When last year's Arrowverse crossover event ended with the huge reveal that this year's event would adapt the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, comic fans were understandably excited. Not only would we see the combined characters from Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and new series Batwoman working together, but they would be bringing one of DC Comics most iconic storylines to life.
Of course, there was a moment before the "Crisis" logo was revealed that had fans' jaws dropping seconds earlier when the "Elseworlds" villain Dr. Deegan was placed in jail next to a golden mask-wearing criminal. That man was the DC criminal known as Psycho-Pirate, and we'll be exploring why he is a character to watch in the upcoming crossover event.
10 There Have Been Two Psycho-Pirates
The first Psycho-Pirate was Charles Halstead, who was created by Gardner Fox and Joe Gallagher, and he first appeared in All-Star Comics #23. This version of the character had no powers, but his various crimes (usually against his former employer) were based on emotions, and he became an enemy of the Justice Society of America.
The second character to use the name Psycho-Pirate is Roger Hayden, and he is the modern version of the character seen in the "Elseworlds" crossover. Hayden assumed the identity of Psycho-Pirate from Halstead after the two met in prison, and Halstead revealed the existence of a very important part of Psycho-Pirate's costume.
9 The Medusa Mask
The Medusa Masks were in the possession of the first Psycho-Pirate, but he neglected to use the masks. It was only after Hayden took over as the Psycho-Pirate that he decided to use the Medusa Masks, of which there were three, all based on the classical dramatic theater faces of Comedy and Tragedy.
Hayden combined the three into one and gained access to the full power of the Medusa Masks, which made him a far more dangerous Psycho-Pirate than his predecessor. The Medusa Mask has become a powerful artifact in the DC Universe and even previously appeared on a shelf in a Constantine episode.
8 Controls And Feeds On Emotions
The Medusa Masks give Psycho-Pirate the power to influence the emotions of others which also allowed him to exert control over people, usually through the use of fear or rage. The Medusa Mask's abilities stayed with Hayden even when he didn't wear the mask, though he would need to wear it again to recharge his abilities.
Psycho-Pirate's powers took a darker turn when he gained the ability to drain emotions as well as influence them. Eventually, Psycho-Pirate began to crave the emotions of others making him an emotional vampire that tortured his victims so he could drain their heightened emotions.
7 Originally From Earth Two
Both Psycho-Pirate's existed in the Pre-Crisis continuity, which covers the entire DC Multiverse that existed from the creation of the line until 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths. Psycho-Pirate was an enemy of the JSA who lived on Earth-Two, which was a parallel Earth that vibrated on a different frequency than the other Earths of the Multiverse.
After the Crisis combined the Multiverse into a single universe, Psycho-Pirate and other characters like Power Girl survived the event with their origins and histories intact, connecting them in a way that would play out in later Crises that affected the DC universe.
6 Worked With The Anti-Monitor
Crisis on Infinite Earths featured an epic battle between the combined forces of the heroes and villains of the DC Universe against the multiverse-ending threat of the Anti-Monitor, but it didn't start out that way. Before the threat became too great the heroes and villains of the Earths were still fighting amongst each other, largely due to the manipulations of Psycho-Pirate.
While Psycho-Pirate started out on the side of the heroes, he was unable to control his desire to use his abilities on his allies. Anti-Monitor soon recruited him, amplified his powers and used his emotional abilities to influence a number of worlds into violence and destruction. Psycho-Pirate was promised his own planet of people to emotionally toy with after they won.
5 Remembers Past Continuities
We previously mentioned that there were a few survivors of the Crisis like Psycho-Pirate and Power Girl, however, it was only Hayden who actually remembered the Multiverse. The information proved to be a lot for Hayden's already weakened mind, while also making him very popular among other Multiversal-aware characters.
There have been a few instances where Hayden has been cured of these memories, either through medical treatments or line-wide reboots. The New 52 version of Hayden was a powerful psychic with a much different Medusa Mask and seemingly no recollection of the previous reboots, though he reverted to his post-Crisis design and memories after the Rebirth event.
4 Aware Of His Comic Book Existence
After the Crisis, Psycho-Pirate was left institutionalized in a straight-jacket in Arkham Asylum, rambling incoherently about the Multiverse. This is basically where the character was found in Grant Morrison's Animal Man run, where Psycho-Pirate is found with a number of comics that reveal certain pre-Crisis events.
The comics themselves came from another world known as Earth-Prime, and Psycho-Pirate was able to manifest some of these forgotten comic characters into reality, though they, like Psycho-Pirate himself, became aware that they were just characters in a story. Psycho-Pirate faded out of existence into Comic Book Limbo, though he mysteriously returned to life later, a true product of his medium.
3 He Has Been Driven Mad
It should come as no surprise that Roger Hayden is completely and utterly insane. The Medusa Mask's manipulation of emotions affected Hayden as much as it did his victims, so his mind was already weak when the Crisis left Hayden with a head full of Multiversal memories.
And if he wasn't already a mess, attaining a Deadpool-level understanding of one's own existence as a comic book character could be considered the straw that broke the camel's back. His Rebirth appearances have re-introduced his fractured psyche after the New 52 reboot, though he seems to have gained control oF his Multiversal memories.
2 Member Of The Secret Society Of Super-Villains
Psycho-Pirate may usually end up being a pawn in the larger plans around him, but that doesn't mean he doesn't choose to work with other villains as well. Psycho-Pirate first joined the Pre-Crisis Secret Society of Super-Villains when it was formed by the Ultra-Humanite, though his first time with the team Post-Crisis turned out to be a ploy by the JLA to catch a large gathering of villains at once.
He joined with a new iteration of the Secret Society during the Infinite Crisis event, which featured the largest roster of the team ever with over a hundred members. Psycho-Pirate was a crucial member of the team, though an enraged Black Adam pushed Psycho-Pirate's Medusa Mask through his head, presumably killing Hayden until the New 52 reboot.
1 The Medusa Mask Can Open Dimensional Portals
There's still a lot we don't know about the Medusa Mask, especially considering the effects the various Crises have had on the powerful weapon. While it was previously able to bring previously deceased Multiversal characters back to life, it exhibited another powerful ability that could play a big role in the coming "Crisis on Infinite Earths" Arrowverse event.
As seen in the Batman/The Flash crossover "The Button," the Medusa Mask was able to break through dimensional barriers when it was brought near another Multiversal item, the Comedian's blood-stained button from the Watchmen universe. The Mask also brought characters from alternate Earths to the mainstream reality, similar to how the Mask previously conjured out-of-continuity characters in Animal Man.