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Obsidian

Todd Rice is the son of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, and Rose Forest, the original Thorn. Forest married Scott under an assumed name, but left him, in fear that her criminal Thorn personality would take control of her and kill him. She bore twin children, but abandoned them, fearing her Thorn persona might kill them as well. The twins, who became known as Todd Rice and Jennie-Lynn Hayden, were each raised by a different set of foster parents in the Milwaukee area. When they reached their late teens, each twin developed super powers, including a limited telepathic link. Using this link, Jennie-Lynn managed to find her brother, and the two spent the next few weeks training together in the use of their powers. Due to Jennie-Lynn’s power-pulse abilities, the twins suspected that their biological father might be the original Green Lantern. Creating costumes for themselves, they took the identities Jade and Obsidian, and confronted him at a Justice Society meeting. This meeting happened to be the same one that several other offspring and proteges of the JSA had decided to crash, in order to gain admittance. Jade and Obsidian attempted to join as well, but all the young heroes were turned away due to their lack of experience.

Eventually, these heroes banded together under former JSA member, the Star-Spangled Kid, to form Infinity, Inc. During their time with Infinity Inc., Obsidian and Jade learned from Green Lantern’s old enemy, the Harlequin, that they were indeed the children of Alan Scott. The Infinitors operated on the west coast for a few years, until the death of Star-Spangled Kid (by then, calling himself Skyman) broke up the group.

For a time, Obsidian accompanied his sister as she attempted to further her acting career in Hollywood, but eventually tired of playing tag-along. With his fellow Infinitor, Nuklon, he petitioned the Justice League for membership during one of their restructuring periods. They were accepted, and served with the Justice League until its recent return to an “exclusive” membership of Earth’s most powerful heroes.

Obsidian has always expressed the usual confusions of someone uncertain with their own sexuality. At least that’s one way how his characterization might be defined. This confusion was heightened during his stay with the Justice League, when he told his friend Nuklon that the only two people he could ever love in the world were his sister and him. When Nuklon questioned him if he was gay, Obsidian never fully answered – and simply gave the typical “why must there be labels?” response. The jury was out on Obsidian’s true sexuality until his recent re-appearance as a villain in JSA – where JSA penciller Steven Sadowski informed fans that Todd’s sexuality would definitely be dealt with whenever he returned to that title (see below).

In one story both Todd and his sister were taken control by the Starheart, an evil entity made of random magic, which was the source of their father’s power ring. While their father, and the newest Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, were attempting to rescue them, it was learned that Todd and Jennie-Lynn were actually the children of the Starheart – and that Alan Scott simply provided the biological material for them. Todd and Jennie-Lynn were eventually released from the Starheart’s control – and Todd seemed to finally face the darkness within him… or so we thought.

At one point it appeared that Todd was being influenced by the old JSA villain Ian Karkull – and Todd was seen doing evil things. Turns out Karkull wasn’t really influencing him at all – and that Todd had simply gone bad. While the JSA, including Todd’s dad Sentinel, seemed to defeat him – he will definitely be back to face his former comrades again in the future…

Todd soon returned allied with villains Mordru and Eclipso. Mordru intended to use the combined powers of the three foes to take over the world. But after a tough battle, the JSA defeated all three of their foes.Todd’s father Alan then saved his son by using his green flame powers to drive the corruptive influence out of Todd’s dark powers. It seemed as though Todd lost his powers or had them rendered latent but some speculate he finally regained full control of them after a long stint of being corrupted by the evil influences within them. While recovering in the hospital after the battle, Todd told his father and sister Jennie of his dreams of helping other people who were facing their own inner darkness to become strong in the face of their fears.

Todd faced the tragic loss of his sister Jennie in Rann/Thanagar Infinite Crisis Special when she heroically sacrificed her life to save Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner).

obsidian02Courtesy of writer Marc Andreyko, Todd Rice appears briefly in Manhunter #18. Todd arrives at District Attorney Kate Spencer’s office asking to speak with Damon Matthews. In a few panels we learn that Todd is working as a counselor at a youth center, and that Todd and Damon are dating. The scene ends with the pair kissing. Gone were the days of his confusion and angst.

Todd appeared in other Manhunter stories both in his role as Obsidian and boyfriend, faring much better there than in in his role of security head in Geoff Johns’ JSA where he barely appeared at all in the first two dozen issue. The concluding two part story to Manhunter jumps ahead 15 years. We find Todd is still well-adjusted and happy, and the father of two children. It’s left unstated whether Todd and Damon are a couple still. Todd is shown to be helping Kate Spencer’s son Ramsey train his powers (see Ramsey Robinson).

Obsidian can become a living, two-dimensional shadow. In this form, he can glide along walls and ceilings, distorting his form like a shadow. He can pass through solid objects, and float through air. When he envelops others with his shadow form, he can force them to see the an “inner horror”, which leaves them partially traumatized. Obsidian once had a telepathic link with his twin sister, Jade – though it’s unclear if that link still remains, especially after Jade’s loss of powers. Bright flashes of light can cause him pain while he is in his shadow form. He is still an unskilled hand-to-hand combatant, relying primarily on his shadow powers – which have grown considerably since we’ve last seen him.

Created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway. Obsidian first appeared in All-Star Squadron #25 and was confirmed gay in Manhunter #18. He’s been active in Milwaukee, New York City and Los Angeles.

Art by Stephen Byrne (first image) from Infinite Frontier: Secret Files and Javier Pina from Manhunter #18

Please also see the profiles for Damon Matthews and Ramsey Robinson.

Obsidian did not exist in the post Flashpoint DC Universe, a move which sparked Earth Two series writer James Robinson to envision Alan Scott as a gay man. This change was taken a step further in 2020 when James Tynion IV reimagined the Golden Age version as a closeted gay man in the 1940s.

In the wake of changes shown in Death Metal, DC has returned much if not all of its past continuity to being on the table for exploration and use. Obsidian has returned and his relationship with Damon seems intact as of Infinite Frontier #3.

See the Green Lantern entry.

Additional information for this entry was provided by Maxine Nelson.

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