Samaritan (Astro City)
Real Name: Asa Martin
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Empyrean Web: Samaritan can project a web-like energy field from his hands, which he can manipulate for a variety of effects. He has used the Empyrean Web to restrain enemies, stop a tidal wave, and prevent buildings from collapsing. When the space shuttle Challenger’s external fuel tank exploded, Samaritan surrounded the vessel in an Empyrean Web to protect the crew compartment and keep the shuttle from breaking apart. Relatedly, Samaritan applies Empyrean energy to his hair to bleach it into the white hair of his Asa Martin identity.
Hypersonic Flight: Samaritan can fly at incredible speeds, allowing him to reach any spot on the globe in seconds or leave Earth’s atmosphere and enter space.
Superhuman Strength: Samaritan is incredibly strong, although the upper limits of his strength are unknown. He has been observed stopping a runaway bus, destroying a giant robot with a single punch, and raising a sunken ship from the oceans off the Florida coast.
Superhuman Durability: Samaritan is impervious to gunfire and can survive in the vacuum of space for at least short periods of time.
“Shifting”: By allowing his mind to go blank and all tension to leave his body, Samaritan can take a “sideways step” into a pocket dimension he calls “the Closet.” There, Samaritan stores the many awards he has received throughout his distinguished career. Whether this is an ability granted by the Empyrean Fire or gained elsewhere (such as through his association with Honor Guard) is unknown.
Abilities: Samaritan enjoyed some historical training before being sent back in time. He has revealed that he originally planned to stop the Challenger disaster by “infiltrating society as an undercover agent,” which suggests some sort of covert training. He also has a strong working knowledge of modern computers and networks and can repair his futuristic zyxometer. He appears to be a sound tactician with a thorough knowledge of the world’s various superhuman threats.
The hero who would become Samaritan was born in the 35th Century, a time ravaged by environmental disasters and radiation. Earth was so damaged that mankind had only one generation before it would become extinct. Faced with this eventuality, the scientists of that era hatched a risky plan: to send someone back in time to stop the one event that would trigger the Earth’s decline and eventual demise. After numerous tests, Samaritan was chosen for this mission. Two years of historical training and preparation followed, and then Samaritan said goodbye to his family and was sent backwards through time.
Samaritan’s journey did not go as planned: he was engulfed by the timestream and suffused with Empyrean Fire, the primal energy of both time and space. When he arrived in late 1985, he discovered that the Empyrean Fire had granted him extraordinary powers. After weeks spent desperately trying to control his new body and its abilities, Samaritan evidently fulfilled his mission on January 28, 1986 when he prevented the space shuttle Challenger from breaking apart, thereby preserving the lives of the seven astronauts aboard. After this heroic deed, Samaritan decided to continue using his powers to avert disasters and battle a variety of menaces, all in the hopes of averting any future as dark and troubled as his own. He also developed a civilian identity, Asa Martin, and became a fact-checker for the Current, Astro City's weekly news and lifestyle magazine.
Since his first appearance, Samaritan has become one of the world’s most well-known and most admired heroes. His exploits range from stopping natural disasters to facing bizarre occurrences such as chronal rifts, and even rescuing cats from trees. As with most other heroes, he has also battled numerous villains and evil-doers, including Pyramid forces, Dr. Saturday, The Living Nightmare, and his arch-enemy Infidel. As part of the global superhero community, Samaritan has been a member of the elite superhero team Honor Guard since at least 1991, and has been linked romantically to Winged Victory.
At some point in his career, Samaritan returned to the 35th Century after a battle with Eterneon. He discovered a lush and healthy incarnation of the future, validating that his actions had indeed prevented his own dying 35th Century from occurring. Unfortunately, he also learned that his family had never been born; by averting the disaster that led to his own terrible future, he had also inadvertently wiped his family from existence. How Samaritan can continue to exist when his parents never have has not been explained.
"Asa Martin" might not be his real name, as it's an anagram for Samaritan.
First Appearance: Kurt Busiek's Astro City (1995) #1
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Astro City (2013)
#1 Astro City A Visitor's Guide (2004)
- 'through open doors part one'#2
- 'Welcome to HumanoGlobal'#3
- 'On the Sidelines'#7
- 'The View from Above'#8
- 'The View from the Shadows'#9
- 'The View from the Heart'
Astro City: Beautie (2008)
#1 Astro City: Local Heroes (2003)
- 'Her Dark Plastic Roots'
HC Astro City: Local Heroes [GER] (2008)
- 'Astro City: Local Heroes'TPB
- 'Astro City: Local Heroes'TPB (2nd Printing)
- 'Astro City: Local Heroes'#1
Astro City: Samaritan (2006)
#1 Astro City: Shining Stars (2011)
- 'The Eagle and the Mountain'
HC Astro City: The Dark Age (2008)
- 'Astro City: Shining Stars'
Astro City: The Dark Age, Book Four (2010)
Danny Fingeroth's Write Now! (2002)
Kurt Busiek's Astro City (1995)
Kurt Busiek's Astro City (1996)
½ Shi / Cyblade: The Battle For Independents (1995)
- 'The Nearness of You'#1
- 'Welcome to Astro City'#5
- 'Learning the Game'#6
- 'The Gathering Dark'#7
- 'Eye of the Storm'#8
- 'My Father's Son'#10
- 'Show 'Em All'#14
- 'The Big Lockdown'#19
- 'The Only Chance'#20
- 'The Wow Finish'#22
- 'Great Expectations'
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