Or – “Overlook Him At Your Own Peril…”
Lyyyyle Nooorg!Â Lyyle Norg!Â Riding through the laaaand…
Lyyyyle Nooorg!Â Lyyle Norg!Â With a beige headbaaaand!
Sometimes I write little bits of doggerel to fill in the spaces and format the images in WordPress, but that one cracks me up so completely, I thought I’d leave it in.Â Of the many Legionnaires over the years, there have been a seemingly inordinate number of what the superhero RPG community calls “bricks.”Â Mon-El, Tom Welling, Andromeda, Supergirl, Thunder, Ultra Boy, Kent Shakespeare, even my beloved Blok fall into the category of “Legionnaires Whose Job It Is To Hit $#!+ Really Hard.”Â But as we have seen previously, the ranks of the LSH also include many whose powers are of a more subtle bent, and none more so that today’s entrant.Â It’s fitting that of all the Legionnaires, his motives are among the least obvious.Â Not merely content to make his entire body disappear, he managed to keep his past likewise unseen.Â His resume includes runs as a spy, an inventor, and Legion leader, and he managed to keep an entire relationship under the radar of the Legion (and the readers.)Â Though his story may have ended (if things in comics can be said to end) in tragedy, his legacy lived on.Â This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Lyle Norg of Earth…Â Invisible Kid!
You ever have the feeling that you’ve done something before?Â We once again start out in the pages of Action Comics #276, as Legion leader Cosmic Boy introduces THREE new members of the galaxy’s most exclusive teen club.Â We’ve already covered the Colossal and Chameleon Boys, so now, for what may or may not be the last time, here’s the infamous panel…
Heh…Â Anybody else think he may have goosed her there?Â Anybody?Â C’mon, it was the ’60’s, not Victorian England, folks.Â In any case, Lyle became member number nine of the Legion, and quickly forged friendships with fellow big brains Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl.Â His orange and yellow costume quickly went by the wayside, and was replaced with the beige and hunter green colors under which Invisible Kid became best known.Â While many of his partners were born with their powers, Lyle was a self-made man, having created his invisibility serum himself.Â In his early Legion career, Invisible Kid was actually known for his wit and humor, as evidenced by his comments during an early leadership election.
Â No matter how many entertaining japes he might make about illegally gaining power over the single most dangerous strike force since the Dirty Dozen, Lyle still managed to be a very capable and professional Legionnaire when things heated up.Â He also took a very personal interest in the safety of his fellow Legionnaires, as when new Legion recruit ‘Mystery Lad’ insisted on going out on a mission alone, Lyle used his singular talent to tag along, and ended up saving the newbie’s life.
Lyle was a stalwart of the early Legion adventures, using his powers for surveillance and spying purposes, but with the sublime must also come the ridiculous…
In the boys’ defense, they’re entertaining… uh… orphans.Â Undercover, y’see, because they have to… hide… their identities.Â Hence the clever tuxedo jacket over the clearly visible pink and white uniform with the giant Capital ‘E,’ which doesn’t stand for Element Lad.Â Oh, no no NO, my friends, the ‘E’ stands for “Eerie Prestidigitation!”Â God, I love these Silver Age stories.Â I think DC editorial subsisted entirely on blotter acid and magic mushrooms back then.Â And, as we’ve seen many times before, during this time, it was required that every Legionnaire be turned into a toddler version of themselves that talked like a Bizarro.
That scene, by the way, depicts the child legion defeating the Time Trapper because Element Lad wanted some candy and transformed his ship into peppermint.Â Yes, really…Â Blotter acid, I swear to Ayesha.Â Anyway, when you stick seventeen teenagers in skin-tight uniforms in a tiny phallic clubhouse for hours at a time, stuff is gonna happen, but Lyle was somewhat unique among the Silver Age Legionnaires in that he didn’t have a regular Legion romance.Â However, at one point, he betrayed his interest in a pre-Bouncing-Boy Triplicate Girl.Â Unfortunately for him, she was working an elaborate scam, along with the other female Legionnaires, to take down the boy members…
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that look like a remarkably deep kiss for 1961?Â Lyle may have been the original Playa, as Luornu doesn’t look at all heart-broken to play along with the charade, seein’ as how his tongue just found a molar with a cavity that needs filling.Â Light-hearted Lyle was relatively popular amongst the comrades whom he HADN’T frenched as well, and soon after earned one of the highest honors awarded to an LSHer: the post of Legion Leader.
Lyle served as leader during some of the most dramatic moments of the Silver Age, as Universo managed to take over the world and lock the entire Legion up, and the menace of the Sun-Eater threatened to take out life as we know it.Â One of the most difficult (if short-lived periods) came when Lyle was forced to break the news to Tom Welling and Supergirl that a strange green Kryptonite cloud had enshrouded 30th Century Earth, and that they’d have to leave the Legion forever.
Now, forever in Silver Age time is approximately two issues, after which the team welcomed back the kids from Krypton (courtesy of Ulu Vakk, a long story which we’ll get to later) but almost immediately after, Lyle was forced to steward the ship of LegionÂ state through the most tragic events of all: the loss of their first member to death.Â (Well, death that wasn’t able to be reversed with magic wands and lightning, at least.)Â Lyle was acutely aware that his super-power wasn’t the most useful ability in combat, and Invisible Kid spent much time in the gym to make sure that he was in tip-top shape to keep up with his super-comrades.Â It came in handy, when a man called Orion the Hunter (the first man to carry the name) discovered either the novel ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ or the back episode catalogue of ‘Tales From The Darkside,” and decided to hunt a more difficult breed of animal: the superhero.
Uh, yeah…Â Because creating TWENTY FIVE plastic heads and having them mounted on the wall isn’t at all the epitome of wacky.Â Though he may have been Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but Orion was at least dangerous enough to successfully capture the Legion, and moreover, was able to disable the likes of Karate Kid, Ultra Boy, and Smallville’s finest son.Â The one thing he hadn’t counted on, however, was the tenacity of the Legion’s head man.
Even without resources or backup, Invisible Kid is still a frickin’ genius, and proves himself to be remarkably tough.Â Orion has set up a way out, an idol high on a hill that any Legionnaire may touch and win his own freedom.Â Invisible Kid makes his way out of the jungle and climbs up the side of the mountain, mere inches from victory, when the treacherous Orion decides to change the rules of the game.
The explosion takes out The Hunter for good (though his kid comes back to menace another Legionnaire a few years later) but Invisible Kid stuck around.Â Soon after, he struck up a friendship with a new Legionnaire, Condo Arlik (Chemical King, a name you may want to make a note of) and, together they had to face a criminal who had stolen Lyle’s formula and was using it for criminal purposes.
Thanks to C.K.’s ability to control chemical reactions, the Invisible/Chemical team was victorious, but their triumph was somewhat short-lived.Â Mere months later, Legionnaires Brainiac 5 and Mon-El are surprised to find that Invisible Kid has disappeared during a training exercise.Â Team leader Mon-El is livid, until I.K. rematerializes and immediately collapses.Â Fearing the worst, Brainiac 5 hooks him up to a ‘Mento-Scanner’ to see if they’re under attack.Â What they find in Lyle’s memories shocks them both…
Invisible Kid awakens, and stalks away, refusing to explain himself, and Brainiac wonders if somehow he hasn’t got a case of hysterical amnesia, blocking out whatever horrible things Myla told him.Â Phantom Girl catches Lyle in the hallway, and manages to get the be-headbanded Legionnaire to finally open up to her.Â He explains what his powers are doing (ironically, somewhat similar to Phantom Girl’s own power upgrade in Legion Volume 5) with a physical demonstration.
Notice the ominous presence of Ferro Lad’s statue in the background.Â Foreshadowing, loyal Spoilerites, is your cue to quality literature…Â And speaking of foreshadowing, the glowing device in the foreground seems to be doing something sinister, doesn’t it?Â Turns out it’sÂ part of the brain of Tharok, nasty Legion villain…Â That night, Dream Girl awakens from a nightmare that Tharok’s personal monster Validus has attacked Legion headquarters, only to find soon after that Validus IS attacking Legion headquarters.Â While the likes of Mon-El and Tom Welling get knocked over repeatedly by the monster, Invisible Kid’s superior brain figures out that Tharok’s components are controlling Validus.Â He reaches for the hunks of brain, but a fraction of a second too late…
Though Lyle managed to crush the robot brain, Validus likewise crushes him, leaving the former Legion leader in a heap on the floor, as his teammates rush in, horrified…
“Well, our friend is dead, but at least he got a slamming non-corporeal hottie out of it.Â Any Sunny Delight left?”Â At least Tinya has the decency to tear up at his death…Â You’d think that dying would be the end of the line for anyone, but this is the Legion, folks.Â They resurrect six impossible friends before breakfast, then turn lead into gold out of sheer boredom.Â Which is why, a few months later, the Boy who would be Superman is probably the only LSHer who might be surprised by the presence of two old friends in his room…
Dig those Mike Grell early-70’s sideburns, maaaan.Â Invisible Kid is giving Greg Brady a run for his tonsorial money…Â Lyle and Andrew’s return throws even the Teen of Steel for a loop, but he allows them to accompany him on a mission wherein they (naturally) encounter a giant robot powerful enough to damage even his Kryptonian hide.Â The See-Through/Iron team is ready to pick up the slack though, and remind him of their own heroic pedigrees before wading in…
The boys (well, one Kid and one Lad, but still) easily handle the threat, taking down the giant robot and saving Smallville again, that one day we might all be able to drool over Allison Mack and Kristin Kreuk.Â The Adolescent of Tomorrow is suitably impressed, so much so that he’s ready to recommend that Lyle and Andrew return to active duty…
Buhaminah??Â Looks like as the years went on, DC editorial switched to the legendary brown acid (But, hey, it’s their trip, I guess) doesn’t it?Â In any case, Lyle Norg disappeared from Legion lore for several years, joining Ferro Lad as a golden statue in the trophy room (where they were soon joined by another close friend, Chemical King, a long blah blah blah fishcakes.)Â It wasn’t until another Kid picked up Lyle’s Invisible standard that the tan and green Legionnaire returned.Â (As for questions of why I chose to handle Jacques and Lyle as separate entries, it is my intention to handle each distinct Legionnaire as a separate entity.Â Though I consider rebooted/Threebooted Legionnaires to be variations on the same theme, Invisible Kid II is a separate being, and will be recognized in his own right somewhere down the line.)Â Jacques Foccart took the Norg invisibility serum, but found that it reacted differently with his particular body chemistry, giving him the ability to teleport, even to other dimensions…
The crazy Norg attacks, but Invisible Kid teleports away.Â Months later, he returns to this dimension to retrieve Lyle, but finds that once again, reports of Invisible Kid I’s resurrection have been greatly exaggerated.Â Instead of a heroic Legionnaire, Jacques finds himself at the mercy of an extradimensional demon.Â The creature is defeated, but that’s not the last sight of the Invisible Kid in the 30th Century.Â Some years later, after the alien Dominators have taken over the Earth, a secret chamber is found beneath Weisinger Plaza in Metropolis.Â Within the chamber, in suspended animation, is found…
The Legion of Superheroes!Â From left to right, top to bottom, we have Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, Light Lass, Ferro Lad, Laurel Gand, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, Phantom Girl, Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, Shrinking Violet, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl and Cosmic Boy.Â When you think about how many Legionnaires we’ve covered already, it’s frightening to see how many are yet to be covered.Â I have, indeed, set myself up for a challenge here.Â This “SW6” batch of Legionnaires are thought to be clones of the original, and return to action not long after with new names (Inferno for Sun Boy, the awful Live Wire for Lightning Lad, Gossamer for Light Lass, and Alchemist for Element Lad.Â How they kept from calling the resurrected Matter-Eater Lad “Omniphage” is beyond me…)Â
Since “Evanescense” and “Transparency” were both lame, Lyle kept his Invisible Kid code-name, but traded in his trademark Eddie Bauer threads for a somber monochrome revamp.Â Still, an Invisible Kid by any other name is still more heroic than any three members of Youngblood (no offense to the Youngblood fans out there) and he serves with honor.Â When a made telepath calling himself “Kid Psycho” uses his powers to drive the Legionnaires nearly out of their mind, only Invisible Kid can summon the self-discipline to resist.
The events of the Zero Hour crisis wiped out the original version of the Legion’s history not long after, but Invisible Kid (and his black unitard) persisted.Â When the United Planets began recruiting members (in this history, they drafted powered beings into the Legion) one of their first summonses went to a small laboratory in an expensive part of town.
Invisible Kid doesn’t hide for long, and in fact, is one of the few Legionnaires in this incarnation who seems to enjoy operating as a hero.Â Much of the original incarnation of Invisible Kid stays here, as his light-hearted wit and natural intelligence carried over.Â Unfortunately, in the 90’s, the age of conflict, his similarities with Brainiac 5 led the two to be competitive and surly rather than friendly.
Why, whatever could use could that metal possible have?Â And what does this have to do with last week’s Hero History?Â The rivalry between Dox and Norg carries over from the laboratory to the field, even causing friction while on missions.Â Trapped in a prison INSIDE a raging sun, the Legionnaires are forced to put aside their differences and work together on an escape plan…
It may seem like Brainiac gave Invisible Kid a modicum of respect here, but it’s not as much as it seems.Â Later, he reveals that the question was gibberish, but that he brought Invisible Kid along for his skills and intuition.Â Kid is somewhat hurt to find that his genius intellect is held in such low regard, but still manages to turn things around.Â Remember that metal floating about the multi-lab?Â Brainiac calls it “Valorium,” but it took Invisible Kid to harness it from garbage into the cornerstone of Legion activities.
Heh.Â Nice one…Â Lyle’s innovation completely rewrites the Legion’s operating manual, allowing them a range of communications and motion that finally give them the edge over the sinister types.Â His intuitive and interpersonal skill serve Invisible Kid well, allowing him to create his own Espionage Squad within the team, to serve as translator when a Legionnaire doesn’t speak Interlac, and even (as pre-Zero Hour) to win himself a great honor among Legionnaires…
It’s Deja Vu all over again!Â Lyle finds himself leading the Legion again for the first time, but worries that he doesn’t have the skills necessary to pull it off, having mostly experience in subterfuge and undercover actions.Â Still, he doesn’t fall down on the job, even finding time to maintain a long distance relationship…
“C?”Â Why, who in Invisible Kid’s history would possibly have a name that starts with C?Â Cex Cuthor?Â Cana Cang?Â Cois Cane?Â Howzabout “Condo Arlik?”Â That do anything for you?Â Invisible Kid goes off to spend some time with his friend, and the underlying context (which is never really explained) is that Condo is more than just a pal…Â When the Legion needs a P.R. blitz, Invisible Kid calls in his boyfriend to help with the situation.
It’s never explicitly stated (which is odd, given that Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass had a much LESS subtle homosexual relationship several years earlier) but quite obvious from the clues (and also the fact that the creators admit it) that Condo and Lyle are a couple in this version of reality.Â In many ways, Invisible Kid is the Legionnaire LEAST affected by the events of Zero Hour, as once again, we see that he was a genius chemist who mixed up an invisibility serum out of, essentially boredom.Â Another old friend makes a post-reboot appearance, as we find that Lyle’s best pal growing up was none other than Jacques Foccart (known pre-Crisis as the second Invisible Kid!)
After a few years working for a secret organization called “Black Hole,” (during which time Jacques finally did take the serum himself) Lyle left the espionage game behind to join the Legion.Â Unfortunately, the past has a way of returning to bite us in the buttocks, even when they’re invisible, and he’s forced to return to spying to take down Charma, a former associate who seems to have gone to the dark side, and brought a friend along for the ride.
Though Lyle and Jacques’ story was very compelling, the Legion was soon after thrown into chaos, and when the smoke cleared, Jacques was nowhere to be found.Â The new Legion soldiered on, but once again, chaos in the time stream (this time caused by the presence of Kon-El in the future) caused the Legion’s future to reset.Â The rebooted Invisible Kid was last seen with his teammates, drifting off into space, unbound from time, but still together…Â Immediately afterwards, we are introduced to a new iteration of the 30th century, and the first character that we meet is young Lyle Norg, whose parents are very unhappy that he seems to share a predilection with many kids his age: hero worship of the “youth group” known as the Legion.
His parents leave, and Lyle Norg decides that it’s time to make a change in his life…Â and jumps out the window!Â His brand-new flight ring keeps him from splashing on the pavement, though, and he rises into the air to join the all-new all-different Threeboot version of the Legion of Super-Heroes.Â Invisible Kid is our eye into their world in this version, serving as the everyman character who shows us how strange these young heroes are…
Heh.Â I really love the interplay of the W/KRP Legion.Â I can also understand how it quickly started to grate on the nerves of many Legion fans.Â The new Invisible Kid has been key to the Threeboot Legion, helping to solve the mystery of “Atom Girl,” as well as losing an arm heroically (well, actually kind of stupidly) in battle.Â Invisible Kid also went out of his way to get the attention of Supergirl when she arrived in the Threeboot 30th Century, making some waves among those who identified with his reboot orientation.Â With the new Legion in flux due to the return of Jim Shooter to writing chores on the book that made his name, it remains to be seen how the latest version of Invisible Kid will fare (though it seems that the black and white costume is on it’s way back, sadly) but if the past is to any sort of prologue, he’ll handle the changes with aplomb, with creativity, and with a true heroic spirit.Â His power may make him the leastÂ detectable of theÂ Legionnaires (well, arguably so) but the man inside the costume will always be worth taking notice of.
**If you’ve enjoyed this Hero History, you might want to ‘Read All About It’ at your Local Major Spoilers! Our previous Major Spoilers Hero Histories include:
Or you can just click “Hero History” in the “What We Are Writing About” section on the main page… Collect ’em all!Â Next week, I warm up for what will be the longest Hero History of all, testing my tolerance for the red and blue with the sweetheart of Argo City, Brainiac 5’s main squeeze, the girl who loved a horse just because she could…Â Supergirl!