Spellbinder
The Spellbinder's debut in Detective Comics #358, art by Carmine Infantino
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearance(Billings)
Detective Comics #358 (December 1966)
(Unnamed)
Justice League International (vol. 2) #65 (June 1994)
(Moffit)
Detective Comics #691 (November 1995)
Created by(Billings)
John Broome (writer)
Sheldon Moldoff (artist)
(Moffit).
Chuck Dixon (writer)
Staz Johnson (artist)
Scott Hanna (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoDelbert Billings
Unnamed
Fay Moffit
Notable aliases(Billings)
Keith Sherwood
(Moffit)
Lady Spellbinder
Abilities(Billings)
Use of optical and aural devices that hypnotize people
Minimal hand-to-hand combatant
(Unnamed)
Genuine mystical abilities
(Moffit)
Genuine illusion-casting powers

The Spellbinder is the name of four fictional characters that appear as supervillains in comic books published by DC Comics. Versions of the character have appeared on the animated series Batman Beyond and The Batman.

Fictional character biography

Delbert Billings

Interior artwork of the Delbert Billings version of Spellbinder from Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #11 (November 1986),art by Carmine Infantino
Interior artwork of the Delbert Billings version of Spellbinder from Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #11 (November 1986),
art by Carmine Infantino

The Spellbinder (Delbert Billings) first appeared in Detective Comics #358 (December 1966), and was created by John Broome and Sheldon Moldoff.[1] He was a painter who used optical illusions and hypnotic weapons to commit crimes.[2]

Delbert was a forger of pop art who decided to put his talents to use as a supervillain. He created the Spellbinder identity, designed hypnotic weapons, and assembled a team of henchmen. He ran into Batman during his first robbery, but hypnotized the crimefighter into believing he was involved in an entirely different situation, as his gang made their getaway.[3] This ploy worked twice, but on his third robbery, Batman was able to overcome it and send him to jail.[4]

After leaving prison, the Spellbinder faced off with Superman in Superman #330 (1978). Using a miniature turntable, he was able to create sonic blasts that would make targets more susceptible to his hypnotic suggestions. The addition of a shock absorbing chin-guard to his helmet protected him from being knocked out by Superman, and special lenses protected him from hypnosis by the Man of Steel. He was finally defeated when his own sonic blasts were echoed back on him (rendering him unconscious). This issue also revealed how Superman uses sub-conscious hypnosis (heightened by the Kryptonian lenses in his glasses) to successfully disguise himself as Clark Kent.

The Spellbinder joined a loosely knit conglomerate of crime organized by the Monarch of Menace. He was the first member of the group to be captured by Batman, who later disguised himself as the Spellbinder to infiltrate the group and capture the Monarch.[5]

Later, the Spellbinder was on the run from the law with his new girlfriend, Fay Moffit, when he was confronted by the demon-lord Neron. Neron offered a deal of immense power in exchange for the Spellbinder's soul, but he rejected it. Fay, however, thought it sounded like a great idea, so she killed the Spellbinder by shooting him in the head and took the deal for herself. Neron was not surprised and explained that he had never actually been addressing the Spellbinder with the deal; he had been addressing her all along.

Real name unknown

A second Spellbinder (real name unknown) appeared in Justice League International (vol. 2) #65 (June 1994) as a member of the government-sanctioned "League-Busters".[6] [7]

Fay Moffit

During the Underworld Unleashed crossover event, Delbert Billings (the original Spellbinder) rejected Neron's deal of immense power in exchange for his soul and was shot in the head and killed by his girlfriend, Fay Moffit, who then took the deal for herself and became the third Spellbinder (also known as Lady Spellbinder) as a result.[8]

Neron granted her the ability to induce genuine hallucinations. She was followed by Batman and Robin, but they did not know the scale of her illusion-casting abilities, which extended to making absolutely everything disappear. She escaped from the heroes due to her ability to create a total illusion in her immediate vicinity, which remained even if they closed their eyes. They realized that the only way to be able to approach her safely is if the approach is controlled by someone outside her immediate area of influence. Robin acts as Batman's eyes once the Spellbinder is tracked down by the police, guiding him using a version of virtual reality technology. Once captured, the Spellbinder discovers that her deal with Neron was not all she had hoped — if her eyes are covered or closed, her illusion-casting abilities no longer function.

She subsequently appeared in Birds of Prey, where she created an illusory world in which Barbara Gordon was Batgirl (although she did not realize this had once been true). She had been hired by the Blockbuster to kidnap Barbara. Barbara was able to defeat the Spellbinder when she attacked Moffit with a fire extinguisher (to blind her and prevent her from casting illusions) and a club, and then tied her up and left her for the police.[9]

The Spellbinder returned to Birds of Prey when the Black Canary and the Catwoman were kidnapped by the rogue Parademon Pharzoof. She was being transported with several other villains when their train was hijacked and taken to Apokolips. The villains battled the Parademons and eventually were returned to Earth, where they were taken to the Slab.[10]

The Spellbinder returned again in the miniseries Joker: Last Laugh. In Birds of Prey #36, she battles the Black Canary, who is trapped inside Slabside Penitentiary along with a host of villains infected by the Joker's Joker venom, making them even more crazed than ever. The Black Canary's sonic cry is able to give most of them pause, but the Joker sends the Copperhead and the Hellgrammite after her, as neither one of them have ears. After dealing with them, she is briefly confronted by the Shadow Thief before meeting, to her great relief, the Batman, Superman, and Mary Marvel. However, the Black Canary soon notices that Marvel's lightning bolt is backwards, and the heroes are revealed to be an illusion created by the Spellbinder, who was the first of the female villains infected by the Joker's Joker venom.

The Spellbinder was apparently killed alongside the Trigger Twins by a group of gun-toting superheroes during Infinite Crisis. It is noted that she bears a striking resemblance (both physically and in terms of powers) to the mysterious fourth Harlequin. Although very similar in appearance, they are two separate characters.

The New 52

A fourth Spellbinder appears in The New 52 under the name of Viktor Mironov.[11] Mironov, as the Spellbinder, was a Russian magician known for his ability to use magic to attack a person's psyche. When John Constantine contacted him to recruit him in a plan to fight the Cult of the Cold Flame, the Spellbinder initially reacted by attacking Constantine and rummaging through his mind. When the Spellbinder discovered that Constantine was sincerer, he agreed to the plan.

However, a spell gone wrong by Papa Midnite sent the entire plan into a shambles. Constantine was sent to the wrong time period to fight the Cult and, not knowing their leader was not there to guide them, the Spellbinder and another mage were killed fighting the Cold Flame.[12]

Powers and abilities

The original Spellbinder used a number of optical and aural devices of his own invention to hypnotize others. His fighting skills were minimal.

The second unnamed Spellbinder had genuine mystical abilities.

The third Spellbinder, also known as Lady Spellbinder, can create terrifying realistic illusions and the recipients can feel the actual pain of the illusions. If she is blinded or has her eyes closed or covered, she is unable to cast the illusions.

In other media

Television

The Spellbinder as he appears in Batman Beyond
The Spellbinder as he appears in Batman Beyond
The Spellbinder as he appears in The Batman animated TV series
The Spellbinder as he appears in The Batman animated TV series

Miscellaneous

See also

References

  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Manning, Matthew K.; McAvennie, Michael; Wallace, Daniel (2019). DC Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle. DK Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-4654-8578-6.
  3. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 324. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  4. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 329–330. ISBN 9780345501066.
  5. ^ Batman #336
  6. ^ Justice League International (vol. 2) #65
  7. ^ Justice League America #90
  8. ^ Detective Comics #691-692
  9. ^ Birds of Prey: Batgirl
  10. ^ Birds of Prey #12-14
  11. ^ Constantine #13
  12. ^ Constantine #16-17