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August 24, 2014
 

Character Spotlight: Black Alice

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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She looks like a member of the Shazam/Marvel family, but she’s got her own thing going on. She’s like the mutant Rogue, except with magical origins, and she totally has this under control, sorta. So who is Black Alice? Where does she come from and what is she doing? Let’s find out!

Teenager Lori Zechlin had a troubled home with her mom addicted to prescription pills, and neither Lori nor her father knew about this. So when Lori’s mother commits suicide by overdose, the shock devastates the family. Lori was the one to find her mom, and this trauma may have triggered her metahuman ability to steal the powers of heroes and villains, particularly the magical side of characters. Barely able understand, let alone control, these powers, Lori decides to take vengeance on the dealers who sold her mother the pills.

Black Alice

Like many people with super powers, her powers don’t make life any easier, they just complicate things more. Lori’s father is trying his best to keep it together after his wife’s death, but it’s not going as well as he’d like. Lori is doing her best to help him while also dealing with her new abilities. School is no good with Lori’s grades falling, and her Wiccan friends kick her out of their circle claiming it’s the dark energy from her mother’s death/budding powers. In reality, it’s the jealously of Lori’s friend Dawn because of Lori’s powers.

The Birds of Prey are able to pick up on Lori’s powers and decide to investigate her situation. Lori meets a new teacher who offers her counseling; this is the Huntress in disguise. Lori finds a lead on some drug dealers at the same time she happens to steal the powers of Doctor Fate, one of the most powerful spellcasters in the universe. When she’s about to use lethal force on the dealers, Black Canary makes her presence known. She was tailing Lori, knowing her power levels and temperament, to try and talk Lori down. Fate’s powers go away and Zatanna’s manifest so that Lori can get away from the dealers and Canary.

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Trailing Lori’s boyfriend, Kyle, hoping to find her, Black Canary and Huntress instead learn that Kyle is cheating on Lori with Dawn. Unfortunately, Lori’s reaction to learning this is to nearly destroy a mall in her desire for revenge on Kyle. She and Black Canary duke it out for a while until Huntress brings in a remorseful Dawn to talk with her. The Birds of Prey help talk Lori into training under Doctor Fate so she can gain better control of her powers and her temper.

When the Spectre (literally God’s wrath personified) goes on a rampage, the team of heroes who deal specifically with magic, known as Shadowpact, call on the aid of Lori to stop him. She agrees to help, and along with the Phantom Stranger, tries and fails to stop the Spectre before he kills the wizard Shazam, causing the Rock of Eternity (Shazam’s home and headquarters) to fall apart over Gotham. When things are finally handled, she declines an offer to join Shadowpact so that she may go home and be with her father.

The villainous organization The Society sends Cheetah, Felix Faust, and Talia al Ghul to try and recruit her. The Birds of Prey attempt to intervene. Fed up with both sides, Lori teleports them both outside of town. Before this happens, The Society use a Lazarus Pit to revive her mother, but she doesn’t come back quite right; she hardly speaks and mostly just does chores.

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Her father now an alcoholic due to the bizarre turn of events with his formerly dead wife, and Lori having problems at school with bullies, she summons the Helm of Fate. Doctor Fate’s powers and knowledge come from the Helmet that was in search of a new wearer since the last had died. Lori tries to control the power, but the Helm reads her anger and begins punishing all who wronged; sadly, this includes family. When this happens, Lori pries the Helmet off herself and tries to aid her family while the Helm searches for a new wearer. She aids the Birds of Prey on a mission, and makes amends with them. She also realizes that her own use of anti-depressants is bordering on addiction.

When Darkseid’s Dark Side Club is seeking gladiators, they kidnap Lori and she is given drugs to suppress her will so that she will be forced to fight other metahuman teens. The medications she was already on are able to counteract the drug so that she can try and formulate an escape plan. When one of the other combatants turns out to be the teleporter Misfit, Lori contemplates stealing her power to escape. This plan is interrupted when she finds Darkseid’s files on all the gladiators, and learns that she and Misfit may be related by blood. The two are able to escape together, and Lori leaves a note with Misfit to teach her of what she’s learned about their possible family ties. Transferring to a new school, Lori ends up in the same school as Misfit. This new school has Lori seen as one of the coolest kids around due to her reputation as a rebel.

When the battle for the throne of Hell is going on, Lori is found to be siding with the demon Neron. It turns out that she’s actually trying to figure out who may have stolen some of her power recently, and she suspects Neron may be it. During this chaos she gets on Lobo’s bad side for stealing his powers, and then is psychologically scarred when she tries to take in the powers of a demon and is shown the interior of its mind instead. She makes it back home to Earth, but is very shaken by the psychic assault and what she has seen.

In need of money, Lori seeks to join the Secret Six to aid her sick father. The Six eventually agree to take her in, but are concerned by how someone so young is so ready and able to dish out such violence like they tend to use. Her first mission is to help break a drug dealer out of jail; she is not pleased, but helps for the money. This is all going on during the Blackest Night, so super powered zombies are everywhere. The Suicide Squad tries to stop the jailbreak, and both teams are surrounded by Black Lanterns, so Lori uses Suicide Squad member Nightshade’s teleportation to get everyone out of there. Since she’s not as great with those powers as Nightshade is (she had been fighting with her earlier and took her powers to win the fight), she also brought the Black Lanterns with them. She has to be knocked out so that Nightshade can gain control of her powers again to teleport everyone to safety.

Her next mission is helping Catman try to save his infant son’s life. Seeing Catman at his most brutal shakes Lori, finally seeing just how merciless her teammates can be. While with the Secret Six, Lori begins to fall for fellow teammate Ragdoll, even calling him her boyfriend. Ragdoll isn’t one for such relationships, though he does care for her. Before he can explain this to her she believes Scandal Savage is trying to hit on Ragdoll, and fights with her until she learns that not only was Scandal not interested in Ragdoll, she is not into men at all, nor is Ragdoll into anyone. She apologizes and breaks down to explain that her father’s illness, cancer, may be from when she tried to cure his asthma by stealing Raven’s powers. Since Raven’s powers are really complicated, she believes she may have turned it from a chronic illness into a spreading cancer.

Sorry to end on such a downer note. Lori also would team up with Traci 13 and Zachary Zatara for some magical teen adventures, and she was also part of an all teen girl team to stop Professor Ivo’s robo-sirens. So there’s that. She hasn’t appeared in the New 52 to my knowledge. Since there is the likely return of the Secret Six series, it is possible she could return that way. So there you go.

Suggested Reading
Birds of Prey #76
Birds of Prey Vol. 1
Secret Six Vol. 3

Dr. Alexander
drbustos@comicattack.net

 

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