[Characters of DC Month 2]: The Psycho Pirate and A Crisis [Crisis on Infinite Clubs Tie-In Event]

Welcome to the second meeting of the Characters of DC Club. This month is a special one because Crisis on Infinite Clubs, celebrating both the CW’s COIE crossover and the COIE comics, is upon us and the skies are flaring red all across the DCU Clubs. For more information of that please feel free to click this handy[Crisis on Infinite Clubs] link for all the details and join in other clubs events. Now while some clubs have already had the Crisis pass over them we are now in full red skies mode so watch out for falling debris!

This month is also special because of a change of schedule for our club. Instead of having our discussion on the third week of the month this time around we are going to have a weekly discussion during this special event.

Every week this month we will be reading stories that feature the second Pyscho Pirate: Roger Hayden and discussing his character in general, his involvement in Crisis on Infinite Earths specifically, and some extras for those that can’t get enough of this villain of the month and member of the Secret Society of Super Villains. Let’s get this party started!

Basic information:

Here’s a chronology of appearances of Roger Hayden who was the second Psycho Pirate. Just in case you want to read more about the character outside of the issues below.

Here’s also a wiki link with some details about the character.

Additionally here are some links to summaries of the two earliest stories to feature him since they have not yet been digitized for our reading pleasure.

Now to club business:

Here is the schedule for the month along with the titles that we’ll be covering each week

Discussion Questions

December 2-December 8

  • Hayden is the second person to take up the name of Psycho Pirate. This makes him a legacy villain. What do you think of the idea of legacy villains?

  • Hayden spent time in jail sharing a cell with the original Psycho Pirate, Charles Halstead, How much of an influence do you think the OG Psycho Pirate had on Hayden and his version of the character?

  • In these issues of All Star Comics we see Hayden manipulate both Green Lantern Alan Scott and The Flash Jay Garrick. Do you feel that both of them were to easily influenced by Haydan and that makes Pyscho Pirate OP or did you feel his powers were a match for both characters? Explain.

  • Speaking of powers how did you like his powers? Were they over the top? Par for the course for villains of this time period in comics? Interesting? Meh?

December 8-December 14

  • Other than getting a chance to put an end to his arch enemy Hourman, what do think Pyscho Pirate’s motivation was for joining the Secret Society of Super Villains?

  • Instead of immediately using the gift the Ultra-Humanite gave him to defeat Hourman Hayden decides to first try his usual methods. What did you think of this strategy? Also what did you think of the Psycho Prism

December 15-December 21

Since this week’s reading was a longer one for anyone who hasn’t already read COIE either with the DCUBC or in the past I really only have one question for you.

  • What did you think of Psycho Pirate involvement in COIE?

December 22-December 28

Again since this was a longer reading I only have one question.

  • How would you compare Psycho Pirates involvement in Infinite Crisis to that of COIE?

Bonus Question

  • If you have been reading Tom King’s Batman run then you know Psycho Pirate plays a role in it. Where do you see his influence? Post panels if you like.

  • @AlexanderKnox posted some links to stories featuring the Original Psycho Pirate. All-Star Comics #23 and #32. If you have read them how do the two versions of Psycho Pirate compare?

If you are interested in joining the [Characters of DC Club] follow the link.

If you have any questions about this month’s meeting or any other concerns DM me @JasonTodd428.

Next month: Check back here later to find out who the Characters of DC’s Character of the Month is for January 2020. And please be sure to vote in our poll that will be choosing that character.

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I don’t see anything wrong with it. We have plenty of legacy heroes, why not legacy villains? It certainly worked out well here, as this version of Psycho Pirate is far better known than his predecessor.

Outside the references to him in America vs the Justice Society, I’m really not familiar with the original guy very much, at all. Based on the summaries for the non-digitized issues, he was obviously influenced enough to base himself on the guy, but Hayden was bad, anyway, so was probably always destined to be a villain somehow.

Regarding the powers questions: his powers are pretty cool, but I don’t think they’re well explained. It’s said that he can control emotions, but it’s obviously much more than that and were seeing some sort of straight up mind control. It can’t just be an emotion power, because strong emotions aren’t going to cause someone to suddenly change their character. For example, you can get me as angry as possible, but I’m still not going to suddenly go rob a bank, ya know? (I swear it wasn’t me!)

Guess I better get to this myself.

Week One Answers:

I like the idea fine. There are legacy heroes so why not legacy villains to spice things up a bit. It only seems fair.

Without being able to actually read Hayden’s origin story its impossible to guess how much influence his cellmate really had on his decision to become the Psycho Pirate. About all I do know is that Halstead told Hayden about the Medusa masks and probably that he was Psycho Pirate. The rest was all Hayden. He was not a good guy to start with and this only made him more powerful then the standard level gangster he apparently was.

Perhaps a little to easily influenced but clearly Psycho Pirate came to both heroes at a time when they were psychologically vulnerable, which opened them up to his emotional control more easily and completely. I do think his powers are a match for theirs but only in certain circumstances, such as Green Lantern being angry over the lose of his alter ego’s livelihood.

I liked his powers well enough. Being able to control the emotions of others is a neat power for a villain. I do agree that his power isn’t very well explained in these issues but I would guess that maybe an explanation would have happened in his origin story or perhaps the one following it. It does seem that he can control people and get them to do what he wants by manipulating their emotions but whether it goes deep enough that he actually has complete control of people is up in the air. It could be that he can only control large numbers of people on a surface level while he can control a single person on a potentially deeper level.

On to next week!

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I read the All-Star Comics issues, and as much as I wanted to like them (and indeed liked some of the ideas in them), I could never quite get into them. I prefer the Golden Age Psycho-Pirate stories in All-Star Comics 23 and 32.

And it’s too bad that we don’t have Showcase 56 available here. It’s a much better…uh…showcase of Psycho-Pirate II (and his legacy status) than this ASC story was. Plus, it has this wonderful line from Doctor Fate: “He isn’t the only one who knows the hypothalamus and the septal region of the brain controls emotions!”

(The issue appears in Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 1, which apparently hasn’t received the digital treatment.)

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Yeah I really wanted Showcase 56 but it just wasn’t to be. If you’ve read it @AlexanderKnox please feel free to give a run down of the issue. I’m going to attempt to buy Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups from Amazon just to read it myself. I will however go back and read those All Star Comics issues you linked and if others want to do the same that would be great too.

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Showcase #56 Recap by Alexander Knox of the Gotham Globe

"Perils of the Psycho-Pirate! Part 1"

Doctor Fate and his wife are up to some archaeology and discover a set of Medusa masks. We’re informed that “turning to stone” was an over-literal translation of a much simpler concept: being emotionally overwhelmed. (Let’s just ignore the obvious contradictions with other DC stories that mention or feature Medusa.)

Hourman has funded the expedition, so he puts on a social gathering to show them off. His fiancee is manipulated by Psycho-Pirate II to steal the masks. (The villain attends the party and activates the greed mask.) Once the effects wear off, she is overwhelmed with shame.

We then get Psycho-Pirate II’s origin. He met the original Pirate in a prison cell, and the dying villain taught him how to manipulate emotions. He also informed his successor about the Medusa masks and how to use irradiated gas to activate them. (We’re told that he knew about them through “research.” Just go with it.)

In the present, Pirate II places the masks on a wall beside a set of torches that release the gas. His face then begins imitating each mask’s expression, and as a result, he gains the ability to control other people’s emotions by waving his hand in front of his face and imitating an expression from one of the masks.

Psycho-Pirate tests out this ability via a bank robbery in Gotham City. Going in sans costume, he sparks insatiable curiosity in everyone over a newspaper so that they’ll ignore his gang’s criminal activities. Doctor Fate, who has been searching in vain for the magical masks with his crystal ball, sees what is happening with said ball and foils the robbery.

The Pirate becomes worried that his men haven’t left the bank and goes in to investigate. Upon spotting Doctor Fate, he uses a series of facial expressions to mess with the hero’s head and cause him to think he is battling some of his old enemies. When he finally snaps out of it, the crooks are gone.

"Perils of the Psycho-Pirate! Part 2"

Hourman takes his superhero Viagra and reflects upon how his fiancee is so ashamed that she has called off the engagement. He investigates the bank robbery and tracks down Psycho-Pirate at an exterior art display. Hourman knocks him down and shakes his gang out of their Mercedes convertible, but when Hourman goes back to apprehend the villain, the Pirate puts on a friendly face. Hourman courteously helps the Pirate steal some art.

"Perils of the Psycho-Pirate! Part 3"

Doctor Fate found Psycho-Pirate’s newspaper at the crime scene. Since the villain had touched the object, Fate could use it to track him. Doctor Fate discovers Hourman recovering from his own mind manipulation, and the two follow a magical trail of cloud arrows to Psycho-Pirate’s “seacoast mansion.” Lacking any consideration for their quarry’s property rights, they magically drill their way in through the roof.

Psycho-Pirate’s goons attack them with a needle, a water gun, a pizza, and a handheld electric fan. Why? Because it plays on the heroes’ phobias, which Psycho-Pirate just happens to know. Maybe the former Pirate told him? (Again, just go with it.) Fate and Hourman come up with the obvious solution: fight the guys who are playing on the other hero’s fears.

By this point, Hourman’s hour is up, but he’s hoping no one will notice. The heroes beat the crooks, but Psycho-Pirate (now in his ridiculous costume, by the way) activates every mask on the wall. The heroes go through a gamut of emotions and turn on each other (even insulting each other’s costumes!). Psycho-Pirate walks up and decks Hourman once the two heroes are too worn out to do anything.

Now we’ve reached the best moment of the issue, when Psycho-Pirate turns to the audience and tells us all about the real-world science behind his emotional manipulation. The editor of the issue backs him up in a footnote, citing actual researchers from Norway, Tulane, and Yale by name! But now we find out that Doctor Fate can fight back by pure, emotionless reflex, since he too knows the brain research behind the Medusa masks’ power!

After sticking a magical mask over Psycho-Pirate’s face, Fate talks to the revived Hourman and tells him that he was pulling punches during their fight because he knew that the Cialis had worn off. Also, Doctor Fate was apparently faking his emotions during the fight, even though it meant that he couldn’t access his magical powers. Okay, whatever.

Anyway, the issue ends with Doctor Fate helping out Hourman with his lady troubles. Hourman reveals to his fiancee that he is, well, Hourman, and Fate is there to back up his story. And with that, the wedding is back on. The end.

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Thanks a bunch @AlexanderKnox for that summary.

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I think we need a DCYou show where @AlexanderKnox just goes around summing up comics to people. And spreading the word on the joys of super-Viagra.

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I never even thought of Miraclo like that but I suppose it is super-Viagra. :thinking:

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Here are my Week 2 answers.

I think his only other motivation was to have the chance to commit as many crimes as possible once the heroes were removed from the equation. Hayden doesn’t really strike me as the type to really care about anything beyond his own gains here. I doubt he cares about the bigger picture here at all or what it could mean for his earth as a whole.

I think his usual methods were a waste of time here. I understand why he would have wanted to take down Hourman on his own without help from Ultra-Humanite but using the Psycho Prism would have been faster.

I liked the Psycho Prism though. When your powers depend on being able to look at someone in the face its helpful in instances when they try to hide.