This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog will take a look at the very early stories of the DC Comics superheroine called the Black Orchid.
ADVENTURE COMICS Vol 1 #428 (August 1973)
Title: Black Orchid
Villains: Corrupt politicians making their lone appearance.
NOTE: Black Orchid’s origin was just vaguely hinted at for years, but for the sake of streamlined storytelling I’m starting off with it. Susan Linden, an adventurous young woman, roamed the world for a few years, working at a variety of jobs.
While working as a blackjack dealer in a casino, she met wealthy Carl Thorne and the two dated, then married. Eventually, Susan realized that Carl was a black-market arms dealer and reported him to the authorities.
Ms. Linden sought shelter with her old school boyfriend from years earlier – brilliant scientist Philip Sylvian, an expert at botanical science. Carl Thorne’s thugs tracked Susan to Sylvian’s place and mortally wounded her.
With no other hope for Susan Linden’s survival, Philip used Susan’s dying body and harnessed life-force, combining them with his latest botanical experiments in plant/ animal hybrids. The result was a new life-form which looked like Susan but whose physiology was more plantlike than human.
Susan Linden’s transformed self now possessed superpowers which she used to fight the forces of evil as the costumed superheroine called Black Orchid. Her wood-hard muscles gave her massive super-strength as well as greater than human reflexes and agility. She could fly and her hybrid physiology made her immune to bullets. Continue reading