Harold “Hal” Jordan was the son of Brooklyn District Attorney Larry Jordan and Helen Jordan. Larry Jordan was the World War II hero and All-Star Squadron member known as Air Wave. When Hal was three years old, his house was broken into by a criminal, Joe Parsons, who held Helen and Hal at gunpoint. Parsons was seeking revenge against Larry for sentencing him to 20 years in jail. Larry, as Air Wave, learned about the break-in over police scanner, and rushed home. Trying to protect Hal and Helen, Larry was gunned down by Parsons, who escaped. Helen, taking over the guide of Air Wave, hunted Parsons down and brought him to justice. In honor of Larry, Helen vowed to allow Hal to become Air Wave when he became old enough.
On Hal’s seventeenth birthday, his mother Helen gave him his father’s Air Wave costume, as well as all the notes that Larry had written on the development of the costume. Honoring his father, Hal donned the suit and became the third Air Wave. Helen let Hal loose in the world, where he made a name for himself as Air Wave.
The third Air Wave, Hal Jordan, was the creation of writer Denny O’Neill, with input from Silver Age great Julius Schwartz. This new Air Wave debuted in DC Comics’ Green Lantern #100, published January 1978. In the anniversary story, Air Wave Hal Jordan would meet Green Lantern Hal Jordan, his cousin, who would teach him how to be a super-hero. While heavily influenced by the Golden Age Air Wave design, small modifications were made by artists Alex Saviuk and Vince Colletta. Air Wave would go on to be featured in the pages of Green Lantern for the next year, where he would learn (and often quote) lessons on super-heroics from Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Black Canary.
From the pages of Green Lantern, Air Wave would transition over to a backup story run in Action Comics. There, he would also gain a love interest, Karen Peterson, and would make use of the various lessons he learned from his cousin and his friends. The Action Comics run, which began in issue #488, would be written by Bob Rozakis and illustrated by Saviuk. To coincide with his run in Action Comics, Hal would gain an origin story, of sorts, in the pages of DC Comics Presents #40, penned by Rozakis again, and once again illustrated by Saviuk and Colletta. This story told the death of his father, and his mother temporarily becoming Air Wave. Air Wave shared his Action Comics backup spot with Atom and Aquaman.
In the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Air Wave would get a costume redesign from yellow and green to yellow and blue at the hands of George Perez. The design was inspired by the animated character Black Vulcan, who appeared in the Super Friends television cartoon, complete with a trail of lightning following him.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Air Wave reappeared in the stories of John Ostrander, who at the time was writing Firestorm and Suicide Squad. Air Wave returned as Maser, and became a member of the evil Sunderland Corp’s Captains of Industry. The design for the new Maser identity was done by artist Tom Mandrake, and during the time Hal preferred to be called Larry, his middle name, in honor of his father. During this time, Jordan (as Maser) participated in the War of the Gods crossover event.
Writers David Goyer and Geoff Johns brought Air Wave back during their run of JSA. The two restored Air Wave to his pre-Maser identity, and returned his blue-and-yellow costume. During this time, Air Wave was a reserve member of the JSA, popping up for guest appearances in the series. Johns also brought Air Wave into the pages of Infinite Crisis, where the hero would sacrifice himself in issue #4.
Key Story Arcs
Learning from the Hard-Traveling Heroes
While traveling in radio-wave form, Air Wave was detected by Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. At this point in his history, Green Lantern was traveling across the country with friends Green Arrow and Black Canary. At the time, Green Lantern was a trucker, and his convoy was recently ambushed. After dealing with the thieves, Green Lantern detected an unusual signal, and used his power ring to make Air Wave materialize. Not realizing who Green Lantern was, Air Wave attacked. But then, Green Lantern recognized Air Wave’s costume from his Golden Age predecessor. The two heroes teamed up against the villainous Master-Tek, where Air Wave deduced Green Lantern’s identity as Hal Jordan. Air Wave let him in on the coincidence: that he too was Hal Jordan, and that they were cousins. Air Wave let Green Lantern know he was heading out west to meet up with the Jordans in California, who were actually GL’s brothers. Green Lantern decided to take his newfound cousin under his wing and teach him how to be a super-hero. Air Wave joined Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Green Lantern’s alien pet Itty as they traveled across the United States, helping people less fortunate.
Over the hands-on training, the three heroes were constantly throwing tips to Air Wave, which he would memorize and quote back to himself later in his career. At first, Green Lantern refused to let Air Wave perform super-heroics, often leaving him to care for Itty, such as the time GL went up against Hector Hammond, or the time when an alien Lucan battle fleet arrived in Earth orbit to capture a Taupin seeking asylum. However, the three elder heroes soon began training Air Wave on how to best use his powers, often at the estates of Carol Ferris. Early on, Air Wave teamed up with Green Arrow to stop Professor Ezra Drek’s thermaquadric energy experiment, helped the three heroes protect a transmogrified Itty, and fought alongside the three against the yellow-hued Yellow Peril skyjacking gang. After much training, Green Lantern felt that Air Wave was ready to fly solo. Air Wave decided to travel to Texas, to meet up with his other cousins: Green Lantern’s brother Jack and Jack’s wife Jan.
Air Wave’s Adventures
Air Wave flew on a commercial plane from California to Texas, where he used his Air Wave identity to stop the flight from being hijacked. Once in Dallas, he settled in with his cousin Jack Jordan and his family: wife Jan, and twin children Jennifer and Jason. He was also introduced to the twins’ babysitter, Karen Peterson, with whom he struck up a romantic relationship. During his first date with Karen, Hal needed to transform into Air Wave to stop a locomotive-based criminal Casey Jones. Unfortunately, Air Wave gave himself away to Karen by having the same after-shave that Hal had on earlier. Karen later secretly supports Air Wave, including a time when she remade his uniform after it being ripped by the Jordan twins.
Despite this, Air Wave settled in to become a hero of Texas. In his secret identity, Hal Jordan attended Taylor High School as a senior, eventually graduating to attend Texas University. He faced his share of super-villains, teaming up with the Atom to defeat Sunspotter, Red Dart, the Calculator, and a businessman who was murdering atomic scientists. Solo, he defeated the Cosmic Corsair and alien Agent Arrhynyr who was out to destroy Earth. When he was teleported to an alien water world to rescue one of its octopus-like inhabitants, Hal contacted cousin Green Lantern, who brought in Aquaman to help. Air Wave also teamed up with Superman to defeat Parasite and Casey Jones. Air Wave’s missions brought him to the attention of the Justice League, and one of Air Wave’s trophies was placed in the Justice League Satellite.
At some point, Air Wave’s costume went under a redesign, changing from the green-and-yellow costume of his father’s to a blue-and-yellow design. While in Texas, Air Wave was experimenting with a ham radio signal to his cousin Green Lantern in California, when he encountered an electrical storm. Investigating the storm, Air Wave was zapped and transformed into an electrical connection. Amnesiac, he was absorbed into Berkeley’s ATM network, until rescued by Green Lantern and rookie D.E.O. agent Cameron Chase.
The Crisis on Infinite Earths
Air Wave was one of the many heroes that took part in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Air Wave was amongst those teleported to the Monitor’s satellite, and joined the heroes of multiple Earths in protecting the planet from the breakdown of space and time.
In the wake of the Crisis, the history of the DC Universe changed. In this new history, Air Wave’s father never came from Earth-2. In addition, instead of Air Wave’s mother giving her son her blessings to travel the country, we discover that Air Wave’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of her husband, and that was what caused young Hal to live with Jack and Jan Jordan.
Hal began to notice some fluctuations in the use of his powers. Thinking the problem was in his helmet, he approached the Sunderland Corporation for help in repairing it. The Sunderland Corp discovered that Air wave’s abilities were actually triggered by his meta-gene, and his helmet was just allowing him to focus and control it. Sunderland entered Air Wave into its new Metamorphosis Project, designed to focus meta-humans role in the corporate environment. Supervised by Dr. Moon, the scientists at Sunderland trained Air Wave in the use of his inherent powers. They also miniaturized the circuitry in Air Wave’s helmet, allowing it to fit into a headband. Hal Jordan was renamed Maser, and became the first graduate of the Metamorphosis Project.
Maser was put on loan to the Captains of Industry, a super-hero team sponsored by various corporations, and run by Dr. Simon LeGreive, the head of IMHS (The Institute for Meta-Human Studies). His first mission as Maser was to bring down Firestorm. At this point in history, Firestorm had lost his human identity, becoming a fire elemental that sought vengeance against humanity for polluting the Earth. Firestorm targeted Vandermeer Steel, and Maser was sent to stop him. The two fought to a standstill, which resulted in both parties severely wounded. Maser was rushed to the hospital, where he recovered.
Maser resumed leading the Captains of Industry, which grew to include Catalyst, the first Major Victory and Firehawk. When Earth’s sun started acting erratic, the U.S. Government requested that LaGreive send Maser to investigate. Maser returned with dire warning: Brimstone was set to emerge from the sun after being trapped there by Firestorm, and he was bent to destroy Earth. LeGreive and the Captains of Industry recruited Firestorm to aid Firehawk and defeat Brimstone. When the War of the Gods broke out, the Captains of Industry and the Suicide Squad were recruited by Black Adam. Adam learned that Circe was one of the main antagonists of the war, and that her base of operations was in the South American jungle. Adam led the Captains of Industry and the Suicide Squad to destroy Circe’s base, but the goddess escaped.
While with the Captains of Industry, Maser was kidnapped by the terrorist Kobra. He and his cult kept Maser in a faraday cage, and used him as a power source for a device they created out of stolen S.T.A.R. Labs technology. This device allowed them to take control of any electromagnetic device around the world. Kobra announced his intentions by destroying a passenger airplane, with Terri Rothstein (mother of Atom Smasher) aboard. Learning of his kidnapping, D.E.O. Director Bones contacted the JSA and requested they locate Kobra’s base and disable him. Black Canary led Atom Smasher, Doctor Mid-Nite, Sand, Starman, and Wildcat on the mission, where they met the new Mr. Terrific on a similar mission. Sand and Mr. Terrific discovered Maser, but also discovered the reason for his kidnapping: Maser’s teammate on the Captains of Industry, Catalyst, was under the employ of Kobra. The two tricked Kobra, and freed Maser. Maser then went about destroying the satellites that Kobra used to implement his plan. Now freed from Kobra, Hal decided not to return to the Sunderland Corp, and instead returned to the identity of Air Wave.
With the JSA
As Air Wave again, Hal became a reserve member of the JSA. When the alien Imperiex came to Earth to destroy the planet, Air Wave answered President Luthor’s call and joined the JSA in the formation of a new All-Star Squadron during the Our Worlds at War crossover. During the mission, Mr. Terrific outfitted the All-Star Squadron with communicators which allowed them direct contact with Air Wave, no matter what the distance. The new All-Stars traveled to Imperiex’s base world, where they found him being powered by the captured planet Daxam. The All-Stars freed Daxam, and shut down Imperiex’s home base and probe creation system.
When the JSA went up against the combined might of Eclipso, Mordru and Obsidian, Air Wave made use of his new JSA communicator and called in the reserves. Air Wave served to coordinate the global teams, as each group fought against their respective threats.
At one point, Air Wave was one of many metahumans kidnapped by “Sovereign” Brusaw. Brusaw sought to build his own metahuman religious army, and kidnapped and brainwashed a wide array of heroes and villains, including Agent Liberty, Air Wave, Bumblebee, Claw, Geo-Force, Flamebird, Plasmus and Plastique. Vixen broke free, and together with the Birds of Prey (Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle), freed the brainwashed heroes and stopped Sovereign Brusaw.
Infinite Crisis and His Death
During the Infinite Crisis, Air Wave became aware of a problem when he was detecting hundreds of thousands of distress signals from space. These signals were from ships dying from the universe’s stars being shifted around by Superboy Prime. The transmissions were making him insane. His mind clouded, Air Wave transmitted himself to JSA headquarters, where he arrived unconscious. The JSA called in his cousin, Green Lantern, to help diagnose Air Wave’s problem. Air Wave eventually awoke, stunning the JSA and fleeing. Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Alan Scott gave chase, and the three arrived at New Cronos, where Donna Troy revealed the danger the universe was facing.
Air Wave joined Donna Troy’s mission to find out the cause of the universe’s restructuring, alongside dozens of other heroes, including members of the Green Lantern Corps, the L.E.G.I.O.N. and the Omega Men. They discovered the center of the universe was now moved away from Oa and to the Polaris star system, and the resultant deaths triggered a War between Rann and Thanagar. The heroes had three missions: stop the Rann-Thanagar War, discover who changed the center of the universe, and save as many beings as possible from the resultant energy wave that was radiating out from the new center of the universe. As the heroes fought on multiple fronts, Air Wave realized that the energy wave was moving faster than the distress transmissions, meaning that thousands of aliens would die without sending their last words to their loved ones. Air Wave sacrificed his body, and his life, by converting himself to energy and splitting himself in thousands of directions at once, ensuring that the final transmissions reached their destinations.
Air Wave was brought back as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night. He was the one responsible for channeling all the Lantern's distress signals from being received. He was one of many Black Lanterns who advanced towards John Stewart above Earth's atmosphere. Air Wave bounced all the signals apparently to "a little old lady's radio in Omaha." He, along with the massive wave of Black Lanterns approaching Earth, was intercepted by the combined forces of all the Lantern Corps members, with Guy Gardner leading the pack. He attacked Gardner during the fight until the teamwork of Indigo Tribesmen Munk and Green Lantern Kilowog severed his ring's connection. He is presumed dead once more.
Powers and Abilities
While it was originally thought that Air Wave’s abilities came from his father’s helmet, research by the Sunderland Corporation revealed that Hal Jordan inherited the meta-gene, possibly from his father’s super-hero career. Jordan required the circuitry in the helmet to focus his powers, however.
Jordan could change his molecular structure, transforming himself into radio waves. As radio waves, Jordan could hijack existing radio or television waves. In this state, he could exist in a one-dimensional or two-dimensional state. He could use items like radios, telephones, and televisions as modes of transportation, converting to energy at one point and travel through phone or cable lines to another exit point. He could also patch into those transmissions, listening to them and rerouting them. He could travel on radio waves being transmitted through the air, allowing him to fly even while not in energy form, though he would sometimes leave an electrical train behind him.
After training at the Sunderland Corporation, Jordan learned how to control and generate other areas of the electromagnetic spectrum, including x-rays, gamma rays, microwave rays, and infrared rays. Jordan could generate microwave blasts, superheating their targets.
At one point, after a hit in the head, Air Wave gained the powers to use radio waves through his helmet to see a person’s thoughts. However, he lost the power shortly after.
Height: 5’ 7”
Weight: 140 lbs
Weapons and Equipment
When Air Wave began his career, he used the second-generation version of his father’s helmet. Air Wave believed that this version of the helmet enabled him to manipulate and transform himself into radio waves. However, it was later revealed that this helmet focused and triggered his innate metahuman abilities. For a time, Air Wave did not use a helmet to focus his powers, but rather a miniaturized version of its circuitry embedded in his headband. However, Air Wave later resumed the use of the helmet out of respect to his father, rather than because of his need to use it to channel his powers.
While a JSA reservist, Air Wave carried a JSA communications device. This device allowed Air Wave to use his abilities to directly communicate with any other JSA reservist, no matter what the distance. These devices were designed by Mr. Terrific.