Or – “Eight Heroes Are Better Than None…”
In recent weeks, we’ve been examining those heroes who joined the Legion in it’s second major incarnation, after harassment from a corrupt Earthgov (undermined by Dominator spies) drove the team to disband for over three years. The team was eventually brought back together by the murder of longtime member Blok (*sniff*) and rose like a phoenix from the ashes, only without sleeping with the kid in the visor. But there is something that we’ve only touched upon briefly that you may not have known… The Legion was active for several months during that Five Year Lacuna. And during that time, took on new members (including the already-covered Kent Shakespeare) whose Legion tenures were mostly undocumented. But, thanks to the miracles of modern technology (and a collection of Legion comics bigger than the average minivan) their stories can be told… Sort of. This, then, is your Major Spoilers Hero History of E. Davis Ester of Touston… Bobb Kohan of Earth… Myke-4 Astor of Calish Aetia… Myg of Lythyl… Berta Skye Haris of Earth… Stig Ah of Rimbor… Myke Chypurz of Earth… Rhent Ustin of Earth… The Five-Year Gap Legionnaires!
E. Davis Ester (anagrams to disaster eve) was a jinx, the Cousin Oliver of the 30th Century. His entire life was a series of broken dishes, bad luck and shattered relationships, but Dave liked to look on the brighter side. Training himself to use his abilities in combat, Ester arrived at Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters during one of their seemingly daily tryout sessions…
Immediately after this interaction, Star Boy accidentally caused the death of a man named Kenz Nuhor, and was expelled from the Legion of Super-Heroes in disgrace. Legion lore had it that shaking hands with Calamity King was the root of Mr. Kallor’s bad day. After years of drifting from job to job, Davis heard that the Legion had fallen upon lean times. After the Magic Wars, the team was targeted by Earthgov, and finding themselves short handed, the team accepted Calamity King’s bid for membership.
The Legion disbanded shortly thereafter. Calamity King joined the underground resistance, led by Jacques Foccart, and infiltrated Earthgov as a spy. He was discovered, and submitted for genetic manipulation. E. Davis Ester was not one of the escapees known to have escaped from the Dominator’s chambers, nor is it know if he was able to leave Earth before it was destroyed.
Bobb Kohan’s life was relatively non-descript before he discovered his power to encase things in crystal. It’s understandable, then, that he found himself wanting to exceed, driven to be more than just your average kid. As soon as he was old enough, Bobb immediately headed for LSH headquarters to apply. Unfortunately, he arrived on the same day that Blok, a former member of the League of Super-Assassins made HIS bid for membership…
Turned down alongside Lamprey and Nightwind, Crystal Kid immediately applied for membership in the Legion Academy, run by former Legionnaires Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy. It was only a few months until he and his fellow hopefuls got the news that the Legion might be hiring for the first time in years…
Crystal Kid and his friends were quickly disillusioned to find that the Legion of Super-Heroes WASN’T actually recruiting, having decided that it was too dangerous to take on new members at that precise moment. After seeing friends Tellus and Magnetic Kid make the grade, Crystal Kid was excited when the Legion lowered their standards after the Magic Wars. C.K. was brought onboard, but the team was suffering under the leadership of Sun Boy, whose emotional instability really came to the forefront with the stress of running the group. After the mission known as Black Dawn, Crystal Kid (and, indeed, most of his teammates) tendered his resignation to Sun Boy, who was too wrapped up in himself to notice.
Bobb disappeared from the public eye after leaving the LSH, ending up in the hands of the Dominator scientists who were trying to unlock the secrets of the Metagene that gave humans their powers. Crystal Kid was fortunate enough to be stored in the same chambers as Danielle Foccart, and was able to ride along when she broke out of the Weisinger Chamber.
So, obviously, when the team came knocking to hire Computo, Dragonmage, and Catspaw, they also wanted to line up the amazing Crystal Kid as well, right? Not so fast, Faithful Spoilerite…
So, why didn’t the Jacques and Rokk Connection want Bobb? Probably the same reason that Computo looks like she’s been sucking on citrus fruits in that first panel: Crystal Kid may be a fine hero in his own right, but Bobb Kohan is annoying. Still, Crystal Kid worked alongside the Legion when the Earth needed to be evacuated, and when Earthgov branded the team traitors, Crystal Kid was willing to step into the line of fire, even against his old comrades…
Bobb blinked out of existence soon after, as the Zero Hour crisis restarted the 30th Century from scratch.
The story of Echo actually starts in the future of the future while simultaneously being in both our past and the Legion’s. Because Time Travel is complicated! After years without contact from his former boyhood pals, Superman has almost forgotten the Legion of Super-Heroes. When he finally does meander forward in time again, he finds that not only are his old friends all grown up, but they have a counterpart group in the Legion of Super-Villains, more deadly than ever before! The plot of Legion of 3 Worlds, you say? Nope. Try the first appearance of Myke-4 Astor, who would become Echo.
It is unclear why Echo teams up with the LSV, or even what his motivations are during these days, as the Legionnaires find themselves being run ragged by their counterparts. When the team is forced to fight the Super-Villains, Male-Pattern Baldness Man Cosmic Man (once called Cosmic Boy) draws the short straw and ends up facing the new kid…
Echo’s powers give him an immediate edge against Rokk, but even he can’t prepare for the years of experience and combat savvy that comes with being a founding Legionnaire…
Years later, and also years before (since this Adult Legion tale takes place further down the time-track than the Legion we know and love) Echo, known for fighting the Khunds and rising up against injustice, was offered a membership. He, like Crystal Kid, stayed with the team until the disastrous mission called Black Dawn caused him to rethink his reasons for joining the team at all…
Echo dropped out of sight after leaving the team, and was not heard from again until the 30th Century was rebooted by Zero Hour.
Karate Kid II:
Val Armorr was a study in contrasts, disciplined, controlled… yet determined and crazy enough to face Tom Welling in one-on-one combat. Myg , on the other had, was his precise opposite in all but martial skill. Growing up on planet Lythyl, Myg was raised knowing that he could have anything that anyone else had, so long as he could kick the $#!+ out of them in combat. He quickly rose in statue, trained by the toughest combatants the galaxy had to offer… until the arrival of one Brin Londo, the Legionnaire known as Timber Wolf.
Timber Wolf’s real mission was more than just showing off his testicular fortitude: he came to Lythyl because Val Armorr’s will asked him to, to plant a seed. The legends say that Lythyl’s soil was so rough that nothing could grow, and Val wanted to dispel the myth. Working in concert with Val’s teacher, the Sensei, Timber Wolf found that this plan wasn’t going to be easy, as Myg is a master of nearly all forms of unarmed combat.
For all his skill though, Myg was still young enough to fall for a little-known combat stance called “The Rimbor Sucker Punch…”
As was often the case, though, Timber Wolf’s scorn overrode his ability to foresee the future, as Myg not only returned the United Planets with them, but eventually came to enroll in the Legion Academy to honor the man who proved that Lythyl wasn’t everything the legends thought it to be.
Many of the applicants that ended up in the academy weren’t psychologically suitable for Legion duty, like Comet Queen, or didn’t possess the power to make them useful in all fights, like Visi-Lad (more on him later.) As Karate Kid, Myg showed that he had both those qualities, in spades.
The mysterious signal turns out not to be the signal that their mission has ended, but indeed the indication that the real mission was beginning. At the behest of Cosmic Boy, Myg and company were being called to assist retired Legion founder Cosmic Boy on a mission that the regular Legion couldn’t handle, and ended up forming a new incarnation of the Legion of Substitute Heroes (the original having been disbanded when Polar Boy successfully made it into the big leagues.)
When the Legion started losing members left and right after the Magic Wars, Karate Kid was offered a membership in the team, a job at which he excelled. Unfortunately, his history as a head-knocker on Lythyl made him an easy target for Earthgov’s campaign to smear the Legion, and Myg snapped, going on the run into Dominator space. The disc-heads captured him, and subjected him to torture, genetic manipulation and brain-washing in their chambers on Earth. When the Legion discovered Myg’s status, they found it difficult to try and save him, what with his trying to kill them all…
The Legionnaires were able to take Myg back into custody, but were unable to repair his psyche before the Zero Hour crisis reset the 30th Century…
Nightwind’s story starts at pretty much the same place as Crystal Kid’s did, a few paragraphs ago. Again, the new would-be Legionnaire arrived the same day that Blok showed up and ruined everything for three fresh-faced young kids from the wrong side of the collapsar. Unlike Crystal Kid, though, Berta responded to the rock-man by… flirting?
“Oooh, your skin is sooo haaard. Can you get me a tryout?” Heh. Nightwind, Crystal Kid, and their pal Lamprey (who never made it to the Legion, even during this period of lax background checks and desperation) all returned to harass Wildfire, apparently the Legion’s recruitment director, and Nightwind shows her awesome power of creating tornados with her toes…
I may be misreading that panel sequence, though. Still, the combination of clever power usage, sheer dumb luck, and ample cleavage nets the Legion rookies time with the anti-energy generator, and Wildfire tries to let them all down easily.
Nightwind (and Crystal Kid) applied and were accepted into the Legion academy soon afterwards, honing her powers and preparing to be a Legionnaire under the tutelage of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel, and occasionally getting to rush in to the rescue as the Deus Ex Machina squad!
When Earthgov turned on the Legion after the Magic Wars, Nightwind was among those that Polar Boy tapped to fill spaces in the gutted Legion roster. Nightwind was actually the last member to successfully graduate from the Academy, and when the Legion shut down their operations, Berta reconnected with
her former instructors, the Taines, and many of her former comrades, forming the new United Planets militia. Berta became a well-respected general, but when the Khunds declared war on the ravaged U.P., Nightwind paid the ultimate price.
Berta’s death did serve as a rallying point for the U.P. and the Legion, and the team helped to rebuff the Khundish armies in their attempt to overtake the United Planets.
Reflecto’s story begins much in the same place as Echo’s, (and indeed, as Chemical King and Shadow Lass’ stories) with Superman’s visit to the future to see how his old pals in the Legion have aged. In the LSH’s hall of heroes, the Man of Steel sees the Ghosts of Dead Legionnaires Past (or possibly future, time travel tenses are never truly clear to me) including our first look at the man known as Reflecto.
Unlike Shady and Condo, though, Reflecto didn’t arrive on the scene any time soon. In fact, it was years later before the shadow of Reflecto fell upon our Legion friends. After Ultra Boy’s mysterious presence and unwitnessed death, the entire Legion worries for the mental state of his ex girlfriend Phantom Girl. And, true to their worst fears, she ends up getting distracted in combat, and nearly dying horribly until she’s rescued… by Reflecto!
P.G. immediately suspects that ‘Flecto is her Ultra Boy returned from beyond the pale, but the Legionnaires aren’t so sure. For his part, Reflecto doesn’t do anything to dispel that notion, stalking her from the shadows and stepping in to save her life. When he takes a blast from Grimbor, Reflecto is revealed to be a lost Legionnaire, but it ain’t Ultra Boy…
It’s TOM WELLING!! Wearing somebody’s class ring around his waist, no less! Turns out that this was never the actual Reflecto to begin with. Instead, his fixation comes from a strange melange of Tom Welling’s body and Ultra Boy’s mind, which through a complex series of events, have merged and used Ultra Boy’s memories of Rimborian hero Reflecto to get close to Phantom Girl again. Years later (or possibly years before, as the story in question is a flashback) we find out that the REAL Reflecto was invited alongside Ultra Boy to become Rimbor’s representative in the Legion.
Reflecto’s Legion membership ended in tragedy, as he was fatally poisoned in battle with a villain called the Molecule Master, fulfilling the prophecy on the statue which served as his first appearance.
Myke Chypers (again with the Myke!) was a smart kid, sort of a buzzcut version of Mitch Taylor from ‘Real Genius.’ His story starts with yet another Legion tryout, although this one starts out a bit different, with an expensive sports jet busting through the Legion’s security perimeter…
What does Lester Spiffany have to do with anything? Nothing… nothing at all. It’s just fun to say. SPIFFANY! I guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face. Aaaaaaanywaaaaay, the next applicant is where we really want to go, as Storm Boy makes his mark on the LSH in a big way.
Turns out that Myke was just rushing a space fraternity, and was assigned this as his initiation prank. Storm Boy disappeared from the hero field, but ended up in the meteorological sciences, ending up in Earthgov’s weather control stations. When the Dominators began quietly taking over Earth, Myke was puzzled by orders that would send bad weather at the worst possible time, and Myke got suspicious. He rejoined the Legion just at the point where they were ignoring nearly all their induction rules, including the one about natural powers, and stayed with the team until it’s disbanding. After the Dominators were run off Earth, President Jacques Foccart put Storm Boy in charge of Earth’s weather stations, a post he fulfilled until his universe ceased to be during Zero Hour.
Rhent Ustin’s life prior to the Legion is a mystery, and even the source of his powers is unknown, but what is public is his enrollment in the Legion Academy at roughly the same time as Myg joined. Visi-Lad quickly made his presence known at the Academy, participating in public missions alongside the legendary Bouncing Boy…
Visi-Lad seems to have x-ray and telescopic vision, as well as a couple of surprises in the form of heat vision, and even hypnotic vision. Unlike most nerds, he could slough off nicknames like “Four Eyes,” actually having possesion of four optic bulbs.
Visi-Lad is among the Academy cadets who are with Bouncing Boy with a strange mystery causes them to hook up with Night Girl and Cosmic Boy, forming the nucleus of the second Legion of Substitute Heroes. Sadly for Rhent, though, he gets throughly hosed by fate and the luck of the draw…
Visi-Lad was one of the last of the new Legionnaires, participating in only a couple of field missions before the Legion went into mothballs thanks to Dominator plotting. He was captured by the Dominators, and experimented on, but escaped the Weisinger Chambers essentially unscathed (having actually grown MORE eyes of power while in there) and eventually ended up working with the United Planets Militia Academy under Chuck and Luornu Taine.
I’ve always maintained that the Legion isn’t about moving planets (thought they do that) or even about stopping universal disaster (though they achieve that.) The Legion of Super-Heroes is about the desire to use whatever it is that you bring to the table for the betterment of others. Most of the Five Year Gap Legionnaires were rejected by the team (some more than once) for one reason or another, and all found their stints with the team to be less storied than they had hoped, but these “Lost Legionnaires,” now more than ever embody what the team is about: Everyone CAN be a hero. It’s up to each of us to figure out how.
**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! Next time on Hero History, we’ll peer back into the mists of time to discover that, sometimes, you didn’t have to have super-powers or even live in the same century as the Legion to get in. Sometimes it really IS all about who you know. Join us before we take the plunge into the home stretch, for a look at… The Honorary Legionnaires!
If you look at the chronology of the Five Year Gap, there’s a point at which the Legion’s membership is down to Polar Boy, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid II, and Nightwind.
I’d *love* to read a story about the adventures of that Legion.
You should also note that Storm Boy showed up as part of Earth Man’s Justice League in “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes”, and Myg has turned up as a bit of a douchebag in “Legion of 3 Worlds”.
I suspect that Calamity King allowed himself to be discovered as a deliberate plot to use his power to ruin the Dominator’s evil laboratories. [the diskheads deserve far worse] ;)
I started reading my older brother’s Legion comics back in ’81, his Curt Swan reprints, up to the Giffen stuff at the time. the Legion has as much if not more potential as the X-men, in terms of building lore and fanbase. it’s too bad the franchise has been juggled so much…G. John’s “Superman and the Legion +” run last year resparked my interest, then “Legion of 3 Worlds” has had me drooling, and this web series has been a perfect companion for that rehash and necessary catch-up that fans old and new have been deserving, if not clamoring for. I spent six hours the other night reading profiles, and that was just scratching the surface. well done.
also: I am a great fan of the five-year gap Legion; now that the multiverse exists again, they should have that Legion (of heroes that didn’t bond/disappear with younger counterparts) be explained: the Subs, Quislet, Invisible Kid 2, Quislet, Tyroc, etc. The younger members could include those that never had older counterparts, like DragonMage, Catspaw, etc. You could make the Dirk/Drake “Sun-Fire/NRG” a half-insane villain by now. It would be a gritty, well-schooled team, and Giffen’s evolution of the characters/team deserves to be acknowledged.
One more thing (argh!): on this “Giffen-verse” you could bend some fun rules that could have some real potential: for example, Ambush Bug could be a part of the regular swing of things, and Rond Vidar would’ve never died.
The heroic version of Echo appeared with the other Legionnaires in Lo3W #5.