On the brink of war in 1938, US scientists sent a mathematical equation into space, but the mathematical equation was incorrect, and added up to more than the sum of it's parts, to signify the message "let us add up to more, together." Eleven seconds later, a ship crash landed on Earth, with a similar, more complex equation, with a gift enclosed, an alien who would become known as Wraith. His name standing for "William Rudolph's Ace in the Hole," the US Army would build a home for Wraith, and in return, he'd operate in secret for the Army during world crisis. His first major mission was to act as the bomb that was dropped over Nagasaki, which lead the world to believe the US had more nuclear arms than it did.
Wraith was created by Superman Unchained writer Scott Snyder and artist Jim Lee.
Major Story Arcs
Wraith meets Superman in Superman Unchained, and is initially not presented as a villain. He has been doing secret missions for the US Military for decades, in a way, being the original "Superman." He shows that he is stronger than Superman, and just as fast and durable when they fight the first time. Wraith comments that eventually he will have to kill Superman, for interfering with General Lane's plans. When nuclear missiles are released, aimed for countries all over the world, Wraith only agrees to help destroy the ones that will harm America, leaving Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Superman to deal with the rest. When Wraith and Superman fight for a second time, Wraith easily dominates the fight, until Superman uses the radioactive isotope that weakens Wraith, formed by Batman, to drive him away. Soon after, Wraith goes to the Batcave to deal with Batman for this, dressed in armor to protect him from the radioactive isotope. He is met not only by Batman, who is using a stealth suit that hides him from Wraith, but Wonder Woman as well. Batman and Wonder Woman use everything in the Cave, including the batmobiles, other bat-vehicles, and the giant penny, but nothing is able to keep Wraith down. After Wraith attacks the duo with the robotic T-Rex kept in the Batcave, Superman arrives to help Batman and Wonder Woman continue the battle.
Superman starts the fight aggressively, but Wraith uses his superior strength and speed to quickly take the upper hand and starts to manhandle Superman. Wraith also shows off many powers his longer time in the sun's radiation had given him. Superman realizes that he is outclassed and cannot beat Wraith with physical might. Using his brains, Superman grabs and flies Wraith into space where he couldn't breathe and tries to kill him that way, driving him all the way through the moon in the process. Wraith however uses his strength to overpower Superman, and then uses his energy powers to imitate the signature of Kryptonite to weaken Superman and bring the fight back to earth. On earth Wraith attempts to drown Superman in the ocean. With his face pressed into the bottom of the ocean, he realizes he isn't strong enough to beat Wraith, and digs down and takes the fight all the way to the core of the earth. Superman had known that the earth's magnetic field, which is strongest at the core, would interfere with Wraith's energy and electronic abilities, weakening him enough for Superman, with the help of the ring Batman gave him that weakens Wraith, to punch him out and leave him in the lava core of the earth.
Powers & Abilities
- Alien Physiology: Wraith has a physiology that is similar to, but much stronger than that of Superman. Wraith notes that this amount of control over his energy signature has taken decades. His body is solar powered, but processes solar energy much more efficiently than Superman's body does.
- Invisibility: Wraith was able to use his powers of invisibility to follow Superman around and learn his secret identity.
- Energy Absorption: Wraith is capable of absorbing and manipulating the absorption of electromagnetic energy, especially solar power. His absorption, when controlled, averages at one hundred and sixty gigawatts of solar energy.
- Energy Projection: Wraith is capable of releasing powerful blasts of energy that are capable of destroying large metal structures, causing them to detonate.
- Energy Transference: Wraith is capable of manipulating his energy signature to such a degree that he can transform his body in minor ways such as developing spikes that can emit the same signature as Kryptonite.
- Flight: Wraith can fly as fast as Superman can.
- Sound Manipulation: Capable of tightening his throat muscles to create an echo chamber in order to release a sonic attack from his mouth.
- Superhuman Durability: Wraith is far more durable than Superman, due to his being exposed to sunlight longer and using it more efficiently.
- Superman Speed: Wraith is capable of easily catching a punch from Superman, and in their third encounter Superman admitted that Wraith was faster.
- Superhuman Strength: Possesses a strength greater than that of Superman, able to kick him halfway across the continental United States, and manhandle him easily in a fight.
Wraith was shown to be susceptible to a select radioactive isotope that reacts with his specific energy signature that weakens him to the point where he is no longer able to fight Superman.