Who's Who: Ultra The Multi-Alien & The Unimaginable
One of the things I very much have enjoyed about Jeff Lemire's Justice League United has been how much he has been injecting some Silver Age plots and characters into this young book. The best way for me to review the history of these characters is to thumb through one of my favorite title from the late 80's ... Who's Who, the definitive handbook of the DC Universe.
Let's start off with the main villain Byth. Byth was the first opponent of the Silver Age revival of Hawkman. That Byth was also a shapeshifter, based on swallowing an experimental pill that gave him control over his body. There was no limit to Byth's abilities turning into tiny creatures or dinosaur sized monsters. There was something intellectual and oily about Byth which makes him the perfect foil for the new League.
I wonder if in this book, Byth will have obtained his powers through genetic manipulation.
We learned at the end of the JLU #1 that Byth has been successful in genomorphing his ultimate weapon Ultra The Multi-Alien. Judging what we have read so far, Byth has been combining different genetic material to try to make some super-powered being.
So who was the original Ultra The Multi-Alien? Here is his Who's Who page!
First appearing in Mystery in Space (fitting given the cosmic nature of the JLU book), Ultra was a human who was blasted by a weapon which would turn the target into a copy of whoever was firing it. That makes little sense. Why not just kill your enemy rather than transform them. Well, Ultra had the unluck of being struck by 4 weapons fired by 4 different aliens.Each alien had a different ability.
As a kid, whenever I saw Ultra I would think how hard it would be to be the artist drawing him.
Interesting that Lemire is making him into a villain. Maybe this Ultra will overcome Byth's influence.
As for the alien that Stargirl and J'Onn defeated in the issue, I thought it was based on the Appellax meteor aliens. But Lemire let me know on Twitter than it was based on anothed old JLA villain, the Unimaginable.
The Unimaginable is just that ... unimaginable. We as humans cannot comprehend or even imagine what he is like. Instead, he is invisible and portrayed by artists as a sort complex polygon. The Unimaginable wanted to join the League but when Metamorpho was picked, it attacked.The storyline of the Unimaginable as reviewed in Who's Who are ludicrous and perfect for their time and an adventure with Metamorpho. What I liked best ... even his powers are unimaginable.
So we'll need to see where all of this goes in the pages of Justice League Unlimited. I do love that Lemire is honoring the shadier corners of the DCU pantheon.