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Obsidian

Obsidian (real name Todd James Rice) is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. He first appeared in All-Star Squadron #25, and was created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway. According to an Infinity, Inc. letter page, Obsidian was named "Todd" after a friend of Thomas.

Fictional character biography

Obsidian is the codename of Todd Rice, who is the biological son of Alan Scott and Rose Canton, respectively the Golden Age superhero Green Lantern and villain Thorn. Todd was raised in an abusive adoptive home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He finds out in his late teens that he has a twin sister, Jennie-Lynn Hayden, alias Jade. They meet, discover they both have superpowers and, operating under the assumption that Green Lantern was their father (which they did not know for certain at the time, but did eventually learn to be true), decide to follow in his footsteps.

As Obsidian and Jade, they were founding members of the superhero team Infinity, Inc., a group composed mainly of the children, grandchildren, and protégés of members of the Justice Society of America. Obsidian also serves with the Justice League in a space-station based headquarters. He has many various adventures there, including helping the League deal with dozens of aliens who are the last members of their species. During his tenure with the League, he undergoes therapy. For a time, he also has to deal with seemingly permanent injuries to his shadow form.

Obsidian apparently inherited a potential for mental illness from his mother, Thorn. Corrupted by Ian Karkull, Obsidian turns evil, using his shadow powers to first steal all shadows from an entire city, then to spread darkness over the entire world. It is during his time as a villain that he attacks his foster father. His biological father, as Green Lantern and with the aid of other JSA members, defeats him. Obsidian retreats to the Shadowlands, the otherdimensional plane from which he derives his powers. Later, he joins the mystical villains Mordru and Eclipso to seek vengeance (unsuccessfully) on Green Lantern and the JSA. Following his defeat, Obsidian is cured of his mental imbalance.

After being cured, Obsidan retires. It was during this time that Todd came out and came to terms with his self-identity as a gay man. He meets and falls in love with Damon Matthews, an assistant district attorney who works with Kate Spencer—the vigilante known as Manhunter. Todd's powers went dormant during most of this time, but they return, following the death of his twin sister Jade during Infinite Crisis. He has since then returned to being a superhero and is still dating Damon happily.

Obsidian appears during the year long "52" event. Watching a Thanksgiving Day Parade, he sees Luthor's 'Everyman' superhero team going by. Enraged that one of the members is named 'Jade', he angrily confronts the group, endangering innocent people in the process. The Everyman heroes protect the crowd and Obsidian is talked out of doing anything drastic.

Prior to Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #1, Obsidian joins the team. He serves as the security guard of their New York headquarters.

Obsidian later degenerates into an egg consisting purely of darkness. It is later revealed that this state was caused by an attack by Kid Karnevil, who gave Obsidian to a shadowy female villain. In Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #37, Obsidian re-appears as a power source for the Darkness Engine, which caused all super-powered beings on earth to lose their powers. After Mister Terrific managed to travel back in time, he tells the others that they must hatch the egg or they'll all die. Todd's father decides to do what Michael asks. This time, when Kid Karnevil is looking for the black egg in the ruins of the JSA Brownstone, he is confronted by the restored Obsidian, who takes him out and rejoins his teammates in the combat against the villains.

Brightest Day

Obsidian and the JSA come into contact with Batman's new Justice League after Alan Scott becomes possessed by an unknown entity and takes off into the sky. After catching up with Scott and reuniting with Jade (who had been resurrected in the closing moments of Blackest Night), the teams figure out that the being controlling Scott is the Starheart, the cosmic force that granted Scott and his children their abilities. The Starheart then takes over Obsidian's body as well and disappears with him. When the JSA members try to visit the shadow-wielding immortal known as the Shade in hopes of getting him to track down their missing teammates, they find a crazed Obsidian and Doctor Fate standing over Shade's comatose body. Before the others can call for reinforcements, Obsidian and Fate knock them unconscious and capture them.

At one unspecified point Obsidian's twin sister, Jade, is contacted by the Entity, who tells her to help him to "balance the darkness" and save their friends from what appears to be the villain Eclipso.

Jade tried to rescue her brother from the Starheart's control, but both brother and sister fused together and formed a hybrid with the powers of both Jade and Obsidian, all the while in the Starheart's control. Together, the siblings attacked the Justice League and the Justice Society until Jade is contacted by the Entity. Jade resisted the Starheart's control and tried to balance the darkness inside of both of them. Jade and Obsidian are eventually separated by the Entity so Jade could complete her task, however Obsidian became paranoid and tried to force Jade to fuse once again with him. Jade managed to prevent the fusion but Obsidian was restrained by Kyle in a green bubble and taken far away from Jade. Jade managed to restore her father's Starheart, which was revealed to be the unidentified threat. In the end Jade is reunited with her father who returns to normal but she cannot approach her brother or vice versa or both of them would eventually fuse once again into the hybrid and risk releasing the Starheart.

The New 52

Following DC's "The New 52" company-wide reboot in 2011, Alan Scott and family no longer appear in stories featured in DC's main continuity. In Earth-2, one of the fifty-two divergent realities branching from the core New Earth reality, Alan Scott is a gay man without children. In Earth-2: World's End, a different version of Todd Rice appears. He is black, bald, with multiple earrings. He wears a trenchcoat over a white shirt and tie, and a mask resembling his post-Crisis costume; it is the only part of Obsidian's costume that carries over into the new continuity. Todd was locked up in an alternate version of Arkham Asylum; he leaves Arkham under the supervision of John Constantine, who hails from Prime Earth and is attempting to return home.

In the 2015 comics event Convergence, a two-part miniseries titled Infinity Inc. featured the return of the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths team, including Todd as Obsidian.

Powers and abilities

  • Unlike his sister Jade, whose powers resemble their father's, Obsidian has various shadow-based powers from his father's exposure to shadow energy after a battle with Ian Karkull. Obsidian is connected to the Shadowlands, a dimension of primordial, quasi-sentient darkness. At will, Obsidian can merge with his own shadow and possess the shadows of others. In his shadow form, he is stronger than in human form, can pass through solid objects and can fly. After being corrupted by the Shadowlands, Obsidian was able to control his shadow powers to the point that he could grow to enormous size and create objects out of shadow, in a similar way that his father and sister can create objects out of green energy.
  • Obsidian also has limited telepathic abilities and can force a person to see the evil side of their own soul, which has been known to drive people insane.
  • During Crisis on Infinite Earths, Obsidian learned that in his shadow form he is resistant to low amounts of antimatter, for instance the amount of antimatter a shadow demon is made of. In his shadow form, shadow demons cannot hurt him, but he can hurt them.
  • It is unknown what effects Obsidian's connection to the Shadowlands will have on his aging process. Others connected to it, like the Shade, have displayed immortality, while residual Shadowlands energy slowed the aging of the original JSA members.
  • Manhunter #31 shows Obsidian being a skilled helicopter pilot.
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