Or – “For Those Who Wonder What Happened To The Guardians…”
There are a lot of interesting stories in the fifty-year history of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the ones that fascinate me are the Legionnaires whose stories remain mostly untold.Â The post-Five-Year-Gap stories of the Legion tried to bring the shiny future kids up to speed with a more adult comic industry, adding to the mix characters who had adult skills and knowledges, giving the LSH experience with things out of the purview of, say, Lightning Lad, who has been fighting giant space whales since he was 12.Â From Tenzil Kem’s return with years of political experience and clout, to Devlin O’Ryan’sÂ career as a reporter, to Kent Shakespeare’s medical training, these characters brought a new perspective to the kids, lads, and lasses.Â Today’s entrant was another of these, trained as a private investigator (even taking her pseudonym from a character near and dear to Stephen’s heart) with ties to the Legion’s earliest history.Â Get ready to pony up 200 credits a day (plus expenses) as we delve into her life and times.Â This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of the hero briefly known as Neon of Earth…Â Celeste Rockfish!
The story of Celeste starts early in the volume four Legion years.Â The Dominators have infiltrated the Earthgov, and the Legion has long since disbanded and gone it’s separate ways.Â Dirk Morgna (once known as Sun Boy) is working, though unwittingly, as a pawn of Earthgov, acting to spin the horrible events that they cause to the unsuspecting public.Â When the Doms hire Roxxas the Butcher to quietly set into motion events that finally kill the remaining Legionnaires, the Rox-man flips right the hell out and brutally murders former Legionnaire Blok.Â The Earthgov ruling elite scramble to cover up their complicity, and send Dirk to hire an investigator to look into the murder…Â Enter Celeste.
I love the fact that Dirk knows her work from a paternity suit against him…Â Either way, Celeste is quickly drawn into a web of lies, and sets out on the only lead she has: former Legionnaire Jan Arrah.Â She returns to her office, to consult with her partner, Bounty, about finding the artist formerly known as Element Lad, only to find an unpleasant surprise awaits her…
As we saw last time, young Devlin O’Ryan arrives as if on cue, offering passage to Trom for the detectives, in return for helping him track down HIS story, also related to Jan Arrah.Â They meet up with Jan, who convinces them that he’s not crazy, nor is he a killer, and asks for a ride to Winath, where Blok’s remains were sent by the Butcher.Â But as they leave Trom, something ominous happens in another corner of the galaxy…
The carrot men in their nine panel (well, eight panel, but I omitted one) grid are the first to notice that something strange is happening, but they have no way of knowing that the strange space anomaly is following the ship containing Jan, Devlin, Bounty, and Celeste to Winath.Â Once there, Ms. McCauley is introduced to more former Legionnaires, including one Reep Daggle, now head of Brande Industries.Â Reep and Celeste immediately find that they have a lot in common, not the least of which isÂ a thick head and a stubborn streak.
As a trained professional, Celeste isn’t sure at first what to make of these former-spandex kids, and can’t believe that “Chameleon Boy” could deal with anything she couldn’t.Â But, Celeste quickly finds out that the LSH is more than just teenagers in spandex, as one of their oldest foes comes a’callin.Â Roxxas once murdered the entire population of the planet Trom, and even degenerated into complete lunacy, he’s still more dangerous that anything Ms. Rockfish has ever imagined.
Caught off-guard and wounded, Celeste is still aware enough of her surroundings to try and talk Roxxas down, but the Butcher didn’t get his name by being willing to talk.Â Roxxas quickly grows bored with her, which is a very bad thing for Celeste…
My wife used a screwdriver on a bag of ice the other day the same way that Roxxas just used Celeste, by the way.Â The Butcher quickly moves on to bigger and nastier Legionnaires, even dispatching Ultra Boy through time (but not before getting his guts bashed to bits) and facing down Laurel Gand.Â The Butcher is stopped by the combined efforts of nearly a dozen former Legionnaires, and the secret of the Dominators controlling Earthgov is out in the open.Â Faced with a universe full of threats, both new and old, the Legion of Super-Heroes decides to reform.Â Celeste is put in intensive care, and Brainiac 5 tries to find a way to repair the damage to her body.Â Meanwhile, out in space…
…the mysterious energy cloud approaches.Â Anybody else wonder what sort of emerald energy this could be?Â It’s so bright, almost like the illumination from some sort of lamp or lantern, but that light source would have to be a particular grass-like, greenÂ hue?Â If only there were some sort of guardian of knowledge we could ask for assistance?Â Oa well, I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually.Â Sinestro Corps War.Â On the surface, Brainiac 5 finds that even a 12th level intelligence can’t repair a woman whose face was used as an entrenching tool by a makeup-wearing wackjob…
Querl’s theological musings on the nature of mortality are met with silence from Celeste, and yet he still misses the bizarre green energy signature as it penetrates the medical complex, heading for a particular room.Â Though her body may be destroyed, Celeste’s mind is still mostly intact, as she suddenly remembers a series of strange events from her youth.
The guy with the glasses and the porn-star hair is none other than Leland McCauley IV, R.J. Brande’s main rival as “Guy With So Much Money That He Could Actually Swim In It Like Scrooge McDuck.”Â Her little getaway trip that lead her to the mysterious stranger with the mysterious ring didn’t lead to her becoming the 30th Century’s Hal Jordan (at this point in time, the Guardians of the Universe had a no-interference clause with the United Planets) but it did lead to the ring remembering her.Â And as for her fatal injuries?
Almost like magic…Â I’ve long had a theory that says that hanging around with superhumans is one of the quickest ways to get super-powers yourself.Â Celeste (and, for that matter, Devlin O’Ryan) are the purest example of that.Â With the conspiracy uncovered, she’s obviously not safe to return to Metropolis and her old life, so Ms. Rockfish (nee McCauley) stays with the Legion, but quickly finds that being the token non-super one isn’t to her liking.
If wishes were horses, then unicorns would get all the chicks…Â Wait, that didn’t go where it needed to go.Â Let me rephrase: if you’ve recently been imbued with the power of the Guardians, then wishing out loud to be “dangerous” might be an important moment for you.Â Celeste and her Legion become enmeshed in several untenable situations, but perhaps the most dangerous of them comes when Darkseid of Apokalips returns, and attempts to use a young girl named Aria to finally unravel the equation of Anti-Life.Â Celeste ends up in the middle of a giant clusterschmozz, and is forced to take action to saveÂ the life of another child, putting herself in grave danger…Â
Kent Shakespeare and Ultra Boy move to try and save her, but cannot.Â The robots fall upon Celeste, and once again, allÂ seems lost for the former Ms. McCauley…
Looks?Â Can be decieving…
By this point, even Celeste realizes the truth, that she has super-powers.Â No longer staying with the Legion for protection, she becomes an important part of this larger and more nebulous Legion family.Â Celeste’s experience in investigations allows her to be one of the most street-smart of this Legion, and her protective nature leads her to take on a protector role in the team.Â Celeste befriends Brainiac, bonds with Kent Shakespeare, provides a relief valve for Rokk, and even serves a semi-motherly role for Kono.Â Unexpectedly, she even takes on the “Mom” apron for the severely wounded Furball, now revealed to be former Legionnaire Timber Wolf.
Perhaps it’s her two recent brushes with death, but for some reason, Celeste doesn’t find the joking appropriate, as it seems certain that T-Wolf is not long for the world…
Celeste’s grown-up sensibilities are somewhat rare in this Legion, compared to Kono’s recklessness, Jo’s bull-headedness, and even Tenzil’s universal mockery.Â The Dominators are finally driven away from Earth (thanks to the young SW6 version of the Legion, a long story which… honestly, you’ve probably seen a bit of already) but the planet itself is lost to disaster, with years of abuse and Dominator laid boobytraps leading the populace to evacuate.Â In the wake of such a devastating crisis, even the indomitable Cosmic Boy needs a shoulder to cry on, and Celeste is more than happy to help.
Celeste’s reverie leads her to remember the last moments on Earth, the point where it became obvious that not everyone was going to get out alive.Â The Legionnaires were among the last out, which would put a strain on even a spirit as strong as Celeste…
The life of a Legionnaire is many things, but boring isn’t on that list, as Celeste ships off with Kent Shakespeare to Quarantine, the medical satellite where she plans to train on the use of her new Green Lantern-esque powers.Â But before she can do that, Mordru rears his big rubbery head again, raising the dead across the galaxy in a bid for universal overlordery, forcing Celeste and Kent into action.
Things settle down for Celeste once she settles down on Quarantine, even taking on her mother role again for other superhumans (most of whom had powers thrust upon them by Dominator experiments) and cementing her control over her own abilities…
With her powers finally understood and under control, Celeste finally goes on active duty with the Legion of superheroes.Â But with that status come a few side-effects, including the enmity of any number of villainous psychos.Â Unfortunately for Celeste, hers includes Glorith of Balduur, the time-manipulating witch who serves as Mordru’s counterbalance…
Back in the Silver Age, Glorith was fond of turning the Legionnaires into toddlers, making them flail around adorably and say things like “Me want candy!”Â This, however, is not your father’s Glorith, and her grudge against Celeste causes her to use her powers the opposite direction, aging Celeste to dust before her teammates’ horrified eyes.
The team barely manages to get out of the battle alive, and most of the team is changed in one way or another, their ages moving up and down at the time-mistress’ will.Â Most of the Legion finds themselves changed drastically by the battle, but Celeste is the only casualty.
Kent mourns the loss of his friend, while the team struggles to regroup from the damage they’ve been dealt.Â Even the most stalwart of Legionnaires is shaken by these moments, but none as much as the newly young Mr. Shakespeare…
THE DEAD LIVE!Â THE DEAD $&$&ING LIVE!Â OH! OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!Â Celeste rises like a revenant, and the Legionnaires immediately decamp to Quarantine to try and figure out what the heck they’re going to do with a million-year old Brainiac, an 8 year old Kent and a teenage Devlin, not to mention the fact that Celeste has turned into Slimer.Â But more surprises are on the horizon for Ms. Rockfish…
Man, Querl could use some lessons in tact…Â You’d think that with age would come greater wisdom, but I suppose that he’s a big preoccupied.Â Once again, though, Celeste bounces back from a situation that would probably have mind-scrambled a lesser person, quickly becoming familiar with her new, bodiless state, and providing combat support to her team (framed by Universo as Khundish spies.)
The Legionnaires are barely able to overpower the former Legion of Substitute Heroes, managing to escape Weber’s World and going underground as outlaws.Â While most of her partners struggle to deal with change, Celeste just goes with the big green flow…
The team takes on new identities (though how effective those identities really were is up for debate…Â I mean, c’mon, Brainiac 5, a green humanoid, puts on an exoskeleton and a coverall, and calls himself “Five…”Â You’d think a 12th level genius could do better than that) with Celeste taking on the nom de guerre of Neon…
The entire universe lines up to take down the Legion, including the Khunds themselves, and the team members try in vain to find out who set them up.Â Even their own former teammates get in the act, as Tenzil Kem is hypnotized to stand against Celeste and her friends as well…
Celeste seems almost pleased to realize that she is among the most powerful of her Legion (possibly of any Legion) standingÂ alongside legends like Ultra Boy and Wildfire and providing air support for the entire team.Â For all the Legionnaires experience with strange situations, only Neon seems to really have a firm grasp on their fugitive status.
The Legionnaires engage the Khunds in battle, and manage to outfight and outthink their foes, even figuring out who it was that framed them, and proving that once again, you can take the Legion out of their element, but that only makes them stronger.
The team is thrilled when Jacques Foccart finally communicates the news to them that the entire charade has been overturned, revealed as Universo’s manipulations, but their good mood is dulled somewhat by the near-fatal wounding of Laurel Gand, who managed to save every person on Weber’s World, including the entire U.P. Council.
But as we have seen, there are very seldom any real moments of rest for a Legionnaire, and these LSHer’s are no exception.Â Rond Vidar of the Time Institute, along with the SW6 Brainiac 5 and Invisible Kid, has discovered a series of strange time anomalies that are slowly warping their universe out of shape, changing that which has come before.Â Among those is the strange realization that the Green Lantern Corps was destroyed centuries earlier, leaving some kid named Rayner as the last G.L. extant…
Celeste’s personal timeline is altered from the moment she met the Green Lantern, to having her instead meet and save a Darkstar (the competing police force to the Green Lanterns, for those not fluent in 1990’s DC Comics.Â She continues to serve the Legion both as a fighter and as an emotional source of support for her friends, as when Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass find their relationship somewhat strained by Ayla’s constant de-aging.
The Legion is forced to join with their younger counterparts to find out the source of the time problems, only to have Mordru and Glorith once again pop up like something that’s probably a naughty metaphor for something…Â The teams are even more horrified to find them working TOGETHER, and having doubled their power due to the temporal something or others going on…
Legionnaires both old and new come out of the woodwork, and Celeste is in the thick of the fighting, but the 30th Century continues to unravel, with heroes disappearing left and right.Â Celeste is last seen with her teammates, fighting the good fight, as one of the earlisetÂ Legionnaires makes a brief reappearance…
We never see Celeste disappear like so many others, but when the core Legionnaires, those of longest tenure, realize that they must save the universe by sacrificing themselves.Â Celeste McCauley rose from a family where money meant more than honesty, more than honor, more than heroism, but she turned her back on that life to find one of her own.Â As a Legionnaire, sheÂ served as a source ofÂ strength for her comrades, a source of protection for the innocent, and managed to bounce back from what should have been certain death repeatedly.Â Her Legion may not be part of the regular continuity any longer (after the events of the Lightning Saga) but the heroism and humanity Celeste showed proved that herÂ as worthy of the title Legionnaire as even Tom Welling himself…
**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:
Invisible Kid II
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!Â Next time, we look at a Legionnaire who makes Celeste’s tenure look like Brainiac 5’s, as we look at the Legion career of…Â Wave!