To most people, Daedalus is one of the world’s most brilliant scientists and inventors, but few know his secret. Daedalus is not merely named for the figure from Greek mythology—he is the original. He was a great inventor in ancient Greece, so great he attracted the attention of Minos, King of Crete. Minos commissioned Daedalus to build an inescapable labyrinth to contain the monstrous Minotaur. But when Daedalus completed his work, Minos imprisoned him and his son Icarus so they could never reveal the maze’s secrets to the outside world.
Daedalus fabricated two pairs of wings from feathers and wax to allow him and his son to escape. Unfortunately, Icarus ignored his father’s advice not to fly too high. When he did, the wax on his wings melted and Icarus plummeted into the sea. Daedalus searched for his son in vain, until he was forced to fly on alone. The gods granted Daedalus immortality as compensation for Minos’ cruelty and Icarus’ loss. He spurned their offer, but the gods do not revoke a gift once it is given.
So Daedalus wandered the world for centuries, finding purpose in his studies and his work. He met and learned from the great philosophers and scientists of the ancient world and followed the rise and fall of civilization. All the while, he avoided staying in one place for too long, so as not to give away his true nature. Daedalus often spent time alone with his work, isolated for decades at a time. The centuries seemed to pass by faster and faster.
Over the centuries, Daedalus often recalled the lesson Icarus inadvertently taught him: technology was dangerous in the wrong hands. Humanity continued to prove that maxim throughout the years, as they developed newer and more inventive ways of killing each other. Still, people also developed technologies to improve life, preventing his cynicism from growing intolerable. Daedalus’ own works also moved society forward, though history attributes them to Albertus Magnus, Paracelsus, DaVinci, Newton, and others.
In the 20th century, Daedalus became equally fascinated and concerned with humanity’s progress. After the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he decided he needed to act openly. He spent some years designing a suit of armor equipped with various weapons and began using it to fight crime. He particularly targeted criminals abusing science and technology for personal gain. When his ancient adversary, the Greek god Hades, invaded Freedom City, Daedalus helped a number of heroes thwart his plan. The ancient inventor turned adventurer became a founding member of the Freedom League. Daedalus worked with the League for years before the endless battles made him question the purpose of his immortal existence. He decided to leave Earth in a starship of his own design, the Icarus.
He explored the galaxy alone for years, encountering various alien civilizations and challenges along the way, including the Grue and the Star-Khan. His faith in human potential restored by seeing what humanity’s “cousins” had done out among the stars, Daedalus returned to Earth just in time to help against the Terminus Invasion, and he mourned the death of his old friend the Centurion along with the rest of the world. Daedalus and others reformed the Freedom League shortly afterward, and helped rebuild Freedom City in the aftermath. Some believe the Daedalus who currently belongs to the League is the son of the original founder of the Freedom League, since Daedalus hasn’t aged a day since his first public appearance (or in millennia, for that matter). He does little to discount the rumor, since his true origins are not widely known.