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SuperFriends Comic Book Character
Ak-Var
Ak-Var (SF 189)
Information
Real name: Ak-Var
AKA: Flamebird
Species: Kryptonian from the city of Kandor
Homeworld: Krypton
Universe: Earth-1A
Earth-One
Relatives: Sirma Sen (girlfriend before exile)
Thara (wife)[1]
Occupation: Lab Assistant (to Van-Zee)
Base: Kandor, Krypton
Shrunken City of Kandor at the Fortress
Kandor on the planet, Rokyn
Affiliations: Nightwing (crime-fighting partner)
Flamebird 3 (SF 191)

Flamebird
Image from Superman Family, #191 (Sept./Oct. 1978).

Thara (Action Comics 336, 1966)

Meeting Thara
Image from Action Comics, #336 (April 1966).

Lab Assistant (Action Comics 336, 1966)

Ak-Var and Thara
Image from Action Comics, #336 (April 1966).

Ak-Var is a Kryptonian who was born on Krypton. He was originally a petty thief, but Superman helped him reform and he became the lab assistant to his partner Van-Zee. He is also, the second vigilante to use the name 'Flamebird.' As a vigilante, he is the sidekick to Nightwing a Kandorian crime-fighter, the Scientist Van-Zee.


Background Information

In the parallel universe of Earth-One, on one fateful day, years before Krypton exploded; the young Ak-Var is attending a museum exhibit, showcasing a rare, Kryptonian ‘Sun-Stone.’ The stone has unknown crystals on it which absorb solar light and heat during the day and then emits that light and heat during the day. The curator goes on to say how this rare stone helped their primitive ancestors survive the cold winter nights. Unbeknownst to everyone in attendance, Ak-Var is plotting to steal the revered relic. On the day of his theft, the young man didn’t account for a very crucial piece of information – the Sun-Stone is extremely heavy. This slowed him down considerably and he was caught. And although he pleaded with the court saying it was only stolen as a prank, the motive mattered not to the Kryptonian Council. Stealing one of Kryton’s National Relics is a major offense. His accomplices fled, leaving him alone to take the blame. They sentenced him to thirty years confinement in the Phantom Zone.[2]

After thirty years of exile, Superman releases Ak-Var from his confinement. Ak-Var is then sent to the only existing Kryptopnian city in known existence, the shrunken city of Kandor. Upon arrival, many citizens shun him. Superman is quick to remind them that Ak-Var has paid the penalty for his crime. As they make their way through the streets, encourages him by teling him that he must go to college and learn a profession. This way he’ll earn their acceptance, by proving that he is reformed. Superman then leaves, promising to check on him from time to time. Ak-Var is soon greeted by some old friends. They comment on how young he still looks (a side-effect of being in the Phantom Zone, is that you do not age). These men were also his accomplices from thirty years ago. Sometime later, Ak-Var is walking through the park conemplating his new role in society; he is shocked to see Superman walking through the park escorting a young lady. He soon learns that this is Superman’s cousin and look-alike, Van-Zee, The young lady is his niece, Thara. She is intrigued and the two spend hours in the park, talking about what Krypton was like before it exploded. Strangely, Ak-Var's former associates begin to exhibit super powers and commit robberies. Thara takes Ak-Var to her uncle’s house to hide him. Ak-Var claims that he is innocent, but his former friends frame him. Superman returns to Kandor to hels Ak-Var clear his name by exposing the real crooks. He also explains that the super powers were the result of Ak-Var's exposure to Red Kryptonite that he found in the Phantom Zone and brought to Kandor, which caused him to transfer powers to other people. After his name is cleared Ak-Var becomes Van Zee's lab assistant.[3]

Ak-Var, soon marries the niece of his lab partner, Thara.[4]

On one fateful occasion, Superman decides to work with Van-Zee when a Kandorian scientist named 'Than Ol' figures out a way to enlarge Kryptonians. The men break out of Kandor, go to America and wreak havoc. Than Ol also believes that Superman has been keeping this ability from them and has turned many Kandorians against him. Upon arrival with his pal Jimmy Olsen he is greeted by hostility and anger. He and Jimmy hide out in the home of Nor-Kann, a scientist and an old friend of his father. Nor-Kann assists them, by providing shelter and the use of his secret laboratory. While there, Superman wants to find a way to speak to Than Ol, but knows that showing his face could have catastrophic results. He then suggests dressing up in disguise like Batman and Robin. Using a Nightwing and a Flamebird as examples, they construct their outfits, becoming the ‘Dynamic Duo’ of Kandor. Over the next few days they embark on their quest to prove Superman's innocence, and to find Than Ol’s hidden laboratory. They find his base, but Superman does not want to draw attention to himself as Superman. So, he seeks out his cousin, and virtual look-alike, Van-Zee. Superman’s cousin is still loyal, not believing Than Ol and his hate-filled lies. The next morning Superman, disguised as his cousin Van-Zee pays a visit to Than Ol. He wants to help Than Ol realize that the design for his enlarging ray gun is flawed. This ruse backfired, and the non-powered super hero found himself injured and captured. Upon hearing the news, Van-Zee finds young Jimmy and dons the ‘Nightwing’ outfit while Jimmy wears the ‘Flamebird’ outfit and rescues their fallen hero. Than Ol springs into action and decides now is the time. He turns his enlarging ray gun on the city itself, it is then that the fatal flaw in Than Ol’s design becomes apparent. The people that were enlarged began to disintegrate. Superman, Jimmy and Van-Zee help the people recover after the damage. As the people of Kandor get back to business as usually, the erect, not a statue of Superman, but two statues, one of Nightwing and one of Flamebird.[5]

A few years later, Van-Zee and his assistant Ak-Var were forced to take action against a ‘single-celled’ creature that had grown larger than a person and was wreaking havoc on the city. Knowing that Superman was off-world fighting the Manhunters,[6] and that no one in Kandor knew that it was Superman and Jimmy Olson who posed as ‘Nightwing’ and ‘Flamebird’ except the two of them and Nor-Kann, they decide to take up the mantle and save their city. They rush to Nor-Kann’s house (it has been vacant, for sometime after the scientists death) to find the old suits and to use the old lab beneath the house as their Secret HQ, aka the ‘Night Cave.’ Together, as ‘Nightwing and Flamebird’, Kandor's Dynamic Duo, they defeat the criminal scientist Zal-Te, and destroy his single-celled’ creature.[7]

The two shared several distinct adventures, once teaming up with Superman and Jimmy.[8]

Van-Zee and his assistant Ak-Var were summoned by Superman who had brought a radiation-based Superhero from the past. It was Tex Thomas, aka T.N.T. He came to the shrunken city of Kandor, wanting Tex to meet these two brilliant scientists, believing that they would be able to solve T.N.T 's radiation problem. He left him there, knowing he was in good hands.[9]


Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Inside the bottled city, Ak-Var is normal as a human from earth. Outside the city, in earth’s atmosphere, he has all the powers of Superman, albeit in his shrunken size.
  • Telepathy: Ak-Var increased his ‘mental-powers’ while in the Phantom Zone.

Abilities


Paraphernalia

Equipment

  • Belt: Allows the Wearer to Fly.


Weaknesses

  • Kryptonian Physiology: Under the effects of a "yellow" sun, Ak-Var possesses the same potential weaknesses as an average Kryptonian. These include:


Gallery

Title (SF 189)

Image From: Superman Family, #189 (May/June 1978).


Appearances

Ak-Var did not appear in any episode of the Superfriends TV Show.

Earth-One Appearances:

  • Action Comics, #336 (April 1966)

Earth-1A Appearance:


Notes

  • Ak-Var was created by Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan.
  • He first appeared in Action Comics, #336 (April 1966).
  • Flamebird is the name used by three different DC characters in the pre-crisis multiverse, specifically from the Superman and Batman mythos.
    • The first character to use the Flamebird name is Bette Kane, who was the original Bat-Girl.
    • The second character to use the name Flamebird, was Jimmy Olsen in a team-up with Superman.
    • Jimmy was later succeeded by Kandorian scientist, Ak-Var.


References

  1. Thara is confirmed to be Ak-Var's wife in Superman Family, #185/5 (September/October 1977).
  2. As revealed in Action Comics, #336 (April 1966).
  3. As revealed in Action Comics, #336 (April 1966).
  4. As revealed in Superman Family, #185/5 (September/October 1977).
  5. As revealed in Superman, #158 (January 1963).
  6. This mission is recorded in Justice League of America, #140 & #141 (March – April 1977).
  7. As revealed in Superman Family, #185 (September/October 19770.
  8. As revealed in Superman Family, #188 (March/April 1978).
  9. As revealed in SuperFriends, #12 (July 1978).
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