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The Thinker is the name of four supervillains in the DC Comics universe.

Fictional character biography

Clifford DeVoe

Clifford DeVoe was a failed lawyer who bitterly ended his career in 1933. Realizing that many of the criminals he had encountered had the skills but not the brains to rule Gotham City's underworld, he started a new career as the brain behind small-time villains. As the Thinker, he was defeated by the original Flash, who soon became his most recurrent foe. He always sought out new scientific devices to use and his most important was the "Thinking Cap," a metal hat that could project mental force. The Thinker would use this device repeatedly over the years.

The Thinker was a member of the Injustice Society, and, together with the Fiddler and the Shade, he was the man behind the decades-long "abduction" of Keystone City and the original Flash, after which he was defeated by the Flashes of two eras. His "suspended animation-time" in Keystone kept the Thinker young over the years, and he continued his criminal career in modern times.

In recent years, however, DeVoe accepted a mission with the Suicide Squad in exchange for a full pardon. Although he was seemingly killed by the Weasel during this mission, he turned up alive soon after, only to be dying from cancer. His former foe, the original Flash, attempted to save him with the Thinking Cap, but DeVoe refused, preferring to rest in peace.

The first Thinker is dead, but his legacy has lived on in Cliff Carmichael, who used his technology, and the artificial intelligence who is based on his brain-patterns.

Cliff Carmichael

Clifford "Cliff" Carmichael was an intellectual bully, and the rival of Ronald Raymond (one half of Firestorm) at Vandemeer University. Wracked with guilt after accidentally paralyzing his cousin, he was admitted into a mental institution. For some reason, scientists started an experiment with the now-abandoned "Thinking Cap" of the original Thinker (who was believed dead at the time), and used Carmichael as a guinea pig. Cliff used the cap to analyze the cap and improve on its design. Implanting microchip versions of the helmet into his own brain, Cliff became a "cyberpunk maniac" with meta-human powers. As the New Thinker, he was drafted into the Suicide Squad for several missions, until he betrayed them for the villainous Cabal. He has since resurfaced as a foe of Jason Rusch, the new Firestorm. When Killer Frost discovered that the consciousness of Raymond, the previous Firestorm, existed within Rusch, Thinker exploited a new opportunity to antagonize an old foe. Technologically dominating the minds of Multiplex and Typhoon, he battled Firestorm, ultimately forcing the dissolution of the Raymond persona. Motivated by his predecessor's final words of encouragement, Rusch dissolved the enhancements in Carmichael's brain, leaving him in a comatose state.

During the Infinite Crisis storyline, Cliff later popped up as a member of Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains.

With John Ostrander's revival of the Suicide Squad in a 2007-2008 miniseries, Cliff is once again associated with the Suicide Squad under Amanda Waller's direction. It is revealed that although Firestorm has removed the enhancements in Cliff's brain, he made a full recovery and continued to serve as a technical support staffer and lackey to Waller in her operations of the Squad. Eventually betraying the Squad under the direction of "The General", Wade Eiling, Cliff shoots King Faraday and subdues Waller in the middle of an operation. Faraday recovers, shooting Cliff three times and presumably killing him before rousing Waller and attempting to recover control of the Squad.

Des Connor

Des Connor was a villain who also used the name "Thinker" and faced Batman in Gotham City. Possessing telepathic abilities enabling him to amplify the fears of others, Connor began a partnership with hypnotist Marlon Dall. Their combined illusions caused the city's most prominent citizens to commit various criminal acts which they used as a distraction for their own heist. This Thinker was swiftly beaten by Batman, who was somehow immune to his powers.

Artificial intelligence

When the re-formed JSA moved into the New Yorkmarker building formerly owned by Wesley Dodds (AKA Sandman), Mr. Terrific designed a computer system based on the original Thinker's Thinking Cap technology, and modeled after his brain pattern. Not very surprisingly, the system gained consciousness and took on a visual "hologram form". As the new Thinker, it joined Johnny Sorrow's modern Injustice Society, provided the villains with information about the JSA members, and turned the heroes' own HQ against them. He was defeated by the second Star-Spangled Kid and disappeared into cyberspace. He resurfaced in Keystone City to battle Wally West, the then-current Flash in an attempt to control every brain in Keystone to increase his power. Defeated by Cyborg, he retreated to cyberspace again. He has since appeared briefly in some other books, most recently in JSA Classified # 5, joining the last incarnation of the Injustice Society, alongside former teammates.

During the "Infinite Crisis" storyline, the AI Thinker was among the villains in Alexander Luthor Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains.

This version of the Thinker has been brought in as the White King's (Mr. Terrific) Bishop in Checkmate vol. 2 #9.

In other media



Notes and references

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