The Red Tornado.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1968
Creators: Gardner Fox (writer) and Dick Dillin (artist)
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Answer: A red-skinned android invented in 1968 by a master comic book villain as part of a plan to defeat the publisher's …

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… most prominent superhero team, who winds up joining the team instead, and named after one of the publisher's more obscure 1940s characters.

Who is The Vision?

Correct — but the description also fits The Red Tornado, who first appeared in DC Comics' Justice League of America #64 (August, 1968), a mere two months before Marvel unveiled The Vision in Avengers #57. Since they debuted so close together, it's hard to believe either was a response to the other. Like X-Men and Doom Patrol, the similarity between the two characters must be chalked up to coincidence.

The Red Tornado was created by writer Gardner Fox (who had been behind many DC characters, including The Flash and Hawkman) and artist Dick Dillin (who had a decades-long association with Blackhawk).

Within the story, however, his creator was T.O. Morrow, a mad scientist who had earlier bedeviled The Flash and Green Lantern. Morrow's plan involved sowing confusion by naming his android after an early associate of The Justice Society of America, and imbuing him with false memories about having once been a member of that group. By story's end, he'd become one in fact. A few years afterward, like The Black Canary, he switched from the JSA to The Justice League.

The Red Tornado had been intended (by Morrow) to be cold and emotionless, but he soon began to develop human-like traits. This, it later turned out, came from having absorbed the life essence of a former Adam Strange villain called The Tornado Tyrant, who had similar super powers (mainly, the ability to turn into a living whirlwind). The Tornado Tyrant first appeared in Mystery in Space #61 (August, 1960). Later yet, The Red Tornado was transformed in ways that make sense only in comic books, and shed his corporeal form (artificial tho it was) to devote his full-time attention to being a weather phenomenon.

Still later, he got human-like again. Which is about what a guy can expect when he's a comic book character without a series.


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Text ©2001-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.