Or – “Eighty Hero Histories Hasn’t Finished The Job Yet???” 


Any super-team quickly accrues baggage as the creative teams change, as the years roll on, as the days go by… GLYCERINE!!  Uh…  wait.  Side-tracked for a second there.  In any case, recent off-the-books discussions between the M.S. crew has led to the realization that even amongst the various Luornus, Lars, Tasmias, and Querls, there are characters that only the most hardcore psycho Legion fan would have even heard of…   

Hi, my name is Matthew, and this is the type of thing that kept me out of the really GOOD schools.   


With great power comes great responsibility, quoth a wise old dead man once.  With that in mind, I give you not quite a dozen people whose reponsibility must be quite mediocre indeed.   

1. Antennae Boy:  We start our countdown with a young man whose power is the very definition of borderline, with Antennae Boy (aka Khfeurb Chee Bez of the planet Grxyor, of which Vanna White was heard to remark, “BUY A VOWEL!”)  Khfeurb, whose pals call him Khf, could conceivably be useful if he could control what broadcasts he intercepted.  As it is, his super-ears were the equivalent of my days in the dormitory at Agnew Hall, with different horrible competing noises blaring from each room.  (Remind me to tell you about the time we were nearly arrested at the Hindi Thrash Party.)  Khfeurb later found his niche as a broadcaster for the interplanetary news.  Either way, the most interesting thing here is Three-Eyed Sam from Planet Wham.  Now THAT guy shoulda been a Legionnaire…   


2. Arm-Fall-Off Boy:  Nobody defines Legion rejects quite like this young lad, Floyd Belkin, who may or may not have been from Planet Lallor. His naivete in expecting that “rips off an arm and beats the opponent with it” would be considered Legion-worthy is almost endearing, and Floyd himself has made appearance in three different Legion incarnations, as well as countless cameos along the way. Now that Matter-Eater Lad is returning to prominence as an honest-to-Klordny Legion hero (You’re welcome, internet!) he has almost become the new poster boy of 30th Century uncool. I submit only this in rebuttal: Arm-Fall-Off Boy is one of a couple dozen Legionnaires that my daughter Molly can identify on SIGHT, and she likes his cool pink costume. And Molly, it should be noted, is almost never wrong.  


He’s also the kind of guy who can misspell the word “villain” while speaking it aloud, which may count as a super-power unto itself.   

3. Beast Boy:  This entrant is kind of a dark horse (as well as a pale rabbit, a wiry liger, and a calico hyena, should the mood strike) in that his Legion appearances are as an established hero of a rival super-team. Beast Boy (not to be confused with the later hero who would become Changeling of the New Teen Titans) was a hero of the border planet Lallor who later shunned humanity for the relative comforts of his critter brethren, leading a revolution among the wild animals like a quadrupedal Che Guevara. He died heroically, saving a young girl from the menace of a carnivorous monster called ‘The Maw’ (apparently, The Paw was off in Beverly Hills with his idiot nephew and mother-in-law.) As seen here, he was also a successful mascot for breakfast cereal, a job at which he was GRRRR-EAAT!  


4. Calorie Queen:  The story of the Legion of Super-Rejects is actually kind of an interesting one, given the nature of the 30th Century. It has long been established that many of the heroes (Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy and others) come from entire PLANETS of powered folk, but it is also a tenet of Legion lore that heroes could not join the LSH if they had an ability that duplicated that of an established hero. Exceptions were made for Supergirl (whose power to have Kryptonian offspring cannot be discounted, mind you) and Magnetic Kid (who was a Legacy, much like Kent Dorfman) but the LSR was pushed aside and were (justifiably) irritable about it. Calorie Queen comes from Bismoll, (capital: Pepto) the same planet as Tenzil “Matter-Eater Lad” Kem, but does his powers one better:  


Half-naked, more blue eye-shadow than a squadron of cocktail waitresses AND super-strength? Calorie Queen was right: She got hosed. (And wouldn’t eating anything WITH super-strength constitute an individual super-power? Or do both her abilities count as duplicates?) Cal later appeared as Tenzil’s faithful girl Friday during the Volume 4 (“5 Year Gap”) Legion issues, and even succeded him to the post of Senator At Large. There aren’t many characters about which I’d say this, but had she replaced M-E Lad in the Legion, it could have been kind of cool. I wonder where she is in the new 1.5 Legion reality?  

5. Charma:   So, um… yeah. Charma was Grimbor the Chainsman’s… um…. She was his partner, and used her pheromonical-type powers to… She could control people’s brains and… Y’know, distract them… And stuff? (I actually met a woman dressed like that once. It was at my bachelor party, and she said her name was “Faberge” and was working her way through grad school.) Charma (whose name may be pronounced kar-ma, like what comes around comes around, or char-muh, like a persuasive girl from Boston) is notable for being the person responsible for turning Grimbor to crime, and the combination of a half-naked-teenager-dressed-like-a-dominatrix and a middle-aged man-with-a-fetish-for-bondage-following-her-around-like-a-puppy made for some entertaining Nabokovian subtext during the super-naked Mike Grell early-70’s Legion days.  


6. Command Kid/Dynamo Boy:  Number Six is, as befits it’s iconic status, not just another resident of the Village…  Indeed, #6 is a two-fer, dating back to the earliest interactions I ever had with the LSH. When I was introduced to the super-future friends (Hi Adriana! Hi Kristen!) it was through digest-sized reprints in latter issues of the original Adventure Comics. One of the stories that caught my attention was the admission of a new hero called Command Kid.  C.K. joined the team with his power to create illusions that were super-realistic (this before the introduction of Princess Projectra, mind you) and eventually convinced the rest of the super-teens that shey should take some pills he had lying around to increase THEIR super-abilities.  (“This is Bob!  Bob has incredible super-powers thanks to all-natural Enzyte!”)  Before Mr. Mackie could arrive to chastise the LSH about their foolish caving to peer pressure, Shrinking Violet revealed the new kid’s secret:  HE IS POSSESSED BY EVIL SPIRITS FROM BEEYOOOOND!!!  


Turns out, the devil really did make him do it.  But why would demons be susceptible to gold, particularly?  Now, I first read this when I was 13 or so, and really didn’t know all that much about the 30th century, but even I had issues with ghosties and ghoulies in this austere, shiny, technological future thingy.  I didn’t have a problem with the traitor plotline, so much, as it was fairly new to me at the time (this also being before the days of “The Judas Contract,” as well) but then I read forward an issue or two to meet the mighty Dynamo Boy!  D.B. was a snotty little punk (just like Command Kid) and he joined the Legion with strange ill-intent (just like Command Kid) and he used his influence to mess with the heads of the super-teens ( just like Command Kid.)  But here’s the huge difference:  He wasn’t a ghost.  He was a PIRATE!  Yaaarrr!  


To date, it is unclear if the LSH was betrayed by a ninja, but they did get served by a monkey…  Dynamo Boy, like Command Kid, commanded far too much inflence on the team (especially given that Star Boy was virtually a non-entity, despite having been introduced much earlier in the canon, and having insane super-powers to boot) and eventually drummed all the super-heroes out of their own club, inducteng the evil members of the Legion of Super-Villains in their place.  He was, of course, taken down in less than 18 pages, as was the custom of the day.  (Had Queen Veranke attacked the Legion, she’d have only been good for five pages and a Brainiac 5 one-liner, instead of taking over all four Avengers titles for the better part of six months.) Some time ago, when I intially started the Hero History project, I had to decide which Legionnaires were and were not going to be considered officially members for the purposes of that project. Command Kid and Dynamo Boy fell into the realm of one-shot plot devices, rather than characters, and I realized that unless I were to combine them into one entry (and maybe chuck in Blockade Boy and Biron The Bowman as well) they wouldn’t be much fun to read about. In the final analysis, I just couldn’t get past my youthful betrayal that the creators of the LSH had done the same damn thing in nearly back-to-back stories with these two yutzes, and their stories remained untold until now. 

7. Fortress Lad:  Oh, the tragedy of Fortress Lad… In the earliest days of the Legion of Super-Heroes (or so the story goes) a young hero from the planet Fwang came before them in their tryouts (a combination of ritual hazing and auto-da-fe that the team periodically underwent to make them feel better about themselves) explaining that all the males of his planet have the ability to turn into giant metal structures to protect their families. (I don’t want to ask what the women turn into…) Having been rejected by the founding team members, (who were looking for the raw power of a Bouncing Boy or a Triplicate Girl rather than a summer home) Fortress Lad barely arrives in time to save their lives after a sneak attack by Mnemonic Kid, another Legion reject. (Y’ever wonder why they rejected all these schmucks only to have them become villains? It’s called job security, sirrah or madam, and don’t you forget it.) Mnemonic Kid used her powers to wipe their minds, and only the timely intercession of Fortress Lad saved the day…


…at the cost of his own memory, leaving him permanently transformed into the Legion’s Upside-Down Spaceship Headquarters!  The Legion kids regained their memories while protected, but were sure that this structure was somehow important without fully remembering why, and chose it to be their first team home.  And NOW you know… The REST of the STORY!

8. Plaid Lad:  Not all the minor Legion supporting cast members come from the team’s wonderfully ludicrous Silver Age run… One of my fave-raves, a beloved character and dear imaginary friend of mine didn’t show up until the advent of the SW6 clone/time travelling duplicate Legion in the 90’s. Much like the Man With No Name, he would arrive in town quietly, pick his time, and leave an inevitable mark on those who met him…


Ooooeeooooeeeooo..  Wah wah waaaah…  Plaid Lad travelled back in time to the late 1990’s after this humiliation, and single-handedly made Burberry a household name…  His ancestor, one Herbert R. Tarlek, was also mildly famous.

9. Unknown Boy:  A lot of heavy concepts were sprung on Silver Age Legion readers without a whole lot of fanfare: Entire planets dedicated to one person. Worlds filled with mutated superhumans. An ice cream shop featuring flavors from ALL NINE PLANETS! (In the 30th Century, cooler heads have prevailed, and have named Pluto a planet again just because they realize how asinine it is to try to demote a celestial body. This isn’t “Milky Way Apprentice” wherein the lowest performing planet is voted out, ya yahoos.) And, for those who were quick to read between the lines, issues like body image, gender issues, and even cross-dressing showed up with unusual regularity. Witness the plight of the would-be Legionnaire called Unknown Boy:  


Unknown Boy’s secret identity? Kara Zor-El of Argo City, Krypton. (Don’t even get me started on how his/her cousin was the first person to figure out that it was her inside an impenetrable lead-lined costume…) An encounter with Red Kryptonite wiped her memory, gave her the ability to see through lead, and also the urge to see how the other half lives. Much like legendary jazz great Billy Tipton, Kara was successful in breaking through the glass ceiling of the LSH and, thanks to an inadvertant locker room moment, discovering the truth about why they call him ULTRA Boy.

10. X-Bomb Betty:  Nobody really encompasses the truth about Legion tryouts more completely than Betty, an applicant at the same LSH cattle call that brought us Plaid Lad (and, not coincidentally, led to an Arm-Fall-Off Boy sighting) and was hand-picked out of the crowd by Inferno (also known as Sun Boy, also the only Legionnaire willing to admit that it’s all about how you fill out your costume more than anything else.)  Her story is pretty clearly told here:


Y’know, at least Daffy Duck had the cojones to follow when he told the joke…  And does anybody know how big a 150 million megaton explosion would be?  I’m figuring it’d be visible from space, honestly, and (to be frank) I can think of any one of a DOZEN ways the power would be more useful than magnetism, telepathy, or self-replication, for that matter.  Don’t feel bad for Betts, though.  She went on to a successful career as an actress, playing Bree Van De Kamp on Desperate Housewives.
The moreal of the story here, folks, is a simple one:  All men, women, strangely pastel-toned men and women, teenage fish-men, mobile boulders, phantoms, Kryptonians and little spaceship guys may be created equal, but it takes a special breed of awesome to get into the Legion.  (Unless you’re Bouncing Boy, in which case they just love your dad’s space-Camaro.)

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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  1. Greg A
    March 10, 2010 at 10:37 am — Reply

    Two quick thoughts:

    1) No Anti-Lad? Have I missed a hero history somewhere along the way? That issue of SatLSH is one of my all time favorites.
    B) I’m really, really, really surprised nobody has tried to retcon the Beast Boy story into a time-traveling Garfield Logan story.

  2. Adam
    March 10, 2010 at 11:04 am — Reply

    The name as it appears in the scan: “Beast Brain” has me truly laughing out loud.

  3. Navarre
    March 10, 2010 at 11:06 am — Reply

    I am ashamed to say I only knew three of these characters.

    I do have the issue that features the first appearance of Charma though. I actually liked her and Grimbor.

    • March 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm — Reply

      I do have the issue that features the first appearance of Charma though. I actually liked her and Grimbor.

      Makes you wonder if Grimbor is from Rimbor?

  4. March 10, 2010 at 11:51 am — Reply

    Couldn’t stump me, Matthew! Too big of a Legion Lover for that to happen.


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