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A hearty "Thank You" to my good friend Mike Foster who e-mailed me the identity of the Mystery Villain:

So I pulled out the Invasion series with all the tie-ins today. Didn't get far when I saw a cover of the series he premiered in. One quick search later: Strobe. Power of the Atom issue 3. (Wed 12/27/2006)

Wherefore art thou, Strobe?

According to dcuguide.com ("The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe"), Strobe first appeared in Power of the Atom #3 in October 1988, just a few months before the DC Universe-spanning Invasion event.

A villain wearing an advanced suit of armor that could throw concussion blasts and deliver blinding flashes of light. Strobe fought the Atom (II) [Ray Palmer], who turned him over to the authorities [PotA #3]. Breaking free from prison, Strobe took another identity as the samurai-inspired Edg the Destroyer [PotA #12], but was once again defeated by the Atom, subsequently returning to his Strobe identity [PotA #13].

Strobe certainly belongs to the same clique of loser villains as Rainbow Raider. In the issue, Strobe was angry that Atom's heroics were stealing headlines from his bank robberies, so he decided to throw down with a Justice Leaguer. (That's a bad idea. Villains with light-inspired gimmicks have a long history of bad luck with the JLA in particular and other DC Universe heroes in general.) I postulate that if Strobe is robbing banks for public attention, he probably is in the wrong line of work. Try robbing television studios next time, Strobe. Of course, Strobe loses his fight to Atom, and he practically disappears from the DC Universe.

Mike, you found a character who has only appeared in 4 books in the 80-year history of DC Comics. Congrats, man. Consider yourself the Indiana Jones of the comic book vault.

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To be continued...

 

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