Secret Identity: Adopted the persona of deceased brother Carl
Nickname: The Man of the Future; The Ultimate Human Being
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Affiliations: Round Table of America;
Known Relatives: Carl (brother), Arlene (ex-wife), Christine (daughter, Ultragirl)
Base of Operations: Earth A
Powers/Abilities: Ultrastrength, invulnerability. Fluoroscopic vision, laser vision and ultra-hearing. Able to fly, possesses ultraspeed.
History: Lt. Chris Kelly was an astronaut aboard a Gemini space capsule which was struck by an radioactive meteor. The radiation killed his fellow astronaut, but Kelly survived re-entry to Earth where he was terminally ill with radiation sickness. Luckily, his body metastasized and instead of killing him absorbed the radiation, transforming it into energy. Kelly became a human battery: the ultimate human being!
Kelly, already famous as one of the original astronauts was now doubly so, his illness and miraculous recovery having played out on the TV. The press was calling him the “ultimate human being” and eventually Ultiman. Unfortunately, the radiation absorbed by Kelly’s body played havoc with the delicate instruments in space capsules and even airplanes, and it appeared that his military career was over.
President Kennedy was intrigued by this charismatic new superstar and tapped him as the spokesman for the physical fitness program. The U.S. government was ecstatic to have a superhuman the payroll and gave him his own department and office at the Pentagon. General Black was his liaison and Lori Lake became his personal secretary.
Kelly took on the job to help mankind, refusing be used as a military super weapon and kept his word, despite increasing pressure from succeeding Presidents. Ultiman’s very existence spurred a new arms race, with all countries striving to develop their own super humans.
Ultiman ended up either fighting or banding together with many of these other super weapons. His arch-enemy was the brilliant but evil Dexter Cortex who got even smarter by plugging his brain directly into a computer. Cortex become as much machine as man, sending robot drone bodies out to harass Ultiman.
Perhaps the most dangerous villain of all was Chris Kelly’s much younger brother Carl, who was jealous of Chris’ powers and fame. Carl was in love with Lori Lake and always looking for a way to make his famous brother look bad in front of her and the world. He eventually fell in with a criminal crowd. After a stint in reform school, the now grown up Carl re-emerged looking nearly identical to his brother. Working with Cortex, Carl found a way to finally steal his brother’s powers, only to perish while saving the powerless Chris.
Being a full-time hero and celebrity grated on Chris Kelly. He created his Secret Citadel in an extinct volcano as a place where he could get away from it all. After brother Carl’s death, Chris assumed his brother’s identity and secured him a job on the payroll at the Pentagon, giving himself a measure of peace and quiet. It also gave him an inside track to the criminal world, where Carl was known as a shady character.
Ultiman’s main weakness is that his body burns the atomic energy and must be periodically recharged by the Ultranium (ultra-uranium) meteor. At first it operated like Popeye eating spinach. Over time, he had to expose himself to larger and larger doses, suffering from radiation poisoning in the process until his body could adapt and absorb the energy. His powers have varied in intensity thereafter, and if Ultiman exerts himself too much, he is in danger of exhausting them.
Tired of the radiation sickness and failing powers, Chris Kelly let the powers fade away in the 1980s and retired to a fantastic house in the Rocky Mountains with his new bride. It wasn’t Lori Lake, but a TV reported named Arlene Arliss. Using his army of robot doubles to fight. The marriage eventually failed, Mrs. Kelly not liking the solitary life and then becoming fearful of the radiation effects on her and their baby when Ultiman ended his retirement.