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Who Is Mister Bones? Keith David's Stargirl Character Explained

Across the past two seasons, the hit CW superhero series "Stargirl" has leaned deep into the Golden Age mythos of DC Comics to great effect. As such, all manner of characters generally associated with Earth-2 comic continuity have shown up on the series, including Wildcat (Yvette Monreal), the Jay Garrick iteration of the Flash (John Wesley Shipp), and Hourman (Louis Ferrigno Jr.). However, for fans that are less familiar with the complex history of this segment of the DC Universe, one particularly newcomer to the series might have them scratching their heads about who — or what — they are supposed to be.

The character in question is Mister Bones, played by Keith David, who showed up at the end of the Season 2 finale. His frightening appearance of a human skull for a head, combined with a sinister black coat, may immediately evoke the connotation of "supervillain" or "big bad" for many. However, the background story of Mister Bones in the comics is a lot more complex than one might initially expect, and this history suggests that the version of the character in the show may be headed in a surprising direction.

Mister Bones is a reformed villain in the comics

Mister Bones' origin story is one of the more bizarre cases across the DC Universe. Buckle up: The character came to be when a twisted gynecologist named Dr. Benjamin Love injected six pregnant women with a special drug that caused their offspring to mutate and gain strange attributes. Mister Bones, then just an unnamed child, was one of these mutants. He was born with translucent, cyanide-laced skin, giving him the appearance of a living skeleton and the ability to kill anyone who made contact with him. Along with the five other children, Bones was kidnapped and raised by the aforementioned Dr. Love.

For all intents and purposes, Mister Bones and his allies were designed to be villains, through and through, and the story did play out that way for a while. The group eventually went on to form the supervillain team Helix, but they were swiftly defeated and disbanded by the hero team Infinity, Inc. 

Deemed a major threat to society, Bones's custody was forfeited to Infinity, Inc., and what happened next is the most surprising element of his character arc: Though technically a prisoner of Infinity, Inc., Bones grew into a heroic figure who befriended and assisted its members. When his relationship with the team eventually grew complicated and he decided to leave, Bones continued to operate on the side of good as the new director of the D.E.O., the alien-focused government organization that TV fans might be familiar with from shows like "Supergirl" and "Superman & Lois."

Bones could be an enemy or an ally to Stargirl

Mister Bones' intriguing character arc in the comic books suggests that his appearance on "Stargirl" may be more complicated than just being a basic villain. The character was introduced as an affiliate of the Helix Institute for Troubled Youth, the name of which many will recognize as reminiscent of the supervillain team Bones was originally part of. However, at least for the time being, there is little evidence to suggest that this version of Helix is an overtly villainous organization. Furthermore, while Mister Bones' plan to "visit" Stargirl's town of Blue Valley does sound rather ominous, he hasn't yet indicated that he actually wants to cause harm to its populace, only that he wants to see it for himself. To be clear, this iteration of the character could very well turn out to be pure evil and rise as the next "big bad" of the series, but it feels as though the creators are deliberately setting him up as someone who is morally ambiguous, at the very least.

Even if Mister Bones does take on a more antagonistic role during his introduction to the show, though, there is also a decent chance that he might eventually move to the side of the good. The character could even end up becoming an important ally to Stargirl. For now, though, fans will have to wait to see how his appearance on "Stargirl" plays out until Season 3 of the show finally premieres and some of these burning questions are given answers.