Or – “What’s REALLY In A Name?”

If you were to go to the dentist, open the door, and find a nameplate that reads “Dr. Hiram Rippedflesh, DDS,” you might consider postponing that appointment, right?  And, say,  if the first officers to respond to your call for help were Sergeant Lunatic and Detective Disemboweler, again, you’d probably have second thoughts about your situation, yes?  I imagine that general feeling is roughly how the Legionnaires must have felt when confronted by a girl choosing a nom de guerre that originally hung on one of the worst threats the team had ever faced, a murderous inhuman creature that nearly cost Brainiac 5 his mind, that came close to killing the second Invisible Kid, that DID KILL one of Triplicate Girl’s selves.  What possible reasoning could there be behind such a name, you ask?  How about “It just sounds cool!“  The 1990’s were a brave new world for the kids of the LSH, and few moments are as emblematic of that move away from history and into the bright and shiny future’s brighter and shinier future-er than the induction of today’s Hero History subject…  Once just a cute kid sister and plot device, she grew into a leader among the team, and a respected Legionnaire in her own right.  This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Danielle Foccart of Earth…  Computo!

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Computo’s story is one of the more interesting and complex of the Legionnaires, the kind of story that took the 30 years of Legion history to produce.  The Legion of Super-Heroes (as Lightning Lad pointed out recently) grew up protecting the United Planets from threat after menace after disaster, and once they reached the age of young adulthood, were more than inured to the dangers of their “profession.”  But even so, the team kept looking for *other* ways to contribute, to help improve lives in ways that didn’t involve fist-fighting with ancient mages or shooting at guys in purple bathrobes.  Hence, Brainiac 5’s attempt to help a young girl from the Ivory Coast who showed the symptoms of a strange malady…

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Once Brainiac 5 puts his mind to it, he can pretty much accomplish anything.  Assisted by fellow Legion super-brain Mon-El and the surprisingly keen analytical mind of Dream Girl (remember, it was Nura who changed Lightning Lass to Light Lass, back in the day) the Coluan genius sets out to cure young Danielle’s peculiar brain fever.  But, in a scene that reminds me eerily of the Exorcist, things go slightly awry…

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“They’re coming to get you, Jacques!  They’re coming!”  Danielle gestures, and all of a sudden, the entire Legion finds itself on lockdown, as the Headquarters security systems engage.  Mon-El is seemingly stunned into immobility, and Brainiac and Dream Girl barely escape as the operating theatre starts to explode.  The team is horrified when the real menace makes itself clear…

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Oh, this is so very NOT GOOD.  The various Legionnaires try to bust out of quarantine, but they’re stopped by their own defensive systems, powerful enough to entrap a member of the Fatal Five of the Legion of
Super-Villains…  and sadly, powerful enough to stop the LSH cold as well.  The monster known as Computo has returned, and he’s got a pretty powerful echo of Jim Morrison going on.  “Father?  Yes, son?  I want to KILL YOOOOU.”  The implication of possession is once again echoed, as the powerful artificial intelligence is obviously burning out Danielle’s body…

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Brainiac’s plan involves an extra telepathic plug, Lyle Norg’s invisibility serum, and the ultimate ‘Hail, Mary’ play.  With the entire Legion out of action, Jacques Foccart and our green-skinned Hobgoblin join forces to deliver a hypospray to the brain, allowing the team to lose one menace and gain one new Invisible Kid…

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Young Danielle returns home to her family, and isn’t seen for many years, as the Legion and her brother fight the likes of Darkseid, the Legion of Super-Villains and the Dominators.  Eventually, though, the team succumbs to pressures both internal and external, and the Legion disbands.  After FIVE YEARS without defenders, the galaxy is a much darker place, and the Dominators have seized control of Earthgov.  The Legion comes back together, and a second Legion is found in cold storage under Metropolis, but moreover, the Dominator scientists have been busy in their attempt to understand metahuman powers.  When the two Legions enter the Dominator stronghold, they find a group of powered beings on their way OUT!

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The kids of the SW6 Legion are impressed with the cuts of the new heroes particular jibs (with the notable exception of Crystal Kid, the Eddie Haskell of the 30th Century.  The new kids introduce themselves to the very old kids, in a moment that may seem familiar to Hero History regulars…

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The Legion, the… uh… other Legion, as well as many others, combine their forces to once and for all run the Dominators off of Earth.  In the wake of their victory, the Legionnaires find themselves at a crossroads.  Jacques Foccart is named President of Earth, a position he finds uncomfortable to say the least.  Chameleon Boy finds that seeing his young friends again reminds him of the fun that he and his friends had playing superhero years ago.  A peculiar swap takes place, leaving Jacques in command of the Legion, Chameleon as the adult advisor for the young Legionnaires, and former LSHer Tyroc as Earth’s President.  Jacques travels to the rebuilding city of Metropolis with the proposition of a lifetime for little sis…

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You feel bad for Crystal Kid there, don’t you?  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  Indeed, C.K. WAS a Legionnaire, but his tenure was never seen (a short story that we’ll get to quicker than you expect.)  Danielle, however, finds her dance card full, as she’s not just being courted by big brother, but by Chameleon Boy, a former Legionnaire with whom she has a different sort of relationship…

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Heh.  Tenzil Kem: Tension Breaker.  Eventually, Dani makes her decision, and (as it probably always does) vague sexual tension wins out over the manipulative power of a big brother.  Ms. Foccart and her two friends from the Weisinger Chambers agree to hook up with Chameleon’s new Earth-bound Legionnaires team.

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The reformed Legionnaires first great tragedy is the loss of planet Earth due to abuse and Dominator treachery, but an ancient system of domes and rockets manages to save a portion of the population, rocketing the cities into space, and allowing them to link together to form a series of domed cities called “New Earth.”  Their first problem (shades of Y2K) is the fact that the computer system is so old that it didn’t take into account certain realities of 30th Century engineering.  Several cities are nearly destroyed when Computo steps in…

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Just like that, millions of lives are saved, something that even Mon-El has rarely accomplished with such ease.  As the second Legion settles in, they’re suddenly rocked by a series of seemingly unrelated attacks, gang-war tactics across Earth.  The team realizes that they haven’t chosen a leader yet, and Cosmic Boy is established as the big boss to deal with the crisis.  Cos is a sterling judge of character, so it comes as no surprise that he sees the potential in one of the newest Legionnaires…

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Fitting in with a team of teenage super-heroes isn’t always easy, and one of the things that the original LSH always seemed to lack was a sense of sexual tension (though I’m sure Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl went all the way before they faced the high side of 21 years, if you’re pickin’ up what I’m throwing down.)  Computo also managed to (accidentally) bring the young Legionnaires a touch of adult content, as well.

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Boy, that Chris Sprouse can draw cute girls, can’t he?  That may be the only visible brassiere that I can remember in LSH history, ladies and gentlemen, and Computo is the one that brought it to us.  The young Legionnaires face a real trial by fire in their first mission, the reformation of the legendary Fatal Five, a group of the vilest and most powerful villains in the galaxy, including their leader, the half-man, half-machine called Tharok.  Tharok has held off some of the most powerful Legionnaires in one on one combat, and his computer mind puts him in (roughly) the same ballpark as Brainiac 5.  Of course, he hasn’t figured on the powers of Computo!

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The Fatal Five are neutralized (though the DO escape) but a Legionnaire doesn’t get much in the way of time off.  After the loss of planet Earth, R.J. Brande himself returns to the Legion fold, and Mr. B comes up with a desperate plan: His Earth has been destroyed, so why not transfer the Pocket Universe Earth, home of the Time Trapper’s fake Tom Welling (we’ll get there, I swear) into their Universe to replace our Earth.  Key to his plan?  The dimension breaching powers of Tyroc, and the computerized mind of Danielle Foccart.

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Troy and Danielle pull their powers together, along with a little help, and the powers of two Daxamites and a Kryptonian (presuming that Dev-Em is actually a Kryptonian at this point in time…  post-Crisis but pre-Zero Hour, it’s a little hard to tell) DRAG A PLANET through the rift in time-space that Computo and Tyroc create.

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Thanks to Computo’s quick mind, millions of lives are saved again, as the planet would have been fully populated when it finally exploded without her quick thinking.  The team suddenly moves to defense, trying to reverse the procedure before the planet Earth blows right the hell up.  Again.  Worst of all, the cosmic clusterschmozz known as Zero Hour has been wiping heroes from the continuity left, right, and center, and Computo, sadly, isn’t immune…

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The real culprit behind the time anomalies is discovered to be the Legion itself, or rather itSELVES, as the SW6 team and the original team are forced to recombine their essences and reboot the 30th Century.  When the world resets, Lyle Norg is once again the Invisible Kid, but his backstory changes ever-so-slightly…

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Note toddler Danielle in the lower corner there.  Lyle grows up and invents a number of serums and formulas, including the invisibility serum that gave him his powers.  Jacques Foccart, however, wasn’t so lucky, as the serum seemingly caused HIM to unravel at the cellular level, leaving behind a grieving family, including young Danielle…

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Her brother joined the team by sheer coincidence, but it can be said that Computo’s first real impact on the Legion was serving as the catalyst to make her big bro a hero.  But, even if you have to question her choice in names, it’s easy to see what the two Legions were fighting over: brains, leadership ability, quick wits, and a very useful power combined to allow Computo to effortlessly save lives that Wildfire or even Tom Welling would have had to struggle with.  She showed great loyalty to her team, even when all seemed lost, and even though her time as a Legionnaire was short, she made a strong impression on the team, and on the literal MILLIONS who owe their lives to her actions, finally “taking back” a name that had previously only meant pain and death and making ‘Computo’ a heroic legacy as worthy as the one her brother picked up…

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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
Catspaw
Chameleon Boy
Chemical King
Colossal Boy
Dawnstar
Dragonmage
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!  Coming up next time: What’s blue and orange and infuriating all over?  Join us for the interesting life of the young Sklarian raider who drove the reformed Legion mad…  Kono!

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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3 Comments

  1. August 24, 2008 at 8:30 pm — Reply

    Hey, do the hits go up for the Histories? I alert the DC Legion forum whenever there’s a new History up.

  2. August 24, 2008 at 9:27 pm — Reply

    Baal: Thanks for spreading the word – the more people know about us, the more we can do, and the higher our hits go.

  3. August 25, 2008 at 7:20 am — Reply

    Danielle made a couple of other appearances, I think… didn’t Brainy try the circuitry-cure on her again in the TOTLOSH run, briefly and disastrously? And then he finally did cure her early in the 5YL era (I think), and as she left his lab, part of the door-electronics shorted out for a second… and we all knew she was going to get some kind of electronics-related superpower.

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