The Box (Astro City) with his puppet

The Box

(Astro City)


The Box appeared in an early story in the notable Astro City comics series, by Kurt Busiek. This profile S P O I L S this cool material, which you prolly should read without being spoiled.

Context can also be found by first reading the Jack-in-the-Box character profile.


  • Real Name: Jerome Johnson.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Zachary Johnson (Jack-in-the-Box II, father), Tamra Dixon (mother).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Presumably a future Astro City.
  • Height: ~7’ Weight: ~400 lbs?
  • Eyes: Mechanical Hair: Bald


Powers and Abilities

The Box is a large, powerful man who was turned into a cyborg. He has low-superhuman strength, stretching legs, the ability to absorb electricity, and presumably some vision powers.

Another asset is the Justice Jacky, a jack-in-the-box grafted on The Box’s left shoulder in lieu of an arm. This maniacal, bloodthirsty little imp appears to be an autonomous android, though it remains tethered to the Box.

The Jacky can somehow produce endless weapons from within its box. A submachinegun , harpoon gun and what may have been a flamethrower were seen. But it prefers odd melee weapons such as scissors, gavels, chainsaws, paired curved knives, a bat, etc. which it wields with considerable speed and accuracy.


The Box is the psychotic son of Jack-in-the-Box (Zack Johnson) in a possible future. Johnson died while his wife Tamra Dixon was still pregnant, and his son only learned about his father’s secret identity when he was 12.

The Box and his Justice Jacky

Apparently, this future was a crime-ridden, impoverished, brutal dystopia à la Robocop. The youth obsessed over being a killer vigilante as The Box, seeing this as his legacy from the crime-fighting Jack-in-the-Box. He mutilated himself to install cybernetic enhancement. But despite successive enhancements he remained outgunned.

Deciding that this was the fault of his father for not having trained him, The Box somehow travelled back in time to pass judgement on the Jack-in-the-Box. The chronophysical  window of opportunity was narrow, though – and he wasn’t the only traveller to aim for it.


The Box is a muscular African-American bloke, extensively mutilated by cybernetic surgery. His right eye has been replaced by a “pop-out” telescoping prosthesis. His left arm has been replaced by the robotic Justice Jacky. His right arm is almost entirely concealed by a mass of intersecting cables.

Both legs have been removed below the knee, replaced with telescoping robotic limbs similar in construction to Jack-in-the-Box’s “footapults”. But these are more stilt-like than spring-like.

His only costume is a red and green striped swimming suit in the 1920s “bather” style.

His voice is technologically altered.


The Box is psychotic, desperate and obsessed by his war against crime. He seems to consider himself the only lawful authority facing an endless ocean of crime. Perhaps his dystopic future is completely corrupt, or perhaps he’s delusional and the persons he fights aren’t actually criminal.

In his view he’s a self-sacrificing hero who holds against impossible odds and is fully justified in acting as a judge, jury and executioner.

The Box is a casual killer with a self-confidence problem, and clearly isn’t sane. None of this is helped by the nigh-demonic android replacing his right arm, who just keeps screaming legal-sounding condemnations (or just about death). If The Box is the judge and prosecution, the Jacky is apparently the Sergeant-at-Arms (and vaguely a court clerk).

The Box will always be happy to shout, discourse, expound and ramble.


“I am the Box ! And more — I am your SON — whom you failed !”

“I’m *not* crazy ! I AM your son — I am ! And I’m as good as you are ! I’m *better* ! BETTER !”

“Run, criminal, run ! But justice is inexorable !”

The Box : “An accomplice ! Aiding and abetting !”
Justice Jacky (emerging from its box) : “Guilty ! Guilty !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

The Box

Dex: 04 Str: 07 Bod: 06 Motivation: Psychopathic
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 04 Occupation: Vigilante
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 013 HP: 035

Energy Absorption: 08, Growth: 01, Running: 05, Stretching: 02, Telescopic Vision: 03, Thermal Vision: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers (as well as APs of STR and BODY past 04) are cybernetic in nature and can be targeted by some specialised attacks.
  • Energy Absorption only affects electricity – but absorbed APs heal Bashing damage to BODY.
  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Stretching only affects Box’s legs, and can’t be used for defense.

Charisma (Intimidation): 04, Gadgetry: 06

Expertise (Electrical power systems), Pet (Justice Jacky), Misc.: The Box is from a technologically advanced future.

Catastrophic Rage, Serious Irrational Hatred of Crime, Serious Psychological Instability, Strange Appearance.

Justice Jacky [DEX 05 STR 05 BODY 06, Flame project: 05, Omni-Arm: 08, Projectile Weapons: 05, Weaponry (Omni-Arm): 07].

By Bryant Berggren and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Kurt Busiek’s Astro City.