"On 11/2, the Soviet Union was on the verge of annihilating us, and we were more than prepared to return the favor. Then that enormous, tentacled abomination teleported into New York. If it hadn't arrived when it did, we would all be ash. Does it ever end? Of course it does. Because we are all in a tunnel and every tunnel ends. It ends with light. And if you trust me, I will do my best to show you to it."
—Looking Glass to his therapy session, lying to himself
Wade Tillman is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma. His past as a child before November 2, 1985 is largely unknown. However it is known that he at least had a father and was at one point an active member of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
On November 2, 1985, Wade went along on a missionary trip with other youth to preach to "the sinners" about impending nuclear annihilation in Hoboken, New Jersey. They stopped at a carnival where Wade tried to speak to a group of Knot Top gang members. While the men of the gang harassed Wade, a young woman named Roxi—who was part of the gang—stopped them and took Wade by hand farther down the carnival and into the Hall of Mirrors. Initially the two spoke of what Wade was doing in New Jersey and Wade explained that he along with his congregation believed the end was near and that midnight would be the Doomsday Clock (as the United States and Soviet Union were on the brink of nuclear war). Roxi then offered to have sex with Wade given the circumstances before removing all of his clothes. However Roxi would run off with them leaving Wade behind in the Hall of Mirrors. Just as he lamented being a sinner and for being tricked by her, a giant alien squid teleported into New York City across the harbor. The psychic blast emitted killed millions but Wade was protected by the mirrors from the blast and survived the attack. From that moment on, Wade was traumatized and gained fear and anxiety of squid attacks.
Wade and his father would then design a bunker similar to the nuclear fall out shelters of the 1960s to the 1970s. This was done to help ease Wade's anxieties regarding them. As another precaution, Wade would take to wearing masks made out of a foil-like material called "reflectatine" over his head to protect his mind from psychic blasts and modify a red cap with reflectatine inside. He would later on become a consultant for research and focus groups to determine if those tested liked the products being sold or advertised. This gave Wade a unique skill: supposedly, he was able to determine whether or not someone was telling the truth.
After the White Night in 2016, Wade would apply to join the Tulsa Police Department due to officers now being allowed to wear masks on the job. Becoming a detective allowed the paranoid Wade to wear reflective reflectatine masks almost constantly and out in the open as he wasn't allowed to as a civilian. Due to his mask resembling a mirror, Wade's superhero identity is referred to as "Looking Glass".
In 2019, on the night of a Seventh Kavalry shooting of Charlie Sutton, Wade goes along with Chief Judd Crawford to visit the hospital. Wade was most likely a first responder, as it is he who reveals to Judd what was found at the scene of the crime and mentions a "head of lettuce" thrown into the Officer's car. To which Judd sarcastically asks if "there any croutons" which Wade responds honestly. Later, Wade is present along with the rest of Tulsa P.D. to watch the cryptic message from the Seventh Kavalry. Wade along with Red Scare and other officers voices that he feels his life is at risk which is what overturns the rule to use firearms.
Wade then interrogates the Seventh Kavalry members that Sister Night apprehended in "the Pod". After several minutes, Wade concludes that he indeed is one of the Kavalry which is when Sister Night brutally beats the individual in order to find out where the Kavalry's base is.
After the murder of Chief Judd Crawford, Wade is one of the officers to examine the crime scene. He divulges to Sister Night exactly how Judd was murdered and seemingly interrogates Angela over Judd (as the two had dinner with their families the prior night). Later, Wade is present with Angela, Red Scare, and a massive police force for a raid on Nixonville. Wade notes Angela not acting like her normal self in not participating initially on the raid. Angela then saves Wade from assault by an attacker and watches her walk off.
At home, Wade watches the premiere of American Hero Story: Minutemen, wearing his reflective mask still despite not being on active duty.
Wade is later met by Agent Laurie Blake of the FBI in the middle of his interrogations of members of the Seventh Kavalry. The two discuss events which have transpired in Tulsa. During the funeral of Chief Judd Crawford, Wade appears to have been present as one of the masked police officers.
The day after Chief Crawford's funeral, Angela Abar visits Wade knocks on the door of his Squidfall shelter. Wade lets her in and shows her photos of the squids that he took during the last downpour. Angela notes that he's weird and Wade points out that she is as well, and asks why she's there. She shows him a pill bottle that she found in the car and asks Wade to have his ex identify the pills inside. Angela makes it clear she doesn't want them examined at the precinct lab, and Wade asks if it's related to Judd's murder. She points out that he was a racist and shows Wade the Klansman robe she found in Judd's closet, and he says that they're old school. Wade suggests that it's a keepsake from Judd's father, and Angela asks him to hold on to it for her. Wade agrees and warns Angela that Agent Blake is weird too.
Angela and Wade continue to investigate what the pills are. However, one of their conversations at the station is intercepted by Agent Blake, via a bug planted in the cactus on Wade's desk. Blake calls Wade into her office, demanding to know what pills they were referring to: though she remains suspicious afterwards, Wade manages to stall her by saying they relate to Angela's personal health.
That night, Wade discovers his Squidfall alarm is broken, and angrily telephones Extra-Dimensional Security, demanding a replacement. It is implied that this has happened repeatedly, with Wade excessively testing the alarms out of paranoia. Wade agrees to pay significantly extra for a new alarm to be delivered the next day.
The next day, Wade visits his ex-wife, Cynthia, who tells him the pills are Nostalgia, an illegal drug which allows the user to experience the memories of someone else. Later, he goes to a bar and strikes up a conversation with Renee, where the two of them bond over their experiences of the Squidfall. However, when Wade leaves the bar, he spots the lettuce truck that was used by the Kavalry member who killed Charlie Sutton, and pursues it, calling for backup as he does so.
Wade manages to infiltrate the abandoned building the Kavalry adopted as its hideout, where he finds the set of the church from the videos and the Kavalry testing a teleportation device. However, Wade is ambushed by the Kavalry, including Renee, who tells him the whole thing was a ruse to lead him there (right down to dropping the lettuce from the back of the truck, after the original murder).
One Kavalry member reveals himself as Senator Joe Keene Jr. Joe explains both he and Judd Crawford led different parts of the Kavalry to keep them in check. Joe tells Wade that Angela Abar is threatening his plans, and that Wade needs to remove that threat, or else he will kill Angela and her family. As an additional incentive, Joe lets Wade watch a video that has been shown to only a select few. The video, made by Adrian Veidt on November 1, 1985, explains his staging of the squid attack to future President Robert Redford, and his need for the President's help in some long-term plan.
Shaken, Wade leaves the Kavalry base, questioning everything he thought he knew. At the station, he brings Angela to his desk to return the pills and tell her what they are, and asks her what she knows about Judd's death. She tells him that Will, her grandfather, did it, unaware of Laurie's audio bug. Laurie comes out to arrest Angela, but Angela quickly takes all the Nostalgia before she is dragged to prison. Angela angrily asks "why" Wade betrayed her trust: though Wade does not answer, it is implied he was trying to protect her and her family from the Kavalry's wrath.
Wade returns home, and momentarily throws his newly-delivered alarm in the trash, before returning to dig it out. As he heads inside, a group of Kavalry members with guns pull up and follow him.
Wade's fate is unknown for some time, before Special Agent Dale Petey investigates his house, and finds all the Kavalry members who attempted to kill him have been killed themselves. It is revealed that after the attack, Wade took a mask from one of the dead Kavalry members and infiltrated their base again. When he sees the kidnapped Agent Blake, he stands near her, looking for an opportunity to help her escape.
Wade, along with the Kavalry base and everyone else in it, is suddenly teleported to Greenwood by Lady Trieu. However, before Trieu can kill Wade, Doctor Manhattan teleports him to Karnak, along with Adrian Veidt and Agent Blake. Wade is hostile towards Veidt, and blames him for the deaths of three million people. Veidt dismisses Wade as an "ignorant hayseed", and his own actions as necessary.
Wade and Blake assist Veidt in his plan to use the squid rain device to send frozen squid to fall in Greenwood, which will obliterate anything in the nearby area. Afterwards, Veidt offers Laurie and Wade Nite Owl's airship Archie to return to society. However, Laurie also arrests Veidt for orchestrating the 11/2 massacre. When Veidt retorts that they have no proof, Wade reveals he recorded the video shown to him by Senator Joe Keene Jr. Veidt attempts to talk his way out of it, but Wade knocks him out, and he and Laurie drag him aboard the ship.
Wade ends the series continuing his role in the Tulsa Police Department, having finally gained closure for 11/2.
Powers and Abilities
- Police Training: Wade is a newer recruit to the Police Force and more than likely had basic training from Police Academy. Wade is also shown using firearms in self defense. However, Wade possesses extreme marksmanship and combat abilities of an unknown, but high degree as he was able to not only survive being ambushed by five members of the Seventh Kavalry, but kill them all single handedly.
- Deductive Analysis: As stated by Wade himself, Wade has the ability to determine if someone is telling the truth or not. This is shown in use at the Police Force where Wade acts as an interrogator in the Pod and at his day job working for focus groups.
- Skilled Pilot: Wade has admitted that given the identical design of the Tulsa Police Department airships and the original Owlship belonging to Daniel Dreiberg, he is perfectly capable of flying the latter.
Wade dresses somewhat casually on the job and as a civilian. His attire is simple, shirt, button up, jeans, and boots. However as Looking Glass, Wade wears a complex reflective mask resembling a mirror (hence the moniker). When he isn't wearing his mask, Wade wears a red baseball cap with an inner lining of the reflectatine material that his mask is made of, when he is at home and while not on police duty. He possesses at least two reflective masks - one located within a safe inside of his home and one in another safe inside of a garage.
Physically, Wade is a short Caucasian male with curly brown-reddish hair and blue eyes. He has a handle bar mustache. Wade might best be described as lanky and appears to not be much of a combatant like Sister Night or Red Scare.
In and out of costume, Wade has a dry, sardonic personality. He speaks in a slow somewhat bored sounding drawl whether at home, speaking to fellow Detectives, or interrogating suspects. This makes much of his true thoughts a mystery to most others although he may be the most transparent.
As a result of being present and surviving the Squidfall attack in 1985, Wade has deep-seated trauma and anxieties towards squidfalls and interdimensional attacks. Although somewhat functioning as a citizen, this trauma still has impacted his daily life. He wears mirror-like reflectatine atop of his head almost constantly in order to protect himself from a psychic attack. He has trouble maintaining relationships and as stated by his ex-wife Cynthia also tends to fall for women who hurt him.
He has several sexual hangups, as he was traumatized by his first sexual experience. He has since been unable to keep any relationships with women, not trusting them to not run off with his clothes.
- "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice"
- "Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship"
- "She Was Killed by Space Junk"
- "If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own"
- "Little Fear of Lightning"
- "See How They Fly"
- Wade's costumed persona "Looking Glass" is a reference to Damon Lindelhof's previous work LOST which had many allusions to the Lewis Carrol novels "Alice in Wonderland". Specifically, the second novel "Alice into the Looking-Glass" which influenced the name of the Looking Glass Station in the world of LOST.
- A "Looking Glass" is an older term for a mirror which is what Wade's mask evokes as it is reflective. Both Judd Crawford and Laurie Blake even use his mask as a mirror.
- From his unique personality to his mask's functionality, Looking Glass shares a lot in common with the vigilante Rorschach. Although the two appear to not share the same ideals or beliefs as Wade actively works with Law Enforcement while Rorschach was an outlaw.
- Wade's actor, Tim Blake Nelson, is also a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma.