Doctor Neal Emerson had won public acclaim as a physician who created miracle cures using magnetism. However, exposure to those forces gave him a split personality. He created a costume and weaponry that generated magnetic energy and became the criminal Doctor Polaris. He later altered himself to become a Metahuman so his own body would generate magnetic power.
Neal Emerson and his brother John were raised in an abusive household. Due to the psychological trauma behind those events, Neal became withdrawn and developed a dark side. When Neal was older, he left the U.S. for a year and returned to find that his brother had married a woman named Katherine and adopted a baby he named Grant. Neal was not particularly family oriented, but he was fond of Grant.
Neal excelled in medical school and began to develop an interest in magnets. Though ridiculed for his ideas, Neal believed that by using one's mind, magnetism could be used and harnessed by the mind. He becomes an author and lecturer on the idea of "Health via Magnetism." Neal becomes even more immersed in the idea to the point that he came up with the name "Doctor Polaris" and even donned a special costume and mask to use during his lectures.
Downward Spiral to Evil
Neal eventually came to believe that his overzealousness has allowed him to absorb too much magnetic energy, and tried to drain off the excess energy without success. Out of options, he decided his best bet would be to make a public appeal at a charity event to Green Lantern. Neal believed that Green Lantern's Power Ring could help him, but his evil persona chose that moment to take over. He then proceeded to rob the charity event, and ended up getting into a confrontation with the Green Lantern. At the hospital, Green Lantern probed Neal's mind and learned of his split personality. When Neal recovered he attacked the Green Lantern with metal objects, but Green Lantern got the upper-hand and defeated him. Neal's good personality resurfaced and he was placed in police custody.
Justice League & Green Lantern
Neal returned to fight the Justice League with new associates Killer Moth, Dagon, the Mask and the Pied Piper, but it was revealed the Demons Three, Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast had made magical duplicates of the villians. In the end, the Justice League prevailed.
After being released from prison, he tried to identify the source of Green Lantern's power by kidnapping his friend, Tom Kalmaku. He found that Green Lantern's power battery was hidden at Ferris Aircraft. Using his abilities, Neal placed a magnetic barrier around the battery, so that Hal could not recharge his ring to full power. After tracking down Neal, just as his ring ran out of power, Neal used his powers on Green Lantern, apparently killing him. Hal's body disappeared.
Over the years, the Polaris and Emerson personalities fought for dominance, until Polaris was approached by the demon Neron. Polaris sold Neron Emerson’s soul in exchange for greater power and being rid of the other, restraining side of his personality. Polaris was one of Neron's lieutenants before being betrayed by Lex Luthor and the Joker.
Polaris attacked Steel at his home in Washington D.C., seeking a weapon called the Annihilator which Steel had built. Polaris was not satisfied when Steel told him he had destroyed it, reasoning that Steel could easily build him another one. During the battle, Steel's grandmother attacked Polaris and was killed. Polaris was only driven away because the Parasite turned up and attacked him. Parasite, afraid of absorbing Polaris's mind and not just his power, let him go before killing him. Polaris fled to Keystone City.
Some time after that, Polaris showed up at Poseidonis when that city was on the surface. Polaris attempted to seize control of the city, prompting a battle against Aquaman and his allies. At that same time, Maxima was in the city trying to force Aquaman to marry her. Using her powerful mental abilities, Maxima compelled Polaris into believing that his alternate personality had re-emerged, forcing him into a nearly catatonic state.
In 2001, Polaris emerged during the Joker's Last Laugh crisis attempting to take control of the magnetic South Pole itself, forcing a battle against the Justice League, in which he used the metal found on their persons to attack them.
Doctor Polaris was a member of Lex Luthor's Secret Society of Super-Villains during the Infinite Crisis. He joined a large gathering of Society members who ambushed the Secret Six in a dockyard outside Gotham City. He was then part of a group that ambushed the Freedom Fighters in an abandoned plant near Metropolis. The battle became a bloodbath as the Society killed Black Condor and Phantom Lady. Polaris lunged at Human Bomb. The explosive hero ripped open his costume and unleashed the full force of his power at point-blank range right at Polaris. The force of the explosion blew Polaris to bits. Following the battle when the site was investigated, pieces of Polaris were all over the place.
- Magnetic Manipulation: Doctor Polaris can shape and manipulate electromagnetic fields that exist naturally or artificially, allowing him to lift and move heavy objects, control ferrous particles in the atmosphere, and even alter the Earth's magnetic field.
- Electromagnetism: Doctor Polaris has the ability to project or manipulate many forms of energy that are related to magnetism. He can fire bolts of electricity and create enough intense heat to destroy a metal door.
- Magnetic Force-Fields: Doctor Polaris can erect electro-magnetic force fields with a high degree of impenetrability, protecting himself or others from almost any psionic, energy, or physical attack.
- Flight: By creating an anti-gravity field around himself, Doctor Polaris possesses the ability to levitate, and inevitably fly and subsonic speeds reaching 500 mph.
- Vulnerability to Heat: Heat can reduce his powers of magnetism and can shut off his powers.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One 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 should be considered apocryphal.
- Neal Emerson's name was revealed on his memorial vault placard at the JLA Hall of Justice in Blackest Night #3.
- Green Lantern (Volume 2) #12
- Crisis on Infinite Earths (Volume 1)
- Underworld Unleashed
- Infinite Crisis #1
- 84 Appearances of Neal Emerson (New Earth)
- 22 Images featuring Neal Emerson (New Earth)
- 1 Quotations by or about Neal Emerson (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Neal Emerson (New Earth)
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