Denny Atlas was a weak, bullied kid. He also heard voices—voices that his mother before him, and her mother before her, also heard. It was these voices that drove his mother to suicide. Denny, however, followed the voices' instructions and found an old bird mask. Putting it on, he was bestowed upon the powers of his ancestor, the Egyptian sun god Ra. He called himself Powerhouse, and joined the Vicious Circle, a crime gang that operates in opposition to Officer Dragon and the Chicago Police Department.