11 min read


Syonide is an obscure DC Comics super-villain and hitman. He clashed with Black Lightning, one of the few African-American super-heroes with their own comic book, in 1978.

Syonide and his successor had a whole page about them in the 1985 of DC’s Who’s Who character encyclopaedia. Which made them look like handy antagonists for street-level stories.

He has no known tie to an obscure 1946 DC character of the same name.



  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Employee of The 100.
  • Base Of Operations: Unrevealed.
  • Height: 6’1” (1.85m). Weight: 175 lbs. (80 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Green. Hair: Orange.

Powers & Abilities

Syonide is an experienced professional hitman.

He’s also a hand-to-hand combat expert (albeit markedly under the level of Black Lightning). But he’s primarily a weapons specialist.

His speciality is manhunting – tracking people down, ambushing them and capturing them.

He boasted about having “mastered every known tracking skill”. Though he was presumably exaggerating, he seems to have a good track record as seen by the mob.

He knows how to use “truth serums” for interrogation.

Syonide (Black Lightning 1970s enemy) DC Comics

Other assets

His successes made him wealthy.

Syonide is assisted by two henchmen – the inept Steel-Fist Feeny and an unnamed, more competent kung fu guy.

The henchmen are mostly meant as a distraction. To smoke up prey and create a capture opportunity for Syonide.


Syonide carries weapons secreted upon his person. The known ones are :

  • An electrified whip. This whip cannot kill outright a sufficiently strong person (such as Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce)). But it was powerful enough to shock superhumans such as Geo-Force (Brion Markov). Assuming it’s the same design as the one later used by Syonide II.
  • Two slim knives resembling throwing blades. These are hidden in spring-loaded sheathes along his left forearm.
  • A strange-looking carbine, about which nothing is known.
  • A silent, precise dart pistol to deliver drugs. The impact feels like a wasp’s sting and can thus easily be missed in combat.
    When used against Black Lightning, the drug was both a knockout serum (though it felled Mr. Pierce within a dozen seconds, the effect lasted but a minute) and a will-weakening serum.
    This latter, improbable chemical makes the subject highly susceptible to suggestion. But only from a person who has taken a matching “will assertion serum”. Syonide used it to order Black Lightning to stop fighting, then to submit and follow him.

Powers ?

The set-up with the mind control serums is odd even by super-heroic comic book standards. One… drinks a serum to magically dominate somebody injected with another serum ?

Furthermore, these drugs were never used again, not even by the second Syonide, despite their obvious power. The Who’s Who hypothesise that they proved unreliable.

Our own No-Prize HypothesisA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole is that Syonide I actually bore the metageneA genetic source of super-powers in the DC Universe.. He had latent mind control abilities. He took a chemical to activate them for a short while, but could only get meaningful results if the target had been dosed by an interrogation drug beforehand to create susceptibility.

Being a No-Prize Hypothesis, this is *not* directly supported by the material. But it has everything go easier on the suspension of disbelief without contradicting observed facts.

Perhaps these chemicals are based on common narcotics. Which would explain how Syonide discovered his semi-active power.

Syonide (Black Lightning 1970s enemy) DC Comics face closeup and dart


During the 1970s, Syonide was a professional manhunter.

He worked for the nationwide criminal network The 100, and possibly other mobs, as a sort of bounty hunter.

He always delivered his targets alive. Usually to be tortured and executed by his clients.

Like Lightning

In 1978 Tobias Whale, the boss of the Metropolis branch of The 100, hired Syonide.

The 100 were having a major problem with the new costumed crime-fighter Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce). They wanted him gone.

Syonide determined that the tailor Peter Gambi had a link with Black Lightning. Capturing and interrogating the old man yielded enough information to set up an ambush with his henchmen.

Though Black Lightning clearly outclassed his helpers, Syonide prevailed by sniping Mr. Pierce with a drugged dart.

Killing in the name

When Tobias Whale came in, he grew annoyed by Syonide – who he sensed wasn’t a killer. Seeing this as abject cowardice, the terrifying Whale hit Syonide. He demanded that the manhunter kill Gambi and Lightning himself, within the hour.

Unable to murder people in cold blood, but knowing that The 100 would hunt him forever if he didn’t comply, Syonide only found one way out. He rigged one of his weapons to also kill the shooter when fired. When the time came to kill Black Lightning, he was thus slain when he pulled the trigger.

During the same split-second, Gambi leapt in front of Pierce. He thus saved Black Lightning’s life at the cost of his own.


A new Syonide later emerged, using similar skills, weapons and costume.

Syonide (Black Lightning 1970s enemy) DC Comics holding broken belt


Having orange hair is common in super-hero comic books. Alpha Flight’s Heather Hudson would be the traditional example (*where* the heck is High River ?).

(In the digital reissue of the comics, which are now used in our illustrations, Syonide has brown hair instead. I’ve kept listing the original orange from the printed-on-paper version. But perhaps the orange was a result of the ink aging.)

Syonide’s physique is particularly powerful in the first issue he appears in, but super-hero-standard by the next issue. Based on his Who’s Who height/weight the second take seems more accurate.

His disco-style costume just screams “1978”. Oh, I love the night life, I’ve got to boogie, on the disco ’round !

Pajamas (Black Lightning 1970s enemy) DC Comics

“Pajamas” the kung fu henchman.


Syonide saw himself as a sophisticated expert and Great White Hunter, with class.

He spoke using a needlessly elaborate vocabulary.

One also gets the impression that he came from money. Perhaps his name is a merger of “scion” and “cyanide”.

He was in for the money and the thrill of the hunt, and like most people wasn’t a murderer. He couldn’t bear to kill anyone or even watch somebody getting killed.

He also preferred suicide to being forever hunted by The 100. He refused to experience the same fate as most people he captured for them.

If he has some sort of weak telepathic powers, this may explain why he was so reluctant to kill (psychic feedback ?). And why he chose a profession toward which this reluctance made him ill-suited (a fig leaf to use his unethical abilities).



“For the record, Black Lightning, [I am] known as Syonide — flamboyant though that cognomen may be ! But I’m afraid subtlety would be quite lost on sort of people who have need of my special talents.”

(Loading a knockout drug dart) “The coup de grâce must, of course, fall to me. Beyond this stage the hunt always seem so… anti-climatic.”

“The bounty The 100 is offering for your associate’s head is a bit too generous for an expediter of my capabilities to ignore.”

Syonide (Black Lightning 1970s enemy) DC Comics forearm knives fight

DC Heroes RPG


Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 03
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04
Init: 016 HP: 020


Control: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Control needs to be activated by taking a special serum – it is otherwise inert. The effect of the serum seem to last for 1 or 2 hours, at which point the Power Burns Out. There seems to be a delay before it can be Recovered by taking another dose of serum.
  • Control is only effective against people dosed with interrogation drugs and perhaps certain psychoactive medications. Perhaps rolls against people not dosed with such receive a +4CS OV/RV penalty.
  • Control can only be used for simple physical Automatic Actions such as “stop fighting” or “follow me”.


Charisma (Interrogation): 04, Detective (Legwork): 05, Gadgetry: 05, Martial Artist: 05, Military science (Tracking): 05, Thief (Concealment, Stealth): 05, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry: 07

Bonuses and Limitations:

Gadgetry has a Specialization in less-than-lethal weaponry.


Expertise (Manhunting), Familiarity (Surveillance, American mob affairs).


Street (Low), Underworld (Low).


Misc.: Syonide abhors killing.








  • Electric whip [BODY 06, EV 03, Lightning: 06, Sharpness (Lightning): 04, Stretching: 01, Bonus: EV and Lightning can be Combined, Limitation: Lightning has No Range but can use the Stretching, Stretching has No Fine Manipulation, Sharpness doesn’t apply if the target has any robust electrical insulation].
  • Slim knives [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 05), Descriptor: Piercing].
  • Dart gun [BODY 02, Range: 03, Ammo (Very Long Reload): 01, Thief (Stealth): 06, Limitation: Thief only to muffle both the shot and the detectability of the impact]. The Range is used to propel compatible darts. Syonide usually uses this from ambush, which means that the Sleep of the dart (below) will Blindside – except perhaps against people with super-senses.
  • Drugged dart (x1) [BODY 01, Sleep (No Range): 06, R#04, Drawback: the dart cannot deliver the drug through armour or to subject with a natural RV of 07 or more].


The henchman teamed up with Steel-Fist Feeny never received a name. Black Lightning called him “Pajamas” due to his yellow gi.

He’s a semi-competent kung fu guy with a bandoleer and a belt stocked full of shuriken.

Likely stats include DEX 05, Martial Artist: 05, Weaponry (Thrown): 05, and probably Acrobatics: 04.

Design Notes

There is very little material. So obviously the stats are educated guesses.

I am assuming low cinematicThe level of power and (un)realism found in a spectacular action movie. skills. Sufficient to take on the vast majority of targets, and precise enough with weapons to hit even super-heroes (assuming he put Hero Points behind his attacks – he has enough to afford doing that a few times, and will do so), but nothing beyond that.

The Control thing is explained in the P&A section. It is a No-Prize Hypothesis of ours. If you prefer the original explanation simply transfer the Power to the dart.

He was clearly outclassed by Black Lightning, but then BL isn’t exactly a creampuff. So it doesn’t mean Syonide is incompetent.

Typical Sharpness use case for the whip. As it seemed to perform just as well against Geo-Force than against Black Lightning.

Syonide (Black Lightning 1970s enemy) (DC Comics) with captives

DC Adventures RPG

Syonide (1978) — Averaged PL 6.6

02 02 02 03
05 02 01 01


Conditional control ● 2 points ● Descriptor: ????
Affliction 11 (Entranced/Compelled, resisted by Will), Limited Degree, Limited (Affliction can only be used if Syonide has taken a serum, one dose lasts 1-2 hours, and there seems to be a delay before taking another dose), Limited (Affliction only against a person dosed with interrogation drugs and perhaps certain psychoactive medications).


Electric whip ● 16 points (Easily Removable) ● Descriptor: Technology
– Improved Grab, Reach 3, Linked Strength-based Damage 1.
– Linked electric Damage 8.

Combat Advantages:

Close Attack 2, Defensive Roll 1, Improved trip, Ranged Attack 2.

Other Advantages:

Benefit 2 (Wealthy), Contacts, Equipment 2, Tracking, Well-Informed.


Slim knives ● 2 points ● Damage 1, Improved Critical 1.
Dart gun ● 1 point ● Feature 1 (can shoot darts at 20m or so), Feature 1 (silent, and discreet impact), Quirk (must be reloaded after every shot with a compatible dart).
Conditional control ● 5 points ● Sleep 10, Limited 1 (must be able to penetrate skin), no Range on its own.


Athletics 2 (+4), Close combat (Whips & knives) 4 (+11), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (Criminology) 4 (+6), Expertise (Manhunter) 6 (+8), Insight 4 (+5), Investigation 6 (+8), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Darts/Dart guns) 6 (+11), Sleight of Hand 5 (+7) (Limited 2 to Concealing), Stealth 6 (+8), Vehicles 3 (+5) (Limited 2 to common land vehicles).


Initiative +6
Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 2
Whip +11, Close (Reach 1), Damage 3 (Linked Damage 8)
Knives +11, Close, Damage 3, Crit 19-20
Darts +11, shot by the dart gun, Sleep 10.


Dodge 08
Fortitude 06
Parry 08
Toughness 02*/03
Will 02

* Without Defensive Roll.


  • Dangerous pursuits Syonide is a mercenary working in a deadly world.
  • Code against killing Syonide cannot abide killing, at any cost. He always captures his preys alive.

Powers Levels:

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 10, Dodge/Toughness PL 6, Parry/Toughness PL 6, Fort/Will PL 4.
  • Points total 102. Abilities 36, Defences 14, Skills 21, Powers 2, Devices 16, Advantages 13. Equiv. PL 7.


See the DCH design notes.


The henchman teamed up with Steel-Fist Feeny never received a name. Black Lightning called him “Pajamas” due to his yellow gi.

He’s a semi-competent kung fu guy with a bandoleer and a belt stocked full of shuriken.

Likely stats include offense bonuses at +7, dodge and parry at about 8, toughness 4 (with 2 points being defensive roll), str 1, athletics and acrobatics both at +5.

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Black Lightning vol. 1 #6-7 (1978).

Writeup completed on the 24th of October, 2015.