Now that we’ve learned that Gypsy is going to be appearing on “The Flash” television series later this season, we thought that it would be helpful to look at the comic book history of the little-known comic book hero, to catch fans up on the character before she makes her live action TV debut.
Gypsy made her debut in “Justice League of America Annual” #2 (by Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton and Dave Hunt), which introduced the brand-new Justice League that consisted only of superheroes who were willing to dedicate themselves to being full-time members of the League (amusingly, Aquaman, the guy who dissolved the League and re-formed it only with heroes who were willing to dedicate themselves to the League full-time, ended up bailing on the new league before a year was up). This Justice League is best known as “Justice League Detroit,” since that’s where the new League set up shop in that annual (as their satellite headquarters had been badly damaged in a battle with invading Martians). In that first story, they met two young superpowered characters in Detroit – Vibe, the break dancing hero with vibration powers and Gypsy, a runaway living on the streets who could turn invisible. Vibe joined the League in the annual, while Gypsy took a little while to actually join up. In the first issue, she used her ability to turn invisible to sneak into the League headquarters, and when she was caught, she used her powers to escape.
She continued to spy on the team for the next few issues. Note that although she called herself “Gypsy” and wore somewhat stereotypical clothes for a member of the Romani people, there was no indication that she actually was a member of the Romani people and in fact, we eventually would learn that she was not a member of the Romani people, so the name is actually all kinds of offensive. She uses a name that is a slur for Romani people and she isn’t even Romani!! There was definitely a little too much “Oh, she’s a thief, just like a true gypsy!” and “She’s a habitual liar, just like a gypsy!” for their own good.
In “Justice League of America” #236 (by Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton and Mike Machlan), she discovered that the League was in trouble and broke into their headquarters to get Dale Gunn, the guy who ran the Justice League’s base (he worked for Commander Steel, who gave the League the use of the base because his grandson, Steel, was a member of the tram) to help her save the League. They did so and yet they never actually show her joining the League, it is implied that she joined at some point in that issue, as she is fully a member of the team in the following issue (by Conway, Patton and Machlan), where we continue to get dialogue like, “You’re a habitual liar” and yet the Lrague continued to keep her around, which was odd.
In the following issue, Gypsy established a new power – the ability to make people experience their greatest fear via a vivid illusion….
Gypsy served with the League for the next year or so, using her newly developing illusion powers to become a valuable member of the team. Along the way, we learned her real name was Cynthia “Cindy” Reynolds, and she grew up in the suburbs to a family where her parents would fight a lot, her father would drink and she felt lost in the home. One day, she inadvertently used her illusion powers to really mess with her family’s head. The shock drove her from her home and she traveled to Detroit where she used her powers to steal and to keep predators away from her.
In the final storyline in the first volume of “Justice League of America,” Gypsy quit the League to go back home to live as a normal teenager (after she was spared by one of the killer androids that Professor Ivo had sent to kill the Justice League and succeeded in killing her former teammates Vibe and Steel).
She was in character limbo the next few years as she just lived a normal suburban life. This was ruined when Despero, one of the villains that the League had defeated during her time with the group, arrived on Earth more powerful than ever and dead set on killing off all the members of the last League that had defeated him. There is a chilling sequence in “Justice League America” #38 (by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Adam Hughes and Joe Rubinstein) where Gypsy returned home, thinking that her father had fallen asleep watching television but he’s actually slumped over, dead. Despero is behind her, telling her, “Daddy’s dead, child. And so are you!”
Thrust into a life or death battle, Gypsy frantically managed to escape and hide from Despero, but then he explained that if she did not reveal herself, he would begin to kill innocent people until she did. Heroically, Gypsy dropped her invisibility and was set to meet her maker when her old friend, the Martian Manhunter, showed up in one of his most awe-inspiring moments ever. Despero asked him, “Come to watch the girl die, did you, Martian?” He replied, “There will be no more deaths today, Despero. Except, perhaps, yours.” The League then defeated Despero. Eventually, the now orphaned Gypsy would go to work for the corporate-sponsored superhero team, the Conglomerate.
When that fell through, the Martian Manhunter brought her into a new group he was working with for the United Nations called Justice League Task Force, where Manhunter and Gypsy would pick different superheroes for different missions. It was Gypsy’s return to regular superhero work. Eventually, though, the Task Force broke from the United Nations and Martian Manhunter instead turned it into a training team for younger superheroes, including Gypsy, who was not even 20 yet. They even all eventually got matching team uniforms in “Justice League Task Force” #21 (by Christopher Priest, Sal Velluto and Jeff Albrecht). Gypsy, though, had a hard time at first working alongside one of her teammates, the Justice League’s former administrative aide, the robot L-Ron, had taken control of Despero’s body, so Gypsy was now working alongside a constant reminder of the being who murdered her parents.
Gypsy faithfully served Justice League Task Force until that series ended with issue #37. She then wandered around the DC Universe for the next decade or so. She joined up with Oracle’s Birds of Prey and did some missions with them, but mostly she was just a “pop up here and then” character.
When the DC Universe was rebooted with the “New 52,” Gypsy was unsurprisingly not initially used (as she had not been used leading up to the New 52. However, she ultimately did show up in the pages of “Justice League of America’s Vibe,” where she was now an interdimensional alien who would travel from dimension to trade (sort of like an interdimensional Romani people), but her evil mother wanted to use her ability to travel between dimensions to attack Earth. Vibe helped her and the two ended up working together at the end of the series (from “Justice League of America’s Vibe” #10 by Sterling Gates, Derlis Santacruz and Wayne Faucher)…
Her first name was still Cynthia, but her last name was now Mordeth.
It is likely this connection with Vibe that led to her getting a new role on the “Flash” TV show where she will help Vibe with his powers.
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