Former Occupations: Tribal Chief, Pharaoh, King, Warlord, Royal Adviser, Court Physician... you name it.
Group Membership: Illuminati, Tartarus
Former Group Membership: Injustice Society of the World
First Appearance: Green Lantern #10 (Winter 1943)
See Also: Velocity 9
In prehistoric times, a meteorite struck near two cro-magnon tribesmen, Klarn and Vandar Adg, bathing them in radiation. Vandar Adg became immortal, free to exercise his dark desires for an eternity, while Klarn was to be reincarnated over and over to fight evil as the Immortal Man (not to be confused with Resurrection Man).
Vandar Adg was not content to merely watch civilization grow up around him; he needed to shape it. He came upon the city of Atlantis, a technically advanced magic-oriented civilization in a time when most people were still hunter-gatherers, and began collecting allies who sought power and wealth. They worked toward the fall of Atlantean civilization and the rise of one which they could control. Thus was born the Illuminati.
Over the years, Adg would rule many civilizations, sometimes openly, as when he ruled Egypt as the Pharaoh Khafre (he also claims to have been Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan, but these have yet to be substantiated), other times behind the throne as influential court advisers to leaders such as Napoleon and Bismarck. Throughout it all, he would manipulate those realms he did not directly control through the pervasive influence of the Illuminati.
In recent decades, taking the name Vandal Savage, he has had to turn an increasing amount of effort to keeping the world’s super-heroes from interfering with his plans. From early clashes with the original Green Lantern and the Justice Society of America in the 1940s (which led him to form the Injustice Society of the World) to battles against three generations of Flashes, the Justice League, and the Titans, Savage will use either sorcery or science, depending on what best suits the task.
One of his newer tactics has been control through drugs; his production of Velocity 9, a highly-addictive super-speed drug, nearly gained him control over New York through addicting stockbrokers, lawyers, and others who keep the economy running (Flash #12–18, 1988). Some time later, he decided to eliminate the entire drug trade by flooding the market, driving the street price down below profitability. Most recent has been a refinement of Velocity 9, called Velocity 10.
Savage’s immortality has waned from time to time. Finding he had begun to age, he tricked the first and second Flashes into recovering the original meteor for him (Flash #215, 1972). In addition to restoring his youth, he also regained lost superhuman strength and some of his sorcery. Later, after a traitorous underling injected him with Velocity 9, he started aging rapidly. Luring the third Flash to his headquarters, he shot his enemy in the heart at point-blank range. The Flash was kept alive and healed by the Kilg%re, and he brought the Immortal Man’s latest incarnation to what appeared to be a final confrontation.
Savage survived, of course, somehow rejuvinated once again. He uses his myriad descendents as spare parts, kidnapping one whenever an organ or limb is damaged beyond repair (although he has dabbled in cloning techniques to generate replacement organs), and renews his powers by drinking his enemies’ blood. He continues to scheme for control in the modern world, sometimes alone or through the Illuminati, other times allying himself with others. All indications are that he will live for thousands of years more, though his hair will go white by the 853rd Century (DC One Million, 1988).Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Primary Sources
- Art Credits
- Profiles in Print
- Golden-Age Appearances
- Silver-Age Appearances
- Legacy-Era Appearances
- “Persistence of Vision,” Flash (second series) #48 (March 1991), William Messner-Loebs
- “Time Masters,” (1990 miniseries), Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner
- “Death of an Immortal,” Flash (first series) #215 (May 1972), Len Wein
- “Six Degrees,” Arsenal #1–4 (1998 miniseries), Devin Grayson
- Flash (second series) #1 (June 1987) - Jackson Guice and Larry Mahlstedt
- Who’s Who in the DC Universe #25 (March 1987)
- Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #4 (November 1990)
- DCU Villains Secret Files #1 (April 1999)
- JLA–Z #3 (January 2004)
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
- All Star Comics #37 (October–November 1947): “The Injustice Society of the World,” Robert Kanigher
Unlike the Silver and Modern Age lists, I have only a partial index of Golden-Age appearances. This list may be incomplete.
- Flash #137 (June 1963): “Vengeance of the Immortal Villain,” Gardner Fox
- Flash #215 (May 1972): “Death of an Immortal!” Len Wein
- Flash #235 (August 1975): “Vandal Savage—Wanted Dead and Alive!” Cary Bates
- Flash #300 (August 1981): “1981—A Flash Odyssey,” Cary Bates (cameo)
- Flash #1–2 (June–July 1987): “Hearts of Stone,” Mike Baron
- Flash #12–14 (May–July 1988): “Velocity 9,” “Savage Vandalism,” and “Wipe Out,” Mike Baron
- Flash #15–18 (August–November 1988): “Hitting Bottom” and “The Adventures of Speed McGee,” William Messner-Loebs (behind the scenes only)
- Flash #48–50 (March–May 1991): “Persistence of Vision,” “Savage Season,” and “The Fastest Man—Alive!” William Messner-Loebs
- Flash #124 (April 1997): “Quicker Than the Eye,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn (cameo)
- Flash #228–230 (January–March 2006): “Finish Line, Parts 2–4,” Joey Cavalieri