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And behold, I shall be a blight upon the land, and everything I touch shall wither and die!
You wanna talk about poison!? Hahaha! I AM poison!
~ Powers after being exposed as Blight.
Derek Powers, later known as Blight, is the main antagonist in the first season of Batman Beyond and in the DC comics version as a recurring villain. He was a corrupt businessman, chairman of the board of directors of Wayne-Powers, who later transformed into an extremely dangerous and toxic supervillain after a fated encounter with the neo Batman, Terry McGinnis, who's father Powers had murdered in order to hide one of his black market deals. He is based in the DC character Doctor Phosphorus.
He was voiced by Sherman Howard, who had also starred as Lex Luthor in the Superboy television series during the 1980s.
Powers started out as the CEO of a small business called Powers Technology which later gained power and influence after he acquired Wayne Industries in 2019. Although Bruce Wayne prevented the corporate takeover on several occasions Wayne was forced to accept the merger on account of his failing health. After accepting Power's offer the company was renamed Wayne-Powers which and placed under Power's unscrupulous care and supervision. Some 20 years later Powers began taking over more of the business, now a powerful conglomerate corporation. Powers became known in the financial world as a "financier czar" and a "corporate kingpin" for the numerous downsizes, layoffs and hostile takeovers of several other industrial firms. Among other things Powers fired Lucious Fox Jr., the son of Lucious Fox, from his position of president of the company. The Foxes were one of Bruce Wayne's closest friends during his glory days, thus Powers gained further distrust from Wayne. Powers would interact only indirectly with Wayne, such as delivering to Wayne baskets with oranges for Christmas and very briefly ever talking with him. Aside from his questionable ethics Powers was cruel to his son, Paxton Powers, whom he often neglected and eventually had him exiled to South America to run the local Wayne-Powers division, a job which Paxton regarded as "grunt-work". However, Derek's methods of running a business rubbed-off on his son, which lead Paxton into becoming just as corrupt and ruthless as his father was.
Rebirth, Part I
Powers had developed a dangerous, viral nerve gas that slowly eats away at the victim's flesh. To test the compound, he infected an employee, Harry Tully, with it (Powers calimmed that Tully's infection was do to an accident). Tully passed the information along to his co-worker, Warren McGinnis. Tully later died from exposure to the nerve gas, but not before Powers could document the effects to show to potential buyers. Desperate to retrieve the information, Powers sent his assistant, Mr. Fixx, to kill McGinnis and make it appear the latter was the victim of The Jokerz gang. However, Fixx did not obtain the disc of information, which had been earlier found by Warren's son Terry. Terry gave the disc to Bruce Wayne, whom Terry discovered was once Batman.
Rebirth, Part II
Derek Powers planned to ship the nerve gas to Kaznia, a Balkan country, and promoted it to Kaznian ambassador and minister of commerce Vilmos Egans, showing him gruesome pictures of Harry Tully's gradual death at the hands of the gas. Egans accepted the offer so Powers began its shipping schedule immediately. Terry McGinnis would break into Wayne Manor and steal the newest version of the Batsuit and take up the guise of Batman to avenge his father's death. The shipment of nerve gas was stopped by Batman who caused the carrier to sink in Gotham Harbour, with Mr. Fixx still inside, causing Fixx to drown. During a brief scuffle with Powers, Batman threw a container of the gas at Powers. Powers shot at the canister which caused the nerve gas to spread all over his body, thus infecting him. In order to save himself from the gas's effects Powers had to undergo radiation-therapy in secret. And although the radiation had destroyed the virus, the gas was revealed to have mutagen properties which had combined with radiation used to treat him, thus transforming Powers into a radioactive metahuman with his skeleton showing.
Despite reveling in his newly acquired powers, Powers wore artificial skin on a daily basis to hide his condition and hired doctors to find a possible cure for his condition. When the government decided to build a new lunar station, the two possible contractors for the job were Wayne-Powers and Foxteca. Powers hired saboteur Inque to hinder Foxteca. Batman interfered with Inque's missions, so Powers contracted Inque to kill Batman and any of his associates, but she failed and was sent to a holding facility.
As Powers's anger began intensifying so did his metahuman abilities, his radiation grew stronger and his fake skin would thusly fall apart, barely able to last a day. The recently added member of Power's medical team Dr. Stephanie Lake made the bold suggestion of using his baseline DNA to clone a new body and transfer his neural patterns (id est his mind) into it. Before proceeding with the plan Dr. Lake decided to test the procedure first on another individual who also had mutated DNA. To that end she tested the procedure on Mr. Freeze, whose cryogenic head was kept in Wayne-Powers laboratories. After the procedure proved to be a success, Powers presented Freeze on the Net (television of their era) as a hoax campaign towards a new form of medical treatment. But when Freeze began reverting to his cryogenetic state, Powers and Dr. Lake decided to perform a biopsy on him. However, Freeze escaped and came back for revenge inside a larger freeze suit. He exacted his revenge by freezing both Powers and Dr. Lake and then planned to have the laboratories blown-up, killing himself in the process as well. Powers freed himself from the ice by means of his radiation, though at the expense of his skin. In his glowing skeletal form Powers introduced himself as Blight and brutally crippled Mr. Freeze. After a heated battle with Batman, Freeze used the last of his energy to save Batman from Blight and sent Blight flying out of the laboratories and into a frozen lake. The laboratories were only partly destroyed with Freeze still inside, left to die. Blight was able to pull himself out of the frozen lake and was picked-up by his medical team, but not before mocking them for their stupidity.
At this point Powers had bought Shreev Industries, small-time business that was developing various sound-based technologies, including a suit that used low-frequency sounds to shatter solid matter, its initial purpose being for mining operations. Powers claimed that Shreev's business was failing do to poor management and instead appropriated its technologies for criminal activities, convincing its owner and namesake, Walter Shreev, to use his sound suit for assassinations. Powers wanted to bulldoze Gotham's historical district for profit, but Bruce Wayne opposed the movement. In order to overrule Wayne, Powers hired Walter Shreev to assassinate Wayne. Batman intervened and Shreev failed to assassinate Wayne, but Wayne was wounded enough that he had been rushed to a hospital for recuperation. As a backup plan Shreev implanted a sound device inside one of Wayne's bandages in order to fool him into thinking he had gone mad and force him into committing suicide. Batman was able to locate Shreev and expose him as a criminal to the police and later removed the sound device from Bruce's bandage. When Shreev sought revenge, Powers convinced him to become the supervillain Shriek, telling him that fear was a better method of gaining respect and casually ordered him to murder both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Shriek failed and lost his hearing after Batman destroyed one of his sound amplifiers. With Shriek in prison and Wayne still alive, Powers was overruled by the company shareholders and the historical district was saved.
When it looked like he couldn't control transforming into Blight, Powers handed over the operations to his son, Paxton, but only as a puppet since Paxton would be acting chairman of the board while receiving orders from his father. During a meeting of the company shareholders (which Bruce Wayne was also attending) where Derek was announcing his temporary leave of absence a group of citizens of the South American nation of Verdeza broke in to protest against Paxton. They had managed to enrage Powers to such an extent that his radiation took its effect and pealed away his skin. In a violent rage Powers began attacking the men. Bruce Wayne tried to stop him, but this only angered Powers even more and tried to murder Wayne on the spot, something Powers had always dreamed off. After a brief fight with Batman and after having his "Blight" side exposed, Powers went into hiding. Only his assistant, Miss Winston, knew of his whereabouts - Powers hid in an old nuclear submarine that would conceal his radiation trail. After following her to the location, Batman confronted Blight. Blight demanded to know who Batman was and Batman replied "You killed my father". But Blight, having killed countless people, found this information useless.
Paxton also showed up, along with the Verdeza citizens from the meeting, and revealed his plan to kill Blight with a pinch cell, a device which would drain him completely of his radioactive energy. Paxton also explains that he had orchestrated his father's breakdown at the meeting in order to incriminate him simply out of spite and in order to establish himself as Wayne-Power's sole chairman of the board. Before they could finish Blight off, Paxton also ordered his men to kill Batman in order to cover his tracks. But Blight's rage and radiation went out of control and the submarine had a reactor breach, causing the submarine to sink into the harbor. Blight's body was never found and Paxton became the new chairman of the board, with Batman threatening to eventually have him exposed, and of the possibility Blight might come back for revenge.
Seasons Two and Three
Blight made no more appearances after his apparent death, although the memory of his actions continued to be told. His son, Paxton, was reminded twice of his father and his abilities, once by reporter Ian Peek, who referred to Derek as Paxton's "blighted father", and another time by Commissioner Barbara Gordon as Paxton's "father who glows in the dark". More noticeably, Blight had also gained respect from half of the children of Gotham as an idol do to his attitude of not letting anyone stop him and for getting what he wanted.
Derek Power would later appear in the mainstream DC comics as a recurring villain.
Powers and Abilities
Derek Powers was a highly intelligent man in the fields of economics, business and black-market racketeering. He was able to acquire power in the financial world after buying out other companies and imposing high demands from them. To that end he would fire anyone who apposed him, but under clever pretenses of either disobedience or incompetence. A notable example was buying out Walter Shreev's sound based technology firm, claiming that Shreev lacked the practicality to properly run a business. Another example of cooperate takeover was when he fired Lucious Fox Jr. do to the man's ties to Wayne, whom Powers had already severed ties from their mutual company. On one instance of an attempted takeover of yet another firm, Powers kept a late-night meeting in order to harangue the owners into selling him their company. Under Wayne-Power's legitimate earnings Derek Powers also dabbled into illegal waste disposal, for instance dropping radioactive materials into a Gotham harbor and out at open sea.
Derek Powers would often hire thugs, crooks and even terrorists for his more radical actions. He enlisted the muscle Mr. Fixx to murder Warren McGinnis after realizing that McGinnis was withholding the data regarding his nerve gas. He also hired industrial saboteur Inque to destroy his competitors's factories. Powers was also charismatic and resourceful enough in order to convince Walter Shreev into using his sound-based technology for assassinations.
As Blight, Derek Powers was a walking radiation emitter, able to produce balls of radioactive fire from his hands, or cascading waves of radiation from his entire body. These blasts were able to melt heavy metal constructs and even damage Batman's high-tech suit despite its incredible durability. Powers was able to use these blasts of energy with pin-point accuracy. The heat created by the radiation was able to protect him from intense levels of cold which would normally be lethal to humans. He even broke out of Mr. Freeze's ice prison without sustaining any damage. As a drawback of his condition, Powers could not hold back the radiation on his own, as such he was forced to wear a suit of artificial skin in order to maintain a resemblance of normality. Worse still, the radiation intensified with anger, thus pealing away at his artificial skin more and more until it could hardy last a day.
Blight alongside fellow Batman Beyond rogue, Inque, shared similar traits. Both characters had to resort to asking for help from their respective estranged offspring, Paxton Powers and Deanna Clay. Paxton and Deanna end up betraying their parents in attempted assassinations in order to gain their money. As a direct corollary to these betrayals Batman coldly warns Paxton and Deanna that their parents's remains were never discovered and that they will attempt to exact their revenge once they return.
Blight, alongside Spellbinder and the Royal Flush Gang are the only Batman Beyond villains to appear in the series opening sequence. Subsequently they are the three villains to be mentioned by Dak (Darius Arthur Kelman) in the episode "Where's Terry?" as being the "cool villains" that half the kids at his school wanted to be like.
Visually speaking, and in terms of their powers, Blight is similar to the Batman villains Dr. Phosphorus (who appeared before him during the 70s) and Phosphorus Rex (who appeared after him during the Grant Morrison run of the Batman comics in 2007).
Just as The Joker was created by Batman/Bruce Wayne in a chemical bath accident and later became his archenemy, Blight was also created by a Batman (Terry McGinnis), but with nerve gas, and then became his greatest enemy as a result.
Blight has had the most appearances on the show then any other of Batman's rogues, appearing in a total of six episodes, including his debut two parter "Rebirth." Kobra comes in second with a total of four episodes, including their two-parter "The Curse of Kobra." Inque, Spellbinder, The Royal Flush Gang, and Shriek only appeared in three episodes each as the main villain. Other characters, such as Willie Watt, Stalker and Big Time only had two episodes all to themselves. The Jokerz, although appearing frequently on the show, also had two episodes where they highlighted as the main antagonists, that is excluding their role in movie Return of the Joker. The original Batman villains: Mr. Freeze, Bane and Ra's al Ghul, only had one episode of their own as well.