Derek Powers, also called Blight, is a fictional character that appears in the Batman Beyond (1999–2001) animated series, voiced by Sherman Howard of Day of the Dead. He served as the principal antagonist of the series' first season.
Derek Powers is a corrupt businessman who managed to gain control over Wayne Enterprises (now called Wayne-Powers) due to an elderly Bruce Wayne's poor health. When Powers develops a lethal mutagenic nerve gas and intends to sell it as weapon, one of his employees, Warren McGinnis, discovers evidence of the gas, and Powers has him murdered, causing the vengeful son Terry McGinnis to become Batman, who stops Powers' plans and exposes him to the gas; Powers is subjected to extreme radiation exposure to save his life, but as a side effect, his entire body becomes radioactive, rendering him translucent. He is able to hide his state and contain his radiation with a special cosmetic skin that, over time, flakes off. The cosmetic skin begins to last less as his temper becomes more and more uncontrolled and his radiation levels keep rising. He first introduces himself as Blight when he attacks Mr. Freeze. A scientist working for Powers had the idea that by using Powers baseline DNA, she could create a new body for him unaffected by his condition, then transfer him into the new body. To test this procedure, Mr. Freeze was used as, like Powers, his DNA had been corrupted by a condition. At first the procedure seemed like a success, until his condition started to resurface. Powers believed a biopsy of his organs may show why the procedure failed, and orders the scientist behind the procedure (who had been feigning romantic feelings for Freeze) to kill Freeze. He escapes and later returns to Wayne Powers in a suit he had "kept in cold storage" and freezes Powers and the scientist. Powers survives the attack by melting off his skin and the ice before attacking Batman and Freeze. When asked by Batman who he is, he identifies himself as Blight because his powers make him a walking plague. After a fierce struggle, Freeze eventually succeeds in jettisoning him away from the battle. Powers decides to withdraw from public life, and summons his estranged son, Paxton, to run his business. However, Paxton Powers (voiced by Cary Elwes) betrays his father. Hiring a group of actors to pretend to be fishermen during a business meeting (which was perfect, as a very large group of protesters had gathered outside protesting Powers dumping toxic waste in their rivers), throwing mutated fish in front of the share holders, claiming that Powers' dumping in their river caused it. Angered, Powers' artificial skin started to flake off and crack allowing all of the share holders and everyone watching the tv broadcast to see, exposing him to the world as Blight. Powers hides himself at a nuclear submarine, where Paxton uses a device to usurp Powers' radiation, nearly killing him, but Batman intervenes. Powers then goes berserk with massive radiation bursts that sinks the submarine with him inside. An exchange between Batman and Paxton hints that Powers may have survived.
Outside of Rebirth’s comic incarnation in Batman Beyond Limited Series issues 01 & 02, and one story set within season 1 of the television series in issue 03, Blight makes his one and only appearance post his apparent death in the episode Ascension, in issue 18 of the main Batman Beyond comic. Having survived the submarine explosion, Powers swam to shore, only to become the new target of the hunter Stalker. After injecting Terry with a non lethal radiation poisoning, Stalker attempts to use Batman as bait to lure out the now utterly insane Blight, who has been hiding in the Gotham sewer system, after the hunter had apparently already tried to capture and kill him before. Once confronted with Batman, Blight appears to have been completely affected by the radiation in his system, which has caused him to forget his original identity as Derek Powers, referring to himself only as Blight, and blaming Batman for all that has happened to him. After a long fight in a steel mill, Blight is engulfed in melted steel and killed, leaving only his corpse as a dead magma covered statue. Stalker having thanked Batman for his trouble, subjects Terry to a powerful electrical shock, causing him to pass out. When he awakes, both the hunter and Blight’s remains are gone. At the end of the comic, Terry questions Bruce as to what Stalker was going to do with Blight; we then cut to one last panel of Stalker in a cave alone, with all the trophies of the dead captured targets he has killed.
In Batman Adventures #15, a character named Warren Powers originally appeared as head of Powers Technology. As a sort of prequel to the Batman Beyond episode, "Meltdown", Warren would have been shown acquiring the head of Mr. Freeze and locking it away in his vault, believing it holds the secrets of immortality. It has been confirmed that Warren is the father of Derek. (interestingly enough, Warren is the name of the father of Terry McGinnis, Derek Powers' greatest enemy).
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