Sonar is a DC Comics supervillain. He first appeared in Green Lantern (2nd series) #14, July (1962), and was created by John Broome and Gil Kane.
Fictional character biography
Nestled in the mountains of south eastern Europe lies the tiny Balkan nation of Modora. With a population of four hundred, Modora was relatively unknown to the rest of the world, whose only product was the wool of a peculiar brown sheep found only in that small area. It wasn't even a member of the United Nations. Modora was sealed off from the rest of the world by Fando the Mad, a leader who believed Modora should be frozen in its past. He burned bridges and barricaded roads to the outside world while making all decisions for his countrymen. One man, Bito Wladon, was determined to change that.
Wladon's parents were deaf, which was a mark of Satan to the superstitious Modorans. By Modoran beliefs, they were not to be killed or hurt, they were to be shunned. Young Bito was a pariah as well, even though he could hear, he was the son of deaf parents. The cruel actions of his community built resentment towards his parents and the outside world. Bito Wladon would hide from the rest of the world in a barn, in which he one day discovered a cache of books, hidden by his peddler grandfather against the orders of Fando.
Bito Wladon became an apprentice to a clock maker, while he secretly embarked on a brilliant career working on the mastery of sound. By using an invention of his, the "nucleo sonic motor" which could use any sound source to power it, Wladon discovered he could nullify gravity or concentrate sound as a destructive force. As talented as he was, Wladon used sound as a means to an end. His fanatic patriotism to Modora had made him a dangerous man. Believing the greatest nations on Earth were also the most powerful, Wladon chose to make Modora great by supplying it with the "nucleo-sonic bomb," a weapon based on supersonic energy. He hoped to make Mordora the most powerful country in the world.
Unfortunately, his homeland was not technologically advanced enough to support his efforts. Wladon was slipped out of Modora for the United States. Many of the items he needed were classified equipment. Wladon would lead a life of crime to get the resources for his sonic weapons.
Wladon designed a regal, military costume to befit the future of Modora. When he appeared in the United States, the media dubbed him "Sonar" because of his mastery of sound.
Returning home from a cosmos-wide meeting of the Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern of Earth Hal Jordan visited the nation of Modora to get a stamp for Tom Kalmaku's stamp collection. The emerald warrior was surprised to discover Modora was so small it did not have a post office. Modorans were within walking distance of any of their fellow citizens. While he was searching for a stamp, Green Lantern learned of Bito Wladon from the clockmaker, hearing of his sound discoveries, which worried him, and returned to the United States as soon as possible.
Sonar knew of the hero of Coast City and was prepared for their encounter. A punch thrown into thin air sent out a concentrated burst of supersonic waves that knocked out the ring wielder.
Despite his victory, Sonar was still disturbed by Modora's lack of representation in the media. He needed one more robbery to gain the components to his nucleo-sonic bomb. Sonar prepared for his next skirmish with Green Lantern by creating a tuning fork gun. The odd looking weapon used super sonic vibrations tuned to human brain waves to create mental effects in a target.
Sonar's tuning fork gun made Green Lantern see everything as yellow. The sudden change acted on his willpower, weakening him. Green Lantern believed he could not act, as the world was yellow and therefore could not be affected by his power ring. It took tremendous effort for the emerald gladiator to remove the illusion from his mind.
Sonar travelled east, crossing the Atlantic on his way home to Modora. He did not realize his tuning fork gun left a faint trail of radiation the ring wielder could track. Green Lantern's ring created a waterspout to defeat his foe.
Though he was stripped of his weapons and stolen technology and then imprisoned, Sonar was proud his exploits had made newspapers all over the world. The people of Modora showed their gratitude to Green Lantern by creating a Modoran postage stamp for the hero which he in turn gave to Tom Kalmaku, completing his stamp collection.
Fando knew Sonar was a threat to his power, but Wladon appealed to Fando's greed and fear and soon came to believe Sonar would help him keep his power.
Weeks later, Sonar was released from prison by a legal loophole. Using an old Modoran law, Sonar was granted his freedom due to his help in the annual harvest.
Playing upon Fando's insecurities, Bito struck a deal with Modora’s ruler and became commander of his armies. However, Bito secretly orchestrated an invasion by one of Modora’s neighbours and murdered Fando and the royal family during the confusion. Repelling the invasion with his sonic weaponry, Bito became the new ruler of Modora.
When Hal Jordan went to the Slab in order to get information from Hector Hammond he was taunted by Bito, claiming that he shouldn't be locked up because he had diplomatic immunity, until Hal knocked him out with a power ring generated fist.
In the years following, Sonar continued his adversarial relationship with Green Lantern while slowly expanding his influence across Europe. Incarcerated by the Justice League after his failed take-over of the former Soviet Union, Bito's sound technology and name were adopted by a mentally unstable criminal, who had the devices implanted beneath his very skin.
Sonar recently appeared in 52 as the Modoran representative to Black Adam's Freedom of Power coalition.
Following in the footsteps of the original Sonar, Bito Wladon of Modora, the new Sonar gains his powers to create an empire. Though the source of his powers remains unrevealed, he has stated it involved suffering through agonizing experiments. Sonar alludes to his father being a monarch, but the original Sonar has made no mention of fathering an heir. His name is revealed to also be Bito Wladon.
The new Sonar first appears in Keystone City to test his new powers. Sonar tears up the Keystone City Hall. His reign of destruction spurs the involvement of Keystone City's resident super-hero, Wally West, the Flash. The battle was brief, with Sonar flying from Keystone for a larger city to rule. Sonar planned to conquer a kingdom worthy of his royal stature.
Arriving in New York City, Sonar is able to use the sounds of Manhattan against Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. The battle was joined when the Flash tracked the villain to the Big Apple. Sonar is defeated when the Flash accelerates him faster than sound. Rayner takes Sonar to the Slabside Island Maximum Security Prison.
Through means unknown, Sonar escapes his cell and turns his powers upon himself. He cybernetically enhanced himself, radically altering his appearance. After taking five guards as hostages, he freed the rest of the prisoners.
Kyle Rayner learns of the uprising and returned to the Slab as Green Lantern. Sonar had gathered the prisoners as a small army in service to him. Villains such as Hellgrammite, Killrock, Dervish, Shrapnel, Houngan, the Alter, and Spellbinder listens as Sonar spoke of making New York City his empire. Though he was a force to be reckoned with, the new Sonar did not impress Sledge, yet another prisoner in the Slab.
Sledge joins with Green Lantern to take down their mutual enemy but would not reveal his plan. Sledge separated from the hero as Green Lantern went against the freed villains. His rescue came at the hands of Sledge. The 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) villain pounds Sonar through the floor of the prison, opening a hole to the ocean in which the island prison was situated.
Green Lantern searched for Sonar but eventually gave up, believing his foe was dead at the hands of Sledge. Sonar's remains were not found.
Sonar did survive, and returned once more to battle Rayner in the middle of New York City. The effects of the so-called "Godwave" during the Genesis incident causes Green Lantern's power ring to temporarily lose all of its energy. Sonar is still defeated.
During the Ion saga Kyle watches as Sonar and Jade fight. The heroine continuously comments on how he wasn't a very threatening villain. The battle ends with a kick to Sonar's groin.
Sonar is later featured in JLA-80 Page Giant #1, discussing many supervillains with the Rainbow Raider.
Most recently, he has been seen among the new Injustice League, and is one of the villains featured in Salvation Run, the storyline where many villains are exiled from Earth. He is one of the villains sent to retrieve the Get Out of Hell Free card from the Secret Six.
Powers and abilities
Bito Wladon Sr. carries a Sonic Sceptre, a device that enables him to absorb sound, which he can use to fly, project illusions, fire sonic attacks and perform telekinetic feats.
The second Sonar (Bito Wladon Jr.) has been cybernetically enhanced, so that he has the ability to harness ambient sound and use it for his own purposes. He usually attacks by firing sonic blasts.
Sonar has a counterpart in the anti-matter universe of the Crime Syndicate of America named Lady Sonar, who is a member of the Justice Underground.
A Scottish super-hero with a bag-pipe named Sonarr was introduced in Justice League Quarterly #8
Sonar appeared in JLA/Avengers #3 as the leader of a group of villains under the villain Krona's control. Sonar helps the Silver Swan and Silver Banshee defeat the Vision with sonics and magic. He is entrapped by Wonder Woman's magic lasso and unwittingly spills the truth about Krona, though calls him 'the Master'.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Sonar is a member of Deathstroke's pirates. After being broken out of a floating prison by Deathstroke, Clayface tells Deathstroke about how Sonar could use his abilities to detect sunken treasures. He is not in the prison due to a superhuman trade, but Deathstroke catches up with him. He was imprisoned in Deathstroke's ship and used as a living radar system. After an attack by Aquaman and Ocean Master, Sonar asked Icicle to free him and then tells Deathstroke that he can save him from critical wounds, in return for being made second in command, which Deathstroke agrees to. Using his sonic abilities, Sonar removes a piece of Aquaman's trident from Deathstroke's chest, allowing his healing factor to restore him. After Warlord's ships were destroyed by Jenny Blitz, Sonar joined in a mutiny against Deathstroke, but Deathstroke and Blitz overheard this and kills the crew members for their treachery. Sonar manages to contact another pirate fleet led by the Caretaker before Deathstroke shot him.
A version of Sonar appears in the controversial Elseworlds story JLA: Act of God. This version of Sonar has some sort of cybernetic augmentations, and the fixation of desperate Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. One year later after the mysterious disapperence of all super-powers called "Black Light", Sonar and Rayner have a final show down, which included Rayner getting impaled.