Or – “The Kind Of Heroism That Doesn’t Require Super-Powers.”

During the 5o years of Legion operations, many heroes have come and gone, and a great many of them have had limited tenures with the team…  But it should be noted that one of the least tenured Legionnaires, the boy called Ferro Lad, even to this day casts one of the longest shadows.  But few Legionnaires have had the deck stacked against them the way today’s Hero History subject has.  Even his own team leader had trouble seeing him as anything but a replacement Cosmic Boy, but he did everything in his power to change that assessment, and went through a series of setbacks and trials that forced him to redefine the kind of contribution that he could make.  Always upbeat, even in the face of tragedy, he helped to define the rebooted Legion as a separate entity from it’s Pre-Crisis counterpart.  This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Dirk Magz of Braal…  Magno!


There came a day when Shrinking Violet was possessed by the Emerald Eye of Ekron, and in her attempt to make the universe bend to her wishes, Vi found her own teammates ready to stand against her.  Knowing that she (and only she) knew what was best, Violet attempted to turn the timestream back so that the Legion would once again be under her control.  All she really managed was to sent half the Legionnaires back in time to the 20th century, where they spent several months dealing with “stone knives and bearskins.”  Faced with a manpower shortage, the reboot Legion fell back on the oldest trick in their Pre-Crisis book: the membership drive!  Unfortunately, having that many powered beings in one place is almost always a recipe for disaster…


“Magnetism… Just like Cosmic Boy’s!”  It’s somewhat ironic that this refrain brought Dyrk Magz into the spotlight for the first time.  As the applicants got more and more outre (a reboot of Arm-Fall Off Boy???) the Legionnaires began whittling down the potential heroes, voting many of them off the island one by one, until three recruits remained.  Much to the chagrin of Lightning Lad/Livewire, “Just Like Cosmic Boy Lad” was one of them, and worst of all?  He showed himself to have real superhero skillz.


With a quickness, the two ladies and Dyrk took out the saboteurs in the Legion’s midst, and won the Intergalactic Publisher’s Clearinghouse (Clearingasteroid?) sweepstakes and earned their golden tickets.  After a quick makeover from the Athramites, the LSH was ready for it’s new members…


For all his bluster about “replacing Cos,” Lightning Lad was as much in the big guy’s periwinkle shadow as Magno, trying to lead the team in the absence of the truest and most effortless leader he had ever known.  That may be the reason why he allowed the three Legion tyros to go on a mission alone, with no backup but each other, with little thought to their inexperience or their personality incompatabilities.


Ever the optimist, Dyrk was thrilled and fascinated by every aspect of Legion lore (thankfully, we didn’t see his “Golly gee whiz, is this the toilet that Cosmic Boy used?” experience) a wide-eyed excitement that managed to ruffle the feathers of Umbra, (referred to from here on as Shadow Lass, because Umbra is a terrible name) his emotional opposite.  The three Legion newbies encountered a strange world, redolent with the most ancient of magicks, and a very ominous open grave…


Mordru!  It says Mordru!  Didn’t any of you read Adventure Comics?  The mission goes well, and even Shadow Lass and Magno come to grudgeing terms with one another, but what seems like a milk run was really an omen of something huge in the wings.  And when that something huge showed itself as arcane power incarnate, there was little the Legion could do, although I have to say I liked Mordru better with his funny hat.  Once again facing the spectre of his time-lost best friend, Garth Ranzz unleashed the fury on an unsuspecting Magno.


True to form, Dyrk didn’t take it personally, accepting that the lightning-bearer of the Legion was just having a hard time with a humiliating loss and the ill-fitting mantle of leadership.  The Legionnaires called in all the help that they could for their return bout with ol’ Mordy, with the Work Force and the Uncanny Amazers augmenting their ranks.  But even this much power did little but anger the last son of Zerox.  Magno, however, made a fine showing for himself in battle, even impressing Mr. Ranzz…  until the other shoe dropped.


Lightning Lad returns the favor that Magno gave him in the first battle, sparing Dyrk’s life from incineration (though Blast-Off of the Amazers wasn’t nearly as lucky.)  Realizing that he had been judging Dyrk too harshly, Garth decides to return Magno’s offers of friendship, only to find that Magno has troubles of his own…


Sensor’s ability to see through any sort of deception serves her well, as beyond his fine smile of fellowship, Magno is frustrated and a little bit terrrified to find that his ferromagnetic manipulation skills aren’t responding at all.  For the first time in his Legion career, Magno loses his cool.  Thankfully, he still has Legion friends to hold him up when he can’t stand…


The Legion and their various allied lick their wounds, with some gaining new powers, (as Shrinking Violet becomes the second bearer of the gawdawful nom de guerre of Leviathan) new members joining, (like the inevitably doomed Monstress) and bit players like Dragonmage (a short story which will occur sooner rather than later) getting the girl.  Sadly, just being a member of the Legion doesn’t mean that you’re in the happy endings portion of the program, as Magno proves the hard way…


As the rest of the Legion return home to face menaces big and small, (including the return of their temporal refugees) Dyrk Magz also goes home, only to find that the cliche about doing that is true.  You’ll never fit in the way you used to do.  Worst of all?  Every single Braalian has magnetic powers.  They’re part of the culture, built into the technology, and without his abilities, Dyrk finds himself envying even the halting electromagnetic manipulations of a preschool girl!


Dyrk tries to head to his family’s home in the upper levels of the city he used to call home, only to find that, without magnetism, he can’t even turn on the elevators.  Too proud to ask for help, Dyrk waits until he can sneakily get a piggyback ride up, but when that ride occurs, it’s a face that Legion fans (and eagle-eyed Spoilerites) should find somewhat familiar


What are the odds that two characters would meet on an entire planet full of strange humanoids?  In the Legion, all things are possible!  Heh.  Still, you have to feel for Magno here, still unable to fully escape the long shadow of Rokk Krinn.  Worst of all, doctor after doctor find themselves unable to fully explain the loss of his abilities, owing as it does to magic.  The medical community of Braal is perplexed beyond belief with the kid who can’t ruin watches and erase your Men At Work cassettes, leaving Dyrk at the lowest point of his life…


Back on Earth, the LSH finds that they need to branch out from their Metropolis headquarters, and prevail upon Charles Foster Taine (always among the greatest of Legionnaires, in my mind) to help them build a new headquarters.  Thought he never had powers in THIS incarnation of the Legion, both Chuck and Tenzil Kem are key members of the Legion’s “ground crew,” the support staff that keeps the team up and running.  Given the choice of staying home and feeling pitiful, or going out and doing whatever he can, Dyrk Magz knows there’s only one choice…


And with that, not only has Livewire made good on his promise, but Dyrk Magz finds another way to contribute to the team.  Having returned to the Legion, even sans powers, Dyrk finds his smile again, even allowing himself to become smitten with the charms of one Jenni Ognats, the team’s speedster, colloquially known as XS…


…only to once again find himself paling in comparison with Cosmic Boy.  Dyrk serves as the team’s comptroller, working monitor duty and watching the skies for threats worthy of the galaxy’s greatest super-team, until the menace of the Blight sweeps across the galaxy.  The Legionnaires are themselves taken over by the aliens, and the resolution of their threat leaves half the team missing in action, presumed dead.  The LSH is disbanded by the United Planets, and Dyrk Magz has nowhere to go but back to Braal.  This time, though, he puts his Legion combat and crimefighting training to work in another arena…


The artist formerly known as Magno is still the same sunny-side up kind of kid, though somewhat tempered by his experiences with Mordru and the Legion.  More than that, he simply refuses to let his lack of magnetic powers be a handicap…


It’s not an easy fight, but Dyrk manages, without moving even the slightest electron, to take down a man utilizing magnetism with deadly force and accuracy, and he does it without even pulling his weapon.  Does his have something to prove?


Dyrk and his new partner, having taken down one armed insurrection, are immediately back in action, this time tracing reports of a mysterious masked vigilante.  Officers Magz and Kolkin hit the scnen, only to find that there’s much more going on than just a loon in a hood…


Hmmm…  That symbol looks oddly familiar, doesn’t it?  Sort of like an “L.”  Whatever could “L” stand for in this context?  Could it be… SATAN??????  Naaah, that’d be a sheld with an S on it.  Bygones…  Either way, the mysterioud vigilante easily takes down a handful of minor Braalian thugs, and gives Kolkin the slip.  Dyrk Magz, on the other hand, has been trained by the LEGION, baby.  He ain’t that easy to shake.


Dyrk overpowers the vigilante, and takes him into custody, only to find immense irony in finding that the man under the mask is… Cosmic Boy?  Apparently, the best way to escape from someone’s shadow is to make your own path (oooh, that’s deep, Ogre) and Dyrk is a bit mystified to see how far Cos has fallen.  Once the founding Legionnaire is in custody, Dyrk uses his privelege to have a little talk with him.


This is Cosmic Boy as even Dyrk has never seen him, a man at the end of his rope, fraying quickly, driven by the demons of seemingly-dead friends and failed opportunities.  When Cosmic Boy attempts escape, Dyrk and his partner are among the first on the scene, watching in horror as Cos escapes on a wounded freighter ship, nearly ready to explode, with no way of following them…  Well, no way if you’re *just* a Sci-Cop.  Being a Legionnaire, even a former Legionnaire, has it’s priveleges.


Officer Magz is stunned to find that his old friend and teammate has once again found his *own* smile, as Dyrk tries to save his life from (what he believes) is a derelict ship ready to explode at any moment…


Cosmic Boy extends the hand of friendship to Magno, but the polarity isn’t right, and it ends up repelling him instead.  (These magnetic metaphors doin’ anything for ya?)  But, instead of taking in his old pals, Dyrk Magz once again chooses to give them his support in the only way he can.  He lets the Legionnaires fly off into space, faking an explosion that “kills” Cosmic Boy before flying back down to Braal to face his angry partner…


It’s good to see that smile again, isn’t it?  Nice to see that Dyrk’s optimism hasn’t been completely buried under mountains of paperwork, and the dull drudgery of policework.  Not long after Cosmic Boy makes his daring escape, the Lost Legionnaires return from the other side of the universe (minus a few casualties, mind you) and the team prepares to reform, United Planets or no United Planets.  Even Science Police officers Magz and Erin (the teams former liaison to the U.P.) are invited to their ceremonies…


Dyrk Magz never returned to active duty with the Legion, finding his heroic nature in another job, but it was clear from the very beginning: Magno was a Legionnaire through and through.  Willing to sacrifice himself to save a teammate, or even a relative stranger, ready to face even the toughest opponent with a smile on his face, Magno showed that it’s the simplest kinds of courage that can make a hero.  The courage to act when necessary…  The courage to do what’s necessary, even when you won’t get the glamour…  The courage to step in and contribute in any way you can to the overall betterment of the team.  Though he wasn’t a Legionnaire for that long, Magno manages to cast a shadow that Ferro Lad himself would notice, and proven that it’s not the powers that make the man…  it’s the man who makes the best of his powers.  And moreoever, the man who finds himself without powers simply does the best he can with what he has, and that is the mark of a true hero.


**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:

Bouncing Boy
Brainiac 5
Chameleon Boy
Chemical King
Colossal Boy
Dream Girl
Duo Damsel
Element Lad
Ferro Lad
Invisible Kid
Invisible Kid II
Karate Kid
Kid Quantum
Kent Shakespeare
Lightning Lass
Magnetic Kid
Matter-Eater Lad
Phantom Girl
Sensor Girl
Shadow Lass
Shrinking Violet
Star Boy
Sun Boy
Timber Wolf
Triplicate Girl
Ultra Boy
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 up, the winged tracker who WASN’T from Starhaven, the girl who actually managed to outlast her incarnation of the Legion, if only by a few pages.  Be here or be squeer as we peer into the lost universe for the Legion career of Shikari!

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.

Previous post

Things Not to Say to a Comic Shop Employee

Next post

Hero History: Shikari


  1. Jordan
    August 9, 2008 at 10:42 am — Reply

    I Belive you forgot to mention the Original Legin incaration of Magno, Magno Lad, from the story whic had he and several Legion regets battle its more tenured members(Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy And Phantom Girl) due to the fact their powers were the same as the rejects.

  2. August 9, 2008 at 5:18 pm — Reply

    Well, I didn’t forget him… Due to his run with, first, the Legion of Super-Rejects and his eventual joining the Legion of Super-VILLAINS, I don’t consider him worth mentioning in a discussion of Magno as a hero. Also, to my knowledge, they’re not meant to be the same character, as Magno Lad’s real name was Kort Grezz, giving me no indication that Dyrk Magz is meant to be drawn from him. Honestly, I chalk that one up to coinkydink.

  3. Jordan
    August 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm — Reply

    My apologies,then.

  4. Jake
    August 22, 2008 at 7:51 pm — Reply

    I’m a little surprised that you left out the Fatal Five arc, where Brainac’s plan to defeat Tharok hinged no the fact that he wouldn’t be scanning for people without powers, so Dirk wasn’t considered a threat and was able to shut Tharok down.

    I liked it.

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section