In last nights Legends of Tomorrow we got to see a second person play the role of Todd Rice / Obsidian. Lance Henriksen played the part of an older hero in the 1980's while the 1940's version was played by Dan Payne, though we never see him unmasked. Since he's already showed up, I can't really call this a primer, but this is the comic book history of the man called Obsidian. He first appeared in All-Star Squardron #25 by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway.
Todd Rice is the son of the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott and the villain Thorn, Rose Canton. He was put up for adoption and raised in an abusive house-hold, only finding out he had a twin sister named Jennie-Lynn Hayden when he was in his late team. They both had superpowers and believed they were the children of Scott, so they took on the code names of Obsidian and Jade to follow in his footsteps. The two were founding members of Inifnity, Inc… a team of superheroes consisting of children, grand children and protege members of the Justice Society of America.
But his time as a hero with Infinity Inc and the Justice League is overshadowed by the mental illness that he inherited from his mother. He turned evil, trying to kill his adoptive father, forcing his real father and the JSA to stop him. He does a few more evil things including team up with Mordru and Eclipso, but he is eventually captured and cured of his mental imbalance.
Once cured, he retired from the costume life and came out. He got into a serious relationship with a district attorney named Damon Matthews and lived quietly until his sister died in Infinite Crisis. He tries the hero life again, but loses control when he discovers a new hero going by the name of Jade. He is calmed down, but his mental instability is still there. He would join the JSA, working as their headquarters watchman for a while before being manipulated into an evil plot by Kid Karnevil. But the plan is thwarted by Mr. Terrific who travels back in time and frees Obsidian before he can get pulled into the mess.
In Brightest Day its revealed that the creature Starheart gave Alan Scott his original powers and bestowed powers onto Obsidian and Jade. Starheart posses both Green Lantern, Obsidian and Dr. Fate, using them to take out the JSA. Jade and Obsidian are fused into a hyrbid that has both their powers and is used to attack both the JSA and the JLA. Jade is freed by the Entity and Obsidian is contained by Kyle Rayner. The twins have to be kept separated or they will fuse together again and risk releasing Starheart.
The New 52 wiped out all of that, having Alan Scott appear on Earth-2 as a gay man with no children. A different version of Todd Rice appeared in the World's End storyline, this on is black, bald and has multiple earrings. He wears a trench-coat over a white shirt and tie, only the mask remains from the original Obsidian costume. He's in that Earth's version of Arkham Asylum and is released by John Constantine.
Obsidian is a character that a lot of writers could have a field day with. He's a legacy hero with an abusive childhood, inherited mental illnesses, the true level of his powers has not been ascertained, he has guilt over the things he has been manipulated into doing… and through all of that, he's in a strong, committed same-sex relationship. This is a character DC should give a solo title to… at least now he's gotten some live action screen time.