His exploits range from stopping natural disasters to facing bizarre occurrences such as chronal rifts, and even rescuing cats from trees. As with most other heroes, he has also battled numerous villains and evil-doers, including Pyramid forces, Dr. Saturday, The Living Nightmare. As part of the global superhero community, Samaritan has been a member of the elite superhero team Honor Guard since at least 1987, and is linked romantically to Winged Victory.
The hero who would become Samaritan was born in the 35th Century, a time ravaged by environmental disaster and radiation. Earth was so damaged that mankind had only one generation before it would become extinct. Faced with this eventuality, the scientists of that era hatched a risky plan: to send someone back in time to stop the one event that would trigger the Earth’s decline and eventual demise. After numerous tests, Samaritan was chosen for this mission. Two years of historical training and preparation followed, and then Samaritan said goodbye to his family and was sent backwards through time.
Samaritan’s journey did not go as planned: he was engulfed by the time-stream and suffused with Empyrean Fire, the primal energy of both time and space. When he arrived in late 1985, he discovered that the Empyrean Fire had granted him extraordinary powers. After weeks spent desperately trying to control his new body and its abilities, Samaritan evidently fulfilled his mission on January 28, 1986 when he prevented the space shuttle Challenger from breaking apart, thereby preserving the lives of the seven astronauts aboard. After this heroic deed, Samaritan decided to continue using his powers to avert disasters and battle a variety of menaces, all in the hopes of averting any future as dark and troubled as his own. He also developed a civilian identity, Asa Martin, and became a fact-checker for the Current, Astro City's weekly news and lifestyle magazine.
In 1996, his Honor Guard teammates lured Samaritan into a "blind date" with Winged Victory. ("Dinner At Eight.") Despite some initial tension arising from their differences, the night ended on a positive note. Since then, they have become a steady couple.
At some point in his career, Samaritan returned to the 35th Century after a battle with a time lord called Eterneon. He discovered a lush and healthy incarnation of the future. This validated that his mission and actions were successful. Unfortunately, by preventing the disaster that led to his Earth timeline, he had also inadvertently wiped his family from existence. How Samaritan can continue to exist when his parents never did, is a conundrum of sorts that even baffles himself.
Over the years, he fought his arch-enemy the Infidel on countless occasions. During the last of these, the Infidel, in a moment of rash anger, actually destroyed all space-time. Given their unique link to the Empyream Fire, these two sole survivors faced each other on an existence level "beneath" reality called the Plains of Geth. There, they struck a deal-- The Infidel would cease his plots against humanity, and in return Samaritan would leave him be in his other-dimensional palace. Working together, they then restored space-time to its prior state. To monitor each other's status, the arranged a dinner meeting once a year. Samaritan's hope is that he can eventually turn the Infidel to the side of good. ("The Eagle and the Mountain")
When Telseth's doorway appeared over Astro City, Samaritan was the second hero on hand to investigate, arriving to catch the first, American Chibi when she ricocheted off the structure. The younger hero was all aflutter to be working together. Samaritan witnessed Telseth's arrival on Earth and even offered to be his guide to the planet, but the alien refused. ("Through Open Doors (Part One)")
He spared a few minutes in his busy schedule to have a chat with Martha Sullivan to make sure everything was all right following her and her friends' recent run-in with the Majordomo. He made the open offer of Honor Guard assistance if they ever needed it. ("On the Sidelines")
Samaritan in recent years has also became more vocal and outgoing whereas in the past he's seemed more aloof and playing upon the strong silent type. It's also likely witnessing him in action with Honor Guard, that he has taken up an even more active leadership role.
Samaritan has been infused with the Empyrean Fire, which has given him a number of superhuman powers, including:
Empyrean Web: Samaritan can project a web-like energy field from his hands, which he can manipulate for a variety of effects. He has used the Empyrean Web to restrain enemies, stop a tidal wave, and prevent buildings from collapsing. When the space shuttle Challenger’s external fuel tank exploded, Samaritan surrounded the vessel in an Empyrean Web to protect the crew compartment and keep the shuttle from breaking apart. Relatedly, Samaritan applies Empyrean energy to his hair to bleach it into the white hair of his Asa Martin identity.
Hypersonic Flight: Samaritan can fly at incredible speeds, allowing him to reach any spot on the globe in seconds or leave Earth’s atmosphere and enter space.
Superhuman Strength: Samaritan is incredibly strong, although the upper limits of his strength are unknown. He has been observed stopping a runaway bus, destroying a giant robot with a single punch, and raising a sunken ship from the oceans off the Florida coast.
Superhuman Durability: Samaritan is impervious to gunfire and can survive in the vacuum of space for at least short periods of time.
“Shifting”: By allowing his mind to go blank and all tension to leave his body, Samaritan can take a “sideways step” into a pocket dimension he calls “the Closet.” There, Samaritan stores the many awards he has received throughout his distinguished career. Whether this is an ability granted by the Empyrean Fire or gained elsewhere (such as through his association with Honor Guard) is unknown.
Samaritan enjoyed some historical training before being sent back in time. He has revealed that he originally planned to stop the Challenger disaster by “infiltrating society as an undercover agent,” which suggests some sort of covert training. He also has a strong working knowledge of modern computers and networks and can repair his futuristic zyxometer. He appears to be a sound tactician with a thorough knowledge of the world’s various superhuman threats.
However, Samaritan is not omnipotent despite his vast power: He still requires sleep, is susceptible to injury, and can be affected by energy draining powers such as those possessed by The Living Nightmare.
Samaritan possesses a 35th century “organic computer” known as the Zyxometer, which resembles a large diamond with tentacles. The device has several functions, including:
Samaritan likely has other powers in addition to those listed above, including:
Super Speed: Asa Martin can seemingly change into Samaritan in an instant.
Superhuman Senses: Samaritan appears to possess at least superhuman hearing (he seemingly overheard Winged Victory whispering to herself as they parted after their first date); his other senses may be heightened as well.
Issues Of Interest