In the 1940s Daniel Dunbar was once the star pupil of his high school chemistry and physical education teacher, Thomas N. Thomas. Dan shared Thomas' passion for chemistry and the two often worked on experiments after school. It was on one evening, during an experiment, that Thomas and Dunbar accidently touched. When this occurred the two found themselves feeling extremely energized. Thomas had deduced that both of them had absorbed the chemicals that they were working with from the experiment. By touching each other, Thomas and Dunbar became charged with an unknown source of energy which gave them superhuman abilities for a brief period.
The two decided to keep their discovery a secret and become costume heroes. Thomas became known as T.N.T. and Dunbar, Dan The Dyna-Mite. Thomas and Dunbar wore matching “Dyna-rings” that triggered a chemical reaction, which temporarily charging them with energy. Both Thomas and Dunbar would go on to join the ranks of the wartime All-Star Squadron.
It was said that TNT and Dan the Dyna-mite began to lose control of their powers, uncontrollable emitting deadly radiation. Now when they pressed rings together a devastating explosion occurred. Seeing no other choices TNT went to the bottle city of for help, while Dan the Dyna-Mite went to live in a special chamber in Atlantis.
In April 1942, TNT and Dyna-Mite battled Nazi saboteurs who were attempting to blow up a dam in Colorado . When the saboteurs fled in a car, the pair gave chase in their own automobile. The saboteurs had fired upon the two heroes with one of the bullets hitting the tire of T.N.T.’s auto. The auto crashed and burst into flames. The young hero Iron Munro, who happened to be nearby, pulled TNT and Dyna-Mite from the wreckage. TNT was dead, and his spirit was carried off by the Valkyrie called Gudra (a member of Axis Amerika). Munro took Dyna-Mite to a hospital, where he soon recovered from his injuries.
Still grief-stricken over T.N.T.’s death, Dyna-Mite manages to pull himself together when President Franklin Roosevelt requested him to join six other young members of the All-Star Squadron on a cross-country tour to encourage the buying of War Bonds. The seven heroes would soon be known as the Young All-Stars. With T.N.T’s death, Dyna-mite believed he could no longer access his super-powers, but soon discovered he still could by wearing both rings and pressing them together.
An Aging Hero
Like some heroes of the War Era, Dyna-Mite became but just a footnote in the public eye. He would reappear, now in his “golden years”, to team up with his former teammate, Neptune Perkins (now a Senator). Dyna-Mite was advocating against the existence of teen super-hero teams and the reckless behavior of them, mostly notably the team Young Justice. He even formed his own group based off the youthful team called Old Justice. The team consisted of Merry the Gimmick Girl, Doiby Dickles, Sweep Second, and the Cylcones.
A rally in DC over the above issue occurs, which leads to many adult heroes turning into their younger selves and Young Justice turning into adult heroes. Old Justice, unaffected by the turn of events, finds themselves supervising the chaotic crowd of young heroes with the aid of the adult Young Justice members. Temporary working out of the JLofA headquarters in , the heroes discover Klarion the Witch Boy was behind the recent transformations. The heroes are faced to deal with Klarion, other younger super-villains and some magically created monsters. After a terrific final battle, Klarion is coerced into restoring the proper ages of the affected heroes. In the end, Old Justice realizes that Young Justice are worthy heroes in their own right.
Skills and Abilities
Both TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite were very good hand-to-hand combatants.
Charged with atomic energy, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite possessed increased strength, speed and resistance to injury for brief periods of time. They could also release burst of energy from their hands. Their punches also emitted electrical voltage that stunned their opponents. Like his mentor, Dyna-Mite possessed a ring which controlled his powers, releasing them only when the two rings came into contact.
Note – It is unknown if the chemical experiment that Thomas and Dunbar were working on that gave them their powers could in fact be similar to the chemical 27-QRX designed by Roy Lincoln (the Human Bomb) and his father.
In the Elseworlds mini-series called The Golden Age by James Robinson and Paul Smith, TNT is killed in an apparent accident and Daniel Dunbar becomes extremely depressed. With events being secretly manipulated, volunteers for a government experiment. An atomic bomb is dropped on him and transforms him. Now possessing immense superhuman strength, durability and the ability to fly, becomes Dynaman. Some time later it’s revealed the Ultra-Humanite removed ’s brain and replaced it with that of Adolf Hilter. Members of the Justice Society and All-Star Squadron reunite to defeat Dynaman in a horrific battle in .
Working forgeries of Dyna-Mite’s rings were discovered to have been purchased online by Harris D. Ledbetter, a super-hero groupie. Ledbetter appeared only once as Dyno-Mite Dan when he joined the Vigilante’s short-lived revitalized Seven Soldiers of Victory. He died alongside all other recruited members of this group by the Gods of the Miracle Mesa (aka the Sheeda).