Of the seven time-tossed members of the Legion of Super-Heroes left in the past, I had expected that the most difficult histories would be those of Dream and Sensor Girls, respectively. That was before I had a chance to really look at the facts of the situation. Indeed, both the ladies in question will be considerably easier to quantify than today’s entrant… Initially nothing more than a love-triangle fodder for Lana Lang’s quest to win over another boy, he won Legion membership, lost it, then was able to return from adversity. His story is one of loyalty, of love, but most of all, it’s the story of a man who understands his duties. Guided by his emotions, but blinded by love; torn by responsibility, but always quietly heroic; he is one of the most complex Legionnaires, and one of the few who was able to leave behind his past. This is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Thom Kallor of Xanthu… Star Boy!


The story of Star Boy starts atypically for a Legionnaire, though at the point where he debuted, there wasn’t really an LSH status quo yet. Chronologically speaking, the Legion had only appeared five times before Thom made his debut in Adventure #282, in a story where Lana Lang (as usual) was trying desperately to make the hero of Smallville, Superboy teen-heartthrob Tom Welling, fall in love with her. Because it was the 50’s (well, 1961, but it’s pretty much still the 50’s) she comes up with a ridiculously complex plan to have ANOTHER superhero make him jealous so that he’ll realize he really wants her. Mr. Welling finds himself attacked by giant flying horseshoes, encased in ice, and then sees giant clay letters flying through the air, indicating that he should meet someone at Calvin’s Cave…


The Xanthu connection soon reared it’s ugly head, though, and Thom found himself pursuing a couple of local criminals back in time to Smallville circa “twenty years ago.” Thom quickly finds himself befriended by Lana Lang, and roped into her secret plan, agreeing to help make Tom Welling jealous. He agrees (always a sucker for romance, our Star Boy) but she doesn’t realize that super-hearing allows T.W. to hear in advance, foiling her plan. It won’t be the first time that being a hopeless romantic will get our lad in trouble. Strangely, though, his Legion membership is mostly ignored, not reappearing for nearly three years (as though the writers just forgot about the minor Legion ties in his first appearance.) When he does come back, it’s just in time for Thom to witness the debut of the woman who would change his life and Legion tenure forever… Nura Nal, Dream Girl.


There’s more story in that single page than some comics can give us in a YEAR. Star Boy returns to the rank and file, a staunchly heroic Legionnaire and a guy so nice he makes Bob Newhart look like Morton Downey, Junior. Notable Legion moments during this particular period for Thom include being transformed into a baby and conned into believing the most valuable jewels in the galaxy are jellybeans…


Put that in your “realism” pipe and smoke it! But such whimsy isn’t always the way for Star Boy, who has been known to call himself the Unluckiest Legionnaire. He’s actually so unlucky that Lightning Lad stole that nickname from him! Poor guy… When you’re elected as #13, I guess it should be expected, though. Thom continued pining for Nura, even after the spell she wove on the other Legionnaires had faded. His misery was such that he didn’t even participate in the team’s bi-weekly super-orgy…



Et tu, Matter Eater Lad? ET TU??? By the barest of margins, Thom is drummed out of the Legion… Serves him right for trusting some fourteen-year-old farmboy with his defense, I guess. (Wouldn’t you have chosen Brainiac 5? I know I would have…) But even though he may have lost his career, Thom still has his girl, and Nura tries to make him feel better by getting him in with ANOTHER Legion, the Legion of Substitute Heroes.


Encased in lead from head to toe, the newbies are immediately suspected to be something sinister, with even Ferro Lad commenting how their helmeted secretiveness seems suspicious. “I wear a mask, too. But I don’t conceal my identity from the rest of you!” Brainiac 5 isn’t sure what to make of them, but soon suspects that they’re the cousins from Krypton, much as he would years later think that Sensor Girl was Supergirl as well. He’s got tunnel vision when it comes to that girl. When Prince Evillo and his Devil’s Dozen (consisting of five villains, proving that Evillo was as bad at counting as he was at choosing a nom de guerre) strike, the forces of the Legion are stretched thin, and they must call in the Subs, the Legion of Super-Pets, and even Tom and Helen, proving that their new members can’t be them. The plot is unraveled, and one of Evillo’s lackeys, the Hag, is mystically turned back into a hot girl who says she’s from Naltor…


This time, he is able to save the day without lethal force, and returns to the Legion a stronger hero. Soon after this encounter, Dave Cockrum takes over the art duties on the Legion, and revamps nearly every costume on the team. Thom’s tasteful black, purple, gold and white monstrosity is replaced by one of the coolest (and probably hardest to draw) uniforms of all time, a full-body star-field jumpsuit with white gloves and boots.


Nothing says 1970’s like a shirt unbuttoned to the sternum. All he needs is a coke spoon and some nice bell bottoms and he’s ready for the holodiscos… The one constant throughout this time period is his love for Dream Girl. With the possible exception of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, Nura and Thom were about the longest-lasting of all the Legion pairings. Though usually perceived to be more in love with her than she with him, Dream Girl’s feelings for Star Boy were equally strong…


Bad timing again for the 13th Legionnaire. But even losing his invulnerability wasn’t going to take Star Boy out of action. Knowing that the arsenal in the building could burn half the galaxy, and realizing that even his Legion pals (not to mention his parents and beloved Nura) would probably suffer, he did the one thing that they pirates DIDN’T expect… He brought the house down, regardless of his own safety.


Though the leadership issue was a rare bone of contention between Thom and Nura, later events would drive an even larger wedge between them. Atmos, the hereditary protector of Xanthu, disappeared and the Legion was called in for what seemed like a pathetically menial repair job. The Legionnaires thought they were just using their influence on Star Boy for special treatment, but the ruling body of Xanthu had other plans. The entire mission was nothing more than a ruse to bring Star Boy home so they could drop their bombshell.


Take that, Atmos! And get some armpits, you freak. Star Boy served as Xanthu’s protector until nearly the end of the Legion’s original series, rejoining in the last issue. After the events known as the “Five Year Gap” struck, Star Boy was nowhere to be found. After several years, the Legionnaires finally held a reunion, and all extant members returned for a weekend of fun on Winath, where we find what has happened to Thom…


The game was replayed, and this time, his team (The Dreamers, and I presume, though it’s never explicitly spoken, that he named them after his old flame) went on to win the pennant, and Thom successfully stood by his morals in turning down Dream Girl’s advances, wanting to stay faithful to his new woman. During one of the most complicated and odd periods of Legion history, (which is indeed saying something) a second team of Legionnaires appeared out of nowhere. Though initially thought to be clones of the original team, they were later revealed to have been temporal duplicates pulled out of the time stream and brought forward. When the events of Zero Hour started overtaking the 30th century, the manipulations of the timestream caused Ferro Lad to fade away, and be replaced by…


In order that the 30th Century might live, the few remaining Legionnaires were forced to merge with their younger selves, knowing that whatever came after would bear little to no resemblance to what had gone before. Alongside Wildfire, Matter-Eater Lad, Brainiac 5, and all his old friends, Thom and his younger self join hands and cease to exist…


Just as before, the cruiser accident gave Star Boy a vast array of Kryptonian-level abilities, though they lasted much longer and were actually somewhat more useful. Much as his Pre-Zero Hour self, Star Boy had a strong sense of duty, but tended to lack a bit of confidence and could be brought down by self-doubt. When Leviathan (the post-ZH Colossal Boy) gave his life, it actually seemed to ground Star Boy and make him more determined to do right.


The invasion of the alien Blight destroys the stargate system that allowed fast transport between worlds, and once again, Star Boy was asked to act as the hero of Xanthu, this time helping to repel the invasion of the alien A.I. known as Robotica and it’s endless series of drones and robots. For nearly a year, he was the first line of defense against the creatures, and honed his powers to new levels in so doing.


When the Legion was once again rebooted in 2004, the new creative team made changes and adjustments to bring their powers and motif up to the standards of the Age of Irony. Even though the Legion is essentially a shiny Silver Age future, their backgrounds and the world around them got a facelift, and certain members were subtly changed. In a move that has some older Legion fans (though not myself) upset, Star Boy returned in this series with his best-looking costume yet… and a change in pigmentation.


This Starman of the near-future was identified in the hardcover as being Thom Kallor, come back in time for some reason, while Supergirl and Kon-El went to the future to serve as Legionnaires. The entire Danny Blaine facade was later explained as his secret identity, and used to great dramatic effect when Jack Knight traveled to the future and the post-Zero Hour Star Boy found out about his destiny. When Jack was sent back in time to 1951 later in his own series, it is Thom, now Starman, who saves him…


Now THAT’s a cool costume. The recent events in JSA have shown us a Thom trapped in the past, on a desperate secret mission, have sacrificed everything to come back, even at the expense of his mental health. Starman, revealed to be a schizophrenic, was perfectly balanced and sane using 30th century science, but is prone to babbling and seeming insanity under the care of our doctors Having stayed in the past when most of his fellows left, Thom has stated in a moment of lucidity that he still has work to do here. Once again, his sense of duty and honor have made the former Star Boy’s decision for him. Throughout his career(s) Star Boy hasn’t always been the most powerful Legionnaire, (though often he was) nor the center of attention, (though his turns in the spotlight were always powerful) but he has shown repeatedly that the measure of a Legionnaire, the measure of ANY hero, is in how they respond when things seem their darkest… Driven by his love of family, of home, of Dream Girl, always wearing his heart on his sleeve, Thom Kallor acts as a hero because he must, because sometimes no one else can. Like the suns he takes his name from, Star Boy shines brightest when all around is black.

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Mark I.
    June 24, 2007 at 2:42 pm — Reply

    What, no mention of the Captain of Outer Space?

  2. Brent F.
    June 24, 2007 at 4:25 pm — Reply

    I forgot that Dream Girl use to have more cushion for the pushin.

  3. Kienan
    June 25, 2007 at 9:39 am — Reply

    Darn it Mark I., you beat me to the Home Movies reference.

  4. June 25, 2007 at 2:57 pm — Reply

    The saddest part of all? Squigglevision gives me a headache, so I’ve never watched Home Movies. The only thing I know about it is that it always seemed to go on forever before I could watch Mission Hill…

  5. Kienan
    June 25, 2007 at 3:24 pm — Reply

    Squigglevision was only used in the first season, after that they used Flash. One of the most underrated cartoons of the last few years.Maybe not underrated just under-watched.

  6. Mark I.
    June 25, 2007 at 3:51 pm — Reply

    See, you can pick up from Season 2 after the “Squigglevision” was removed (easy with Netflix.) It’s conveniently the best season IMHO, as it included the aforementioned Starboy & the Captain of Outer Space episodes and my favorite Home Movies episode of all time: “The Party”

    “You’re not my MOTHER.”

  7. Brent F.
    June 25, 2007 at 5:17 pm — Reply

    I actually like the first rebooted Starboy’s costume best of all, especially in the “Shove it!” panels.

  8. Snowy
    May 22, 2010 at 1:21 am — Reply

    Man….where’s the part where Star Boy and Karate Kid get into a weird conversation…

    SB: You died too and came back, we cheered three times that day. Your colar was bigger you know.
    KK: I know, Thom.

    or the infamous phrase; “Wax on, wax off!”

  9. October 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm — Reply

    Wha hoppa to the pictures?

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