Or – “More Than Just The Kid Brother…”
One of the things that really sets the Legion of Super-Heroes apart from other books, historically speaking, was the fact that the characters were allowed to age. As the teens of the Legion grew up, they paired off, married, reproduced, and had lives. Unlike most comic characters, the Legionnaires were allowed to organically grow and change. So, it was natural that, eventually, even the founding members would leave the team. But when Legion founder Cosmic Boy retired, another ferromagnetic hero stepped into the fray to replace him, and found his path to be a difficult walk through the shadow of big brother. Still, he managed to distance himself from the spectre of a successful sibling, and eventually saved his team during one of it’s darkest hours. This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Pol Krinn of Braal… Magnetic Kid!
Our first glimpses of the boy who would be Magnetic Kid came very early in the Legion’s run. When their oldest boy became the celebrated Legionnaire known as Cosmic Boy, Hu and Ewa Krinn relocated from Braal to Earth, to keep their very “Leave It To Beaver 3000” family unit together. Pol’s youth was filled with the heady knowledge that his big bro was saving lives and protecting the universe, and he came to idolize Rokk…
Indeed, during these early days, it’s unclear how old the Legionnaires are, but they seem to be somewhere in the 14 to 18 year old range, old enough to save the universe, but still young enough that their parents and families are important figures in their lives, and the Krinn family was no exception.
It’s fitting that Pol is aping Rokk’s heroic pose on that float, as much of his life would, for good or for ill, be spent emulating Rokk. It is revealed that Rokk’s first career was not that of superhero, but that of Magnoball player, a career choice that Pol (again) followed his footsteps into…
Just as his brother was, Pol became a champion in the game, and their friendly sibling rivalry continued as they grew up. The brothers Krinn kept their close relationship, even with Rokk’s time-consuming job as Cosmic Boy, Legion founder. When Rokk brought his new girlfriend Lydda Jath (Night Girl of the Legion of Substitute Heroes) home for a visit, the boys even found time to play a few rounds against one another…
Unlike his big brother, Pol had no intentions of ever becoming a superhero, instead enjoying the (relatively) quiet life of a pro athlete rather than fighting crime. Unfortunately for the Krinn family, even though he chose not to seek out criminals didn’t mean that the criminals wouldn’t seek them out. When a local gang resorted to “fireballing” (an extortion scheme using nuclear weapons) the Krinns were caught in the crossfire. Pol and his father were badly injured and burned, but his mother Ewa… was lost.
This experience finally triggered in Pol the desire to use his native-born Braalian abilities to fight for good. Journeying to Earth, he was one of the earliest applicants to the second version of the Legion Academy, under the tutelage of former LSHers Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel. Choosing the name “Magnetic Lad,” he studied hard, and quickly excelled among his fellows. When the Legion considered taking on new members, Pol and the other cadets were understandably excited.
The Academics (Cadets? Students? I don’t know what to call young heroes in training…) were all very excited to find themselves even considering the possibility of Legion membership. Fellow trainee Shadow Kid (who is either Shadow Lass’ cousin or brother, or possibly both. Talok VIII is a lot like Kentucky that way) bonds a bit with our Mr. Krinn, and finally draws the reason for his change of heart out of him.
The Legionnaires decide not to take any of the cadets onboard at that time, leaving a very dejected crop of Academy kids. Soon afterwards, Cosmic Boy and the Legion of Substitute Heroes are trapped in space, lost and alone, with nearly no chance of survival. Through quick thinking, Cosmic Boy reaches out with his powers, sending waves of magnetic force out into space, a beacon that allows them all to be saved from certain death by none other than Magnetic Lad!
Not long after, the Legion of Super-Villains attacked en masse, drawing the entire Legion away from Earth, leaving the planet almost unguarded… save for Cosmic Boy, the Substitute Legion, and the cadets from the Academy.
Once the immediate danger of the LSV is over, the Legion is shaken by a new shocker: the founding members are all resigning! With five Legionnaires lost in the space-time continuum with Eddy’s couch, the team is at it’s lowest strength in years. Most interesting of all, the loss of the founders means that the Legion’s rule that each member must have a unique super-powers leaves an opening for a lightning thrower, a telepath…
…and a master of magnetism.
One of the things that Pol shares with his big brother is a quiet (some might even say “staid”) nature, but even he has his limits, and his fellow students endless chatter finally came to the point where it damaged his calm…
The “people” to whom Bouncing Boy refers turn out to be the Legionnaires themselves, ready to hold their open tryouts. Their test turn out to be trials by fire, and the applicants who make it through the first level of interviews go on live missions with the Legionnaires. Magnetic Kid, and fellow LSH hopeful Tellus end up dealing with the ultimate in nerve-wracking: being forced to measure up not only the the power of Mon-El, but the intellect of Brainiac 5.
Mag-Kid and Tellus BOTH make the cut, joining the team during their greatest expansion since the ill-fated Class of ‘66, alongside Quislet, Sensor Girl and multiple-time rejectee Polar Boy. (And is it just me, or is Duo Damsel’s remark a little odd, given that she worked alongside Ferro Lad, back in the day?)
Almost immediately upon joining, though, Pol found himself being compared to his big bro (though, honestly, wearing Cos’ own old uniform really didn’t help matters any…) And to make matters even wrose, now that they were back to full strength, the Legion actually found themselves in a quandary that superheroes seldom face: too many heroes, too little crime!
As you may remember from our quick look at Laurel not so long ago, she was mysteriously shot in the back with a Kryptonite bullet, but even the Science Police couldn’t figure out the crime. Magnetic Kid, accompanied by the Legion’s biggest brain, greatest detective, most sardonic tiny woman, and Colossal Boy, manages to unravel the case, discovering that the mind behind the attempted murder is actually Professor Ivo, an immortal loony-tune who periodically tries to murder the descendents of the Justice League of America.
Magnetic Kid quickly adjusted to his new life in the Legion, easily settling into the hero’s life, even risking his life in the line of duty, but never feeling like he could escape the suspicion that most people thought his codename was “Cosmic Boy’s Kid Brother…”
Even among the strong personalities of the Legion (Wildfire, Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet, heck, even Element Lad is pretty forward) Magnetic Kid showed his inner strength, standing up and taking a heroic lead role even when his inexperience kept him from being as confident as he was in the Academy…
Magnetic Kid’s tenure in the Legion was marked by a desire, maybe even a passion to improve himself, but more importantly, to PROVE himself. Prove himself worthy of the Legion, prove himself to his family, to Braal, and to show that Rokk isn’t the only real hero in the Krinn family legacy… To that end, he could be found practicing, honing his powers, strengthening his control over his magnetic abilities.
Wow. That pink leotard is… uh… very manly. Or something. Magnetic Kid grew into his role in the Legion, but being often found that his greatest weakness came with his own pride. When a gang of Braalians went on a crime spree in Metropolis, the Kid took the attacks personally. Leaping into action with the LSH, Pol took the forefront in the battle, angry that his people would stoop so low.
Magnetic Kid quickly and skillfully evades the gang, and shows himself to be every bit as tactically skilled as his big brother, pulling off a trick that even Cos might envy…
Soon enough, though, the new kids of the Legion aren’t that new anymore, but they’re still horrified to find out that things in the big leagues aren’t always what they seem. When Tellus overhears a portion of a conversation, he is stunned to find that there’s a conspiracy within the Legion itself. He brings his suspicions to the one Legionnaire he knows he can trust, the only other Legionnaire whom he knows can’t be part of any conspiracy… his old pal Magnetic Kid.
Tellus makes his case, but the Hykraian Legionnaire doesn’t know what to do. It’s Magnetic Kid’s courage and sense of honor that allow him to make the next move, confronting a founding Legionnaire and the man whose mind has kept the team running for years, and demanding to know what the heck is going on. It’s a gutsy move, and one which shows Pol’s true courage…
The Legion conspiracy turns out to be a revenge pact against the Time Trapper for the death of Tom Welling from the Pocket Universe, and it takes several key Legionnaires out of the equation at a time when the team needs heroes to step up. Thus, when a mission on Braal pops up, Magnetic Kid is the obvious choice for field leader, but his team includes Lightning Lass, who seems to have more than just business on her mind.
A series of strange, seemingly unrelated elemental attacks have been taking place across the planet, and Magnetic Kid is completely consumed by making sure that his first team leadership role goes well, and is so focused on trying to figure out what’s going on with the attacks, that he completely misses the advances of Cougar Girl Lightning Lass.
The attacks intensify, and the Legionnaires continue following the clues. Eventually, the team finds itself led into a trap, and is caught unawares. Thankfully, though, Magnetic Kid uses the combination of his area knowledge and his powers to save the lives of his friend and his would-be paramour…
Having saved his teammates, Magnetic Kid and company return to their lodgings, but the mystery continues to chafe at the Kid. When lesser men would be distracted by the red-haired hottie in the bathing suit, Pol continues to focus on his mission, on the job…
His brainstorm, however depressing for Ayla’s libido, allows the Legionnaires to finally take the monster into custody, and bringing his first run as team leader to a successful close. Afterwards, though, there’s still the spectre of his teammate’s obvious play for his affection. For all his successful heroism, Magnetic Kid is still not entirely sure how to deal with a Crisis on Infinite Hormones, and kind of… runs away.
Still, for all his success, Magnetic Kid still finds himself (at least in his mind) in the shadow of Cosmic Boy, and tries desperately to differentiate himself from his big brother. When the mystic forces of the universe, long held in check by the Sorceror’s World of Zerox, are released upon the 30th century, the technological marvels that run the Legion’s world are thrown into disarray. Worst of all, a creature calling itelf the Archimage has spear-headed the entire affair, including his failsafe: a spell which can only be broken by the spilling of blood.
Polar Boy races after his friend, trying to stop Magnetic Kid from making the ultimate sacrifice, like Ferro Lad, Chemical King, and the others before him. Magnetic Kid realizes the truth, however, that Polar Boy can’t accept. Sometimes, you choose your destiny, and other times, your destiny chooses you…
Magnetic Kid steps into the lock, finally finding the wayout of his brother’s shadow, achieving something that Cosmic Boy never had to: a heroic death. The irony of it all is, in the Legion, there’s a very rich and tragic tradition of that sort of thing… Magnetic Kid makes one final request to his teammates: make his sacrifice count.
Even in his final moments, Magnetic Kid was all about family… His brother, his father, The Legion. Though his Legion tenure was a short one, and he has yet to recur in any of the rebooted Legion incarnations, Magnetic Kid stands as a lesson in heroism. Everyone, no matter how young, no matter how inexperienced or insecure, has within them a hero. Magnetic Kid’s struggle to find his own identity on his own terms is a fight that everyone can identify with, and his willingness to save others, even at the cost of his own life, is as admirable a trait as any hero has ever exhibited. Some might question his wisdom, some might compare him less than favorably to his brother, but Pol Krinn proved himself to be a hero to be reckoned with and, most impressively, a Legionnaire to the end…
**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:
The White Witch
Or you can just click “Hero History” in the “What We Are Writing About” section on the main page… Collect ’em all! Next time around, another legacy hero, as we examine another of the Volume Three Legion’s finest… Don’t blink, or you might miss the life and times of Jacques Foccart… Invisible Kid II!