Or – “Not Nearly As Innocent As She Looks…”

The post-Five-Year-Gap stories of the Volume Four Legion get, I think, short shrift in LSH history, for a lot of reasons.  It was really the first proto-reboot of the title, pushing the team forward in time, forcing us to learn, issue by issue, what had happened in the missing years.  It gave up on the colorful costumes and superhero codenames, and delved much deeper into the corruption that some would say always exists at the heart of a bright and shiny society.  This period of Legion history is one known for a looser team ethic, a more catch-as-catch-can philosophy, and in some cases, a complete disregard for the legal niceties of the United Planets.  That’s where this week’s entrant comes in…  Born of a planet of notorious thieves, she joined the Legion almost by accident, but once there, became one of the definitive characters of her Legion’s era.  Smart, funny, perverse, mean-spirited, and cute as the dickens, she perfected the art of needling her opponents by first torturing her friends and teammates.  This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Brita An’nan of Sklar…  Kono!

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With recent events in Legion history changing the course of what we thought to be true, the Post-Five-Year-Gap period of Legion history may be going from proto-reboot status to actually having been the first real reboot of the LSH, leaving Kono and several of the other Legionnaires of this era (a short story that you might wanna watch the skies for) as truly lost heroes.  But, the history of Kono dates back to a much earlier period of Legion history, just prior to Earthwar (the first battle with the Khunds) as the Legionnaires, including the kid from Kansas, face down an all-female group of pirates called the Sklarian raiders. 

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Where Star Boy and Lightning Lad might have fallen, young Kal-El quickly mops up the floor with the lady liberators of expensive property, and the Sklarians faded away from the Legion’s radar, as the team faced the Khunds, internal strife, the Great Darkness Saga, and eventually a war with their opposite number, the Legion of Super-Villains.  This all led, eventually, to the Magic Wars that forever changed the bright and shiny future of the team.  After a disastrous mission known as “Black Dawn,” the Legion actually disbanded, and for several years, there were no heroes to be found.  The alien jerks known as the Dominators took over the government of Earth (known, cleverly, as Earthgov) and sent the remaining LSHers to ground.  Jo Nah, the former Ultra Boy, returned home to Rimbor and became a smuggler (the job he would have probably had, had not the ultra-energy beast engulfed him years earlier.)  His gang gathered members, including a young blue-haired girl from Sklar…

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“That wall thing” is when she uses her strange powers (which seemingly came as a gift from the White Witch to her mother for an adventure during which Kono’s mom saved the Witch’s life.) to “share mass,” thereby passing through solid barriers.  Though young in years, Kono has learned a lot about the seamier side of life in the galaxy, including a few things about the male mind.  She ducks into the local nudie bar to try and shake the Science Police on her tail…

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Kono once again phases out of danger, but this isn’t her usual kind of heat.  More than just the local Rimborian authorities (who, honestly, can be purchased for a relatively affordable price) are after her.  This is a multi-authority search and destroy mission, led by the warriors of the Khundish empire…

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Why would the Khunds hate one little girl from Sklar?  It seems that, in a moment of weakness, the empire was brought somewhat low by Kono using her powers to… phase all their clothes off, leaving the flabby yellow and pink warriors humiliated.  And, being Khunds, this ‘Delta House’ level burn left them with a taste for murder.  Leave it to the warriors of Khundia to put the death sentence on a barely pre-teen girl over being pantsed.  Either way, Kono heads for the base, where her fearless leader awaits…

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Being raised entirely by women, Kono has developed into a bit of a female chauvanist, and aside from being unfamiliar with the process called “shaving,” she’s left with the opinion that all males are nothing but, in her own words, “bulls and jackasses.”  When the regular ol’ S.P.’s can’t bring in Kono, the empire sends in a pair of Kryptonian-level cyborg warriors to take her into custody.  But even being super-strong and mostly invulnerable doesn’t make your molecular structure unphasable.

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The intercession of the former Ultra Boy leaves both warriors dismantled, and Jo is contacted soon after by Chameleon and Cosmic Boys, who have become aware of some sort of conspiracy to kill the former members of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Nah joins up with his former pals, and Kono accompanies him.  As the LSHers slowly come back together, they consider whether or not Kono’s abilities and attitudes would be helpful to the team.

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The decision is made, and Kono joins the Legion alongside Jo and the others.  This incarnation of the team was less a formal team than a collection of individuals with somewhat similar goals.  This Legion wears no costumes, instead wearing protective coveralls from Brande Industries, and uses no codenames, save for Kono herself (named for her favorite beverage, which seems to be somewhere between soda and beer.)  But one thing never changes with the Legion: bad people want to kill you.  When the barely-nascent team faces Mordru, all the Legionnaires are forced to face their worst fears, and we get a little bit of background on Kono…

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It is unclear how much of her hallucination is flashback and how much is nightmare, but either way, it’s the first sign that Kono has hidden depths, beyond her sarcasm and sexual double entendres.  The Legionnaires awaken, and find that the Dark Lord has dressed them in a manner that he finds appropriate, with the men in long LIttle Nemo nightgowns, and Kono…    Well…

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Let’s just say that Mordru seems to have a rather different idea about the role of the female.  Kono’s time with Jo’s smuggling ring has also instilled her a deep affection for their big “mascot,” the feral monster known as “Furball” or “Wolf.”  Finding out that her friend is missing, Kono immediately goes on offense, corset and panties be damned.

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Her outrage at the mistreatment of her friend says volumes about the woman inside that dayglo skin, and Kono protects Furball until they get out of Mordru’s dungeons (thanks to the now-powerless Cosmic Boy.)  The team finally decides to officially become a Legion again after facing down Mordru and Roxxas the Butcher (another agent sent by the Dominators to destroy them) and they manage to find a new headquarters, what was once a sleazy sex-resort on a remote asteroid.  Many of the Legionnaires are mortified by and/or unaware of the uses for the items in such a “No-Tell Motel,” but not Kono…  Kono is delighted!

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It’s a more grown-up Legion, indeed.  Can you imagine the John Forte Legion kids trying to deal with mirrored ceilings and showers with two-way glass, much less edible panties?  Kono’s presence with the team lightens the mood, but usually at the expense of the members’ dignity.  Her favorite targets end up being the mind of Brainiac 5 and the squeaky-clean Clark Kent analogue called Kent Shakespeare…

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For all their fighting and bickering, the new Legion does share one thing with those teamings that came before: they are willing to risk their own lives to save innocents.  When the Khunds again incur on United Planets space, King Jonn of Pasnic (no relation to J’onn J’onnz) implores the Legion to step in and fight alongside the militia.

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Kono’s response is indicative of her nature, never backing down from a fight for a second, even when completely outmatched.  Kono and her team acquit themselves admirably, but several Legionnaires are badly injured during the battle, including Kono’s pal Furball.  When his injuries become severe enough, “Furball” is unable to hide his true nature, and Kono is horrified to find that her pet is actually a man…  the Legionnaire once called Timber Wolf.

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It’s telling that she’s not so much bothered by the fact that he’s a former Legionnaire, but that her friend is a MAN, more Sklarian doctrine coming through.  Soon after, though, the Dominators make an additional attempt on the lives of the LSH, this time by sending a creature called BION (sort of an upgraded version of Amazo, combining all the Legionnaires powers and the Computo matrix into one incredibly powerful creature) to destroy them all.  The monstrous robot beats the living hell out of Laurel Gand, attacks Kent and Ultra Boy, but when confronted with Kono…

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…it makes one fatal mistake.  The monster IGNORES her, focusing it’s attention on the heroes it knows to be the former Legion members.  Trying to capture the now-powerless Rokk “Cosmic Boy” Krinn, BION falls into a trap laid by Loomis, the team’s loyal handyman, and sprung by the Sklarian sprite herself…

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Not every Legionniare can claim to have ripped the guts out of something as strong as two Daxamites combined with Ultra Boy…  Kono continues working with the team, and finds a new butt for her jokes in the form of Chameleon Boy.

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The entire five-year gap was a time of great change for the Legion of Super-Heroes, and as soon as one menace was stopped, two more rose up to take their place.  With Mordru and Glorith of Balduur stalemating one another for years, the 30th Century has enjoyed a fragile mystical peace.  But Mysa Nal, the former White Witch, has somehow upset the applecart, giving in to her rage and attacking Mordru.  The Dark Lord absorbs her power to augment his own, and now magic threatens to overwhelm the Legion.  Thanks to her infusion with Mysa’s magic, Kono becomes a key part of a plan to save the universe…  a plan created by Amethyst, Princess of the Gemworld!

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Mordru’s powerplay has forced the Legion to fight any number of menaces, including their own dead members returned to full power.  His magics even unleash a series of mystical menaces that fists and feet can’t stop.  But Amethyst-Kono, on the other hand?

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She shuts them down with a few words.  And yes, that beetle-browed fellow is who you think he is…  The Legionnaires manage to hold off Mordru’s powers long enough for Amethyst’s energies to leave Kono her old self again.

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Kono has saved the day, with a little help from… um…  everybody.  The Legion manages to put Mordru down for a few seconds (though he’d keep popping up.)  Not long afterwards, Kono is delighted to find that her OTHER family has been seeking her out as well.

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Heh.  That’s the Kono I know and love.  Brita regretfully decides to leave her pals behind, heading back out into space with the Sklarian Raiders.  Her absence is rather short, though, as the Sklarians come up against a foe that they can’t easily take down themselves.  Kono suggests that they head back and ask the Legion for help, but HER Legion is busy out in space.  Instead, Kono returns to New Earth, meeting up with the younger version of the team, the SW6 Legionnaires (led by her old tormentee, Chameleon Boy.)

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For once, Tenzil Kem gets the upper hand on Kono (though the Legionnaire ladies quickly start asking themself how he got a camera into the shower that THEY use, as well.)  But Tenzil quickly finds that punking out Kono has it’s consequences, as she chooses HIM for the secret mission…

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The syringe contains Grandin Gender Reversal Germs, which make her revenge on Tenz extra-sweet, but Kono returns home with her mom soon after.  It’s not until the effects of Zero Hour begin destroying the 30th Century and founding Legionnaire Cosmic Boy goes missing that Kono returns to action with the LSH, alongside a couple of her former compatriots.

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Rokk has been taken by the Time Trapper to Vanishing Point, dragged outside of space and time, but the Legion is a bit distracted by bigger fish that need frying.  It seems that after years of holding one another at bay, Mordru and Glorith decide to just plain hold each other, becoming a super-couple of magic, sort of like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner with rainbow side-effects.  Legionnaires start to vanish as the timestream unravels, and Kono and her teammates prepare to once again stop the menace of Mordru…

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The entire timestream resets soon afterwards, and the Legionnaires are forced to give up their existences and reboot the reality.  The new reality gives us new versions of the LSH, a more militaristic take on the team, where the U.P. actaully drafts the members into service.  It’s a team that has no room for the services of a Sklarian Raider with a penchant for petty theivery.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that the universe doesn’t still have ideas about Kono…

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This rebooted Kono is, like the original, getting by on her brains and her guile, taking jobs as necessary to get by.  Though she never became a Legionnaire in this world (a shame, really, as her attitude could have given this somewhat bland portion of the Archie Legion’s history some versimilitude.)  Kono’s newly found status as chronal refugee, never having actually existed in the three “official” Legion chronologies is kind of a shame.  She was a tough, entertaining, and most of all, multi-layered presence in the Legion, providing comic relief without being silly, providing sexual tension without being slutty, and most of all showing great courage and tenacity in the face of danger…  If nothing else, she proved that you don’t have to be a paragon to fight for what’s right, and that you can battle for virtue without being entirely virtuous yourself, proving once again that EVERYONE, even the blue-haired girl from the wrong side of the galactic tracks, has something to contribute.

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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
Computo
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!  Next time, we look at Ireland’s answer to Rimbor’s finest…  or however that went.  It’s a look at the second of the reflective Legionnaires, yet paradoxically the first we saw on the actual team.  Join us for the history of…  Devlin O’Ryan!

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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5 Comments

  1. Slappy
    August 31, 2008 at 7:18 am — Reply

    Excellent job with Kono. I did enjoy that 5YG Legion. Especially the Irony that the first issue of the Khund War Coincided with the beginning Salvos of the first Gulf War, and that the Month that war ended, so did the Legion War. You couldn’t come up with better timing. Getting back to Kono, I think that one of the reasons that she has not joind one of the younger versions of the team is due to the fact that she
    1. Happens to be very similar to Phantom Girl,
    2. She is at her best when she is being a pain in the butt to her adult comrades.
    Hopefully we will get a glimpse of her in Legion of 3 Worlds. (can’t wait to see the Hero History revisions)
    Until Kono willingly dresses powergirl sexy, make mine Majorspoilers.

  2. dark side
    September 7, 2008 at 10:58 am — Reply

    Once again, I really like these hero histories. It’s funny someone should mention Phantom Girl, because when I first encountered her, I was thinking that she was PG with some spunk, and an actual offensive use for her powers.
    I really loved the 5YL Legion. It’s just too bad that the mgmt at DC can not stop fiddling with their ‘Universe’ long enough for their books to succeed. Giffen and the Beirbaums had a cool book going, and then they began spending more time fixing continuity problems than developing the book. It was this book, and the way it just sputtered out that turned me against the whole idea of continuity and investing my time on a book. GREAT JOB DC!
    But you’re right, the current Legion sure could use some Kono. Or something.

  3. Hellstone
    September 14, 2008 at 4:15 pm — Reply

    Come to think of it… How about a hero history of R.J. Brande some time? There is a lot of fun development in that character, from his introduction to the Ren Daggle revelation and being the Durlan of L.E.G.I.O.N. And STILL later suspected to be the Martian Manhunter. Then there was the “Regulus/Immune” story where he suddenly had changed his apperance. And when did he first start his “By Damn” cussing?

    Sorry for being off-topic, I liked the Kono entry as well. Just realized that one of the most interesting heroes in the Legion is not usually considered a hero at all.

  4. Slappy
    September 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm — Reply

    Maybe when matthew begins with all of the LSH supporting cast members he will get to Renee Jaques Brand. I can’t wait for him to do Brands assistant Marla Latham or Loomis from 5YG, he was a crazy SOB.

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