Real Name: Raymond Lightner
Identity/Class: Human mutate/mad scientist;
active in 1936 (and presumably at least 3-4 decades before that) and in the modern era
Group Membership: None known
Affiliations: Formerly merged with son Thomas Lightner as Blacksun.
Enemies: Doc Clark Savage, John "Renny" Renwick and Andrew "Monk" Mayfair,
Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Thing (Ben Grimm);
Known Relatives: Lucinda Lightner (wife, deceased), Thomas Lightner (son, aka Mysterium), Janice Lightner (daughter)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Lightner Mansion, Stony Point, New York
First Appearance: Marvel Two-In One I#21 (November, 1976)
Powers/Abilities: Raymond Lightner was a brilliant man, (per Doc Savage) capable of almost anything in the field of astronomical physics. He created the Sky Cannon, able to tap the power of a black hole.
However, his obsessive quest led him along the path of madness.
As Blacksun, he could absorb all heat and light, and possessed a powerful gravity well, much like a black hole. He possessed great strength (@ Class 100) and durability. He could also bend matter and energy about his body to prevent them from striking him. Dr. Raymond Lightner's mind was dominant, although both were active.
Raymond Lightner smoked cigarettes, although it is not clear exactly
how much; regardless, this likely negatively impacted his endurance.
Height: Unrevealed (he was not pictured
directly next to anyone of known height; he was at least a few inches
taller than Lucinda, but she fainted before being shown standing next
to him or anyone else; I would extrapolate that he is at least as tall
as his 6'1" son, Thomas, or maybe an inch or two taller)
Weight: Unrevealed (perhaps 190 - 210 lbs.)
Eyes: Perhaps brown
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Raymond Lightner was a Nobel prize winning astronomer.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Raymond and his wife, Lucinda, were world-famous and considered to be an All-American couple, young, in love, and rich.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Clark Savage attended Raymond's lectures.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Raymond spoke admiringly of Clark Savage as one of the few people who understood his lectures.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Raymond had told Lucinda that he wanted to have children.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - For weeks, Raymond isolated himself in his observatory, developing his Sky Cannon, which he believed would allow him to harness the power of the stars.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Newspaper stories surfaced about Raymond becoming a recluse.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Unidentified people (perhaps the writers of those newspaper stories) said Raymond had gone mad.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) <Two months before the main story; see comments> - When Lucinda told Raymond she was pregnant (with twins, although she didn't realize it at the time), he seemed to go mad, raging that he needed no heir, as everything was his forever.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb)) - Shocked by Raymond's reaction, Lucinda expressed her confusion, and he told her he wouldn't expect her to understand as she'd never known "the power"; the sound of his voice and/or the look in his eyes sent chills down Lucinda's spine, and she realized that he was no longer the man she knew and married.
Bewildered, Lucinda told Raymond he was acting like a madman, and he replied, "But, of course, you would think it mad if a man claimed the ability to transcend mortality...and yet I make that claim -- for I have seen...the power!"
As he grabbed Lucinda's wrist, she complained that he was hurting her, but he didn't hear her and instead dragged her to the observatory and showed her his Sky Cannon, telling that with it he could tap the power of the stars. When she noted that he was mad as others had said, Raymond furiously told her that no one could call him that, not even his wife, and he struck her across the face.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Lucinda rushed back to the house, stopping only to call Clark Savage, the only man she could think of who could understand what her husband was doing.
Lucinda then drove to meet with Doc Savage.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 - BTS) - Lucinda met with Doc Savage at his base in the Empire State Building, discussing Raymond's actions.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 (fb) - BTS) - Raymond apparently activated the sky cannon, causing a blackout in Manhattan (and even preventing the light of stars from being seen), while Lightner observatory stood out as a visible glow.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21 - BTS) - Accompanied by his associates Renny and Monk, Doc Savage piloted his auto-gyro toward the observatory.
(Marvel Two-In One I#21) - As Doc Savage's auto-gyro approached, Raymond recognized it, and he considered that his wife was trying to persuade him to reason with aid from Clark Savage. Announcing that he was beyond all reason, Raymond activated the Sky Cannon's star-beam, which struck the auto-gyro.
PARALLELING Raymond's involvement with the sky cannon
(Marvel Two-In-One#21 (fb) - BTS) - Thomas became an inventive genius, but he refused to work for others. When Tony Stark offered him a research grant with no strings attached, Thomas refused, considering it charity. The prouder Thomas grew, the less he understood when others tried to give him a chance.
Thomas eventually started to brood and to drink, and he soon squandered the family fortune rebuilding the Sky Cannon from his father's notes, as well as in casinos, on phony stocks, and (at least as presumed by Janice) on women. The creditors took everything but the house, which Lucinda had ensured they couldn't touch.
(Marvel Two-In-One#21 (fb)) - When Thomas demanded Janice give him the family mansion, she refused, and he told her she was killing him. When Janice told Tom he was acting just the way their mother said their father had acted before he died, Thomas argued that their father had been on to something, a way to get back at those who exploited his practical ideas and laughed at his theories. Thomas continued that his father's theories would have made him not only rich but would have given him the power to stop the laughter forever, and that he was going to stop those who laughed at him. Ignoring Janice's warnings of how their father had died trying to do that, Thomas dragged Janice by the wrist into their father's observatory, where he showed her the rebuilt Sky Cannon.
When Janice asked him if father's death wasn't enough, Thomas struck her in the face, noting that the cannon hadn't killed Raymond Lightner, but rather that it was the mockery of men who weren't fit to lick his shoes...and that it was the same men who mocked him, and they would never laugh at him again.
(Marvel Two-In-One#21) - Janice Lightner recruited the Thing and the Human Torch to stop her brother's mad quest for power. They were too late to stop him, although the star-beam from the Sky Cannon struck their Fantasti-car. The beam was reflected back on Thomas Lightner.
(Marvel Two-In-One#21) - The replication of Raymond Lightner's energies created a connection with that previous experiment, pulling Raymond Lightner (and Doc Savage, Renny, and Monk) forward in time.
Raymond, filled with the energies of the Sky Cannon, merged with the similarly energized form of his son Thomas, transforming into Blacksun.
As Doc Savage, Renny, and Monk fired on Blacksun, their mercy-bullets' paths (and apparently light as well) bent around Blacksun, and Blacksun informed them that they were possessed of the power of the stars.
Confronted by the Torch, Blacksun announced that they were no longer they who were called Lightner, but instead Blacksun, the other side of light, as he released a black blast that smothered the Torch's flames and caused him to plummet to the ground.
The Thing next challenged Blacksun, who took the Thing's powerful punch and the delivered another that pounded the Thing to the ground.When Doc Savage confronted Blacksun, Savage appreciated that overhead clouds blocked Blacksun's starlight power and weakened the field around him, allowing Doc Savage to tolerate one of Blacksun's energy bolts and then knock Blacksun to the ground with a punch of his own.
Having learned from Thomas about black holes, Blacksun lifted into the sky, drawing ever-greater power from the skies and using his field to push away Doc Savage and the Thing as they tried to hold onto him.
Although Blacksun sought to become one with an imploding universe, one with eternity, eventually the power proved too much for him. Exclaiming, "Yes! The stars! Millions of stars! Calling us! Collapsing into the null of space! Co-collapsing into...themselves! I--We--Our heart! Can't breathe!" -- he fell to the ground.
Raymond, Doc Savage, Renny, and Monk were then pulled back to 1936, while the Torch told Janice they would take Thomas to Dr. Donald Blake for treatment.
(Marvel Two-In-One#21 (fb) - BTS) - Raymond Lightner died (see comments).
Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Ron Wilson, and Pablo Marcos.
We don't know Raymond's exact fate. Thomas was taken to the hospital in
the modern era, and we see Doc Savage, Renny, and Monk fade back to
their own time, so it is presumed that Raymond went back to his own
time, as well. When Janice visits the Baxter Building, she notes that
Thomas has run the estate since their father's death (although, he
presumably wouldn't have been able to do so until reaching the age of
18, at least). In the flashback with Thomas, we see Janice note that
their father died trying to prove his theories.
I think it seems very likely that Raymond died upon returning to his own time, but it is certainly possible that he was badly affected and these injuries led to his eventual death, days, weeks, months, or years later. It is unconfirmed. That OHotMU entry on Mysterium/Thomas Lightner confirms his fate as unrevealed.
Raymond's influence on his son, Thomas, was detailed above as it directly involved in the story, rather than placing that information as it occurred in time.
On that same note...Raymond is 100% locked into the 1936 date because
of his involvement with Doc Savage. With Lucinda being pregnant at the
time of his death, that means Thomas and Janice were born in 1937-1937.
No problem for a 1976 story, but with the sliding timescale, that means
the story happened like 9-11 years ago, which means that Thomas and
Janice would have been 76 years in the MTIO story, and you can add 2-3
months every year of real time that passes. That's a bit of a stretch.
Maybe Raymond was exposed to the energies before conceiving the children, or perhaps the pregnant Lucinda was exposed to the energies from the sky-cannon directly. There's no mention of any sort of slowed aging in the story (there wouldn't have been, because it wasn't an issue at the time of publication), but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. We can ignore it for now, but it may need to be addressed at some point...
Lucinda Raymond notes how Raymond changed two months ago after she told Raymond she was pregnant, which seems to continue into his striking her, after which she apparently called Savage and drove straight to see him. What makes the most sense to me is that after she told him she was pregnant, he started to change, progressing to the point of the scene where he dragged her to the observatory and struck her, and the story continued directly from there.
Mark Gruenwald brought back Thomas Lightner and gave him an extensive history as the Nth Man; after Mark's death, Thomas had a little more development as Mysterium.
Raymond Lightner originally had a sub-profile under Thomas Lightner/Mysterium, published back in 10/04/2001, just a little over a month after the Appendix was first established.
This profile was completed 6/30/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Snood.
Raymond Lightner should be distinguished from:
Two-In-One I#21, pg. 6, panel 2 (portrait/obscured);
panel 5 (face; oblique);
panel 6 (upper; profile);
panel 8 (profile; most full);
pg. 7, panel 6 (slapping Lucinda);
pg. 8, panel 7 (Lightner mansion glowing);
pg. 11, panel 2-4 (Raymond and Thomas struck by energy; merging; as Blacksun);
pg. 13, panel 6 (Blacksun, firing energy blasts);
pg. 18, panel 6 (heartpain-cantbreathe);
panel 7 (falling)
Marvel Two-In-One I#21 (November, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Ron Wilson (penciler), Pablo Marcos (inker), Archie Goodwin (editor)
First posted: 09/22/2021
Last updated: 09/21/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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