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|“||Jealousy, rage, spite, deviance... No matter whose mind I peer into, vile thoughts fill up their brains and in turn mine! I've learned the truth about humanity: at their very core, people are monsters! I hate them!||„|
|~ Brainwave's epiphany|
|“||Junior, Jordan didn't kill your mother. I did! I had to make a choice. Don't make me choose again, son! Stand by my side... or not at all...||„|
|~ Brainwave to his son Henry|
Dr. Henry King Sr., better known as Brainwave, is a central antagonist of the first season of the 2020 DC-Show Stargirl.
A talented neuro-surgeon, King hides his true identity – that of the telepathic villain Brainwave – from everyone around him. While King keeps up a dignified yet distant appearance around others, including his own son, the emotionless and cruel Brainwave is his true personna. As a member of the Injustice Society of America, Brainwave was a participant in the eradication of the Justice Society and is instrumental for the ISA's plans for Project New America.
When funding for his research was cut, meek Dr. Henry King secretly kept researching and – lacking test subjects for his cerebral expansion experiments – started testing on himself. This eventually resulted in King obtaining the powers of telekinesis and telepathy, causing a fundamental shift in his character. Now capable of reading the mind of everyone he came across, King felt every vile and brutal thought surrounding him. This led him to the conclusion that deep down, all people are monsters. Starting to despise humanity, King started training his mental powers in order to expand them. His powers caused him severe headaches from time to time that would only vanish when he uses his powers to kill others.
Henry married and he and his wife had a son, Henry King Jr. King startet to work as a neuro-surgeon at the hospital of Blue Valley. However, this role was only a facade, as deep down he was an emotionless, uncaring psychopath, using his power under the villainous alias Brainwave.
Brainwave also joined the Injustice Society of America which also consisted of Icicle, Sportsmaster, Tigress, Gambler, Fiddler, Shade, and Solomon Grundy. When his wife found out about this and tried to convince him to leave his villainy behind, Brainwave killed her with his powers. From then on, he raised his son Henry alone. Brainwave participated in the ISA's attack on the heroic Justice Society of America which led to the defeat and disbanding of the latter. It was mentioned that Brainwave was the one who killed Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Johnny Thunder. During the fight, he briefly dueled Starman but was defeated by him.
Project New America
Over the next years, the Injustice Society settled down in Blue Valley. While they kept a low profile, they secretly worked on a project called Project New America. For Project New America, Dragon King was building a machine that would broadcast Brainwave's telepathic abilities around multiple states, giving him control over all their inhabitants. With control over the citizens of six states, the ISA plans to secede from the USA in order to build their own, better America. While they waited for the machine to be built, Brainwave and Dragon King orchestrated a relationship between their children so that Dragon King's daughter, Cindy Burman, could keep an eye on Henry Jr. and evaluate whether he manifested the same powers like his father. With the JSA defeated, the ISA expects no problems but this changes when Brainwave's son, who is a bully at school, is assaulted by an unknown assailant with a staff similar to that of Starman.
This draws Brainwave's attention and he starts looking into it. He eventually concludes that the young Courtney Whitmore is the wielder of the staff. Thus, he organizes a meeting by threatening the lives of their family and when Courtney arrives, Brainwave assaults her with his telepathic powers. Vowing vengeance for her attack on his son, he is nonetheless defeated when Stargirl – accompanied by her sidekick S.T.R.I.P.E. – manages to ram her Cosmic Staff into his forehead, causing an extreme neural overload in Brainwave's head that blasts him into a coma, also causing him to forget the events of the last ten years. He is saved by Wizard, another member of the ISA, and brought into the hospital, where he remains comatose for the next weeks. While the ISA tries to get him to wake up by using the special music from Anaya Bowin's fiddle, this remains unsuccessful.
In the meantime, Henry starts developing powers similar to that of his dad's. Overwhelmed by this, he is close to a full breakdown. Eventually managing to control his powers, Henry finds his dad's secret lair inside their mansion, containing both the Brainwave suit as well as tapes in which Brainwave recorded his experiments and training sessions after developing powers. When Henry inadvertedly displays his powers at his father's sickbed, Brainwave suddenly emerges from his coma. Having lost the memories of the last ten years, he is brought to Dragon King's lair where he is subjected to treatment intended to bring back his memories. This succeeds and happens at the same time Stargirl and her team – now also consisting of Henry – infiltrate the compound. As Brainwave is back to his old self, he immediately takes chase and eventually confronts the group. It is his own son who stands up against him, appealing to the good in his father and trying to nudge him back to his former self.
However, Brainwave proves to be completely unrepenting, revealing his toxic mindet of seeing people as monsters and also revealing that he was the one to kill Henry's mother when she put him into a similar situation to the one Henry is putting him in now. He threatens that his son will stand by his side or not stand at all and when Henry shouts that he will never support his father's villainy, Brainwave kills his own son by using his telepathic powers to collapse the ceiling above him. When his son dies, Brainwave absorbs his powers and grows even stronger and when the time has come for him to enter Dragon King's machine to start the process of taking over the minds of people,
Brainwave has a far bigger range than initially expected, allowing him to start manipulating the thoughts of about 100 million Americans. However, since not everyone's brain is compatible with Brainwaves manipulation, the ISA expects about one fourth of their victims – 25 million people – to die in the process. When the new JSA storms the ISA base to stop the villains, Brainwave uses his power to imitate his son in order to trick them. However, Yolanda sees right through him and cuts his throat with her claws, killing Brainwave.
- Christopher James Baker refers to Brainwave as the true being and Henry King Sr. as a mask.