Doctor Light (Arthur Light)

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Arthur Light is a DC Comics character and supervillain. He is the third individual to have adopted the persona of Doctor Light, after a Golden Age foe of Doctor Mid-Nite and Arthur's associate Jacob Finlay. Light, a long-time enemy of the Teen Titans and the Justice League, has been portrayed both as a serious menace and as a company in-joke for incompetent supervillains. His stint as Doctor Light is concurrent to that of a superheroine using the same name, Kimiyo Hoshi.


character biography


The first Silver Age Doctor Light was a criminal physicist named Dr. Arthur Light, who first appeared in Justice League of America #12. A retcon introduced in Secret Origins #37 revealed that this character was actually the second Dr. Light. His predecessor was his partner at STAR Labs, a scientist named Jacob Finlay. Finlay had used a technically advanced suit to control light as a minor superhero, but was accidentally killed by Arthur Light near the beginning of his heroic career. Light took the suit and the "Doctor Light" codename, using them for selfish, criminal means. He was periodically haunted by Finlay's ghost through the years, but could use the light generated by the suit to drive off this spirit.

Doctor Arthur Light was a minor but persistent foe of a number of heroes. He first fought the Justice League and, when he failed to defeat that group, he fought their former sidekicks, the Teen Titans. He was also notably beaten by a solo Hal Jordan not long after the League. He then founded the Fearsome Five, but they were defeated by the Titans, and Light was violently expelled from the Five by his teammates. Each criminal caper led to Light's defeat, often humiliating him in the process. Light's most ignominious defeat was likely his defeat by Little Boy Blue and his Blue Boys - a group of non-superpowered children.

Suicide Squad

Driven by self-doubt and guilt, thanks in part to Finlay's ghostly presence, he volunteers for the Suicide Squad, a group of incarcerated supervillains who perform dangerous missions for the US government in exchange for clemency. On a mission against the patriotism-themed super-team called the "Force of July", he encounters Sparkler, the Force's youngest member. The presence of a super-powered child reminds him of past defeats and he lashes out, killing Sparkler with a blast through the chest.

During his time with the Squad, Light demonstrates a simple desire to be liked by the other members. He sees his chance when a mysterious pie-armed attacker is on the loose but nobody actually believes Light has been pied.

Finally, Finlay's ghost convinces Light to attempt a heroic turn during a mission where multiple members of the team, some unwillingly, have traveled to Apokolips. Light is swiftly shot dead by Parademons. Light was thus sent to Hell, where he was physically reunited with Finlay. Under the watch of a lesser demon and its annoying assistant, both men were released from Hell in turns and returned to life. Both would only soon die again: Arthur Light suffocates while still inside his grave, while the desiccated Finlay claws his way out of his own grave but was killed by a family of religious vigilantes. Arthur Light was again returned to life, and barely survives a great fall that his demonic tormentors may have intended to be fatal. Arthur also finds time to possess the body of the female Doctor Light, Kimiyo Hoshi. With the aide of her teacher, Kimiyo is able to reject Arthur's presence.

Dr. Light, freed of his ex-partner's hauntings, attempts to rejoin the Suicide Squad, but his appeal was summarily rejected by Amanda Waller.

He later becomes trapped in the Green Lantern's power battery, and as a consequence was temporarily transformed into living light. He later joined a short-lived incarnation of the Injustice Gang, in which he assisted Lex Luthor in building holographic duplicates of the JLA.

Identity Crisis

The controversial 2004 miniseries Identity Crisis revealed that Doctor Light had, at some point in the past, brutally raped Sue Dibny, the wife of the superhero Elongated Man. (Later issues revealed that he was a serial rapist with Light stating that Dibny was not his first victim). After taking a vote, the League resolved to alter his mind through the use of Zatanna's magic so that Light would no longer pose a threat to their loved ones. In the process, they accidentally gave him a partial lobotomy, thus explaining how he fell from being a plausible foe of the Justice League to a punching bag for the Teen Titans. He later recovered his memories and intellect, and vowed revenge against the Justice League.

Current status

First he kidnapped Green Arrow, using him as bait so he could initiate his revenge on the Teen Titans. When the Titans responded to his call and landed at Light's position, he attacked savagely and nearly killed them all. However, when every available hero who had ever been a Titan appeared, he suffered another defeat, however narrow. Batman and Batgirl appeared to take him to prison, but revealed themselves to be Deathstroke and Ravager, who offered him a place in the new Secret Society of Super Villains, a large villainous organization headed by Lex Luthor. Dr. Light, hungry for vengeance and power, readily accepted.

As a Society member, he was able to help Merlyn and Deathstroke defeat Green Arrow in Star City. Dr. Light then attacked and absorbed a great deal of the other Doctor Light's power, later referring to his treatment of her as raping her (Green Arrow #54). However, she eventually regained the powers he drained from her. He hired Killer Frost and Mirror Master to distract Green Arrow and Black Lightning while he attacked Green Arrow's family, Speedy and his son Connor Hawke, killing a large number of students at Mia's high school in the process. When Black Lightning and Green Arrow caught up to Dr. Light, he trapped Black Lightning, Speedy and Connor inside their new apartment building after Deathstroke blew up the last one (in Green Arrow #50). Dr Light then led Green Arrow on a chase through Star City until they both ended up in the park and Green Arrow faced off against Merlyn in a duel with bows and arrows (Green Arrow #59). He later participated in the Battle of Metropolis where he was defeated by the combined efforts of The Ray, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter and his female counterpart.

One Year Later and Countdown

In the Justice League of America Wedding Special, Light is a member of Luthor, Joker and Cheetah's Injustice League Unlimited. During a battle with the Justice League, Cheetah betrays him and slashes him in the back because of her hatred of rapists.

He is one of the villains featured in Salvation Run.

In DC Universe #0 he can seen as the member of Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains.

In Final Crisis #1, he is seen teamed with Mirror Master, who are sent by Libra to recover Metron's chair. They are briefly challenged by Empress, Sparx and Más y Menos, but defeat them easily by combining Light's beams with Mirror Master's Mirrors. He is later a witness to Libra's murder of the Martian Manhunter along with the Human Flame.

Powers and abilities

Dr. Light is a light manipulator, with the ability to control light for a variety of purposes. He can bend the light around him to become invisible, generate blasts of energy, create force fields and fly. By mentally repulsing photons, Light can create areas of complete darkness. Teen Titans #23 implied that Light could 'power up' by draining the ambient light in the area.

The limits of his powers are unclear, but he seems to be able to wrest control of anything that emits light. Such things have included Green Lantern constructs, Superboy's heat vision, and magic lightning from Wonder Girl's lasso. He was also able to take the "internal" light away from the light powered characters, the heroic Doctor Light and the Ray, leaving them temporarily powerless.

Originally, Doctor Light derived his powers from his suit, but over time he has internalized this ability, and can use his powers without having to use his costume.

Arthur Light was mentally brilliant, a genius in the field of physics. However, his mindwipe by the Justice League reduced his intelligence substantially, and he lost his skill for creative use of his powers. Light's recent recovery of his memories seems to have brought his intellect back with them. As a result, he is a much deadlier opponent, capable of fighting a huge team of Teen Titans to a standstill and facing off against multiple superheroes at once.

Comic appearances

  • Justice League of America (1st series) #12 (The Last Case of the Justice League)
  • Atom #8 (Lockup in the Lethal Lightbulb)
  • Green Lantern #33 (Wizard of the Light-Wave Weapons!)
  • Justice League of America (1st series) #122 (The Great Identity Crisis)
  • Teen Titans (1st series) #44 (The Man Who Toppled The Titans)
  • Secret Origins #37 (Legion of Substitute Heroes - Doctor Light)
  • Suicide Squad (1st series) #52 (The Death and Life and Death and Life and Death and Life of Doctor Light)
  • Green Lantern (3rd series) #36 (The Ghost of Christmas Light)
  • Green Lantern (3rd series) #80 (Final Night tie-in)
  • Teen Titans (3rd series) #21-23 (Light's Out)

Other media

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Dr. Light appeared in an episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He was a scientist who had invented an ultraviolet light beam that would blind Superman. He was played by David Bowe.

Teen Titans animated series

Doctor Light first armor
Doctor Light first armor
Doctor Light second armor
Doctor Light second armor

In the Teen Titans animated series, Dr. Light is a fairly minor villain voiced by Rodger Bumpass. An almost direct opposite of his pre-Identity Crisis character, he is a capable fighter, but unlike his character in the comics, he lacks the brains to go with it. His powers, which are derived from his suit, include light energy blasts, and in the Season Four episode "Birthmark", a light whip even capable of cutting through metal. His suit's design is very similar to the suit design for the Batman Beyond villain, Shriek .

In his first appearance, the Season One episode "Nevermore", he got Raven angry, which unleashed her demonic side. He was nearly killed by her dark powers, and has never really recovered, remaining permanently unstable and in fear of Raven ever since.

He made a cameo in "Fractured" when Larry is talking about how Robin beat the villains all the time (along with Cinderblock). He made another cameo in the episode "Wavelength" after the Titans, Bumblebee, and Aqualad got out of the HIVE Underwater Base. Robin gets a signal and Cyborg asks if it is Brother Blood but Robin responds, "Dr. Light found a bank vault."

In "Birthmark", he was back at it with a light whip, but made the mistake of hitting an oil rig visible from the Titans Tower. He put up a good fight until Raven, using an exact appearance from the Season 1 episode "Nevermore", appeared and sardonically asked "Remember me?"; in response he promptly declared, "I'd like to go to jail now, please."

In "Kole", he then tried to harness the power of the Aurora Borealis with a crystal until the Teen Titans attack and an accident sends them to an underground prehistoric land where he plotted to use Kole as a power source. The Titans and Gnaark defeated him; however, it should be noted that this time Dr. Light was able to put up a much better fight than in previous encounters with the Titans since he was using Kole as his unwilling power source. His downfall this time was largely due to Gnaark freeing Kole and thus cutting off his newfound power supply. He is seen in the giant villain pan in "Homecoming: Part 2" but is not seen taking down a Titan in "Calling All Titans". He is also not present in the final battle in the Brotherhood's base, but he is seen robbing a bank with all the thirty Titans about to attack him.

Due to his involvement in Identity Crisis, he did not make an appearance in Teen Titans Go! until issue #30, wherein he tried to steal Cyborg's battery to power his new lightsuit.

He is also a playable character in the multiplayer battle mode in the video game based on the animated series.

Justice League: The New Frontier

Doctor Light has a cameo appearance in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. He is seen during the famous speech by John F. Kennedy.

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