Doctor Light (Arthur Light)

Doctor Light is a bipartite character, comprising supervillain Arthur Light and superhero Jacob Finlay, appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.[1]

His stint as Doctor Light is concurrent with that of a superheroine using the same name and nearly identical costume, Kimiyo Hoshi. In 2009, Doctor Light was ranked as IGN's 84th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[2]

Doctor Light
Dr arthur light
Doctor Arthur Light, from Identity Crisis.
Art by Rags Morales.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceArthur Light: Justice League of America #12 (June 1962) Jacob Finlay: Secret Origins Vol 2 #37 (February 1989)
Created byArthur Light: Gardner Fox
Mike Sekowsky Jacob Finley: Craig Boldman
Ty Templeton
In-story information
Alter egoArthur Light
Jacob Finlay
Team affiliationsThe Society
Fearsome Five
Suicide Squad
Injustice Gang
Injustice League
Black Lantern Corps
Justice League
AbilitiesLight manipulation
Genius-level intelligence

Publication history

Doctor Light first appeared in Justice League of America #12 and was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.[3]

During the 1980s Doctor Light was transitioned from a serious menace to a comedic villain, a transformation which culminated in the DC Comics Bonus Book appearing in The Flash #12 (May 1988).[4]

Fictional character biography


Criminal physicist Doctor Arthur Light captures the League with light rays after first drawing them in by capturing Aquaman, then sending the League to different planets based on their weaknesses. He then orders Snapper Carr to write this down, before imprisoning him in a light field. He has not realised Superman and Batman impersonated each other, allowing Superman to escape the world he was sent to and rescue the other members. Light fools the League with three duplicates of himself that are apparently committing robberies of light-associated objects, though they are actually placing devices around the world. Green Lantern realizes this trick and fakes his death to track Doctor Light, finally stopping him before he pulls the lever that would have set off the light impulses allowing him to take over the world. A retcon introduced in Secret Origins #37 reveals that this character is actually the second Doctor Light. According to the retcon, his predecessor was his partner at S.T.A.R. Labs, a scientist named Jacob Finlay. Finlay created a technologically advanced suit to control light allowing him to be a minor superhero, but was accidentally killed by Arthur Light (though Finlay's death may have been caused by hiding his costume in a computer console, causing it to malfunction). Light took the suit and the "Doctor Light" codename. He is periodically haunted by Finlay's ghost through the years, but can use the light generated by the suit to drive off this spirit.[1]

Through the Silver and Bronze Ages, Doctor Light is a minor but persistent foe for a number of heroes. He fights the Justice League's former sidekicks, the Teen Titans. In JLA #136, he is one of King Kull's agents with which the Beast-Man hopes to wipe out humanity on all three Earths, helping in the attack on Earth-S by creating perpetual light and darkness on each side of the Earth, and teaming up with the Shade. He is turned to stone by King Kull's satellites, but restored when they are destroyed. He is beaten by Hal Jordan not long after his defeat by the JLA. He then founds the supervillain team the Fearsome Five, but they are also defeated by the Titans, and Light is violently expelled from the Five by his teammates.[5] Each criminal caper leads to Light's defeat, but these defeats were used later as the basis of his humiliation that culminated in the "Identity Crisis" storyline.

Dr. Light was once defeated by Little Boy Blue and his Blue Boys—a group of non-superpowered children.[6]

Suicide Squad

Driven by self-doubt and guilt, thanks in part to Finlay's ghostly presence, he volunteers for the Suicide Squad, a group of incarcerated supervillains who perform dangerous missions for the US government in exchange for clemency. On a mission against the patriotism-themed super-team called the "Force of July", he encounters Sparkler, the Force's youngest member. The presence of a superpowered child reminds him of past defeats and he lashes out, killing Sparkler with a blast through the chest.

During his time with the Squad, Light demonstrates a simple desire to be liked by the other members. He sees his chance when a mysterious pie-armed attacker is on the loose but after faking a hit nobody actually believes Light has been pied.

Finally, Finlay's ghost convinces Light to attempt a heroic turn during a mission where multiple members of the team, some unwillingly, have traveled to Apokolips. Light is swiftly shot dead by Parademons. Light is sent to Hell, where he is physically reunited with Finlay. Under the watch of a lesser demon and its annoying assistant, both men are released from Hell in turns and returned to life. Both only soon die again: Arthur Light suffocates while still inside his grave, while the desiccated Finlay claws his way out of his own grave but is killed by a family of religious vigilantes. Arthur Light is again returned to life, and barely survives a fall that his demonic tormentors may have intended to be fatal. Arthur also possesses the body of the female Doctor Light, Kimiyo Hoshi. With the aide of her teacher, Kimiyo rejects Arthur's presence. Doctor Light, freed of his ex-partner's hauntings, attempts to rejoin the Suicide Squad, but his appeal is summarily rejected by Amanda Waller.

He later becomes trapped in a Green Lantern power battery which would eventually came under the possession of Kyle Rayner, and as a consequence is temporarily transformed into living light. He later joins a short-lived incarnation of the Injustice Gang, in which he assists Lex Luthor in building holographic duplicates of the JLA.

Identity Crisis onwards

The 2004 miniseries Identity Crisis retroactively reveals that Doctor Light had raped Sue Dibny, the wife of the superhero Elongated Man, on the JLA Satellite.[1] Later issues reveal that he was a serial rapist. The Justice League resolve to alter his mind with Zatanna's magic so that Light will no longer pose a threat to their loved ones. In the process, they accidentally give him a partial lobotomy, thus explaining how he fell from a plausible foe of the Justice League to a punching bag for the Teen Titans or Little Boy Blue. He later recovers his memories and intellect when witnessing a fight between the League members responsible for his mind-wipe and Deathstroke, and vowed revenge against the Justice League.[1]

Doctor Light captures Green Arrow, using him as bait so he could get revenge on the Teen Titans. The entire Teen Titans roster, former and current, responds to the call, but he brutally defeats them. After a mass battle against the Titans wears him down, Cyborg uses a device to drain the light out of the area, rendering Light powerless. Batman and Batgirl appear to take him to prison, but reveal themselves to be Deathstroke and Ravager in disguise, and offer Light a place in the new Secret Society of Super Villains. Doctor Light, hungry for vengeance and power, readily accepts.[7]

As a Society member, he aids Merlyn and Deathstroke in defeating Green Arrow in Star City. Doctor Light then attacks and absorbs a great deal of power from Kimiyo Hoshi.[8] He later participates in the Battle of Metropolis in Infinite Crisis #7, where he is defeated by the combined efforts of the Ray, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and Kimiyo.

In the Justice League of America Wedding Special, Light is a member of the Injustice League Unlimited. During a battle with the Justice League, fellow Injustice Leaguer Cheetah betrays him and slashes him in the back because of her hatred of rapists.[9] The entire Injustice League is captured and deported to an alien world by the Suicide Squad; Doctor Light is consequently one of the villains featured in Salvation Run.

After returning to Earth, in DC Universe #0, Doctor Light is a member of Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains. In Final Crisis #1, he and Mirror Master are sent by Libra to recover Metron's chair. They are briefly challenged by Empress, Sparx, and Más y Menos, but defeat them by combining Light's beams with Mirror Master's mirrors. Light also aids the Human Flame and Libra in the murder of the Martian Manhunter.

In Final Crisis: Revelations #1, the Spectre delivers final judgment on Doctor Light (who is discovered in the middle of a mock superhero rape orgy with various women dressed as Teen Titans), and burns him to death by turning him into a candle, using his head as the wick. The Milestone Comics group known as the Shadow Cabinet attempt to steal the remains of Light, still in the form of a candle.[10] In actuality, Superman and Icon set this scenario up to familiarize the Shadow Cabinet with the JLA. The candle is, however, used by Hardware to restore to Kimiyo Hoshi the remaining powers Arthur stole from her.[11][12]

Doctor Light is entombed below the Hall of Justice.[13] His corpse is revived as a Black Lantern.[14] He devours the remains of Gehenna's corpse, and attacks Kimiyo Hoshi.[15] Arthur employs psychology to make Kimiyo doubt herself. Just as he is on the verge of victory, he threatens Kimiyo's children, enraging her to the point where she produces a light which incinerates Arthur and his ring.[16]

The New 52

In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Arthur Light is a scientist working with A.R.G.U.S. and the Justice League of America. As he is studying a communicator used by the Secret Society of Super Villains, he receives a "nasty call" and is engulfed in an explosion of light leaving his body glowing on the floor.[17] Director Amanda Waller finds him transformed.[18]

During the "Trinity War" storyline, Doctor Light is a reluctant member of the new Justice League of America, and expresses disgust over being made to harm Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. During his first mission with the team, he is seemingly killed by Superman.[19] The Phantom Stranger takes Batman, Katana, and Deadman to the afterlife to locate Doctor Light. However, he doesn't remember anything about his death. The Phantom Stranger tells Doctor Light that he will try to free him from the afterlife, so he can be with his family. Doctor Light gives a piece of his soul to the Phantom Stranger in hopes that he can give it to his family as a final gift if he doesn't get out.[20] It is later revealed that Atomica, who is from the alternate universe of Earth-3, is responsible for Doctor Light's death.[21]

Doctor Light's body unleashes energy that destroys Washington DC's A.R.G.U.S. headquarters and exposes the A.R.G.U.S. Agents to it. Etta Candy is approached by an energy manifestation of Dr. Light.[22] Doctor Light appears in Los Angeles and is found by the Crimson Men.[23] The Crimson Men take Dr. Light to their secret location, and promise to make him human again in exchange for information on Steve Trevor. Dr. Light heads to Steve Trevor's location and states he must kill him in order for him to live.[24] Killer Frost faces off against Doctor Light. Doctor Light hurls her into Steve's ice-block, freeing him. While Killer Frost holds Light back, Steve sneaks up behind him and wraps the Lasso of Truth around him. Compelled by its power, Doctor Light explains that he died and woke up confused. He was told what to do and where Steve would be. The Crimson Men had told him the truth that Arthur Light is dead. Horrified by his own self-realization, Doctor Light disappears in a blast of light energy.[25]

Doctor Light later resurfaces, now sporting his classic appearance. He states that his human body is still dead, and that he now merely exists as a construct of living light energy. It is also implied that he used to be a villain prior to his brief stint as a member of the Justice League, indicating his backstory has been retconned to some degree. Having been cut off from his wife and daughters, Arthur has fled to the country of Chetland, where he is given asylum in exchange for his services. After a conversation with Deathstroke, Arthur contemplates the possibility of returning to a life of villainy.[26]

Powers and abilities

Doctor Light can control light for a variety of purposes. He can bend the light around him to become invisible, generate blasts of energy, create force fields, and fly. By mentally repulsing photons, Light can create areas of complete darkness. Teen Titans #23 implied that Light could "power up" by draining the ambient light in the area.

The limits of his powers are unclear, but he seems to be able to wrest control of anything that emits light.[1] Such things have included Green Lantern constructs, Superboy's heat vision, and magic lightning from Wonder Girl's lasso. He is also able to take the "internal" light away from light powered characters, the heroic Doctor Light and the Ray, leaving them temporarily powerless. He also has the ability to create holographic images. Despite his frequent defeats, he is quite powerful.

Originally, Doctor Light derives his powers from his suit, but over time he internalizes this ability, and could use his powers without having to use his costume.

Arthur Light is mentally brilliant, a genius in the field of physics. However, his mindwipe by the Justice League reduces his intelligence substantially, along with his skills for creative use of his powers. Light's recovery of his memories seems to have brought his intellect back with them and also his paraphilia.[1] As a result, he becomes a much deadlier opponent.

Other versions

All-American Comics

A character named Doctor Light appears in All American #82 (February 1947). This version is an enemy of Doctor Mid-Nite.


In JLA/Avengers, Doctor Light is among the mind-controlled villains who attack the heroes as they assault Krona's Stronghold in issue #4. He is shown blasting Doorman.

DC Animated Universe Comics

Doctor Light appears in Adventures in the DC Universe #1, Justice League Adventures #6, #13 and DC Comics Presents: Wonder Woman Adventures #1.

Tiny Titans

Doctor Light appears in Tiny Titans. This version was the science teacher of Sidekick City Elementary School.

Tangent Comics

In the 1997 Tangent Comics (Earth-9) One Shot Metal Men, Doctor Light lends his name to the brand of cigarettes smoked by president Sam Schwartz - "Doctor Lite".

DC: The New Frontier

Doctor Light has a cameo appearance in DC: The New Frontier (Earth-21). He is seen during the famous speech by John F. Kennedy.

Nightwing: The New Order

Doctor Light was a superhuman living in Gotham City in the year 2040 when having active superpowers was banned. After being reportedly off of his power-dampening medicine for too long, Light was hunted down by Dick Grayson's Crusaders and arrested.

In other media


Doctor Light's first armor.
  • Doctor Light is a fairly minor villain in the Teen Titans animated series, voiced by Rodger Bumpass. His character mostly draws from the less-competent version in the comics, though he does prove to be a formidable opponent. His powers are derived from his suit. Light is generally portrayed as more of a nuisance than a real threat, though he has his moments, and his frequent short appearances and easily defeats are something of a running gag. Doctor Light first appears in the season one episode "Nevermore", where he proves to be a fairly dangerous opponent. He wears a simple, form-fitting suit which can fire energy blasts and create shields. Though he succeeds in defeating four of the five Titans, he angers Raven while attacking her. In her rage, she loses control of her powers and drags him into the darkness within her cloak. His second major appearance is in "Birthmark". His suit is larger and more powerful, adding a light whip to his arsenal; he appears on an oil rig which he plans to steal the energy from, but was stopped by the Teen Titans who pointed out that they could see him on the rig from the living room of their tower. His fear of Raven prevented a drawn-out battle, with him asking to be taken to prison rather than having to fight her again. In the fifth season Doctor Light is one of the few villains that does not join the Brotherhood of Evil. In "Kole", he tries to harness the power of the Aurora Borealis with a special crystal, only to fail when the Titans intervene and destroy it. Both he and the Titans fall through the ice into an underground prehistoric land. There, he kidnaps Kole to replace his broken crystal, which makes him virtually unstoppable. Gnarrk removes Kole from the machine, allowing Kole to defeat Doctor Light by focusing Starfire's starbolts into a powerful laser. In "Titans Together", he attempts to rob a bank while the heroes and villains were occupied. All thirty Titans, having dispatched the Brotherhood, ready themselves to take him down, to which Raven remarks, "He's totally gonna freak this time".
Doctor Light
Doctor Light as he appears in Teen Titans Go!
  • Doctor Light appears in Teen Titans Go!, voiced by Scott Menville in "Colors of Raven" and reprised by Rodger Bumpass in "Caged Tiger". In "Staff Meeting", Robin tries to fight Doctor Light with his bent bo staff (which was bent by the other Teen Titans). Doctor Light's most major role in the series is in the episode "Caged Tiger" where Raven and Starfire come to battle him while Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy are stuck in an elevator. Doctor Light insists that they wait for the other Titans to arrive as he had specifically built a machine to destroy all the Titans at once. While the boys try to get out of the elevator, Raven and Starfire enjoy their time with Doctor Light as he tells them about how he got the nickname "Doctor Light" and how his real name is Arthur. He eventually decides to quit being a supervillain and join the Teen Titans but Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy arrive at the scene and beat him up much to Starfire and Raven's disapproval. In "I See You", Doctor Light was shown to be constructing chandeliers which are actually laser weapons. Doctor Light's plot was defeated by Robin and Starfire during their stakeout.

Live action

  • Doctor Light appeared in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episode "The Eyes Have It", played by David Bowe. He was a scientist named Doctor Arthur Leit who had stolen an ultraviolet light beam from Doctor Neal Faraday that blinded Superman.
  • Arthur Light is mentioned in the Arrow episode "The Man Under the Hood". Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon find a light-based weapon designed by him and use it to halt Deathstroke, explaining that Light is a former employee of S.T.A.R. Labs, fired two years prior "because he was a psycho".


  • Doctor Light has a cameo appearance in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. He is seen during the famous speech by John F. Kennedy.
  • Doctor Light makes a brief cameo appearance in the opening scene of Superman vs. The Elite. A news report states that he had gone on a killing spree after escaping from the prison he was being held in, outraging a number of citizens.
  • Doctor Light makes a silent cameo appearance in the Teen Titans Go! theatrical film Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. In the film, as many villains including Control Freak, Doctor Light appears strapped to a light signal which forms Robin's name in the sky during Robin's musical number "My Superhero Movie".

Video games


Doctor Light appeared in the comic book tie-in Teen Titans Go! in issue #30, wherein he tried to steal Cyborg's battery to power his new Light Suit. He also appeared in issue #43, forming the Fearsome Five with Psimon, recruiting Gizmo, Mammoth, and Jinx (going undercover for the Titans). In the attack on Titans Tower, he ultimately surrenders when Raven scares him, going into Robin's arms begging him to make "the scary girl go away".


  1. ^ a b c d e f Wallace, Dan (2008). "Doctor Light I". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1. OCLC 213309017.
  2. ^ "Doctor Light is number 84". IGN. Archived from the original on 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  3. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In a tale written by Gardner Fox, with art by Mike Sekowsky, Doctor Light's first [adventure] was almost the JLA's last.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Greenberger, Robert (April 2014). "New Talent and Bonus Babies". Back Issue! (71): 73.
  5. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Fearsome Five", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 120, ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1, OCLC 213309017
  6. ^ Broderick, George, Jr. (w), Purcell, Gordon (p), Dzon, Timothy (i). "Light at the End of the Tunnel" The Flash 12 (May 1988)
  7. ^ Teen Titans Vol.3 #21-23
  8. ^ Green Arrow #54
  9. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #15 (December 2007)
  10. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #27 (November 2008)
  11. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #28 (December 2008)
  12. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #30 (February 2009)
  13. ^ Blackest Night #1 (July 2009)
  14. ^ Blackest Night #3 (September 2009)
  15. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #39 (November 2009)
  16. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2, #40 (December 2009)
  17. ^ Justice League of America vol. 3 #4
  18. ^ Justice League of America vol. 3 #5
  19. ^ Justice League vol. 2, #22 (July 2013)
  20. ^ Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #11
  21. ^ Justice League vol. 2 #23
  22. ^ Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1
  23. ^ Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #3
  24. ^ Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #5
  25. ^ Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #6
  26. ^ Deathstroke (vol. 4) #22

External links

1947 in comics

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1962 in comics

Notable events of 1962 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

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