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In the comic book Justice League Quarterly #9, six members of the Justice League are told they are infected with a virus that causes insanity in one in six people exposed to it. Blue Beetle, aka Ted Kord, the League's resident brain at the time, immediately tells the other 5 members (Booster Gold, Flash, Fire, Guy Gardner, and Ice) that one of the group is going insane. He presents it as an absolute certainty. And the others buy that. (Granted, this is probably the reason that these 6 Justice Leaguers were chosen for this story. Not known for their thinking caps, these 6.)

Apparently, the Justice League needs to get Ray Palmer back, because Ted Kord's understanding of probability is a little weak. A disease that maims one in six people is not a certainty to affect exactly one person in any sampling of six people. There is a chance that none of the six will nut up just as there is a chance that all of the six will go off their rocker. Sure, there is a better than average chance that at least one of the six will be affected, but it is hardly a certainty.

Um, Beetle, I don't know how to break it to you, but...

I suggest that this complete misunderstanding of probability is the fundamental reason that Beetle was killed a few years back. He probably assumed that since he had been shot at many times before and was never killed, he could not be killed by a bullet shot at him. Sorry, Ted. You're dead.

It is exactly this sort of careless premise and sloppy writing (by industry heavyweight Mark Waid no less) that causes many people to decide that superhero comic books are for children. Only a kid would fall for Beetle's assertion as an absolute, right? No adult would enjoy reading this sort of trash, would they? Let me tell you, I've worked in bookstores, and the answer to that question is "Yes, almost exclusively."

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I need some help. I'm trying to identify the character in the bottom right of this panel from DC's Invasion Book 3, page 40, published in 1989. If you know, please tell me. Not knowing is slowly killing me.

Name that villain! (Who's in the bottom right?)

Top left is Booster Gold, who is descending from the Blue Beetle's Bug ship alongside Beetle himself. At the bottom left is Two-Face, one of Batman's many villains. Next to Two-Face is the mystery character. I assume from his reaction to the arrival of two Justice Leaguers that he is a villain, but for all I know he's just surprised to see a flying bug. It is the only appearance of either Two-Face or the unknown mystery fellow in the entire Invasion event, and though it is not expressly stated, I believe that it is supposed to take place in New York City since in previous panels Oberon mentions that Blue & Gold are "battling villains" in NYC.

But who, oh who, is in the foreground bottom right? I've been pouring over issues of DC's Who's Who from 1985, but with little luck so far. (It would probably go faster if I could stop reading every single entry. I mean, I know that there is no way that this is the Legion of Substitute Super-Heroes Color Kid or the original Doom Patrol ally Mento, but I just can't stop myself from reading about them. It's yet another one of my character flaws.)

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To be continued...

 

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