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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #86

Doctor Week: Day Three. The doctor is in! Who is it? Take it up with your HMO. Or click through past the fold. Today’s Ph.D. is a bright character with loads of potential waiting to be realized.

3/27/07

86. Doctor Light

Dr Light.jpg

No, not Dr. Light, the fin-headed arseraper, but Dr. Light, a.k.a. Kimiyo Hoshi, the cool Dr. Light. She’s probably the coolest idea to come out of any “Crisis” crossover.

Kimiyo’s not a medical doctor, but, rather, a scientist– an astronomer, in particular. She was given weird light powers by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and became a full-fledged superhero after witnessing Supergirl’s self-sacrifice. Later, she went on to join a few incarnations of Justice League International, particularly the very first line-up, in which she didn’t last long, and later, Justice League Europe (which became Justice League International).

Dr Light 3.jpg

When she first appeared, Dr. Light had the personality traits of a… well, an anti-social bitch. By the time she joined Justice League Europe, she’d become a shy but powerful character who was prized for her intelligence rather than her ability in a fight– though, since she has the powers of all light, she’s incredibly powerful (maybe not as much as Monica Rambeau, but she’s up there). The personality change is kind of sudden, but I quite liked what Gerard Jones did to build up her character in JLE. He worked on Kimiyo’s self-confidence, and showcased her as a brilliant scientist, not just as an energy manipulator. She even became the leader of Justice League International, though the title was unfortunately cancelled a few months later when the Justice line was massively culled.

Since then, she’s barely appeared, though she did show up a few times on the Justice League cartoon. In her most significant comics appearance in the last few years, the villainous Dr. Light stole all her powers away somehow. It was Judd Winick writing, though, so you can all safely ignore that. If you really demand more, you can read Marionette’s lovely rant on the subject.

Dr Light 2.jpg

Dr. Light’s a very interesting character. She’s a superhero and a single mother of two, which is fairly unique. She also exists as a callback to the Silver Age DC hero formula of being a gifted scientist, and I love that. Not everybody needs to be an everyman. I’d love to see Dr. Light in the Justice League again, where she belongs. There should also be some more focus on her Japanese heritage and her family life. A strong, powerful, female superhero? Who finds time to balance superpowers, a scientific career, and motherhood? We need more of those in the Big Two.

For more: the Wiki.

11 Comments

There’s also something to be said for a character of japanese heritage who is in no way a ninja.

Heh…she’s an anti-ninja. Give her back the powers, and get her a new name. By the way, who made her look like Dr. Light to begin with? I think it was the Monitor, but I’m not sure.

I seem to recall this Dr. Light being mentioned/considered for membership in one of the first couple of issues of Meltzer’s new Justice League, which seems to imply that she does have her powers back, and that Winick is thankfully being ignored.

Doc Light was one of the few characters that actually improved during Jones’ JLE run. She’s a good team character, and it’s a pity she isn’t getting any regular use right now.

Andrew Collins

March 27, 2007 at 9:06 pm

I can’t remember which book it was now but I know one of the OYL books showed her with her powers again, even though I don’t think it’s ever been explained how they returned…

I prefer to ignore much of Judd Winick’s Green Arrow stuff. Yes, certain plot elements happened, but most of it was just a pure little fantasy in some deluded person’s mind.

The ‘not-ninja’ thing is a little counterbalanced by the Rising Sun/ Sunfire motif– but as far as Global Guardianitis (the pathology that requires that, the farther a superhero or supervillain is from being a middle-class American white person, the more closely his or her powers and name must be linked with some stereotypical aspect of his or her culture, nation, or race) goes, she’s got a mild case. And she is a very cool character.

Yeah, but the sun is yellow, and the original Dr. Light had it too.

Really, how many ways are there to represent the sun?

I meant light. How many ways are there to represent light?

Jacob T. Levy wrote:

Global Guardianitis (the pathology that requires that, the farther a superhero or supervillain is from being a middle-class American white person, the more closely his or her powers and name must be linked with some stereotypical aspect of his or her culture, nation, or race)

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! So funny because it is sadly true.

I have the first TPB that collects some of the olf SuperFriends comic book issues, which I mostly bought for the art (lovely Ramona Fradon pencils). The stories, even for a tie-in with a goofy cartoon, are pretty off-the-wall, though. And when they introduce a bunch of non-American heroes (many of whom went on the form the Global Guardians) I couldn’t help but cringe at the parade of stereotypes that passed through the book.

Anyway, getting back to the main point, I agree that the female Doctor Light is an interesting character, and I’d like to see her again.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 30, 2007 at 2:42 pm

“I prefer to ignore much of Judd Winick’s Green Arrow stuff. Yes, certain plot elements happened, but most of it was just a pure little fantasy in some deluded person’s mind. ”

As he ignores everything that has gone before, why shouldn’t other writers just ignore his run?

(My biggest beef with him ignoring what’s gone before is that he keeps writing stories that use continuity/obscure characters, but then just takes what he wants. If he just wrote using all new heroes and villains he’d be much better off – still a poor writer, but much better off).

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