, who didn't debut until 1978, was almost one, even tho he had ties that went back decades to more than just one adult superhero.
Air Wave was Harold "Hal" Jordan, teenage son of Larry Jordan, who had been Air Wave back in the 1940s. Larry had died, shot by one of his old enemies, and his wife, Helen, had used his Air Wave equipment (a helmet that could eavesdrop on or enter into any electronic communication, radio or telephone; and boots that could skate along phone lines) to bring in the killer. Afterward, she'd put the stuff away, supposedly forever, but due to a mental breakdown and subsequent institutionalization, she no longer had it. Hal did, and was using it to forge his own career as Air Wave.
This version of Air Wave was introduced in a comic starring another hero named Hal Jordan — that was also the name of the 1960s Green Lantern, who, it turned out, was a cousin of Larry and therefore of the younger Hal. The introduction occurred in Green Lantern #100 (January, 1978). The story was written by Denny O'Neil (Batman, Thunderbolt and much more) and drawn by Alex Saviuk (who also drew The Flash during his final years). The publisher was DC Comics, which, not coincidentally, had done the 1940s Air Wave.
Air Wave continued as a supporting character, not in every issue, with Green Lantern and his co-star of the time, Green Arrow, showing young Hal how to be a superhero. In Action Comics #488 (October, 1978), Hal got a shot at adventuring on his own. For the next couple of years, he and The Atom shared the Action Comics back pages, with Superman, as usual, on the cover. There, he was drawn by Saviuk and written by Bob Rozakis ('Mazing Man). Along the way, he picked up the super power of converting himself to energy and back again, like Doctor Solar or Photon, so he no longer relies on Dad's devices.
That was as high as Air Wave's star ever rose. For the past couple of decades, he's been strictly a second-stringer, appearing as either a guest star (usually part of a crowd of heroes without ongoing series, such as Power Girl, Ragman or The Star-Spangled Kid) or, briefly, a member or reservist of The Justice Society of America. From 1989-2001, he used "Maser" instead of "Air Wave" as his superhero name. He's currently in a coma, alongside Geo-Force (formerly of The Outsiders), Bumblebee (formerly of The Teen Titans) and other no-accounts.