Will Everett was an excellent athlete, going so far as to win a multitude of awards at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. However, upon his return to the U.S., he faced many of the same challengers other African-American youths had in finding a job. He eventually found a position as a janitor for scientist Terry Curtis, who was experimenting in atomic power. Everett was kidnapped by thugs of the Ultra-Humanite, and was used as the subject of a device designed by Humanite and Dr. Curtis. The device transformed Everett, giving him the ability to become any material he touched.
Curtis (calling himself Cyclotron) and Everett (calling himself Amazing-Man) were then blackmailed by the Ultra-Humanite, when the Humanite captured Curtis’ baby daughter Terri. Humanite had the two blackmailed henchman, as well as Deathbolt and Solomon Grundy, fetch powerful the artifacts that he needed to transfer his mind into the body of the All-Star Squadron member Robotman, all as part of his War on America. Amazing-Man was forced to fight the Atom and Dr. Fate when he broke into Fate’s Tower, then later fight the entire All-Star Squadron. Eventually, both Cyclotron and Amazing-Man turned on Humanite, once Cyclotron and the second Firebrand saved baby Terri. Amazing-Man, Cyclotron, and the All-Star Squadron defeated Ultra-Humanite’s plans, and Amazing-Man tried to return to his family in Detroit. However, his life as a hero was not yet behind him.
Amazing-Man was the creation of Roy Thomas, writer of the All-Star Squadron. During the Bronze Age, the stable of DC’s Golden Age heroes was turned over into Thomas’ care, where he went back and created a retroactive continuity for the characters. Thomas created the All-Star Squadron, a retcon super-hero team created during World War II featuring every DC hero published at the time.
Over the course of the series, though, Thomas created a few new characters to help round out the team. One of those characters was Amazing-Man, which Thomas used to explore the racially-charged times of America during the war. Amazing-Man started as the unwilling villain in his first appearance in All-Star Squadron #23 (July 1983), drawn by series artist Jerry Ordway, but later became a full member of the team. For inspiration, Thomas drew upon a real 1940’s hero: Centaur Comics hero Amazing-Man. In homage, Thomas named his Amazing-Man Will Everett, after the Centaur Comics’ Amazing-Man’s creator Bill Everett. Amazing-Man had a secret origin vignette in his first appearance, by Thomas and artists Rick Hoberg and Mike Machlan.
Amazing-Man would continue to appear in the All-Star Squadron and its spin-off Young All-Stars, all penned by Thomas. After the All-Stars were cancelled, Amazing-Man disappeared until the reintroduction of his grandson, the second Amazing-Man, in the pages of Justice League America.
Key Story Arcs
Versus the Real American
After Ultra-Humanite’s defeat, Amazing-Man returned to his home of Detroit. He proposed to his sweetheart Rachel Lindsay, and purchased a new home with his parents. However, as America entered 1942, Detroit was a racially-charged city. The Everett family had plans to leave their community of Paradise Valley, but they were thwarted by white supremacists. Members of the Ku Klux Klan were taking African-American members of society and burning them at the cross. One such group stampeded Will Everett, knocking him unconscious before he could defend himself. Everett found himself tied to a wooden cross with chains about to be burned alive. A member of the Klan was video-taping the event, and captured the surprise when, instead of being burned, Everett transformed himself into the iron of his chains and broke free.
The video grabbed the attention of the All-Star Squadron, and a group of them (Firebrand, Hourman, Johnny Quick, Liberty Belle, and Robotman) traveled to Detroit to investigate. They discovered that Will and his father were planning a protest, one that was attached by the agents of the Real American, a costumed white-supremacist. A race riot broke out between the residents of Peaceful Valley and the agents of the Real American. The All-Stars arrived, trying to calm both sides, but found that the Real American was able to manipulate people’s emotions to keep the fight raging. During the fight, police beat and arrested Will’s father, and Will was defeated one-on-one with the Real American.
As the riots flared up again, All-Star Squadron members Green Lantern and Hawkman traveled to Detroit to help out their teammates. However, the members of the All-Star Squadron found themselves under the sway of the words of the Real American; all but Robotman, that is. Something with Robotman’s build prevented Real American’s abilities from affecting him. Robotman freed Amazing-Man and snapped the All-Star Squadron out of their fugue state. The team defeated Real American, who was revealed to be a robot created by the Monitor and controlled by a local diner operator. With the immediate threat gone, Amazing-Man decided to join the All-Star Squadron, to show America an example of equality between the races.
With the All-Star Squadron
Amazing-Man served a short time with the All-Star Squadron before the war’s end. During his first mission, he defended the All-Star’s base of operations, the Perisphere, against an attack by Axis agents Prince Daka, Kung, Samurai, and Tsunami. When the Crisis on Infinite Earths hit Earth-2’s 1942, Amazing-Man fought alongside other All-Stars against the Anti-Monitor’s plans. Amazing-Man also served as a mentor to the Young All-Stars, even playing baseball with them once at Yankee Stadium.
After the war, Amazing-Man’s identity was revealed to the world by J. Edgar Hoover. Though he received numerous death-threats against his life, Everett continued to maintain the Amazing-Man identity, becoming involved with the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It was Amazing-Man that brought Martin Luther King’s murderer John Ruby to justice.
Eventually, Amazing-Man retired the Amazing-Man identity, though he kept his costume as a souvenir. He settled down in Detroit, and had at least one son and one daughter. His son Will Jr. developed similar abilities as his, but decided against being a super-hero. Will Jr. enrolled in the Army, and was killed in the Vietnam War. Will Jr., though, had a son, Will Everett III, who also gained his abilities to become the second Amazing-Man. Will Everett III died as a member of Justice League Europe. Will also had another grandson who inherited his abilities, Markus Clay, who also took the name Amazing-Man and fought in the southern U.S. As the third Amazing-Man, Clay served a short stint in the JSA before returning to the south.
When last seen, Will Everett was seen in intensive care in a hospital in Detroit. It is presumed that Will has died of cancer since then.
Powers and Abilities
Amazing-Man possessed the ability to transform himself into a living embodiment of any material he touched: from wood to radio waves. He gained the inherent abilities, powers, and weaknesses of that material; for instance, if he touched stone, then he would become as strong and hard as stone, but would also be susceptible to fracturing. Through unexplained means, Amazing-Man’s costume also transformed into whatever materials he touched as well.
In addition to his powers, Will Everett was an Olympic-award-winning athlete, having won multiple awards in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 185 lbs