Hero History: Cosmic Boy
Or – “A Dash Of Courage To Go With The Brains And The Heart…”
Today’s entrant has been for half a century one of the most iconic of the Legion’s dozens of active members, existing (like his fellow founders) in virtually every iteration of the team to date. UNLIKE his fellow founders, though, he hasn’t been tweaked, twisted, and reshaped to fit into each “new” world, instead seemingly shaping each of those variant worlds with his own quiet strength and integrity. Never the most overtly powerful Legionnaire, he was nonetheless the unanimous choice for first Legion leader, he was instrumental in bringing the team back from the brink of oblivion after the Dominators dismantled it, and he supported a Legion lost centuries from home, bringing them home without a single casualty. It’s no surprise that when three futuristic heroes travelled back into history looking for the one being who most defined heroism to them, that they chose this man as the shining example of what the Legion of Super-Heroes really stands for. This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Rokk Krinn of Braal… Cosmic Boy!
The story of Cosmic Boy begins in the very same place we began our last two Hero Histories, on a lovely morning in Smallville, Kansas. Young Clark Kent may not know it, but his entire world is about to change…
Note that in the future, your heroes will be clearly labeled for proper identification. Rokk’s super-spiffy “Official Buzz Aldren Space Helmet” only lasts about seven minutes as well. (I suspect that Saturn Girl may have implanted a telepathic command to help him be less of a power geek.) The teens identify themselves as the Legion of Super-Heroes, from the far-flung future of the 30th century, where he is heralded as one of the greatest heroes of all time. A quick time trip later, Clark finds himself in the future, preparing for his Legion initiation. But when you’re the hero some (well, okay, really just me) call Tom Welling, things seldom go entirely according to the plan…
Best be careful around the toaster if your power is magnetic eyeballs. Rokk and his friends easily use their super-powers to show up Master Kent, needling him that perhaps his reputation was exaggerated, before revealing that it’s all a trick, and that they really do revere him. Cosmic Boy and his pals happily induct Kal-El (a story which we’ll get to in short order) and a legendary super-team is born. Well, sort of… There are several different theories as to the chronological order of the Legion members’ joining. In fact, the story of the actual origins of the Legion of Super-Heroes wasn’t revealed until years later, our time. So, in this case, the past of the future was still in the future when the comic book was printed in the past. Better to press on. Young Rokk Krinn originally exited the planet Braal in search of work and/or adventure…
An immediate friendship is born as the two young men bond over the things that young men bond over: super-powers, money, and super-hot alien blondes…
Having shown themselves capable, Rokk, Garth and Imra are taken by R.J. Brande and given an incredible offer: become super-heroes, protect the universe, and inspire the various planets to unite despite their differences. Cosmic Boy is given an additional task, that of remaining super-macho while wearing a particularly lovely shade of pink.
The Legion’s super-computer is the first to point it out, but Rokk’s obvious leadership skills will continue to be seen throughout his career, and even into alternate iterations of the LSH. Cosmic Boy’s leadership ushers in a period of expansion and prosperity for the Legion, inducting such luminaries as Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Colossal, Star, and Chameleon Boys, as well the original Invisible Kid. Having done so well with their first trip into the past, the team even made a second chronal junket back to recruit ANOTHER famous Kryptonian…
So disciplined is Cosmic Boy that he manages to stand in that exact position every time we see the Legion’s round-table. Rokk’s able leadership cements him as one of the most prominent Legionnaires, gaining him his own admirers, but none is as enamored of Cosmic Boy as Lydda Jath, late of the ebon planet Kathoon, whose crush on Cosmic Boy causes her to bid for Legion membership. She is rejected, but ends up helping to found the Legion of Substitute Heroes to stay close to her pink-suited love…
Unlike the other Legion founders, Cosmic Boy keeps close ties to his family, and uses the money he earns to move his entire family (father Hu Krinn, mother Ewa, and his hero-worshipping baby bro Pol, who would eventually grow to Legion membership himself as Magnetic Kid) to Metropolis in order to be closer to them.
His family loves him, his team trusts him implicitly, even founding members Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl count on Cosmic Boy to keep the Legion on even keel. He’s pretty much the perfect leader and a near-perfect hero. An example of the mettle that Rokk possesses comes when the Legion is forced to face the menace of the ‘Legion of Super-Rejects.’ Each member of the Legion, says the bylaws of their Constitution, must have his or her own unique super-powers. But what of Legion hopefuls who come from the same worlds as those Legionnaires whose powers are innate?
Cosmic Boy’s rebuff is understandable, as the Legion has much more important things to do than play “Top Gun,” even if his attitude seems a bit brusque. The Super-Rejects (from planets Braal, Imsk, Saturn, Bismoll, Durla and Bgztl, respectively) show their own lack of character by attacking their Legionnaire counterparts. Cosmic Boy shows that there’s more to his Legion membership than just super-powers, by leading the LSH to overcome their similarly-powered challengers.
“All this fighting has made me hungry. Think I’ll take a bite of this tree!” I think I have a new Facebook profile, right there. Cosmic Boy eventually even succumbed to the allure of Night Girl, dating Lydda on several occasions. But when she finds herself becoming obsessed with the capture of a particular criminal, Rokk breaks off their relationship.
I think that holovid is Death Wish XVIII, by the way… It doesn’t take long, however, before he regrets his decision, realizing how much he misses his darkness-empowered sweetie. But before he can apologize for his rash action, Rokk is blindsided by the crimelord, a pointy-eared, bug-eyed schmuck called Colson. Seeing her man in danger, Night Girl makes a bold move of her own, leaping into battle to save him, regardless of the bright lights that sap her powers. The normally staid and calm Cosmic Boy takes an uncharacteristic page out of Karate Kid’s playbook…
Note Night Girl’s incredibly daring “Frederick’s of Omicron XII” ensemble… As the Legion ages and their styles change, many of the team members found themselves going for more fashionable 30th century attire, leading to what I like to refer to as the Legion’s “Naked Time.” (Apologies to Gene Roddenberry…) Given how well his outfit has weathered the days since the inception of the team, Cosmic Boy decides to make only a minor change, finally eliminating that pesky pink fabric.
What a catch this man is! Super-powers, sideburns, looks good in a corset, and even follows the orthodox laws of Braal. If only he were a doctor, he’d be perfect for my niece! The newly nearly-naked Cos finds himself the only Legionnaire who can act against the evil of the Emerald Empress, sneaking in and freeing his comrades with what looks like a display of his magnetics. But in so doing, Cosmic Boy is fatally wounded…
Seconds from death, the Legion desperately tries to think of a way to save their fallen founder… Cosmic Boy’s heroic sacrifice causes Ultra Boy to make an unheard-of deal with the Fatal Five’s distaff member.
The courage of Cosmic Boy is such that even a career psychopath like the Empress is moved to save him… That’s pretty impressive. And even after all this, Rokk manages to stay down-to-Earth (or at least down-to-Braal) about his life, enjoying the simple things in life, such as a nice game of Magnoball with his brother and girlfriend…
Yeah, that sort of thing never really lasts. Turns out that Braal has been targeted by an alien loon called the Worldsmith, who has been hired by unknown beings from beyond to remodel the entire planet into something different. Problem is, he’s not at all worried about the billions of Braalians already living on the planet. Cosmic Boy calls in his team, and sets about on a bait-and-switch of (you should excuse the expression) cosmic proportions…
Using his own powers, as well as those of the rest of his teammates, Cosmic Boy cons the alien terraformer into leaving, using his brains with the same facility that he utilizes his fists and magnetic powers. And when the Legion is confronted by a mysterious menace, it’s Cosmic Boy whose knowledge of Earth history leads them to the first clues as to the identity of their foe.
He also chose to start wearing the entirety of his costume again, leading me to believe that his pink leotard was just lost in the wash. Cosmic Boy shepherds the team through the battle known as the Great Darkness Saga, but soon afterwards a more prosaic menace would push him to his limits. When minor thugs set off a tiny nuclear weapon in the suburbs of Metropolis, the Legionnaires are sent in to help clean up afterwards, but no one is prepared for what they find…
The “fireballing” has left Rokk’s entire family in critical condition, while the criminals responsible are quickly captured and sentenced to internment on Takron-Galtos, the toughest prison in the galaxy… or at least, that’s the plan. Even interstellar spacecraft engines cannot stop the power of a dutiful and mightily angry son of Braal.
Cosmic Boy’s rage causes him to lash out, pulling the terrorists from the ship magnetically, and torturing them with his powers. Only a quick punchinnahead from his ladyfriend brings him back to his senses, but Rokk is still filled with anger. He makes his way to the med-center to check on his family (using his powers to override the electronic locks) only to find out that the worst has happened…
Cosmic Boy’s grief is horrible to witness, and causes him to lose his cool again. Since it was only Lydda’s power that kept him from killing his family’s attackers before… he regretfully has to take out Lydda.
Night Girl at full power, by the way, is on a par with the Kryptonians of the Legion… With his metaphorical conscience out of the way, Cosmic Boy manages to ignore his literal one, and again tracks down the monsters who killed his mother and injured his father and brother. The full power of the Legionnaire is brought to bear on the ferromagnetics in the criminals bodies as he decides to take the last step in his path of revenge…
…before coming to his senses. Cosmic Boy is, after all, a hero in the traditional sense, and cannot bring himself to overcome his beliefs, even when the worst has happened. Returning to action with the Legion of Super-Heroes, Cosmic Boy helps his father and brother to recover, and even helps Pol to join the Legion Academy. Some time later, Cosmic Boy is surprised by good news from his oldest friends…
With his fellow founders sidetracked by family duties, Cosmic Boy ends up as the most tenured Legionnaire on the team, taking it upon himself to try and mold even the newest team members into effective heroes. As part of this effort, he ends up working alongside the Legion of Substitute Heroes. And then, by extension, he ends up being exiled into deep space on a sabotaged cruiser with the Legion of Substitute Heroes. So, y’know, that part kind of sucks…
With his girl injured, his friends at risk, and no way to return home, Cosmic Boy is forced to once again show that he is more powerful than even the engines that power the mightiest starships. With a little help from Polar Boy, Cos uses his powers to slow the ship’s ascent into the great beyond…
He also manages to make a magnetic connection to his younger brother, using Magnetic Kid as a polestar by which he moves the ship back home to Earth. It’s a fascinating display of power from one of the more subtle Legionnaires, and really serves to underscore what Rokk is truly capable of. But even the greatest of heroes comes to a point where they need some time to themselves, and Cosmic Boy is no exception.
His time off allows Cosmic Boy to analyze the Legion, and to understand what the team has become. Upon his return, Cosmic Boy and the other founding Legionnaires come to a momentous decision…
After years of Legion membership, Cosmic Boy finally finds himself able to indulge in his own interests, starting with a visit to the past to view history first-hand. Of course, he doesn’t plan on arriving right in the middle of one of the worst crises of faith in years, as the heroes of Earth are being viewed with suspicion and fear by the populace of the Earth. Worst of all, an old friend shows him that things may not be exactly as they seem…
Cosmic Boy is horrified to find that the timestream has been manipulated somehow, but it turns out to be worse than he ever thought, as the entire world is different than he remembers. Cosmic Boy uncovers the hand of his fuschia archenemy the Time Trapper, and confronts the bedsheet-wearing fiend in the timestream itself. The Trapper captures the essence of Cosmic Boy’s timeline in an hourglass, and forces Rokk to watch as his home timeline runs out into nothingness.
Having saved his universe, Cosmic Boy returns to the proper 30th Century (though no one seems to notice a few really subtle changes in the fabric of space and time) with Night Girl, and continues to enjoy his time off. For the first time in his life, the Legionnaire who is all about honor and duty finds himself enjoying a few moments of selfishness…
You gotta know that won’t last… An emergency call from old friend Bouncing Boy brings Night Girl and Cosmic Boy back into the Legion fold, albeit in a reservist capacity. What starts out seeming like a minor skirmish turns into a full-fledged attack by the alien Dominators, and Cosmic Boy is once again forced to step forward and take a leadership role.
Cosmic Boy and his team end up becoming a new incarnation of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, which lasts until the dissolution of the LSH. Another tragedy looms in Rokk’s future, though, as magic has run wild throughout the galaxy, and the Legion (now including his kid brother Pol) is forced to go into action, and find that the only way to break through a mystic portal to Sorcerer’s World is for someone to die…
For the second time in his life, Cosmic Boy sets off on a mission of vengeance to avenge a dead loved one, this time in battle against the Archimage, embodiment of all the magical energies of Zerox, The Sorcerer’s World…
The Legion is successful in stopping the Archimage, but finds the entire universe changed afterwards. And even effort that the new Subs made in stopping the Dominator threat doesn’t mean that the alien conquerors are gone, as the Dominators infiltrate Earthgov and the United Planets, and slowly dismantle the Legion of Super-Heroes. Worst of all, Braal becomes involved in a border war with Imsk that slowly grows into a full-fledged war. It is several years later when we finally rejoin Cosmic Boy and his now-wife, the very pregnant Night Girl…
His planet decimated by the tolls of war, Rokk tries to do what he can to help, but finds that one man can’t always make the same difference that a Legionnaire could. So, when Reep “Chameleon Boy” Daggle arrives to pull Rokk into a new incarnation of the Legion, the former Cosmic Boy returns to action. The team’s first action? Confronting former killer sorcerer Mordru, now a head of state. The Dark Lord and Cosmic Boy come face to face in a senses-shattering… conversation? Still, even without his costume or his magnetic powers (more on the loss of which later) Rokk Krinn still has what it takes to be a hero…
Turns out that his power of parley is every bit the equal of his former magnetism, and Rokk becomes a cornerstone of the new Legion. In time, as the new Legion coalesces into something more than the sum of it’s parts, we finally learn the story of what happened to Rokk’s super-powers. It begins at a Braallian battlefield called Venado Bay…
The Imskians had used their metaphorical atomic bomb, a power dampener, which left hundreds of Braalian soldiers maimed and or powerless. Rokk’s friend Loomis lost an arm in the conflict, and when they engaged the Imskian forces, Rokk found that their leader was none other than his old friend and teammate Salu “Shrinking Violet” Digby… As he continues to go into action with the new LSH, Rokk finds his thoughts always on the troubled pregnancy of wife Lydda. Finally, as the entire Legion comes together for a reunion, Lydda goes into labor.
Rokk names the baby Pol, after his brother, and returns to duty with the Legion. But, after a battle with Mordru leads to a hasty alliance with the Khunds, legion foe Universo manipulates the United Planets into branding the team traitors. Rokk’s leadership is tested once again, as the team falls in behind Shrinking Violet’s more martial views. The Legion goes underground, disguising themselves to prove their innocence. Faced with the prospect of being separated from his family, Rokk goes dark and gritty.
The events of the Legion title after the Five-Year Gap were complicated, to say the least, and one discovery that surprised everyone was the existence of a SECOND Legion of Super-Heroes, this one still a group of fresh-faced kids, in stasis beneath Metropolis. When these SW6 Legionnaires (named for the Dominator project that seemingly spawned them) were activated, they rebuilt their clubhouse and tried to return to the way things were. And, as before, the team needed to choose a leader…
The two Legions worked side-by-side, but even their combined powers were insufficient to keep the planet Earth from being destroyed by a series of cataclysms. But, as the effects of the universal catastrophe called Zero Hour sweep across the 30th Century, the younger team of Legionnaires are called into action against a magnetically-powered threat…
Obviously unhinged by the endless downer that is this Legion’s world, Rokk tries to piece the planet back together as a metaphor for his shattered life and heroic career. His efforts are ultimately futile, but manage to catch the attention of a recently revitalized Mordru and his partner in universal evil, Glorith of Balduur. (Or is it Baaldur?)
The capture of Cosmic Boy does something that no other crisis could have: reunited the Legion. Members new and members old, SW6 or O.G., the Legionnaires martial their forces to find the man who embodies the spirit of their team like no one else could..
The newly united Legions find that their biggest problem isn’t FINDING Rokk, it’s trying to deal with the chaos caused by changes in the timestream. Their numbers are dropped by disappearances, replacements and disturbances in the timestream until only a few Legionnaires are left. Rokk, for his part, escapes from Mordru and Glorith with the help of their infinite library and a familiar purple-suited foe. Reunited with his lost love, Cosmic Boy suffers the greatest loss of all…
The Trapper unmasks and reveals himself to be… ROKK KRINN! The years that he spent (subjectively speaking) reading the books in Mordru’s selection of grimoires has led to Rokk BECOMING the Legion’s greatest foe. Maybe. Possibly. It’s not really all that clear. Either way, the 30th Century is dying a death, and the Trapper has come with the only option: reconstitute the two Legions. He explains that the SW6 kids are time-lost duplicates, and their removal from the past has created the problems they face. The only complication is that by remerging, the kids will be resetting the entire timestream, and their lives as they know them will cease. What can the heroes do?
If you have to ask, I suspect this may be your first Hero History…
The sacrifice of Cosmic Boy and his compatriots means the end of one Legion, but it turns out to be only the beginning of the story. By resetting the timestream, they’ve created a world in which three kids once again come together to save the life of the richest man in the galaxy, and are rewarded with a shot at the big time…
In this world, though, a more militarily focused United Planets chooses a military leader in the form of Science Police cadet Gim Allon (AKA Leviathan, but in our hearts always really Colossal Boy.) But no matter what the role, no matter where his place in the food chain, Cosmic Boy always provides a good example and takes a leadership role.
This Rebooted Legion’s first mission goes very badly, leading to the death of Kid Quantum, and Colossal Boy blames himself for the bad turn his leadership has taken. He resigns, turning over stewardship of the team to Cosmic Boy, who takes the opportunity to deliver and object lesson.
Leading the new Legion comes naturally to Cosmic Boy, but even he misses the isolation that leads Shrinking Violet to be possessed by the Emerald Eye of Ekron, and her mystical rage when challenged causes her to wildly lash out at her teammates. The mystical energy transports Cosmic Boy and several of his Legion comrades back to the modern-day world of the 20th Century.
Lost and alone, centuries from anything they recognize, the Legionnaires face unimaginable stresses, but Cosmic Boy quickly pulls them together with the goal of getting home to their loved ones. All of his teammates appreciate his calm sense of resolve, but one seems to like it a bit more than the others…
A chance encounter with 20th Century Telepath Dr. Psycho leads Saturn Girl out of her depths, but Cosmic Boy offers his support. Linking their minds, Saturn Girl channels his mind to help reinforce her own…
Doctor Psycho’s attack leaves her wounded and Cosmic Boy comatose, but he recovers quickly. A bit too quickly, actually, and Science Police liaison Shvaughn Erin is suspicious of their sudden plans for a wedding. Upon closer inspection, it is discovered that Saturn Girl has been telepathically animating his form and making him act the way she wants him to, making him act like her time-lost boyfriend Lightning Lad.
Cosmic Boy’s strong hand keeps the Legion together, and eventually brings the team home to reunite with their families and friends. Of course, the life of a Legionnaire is never a dull one, and some months later, a routine mission on the far side of the Galaxy leads Cosmic Boy and his teammates to a horrifying revelation…
In the weeks that it takes the four Legionnaires to return home, the rest of the LSH is overcome by an alien menace known as The Blight, a Borg/Zombie plague that turns the heroes into pawns of an alien presence. Cosmic Boy is integral in overcoming the Blight’s influence on the team, and the Legion is reunited in a United Planets that has seen it’s heroes turn against it…
The damage to the Stargates turns out to be irreversible, and the Legion is once again separated in the attempt to shut down the network before all is lost. Half of the team is transported out of the universe and into the past, becoming a Legion Lost, while others go underground in the now not-so United Planets. On Planet Braal, former Legionnaire Magno becomes a Science Police officer, and eventually is sent out to stop a masked vigilante fighting crime in the streets…
Magno takes the man into custody, finding him to be none other than Rokk Krinn, the former Legion leader, fallen to taking down street crime in a darker and less shiny future world.
Before the Braalian government can bring him to trial, though, the Lost Legionnaires return from the place outside time and space, and Cosmic Boy excitedly starts to get the band back together…
Leadership of the team once again falls on the natural candidate, and Cosmic Boy gets the reunited Legion back on it’s feet. But once the team is united, and their status restored with the U.P., Cosmic Boy steps down in favor of some new blood. His recommendation secures Kid Quantum the leadership of the team, and it seems obvious that their similarities are more than just in the leadership arena.
Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum eventually commence a relationship, and the entire team is shocked when Kon-El suddenly appears in their “airspace,” lost in time and dimension. The appearance of the legendary “Last Son” sets off a theological debate about the nature of heroes and hero worship, and Cosmic Boy reveals that he, too, is an admirer of the legendary heroics of Kal-El.
Kon’s presence in the future inevitably leads to a paradox and the Legion is forced to team up with the Teen Titans to stop the menace of the Fatal Five (now augmented with alternate universe duplicates to become the Fatal Five Hundred.) Quick action leads to the removal of the menace, but the Legion discovers that they have a choice: Save the future, or save the cheerleader. No, wait. Save the future or save the PAST, that’s it…
Kon chooses to return home with the Titans, and the Reboot Legion is torn free of reality, sent into the timestream, never to return (until a suitably epic miniseries event makes it possible, anyway. But what crisis could be so final as to unite the Legions of 2 Worlds?) Once again, the 30th century resets itself, and the universe makes do with similar patterns, as before. Three young kids, blah blah blah fishcakes, and we join our story already in progress, with Cosmic Boy leading a Legion of Super-Heroes from different worlds, under the auspices of the United Planets.
This world is a bit different, though, as the political realities are a much harder row to hoe. Cosmic Boy tries to balance the team’s service to an untrusting (and untrustworthy) U.P. while his teammates try to undermine him and take his leadership slot. When the needs of the Legion and the needs of the United Planets come into conflict, Cosmic Boy is forced to make a difficult stand…
Like every Cosmic Boy to date, this iteration of Rokk Krinn is a natural leader, but the kind of decisions he has to make are unlike any faced before. When the threat of the Dominators reaches galactic level, and the Legion finds themselves considering an unimaginable solution: destroy their entire world. worst of all, it seems that a Legionnaire must sacrifice his or herself to pull it off.
Cosmic Boy’s plan works, and the galaxy is stunned at the lengths to which this Legion has gone to stop the ongoing Dominator threat. What no one knows, however, is that the Dominators have NOT been killed, and Mon-El has not gone to his doom, but that both hero and alien world have been shifted into the Phantom Zone. Of course, this doesn’t stop the United Planets from demanding Cosmic Boy step down as Legion leader. As the eve of the team elections looms, Cosmic Boy finds a very fitting offer of employment from an unexpected source.
The man who originally helped to found a team inspired by a historic hero finds himself recruited, just as Kal-El was way back in the day. Cosmic Boy considers their offer, and when his friends come to find him with the Legion election results…
Cosmic Boy version 3.0 proved himself to be every bit as heroic as his first and second generation counterparts, and when the day was done, he even returned to aid the teams in their darkest hour. (That’s a looong story, which we’ll be getting to… at SOME point.) But no matter the reality, no matter the threat, the hero known as Cosmic Boy always rose to the challenge. And though his uniform got bluer and bluer with every single new reality, Rokk Krinn remained, at heart, the kid in the space helmet who went back in time to meet his idol. Every Legionnaire has something to contribute, and what Cosmic Boy brings to the table is an unerring sense of decency, a palpable field of calmness, and the knowledge that no matter the threat, the Legion of Super-Heroes can overcome the odds and save the day.
**If you’ve enjoyed this Hero History, you might want to ‘Read All About It’ at your Local Major Spoilers! Previous Major Spoilers Hero Histories include:
Invisible Kid II
Karate 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! In our next installment, we finally take a look a the last legacy of the dead planet Krypton! Be there, and bring your red and yellow cape! (And I hear that there was also some limited series that has updated and upgraded many of the Hero History subjects of months past. I wonder if that might be something of interest to the Faithful Spoilerites reading these?)