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Jean Loring is a fictional character in comic books published by DC Comics, formerly associated with superhero the Atom for whom she was a supporting character and primary love interest. She first appeared in Showcase #34 (October 1961), created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Gil Kane. The character appeared continually in minor roles until the 2004 storyline Identity Crisis, in which she suffered a mental breakdown and murdered Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man. This would later lead Loring to assume the mantle of the supervillain Eclipso.
Jean Loring, in The Atom vol. 1 #13 (July 1964)
Art by Gil Kane.
|First appearance||Showcase #34 (October 1961)|
|Created by||Gardner Fox|
|Alter ego||Jean Loring|
|Team affiliations||Black Lantern Corps|
|Supporting character of||Atom (Ray Palmer)|
Fictional character biographyEdit
Lawyer and wifeEdit
Jean Loring's career as an attorney in Ivy Town began at almost the same time that her boyfriend, Ray Palmer, became the Atom. Jean encountered the Atom who often helped in her cases many times before learning that he and Ray were the same person. Ray proposed to Jean often, but she rejected him, wanting to make it as a lawyer before becoming a wife. Only when Ray was thought killed in a car accident (engineered by the Bug-Eyed Bandit) did she accept his proposal.
In Atom and Hawkman #45 (November 1969), Jean was abducted and driven insane by the sub-atomic Jimberen race. Although quickly freed from the Jimberen by the Atom and Hawkman, Jean remained insane until Justice League of America #81 (June 1970), when she was cured by the equally insane alien the Jest-Master.
After Jean was kidnapped by T. O. Morrow, Ray went into an interdimensional search to retrieve her, asking for help from the Flash, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Captain Comet. This event direly affected Jean, and also led to the end of their marriage. For a few years, they were happy – but Ray’s adventurous life began taking its toll on their marriage. Ray caught Jean having an affair with another man and they divorced.
Despite the occasional high-profile case, notably her defense of the Justice League of America in Justice League of America (vol. 1) #19 and #77, Jean did not truly come to national prominence until the divorce. Jean soon remarried and with her new husband, Paul Hoben, opened up a law office in Calvin City. She eventually returned to Ivy Town without him and established the firm of Grabemann, Loring and Ross. In general, Jean was not involved in criminal law anymore and attended to more mundane matters such as the administration of the estates of Carter Hall and David Clinton. She made exceptions, though, as in her defense of Risk of the Teen Titans.
Jean suffered a mental breakdown as revealed in the 2004 miniseries Identity Crisis. Wanting to resume her relationship with Ray, she came to believe that the surest way to do this was to endanger the loved one of another superhero. She believed that this would send all of the superheroes, including Ray, running back to their spouses and other relatives. Jean used one of Ray's old costumes to shrink down and enter the brain of Sue Dibny, the Elongated Man's wife. She attempted to cause a minor stroke but accidentally applied too much pressure to Dibny's brain and killed her. Jean panicked and used a flamethrower in an attempt to destroy Sue's body before escaping. Unbeknownst to even Sue's husband, Sue was pregnant.
Jean attempted to divert suspicion away from herself by faking an attack on her own life. She then sent out several mysterious death threats to others such as Lois Lane in order to make everyone think that there was a serial killer on the loose who was targeting the loved ones of superheroes. These events caused the superhero community to launch a massive investigation to identify the killer, which results in the death of Firestorm at the hands of the Shadow Thief. In the final stage of her plan, Jean set up Captain Boomerang to attack Jack Drake, the father of Tim Drake, the third Robin. Jean had a gun sent to Jack so that he would be able to kill Boomerang in self-defense. Jean's hope was that afterward, everyone would believe that Boomerang had been the killer. Unfortunately for Jean, she miscalculated again and the situation ended in tragedy. Jack and Boomerang killed each other, leaving both of their sons without their fathers.
As Jean had originally planned, Ray returned to her. However, during a conversation with Ray about the deaths of Jack and Boomerang, Jean accidentally incriminated herself by asking about the "Protect Yourself" note that was sent to Jack along with the gun, something that she should not have known about as Batman had removed the note from the crime scene before reporters had arrived. Caught in her lie, Jean confessed everything, and Ray had her institutionalized at Arkham Asylum.
While she is institutionalized, the supernatural entity known as Eclipso (aided by the actions of the Psycho-Pirate and Alexander Luthor of the former Earth-3) manipulates Jean into becoming his new host so she could seduce the Spectre into destroying all of the magical beings in the DC Universe series Day of Vengeance.
Due to Eclipso's actions, the Spectre goes on a mass-murdering rampage, killing over 700 magicians. With all their lives in danger, a group of mystics band together, forming the Shadowpact. They recruited Black Alice, a girl who has the ability to steal a person's magical powers for a short amount of time, leaving the being powerless in the process. The Shadowpact uses Black Alice's power to strip the Spectre of his own, leaving him defenseless. They then attempt to kill the Spectre while he is powerless. The plan hits a snag, as without his powers the Spectre is nothing but an empty spirit, leaving him invulnerable.
During her brief possession of the Spectre's powers, Black Alice uses them to help fellow Shadowpact member Nightshade send Eclipso into a perpetual orbit around the sun, weakening Eclipso's powers. However, Eclipso's incapacitation did not help the Shadowpact with the Spectre, who continues to wreak havoc and ends up killing the ancient wizard Shazam.
After the Spectre kills Nabu, the last and most powerful of the Lords of Order, the Presence's attention is finally drawn to him, and the Spectre is forced into a human host, finally stopping his mad rampage.
In Week Twenty-Seven of 52, Ralph Dibny approaches the Spectre as part of his quest to restore his wife Sue to life, promising to fulfil any bargain demanded of him in order to accomplish this. The Spectre, desiring revenge on Eclipso, but rendered incapable of taking it owing to his then-lack of a host (the Spectre had given Crispus a year to be by himself before he became his new host), orders Dibny to punish Eclipso in return for his wife's life; Dibny, temporarily granted the power of the Spectre, takes Eclipso back to the point at which she (as Jean Loring) murdered his wife and, restoring Jean's sanity, intends to trap her in a permanent time loop and force her to watch herself murder Sue Dibny over and over for all eternity. But the now-sane Loring tearfully begs for forgiveness and Dibny, affected by her pleas, his sense of compassion and his own feelings on watching his wife's death, finds himself incapable of completing his pact with the Spectre. He thus returns Eclipso to her orbit around the sun.
Countdown to Final CrisisEdit
Blue Beetle #16 shows Eclipso kidnapping a baby with huge raw magical abilities and attempting to corrupt it into a new host for herself. The combined efforts of Blue Beetle and Traci Thirteen foil her plans, steering her attentions toward Mary Marvel instead.
In Countdown to Final Crisis Eclipso tries to corrupt Mary. Feeding the young girl mistrust and lies, Jean manages to sway Mary from the side of the heroes, corrupting the young girl into becoming her follower. Mary Marvel rebels, and refusing to be given to Darkseid as a concubine, strips Eclipso of her black diamond, blasts her unconscious and leaves Eclipso powerless in space. Eclipso retrieves the diamond and attempts to kill Mary, only to find that Mary is too strong for her. During the battle, Mary calls down the magic lightning bolt, removing Eclipso's power from Jean. In Countdown to Mystery #4, following Mary and Eclipso's battle, the black diamond chooses Bruce Gordon as a host. Jean is shown falling into the ocean near Themiscyra and a shark is seen approaching her.
In Green Lantern #43, it is confirmed by Black Hand that Jean Loring had died, since he can hear the voice of Death, which is later revealed to be Nekron, the "black personification" of it. In the Blackest Night storyline, on the night of the superhero's memorial day, her widower, Ray asks Hawkman to visit her grave to be honored as a fallen member of the community, but Hawkman refuses because of what she did in Identity Crisis.
Jean is reanimated (off-panel) as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, wearing a costume based on her Eclipso persona. She kills Damage from behind, ripping out his heart as Ray stares in shock. This final kill helps the Black Rings reach a power level of one hundred percent, thus bringing about the rise of Nekron. Jean then uses Ray's own technology to shrink him, Mera and herself into the reanimated Damage's ring. While inside the ring, she relates to Ray and Mera Nekron's origins: that he is the guardian of the darkness that existed before the light entered the universe. Jean is then possessed by Deadman, who had followed the trio into the ring, who forces her to release Ray and Mera, allowing them to return to normal size.
Jean then confronts Ray, who has recently been deputised into the Indigo Tribe, tormenting him with a recreation of her murder of Sue Dibny, and summoning Black Lantern versions of the minuscule tribe Ray had befriended in the Sword of the Atom series to attack him. However, Ray manages to fight back, using his indigo staff to combine the green light of willpower with the indigo light of compassion, using them to destroy Jean and her ring.
Jean Loring makes an appearance in Alex Ross' Justice. She called her husband Ray Palmer when he was shot by Giganta. She sat by his side in the hospital. She is among the sidekicks and loved ones attacked by the Legion of Doom.
In other mediaEdit
- Jean Loring appears in the second season of Arrow, portrayed by Teryl Rothery. A defense attorney working in Starling City, she is a friend and lawyer to Moira Queen who is on trial for conspiracy to commit murder which lasted for four episodes. Loring ends up winning the case and Moira is found not guilty by the jury. In the sixth season, she returns as Oliver Queen's defense attorney at his arraignment hearing in "Doppelganger" and is present when Judge C. McGarvey advises Oliver not to leave town. In the episode "Shifting Alliances," a news report mentions that Jean Loring is representing Oliver Queen after is arrested on charges related to vigilantism by the police officers on Ricardo Diaz's side as seen in "Shifting Allegiances". In the episode "Docket No. 11-19-41-73", Jean Loring does everything she can to prove Oliver Queen's innocence while the prosecutor Alexa Van Owen tries to prove Oliver guilty. She is present when Human Target appears in the courtroom posing as Tommy Merlyn in Green Arrow's outfit. During this time, Jean learns that Oliver is the Green Arrow. When the jury finds Oliver Queen guilty, Jean then calls for judgement notwithstanding verdict procedure. Human Target posing as Judge C. McGarvey agrees and tells Oliver Queen to seek probation before he is free to go.
- An alternate universe version of Jean Loring appears in Justice League: Gods and Monsters, voiced by Andrea Romano. This version is engaged to Ray Palmer.
- Jean Loring's Eclipso form appears in DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year, voiced by Mona Marshall.
- Jean Loring's Eclipso form appears in Lego DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain, voiced again by Mona Marshall.
- The Atom #26 (September 1966)
- Super-Team Family #11-14 (June 1977 – January 1978
- Justice League of America #157
- Sword of the Atom #1 (1983)
- Green Lantern (vol. 4) #43 (July 2009)
- Blackest Night #1 (July 2009)
- Blackest Night #4 (October 2009)
- Blackest Night #5 (November 2009)
- Green Lantern (vol. 4) #49 (December 2009)
- Blackest Night #6 (December 2009)
- The Atom and Hawkman #46 (January 2010)