Or – “That’s Right…  Sandy Makes The Cut, Atmos Doesn’t.  My Rules, I Make ‘Em Up.”

When making my final, official, multi-reality, complete roster of the Legion of Super Heroes, I ran afoul of a few conundrums.   Should I count one-issue plot devices like Command Kid or Dynamo Boy as LSHers?  Should I treat the post-reboot Umbra, Leviathan, Alchemist, et al as separate entities from the pre-Crisis Shadow Lass, Colossal Boy, and Element Lad? Could I give the likes of Chemical King or Monstress, with their short tenures, the same kind of gravitas that I hope to impart to Mon-El and Cosmic Boy??  (Your mileage may vary, but I’m trying, Ringo.  I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd…)  And what about Legionnaires whose tenures have gone undocumented, like those during the 5 Year Gap era of the team?  Do they count?  The main thrust of my decisions came down to one important question:  Does the character in question feel like a Legionnaire?  Did he she or it embody that which edifies, elevates, and enlightens?  Could Character X honestly stand alongside Bouncing Boy, Matter-Eater Lad and Tyroc, much less Brainiac 5 or WIldfire?  I’ve been very open from the beginning about the fact that there will be no history of Atmos or Nemesis Kid (at least as Legionnaires…)  I just can’t bring myself to take a character who manipulated his way onto the team and into Nura’s bed by using his “super-roofie” powers, and brought nothing to the Legion save invisible armpits.  Same goes for Val’s murderer.  You may argue that each has his moments, and I agree, but so do many supporting Legion characters (Flynt Brojj, Karate Kid’s sensei, R.J. Brande, etc.) who don’t qualify. Call it “personal continuity,” if you need a name.  And in that vein, today’s Hero History entrant is an unusual case.  She served alongside the team without ever really seeming to belong, and her unpleasantness and snark weren’t the attitude you expected from a member of the LSH.  Yet, somehow, she proved herself to the team, and to me, and was allowed to wear the much-vaunted Legion crest and flight ring.  This then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of the girl who might be Sandy Anderson of Earth…  Inferno!

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As I did with Andromeda, before I get to the meat of our story, I’d like to take a momentary detour based on specious assumptions and speculation.  Inferno’s presence in the world of the rebooted Legion was not without it’s antecedents.  Case in point: an adult Legion story set in the far-flung future of the future, yet somehow still taking place in 1965.  In this story, we see how the Legionnaires might have grown up, with Lightning Man, Ferro Man, Polar Man, Saturn Woman, and others forming the core of a grown-up team.  Unfortunately, where there’s an LSH, there’s inevitably an LSV…

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Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, and Saturn Queen, the center of the Legion of Super-Villains, have finally come up with a plan to overcome their heroic counterparts: excessive force.  The blue guy is Echo (who, ironically, at one point serves in the LSH, a short story which is coming sooner than you might think) but who’s the hottie with the “Something About Mary” updo?

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Hmm…  Pyrokinesis?  Blonde Hair?  Bad attitude?  That sounds oddly familiar somehow.  Echo and Beauty Blaze alongside the other Super-Villains, manage to once and for all soundly defeat the heroic Legion.  With the entire team down, this must mean that it’s “The Day That Evil Won!”  The heroes will all be murdered on-panel, and Saturn Woman violated before we find out it was actually the Atom’s wife, right?  Wrong-o, chum.  This happens to be the Silver Age, where there’s always a Deus Ex Machina in the wings!

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Beauty and her cohorts are taken down in short order by the mysterious armored types (who, in Silver Age fashion, have their initials clearly labeled on their chests.)  For those of you who I know are curious, it turns out that these are the heroic descendents of Lex Luthor and Mr. Mxyzptlk, who have decided to redeem their family names 1000 years later!  The story ends with the implication that Mr. L and Mr. M are inducted into the Adult Legion, a fun piece of trivia to take to your next dinner party…  Was Beauty Blaze an unintentional forerunner of the Legion’s second flame-thrower?  If you believe the rumors on the intarwebs, yes.  Me, I look at it this way:  Hot Blonde.  Flame Powers.  Even if it’s not true, it’ll be pretty to look at.  Years and years later, after the Zero Hour crisis resets the future, Lightning Lad (re-codenamed Live Wire ((Ugh.))) loses his place in the Legion and joins Leland McCauley’s competing Work Force super-team, alongside future Legionnaires Karate Kid and Ultra Boy, and a pretty girl with a real mean streak…

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Inferno seems to have little in the way of restraint or scruples in her earliest appearances, burning people and property with impunity, and basically making it clear that she is an enormous bitch.  The Work Force and the Legion both end up on the same mission, trying to save a planetful of criminals in a secluded prison called ‘Planet Hell.’  Nobody ever gets out of Planet Hell, you see, because…  the entire facility is located INSIDE a sun!  Both teams are captured by the rioting criminals and locked in the cells, where Inferno once again shows what a people person she truly is…

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This first glimpse of a human side (as limitied as it is) is our first realization that there’s more to Inferno than roasting bystanders and general mayhem.  Still, she’s not likely to be mistaken for Mother Teresa…

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Still, Inferno is like an onion, (or a parfait!  Everybody likes parfait!) and as we manage to push our way through the layers of anti-social behavior, we find a real person inside that flame-adorned vest…

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Likes things bright is a bit of an understatement, as we find that Inferno actually has a crippling fear of the dark.  Once again on a mission alongside the Legionnaires, she officially pops her cork while fighting shadow-beasts, going loudly nuts and threatening the LSHers by lashing out with her powers…

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Inferno finds herself drawn into the Legion’s world over and over, moreso than even her fellow Work Force memebers…  Perhaps the universe is trying to fill the void left when the reboot Dirk Morgna (whose SW6 incarnation, incidentally, was also called Inferno before the 30th century reset itself) chose NOT to become Sun Boy.  When Shrinking Violet is possessed by the Emerald Eye of Ekron, Inferno is one of the few powered types not ensnared in the Eye’s power or taken out by the enslaved Legion.

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Saturn Girl’s upbraiding seems to have a positive effect on ‘Ferno, as she shuts up rather quickly, and aids the LSH in their fight against Emerald Vi.  When her plan spirals out of control, Violet quickly wishes to go back in time, but not before the attacking Legionnaires manage to cause a huge power feedback in the Eye itself.  Half the team, along with Science Police liaison Shvaughn Erin, and Inferno herself, are shunted into the 20th Century by the power discharge.  Inferno shows her usual restraint in dealing with her frustrations…

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Brainiac 5 finds that negotiating the timestream is much more difficult than even he might have considered, and the displaced Legion is forced to stay on 20th Century Earth while they try to recreate time travel from scratch.  Of course, while they’re in the past, the team is horrified to find that the sun is slowly burning out, as seen during the events of “Final Night.”  While Brainiac desperately tries to build a timesphere, Inferno manages to once again show that she’s more than her rough exterior would presume…

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When I read this, years ago, I wondered if Inferno was actually coming on to Spark here, and even now I’m not 100% sure she isn’t.  It might help to explain some of her standoffishness and alienation, perhaps?  Either way, as she travels with her new LSH teammates, Inferno finds herself mellowing even more.  When Brainiac’s time experiments go awry, the team is rocketed even FURTHER back into the past, landing in 1958, with their minds adjusted (though their powers are intact.)  Querl Dox, Brainiac 5, is class nerd “Earl Docks,” and the rough-and-tumble Jo Nah, Ultra Boy, becomes “Joe Knotts,” a rebel without a cause.  And Inferno?  Wouldja believe head cheerleader Sandy Anderson?

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The triplets immediately rush home and recombine into one being (as Triplicate Girl was wont to do) while ‘Joe Knotts’ uses his penetravision to watch her.  Realizing that he’s not the only freak, he gathers his mindwiped teammates, and their suspicious activities lead to the Legionnaires being identified as possible Communist sympathizers.  In a shocking moment, the LSHer’s powers return, just in time to take out a group of 50’s cops.

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Ayla (a character who was definitely at least bisexual in the previous continuity) addressing Sandy about “being let out of a closet” make me wonder again if the implication of romantic feelings from “Sandy” towards Ayla were being alluded to.  Either way, Sandy is unable to bring herself to burn people, and even when she gets her full mind and memories back, the experiences of the past stick with her.  Even her standard anti-Legion whining doesn’t quite hold water anymore.  Worst of all, a girl can’t even get a decent beer!

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As Brainiac nears the completion of his inaugural time machine. (using ‘stone knives and bearskins’) new Legion recruit Ferro excitedly creates new costumes for his teammates.  Though all the Legionnaires share her trepidation, it’s Inferno who crosses the line and torches his hours of sewing in a snit fit.

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Awww…  Poor Ferro.  Inferno takes a little bit of pity on the kid she calls ‘buckethead,’ and tries on his handiwork.  To her surprise, she actually likes the change (although I personally miss the flame shoulderpads on her “Joan Of Arc In Space” uniform.)  Inferno even shows a little bit of restraint when she realizes that her shiny partner harbors a pretty sizable crush.

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Inferno stands alongside her teammates, growing more and more distressed by their insistance on hiding out so as not to affect the timestream.  During this time, Cosmic Boy allows her to wear the L* belt buckle and loans her a flight ring, which (in my eyes) clearly validates her as a Legionnaire.  When Rokk Krinn gives you a ring, ladles and jellyspoons, you is in the LSH.  Unfortunately for Inferno, even a membership in the premier hero team of the 30th century isn’t forever…

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Sandy has finally had enough, deciding that if she can’t make her way home, she’s going to go out and find herself a life in the 20th, time paradox be damned.  Ultra Boy gives chase, and Brainiac 5 himself tries to talk her out of her plan, but Inferno’s mind is made up: she’s done with hiding in dark caves.

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The Legionnaires regroup, and the wedding goes on as planned…  sorta.  Brainiac 5 finally manages to break through the Iron Curtain of Time (which does get him some unplanned attention from a purple robed gentleman of our acquaintance) and prepares to head home.  Having left one hero behind, the Legionnaires choose to take Ferro with them into the future, leaving Inferno to her own devices in the 20th Century.  She sets off on an adventure of her own (which I can’t remember much of, except for the vague notion that more implications of bisexuality were involved, and that it’s somewhere in a shortbox in my office) during which Inferno finally learns to relax…

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Inferno has made a cameo or two since then (notably in a Young Justice story where every teen hero on Earth is rounded up to fight) but with recent changes in the DCU, it’s hard to say whether a Tom Welling punch has erased her from the continuity or not.  However, the future of Legion HAS changed, and Sandy’s LSH has been superceded by another take, the W/KRP or Threeboot Legion of Super Heroes.  During their second story arc, the team faced the menace of the Wanderers, a competing team of heroes that contained a few familiar faces (including Polar Boy, Chlorophyll Kid, and the White Witch) including a young lady who projects heat and light.

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The girl in green is identified in captions as Inferno, home planet Mercury.  She and her Wanderer cohorts put one over on the LSH, due mostly to the manipulation of the team by Mekt Ranzz (the once and future Lightning Lord, bringing us full circle…)  Inferno’s tenure with the Legion was a difficult one, filled with strife and endless arguments, with her caustic nature tending to offend her teammates as often as not.  Still, “Sandy” (if that is her real name) stood with the team against the menace of Emerald Vi, against the escapees of Planet Hell, even against the death of Sol itself.  Her ‘hotheadedness’ was an interesting contrast to the generally pleasant rebooted Legionnaires, and even though she chose to take another path, I believe that Cosmic Boy intentionally integrated her into the Legion to try and bring out her inner hero.  Whether or not she was entirely successful is probably up for debate, but Inferno works to once again illustrate the Legion’s basic premise: everyone, even the mean girl with the issues, has something to contribute to the universe.

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**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:

Andromeda
Blok
Bouncing Boy
Brainiac 5
Chameleon Boy
Chemical King
Colossal Boy
Dawnstar
Dream Girl
Duo Damsel
Element Lad
Ferro Lad
Gates
Invisible Kid
Invisible Kid II
Karate Kid
Kid Quantum
Kinetix
Kent Shakespeare
Lightning Lass
Magnetic Kid
Matter-Eater Lad
Mon-El
Quislet
Sensor Girl
Shadow Lass
Shrinking Violet
Star Boy
Supergirl
Sun Boy
Tellus
Thunder
Timber Wolf
Triplicate Girl
Tyroc
Ultra Boy
The White Witch
Wildfire
XS

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, we examine one of the hardest Legionnaires to pin down, the team’s first recruit (well, alongside a young lady named Lu.)  We hop the train to Bgtzl as we check out the life and times of… Phantom Girl!


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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2 Comments

  1. Jake
    July 18, 2008 at 4:56 pm — Reply

    It’s almost certainly the fanboy in me wishing it, but did anyone else think that “Sun Girl” from the Teen Titans East storyline last year was Inferno? Similar costume, same powers and she talks about being from the 30th century

  2. Andy Sanderson
    July 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm — Reply

    Yeah, as if an ancestor would have the same last name, especially being a female.

    SW6 Inferno?

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