Air-Wave (DC)(01 - Larry Jordan)
Real Name: Larry Jordan
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Wanting at first to stop the Axis powers, he began building equipment appropriate to this mission. The centerpiece to his "super suit" was a helmet and belt that would allow him to intercept any form of radio wave--a useful skill when attempting to monitor enemy transmissions.
Over time, his equipment evolved to allow him to speak over virtually any signal, as well as travel over phone lines at the speed of electricity. He also had a limited form of magnetic attractivity.
Like Batman, he's only human. Also, one would imagine that an easy way to stop him is to cut the phone lines, to stop the flow of electricity, or to massively overload (or jam) a particular transmission frequency.
Perhaps frustrated by his position of clerk at the DA's office, Larry Jordan badly wanted to help out in the World War erupting around him. He thus built some special equipment and began his life as a costumed crime fighter.
Meanwhile his professional life took off, and he rose from the position of clerk to eventually become the DA himself--allowing him to expand his crusade against evil to include more ordinary criminals. He was thus a kind of early prototype for Oracle, being a kind of mid-40s version of an "information hub".
Unfortunately, his role as DA eventually would get him killed, as criminals he once put away gained their freedom--and his life.
The question of what, exactly, that life was causes a great deal of consternation for observant fans.
Larry Jordan lived entirely before the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and thus is typically judged by the rules governing the pre-Crisis universe. Under those rules, he's a poster boy for the "problem of multiple earths".
He is portrayed as the first cousin of the more famous Hal Jordan (Earth 1's main Green Lantern). His son Harold (the second or third Air-Wave, depending on how seriously you take his wife Helen's brief time in the role) has therefore been portrayed as recently as 2005 as also a cousin of the Green Lantern.
Unfortunately, as "cool" as it would be for the Jordan line to have so many superheroes, it really doesn't make a lot of sense. Until the 1980s one could speculate that Larry was, like Slam Bradley or Superboy, a hero appearing in the Golden Age, who was actually on Earth 1 all along. Then, for some reason, DC used him a couple of times in All-Star Squadron, tying him to Earth 2 in the 1940s. If he was on Earth 2, but a blood relative of several people on Earth 1, clearly somebody's got some 'splainin' to do.
The only solution this poor, tired mind can think of is that he must have been principally resident on Earth 1, but discovered a way to quitely transit between the two Earths long before the multiverse was open for business. Perhaps he fought alongside the All-Star Squadron without even realizing that he was on the wrong Earth, because he was not a very well-connected member of the superhero community, and the larger events of World War II were otherwise pretty similar. In the same way that we saw his son experience "accidental" access to the events of the Rann-Thanagar War, from the impossible distance of Earth, there may have be something about his accuity to transmissions that allowed him a kind of unintentional access to Earth 2. He could have simply popped over there and back without fully understanding what had happened to him.
Another theory advanced by some scholars is that he was, in fact, born on Earth 2. Sometime after the war, but before Barry Allen's first crossover to Earth 2, he "discovered" Earth 1 with his equipment, and made the crossover. Once on Earth 1, he was unable to cross back, so he had to make a life for himself. He met and married Helen, who was a native of Earth 1. Then he "somehow" found a way to convince Hal Jordan's father--whom he would have known from his Earth 2 counterpart--that he was a relative, proving it with a blood test. And that works well enough, except that you'd have to explain how there wasn't already a cousin Larry Jordan on Earth 1, and how Air Wave was killed by criminals he put away as a DA on Earth 2. Did the criminals also transit from Earth 2 to Earth 1? Did Larry find a way back home after Flash and the JLA "opened" the multiverse?
None of these details have really been explicitly addressed by DC, so we're left with a minor character who's a major conundrum. Still, 21st century interest in "setting the DCU right", and recent appearances by Air Wave (03) give hope that one day the mystery of the Air Wave might be solved.
How does the Crisis affect characters who died before it? Well, that's a tricky question, at best. But we might well speculate that the "Crisis Effect" solved all the mess described above. As Harold Jordan survived the Crisis, Larry must've as well. Any "pretense" Larry might have created to set himself up as the "natural" nephew of Hal Jordan's father was removed by the Crisis, and he became unambiguously Hal Jordan's first cousin. If the 2005 Crisis brings back some of the original Earth 1/Earth 2 dichotomy, however, the Jordan family might well be one to watch with greater interest as an indicator of how well DC is "reinventing" their universe.
Also called "The Wizard of Wireless" and "The Magician of Radio".
Despite around 100 appearances, Larry Jordan's Air-Wave never made it to the cover of a comic book.
This might be because he was almost exclusively in the Batman-dominated Detective Comics--or because his costume wasn't particularly . . . cool. Indeed, his green-and-yellow costume is sometimes held up as an example of how not to dress a superhero. Interestingly, however, it unintentionally pre-sages his cousin's early struggles with power and weakness. It was also a part of the "Air-Wave" legacy that his son would chose not to continue.
Like Dr. Midnite he had a pet bird. His was a parrot named "Static", who became famous for uttering what were called in Detective #93 "tangled proverbs".
First Appearance: Detective Comics (1937) #60
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Action Comics (1938)
#488 All-Star Squadron (1981)
- 'Superman Battles Microwave Man!'
#13 DC Comics Presents (1978)
- 'One Day, During the War...'#31
- 'Uncle Sam Wants You!'#53
- 'Worlds In Turmoil'#59
- 'Out Of The Ashes...Mekanique!'#60
- 'The End Of The Beginning!'
#40 DCU: Legacies (2010)
- 'The Day The Elements Went Wild!'#55
- 'The Parasite's Power Ploys!'
Detective Comics (1937)
#60 Giant Batman Album (1962)
- 'Case Of The Costume-Clad Killers'#61
- 'The Three Racketeers'#62
- 'Laugh, Town, Laugh'#63
- 'A Gentleman In Gotham'#64
- 'The Joker Walks The Last Mile'#65
- 'The Cop Who Hated The Batman'#66
- 'The Crimes Of Two-Face!'#67
- 'Crime’s Early Bird!'#68
- 'The Man Who Led A Double Life!'#69
- 'The Harlequin's Hoax!'#70
- 'The Man Who Could Read Minds!'#71
- 'Crime A Day!'#72
- 'License For Larceny.'#73
- 'The Scarecrow Returns.'#74
- 'Tweedledum And Tweedledee!'#75
- 'Robber Baron'#76
- 'Slay 'Em With Flowers'#77
- 'Crime Clinic'#78
- 'The Bond Wagon'#79
- 'Destiny's Auction'#82
- 'Quarterback of Crime'#83
- 'The Triumph of Cholly the Chimp'#95
- 'The Blaze'#121
- 'Commissioner Gordon Walks a Beat'#123
- 'The Dawn Patrol Crimes'#124
- 'The Crime Parade'#125
- 'The Citadel of Crime'#126
- 'Case of the Silent Songbirds'#130
- 'The Box'#131
- 'The Underworld Surgeon'#132
- 'The Human Key'#133
- 'The Man Who Could See the Future'#134
- 'A Modern Dr. Jekyll'#135
- 'The True Story of Frankenstein'#136
- 'The Dead Man's Chest'#137
- 'The Rebus Crimes'
Green Lantern (1960)
#100 History of the DC Universe (1986)
- 'Rider Of The Air Waves'
Infinite Crisis (2005)
The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
HC The Golden Age (1993)
- 'The DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated And Expanded'HC
- 'The DC Comics Encyclopedia'
The Mighty Crusaders Special (2010)
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985)
Who's Who: Update '87 (1987)
#1 Young All-Stars (1987)
- 'All-Star Squadron to Catalyst'
- 'The Mechanique Paradox'#1
- 'The Coming of the Young All-Stars'#3
- 'A Call To Arms'#9
- '...You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Souls!'#12
- 'M" Is For "Monster"!'#27
- 'When Titans Make War...'#31
- 'Men...and Super-Men'
All-Star Squadron (DC)(Earth-2 - Pre Crisis)
All-Star Squadron (DC)(Post Crisis)
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