Red Tornado: 2003 - 2006
Dr. Thomas Morrow created the android which would come to be known as Red Tornado, but had originally called his creation “Mr. Twister”. Morrow used the android to commit crime, usually robbing banks and armored convoys, to gain funds and materials needed to further his research into artificial intelligence. After the invasion of Brainiac, Mister Twister engaged in robberies of warehouses where the alien tech was being stored. So the Justice League of America was on alert but when they set up a trap to capture the bionic burglar, Mister Twister shifted tactics and attacked Titans Tower, intent on getting the parts used to create Cyborg. In an intense battle, the newly founded Titans managed to pull off a victory and destroyed Mister Twister through teamwork.
After the robot’s destruction, Mister Twister’s parts were sent to STAR Labs for study and there Dr. Adam Strange got approval to use the parts to construct a new android to house the artificial intelligence program he had developed based on Rannian technology, reasoning that Rannian code should be invulnerable to Earth-based methods of hacking or reprogramming. Confident with the end result, Adam Strange sent the finished product he had renamed “Red Tornado” to the Justice League of America. Though the JLA was skeptical about making a robot a member of their team, especially one that had attacked children, they agreed to give the mechanical lifeform a probationary role and disabled many of its personality features so that it operated in a form of “safe mode”. After a few field tests, the JLA thought the machine would be best served as a guardian and chaperone for the Titans.
In that capacity, Red Tornado excelled. As time went by, Cyborg continued to test the machine and would enable more features, which in turn helped the android become more human-like. As a result, the first and second generations of Titans began to develop attachments to the machine as it did likewise for its charges, until Morrow sent new robots to reclaim his property.
Red Tornado: 2006 - 2013
When Dr. Morrow attacked the Titans’ Tower in a bid to reclaim his property, he sent in two of his other creations under the ruse that they had gained consciousness and had defected from their master and sought to ally themselves with their “brother”, Red Tornado. They couldn’t have picked a better time to hit us. With the death of Jason Todd and all that upheaval in the world of heroics, Red Tornado’s long lost relatives were sort of an afterthought and so Red Torpedo and Red Inferno infiltrated the ranks of Titans Tower at a time when it was more or less hemorrhaging members. When Morrow’s minions found a moment of vulnerability, they struck and struck hard; disabling Red Tornado and capturing most of the remaining Titans in one fell swoop. However, what they didn’t count on was Red Tornado’s ability to override its deactivation protocol through what can only be describe as an intense “desire” to protect its charges: the Titans. In the aftermath of the battle that followed, Red Torpedo and Red Inferno were reduced to scrap and Red Tornado was only barely more than that.
Cyborg was able to salvage most of Red Tornado’s memory files, storing them on his own internal hard drive due to the significant damage to the Tower. When Cyborg later relocated to the Secret Sanctuary inside Mt. Justice, he updated the computer hardware and network inside the old training facility and downloaded Red Tornado’s protocols to that system, enabling Red Tornado to function as the base’s A.I. program RT (or “Artie”). In RT’s downtime, it found itself able to more freely ponder the significance of life and what it meant to be human, thus developing its own unique personality and identity. In 2011, “Artie” decided that it was a she and created its own unique voice (literally). When Cyborg investigated the origin of the voice, he was shocked to find that RT hadn’t just used random algorithm to determine the voice, but that RT had actually based the voice off a “memory” from a corrupted file that RT referred to as a “dream”. In 2013, after years of being without a body, Cyborg enlisted the help of S.T.A.R. Labs to create a new female chassis for his old friend.
Maxine Hunkel: 2013 - Present
Red Tornado began to explore things like cuisine, music, and the like. She found she had a passion for dancing, singing, and already had favorite foods. Furthermore, she had a deep interest in Broadway plays and even though her memory banks had never previously downloaded or streamed such performances, she knew all the lyrics to the songs from “Wicked”. As this trend went on, Red reported anomalies in her coding that amounted to disturbing “dreams” and upon investigating the phenomena, Victor Stone and Sarah Charles discovered that what had first appeared as corrupted fragments in her code were actually encrypted digital memories… that is to say human memories. Of course this required investigation and after S.T.A.R. Labs created a software that was used to piece together these fragments and decrypt them, Red Tornado remembered her true origin and Morrow’s true goal.
Dr. Thomas O. Morrow dreamed of finding a way to digitize life, to use science to overcome one of nature’s “shortcomings”: mortality. While he had all assumed that Morrow had been an expert in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence, he was in fact in the business of transferring actual life into mechanical form. Even before she was Mister Twister, the lifeform now housed in Red Tornado, was a teenage girl named Maxine Hunkel. As it turns out, Maxine was an aerokinetic metahuman with a passion for musical theater that had ran away from her home after her powers developed, where she was discovered by Morrow and used as one of his test subjects. As Morrow had discovered the metahuman brain was more able to handle the digitization process, Maxine was an ideal candidate. Once she was mechanized, Morrow had tried to wipe her memories but had done a sloppy job of it.
Now remembering who she is, Maxine Hunkel is allowed to once again pick her life with the help of S.T.A.R. Labs giving Red’s chassis a secondary human form, perfectly detailed to the look of Maxine’s original body. More animated than ever, Red/Maxine has quickly become BFFs with Courtney Whitmore and is even talking about joining Young Justice full-time.
- Aerokinetic Air & Cyclone Creation
- Aerokinetic Projectile Deflection & Force Field
- Aerokinetic Supersonic Flight Capability
- High-Density Armored Gynoid Body
- Computerized Brain and Sensory Processes
- Enhanced Mechanical Strength
- Synthetic Color-Reactive Life-Like Features
Trivia and Notes
- Red Tornado joined the Justice League of America in 2004 nominated by Martian Manhunter.
- Maxine can process food and drink much more efficiently than humans can. She is bionic. Biological and mechanical. STAR Labs gave her the best of both worlds.
- Earth-27's Red Tornado is a composite character of Red Tornado (John Smith), Red Tornado (Lois Lane) and Cyclone (Maxine Hunkel), the granddaughter of the original Red Tornado (Ma Hunkel).
- Her civilian portrait is a nod to Cyclone's superhero costume.
- Her female Red Tornado form is a nod to Tess Mercer's appearance in Smallville Season 11 comics.