Comic Book Characters - Superheroes - Kurt Busiek - Astro City - Samaritan
* Spoilers inside links, mild spoilers in text *
Origin: The Samaritan is a time traveler sent from a near-apocalyptic 35th century into the past in order to save Earth and mankind. Through rigorous studies, the last surviving scientists of that era pinpointed an event that would change mankind's history and result in its inevitable slide towards ruin; Samaritan's task was to prevent it from happening. However, things didn't turn out quite right, and Samaritan's (true name not disclosed as yet) trip through time racked him with the energies of time and space, almost destroying him and delaying his arrival as he struggled to master the forces raging within.
Ultimately successful despite this setback, Samaritan decided that mankind faced many more trials besides the specific one entrusted to him by the scientists and took on the identity of one of the most (if not the most) powerful superheroes in the Astro City universe. Equipped with one piece of equipment from the far future - the zyxometer - he is aware of every disaster occurring on the planet within seconds. With his hypersonic flight capabilities and prodigious energy field manipulation powers (once shown to hold back and collapse a mile-high tidal wave in the Philippines), Samaritan became quickly aware that he was the best suited superpowered being to help humanity in the current era, and made it his continuing mission to do so. He is currently one of the most powerful heroes in the continuum, if not the most powerful.
Cover Identity: Asa Martin (anagram for Samaritan) is a fact checker for the Current, a news magazine in Astro City. As his work requires quiet and concentration, he is able get his work done in moments and spend the rest of the day on his continuing mission. As to why the Earth's most powerful defender needs a day job is something other members of the Honor Guard wonder as well, but it's really quite simple. His near omniscience is very wearing and his superpowers dehumanize and distance him from everyone. Even this small pretense of a normal human life (remember, he came into his powers by accident) serves to anchor him a bit more firmly in the human world. With a crisis only seconds away at any time of the day, the few normal moments are a joy to be savored.
Appearance: Samaritan is a tall and well-built white male in his apparent mid-40s, wearing a red bodysuit and a small blue cape that goes half across the front, partial toga-like. There is a white logo on his chest that at first looks like a 3 pointed star, but most closely resembles a symbolized bird with outstretched wings, seen top-down. His hair is a vivid, dark blue. Asa Martin is similar in appearance, but his hair is white and he wears spectacles. Conversely, the glasses and a harried air make him look younger than the stately Samaritan. Both are inspired by, and an obvious homage to, another popular hero whose idea of disguise is a change in haircut and glasses.
Known Powers: Samaritan can fly at a speed somewhere around a thousand of miles per second (supposed East Coast to the Philippines under 6 seconds). He can manipulate massive energy fields that allow him immeasurable strength. He has also been seen accessing a pocket dimension, but it is unknown if this extends any further.