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The Legion of Super-Heroes is a team of teenage heroes in the 30th Century, a "future that works" straight out of Golden Age science fiction. Their world is as turbulent but basically decent as the world Superman, Batman and their colleagues defended back in the 20th century, but now there are spaceships and floating crystal cities, too.
The Legion was originally a sort of super-hero clubhouse for Superboy, who would fly to the future to pal around with superheroes his own age when things got too claustrophobic in Smallville. Superboy showed up less often as he matured, as one might expect, but the Legion continued without him. Over a forty-year run in the comics, the Legionnaires went from 14-year-old kids to 30-plus parents and fathers, an unprecedentedly rich historical progression for a medium in which Superman seems to stay 29 years old forever.
There are more members of the Legion than most superhero teams; the 30th Century's a big place. Because of the large membership, members often got boiled down to a one-line description, which is why so many of them have names which simply state their powers, as in Sun Boy and Shrinking Violet. Later members like Wildfire and Dawnstar had more evocative names which nevertheless were still strongly tied to their super-powers.
In order to join the Legion, a youth had to be under 18 (the voting age in the 30th century is apparently 14, education having finally been perfected) and have at least one super-power that no other Legionnaire possessed. This is sensible, because a lot of Legionnaires have powers possessed by EVERYONE on their home planet! Everyone from Braal, for example, can project magnetic fields. Cosmic Boy, the Legionnaire from Braal, just happens to be a champion of the Magnetic Olympics and the professional magno-ball circuit. But as long as he's in the Legion, no other magnetic hero need apply.
Legionnaires wear flight rings (invented by Mon-el) which allow them to fly through mental effort. Their usual equipment includes transuits (transparent spacesuits), telepathic translator earplugs, flashlights, restraint devices, and other useful items, often worn in belt pouches.
The Legion has saved the United Planets (the idealized United Nations to which Earth belongs) many times, but usually operates in teams of 5 or 6 Legionnaires, often tackling several far-flung missions at once. Legion leaders, elected by the members, choose who is to go on which missions; these decisions are often critical, because space is vast enough that the rest of the Legion can't easily turn up to save the day if the team finds itself short-handed. Because Legionnaires tend to have more specialized powers than 20th-century heroes, they also tend to practice more teamwork; it's rare for a mission team to split up with each hero going a different direction.
Clark Kent of Earth. The teenage future Superman, he has all the powers
he will demonstrate in his adult career, at nearly the same near-infinite
levels. Superboy is vulnerable to magic, which is uncommon but not rare
in the 30th century. To clarify a frequent statement in the comics,
he is indeed vulnerable to magic, but no more than anyone else. So if
a sorceror created a magic cat, it could scratch Superboy as easily
as a normal person, but it wouldn't kill him on contact.
Note that the Legion knows Superboy's entire history as Superman, including the date and manner of his death, but they have agreed never to mention it to him. In early Legion stories, there was a suggestion that Saturn Girl telepathically erased Superboy's mind of any inconvenient facts he learned while visiting the future, such as the eventual failure of his romance with Smallville sweetheart Lana Lang.
Andromeda: Laurel Gand of Daxam. A bright overachiever from a
high-gravity world, Laurel was chosen to represent the reclusive Daxamites
to the outside world by joining the Legion. Consider a planet with a
gravity strong enough to produce Superman; how are they going to have
ANY kind of a space program? Answer: either they have a supergenius
like Jor-El (Superman's father) who can build a rocket that can lift
a baby but not an adult (a baby who probably weighed a million tons
under Krypton's gravity) or they have to devote immense effort and resources
to the task. Laurel is the only Daxamite ever to leave her world in
living memory; Lar Gand (later known as Mon-el) was one of a very few
to leave during an earlier "golden age" of space exploration.
Laurel was raised by the White Triangle religious/political sect, which believes Daxamites and their Kryptonian cousins are a master race destined to rule the universe if only they can get off their world. Considering that Daxamites are super-strong, invulnerable, can fly and have heat vision, their delusions of being a master race have more basis than most. But Daxamites have no super-powers on their home world, only in space or under a yellow sun.
|Brainiac 5: Querl Dox of Colu. A green-skinned humanoid, Brainiac 5 has a "computer brain" which allows him to think faster and more deeply than any other inhabitant of the 30th century. He is a brilliant inventor, having devised Computo, a sentient computer which ran amok and tried to take over the Earth, and other less world-threatening inventions. He also has a force-field belt which is nearly impenetrable; the controls are not very friendly to less-brilliant individuals, however, so only Brainiac 5 can operate it.|
|Blok: A man made of gray stone, Blok is impervious to all forms of injury. He is an outsider to UP culture and is often puzzled by human reactions, which he continues to try to understand. Click his headshot for a larger view.|
| Bouncing Boy:
Chuck Taine of Earth. Chuck can inflate his body into a soft, bouncy sphereoid
that can bounce off things like a pinball. He's jolly and level-headed.
Chuck is handy with tools, being the Legion's resident maintenance expert
in some stories, and is fond of Triplicate Girl. Indeed, in some stories
they wind up married.
(The constant reference to "some stories" is because the Legion has had several mutually incompatible continuities, as new writers come in and change what they don't like, declaring the previous stories to have "never happened." Well, none of this actually happened, so that's a strange distinction. This site does not take a position on the relative truth or falsity of particular published stories, and, indeed, would despair of finding a basis for doing so, were it so inclined.)
|Colossal Boy: Gim Allon of Mars. Gim, a former Science Police officer, can grow to giant size with proportional increases in strength. In some chronicles, he was appointed leader of the Legion by the UP because of his police background, but decided he didn't have what it took to lead the team and deferred to Cosmic Boy, the previous leader.|
|Chemical King: Condo Arlik of Phlon. A mutant, Condo was born with the power to control chemical reactions. He can start or extinguish fires, rust metal, decay batteries or enhance their output, or even put people to sleep by interfering with their body chemistry.|
|Chameleon Boy: Reep Daggle of Durla. Reep can change shape into anything of approximately equal size. The leader of the Legion Espionage Squad (also consisting of Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet and Invisible Kid), Chameleon Boy is deceptively subtle, able to pose as just about anyone and often deliberately appearing to be of average intelligence when he's really devastatingly astute. For example, he pretended not to speak Interlac (the common language of the 30th century) for quite some time after joining the Legion, and learned all sorts of secrets thereby. Cham is often the victim of popular prejudice against Durlans, which seems widespread in the 30th century.|
|Cosmic Boy: Rokk Krinn of Braal. A former professional athlete, Cosmic Boy has the power of magnetism. Metal ornaments on his costume allow him to levitate himself without a flight-ring. He was the Legion's first leader and is an enthusiast of 20th-century history, especially the superheroes of the early Heroic Age like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Green Lantern. Cosmic Boy often leads mission teams of Legionnaires but is happy to defer to others, hoping to build a team of self-directed heroes who don't need to be told what to do. His younger brother Pol is in training in the Legion Academy as Magnetic Kid; in order for him to join, Cosmic Boy would have to retire, which he isn't interested in doing yet but realizes will eventually happen.|
|Dawnstar: Dawnstar of Starhaven. She is of American Indian ancestry and has white-feathered wings. Her powers are the ability to track individuals across vast interstellar distances and to fly unaided faster than any starship. She can also guide Legion starships through the maze of hyperspace, allowing them to outpace any conventional starship. Click her picture for a larger view.|
|Dream Girl: Nura Nal of Naltor. Her dreams are precognitive and always come true; she is also able to predict a short distance into the future, evading an enemy's attack or finding hidden items by reading a few seconds ahead. Dream Girl is a shameless flirt and has been Legion leader before, where she did very well, being much smarter than she normally finds it necessary to appear. Also, as it turns out, keeping people happy turns out to be more important to leadership than knowing which orders to give.|
|Dragonmage: Xao Jin of Earth. Quiet, earnest Jin is a student of sorcery, which he believes fuels his ability to summon dragons out of thin air. The dragon-spirits he conjures are transparent and immaterial, but are capable of all sorts of magical effects, from freezing breath to picking locks. He's very good at selecting just the right dragon for the right job (he has a stable of over a hundred whose names and gestures he knows) but is somewhat less skilled at commanding them to do what he wants, without setting the next county on fire in the process.|
|Element Lad: Jan Arrah of Trom. Like all residents of his highly radioactive homeworld, Jan can change one chemical element into another. His people used this ability to make food and shelter and for religious ceremonies; however, they were all killed by the space pirate Roxxas, who used lasers, which their powers could not affect. Jan later brought Roxxas to justice. As the last Trommite, Jan is shy and a little aloof; his people had a code against using their powers on living matter, which is very chemically complex, so he doesn't often do so. But he can make guns into oxygen, air into steel walls, kryptonite into lead or vice versa with stunning ease. Jan has yet to be able to transmute objects into working machines.|
|Ferro Lad: Andrew Nolan of Earth. Born disfigured, Andrew and his twin brother also had the power to turn their bodies into flexible organic iron. Ferro is kind of shy, but in his iron form is nearly invulnerable. For a while, he adopted a devil-may-care swashbuckler personality (after all, nothing can hurt him -- why not take chances?) but in the Legion's world, iron isn't enough to protect you from supervillains or antimatter, so he soon reverted to being starstruck around "real live superheroes!" and quiet in group settings. Considering how many Legionnaires there are, that's pretty much all settings.|
|Gates: Can form teleport gates about the size of a trash can lid, connecting distant points in space. Gates can use his own gates or send others through them. He was forced to join the Legion under protest, as he thinks the United Planets is just a structure established by rich industrialists to control and distract the working classes of the member worlds. But his parlor socialism never goes beyond the occasional grumble or rant about solidarity; he doesn't speak at all in the presence of the Legion's wealthy patrons, and genuinely likes his teammates, even the aristocratic Phantom Girl.|
|Invisible Kid: Lyle Norg of Earth, a genius and Earthgov secret agent who invented an invisibility serum from hints left by Griffin, H.G. Wells' invisible man. Unlike Griffin, Lyle is not a lunatic; he knows how to use his power, which is mostly to make people forget he has it and then walk up behind them, letting them explain their master plan while he watches and listens. Lyle is quite intelligent and has set up elaborate Mission: Impossible-type "stings" before to trap the bad guys. He no longer needs to drink the serum to turn invisible, but it cannot be used on anyone else.|
|Karate Kid: Val Armorr of Earth. The greatest martial artist of all time, Karate Kid has the precision and focus to hold his own in hand-to-hand combat with Superboy, which makes lesser opponents almost beneath his notice. Val is the son of the supervillain the Black Dragon, also a karate master, but one who uses the Dragon's Blood Potion to artificially enhance his strength and speed. In some chronicles, he is in love with Princess Projectra, aka Sensor Girl.|
|Kinetix: Zoe Saugin of Aleph. She has the power to bring inanimate objects to life, infusing them with green energy which was given her by a mystic amulet. She can then control the objects, although they eventually crumble if they move around too much. Zoe believes that the more magical artifacts she gathers, the stronger her powers get, so she's always on the lookout for Excalibur, the Grail, the Necronomicon, the Holy Hand Grenade, or whatever. She has no training in sorcery, but has the drive and dedication of a young Morgan le Fey.|
Lightning Lad: Granted lightning powers along with his sister
Ayla and older brother Mekt, Garth Ranzz of Winath is a 14-year-old
boy given superpowers and a key to the fast cars of the universe. He's
not so much aggressive as impulsive: the right answer may not be to
attack, but it's definitely to do SOMETHING, anything, and FAST!
Garth's brother Mekt is insane, partly because nearly all births on Winath are twins and Mekt is that rare unfortunate born without a twin. Mekt is also a bit older, and under the name Lightning Lord, is a dangerous supervillain. Garth is sweet on Saturn Girl, but suspects she may have a crush on Cosmic Boy.
|Lightning Lass:Also known as Spark. Garth's twin sister Ayla, she shares his lightning power but isn't anywhere near as much of a loose cannon. Indeed, Ayla's cheerful outlook is often a comfort to her teammates, many of whom are going through the whole adolescent sturm-und-drang life-is-a-vale-of-bitter-ashes thing. She is as likely to mock the villains as to zap them. Ayla has never had a serious crush, but she's quite interested in Mon-el and in some stories was romantically attracted to a "secret admirer" who turned out to be Chameleon Boy.|
|Matter-Eater Lad: Tenzil Kem of Bismoll. His power is to eat anything made of matter, hence the name. Left the Legion when he was drafted to run for office on his home world. Has a strong sense of humor, which perhaps his superpower makes inevitable. Matter-Eater Lad and Bouncing Boy, both with ridiculous and largely useless powers, were admitted to the Legion during the same year; it is this chronicler's theory that the year in question was the year several Legionnaires attained their culture's drinking age, and made a lot of hasty decisions. Later, Tenzil becomes President of Bismoll, and assists the Legion in overthrowing the corrupt Earthgov foisted on Earth by an alien race called the Dominators.|
|Mon-el: Lar Gand of planet Daxam. A young space explorer, he crashed on Earth in the late 20th century and lost his memory. He was found by Superboy, and as he had all the same powers as Superboy, Superboy concluded he must be from Krypton and gave him the name Mon-el. But unlike Kryptonians, Daxamites are powerfully allergic to lead, and Mon-el became so sick that Superboy had to send him into the Phantom Zone, a ghostlike parallel universe, until a cure could be found. That cure was found in the 30th century, and Mon-el was rescued from the Zone and made a Legionnaire. He has all the same powers as Superboy: strength, invulnerability, flight, heat vision, super-senses and super-breath, but is immune to kryptonite, though sickened by lead.|
|Night Girl: Lydda Jath of Kathoon. Given super-strength by her father so she could become a heroine, Lydda discovered her powers faded in sunlight. (Her home world has no sun, being perpetually eclipsed by its oversized moon). Rejected from the Legion, she formed the Legion of Substitute Heroes with fellow rejects Polar Boy, Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Infectious Lass and Fire Lad.|
|Phantom Girl: Tinya Wazzo of Bgztl. Tinya is from a dimensional world, existing in a demi-dimension adjacent to our own. She can return at any time, sliding out of phase with our world to become an immaterial, though not invisible, phantom. Tinya's mother is Bgztl's ambassador to the United Planets and a big wheel in Galactic politics; she often reminds Tinya to live up to her responsibility as a living ambassador of Bgztl. Tinya does indeed have an aristocratic sense of noble behavior and duty to those less fortunate, but she hasn't inherited any of her mother's need to manage other people's affairs.|
|Saturn Girl: Imra Ardeen of Titan. Like all Titanese, Imra can read minds. Indeed, she's a very gifted and powerful telepath, even by Titan standards. Indeed, in one episode she shuts down Mon-el and Ultra Boy's minds by looking at them! She had planned to join the Science Police when accident ended her up as one of the founders of the Legion. Imra is unusually level-headed and an inspiration to her teammates, rarely showing distress and always knowing (of course) how to reassure the others. Saturn Girl has been Legion leader several times. She was interested in Lightning Lad, although the smooth, confident Cosmic Boy also inspires her admiration. In one long-running series, she married Lightning Lad (who matured somewhat after his teen years) and had two children with him. In the current stories, this has not yet occured, and indeed may not.|
|Shadow Lass: Tasmia Mallor of Talok VIII. Chosen to embody the darkness power of her people, Tasmia can cast clouds of darkness on a vast scale, making it impossible for anyone to see. She can see perfectly well herself in self-summoned darkness, and is quick and precise in taking advantage of that fact. She does, however, work better in groups, where she can put enemies off-balance with her darkness and let others finish them. Tasmia was in love with Mon-el for several years in the earlier stories.|
|Sun Boy: Dirk Morgna of Earth. Gaining his powers after an atomic accident, Sun Boy can radiate solar-level heat and light from any part of his body and is immune to the effects of heat and glare himself. He is charming with the ladies, although not very constant, and in battle is always on the attack, his powers and personality little suiting him to defense or inaction. Unlike Lightning Lad, he will sometimes try something unusual to set up the bad guy, rather than the first thing that leaps to mind.|
|Star Boy: Thom Kallor of Xanthu. Born with the power to increase the mass of any object, Thom briefly gained Superboy-level powers from a comet's tail, but when they faded, he was still Legionnaire material. He was once the shining star of the Uncanny Amazers, a lame superhero team based on Xanthu, a planet with a strong attraction to the ostentatious, colorful and overblown. Hence the name "Star Boy", supposedly based on the fact that he draws mass from the stars into his target but actually unrelated to his powers. But it sounds better than "Heavy Lad." Thom is a rustic in the big city, a little shy about being a big time Legionnaire, never the first to propose a plan or a solution, but he's solid and dependable. He is smitten with Dream Girl, who seems to like him, too.|
|Shrinking Violet: Salu Digby of Imsk. Everyone on Imsk has shrinking powers, but Salu is also a world-class martial artist, and outperformed several rivals to win Imsk's spot on the team. But she's nothing like the confident, popular Cosmic Boy; Violet is still very shy, quiet among those she knows, silent among those she doesn't. She has a crush on Colossal Boy, and during one adventure she gained his power to grow as well as shrink, becoming known by the too-cute codename LeVIathan. See, because her name's Vi. One possible future has Vi kidnapped by terrorists and held in an isolation tank, an experience that hardened her outlook and made her more willing to hit people.|
|Supergirl: Linda Danvers of Earth. Superboy's cousin, she has all the same powers but visits the Legion less often. Many of Supergirl's appearances were retroactively assigned to Andromeda when Legion history was revised in the 1990s.|
|Timber Wolf: Brin Londo of Zoon. Treated by his father with chemicals to improve his agility and strength, Timber Wolf is nearly as powerful as Superboy or Mon-el, and indeed his acrobatic abilities exceed those of any other Legionnaire. He is also a master woodsman and a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. However, he does tend to get out of control sometimes, when under great stress, at which time his eyes turn red, his teeth become sharp, and he goes berserk, attacking his enemies with great savagery. This is an unfortunate side effect of his powers, which cannot be corrected without removing them. He has had a long-term relationship with Spark, although recent stories ignore it.|
|Triplicate Girl: Luornu Durgo of Cargg (sometimes spelled Carggg) can split herself into three bodies, an ability possessed by everyone on her world. Her three selves present somewhat different personalities, which may be deliberate on her part; on Cargg, apparently, allowing any of your three selves to act at all different from one another is considered a mental illness, akin to multiple personality disorder, but there are hints in the chronicles that Carggites do indeed have three personalities and the local culture's insistence that this is not so is nothing more than denial. Triplicate Girl (also called Triad) is from a world which worships Mon-el as the seeder of worlds; it's true that during his brief 20th-century career, Mon-el carried Earth fauna, flora and colonists to a dozen worlds, as sort of a one-man NASA. These worlds developed into full human civilizations, on which Valor (their world for Mon-el) is revered as their cultural hero, a sort of King Arthur or Charlemagne figure. On Cargg, the reverence approaches religious devotion. Needless to say, she's very impressed with the real Mon-el, back from the apparently dead.|
|Ultra Boy: Jo Nah of Rimbor. Swallowed by a space monster, Jo gained ultra-powers as a result of the monster's internal radioactivity. He can use his ultra-energy for one super-power at a time: either strength OR flying OR invulnerability OR heat vision, etc. Ultra Boy has a long-standing romance with Phantom Girl, and indeed, in one story they were married, although this is not always considered canon in later stories. In one role-playing game, Ultra Boy found a Green Lantern ring during a period in which he had lost his ultra-power, and has undertaken a quest to find worthy wearers for the other 3,599 green rings, currently in disuse.|
the White Witch: Mysa Nal of Naltor. Sister to Dream Girl, Mysa left the super-scientific matriarchy of Naltor early in life to study on the Sorceror's World, where she learned dozens of useful spells commanding the natural elements. She can only memorize a certain number of spells per day, but has a repertoire commanding life, death, time, mind, magic, evil, plants, animals, air, water, fire, earth, love, war, weather ... indeed, almost everything except exotica like radiation and antimatter.
Wildfire: Drake Burroughs of Earth. He was caught in the explosion of an experimental antimatter reactor and turned into pure anti-energy; he is now a ball of writhing atomic fire and cannot move or speak unless contained in a human-shaped containment suit. Wildfire can fly and hurl tremendous bolts of energy; in extremis, he can open his helmet and emerge from the suit as a devastating bolt of pure force, but afterwards, he's helpless until another suit can be brought for him.
|XS: Jenni Ognats of Aleph. Jenni is the granddaughter of the original Flash, who came to live in the 30th century after he retired from crimefighting. She has the family power of super-speed, able to run at Mach 10 and dodge bullets with ease. Jenni, though bright and friendly, is excitable and tends to talk at indecipherable speed when something dangerous or thrilling is going on.|