- I am the Witness...and I must see that which I am doomed to see.
- -- Witness src
The Witness was Jewish born and raised and grew up to become a Chicago detective who accidentally shot an innocent man in the line of duty. After serving two years in prison, he ended up becoming a homeless derelict. Coming to his wits end he attempted to commit suicide. However, a mysterious voice told him it is not his time, and charged him with the task of seeing a tragedy about to occur beforehand. He must then watch the impending victim for several days to judge if the person deserves saving, in which case he would either try to prevent the tragedy, or simply witness the event without becoming involved. He then took on the costumed identity of the Witness to fight injustices and act as judge, jury and executioner as needed.
Early AdventuresThe Witness was involved in a handful of incidences in the Chicago area during the early 1940s. His first recorded activity was taking down the League of Blood a group of assassins led by the evil Natas. The Witness broke up the gang and sent Natas hurtling down a cliff to his death. Next the Witness discovered that mild mannered pawn shop owner Booie Dawdly was the mobster known as the Imp, breaking up his jewel theft operation that he ran out of his shop. Also around this time (briefly adopting a different costume) the Witness smashed up Vic Duval's illegal gambling ship.
World War II
By 1945 the Witness had joined the United States military to battle the Nazis in Europe during World War II. There he witnessed the atrocities at Auschwitz and vowed to avenge all those who died there. Returning to a nearby military camp he told all those there what he had witnessed, horrifying fellow hero Mister E who was also Jewish.
On April 25, 1945, Captain Wonder and other heroes participated in an attack on Berlin, Germany. He joined Blue Blade, Captain Wonder, Phantom Reporter, Fiery Mask, Laughing Mask, Mister E, Rockman, Mastermind Exello, Black Widow, Dynamic Man and the Electro in storming the headquarters of the S.S. to search for snipers. They walked into a trap set by Nazi agents and were gassed and placed into suspended animation to be experimented on later. However, the Soviets soon help beat back the Nazis and all those involved in the heroes captures were killed in action. Captain Wonder and the other heroes were then forgotten for many years....
... Until they were uncovered during a construction project in the 21st Century. Their bodies were recovered by the United States government who decided to revive the heroes in the hopes that they would represent the government. When they learned the truth they were offered to work with the government, the Witness and the others all agreed, becoming the group loosely referred to as the Twelve. The Witness and the others were placed in a government owned mansion to acclimatize themselves to the 21st Century and decide if they wanted to continue costumed heroics or not. The Witness mostly kept to himself, seldom speaking. He accompanied Fiery Mask to Flannerey's Irish Pub to learn that it had since changed into a bar called Cocktail 8 and catered to a mostly African-American clientèle. There they indulged the curiosity of the patrons until Fiery Mask prevented a drive by shooting in the parking lot. Later during a going away party for Mastermind Excello, the Witness made small talk with Mister E. E admitted with some shame to the Witness that he was Jewish, to which the Witness explained that he was as well, disgusted by Mister E's shame toward his heritage.
The Witness' unique abilities drew him out to a local diner to bare witness to another death. With time to kill, he had a cup of coffee and explained his origins to the waitress on staff. When she pointed out the arrival of a regular named Mr. Flint, the Witness recognized him as Herr Falkstein, a former guard at Auschwitz who managed escape capture during the war. The Witness changed into his costume and called out to the old man in his real name, distract the old man long enough to be run down by a city bus, killing him instantly. The following day the Witness was listening as Captain Wonder informed them that he got a job as a motivational speaker for inner city youth. This announcement was marred by the arrival of Dynamic Man who mocked Wonder to the point where they came to blows, but the fight was broken up by Fiery Mask.
The Witness was home on the night that a group of homosexual patrons at the Balls and Rails bar were murdered in secret by the Electro robot. On the night that Blue Blade was destined to die, the Witness and other members of the Twelve were gathered by Mastermind Excello to prepare for the coming tragedy. He was also present when Phantom Reporter revealed that it was Dynamic Man, controlling Electro who was responsible for the murders and narrowly avoided being buried alive when Dynamic Man caused the mansion to collapse. Following the destruction of Dynamic Man, the Witness was sought out by Nick Fury who took him into SHIELD as an agent, using his unique talents to eliminate those responsible for terrible crimes. He called the Phantom Reporter telling him that he found a place in this new world and that he could not be found and not look for him.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
The Witness possesses some sort of extra-sensory power that allows him to know when and where a crime will be committed, so that he can be present to witness its happening.
The Witness is a good hand-to-hand combatant.
- This Witness has no apparent connections to the character of the same name who surfaced briefly in 1949.
- His voice is described as whispery and ghost like.
- The Witness was created by writer Stan Lee, who wrote the stories under the pen name "S.T. Anley".
- 12 Appearances of Witness (WWII) (Earth-616)
- Images featuring Witness (WWII) (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Witness (WWII) (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Witness (WWII) (Earth-616)
- Witness at dccomics.com
- Witness at Wikipedia.org