Zor of the Duna
Zor of the Duna appeared but once, in a 1946 Justice Society of America adventure.
We’ll reference him as “Zor of the Duna” to avoid confusion with *another* 1940s evil spirit called Zor. Who, unlike Zor of the Duna, did return (particularly in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers epic).
He’s among those characters where I went “gee, I ain’t sure there’s enough there for a full writeup”. But heh, short articles are nice too.
- Real Name: Zor.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: None.
- Base of Operations: The dimension of the Duna.
The Duna are aliens from a distant planet. They appear as warmly luminous, immaterial floating globes. These are about the size of an adult human’s head.
They have telepathic abilities, and can easily possess people. However, they are ideologically opposed to possessing sapientCapable of intelligent reasoning. individuals.
The Duna’s scientific knowledge is immensely advanced.
How be Zor
However, one Duna had a mental handicap. There’s a sense that Zor was stuck with the mental development of a bullying little boy craving control over the world.
Zor was assigned guardians, but one assumes that his condition was incurable.
Zor escaped, and reached Earth in 1946. He possessed aged toymaker Willie Wonder. Zor/Wonder built super-gadgets, though that was the Duna equivalent of doodling stick figures.
A racketeer then threatened Willie Wonder. The possessed toymaker easily stopped him, but the thug then proposed a partnership-in-crime.
Soon, a wave of impossible crimes started in the US.
Within days, Zor’s Duna keepers contacted the Justice Society. They explained the situation and asked them to stop Zor.
The JSA stopped more impossible crimes, discovered that the possessed Willie Wonder was behind these, and apprehended him.
The Duna then arrested Zor, “Squire of Gothos”-style , and took him back.
Powers & Abilities
The Duna :
- Can float in the air and appear immaterial.
- Can possess other creatures, appearing to physically merge with them and vanish.
- Can teepTo communicate using telepathy. in a subtle, unobtrusive manner.
- Could communicate with earthlings without any issue, and apparently could read their languages and scan their minds.
- Can travel thru space in an unknown manner, at unknown speeds.
- Can make themselves invisible when in their base form.
Duna can also interact with each other in an unclear fashion. For instance two Duna could squeeze Zor between themselves and force him to follow them, as if each holding him in an arm lock.
This can evoke Theodore Sturgeon’s 1949 short story “Minority Report”. Therein, similar telepathic projection powers had to be developed by humans to explore the cosmos, which turned out to be mostly made of anti-matter.
Zor possesses but a fraction of your average Duna’s scientific knowledge. But it is sufficient to build impossible gadgets from scratch.
All he needs are DIY resources and a physical body that can manipulate them.
His creations were :
- A wooden pistol shooting a heat beam that could melt a knife’s blade. Must have been a cheap knife, though – merely wearing clothes soaked in cold water saved Johnny Thunder from a hit (which dried his clothes).
- An invisible anti-gravity ray, operated much like a searchlight. Objects and persons caught in the beam would float in the air, yet could somehow gain enough traction to move at their normal land speed. This was also used to send a front-wheel-drive motorcar careening down a cliff, by lifting its front half.
- Cloaks of invisibility. Somehow, simply wearing these as a cape makes you invisible. However, exposure to radio waves makes the person visible. And since Dr. Mid-Nite (Charles McNider) said it was based on black light, ultravision would presumably pierce the effect with ease.
- Shoes attached to a sort of adhesive board. A person wearing these could casually walk up or down smooth walls.
- Disposable small boats. These propel themselves without any apparent energy source, and seem to be guided mentally.
- An advanced submarine, which apparently could carry 10-12 persons. But by XXIst Century standards it seemed mundane.
- A two-person borer vehicle that looked sort of like a golf cart with mechanical jaws and four robotic arms ending in pincers. It could tunnel even through solid concrete. Somehow.
Make like a statue
The most intricate gadget was a serum that imbues the drinker with the properties of a person they are looking at. A realistic depiction of the person (such as a statue) also works.
The drinker looks just like the person (or their representation) and possesses their powers and vulnerabilities.
So if you look at a statue of Thor and gulp the serum down, you’ll look like a statue of Thor and have great strength, a magic hammer that commands lightning and returns to you after it’s thrown, godly durability, the ability to say thee nay, etc..
Zor glowed red. Whereas the other Duna glowed orange – or orange and yellow.
He seemed to be a nasty little boy lacking direction, but craving control over others.
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
The Duna are reminiscent of the Aurakles, who are primarily associated with Halo (Gabrielle Doe).
RetconningMaking changes to a character or story after the fact. the two species into being the same guys works. The 1980s aliens simply would consider the 1940 incident taboo, and never mention it.
The advantage of this is to remove one unnecessary entity. Which… I’ll grant you isn’t a spectacular gain.
But it can also be useful if you want to develop the Aurakles/Duna for your stories. Say, to create a new character resembling Halo or Zor.
If there were two contacts within less than 50 years, having a third is more probable than if the Duna/Aurakles aren’t supposed to ever intersect with the material world.
(The Zor story is also reminiscent of the movie Hidden, but the genre is… completely different.)
DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
Zor of the Duna
|Dex: 00||Str: 00||Bod: 02|
|Int: 02||Wil: 02||Min: 02|
|Inf: 02||Aur: 02||Spi: 02|
|Init: 004||HP: 020|
Comprehend languages: 22, Flash (Steady illum only): 03, Flight: 09, Intangibility: 06, Invisibility: 06, Self-Link (Personality transfer): 10, Telepathy: 05
Bonuses and Limitations:
Intangibility is Always On.
Artist (Sculptor): 04, Gadgetry: 09, Scientist: 09
Genius, Schtick (Make-Do Equipment (Gadgetry)).
Briefly had a Low Connection with an unnamed gang.
MIA toward Power.
- Wooden toy heat beam pistol [BODY 01, Accuracy (Self): 08, Heat vision: 04].
- Anti-Gravity beam [BODY 02, Flight: 07, Range: 07, Bonuses: Flight is Useable On Others and has a 2 APs Area of Effect, Flight APs are capped at the affected subject’s normal land speed].
- Cloak of Invisibility [BODY 02, Invisibility: 04, Limitation: Invisibility gets broken if exposed to radio waves, and is considered to only have half its APs vs. the Ultra Vision Power].
- Adhesive board shoes [BODY 02, Cling: 04].
- BORER [STR 04 BODY 06, Digging: 09, Running: 05, R#2, Limitations: Digging is Tunnelling Only but has Consolidation.
The “statue serum”
I ain’t a big fan of the Animate Image Power, but it’s there. So something like :
- Self-Link (Animate Image): 20
- Animate Image must be based on a 3D image such as a statue. A 2D representation might result in a flat image (which, mind, could be useful in some cases).
- Animate Image APs can only duplicate Physical Attributes and Powers.
- Animate Image cannot pump more than 13 APs in any single score.
- The Drawbacks and Limitations of the new form automatically are those of the subject (such as Achilles’ heel or Samson’s hair).
- Equipment can be duplicated by approximating it as Powers (e.g., Thor’s Hammer as EV and/or Projectile Weapons).
- The imbiber must be within zero APs of the statue, and visually inspecting it, for the effect to take place.
So the serum is mostly useful if you can commit your crime near the statue of a mythological figure (Atlas, Zeus, Thor and Samson are the ones in the story). Statues of super-heroes weren’t too common yet.
Low Mentals and Mysticals since he didn’t do anything special, and seemed simple and immature.
There’s way too little data about his mental condition to dig further in it. Even if we ignored the fact that he’s a seemingly immaterial space alien, which seems kinda important.
I’m assuming that the other Duna restraining Zor at the end is actually Mental Combat via Telepathy, since they have no Physical Attributes.
Our contributor Bil suggested using Self-Linked Telepathy instead of Intangibility. I didn’t got with that approach since it’s less well-defined, but you could adopt it if you find it more elegant.
I’m also assuming that they reached Earth using scientific knowledge of space warps or something, rather than by having extreme APs of Flight or a material spaceship.
Source of Character: All-Star Comics Vol. 1 #31.
Helper(s): Bil, Darci.
Writeup completed on the 16th of August, 2022.