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The Greatest Cyclotron Stories Ever Told!!

As wave 13 approaches, let’s take a few minutes to talk about Cyclotron.

Cyclotron has polarized the fans, and is killing the line. KILLING IT DEAD!…if you listen to some fans. The inclusion of this character created solely for the Super Powers toy line has incited riots and raging rants of “worst figure ever” from many (even though he comes with a stand and nobody has to buy him). But his very existence has infuriated many. Personally, it doesn’t bother me one way or the other. If he wasn’t included, I wouldn’t have missed him, and his existence doesn’t shorten my life span. After all, his power is a knowledge of powers and weaknesses of every hero and villain. So he’s a robotic wikipedia. Not terribly enthralling.

But for those of you who shake your fist nightly at him, maybe you’ve missed some of the great stories that he’s appeared in over the years. So come on, grab a nice warm cup of tea, toss that blanket over you and sit with me by the fire while I tell you


Many may not know that Cyclotron’s first appearance actually was way back in Action comics #252. Of course he wasn’t known as “Cyclotron” then, but By the acronym C.A.R.S. or Combat Analysis Response System. He was less walking talking android and more wall-sized mainframe in the Fortress of Solitude. He helped Superman defeat a descendant of Lex Luthor from the year 3590 by utilizing their knowledge of the current Lex and predicting how a descendant would try to attack Superman.

He (or it) appeared again a few issues later in Action Comics #260, this time Superman was lured to the Gobi desert where a Green K duststorm incapacitated him. Superman sent a distress call to one of his Superman Robots. The robot consulted CARS who determined the best course of action was to downlad its knowledge into the Superman Robot. Upgrade! The newly bodied CARS rushed off to save Superman. Aaaaand was promptly forgotten about for thirty issues.

In Action Comics #290, CARS made his last Superman-Robot-appearance err…appearance in a solo story titled CARS CRASH. (of course, what did you expect from the silver age.) With Superman off-planet (he gets around) CARS was left to stand in for him in the role of both Clark Kent and Superman. Unfortunately, CARS was a little bereft of personality, and he proceeded to confuse and confound everyone he ran across both as Clark and Supes. And the trouble only got worse as that tiny terror Mxyzptlk showed up to wreak a little havoc. Mxy figured out he wasn’t dealing with the real Supes pretty quick, but CARS still managed to have the little dork say his name backwards, saving the day and getting rid of the pest.

The Next time he appears is a long time later, and is his first full appearance as Cyclotron, (although without his trademark goggles) in Superman #280. The Superman Revenge Squad is after Superman, and he teams up with Cyclotron to take them down! Cyclotron’s knowledge is instrumental in helping Superman win.

Cyclotron helps Supergirl defeat the Master Jailer in Superman Family #178.

Cyclotron goes solo (goggles now in full effect) in a back up story in Superman Family #189-192 where he goes up against Jax-Ur–or who we are led to believe is Jax-ur, until the surprise reveal. (which I won’t spoil here)

Making his first non-Superman title appearance, Cyclotron helps Green Lantern defeat a Qwardian menace in Green Lantern #263.

The 80’s pre-crisis were a busy time for Cyclotron. It would feature upgrades in both power and personality (face it, his one-note, factual drone was getting old) and his first action figure.

Some of the highlights:

Cyclotron was given an altered version of a Responsometer as a gift from Dr. Will Magnus after saving the Metal Men from Chemo.

First team-up With Red Tornado. Both find a kindred spirit, and Red gives Cyclotron some advice on interpersonal relationships. In a fight with Dr. Polaris their bodies are magnetically merged together. Once separated, Cyclotron discoveres he has taken on a lesser version of Red Tornado’s powers. (Power Action Cyclo-spin!)

When the Justice League is captured in a pocket of null-time by Chronos, Cyclotron teamed with Rip Hunter to defeat Chronos with the time-leaping help of Superboy, who in a paradox was given the idea to create CARS who would become Cyclotron, meaning the he ensured his own creation. Boggles the brain!

Misjudging Cyclotron’s android nature meant Starro the Conqueror suffered a swift defeat.

Cyclotron finally “made it” when he was officially asked to join the Justice League of America on the heels of an invasion by the Crime Syndicate of Earth 3. Cyclotron was forced to deactivate and disarm his Earth 3 counterpart, a murderous living weapon created by Ultraman.

Unfortunately for Cyclotron, the Crisis on Infinite Earth would be bittersweet. While the discovery of residual chronal energy from his adventures with Rip Hunter would prove to be helpful in aiding the heroes against the Anti-Monitor (allowing them to use him as a conduit to weaken the Anti-Monitor in his past while striking simultaneously at him in the present) he would still be too late to stop Supergirl from giving her life in the fight, and would be destroyed minutes later by a blast of energy from the Anti-Monitor.

However, at the last minute he was able to download his thought processes into the nearest ultra-tech available, which was Brainiac’s ship, and through the ship, Brainiac. It was Cyclotron’s subtle influence that pushed the calculating Brainiac to offer the small help that he did by enlisting Darkseid. The ship is last seen in Apokolips…but Cyclotron (or the remnants of Cyclotron’s downloaded thoughts) would not be seen again for many years.

His first post-crisis appearance would be radically different than his silver age beginnings. This time, he would be a creation of Professor T.O. Morrow who wanted an “Amazo” of his own like Professor Ivo. But he lacked the ability to replicate Amazo’s power-adaptation. Cyclotron’s fluid logic centers made him highly adaptable in combat. Like the pre-crisis Cyclotron, he lacked any personality. For now.

This version of Cyclotron appeared only a handful of times in the mid-nineties, usually as the pawn of some low-ranking villain and usually easily defeated. His appearances featured heavy crosshatching and splash pages as was the style of the time. So it’s best to forget about them.

When Grant Morrison revitalized the JLA with the “Big 7” it wouldn’t be long before he brought Cyclotron back to the forefront.

Cyclotron would be a pawn of Lex Luthor’s newest version of the Injustice League, providing constant tactical assistance. The JLA found this new threat hard to defeat, and once the identity of their tactician was revealed, Professor Morrow was brought in and coerced into wiping Cyclotron’s programming completely, mainly to get back at Lex, who screwed him over. The JLA easily won, and Cyclotron’s mindless android body became a trophy.

In the storyline entitled “Darkseid of the Moon” (a nod to one of the old Super Powers episodes) the JLA Moonbase was attacked by a horde of Apokoliptian forces while operating with a skeleton crew. Much of it is destroyed. As Orion is blown into the trophy room, and near death, he upgrades the Cyclotron shell with Mother Box technology. he still has no discernible personality, but with his supreme analytical skills and android powers he is able to hold off the bad guys until reinforcements arrived. But then he ended up on a Boom Tube to Apokolips.

Once there, (in a story as circular and winding as usual Morrison stories are) Cyclotron–and the Mother Box tech that he was now enfused with–managed to track down a lingering remnant the thought processes of the old Cyclotron, from pre-crisis. It had hopped from Brainiac’s ship and had lain dormant in Apokolips computer systems, and the chronal energy had kept it just outside the influence of the crisis. The Mother Box downloaded the old Cyclotron into the new body, overwriting the new body with the knowledge, memories and experience of the pre-crisis Cyclotron. This made Cyclotron the second person–along with the Psycho-Pirate–that remembered the time before the Crisis.

Cyclotron would become a member of the JLA once again, but only for a short time.

When the JLA from the 83rd century visits, Cyclotron once again meets himself–in the future. The Cyclotron of the future has been vastly upgraded with Tylerco tech much like the Android Hourman. It was the future Cyclotron that ensured the android Hourman came into possession of the Worlogog. He learns he was a brief member of the Legion of Superheroes, and disappeared for 100 years sometimes in the 62nd century.

As many android characters before him, Cyclotron would spin off into a brief solo series where he tried to find his place in the world that’s not quite like the one he remembers.

Cyclotron played a pivotal role in the Infinite Crisis. Being one of two people that remembered the Multiverse made him important to Alexander Luthor’s plans, and it was his slightly altered vibrations that destabilized this reality and allowed Luthor and Superboy-Prime to venture from their pocket dimension and alter events to their satisfaction. Cyclotron is present at the final battle at the Anti-Monitor’s corpse.

After Infinite Crisis and the subtle reality shifts, Cyclotron’s original beginnings as CARS would return, and he would now once again be a creation of Superman instead of Professor T.O. Morrow.

Cyclotron has made only a handful of appearances since then, but since his legacy extends into the 83rd century, there are plenty of stories left to tell about this strange Android hero.

Stories, make-believe, lies…something like that.