Red Tornado Tuesday
If you were asked to explain the single most confusing character backstory in all of the DC Universe you would have quite a task ahead of yourself. Many would say Hawkman with his multitude of conflicting backstories. Others might say Captain Marvel (Shazam!) who has had his character written and re-written several times since the golden age of comics. But you would have yourself a real contender in the Red Tornado.
Will the real Tornado please stand up, please stand up?
I will not even begin to unravel the mess of all the various origins of the Red Tornado. The Wikipedia page is, like, a mile and a half long for a relatively minor character. But you know essentially who he is- the red android that spins like a... well... tornado. You probably saw him in a comic book at some point or at least saw his Super Powers action figure.
When the Red Tornado first showed up in the Silver Age in issue 64 of Justice League of America (1968) he looked a little different than he is probably most well known. He didn't yet have his yellow stripes. He is confronted by the other members of the Justice Society of America (the Earth-something-or-other version of the JLA or more accurately the golden age of comics version) who tell him that he isn't the Red Tornado, someone named Ma Hunkel is. Who is Ma Hunkel you might ask?
Ma Hunkel was a large woman with a pot on her head with gym shorts over sweat pants. I'm not even kidding.
Tyrants, Tornado's, and Champions
There is a whole mythos built around the Red Tornado that I'm not even going to begin to explain (see the Wikipedia page for the whole confusing story) involving the Tornado Tyrant, the Tornado Champion, and elementals. What's important to us is that he ends up looking like this-
... the, for lack of a better term, classic Red Tornado. You must admit, it is a pretty cool design. The red and yellow color scheme accented by a blue cape with spinning tornado powers. His look has occasionally been altered for various incarnations, yet, has largely kept the overall design. He's even had a few sex changes along the way. We already saw that he started out as a woman, then as a male, then he will be a woman again, and so on and so forth. None of this gender stuff is all that important to the character since he or she is actually an android. Yes, the Red Tornado is a robot built by the mad scientist character T.O. Morrow (get it? Groan).
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