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Crimson Avenger

The Crimson Avenger is the name of three separate fictional characters, superheros who exist in the DC Comics universe.


The original Crimson Avenger premiered in Detective Comics #20, dated October 1938 (predating the appearance of that title's most famous character, Batman, who debuted in #27). He was a wealthy newsman named Lee Travis who took up the identity of the Crimson Avenger to battle crime. He had many similarities to the Green Hornet, including a sidekick named Wing who was an Asian valet and a gas gun that he used to subdue opponents. He initially dressed in a red trenchcoat, a fedora, and a red mask covering his face; except for the red, he was visually similar to The Shadow. Later, when superheroes became more popular than costumed vigilantes, his costume was changed to a more standard superhero outfit, consisting of a red full body suit,yellow boots, trunks and crest, and a "sun" symbol which was recently revealed to have been a stylized bullet hole. Some months after this, the Crimson Avenger made his first appearance in Leading Comics #1 with the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
In a one shot story named "Whatever Happened to the Crimson Avenger?" featured in DC Comics Presents #38, Lee Travis finds out that he is suffering from an incurable terminal disease. In his hospital room brooding about his situation, Travis spots a ship blinking SOS with its lights. Sensing trouble, Travis dons his suit one last time and heads out to investigate. He discovers the ship was taken over by criminals seeking to steal its cargo of explosively unstable chemical waste and the captain was trying to summmon help. Travis engages the criminals but is unable to prevent a grenade from starting a fire that threatens to cause a massive explosion. Knowing he was dying anyway, the Avenger makes the crew abandon ship while he pilots the ship to a safe distance and is killed with the satisfaction he is going out heroically and spectacularly. When the crew reach the shore and they are asked by the police that who were they saved by, the captain says that he never saw the face of the man. It can be assumed that nobody actually knew where Lee Travis had disappeared to or that the Crimson Avenger was responsible for saving the city.
The legend of the Crimson Avenger does not die, however, due to an early good deed that night. On his way to the tanker, he saves a young boy who has fallen out of an apartment window and returns the child to his mother. The woman promises to tell her son of the man who saved him once he is old enough to remember.
Grant Morrison has established that in various Justice League stories, the original mask, hat and cloak of the Crimson Avenger are used in a special ritual whenever a new member joins the JLA. This ritual is presumably used by the Justice Society of America as well.

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