Hero History: Dragonmage

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Or – “Magic And The Legion.  Two Great Tastes That Taste WEIRD Together…”

Throughout the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes, many of their members have gotten their powers from experimentation run wild (Sun Boy, Wildfire, Quislet, and even the Ranzz twins, in a way) whereas others have gained their powers from simple genetics (Dawnstar, Cosmic Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, etc.)  But for many years in the bright and shiny future, no one gained their abilities from manipulation of the mystic powers, from the hoary hosts of the neitherworld, or from the various powers beyond the pale.  When Mysa Nal, the White Witch, joined the original Legion, she was, in her own way, nearly as alien as Tellus or Blok, with her spell and her grimoires and such.  And it was quite a few years before another Legionnaire arose from the ranks of mysticism to take his place among the team.  One of the shortest lived LSHers of all, he nonetheless showed courage, character, and heroic ideals worthy of the decades-long membership of Colossal Boy or Brainiac 5. This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Xao Jin of Earth… Dragonmage!

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The story of Dragonmage begins in the years known as the “Five Year Gap,” a timeframe where the Legion ceased to exist.  Driven away from Earth, the various team members scattered to the four corners of the galaxy, leaving their former homebase behind in the hands of aliens known as the Dominators.  It was half a decade before Rokk “Cosmic Boy” Krinn and Reep “Chameleon Boy” Daggle came together to reform a new Legion from the ashes of the old.  When they began delving into the corruption on Earth, they found that the Dominators had been experimenting on powered beings, trying to once and for all nail down the metagenetic powers that gave the Legion the edge all these years.  Having busted open the experimental chambers, the Legion is stunned to see what pours out…

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The Legion (in this case, the SW6 teenage “clone” version of the Legion of Super-Heroes) are quick to recognize talent when they see it, and get the rundown of who the three new kids are.  Alongside Catspaw and Computo, to whom his entire career would be linked, the team meets the man who would be Dragonmage…

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The Legionnaires manage to overthrow the Dominator hegemony, running the “disk-heads” off their homeworld, and capturing the leader of the empire.  Having won their way back into the hearts of the not-so-very United Planets, the kids of the Legion set about rebuilding their legacy, starting with their distinctive inverted rocketship headquarters.  Jin and his friends assist them, but even a lifetime of dedication to the mystic arts can’t prepare him for the girls of the LSH…

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The multiplicated feminine wiles of Triplicate Girl tend to engender that reaction, though, as male minds start doing the inevitable math of dating her.  Either way, the team is impressed enough with his powers (explosions notwithstanding) to offer him membership in a new incarnation of the team.  Once again, he is inextricably tied with Catspaw and Computo in Chameleon’s new team of heroes.

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“The Best Legion Tradition,” of course, means that everybody’s about to get a beatdown.  I have to say, thought, that I really liked the Legion’s new uniforms, and Dragonmage’s threads are among the best of that grouping.  Of course, the new Legionnaires are immediately sidetracked by old problems, this time a new Emerald Empress who sets about gathering her predecessors old cronies, the Fatal Five.  Problem is, 40% of that team is either dead or thrown forward in time to become their infant self…  or something.  In order to offset this attrition, they recruit a mysterious creature known as Mordecai (no, not Kevin Thorne) who was easily as powerful as Validus.  Dragonmage isn’t cowed by the creature’s power, though, and leaps into action alongside his new pals…

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The Empress’ plan goes awry, though, when it is discovered that there is MORE THAN ONE Emerald Eye extant!  Eyes, after all, come in pairs, and the second is in the hands of Leland McCauley IV, mercenary assclown rival of R.J. Brande.  Faced with two mystic generators of nigh-infinite power, the Legionnaires step back and let Dragonmage do his thing.

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Thanks to the intervention of the Legionnaires, the Fatal Five are finally routed, and the Legionnaires attempt to get back to normal, but if you’ve been reading these Hero Histories for very long, you’ll know that’s pretty much a moot point.  A Legion team is sent out to investigate strangenesses on planet Omicron 12 (watch out for their exploding squirrels!) to check on reports of something strange going on.  Dragonmage starts to get to know his partners a little better on this mission, and finds himself becoming accepted more easily than his fellow new kids.

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Even with the Great And Powerful Tenzil at the helm, theLegion cruiser takes a hit, and spirals out of control towards the planet.  Even in the moment of panic, Dragonmage manages to keep his wits about him, refusing to use his powers unwisely and make their situation worse.

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Crashing on the planet, the Legionnaires are separated, and end up in strange situations.  Tenzil finds himself confronted with a flirty Shrinking Violet (who has never really noticed his crush before) while Catspaw is reunited with an old lover, and Dragonmage finds himself confronted with a face from his own past…

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Dragonmage is both troubled and touched by this flattery from his former taskmistress, so much so that he doesn’t really ask himself at first how she got to this strange chunk of intergalactic wilderness.  While Tenz and Catspaw are overwhelmed with the proverbial McLovin,’ Dragonmage finds himself seeking a different kind of reassurance: the acceptance of his lost teacher.

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Tenzil is the first one to break the silence, as much as it hurt him, to point out that Violet doesn’t love him, and that there’s no way that Jin’s mentor could have gotten to the strange planet of pink leaves.  With the masquerade busted, “Madame Chu Hua” takes on her true form…

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PROTIES!  Whooo!  Turns out that the Proteans, the native beings of Antares, have a strange plan to try and save their people.  Years ago, they managed to take their collective intellect, and channel it into one being, the Soul of Antares, also known as Kid Quantum.  As the Legionnaires are suddenly attacked by the Khund, Dragonmage realizes that his powers would be more useful to assist the Proties, and leaves his partners to the fight.

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Realizing that Kid Quantum’s survival, and indeed, that of the Protean race is dependent on his actions, Dragonmage channels his power into helping them, using his mystical abilities to heal, rather than blow things up for a change…

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Dragonmage not only saves the Protean race, he returns Kid Quantum to fighting strength, imbuing him with a version of his old machine-induced super-powers, and allowing him to return to duty with the Legionnaires.  Unfortunately for Dragonmage, the 30th Century of the original Legion was nearing it’s end.  The crisis known as Zero Hour had set into motion changes that would lead to the unraveling of the Legion’s timeline, and the various mages (the former White Witch, her sister Dream Girl and Dreamy’s SW6 counterpart, as well as Queen Projectra) drew together to see if they could stitch time back together with magical force…   Unfortunately for them all, it was not meant to be.

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Dragonmage fades out (and even worse, does so OFF-PANEL) leaving the Legion in the lurch just when his abilities might have served them best.  The team fights on, but realizes that to repair the timestream, they must reform themselves.  The SW6 Legionnaires, thought to be clones, are actually the Legionnaires themselves, and their fragmentation is one of the things that is destroying the 30th Century.  Combining their essences, the surviving LSHers reboot the 30th Century, but the Legion still rises.  And when half the team is lost somewhere in the timestream, another Legion tradition comes to the fore: Legion tryouts!

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Live Wire (terrible, terrible, awful name, thus I shall call him Lightning Lad from now on) has just shepherded his team through a battle with Shrinking Violet and the mystic powers of the Emerald Eye of Ekron and, frainkly, doesn’t trust magic powers any further than he can throw Leviathan.  With his own brand of casual cruelty, Lightning Lad shoots the eager young newcomer in the foot, metaphorically speaking…

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Like his pre-Crisis incarnation, Dragonmage has supreme confidence in his abilities.  Unlike that incarnation, he has a chip on his shoulder that can be seen from space, and a tendency to wander into trouble without regard for the consequences.  In the quest for more power to show up those snotty Legion kids, Dragonmage wanders into the worst situation of them all: the wake of Mordru the Merciless.

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Teamed with Mysa (who was, herself, a Legionnaire in the Pre-Crisis timeline) Dragonmage makes his way across the galaxy, just in time to join the United Planets taskforce against Mordru himself.  His powers, impressive as they are, pale in comparison to the mighty Dark Lord, but (as he did before Zero Hour) Dragonmage didn’t let that stop him from showing his heroic side, even if he does it out of self-aggrandizement.

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Dragonmage and Mysa prove key to the Legion’s victory over Mordru, and when the battle is over, they decide to travel together, with the daughter of Mordru (although in previous continuity, she had been his wife, which…  eewww.) teaching Dragonmage of the ways of sorcerous power.  Of course, Dragonmage still had a thirst for power and a keen need to show himself worthy of great respect, and ended up tampering with elemental forces far beyond his understanding…

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The elements of disaster possess four innocent beings (including Brika, a young Dryad of Blok’s race, and Dirk Morgna, himself a pre-Crisis Legionnaire as Sun Boy) and rampaging across the galaxy, leaving distruction in their wake.  Again, Dragonmage is forced into battle against a problem he actually helped to implement, and hundreds lose their lives, including three of the four elemental hosts.  Faced with the consequences of his hubris, Dragonmage turns to the wisdom of Element Lad for guidance.

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Finally face to face with the suffering caused by his lust for power, Dragonmage makes his first truly selfless and heroic move of this, his second life with the Legion, and takes responsibility for his actions…

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In the final analysis, Dragonmage’s tenure with the Legion (both Legions) was a study in potential never truly realized.  And yet, he stood alongside the team against the Fatal Five, against the power of Mordru, even staunchly assisting his comrades in staving off the END OF EVERYTHING THAT EVER WAS.  His powers set him aside from his teammates, but his heroic nature overcame even that strangeness.  Dragonmage repeatedly showed exactly what it means to truly act as a hero, and he managed to do it with a quiet strength, a likeability that showed through even when he was acting like an arrogant sack, and a feeling that he was born to be a Legionnaire… 

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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
Gear
Gates
Invisible Kid
Invisible Kid II
Karate Kid
Kid Quantum
Kinetix
Kent Shakespeare
Lightning Lass
Magnetic Kid
Magno
Matter-Eater Lad
Mon-El
Monstress
Phantom Girl
Princess Projectra
Quislet
Sensor Girl
Shadow Lass
Shikari
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 up: D.M. wasn’t alone in his graduating class of Legionnaires. Join us for the girl who made Sun Boy’s predatory nature pale in comparison… Catspaw!