Henry King Jr. is the son of the Golden Age criminal Brainwave and Merry the Gimmick Girl. Hank became one of the founding members of Infinity Inc. Wanting to distance himself from his villainous father, he remained a strong member of both Infinity Inc and the All-Star Squadron. In Infinity Inc No. 10, the Ultra-Humanite was about to gain the upper hand in a stand-off with the members of Infinity Inc. when the original Brainwave pulled all the combatants into an astral dimension called Limbo. With this move, it became apparent that Henry King Sr. was protecting his only son, and engaged the Ultra-Humanite in a psionic battle. The duel between the two powerful telepaths proved to be fatal to Brainwave Sr. Hoping in part to make up for being a prodigal parent, with his last dying breath Henry Sr. projected all of his power into his son. With his father's powers added to his own, Hank was able to defeat the Ultra-Humanite. However, in time, Hank was driven to villainy and soon madness.
Major Story Arcs
The Legion of Doom versus Extreme Justice
Henry wasn't seen again until Extreme Justice No. 17, as the leader of a new Legion of Doom. Hank's new team confronted Captain Atom, and by default, Brainwave went up against Extreme Justice's own psionic warrior, Maxima. In the beginning of the astral battle, Brainwave II had the upper hand as he had conjured up powerful 'Ego Warriors' to dispatch Maxima's psychic disciples. In addition, the tide of combat seemed to be going Hank's way as he appeared to be receiving supernatural support from the ghost of his deceased father. The Warrior Queen was the last Almeracian standing, but being outnumbered, Brainwave knocked her back into the physical plane. Ultimately, Maxima rejoined the fray and the momentum began to shift in her favor. While Hank possessed more raw power, Maxima had more stamina and discipline with her powers. She deduced that the ghost was really an expression of Henry's overwhelming sense of guilt connected with receiving his father's mentalist powers added to his own. The Warrior Queen confronted Hank with this new revelation, and the ghostly presence of Henry King Sr. vanished.
In the Green Lantern storyline Heart of Darkness, Henry was found tied up in a strait jacket at a mental hospital funded by Alan Scott. Henry cast powerful illusions into Alan Scott and Kyle Rayner's heads after invading their personal thoughts. Believing that Brainwave was somehow responsible for the disappearance of his sister, Jade (Jenny Hayden), Obsidian (Todd Rice) interrupted the exchange intending to kill Hank. The Green Lanterns manage to stop him.
During the Black Reign story arc, Henry was no longer a struggling hero and took on a darker role. In JSA No. 56, he had a group of soldiers shoot each other and even demonstrated the ability to read Black Adam's mind. In the latter case, the original champion of Shazam warned Brainwave not to cross him. Initially, the circumstances leading up to the pairing of Black Adam and Brainwave were not very clear. Hank acted as Teth's right hand man, and provided a means for communicating battle tactics by mind-linking with teammates Atom Smasher, Northwind, Alex Montez, and Nemesis II. In one of the highest points of their campaign together, Hank managed to bypass the wisdom of Solomon, and telepathically commanded Captain Marvel to revert back to Billy Batson by forcing him to say, "Shazam!" In Hawkman No. 25, while he and Teth-Adam were taking down the remaining members of the JSA, Ray Palmer was inside Hank's brain. With the guidance of Doctor Mid-Nite, the Atom was being directed to an abnormal mass of nerve fibers leading from Brainwave's auditory cortex to a growth on the side of his inferior colliculus.
According to Mid-Nite, this mutation was the source of Brainwave's vast telepathic powers, but was also causing him to teeter on the edge of sanity. Pieter Cross also mentioned that the Atom's thoughts would only register as whispers while he performed psychosurgery at a microscopic size. Instead of performing the operation that was planned, Ray Palmer encountered a parasite called Mr. Mind. The Venusian worm revealed that Hank's brain had been offered as a host due to its severely enhanced mental capacity in exchange for an alliance with Black Adam. Once Atom was able to defeat Mr. Mind, Brainwave collapsed. Hank was soon left in the care of his mother, Merry Pemberton, who had recently resurfaced as a member of the team Old Justice.
Waking the Sandman
Soon, Dr. Fate would enlist Hank's help in rescuing Sanderson Hawkins who was trapped inside his own dream. Henry King could hear the mistrust of the members of the JSA around him, but took it all in stride. Hank was once again determined to prove that he was a hero. In JSA No. 64, Brainwave described Sandy's mind as a puzzle that had been blown apart. While inside the Dream World, Hank managed to restructure Sandman's memory and personality traits, and as a result, Sandy's astral self regained control of his mortal form on the physical plane.
Self-Imposed Exile in the Jungles of Parador
Brainwave Jr. was found hiding out in the ruins of Izapan, Parador by members of The JSA All-Stars. It is an ancient civilization located in South America. He was helping 4 children control their powers that they received as an experiment. The experiment was a genetics project that spliced the original Brainwave's DNA with fertilized eggs. The children were transformed into Gods. They went to attack a city In America. Brainwave Jr. accompanied The JSA. He was able to repel the Gods by having everyone in the vicinity let go of one thing in their past that was stopping from moving forward. He went back to Parador once he decided not to stay with The JSA All-Stars. Brainwave Jr. let his hair grow out into dreadlocks, wore bluejeans, tattered shirts, and stone jewelry.
Powers and Abilities
According to Doctor Mid-Nite, Hank King's formidable telepathic powers are a result of mutations in his brain. Specifically, Hank's extra sensory perception has been attributed to a mysterious growth on the side of his inferior colliculus. In addition, there is an abnormal mass of nerve fibers leading from the auditory cortex to the unnamed growth. Hank's telepathic powers have demonstrated the following applications:
Hank has demonstrated the ability to project powerful bursts of psionic energy from his mind that he calls 'brain blasts'. In Infinity Inc. No. 2, Alan Scott tried to subdue Hank by using his powers to create handcuffs. King wasn't actually trying to incite a fight in this instance, and simply wanted to be heard. His brain blast shattered the green handcuffs, and caused Alan Scott to blackout. After the fact, Hank mentioned that he didn't mean to zap him that hard. In time, the JSA heard him out, but just in time for the Ultra-Humanite to project himself from an astral dimension and knock Brainwave II and all of the JSAers out telepathically. A few issues later in Infinity Inc. No. 10, Hank received the upgrade that he still has currently. In a rematch with the Ultra-Humanite, Hank demonstrated that his brain blast was powerful enough to K.O. the brain swapping gorilla.
Brainwave's telepathy excels especially in the area of hearing and processing the thoughts of those around him. While many telepaths filter out the thoughts of others, King Jr. allows seemingly countless minds flow freely through his mind at any given moment. The number of minds he can filter at one time is of an order of magnitude that goes into the billions. In Millenium No. 5, a large collection of heroes had been capturing Manhunters on Earth. In order to take every precaution in locating human sleeper agents amongst the Manhunter ranks, Hank pushed his telepathy to the limit and could not find more than a handful of them left anywhere on Earth. He also identified one of the Manhunters as the Harlequin. In JSA No. 57, Brainwave showed no problem reading Black Adam's private thoughts to the point where the former champion of Shazam became very defensive.
In Green Lantern and Sentinel No. 1, Hank was being held in an Asylum belonging to Alan Scott. The onetime Country Estate that used to be owned by a wealthy industrialist in the 19th century was converted into a facility specifically designed to contain Brainwave. When Alan Scott and Kyle Rayner visited King in his cell and began pressing him about the whereabouts of Jade, the powerful telepath became unhinged. King trapped both Kyle and Alan in illusions based on their inner demons. For Kyle, his prison was created by having to face his abandonment issues during his formative years as a result of never getting to know his father who was away in the military. Alan Scott's paralyzing illusion focused more on feelings of inadequacy connected to his old age that he has managed to conceal from the outside world, and his failure as a father to protect his daughter, Jenny.
Hank's mind control ability has proven to be rather efficient in subjugating the will of peoples' minds, and as such, played a very key role during the Black Reign story arc when he was the host for Mr. Mind. In JSA No. 58, despite commenting about how, "crumbling the Wisdom of Solomon will not be easy", he got Captain Marvel to change back into Billy Batson by forcing him to say, 'Shazam!' In JSA No. 56, while taking part in an invasion of Kahndaq, Hank wrested control of an army with his psionic power and forced them to kill each other with their automatic weapons. In Green Lantern No. 151, during the story 'Brother's Keeper', city wide hysteria broke out in downtown Manhattan. It was soon revealed in Green Lantern No. 152 that Brainwave was behind the riot. Broadcasts claimed that approximately 3000 people were affected, and that a quarantine had been set up over a 10 block radius to contain the war zone. Kyle Rayner also discovered Jade curled up in a ball reduced to catatonic murmuring, and Alan Scott suddenly being used as an extension of Hank's will to mete out his revenge.
Brainwave's powers allow him to generate considerable amounts of physical force. In Infinity Inc. No 2, while the JSA was surrounding him, he telekinetically slammed Wonder Woman into Hourman, and prevented Dr. Midnite's smokescreen from dispersing. Eventually, Jay Garrick entered the fray, and tripped Hank. This provided an opening for Atom, Hawkman, Dr. Midnight, and Hourman to try and gang-beat the intruder. However, once King was at the bottom of a dogpile, he shoved them into the air, prompting Hourman to describe the experience by saying 'He tossed us off like so many fleas'.
While Hank was time hopping at one point in his history, he ended up in World War 2. Among other things, he used the four years there to practice levitation with his telekinesis. In Infinity Inc. No 6, he demonstrated the ability to levitate in the air as if he was surfing. He was fast and maneuverable enough to evade the Ultra-Humanite's heat seeking missile droids.
Since defeating the Ultra-Humanite in the astral dimension called Limbo, and receiving his father's ability added to his own, Hank has shown considerable mastery outside the physical plane. While deadlocked with Maxima in Extreme Justice No. 18, both mentalists are considered to be "two of the most powerful psychics on Earth". Whatever Hank lacks in experience and discipline among his peers, he makes up for it with raw power, and sometimes intimidating madness.
As part of the power passed on to him by his father while dying Hank like his father can project his thoughts three dimensionally and can create solid constructs. His father used these constructs to actually commit crimes for him. Henry used these to interact on his behalf when he wished to be elsewhere.