Or – “The Fair Witch Project.”
The Legion of Super-Heroes covers a lot of different takes on heroism, but the one thing that they all seem to share is the affinity for science.Â From the “ultra-energy” that imbues Jo Nah, to Wildfire‘s transformation to pure antimatter, to the accident that empowered Lighting Lass and her brother, theÂ vagaries of scienceÂ (or at least the strange comic book version thereof) have served as the origin of many Legionnaires.Â Indeed, with the bright and shiny future setting, that’s as it should be.Â So today’s Historical subject is an anomaly from the get-go, holding the honor of being one of the only Legionnaires to start out as a villain, as well as being the first full-fledged magician in Legion history.Â She stood down with the most powerful creatures in the galaxy, matched up in courage with the greatest heroes the Legion has to offer, and did it with style and grace.Â This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Mysa Nal of Naltor…Â The White Witch.
The roundabout story of the White Witch began in a somewhat-less-than-impressive fashion, as Prince Evillo of the planet Tartarus embarks upon a plan to take over the universe, with the help of his super-powered “Devil’s Dozen.”Â Can you guess which one is Mysa?
If you’re only counting four members, and wondering why Evillo called it the Devil’s Dozen, you’re not alone.Â Apparently having pointy ears doesn’tÂ mean that Evillo possesses Vulcan logic.Â Either way the man whose very name means “bad” uses super-technology to drain bits of evil from the native criminals and then uses it to turn the few innocents evil as well.Â The DD sets out on a wave of mayhem, which takes not only the Legion of Super-Heroes to shut down, but also the Legion of Super-Pets and the Legion of Substitute Heroes (a long story that we’ll get to soon enough.)Â Thankfully, though, the Legion also had the services of theÂ enigmatic Sir Prize and Miss Terious (one of whom has a slightly vested interest in Mysa’s well-being…
And thus begins a lifetime of dressing like a space-bride…Â Miss Terious and her armored beau also return Bouncing Boy’s powers, slim down Matter-Eater Lad, and buy Mon-El some hair gel so that he doesn’t keep looking like a 30th Century homeless drifter.Â (No, not really…) Why would she do this for a super-villain and some strangers?Â It’s a Silver Age Legion comic, folks, so you just have to wait for the ironic twist.
Not being yet a Legionnaire, The White Witch returned home to Naltor, but not long after, the Legionnaires faced their greatest threat ever, in the form of Mordru the Merciless, a sorceror of such power that he frightens even Kal-El of Krypton.Â The team ends up splitting across the galaxies, even across time and space to try and come up with a plan, but their mightiest members come up short, leaving the defense of the universe in the hands of a proto-Espionage Squad.Â With Dream Girl on board, and a mystic menace on the opposing side, it’s only natural that Mysa becomes a key part of the Legionnaires plan.
Does anybody else think that the “three girls” are thinking of ways to slip a lead lined pair of boxer shorts into Mon-El’s dresser?Â And rightfully so, even if the Story was written in 1960-whichever you please.Â Mysa disappeared into the Legion’s backstory for years afterwards, until once again, a huge mystical threat arises.Â During the events known as the Great Darkness Saga, mystical servants of darkness began attacking the universe, gathering items of great magical power.Â Legion leader Dream Girl needed a mystical reference point, someone who knew counter-magic, someone she could trust…Â Nepotism, anyone?
Blok’s crush is about the cutest thing ever, isn’t it?Â And it’s also worth noticing (as I did for the first time here,) that Mysa’s feet never quite touch the ground.Â The White Witch naturally agrees to assist her sister’s team in their efforts to protect all reality, only to have the team’s cruiser blow to hell before they can even get more than a few light-years from Naltor.Â Luckily for the Legion, Mysa is the 30th century equivalent of a Girl Scout: always prepared.
She manages to save her new friends in the very prverbial nick of time, and quickly proves herself an important asset to the Legionnaires.Â Even though her mystical powers are somewhat limited in nature, Mysa still has phenomenal cosmic power at her command when need be.Â When the Legion finds themselves tranded, unable to reach the Sorceror’s World, MysaÂ risks herÂ well-being, even her life, to get her teammates where they need to be.
Her comportment during the Great Darkness Saga, as well as her overall usefulness to the team leads to Mysa being overwhelmingly voted into the Legion, only the second team member to be get such a field promotion.Â (If you’re wondering who the first was, she’ll be covered NEXTÂ week…)Â Once on the team, Mysa strikes up a friendship with Blok, who is still quite obviously smitten with the pale enchantress.Â Some observers believe that the White Witch was immune to his stony charms, but evidence will mount that she was very fond of him as well.Â But they do make a cute couple, one of my favorite Legion pairings of all time.
Would you call that “rock-blocked?”Â Bygones…Â As a Legionnaire, Mysa was far out of her element, but she found ways to use that alienation to her advantage.Â The White WitchÂ became known for surprising her foes in battle, but even her teammates were occasionally taken aback by the scope and versatility of her magic powers.
The problem with many mystical types is the difficulty of power levels.Â If you gain your powers from strange alignments of forces orÂ arcane power artifacts, your abilites can vary from day to day, from hour to hour…Â This makes magic-users hard to predict in battle, and White Witch was no exception.Â When her teammates are taken out of action by Kharlak the Khund (the Khunds are sort of the Klingons of the United Planets, with cybernetic enhancements, to boot) he thinks that the little albino spellcasster will pose no threat to his hairy torso and steel wimpole.Â He… is wrong.
I love the gunfighter pose, too…Â It’s even cooler if you whistle the theme song to “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” as they square off.Â Kharlak’s blaster is neutralized, but the Khund is still deadly.Â Good thing that White Witch has a few more tricks up those voluminous wedding gown sleeves of hers.Â
Never underestimate the power of research, ladles and jellyspoons.Â I think the shocked look on Blok and Dawnstar’s facesÂ (two Legionnaires whom, like Mysa herself, I miss greatly in this Threebooted Legion era) really tells the story for them.Â The placid surface of Mysa’s personality hides a depth of determination and drive, as well as great reserves of loyalty.Â Soon after joining the Legion, she shares her origins with Blok, explaining not only how she got her amazing powers, but how she turned from the doe-eyed redhead we saw in the Adventure Comics era to the sleek antennaeâ€™d albino girl we know and loveâ€¦ The White Witch’s inner strength comes, as with many of the Legionnaires, from childhood tragedy…
Unlike nearly every Naltorian, Mysa was born without the inherited ability to foresee the future (which would have been a problem, what with her big sister already possessing that superpower, thus eliminating her from Legion membership) causing her to seek out the ancient powers of Naltorian lore.Â After having been accepted into the ranks of Zeroxâ€™s sorcerers, Mysa vows to overcome her â€œhandicap,â€ and become the most powerful sorceress of her time.Â Of course, as Jack Nicholson might tell you, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and leads to trying to kill your family with an axe and making out with spectral bimbos in the hotel bathroomsâ€¦Â It also earns you the occasional enemy, as Mysa finds out the hard way.Â And, much to her credit and regret, the enemy she earns herself is none other than the madman called MORDRU!
And at least part of the mystery of the Hag is answered.Â In her despair, having been outcast by the elders of the Sorcererâ€™s World, Mysa hooks up with Prince Evillo, about whom tongues would always wag regarding his unusual fashion sense and complete inability to effectively count to twelve.Â Mysa is eventually freed, as we have already seen, by the love of her big sister (and a touch of magic) Mysa is allowed to return to Zerox and continue her studies, turning into that girl we all knew in college, who never dated, but could quote chapter and verse of Miltonâ€™s poetry, or what have youâ€¦
The elders of Zerox arenâ€™t kidding when they talk about Mysaâ€™s power potentialâ€¦Â Not long after she gives her origins to the mighty Blok, Mysa is part of a Legion team that faces down the Dark Circle. Unfortunately, the Circle has amped up their fighting squadron by cloning a lad known as Dev-Em, once called â€˜The Knave From Krypton.â€™Â Take a moment thereâ€¦Â They have Kryptonian footsoldiers.Â Of the Legionnaires, nobody is stunned when Mon-El and Ultra Boy leap to the fore, but when Mysa joins them, jaws drop.Â More impressive though, is what happens next.
Mysa calmly and decisively takes out a horde of Kryptonians, without even breaking a sweat. Thatâ€™s mighty impressiveâ€¦ As the Crisis on Infinite Earths starts to mess with the timestream, and Brainiac 5 realizes that the 30th Century is being strangely affected by anomalies. In his attempt to figure out what is happening, Brainy and Rond Vidar accidentally summon the monumental menace known as the Infinite Man! Olâ€™ Finny (Not to be confused with The INFINITY Man, the sum total of the powers of the Forever People) has been shielding the 30th century from the aftereffects of having the past reset. Faced with a foe who nearly defeated the ENTIRE Legion before, the Legion steps up to the plateâ€¦ only to have the White Witch take care of the whole problem single-handedly.
Letâ€™s see Batman or Superman try THAT $#!+. â€œWorldâ€™s Finest,â€ my @$$. Jaxon Rugarth, the man inside the Infinite, becomes pivotal in Mysaâ€™s history, as Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Mon-El and Duo Damsel engage in a conspiracy to avenge the death of that one kid from Krypton, causing the Legion to be filled with tension and distrust.Â As a woman whose powers are based in her emotional state and sense of self, Mysa canâ€™t countenance the two-facedness and negativity.Â When Brainiac plans to return Rugarth to his Infinite Man state, and possible end his life in so doing, the White Witch has had all she can stands, and she canâ€™t stands no more!
Returning to her home away from home, Zerox, the White Witch is overcome by emotions.Â Guilt, fear, anger, abandonmentâ€¦ As her emotions run out of control, the universe ends up doing the same.Â For centuries, the great magical powers have been trapped on Zerox, allowing for the Legionâ€™s world to become the technological wonderland that we know, but the escape of Mordru has damaged the wards that hold that power in check.Â Worse than that, Mysa herself may be partly to blame!
Luckily for the Legion, what the White Witch helped to set off, she can also help to stop. The battle, known as the Magic Wars, was long and hard-fought, with the Legionnaires giving nearly everything (including the life of one of their own) to stop the powers of magic run wild.Â The mystical force takes on a semi-humanoid form as the evil Archmage.Â The creature thunders through the galaxy, until Mysa tricks it into destroying the Sorcererâ€™s World to try and free itself.Â It is freed, but fades away as the source of its powers is now destroyedâ€¦
Oh, what could have beenâ€¦ The Legionâ€™s greatest romance, killed in the shell like Caesar itself.Â The LSHâ€™s timeline takes a turn for the strange, jumping forward five years, causing myriad changes in the team.Â During the missing years, the Legion is disbanded, and their members spread to the far reaches of the galaxy.Â For her part, Mysa once again acts in what she thinks is a heroic fashion, agreeing to marry Mordru in the hopes of keeping his evil in check.Â She is, sadly, overwhelmed by the pure evil of the dark lord, and when her teammates regroup and confront him years later, and when we see her again, the former White Witch is barely there, hanging on by a threadâ€¦
Forced to psychically relive her former teammates greatest fears, Mysa is rendered powerless, and the shame of her fall from grace causes her that much more pain.Â But worst of all is the knowledge that she gains from the Legionnairesâ€¦Â their regrouping has come not because of Mordru, but because of the murder of one of their own, Mysaâ€™s long-lost dear friend Blok.
The thought of Blok moves Mysa back into action, freeing her friends from Mordruâ€™s chamber of horrors, and facing down Vrykos, his pet monster/vampire.Â But the years of torture have affected more than her powers, and years of being psychically linked to one of the galaxyâ€™s greatest monsters is enough to corrupt even the soul of a White Witchâ€¦
Vrykos is pretty much annihilated, and Mordruâ€™s evil is thwarted not by a show of force but by the diplomatic manipulations of Rokk Krinn, the former Cosmic Boy.Â Not only does he manage to wrest himself and his teammates out of Mordruâ€™s grasp, he convinces the magician to release Mysa as well, and Mordru grudgingly plays along.Â Unfortunately, Mysa is badly scarred by her time with Mordru, and when the Khundish fleet chooses to attack the United Planets, the Legion doesn’t have time to try and heal her wounds…
Power Boy (the yutz with the purple skin) is really only trying to help, but Mysa is much more damaged than even her Legion pals realize, and the ongoing battle serves to underscore the true horror of what has happened:Â the former White Witch is a shell of herself, suffering from what seems like post-traumatic stress disorder.Â When the Khunds gain the upper hand, the U.P. Militia (led by Chuck and Luornu Taine) is pushed back, and nearly eliminated, until Chuck finally reminds Mysa who she really is…
Chuck’s impromptu pep talk/mystic seminar works, and Mysa finds it within herself to generate a force-field that even the Khundish armada can’t penetrate.Â Her last-ditch effort allows the U.P. to repel the Khunds and eventually restore the galaxy to a shaky semblance of peace.Â Even though she has proven to herself that the Legionnaire she once was is still within her, Mysa is still haunted by the memory of the things she hasÂ seen andÂ especially done.Â Hoping to clear her spirit once again, Mysa sets off on a vision quest to try and find the magic that was lost to her with the destruction of Zerox.Â
Contacted by the spirit of Amethyst, Princess of the Gemworld, Mysa sets off to find the lost powers of the universe.Â She is joined in her quest by the strangest companion of all, a founding member of the Justice League of America!Â Jâ€™onn Jâ€™onnz, now a decrepit Martian old man of over 1,000 years tries to lead Mysa down the path that will lead her to true knowledge.Â Sadly, what she finds is absolute power, which I seem to vaguely recall an aphorism or two warning againstâ€¦
Her quest for magic leads to Mysa bonding with Amethyst herself, finally giving her the power to overcome Mordru.Â But rather than try and overcome him, Mysa falls prey to the basest of human instincts: the need for vengeance.Â She marshals her energies and confronts the power of Mordru head-on with a show of forceâ€¦
Mordru matches her hatred and venom with his own, and the former spouses prove the clichÃ© that you always hurt the one you love with bolts of pure eldritch death-magicâ€¦Â Â If I had a nickel for every time that my Grandfather told me thatâ€¦Â But Mysa finds that power alone isnâ€™t enough to take down her former husband, and finds herself wavering.Â She realizes that the only real power that can match Mordruâ€™s hate is what she had given him all along: her love, the love he knows himself unworthy of.
The White Witch finds herself again at a crossroads, with literally everything she once worked and lived for in tatters.Â Her friends donâ€™t know what to make of her, finding her hard to trust after channeling the power of suns to beat up her ex, and her magics are proving themselves hard to control now that her calm has been damaged.Â Mysa returns to the one place that she ever really called home, trying to gather her thoughts and figure out how to proceed.
She eventually decides to return to the Legion, rejoining the team officially just in time to clash with Glorith, ironically another spurned lover of Mordruâ€™s, who uses her time-manipulation powers on the Legionnaires.Â Brainiac 5 found himself aged to decrepitude, while Mysa lost a few years, and with it, most of the inhibitions and restraint her years of study had gained her.
Unfortunately, Mordru AND Glorith regain their powers, and unite in evil endeavors to try and destroy the Legion of Super-Heroes once and for all.Â Combining their magics, they become ultra-super-mega powerful, and cut a swath across the galaxy.Â Add to this the chaos that comes with Zero Hour realigning the timestream, and the Legion is truly facing their darkest hourâ€¦ Thankfully, they can still count on the White Witch to cover their backs, using her magics to separate Glordru (Morith?) into their component selves, and weakening them in the process.Â But as she succeeds, the temporal waves that have been unraveling the 30th century claim her as wellâ€¦
In the rebooted Legion era, a darker and somewhat more â€œrealisticâ€ United Planets gathers nearly two dozen young heroes from their various worlds, and forges them into a force for justice.Â This new Legion doesnâ€™t have a true magic-user at first, but does have the presence of Kinetix, a girl who mystically gains the power to animate objects.Â When Kinetix loses her powers in battle with Daxamite separatists, she sets off on a â€œvision questâ€ to find a new source of juice, only to have her shuttle fail, and end up seconds from deathâ€¦
Luckily for Kinetix, she has a guardian angel, of sorts, and is snatched away seconds before she would have died.Â Her benefactor on this joyous day bears a striking resemblance to a certain ancient crone once in the employ of Prince Evilloâ€¦
â€œIâ€™ll get you, my pretty!Â And your little space-dog, too!Â Neeee heheheheheheaaaa!â€Â This â€˜Hagâ€™ offers the power-hungry Kinetix a boon, a portion of her own magical might in return for acting as her agent.Â Kinetix accepts, and is transformed into a telekinetic ninja catgirl, and returned to the Legion.Â But as you might have noticed, having read this far, that kind of power tends to have strings attachedâ€¦
Were I a more sarcastic man, I might note that electrocuting Kinetix would be widely regarded as Mysaâ€™s most heroic move everâ€¦Â But I digressâ€¦Â Just as evil Mysa takes Kinetix into her clutches and prepares to drain her of her powers and her life, Kinetixâ€™s mother arrives, and the other shoe dropsâ€¦
Mysa allows Kinetix to live, and flees, but is immediately taken aside by the realization that another great power is rising.Â Mordru the Merciless is coming, and Mysa tries to gather forces (including the rebooted Dragonmage, a not-at-all-long story which Iâ€™ll get to soon enough) to oppose him.Â Unfortunately for her, Mordru has an ally of his own in the form of Emerald Violet and the ancient powers of the Emerald Eye of Ekron.Â Mysa faces down Mordru in the midst of his battle with the Legion, only to find that Olâ€™ Mordy has a few cute tricks up his sleeve.
So, in this reality, rather than being the Dark Lordâ€™s wife, sheâ€™s his daughter.Â No Freudian issues there, huh?Â In any case, Mordru is finally taken down by a combined effort of the Legion, the Amazers of Xanthu, Mysa, Dragonmage, and the Emerald Eye itself, and everyone is left a bit worse for the wear afterwards.Â Her youth restored, Mysa recovers with the Legionnaires, and weâ€™re treated to one of the meanest swerves in all Legion historyâ€¦
“…in the mess hall!”Â I remember being incredibly irritated by this, back in the day when that LSH issue came out, and I remain confused as to why Mysa wasnâ€™t voted onto the team based on the strength of her showing against Mordru, but it simply was not to be.Â I donâ€™t believe that Mysa made much more than a cameo appearance again during the rebooted version of the Legion, and eventually that team, too, found their reality overwritten by time distortions from the past.Â Once again, the teamâ€™s reality was reset, with a new team of Legionnaires reforming in a world they never made.Â This team, however, is distinctly less â€œauthority-friendlyâ€ then either of itâ€™s predecessors, and finds itself in conflict with the United Planets leadership as often as not.Â When the team gets too high a profile, another super-team, code-named â€œThe Wanderersâ€ are sent to take them down a notch, and a familiar albino sorceress is among their numberâ€¦
It is the power of the White Witch that traps the entire Legion in their headquarters, necessitating the power of Mon-El AND Supergirl to break free.Â It is unknown (at least as of this writing) if this is the same Mysa Nal or not, but her power serves the Wanderers well, and even benefits the Legion when the two teams combine forces to take down the Dominators and their genetically modified army of monsters.Â When last seen, the White Witch and her Wanderer teammates were once again operating under the radar, this time without a leaderâ€¦
The White Witch is one of those Legionnaires who defines the teamâ€™s look during her Legion era, with her strange eyelid antennae, her alien demeanor and her unusual costume.Â Her courage as a Legionnaire was obvious, as she didnâ€™t hesitate to face down the likes of Darkseid, Mordru, even an army of Kryptonians with only her knowledge and her keen mind to defend herself.Â Her tenure with the Legion was short, and her revamps perhaps less successful than many of the higher-profile Legionnaire, but the team wouldnâ€™t have survived some of itâ€™s greatest crises without her calm and her alabaster mojo.Â Most of all, she proves that the Legion has room for all types, even the romantic bookworm, and that the power of pure love and unadulterated courageÂ has few rivals in intensity and strength.Â
**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:
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