My 6 Favorite Characters from the Legion of Super-Heroes
A new Legion of Super-Heroes reboot is upon us and I’m going to give this one a try. I like Brian Michael Bendis as a writer and I love the new character designs by Ryan Sook. They’re so gorgeous and colorful! But like any comic book fan, my only real concern is where are my favorite Legionnaires?
I’ve never been a fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes. They’ve just never been my jam. But I have my favorite members. I had some old Legion digest comics back when I was a kid. And I had a guidebook for a tabletop RPG featuring the Legion that gave me bios for all of the various members from the 80s-90s era. All of that was enough for a couple characters to imprint on me as my favorite Legionnaires.
And sure enough, only one of my favorites has made it to the reboot so far. That’s just my luck! Join me after the jump for my favorite characters from the Legion of Super-Heroes canon!
First, a quick primer.
The Legion of Super-Heroes is a team of heroes from the 31st century. They are comprised of humans and aliens from all across the galaxy, each one with their own unique super-power. There are usually at least a dozen members of the Legion at any time; they’re known for their large rosters. Traditionally, heroes from across the galaxy audition for Legion membership and they get to join this exclusive club of superheroes.
And that’s pretty much all you need to know!
6. The Legion of Substitute Heroes
Who cares about the Legion of Super-Heroes? The Legion of Substitute Heroes is where it’s at! I love the concept behind the Subs. Is there any more underdog team than the Subs? I know it’s not a specific member, but this is my favorite concept in the entire Legion canon. Basically, a couple of heroes who auditioned and got rejected for proper Legion membership decided that that wasn’t going to deter them from being superheroes. So they banded together into their own team and opted to fill-in protecting the planet Earth whenever the Legion had to go off on some space mission. The Subs kept themselves a secret at the start, but the Legion quickly found out and welcomed their help. I love that.
The Subs are composed of members whose powers were either rather lame and not fit for Legion membership, or they already had someone on the Legion with that specific power. They didn’t double up on powers on the Legion of Super-Heroes. So the Subs had guys like Stone Boy, who could turn his whole body into stone…except that he couldn’t move. Not a very useful power in the field, but gosh darnit, Stone Boy wasn’t going to quit! And that’s why I love the Legion of Substitute Heroes. They had guts, they had drive and they had heart!
5. Infectious Lass
I’ve never actually read an Infectious Lass comic, but she seems really fun! She has the power of sickness and looks rather phlegmy, but she’s also a really fun and bubbly person. It’s a nifty contrast. Infectious Lass is a later member of the Substitute Heroes and fought hard in a lot of battles, eventually gaining full Legion membership after a couple reboots. Silliest of all, Infectious Lass was plucked from the time stream at one point to join Doctor 13 and a crazy crew of random characters in Tales of the Unexpected. It was a fun use of such a wild character.
4. Triplicate Girl
Here’s the thing: anybody who has read my blog for awhile should have a pretty good idea of some of my all-time favorite comic book characters. And it should come as no surprise that my favorite members of the Legion of Super-Heroes coincide with my favorite members of the X-Men. I don’t know what exactly was going through Young Sean’s head, but I seemed to glom onto Legion characters who shared the powers of my favorite X-Men. Triplicate Girl is obviously the Legion equivalent of Multiple Man (and they were joined in Amalgam Comics!). I don’t know much about Triplicate Girl, other than she’s had a lot of rocky reboots and tragedies over the years. But she’s the Legionnaire with the same power as my all-time favorite comic book character, so she’s one of my favorite Legionnaires! She’s also my favorite traditional Legionnaire, and is, so far, the only member to appear in the new Bendis comic. I hope to see good things from her!
Ron-Karr is hilarious and I love him. I first met Ron-Karr back in one of those digest-sized Legion comics I had back in the day. He auditioned for Legion membership but was rejected because of his lame powers. Ron-Karr can turn his body two-dimensional. He can go flat, and that’s about it. He’s only really useful for sliding under doors. And that appearance alone would have been enough, but when I later got my hands on the RPG guidebook, I discovered that Ron-Karr had gone on to join the Legion of Super-Villains! But he wasn’t particularly villainous or evil. I guess he just had nowhere else to go after he was rejected for Legion membership, so he wound up randomly on the bad guy version! I find that hilarious! Ron-Karr would get up to all sorts of mischief as a villain, even earning him a spot on the bad guy team in the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon (though they changed his powers). He eventually cleaned up his act and joined the Legion of Substitute Heroes, but I’ll always remember him as that random audition who later stumbled his way onto a big time bad guy squad. That’s funny stuff.
2. Duplicate Boy
Here’s another X-Men analogue. Duplicate Boy has the same powers as the Mimic, one of my favorite X-Men. He can replicate the super-powers of anyone, and can duplicate multiple powers simultaneously. That makes him a pretty powerful guy, and explains why he was only ever used as an obscure team member of the Heroes of Lallor. The planet Lallor had their own team of superheroes, and they teamed up with the Legion on rare occasions. Duplicate Boy’s biggest claim to fame was that he was in a relationship for awhile with the Legionnaire Shrinking Violet, but left her when she started acting weird. This was part of an ongoing story where Shrinking Violet was replaced by an impostor. Later writers would recton Duplicate Boy’s reaction to mean he was aware of the impostor but chose not to do anything about it, such as saving his girlfriend. This turned him into a huge jerk and the real Violet dumped his ass when she returned, as well she should. And since Duplicate Boy hasn’t been seen since the early 1980s, that’s his lasting impact. But I had some Heroes of Lallor issues in those Legion digests when I was a kid and I glommed onto him pretty well.
1. Polar Boy
Polar Boy is a nice mix of everything I use to pick my favorite Legion characters. First of all, he’s an analogue to Iceman, my favorite of the traditional X-Men. Second of all, he’s the leader of the Legion of Substitute Heroes! He formed the team after the Legion foolishly rejected his awesome ice powers! Polar Boy has more heart than any Legionnaire, the guy who took rejection and decided to turn that into his own team, with other heroes who deserved a chance to prove themselves. Polar Boy led the Subs like a true pro, and was eventually chosen for proper Legion membership. He’s survived the various Legion reboots over the decades, always making a reappearance somewhere. But he should be most known for one of the best underdog stories in comics because that makes him a real standout!
I really hope to see Polar Boy leading the Subs in the new Bendis Legion.