Legion of Super-Heroes

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Superboy No. 147 art by Curt Swan

The Legion of Super-Heroes

An organization of teenaged crimefighters and adventurers—representing Earth and more than a score of far-flung planets and consisting, all in all, of several dozen active members, honorary members, and reservists—each of whom possesses some unique super-power distinct from those possessed by every other member of the group. The Legion makes its headquarters in the city of Metropolis in the thirtieth century A.D., where it is primarily active.

Among the Legion's many members are Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad,Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy, Star Boy, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Bouncing Boy, Mon-El, Matter-Eater Lad, and Element Lad. When Superman was a teenager (see Superboy), he journeyed into the future and joined the Legion. Supergirl is also a member of the Legion (because Superboy meets Supergirl "before" his memory of encountering her as Superman, she must place a hypnotic suggestion to erase his memory whenever they meet in the 30th century). Jimmy Olsen is an honorary member of the Legion under the name Elastic Lad, and the Legion sometimes works with the Legion of Substitute Heroes when help is needed. The Legion's "animal branch" is known as the Legion of Super-Pets. The Legionnaires are fully aware that Clark Kent is secretly Superman (and Superboy). From the time the Legion meets Superboy onward, the post of Legion Leader is held by Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid, and Ultra Boy consecutively - during parts of this interval, Superboy, Saturn Girl, and Mon-El serve as Deputy Leaders.

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Since Superboy/Superman has the power to travel in time, it is possible for him to journey to the thirtieth century A.D. to visit the Legion either during the period when they are teen-agers or during the period when they are adults. By the same token, since the Legionnaires are able to time-travel also, it is possible for them to return to the twentieth century to visit Superman either as teen-agers or as adults. For this reason, the Legionnaires appear in the chronicles sometimes as teen-agers and sometimes as adults. And as adults, the Legionnaires often have different names from the ones they employed as teen-agers. The adult Cosmic Boy is called Cosmic Man; the adult Lightning Lad is called Lightning Man; the adult Saturn Girl is called Saturn Woman; and so on (See Adult Legion of Super-Heroes).

In August 1961, three adult Legionnaires, Cosmic Man, Lightning Man, and Saturn Woman, join forces with Superman in his battle with Lex Luthor and the the Legion of Super-Villains (S No. 147: “The Legion of Super-Villains!”). (See Legion of Super-Villains for more information on this encounter).

By April 1962, six teen-aged Legionnaires—Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Sun Boy—have created ingeniously lifelike robots of Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, and Perry White as part of an elaborate hoax they intend to play on Superman and Supergirl to commemorate the anniversary of Supergirl’s arrival on Earth. Knowing that Superman will fly the robots to his Fortress of Solitude for a detailed examination once he has ascertained that they are robots and not real people, the Legionnaires have concealed the components of their anniversary gift inside the robots’ bodies and programmed the Clark Kent robot to assemble the present, as well as to let the six Legionnaires into the locked Fortress, while Superman and Supergirl are fast asleep. Indeed, late that night, when an alarm goes off signaling the presence of intruders in the Fortress, Superman and Supergirl race to the entrance to discover the six Legionnaires standing proudly alongside their gift: colorful sculpted busts of themselves, Superman, and Supergirl (S No. 152/1: “The Robot Master!”).

In August 1962, two adult Legionnaires, Cosmic Man and Lightning Man, pose as Hercules and Samson, “two of the mightiest men of all time,” as part of an elaborate ruse, devised by Superman, for uncovering the hiding place of Duke Marple’s stolen loot and bringing the “notorious gang-leader” to justice (S No. 155/2: “The Downfall of Superman!”).

In October 1962, when Superman is believed to be dying of an incurable malady, the Legion of Super-Heroes, including Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, the Invisible Kid, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Sun Boy, and Triplicate Girl,is summoned to the twentieth century by Supergirl to help carry out the gigantic super-tasks that Superman hopes to fulfill as his final legacy to humanity, including the destruction of a “vast cloud of fungus in distant space, that will some day reach Earth and blight all plant life,” and the melting of the Antarctic ice, “to make Antarctica a fit place for millions to live in the future,” thus ensuring “a home for Earth’s expanding population ...!” (S No. 156: “The Last Days of Superman!” pts. I-III: ”Superman’s Death Sentence!”; “The Super-Comrades of All Time!”; “Superman’s Last Day of Life!”).

In November 1962, when Superman Day is celebrated in Metropolis, a delegation of teen-aged Legionnaires are among those on hand to attend the festivities (S No. 157/3: “Superman’s Day of Doom!”).

In November 1963, Saturn Woman poses as the enchantress Circe as part of Superman’s plan to defeat the Superman Revenge Squad (S No. 165/1: pts. I-II: ”Beauty and the Super-Beast!”; “Circe’s Super-Slave”).

When Metropolis television station WMET-TV inaugurates its new “Our American Heroes” series with a program honoring Superman, “our greatest American hero,” a delegation of teen-aged Legionnaires appears on the show along with Superman’s other friends and admirers to help pay tribute to the Man of Steel (Act No. 309, Feb 1964: “The Superman Super-Spectacular!”)

In October 1964, after Superman has been deprived of his super-powers by the baleful radiations of a mysterious green comet, three teen-aged Legionnaires; Cosmic Boy, the Invisible Kid, and Saturn Girl, use a “time-force wave carrier” in the Legion’s thirtieth-century Clubhouse to endow Superman temporarily with their various powers so that he can use them in his upcoming battle with Lex Luthor and Brainiac For a period of “a few hours,” therefore, until his borrowed powers fade and vanish, Superman is equipped with Cosmic Boy’s “power of super-magnetism,” the Invisible Kid’s “power of invisibility,” and Saturn Girl’s “power of telepathic thought-casting” (S No. 172: ”The New Superman!”; “Clark Kent—Former Superman!”; “The Struggle of the Two Supermen!”) (TGSB).

The members of the Legion of Super-Heroes


The Founders

Later Members in Order of Induction

Reserve and Honorary Members

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