When Gus Hunkel won a 100–1 bet at the local race track, he used his winning to help his sister-in-law buy Schultz's Grocery Store. Ma Hunkel ran her store for a time before she was approached by racketeers looking to collect protection money. The burly Ma Hunkel battered the duo, causing them to escape in their car. However, Ma's daughter and her friend Dinky, had managed to lock themselves in the car without anyone realizing. The racketeers found the children later and held them hostage in the swanky gambling house owned by their boss, Tubbs Torponi. Realizing that their children had disappeared, the Hunkels and the Jibbets contacted Police Chief Gilhooley for help. Ma told the Police Chief that she thought Torponi's gang had kidnapped her children. However, Gilhooley said that the police had investigated Torponi and found him to be clean. Ma insisted on his arrest Gilhooley said he would if he had enough evidence to arrest him. Ma realized that the Chief was afraid to act because of Torponi's power and so the two families left.
While Ma was driving home in the back of the Jibbet's car, she continued talking to her son Huey and his friend "Scribbly" Jibbet about the cops not wanting to raid Torboni's house. Scribbly said that Green Lantern would have managed to have rescued the children already. The children explained that Green Lantern fought crime in a costume so that no one would be able to recognize him. Ma Hunkel further probed the children about Green Lantern at the Jibbet house. The boys told her that Green Lantern fought injustice and no one suspected his intentions. Ma leaves the boys bemused as to why she would want this information.
Meanwhile, Sisty and Dinky were terrorizing their kidnappers. After a long time of them running around the gambling house, avoiding the kidnappers, they were finally caught by Torponi himself. Torponi called for his gang but was then hit from behind by a bottle. The gang entered the room to discover their boss being stood over by a large man. The hero and the kids finished off the gang and called Police Chief Gilhooley so he could come and arrest the kidnappers. The Chief asked who he was speaking to and the mystery man replied The Red Tornado. The hero leaves the kids with the bottle and fled before the cops arrived. Later, Mrs Jibbet received a call saying the children had been rescued. Scribbly went to the Hunkel house to share the good news but Huey said his mother had taken a walk two hours earlier and hadn't returned. Mes Jibbet arrived with the children who said they were saved by the Red Tornado. Ma Hunkel returned home and saw the kids. When they told her about their adventure Ma was smiling. Gilhooley said that there wasn't a mystery man there and tried to claim full credit for rescuing the children. Ma was furious at this statement as she was secretly the Red Tornado and said that she went for another walk.
Later the Chief was bragging about his heroics and said that the Red Tornado was nonsense. While the press conference was going on, the Red Tornado smashed through the window and confronted him. The Chief tries to arrest the Red Tornado for breaking in but the Red Tornado told him to shut up. Introducing herself as the Red Tornado, Ma plowed through the oncoming arresting officers and escaped. The next day the papers heralded the neighborhood's new protector.
The Red Tornado later showed up at the first meeting of the Justice Society but made a hasty retreat when her costume was torn upon her entry leaving her pant-less. She was considered instead an honorary member and later served with the team. Ma also fought alongside Liberty Belle, Phantom Lady and Hippolyta who all thought she was a male hero coming to steal the spotlight. Ma revealed her true identity and impressed the other females with her commitment to both family and others. A few months after the Red Tornado debuted she took on a pair of sidekicks known as the Cyclone Kids. These were actually Sisty and Dinky.
The Red Tornado defended her city for many years until retirement. She then entered into the Witness Protection Program after testifying against a gang. Recently Ma was serving as Santa Claus at her local mall when thieves attacked it. Ma managed to apprehend the robbers despite her advanced years. Coincidentally some of the current Justice Society members were in the building and offered Ma a position as curator of their museum having found that the members of the gang she testified against had all now died. Ma happily accepted and now spends most of her time at the JSA headquarters.
Ma Hunkel takes pride in not only her job, but also her legacy. Her granddaughter, Maxine Hunkel has joined the ranks of the JSA under the code name Cyclone.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic): In her former youth, the Red Tornado could break dozens of gang members and petty criminals.
- Cooking: Ma Hunkel is renowned for her cooking, and her ability to feed large groups of people, particularly that of the ever-expanding roster of the Justice Society of America.
- Clumsiness: Be by unluck or clumsiness, Hunkel frequently put herself in embarassing or even dangerous situations.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- Ma Hunkel first appears as the Red Tornado in All-American Comics #20.
- Few people know that Ma Hunkel was the original Red Tornado. Even during her brief stint as a crime fighter, people often mistook her for a man.
- Abigail Hunkel is also known as the Red Tomato.
- All-American Comics
- Justice Society of America (Volume 3)
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Vol 1 19
- 83 Appearances of Abigail Hunkel (New Earth)
- 18 Images featuring Abigail Hunkel (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Abigail Hunkel (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Abigail Hunkel (New Earth)
Justice Society of America member