"Contact!" Joseph Wilson, youngest son of Deathstroke the Terminator, is fresh off his lead role in Titans this week. But while Joe Wilson may have appeared on camera for the first time on TV’s Arrow, this is the first we’ve seen him as Jericho, the body-swapping metahuman with the power to take direct control of practically anyone around him — and we do mean anyone. To illustrate that, here are five surprising ways he’s used this talent for corporeal commandeering in comics...
One of the most heroic deeds of the conflicted Jericho’s long, morally ambiguous career was an extreme act of self-sacrifice. When a clandestine, clone-breeding organization known only as “The Agenda” created an unstoppable copy of Superboy, the duty fell to Jericho to cease his onslaught the only way he could: by taking direct control of his body. Knowing full well that the moment he gave up control of this clone known as Match, he’d be on the offensive once more, Jericho remained inside Match for months while S.T.A.R. Labs could find a more permanent solution to contain him. The prolonged incident left a profound scar on Jericho’s psyche, but the mere attempt proves just how potent Jericho’s possessive abilities truly are.
When the "Blackest Night" fell upon the DC Universe, cherished friends and bitter enemies were roused from the grave by an armory of Black Lantern rings to prey upon the living. Try as the world’s collective heroes might to get through to the deceased ringbearers, it was painfully apparent that it was the rings that were entirely in control; not the wearers. Which is exactly what made it so surprising in Teen Titans when Jericho used his powers to directly override a Black Lantern’s otherwise inexorable control -- this time, possessing the body of his own reanimated brother, Grant Wilson, to save his sister Rose. We suppose that if what zombies really want are brains, then Jericho provides a direct delivery service.
Jericho’s abilities aren’t limited to the comics. He’s also zipped around bodies in the Teen Titans animated series. In the season 5 climactic battle against the united Brotherhood of Evil, Jericho makes his way through the villains’ ranks to weaponize them against one another. But his most portentous possession was that of Cinderblock, a gigantic stone golem of an enemy often employed against the Teen Titans. The fact that Cinderblock even had a mind to possess was what made this a big shocker, as Jericho demonstrated the ability to speak through him — something he had never done before in his previous appearances. Just who was Cinderblock? Perhaps Jericho has a better idea than any of us.
In the "Titans Hunt" story arc of the early ‘90s, Deathstroke was forced to kill his own son after he had become an unwilling vessel to the spirits of Azarath. But Jericho’s death wasn’t as final as his friends and family believed: years later, we learned that at the last possible moment, Jericho had jumped into his own father’s body, laying dormant as a secondary consciousness. It was the death of Donna Troy which roused Joe to take over his father’s body, using him in an attempt to disband the Titans so that no more children could be hurt in the line of duty. When it came time to confront the team, Jericho made the mistake of leaping into Cyborg — who shunted his presence into the mechanical part of his brain, uploaded him onto a hard drive, and kept him safely in data storage. Much later, in Teen Titans Annual #1, Jericho would exploit this connection to take over Titans Tower directly, leading the team into an unlikely battle against the tower itself.
One of the most controversial storylines of the ‘00s was DC Universe: Decisions, a 2008 tale which featured many heroes of the DC Universe espousing their personal political alignments. But with the dominant conversation being who voted which way in 2008, it’s sometimes forgotten that the inciting incident was driven by Jericho, who'd taken over a string of bodies in an attempt to assassinate every presidential candidate. Why would Jericho do such a thing? The explanation comes in a quite tragic reveal: every time Jericho takes possession of someone, a little piece of that person stays with him. And unfortunately, the vast majority of people Jericho has used his powers on have been villains, leaving a hodgepodge of ghostly villainous impulses branded on his psyche, driving him into fits of violent madness.
Today, however, Jericho is… well, he still has some real serious problems. Read Christopher Priest’s classic-in-the-making Deathstroke series for more.