Pop Culture and Japan

What Makes Doctor Light An Empowering Female Superhero?

When thinking of real-life superheroes, it could be argued that you’d find them in the scientific and medical fields. Scientists have invented revolutionary products like the telephone and cured diseases such as smallpox. The ingenuity of science has been reflected in comics through the creation of characters who are experts in their fields of study. One of the most underrated science-based superheroes is Doctor Light. An astronomer and expert in light technology, Kimiyo Hoshi is a character who deserves more recognition.

Let there be light

Born in Japan, Kimiyo grew up with a fascination for the stars. She rose to become one of the country’s most prominent astronomers, researching unique light phenomenon in the universe. During the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kimiyo turned her attention to the unnatural effects that were happening in space. Her fascination evolved into obsession, which alienated her from the astronomers she was supervising.

Kimiyo was disgusted with her colleagues’ fear and ordered them to leave the observatory. She carried on studying the Crisis alone through her telescope. A being called the Monitor identified Kimiyo as a potential ally in his war against the Anti-Monitor, so he unleashed a beam of energy from the Vega star. The energy struck the observatory and caused massive destruction to the area. In the explosion, Kimiyo gained the power of photonics and took the name Doctor Light.

The Monitor assigned Doctor Light to guard a vibrational device that protected Earth. Kimiyo came into conflict with Starfire, who wanted to destroy the machine. As Doctor Light couldn’t speak English, she misunderstood Starfire’s intentions and attacked her. The conflict was resolved when Superman talked her down.

Doctor Light teamed up with other heroes to stop the Anti-Monitor, but the victory came at a price because Supergirl sacrificed herself. Inspired by Supergirl’s actions, Doctor Light realised how arrogant she’d been and resolved to change her ways.

Science over super heroics

I think Kimiyo’s thirst for knowledge makes her a compelling character. Her intelligence is her greatest strength and her biggest flaw. She believed she knew better than anyone else about the light effects during Crisis on Infinite Earth. She was so obsessed with finding out what it meant that she lost sight of the rest of the world. Doctor Light’s arrogance made her short-sighted, though she was able to humble herself and accept that even the smartest person in the room can afford to learn something new.

Another interesting aspect of her personality is that Doctor Light identifies herself as more of a scientist than a superhero. Doctor Light can absorb all forms of illumination and convert it into destructive energy. One of her most impressive feats involved absorbing sunlight and using it to attack the Anti-Monitor. Kimiyo can also turn herself into pure light, disperse radiation, track ionized molecules and ‘see’ the electromagnetic spectrum.

Kimiyo balances her career with being a single mother to two children called Imako and Yasu. Doctor Light’s status as a mother is noteworthy because it’s a representation of her inner strength and determination.

Doctor Light raised her children alone while being a successful astronomer and scientist. She’s actively taken time out from her superhero duties to spend time with them, demonstrating how much value she places on family. It goes to show that single mothers can lead fulfilling lives. If you are a single mother, you never hesitate to pursue what you are passionate about.

Doctor Light is one of the most empowering female superheroes in the DC Universe. Her intelligence, powers and dedication to her family make her worth reading about. 

Mariko Yashida is another powerful Japanese superhero who’s demonstrated her bravery time and again in the face of danger. Be sure to check out her story in Women Warriors!

2 thoughts on “What Makes Doctor Light An Empowering Female Superhero?

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