So far, Stargirl’s troubled jock Henry King Jr. has been an unpredictable force of nature. That being said, where did the character’s loyalties lie in DC Comics?
In recent episodes of DC’s Stargirl, brash Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker), a jock at Blue Valley High School, has become the latest character to develop superpowers. Of course, considering that his father, Dr. Henry King Sr. (Christopher James Baker), is a member of the villainous Injustice Society of America (ISA) as Brainwave, this is not insignificant.
Henry’s mind reading and telekinetic services are sought by his father’s allies and their new enemies, an iteration of the Justice Society of America (JSA), led by Henry’s schoolmate Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger). She is secretly the heroine Stargirl. As of writing, Henry has not yet made a decision on who he will align with in the imminent battle between the two groups.
In the DC Comics source material, Henry is known as Brainwave Jr, debuting in 1983. This is fitting, considering his lineage and abilities. Much like Jake Austin Walker’s version on Stargirl, the comic-book counterpart is the son of villainous Brainwave. While the television character is between the JSA and ISA, Brainwave Jr. in the comics is a founding member of Infinity, Inc., a superhero group which also included characters such as Huntress, Power Girl and Obsidian, among others.
After the death of Henry King Sr in DC Comics, Henry Jr becomes significantly more powerful at the cost of his sanity. After Infinity, Inc. dissolved, he becomes the new Brainwave, discarding the Jr aspect of his superhero name. After lying low, he later resurfaced as a villain, teaming up with the likes of Black Adam and the Legion of Doom to fight against the Justice League.
Due to Henry King Jr being a hero, villain and anti-hero at different points in DC Comics, there are many directions that Stargirl can take the character. If he joins the ISA, Henry will likely be manipulated, used and perhaps even discarded after his purpose is fulfilled. On the other hand, if Henry joins the JSA, he will be working with heroes who either hate or distrust him, such as Yolanda Montez/Wildcat (Yvette Monreal) and Rick Tyler/Hourman (Cameron Gellman).
There are four episodes remaining in Season 1 of Stargirl. Plenty of time to flesh out Henry’s story even further and allow Jake Austin Walker to delve deeper into the character, after spending the first several episodes in the periphery.
Stargirl airs on DC Universe and The CW.