Real Name: Luther Kane
Occupation: Scientist (of sorts), businessman?
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Judson Hemp, Jack Russell, Lissa Russell
Known Relatives: Joshua Kane (brother, deceased)
Base of Operations: Joshua Kane's house in Tugunga Canyon, California
First Appearance: Werewolf by Night I#5 (May, 1973)
Powers/Abilities: Luther Kane had no superhuman abilities but, judging by the fact that he let his bodyguard Desmond do anything physical that needed doing, he presumably possessed the strength of a man of his height, age and build who engaged in no regular exercise.
Luther Kane had an aversion to being touched by other people.
Luther Kane claimed to be a "scientist of sorts" who had researched blood diseases and had developed a cure for lycantrophy (but only for those sufferers who hadn't reached the final stages of the disease and actually transformed into a werewolf). Whether he was telling the truth about the cure or even his scientific skills was never established so it's very possible that he was just lying to Jack Russell in order to get his cooperation.
(Werewolf by Night I#5 (fb) - BTS) - "A good many years" ago, Desmond became Luther Kane's companion (as in bodyguard).
(Werewolf by Night I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Years ago, Luther Kane was bankrupted by Judson Hemp's business empire which also destroyed Luther's career (whatever that was). Luther became obsessed with the idea of destroying Hemp.
(Werewolf by Night I#5 (fb) - BTS) - At some time in his past, Luther Kane had (allegedly) given much study to blood diseases, including lycanthropy, and he had developed a cure that could save those afflicted with lycanthropy from becoming werewolves. However, the cure could not save those who were in the final stages of the disease (i.e. those who had already become werewolves).
(Werewolf by Night I#5 (fb) - BTS) - One moonlit night, Luther Kane and Desmond visited the home of Luther's brother, Joshua Kane, and let themselves in (Joshua was then out hunting the Werewolf for sport). While looking around, Luther found Joshua's diary and read all about his plan to hunt the Werewolf who was Jack Russell. He also found Jack's sister, Lissa, unconscious in her glass cage. Seeing a way in which he could use the situation to his own benefit, Luther waited for the police to come to investigate (once they had found and identified Joshua's dead body) and then sent them away so that he could deal with Jack on his own.
(Werewolf by Night I#5) - Luther waited at Joshua's home for Jack
Russell to return to rescue Lissa. Once Jack arrived, Luther confronted him and
revealed that he knew Jack's name and the fact that he was a werewolf. With Desmond
on hand to keep Jack from getting violent, Luther let Jack see Lissa in her cage
and then claimed that he had developed a cure for lycanthropy. Luther then revealed
that his cure could not save those who, like Jack, were in the final stages of the
disease but it could prevent Lissa from becoming a werewolf herself. When Jack
offered to pay him anything he wanted, Luther revealed that Joshua's estate would
leave him quite wealthy and that the only thing he wanted in exchange for the cure
was for Jack to allow his Werewolf self to kill someone. When Jack resisted the
idea, Luther reminded him of what his sister would become without the cure and
Jack reluctantly agreed to his terms. Luther then told Jack about how Judson Hemp's
business empire had bankrupted him and destroyed his career and that it was now
Luther's turn to destroy Hemp.
Later that afternoon, Desmond drove Luther and Jack to a location near the walls surrounding Hemp's estate. Luther told Jack about how the estate was protected by armed guards, vicious dogs and a constant motorcycle patrol, then he and Desmond left Jack there to wait for moonrise to turn him into the Werewolf.
That night, Luther and Desmond were sitting in Joshua's home discussing how Jack had probably already killed Hemp. When Desmond asked if "Mister Luther" wanted him to take care of Jack, Luther replied that he was confident that Hemp's trigger-happy army had "taken care" of that particular problem for them. At that moment, Jack (in human form because the full moon was totally eclipsed) burst into the room. Jack revealed that he hadn't murdered Hemp (who was a senile old man) and then demanded the cure from Luther. When Luther refused to turn over the cure because Jack hadn't fulfilled his part of their bargain, Jack grabbed Luther and threatened to break his neck so Luther called for Desmond to "remove this nuisance from my back." Desmond punched Jack off of Luther but Jack jumped up again and lunged into Desmond. As Desmond got Jack in a bear-hug and began to squeeze him, the eclipse ended and Jack transformed into the Werewolf. The shocked Desmond released his foe, then pulled out his knife and threw it at the Werewolf but the beast snapped his head back in time to avoid the knife so it continued on and impaled Luther in the chest. After dealing with Desmond, the Werewolf turned to Luther but the mortally-wounded man soon collapsed, saying "It appears I made -- an error in judgment -- by involving you -- in my affairs. You were -- really more of -- a bother then -- you were -- worth." The Werewolf then smashed open Lissa's cage but left before she revived.
(Werewolf by Night I#6) - The Los Angeles Police Department came to the conclusion that both Joshua and Luther Kane had been murdered. Lieutenant Lou Hackett found some references in Joshua's notes which led him to believe that there was a werewolf loose in the city.
Comments: Created by Len Wein, Mike Ploog and John Constanza.
In Werewolf by Night I#6, LAPD Lt. Lou Hackett referred to the "Kane case" as "the two brothers who got murdered a night apart." This strikes me as curious for several reasons. First, according to WBN #4, Joshua Kane apparently died of a heart attack (caused by his overwhelming fear of the Werewolf). Since the police didn't know about the Werewolf's presence, why would they jump to the conclusion that a heart attack victim was actually murdered?
Second, since Luther Kane was killed by a knife thrown by Desmond, why would Luther's murder still be considered unsolved? Weren't Desmond's fingerprints on the murder weapon?
Third, since Desmond died (of a broken back) on the same night and in the same room as Luther Kane, why didn't Hackett mention his murder as well? Could it be that Desmond didn't actually die in WBN #5? Maybe he just passed out after his back was broken by the Werewolf and, when he later revived and saw his knife sticking out of Luther's dead body, he decided it would be smart to get away from the crime scene before the police came around again. Maybe he's out there now, plotting to avenge the death of "Mister Luther." Or not.
By the way, do people usually die if their backs are broken just
above their hips? I can see how Desmond might have been paralyzed by that injury
but wouldn't his spinal cord have to be injured much closer to his brain for it
to cause him to instantly die? For that matter, is there ANY type of spinal cord
injury that could cause him to die instantly or is this just a case of "comic-book"
medical knowledge at work?
I can't speak for people, but as a veterinary surgeon I can give you some sort of answer on this subject. You're right in that a broken back might not normally be fatal. However, an especially traumatic case might cause ascending hemorrhagic myelomalacia (destructive of the spinal cord that travels up the spine). Further, a really traumatic case could also cause the bone to lacerate the aorta causing massive hemorrhage and death. If the fracture were in thoracic spine (or above), the nerves controlling chest expansion (and voluntary breathing) would be wiped out, possibly resulting in death by suffocation. The higher the fracture, the greater the chance of damage being transmitted to the brain. It's also possible that severe shock could have lowered his blood pressure and caused him to go into cardiac arrest. Good enough?
Luther Kane has no known connections to:
Luther Kane's large, strong and omnipresent bodyguard, Desmond had been Luther's companion for many years and always referred to him as "Mister Luther." Since Luther didn't like anybody touching him, Desmond was always there to make sure that nobody did so (at least, not for long). Desmond liked to use his (switchblade?) knife to clean his fingernails.
(Werewolf by Night I#5) - Desmond was present (as usual) during Luther Kane's first meeting with Jack Russell. When Jack grabbed Luther's shirt, Desmond pulled Jack away from Luther and put his knife to Jack's throat until he calmed down. Later, Desmond drove Luther and Jack to a spot near Judson Hemp's estate and then drove Luther back to Joshua Kane's house. That night, after Luther said that Jack had probably dealt with Judson Hemp by now, Desmond asked if "Mister Luther" wanted him to take care of Jack and Luther replied that Hemp's army had probably already done so for them. When Jack (in human form because the full moon was totally eclipsed) entered the room and ended up grabbing Luther and threatening to break his neck, Desmond rolled up his sleeve and knocked Jack off of Luther with a single punch. When Jack then tackled him, Desmond got him in a bear-hug and began to slowly squeeze him into unconsciousness but the eclipse ended during their struggle and Jack transformed into the Werewolf. Shocked, Desmond released his hold, pulled out his knife and threw it at the Werewolf but the beast dodged the blade and leaped onto Desmond, forcing him backwards across a desk with so much force that Desmond's back broke and he lay still and unmoving. Luther, who had been fatally injured by the thrown knife, told the Werewolf that he'd broken Desmond's back, then revealed that Desmond had been his companion for a good many years and he was going to miss him. Luther then died.
--Werewolf by Night I#5 (5 (fb) - BTS, 5)
Werewolf by Night I#5, page 5, panel 1 (Luther - full body)
Werewolf by Night I#5, page 4, panel 1 (Luther - head)
Werewolf by Night I#5, page 4, panel 7 (Desmond)
Werewolf by Night I#5 (May, 1973) - Len Wein (writer), Mike Ploog (artist), Roy Thomas (editor)
Last updated: 07/18/13
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