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Friday, July 24, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Key Comics Part 6

More interstellar space drama here, and this is the 6th part to this Legion of Super-Heroes key comics series. In the last part we got to Jim Shooter's introduction as writer for the Legion, and this list will carry the contributions he made to the world of L.S.H., as well as legendary comic artist Curt Swan.

Curt Swan does have a hand in many creations in Part 6 as well. Two important groups and their first appearances will be introduced. Both are villains or foes of the Legion and the United Planets.

One group is just interesting and tied to the Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's only because I'm a fan of  Green Lantern. Alright, enough of that.

This Part 5 link is in case you missed it. The scroll wheel on your mouse is for continuing onward. Enjoy!

1st appearance of Universo
1st appearance of Rond Vidar

We got the first appearances of both father and son here with Universo and Rond Vidar. Universo is an enemy and foe of the Legion while his son is a good guy.

Rond Vidar is a genius at temporal theory and invented the Time Cube. He would become an honorary member of the Legion and also join the Green Lantern Corps.

It would later be revealed that Universo was a former Green Lantern as well in later comics. He was stripped of his ring when he tried to view the Dawn of Time. Universo was a master of hypnotism and has a hypno-stone.  

Adventure Comics #349 was published October, 1966 and Universo and Rond Vidar were created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan.

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1st appearance of R.J. Brande?
1st appearance of Hag (White Witch)
1st appearance of Prince Evillo & Devil's Dozen

R.J. Brande would become a major supporting character for the Legion of Super-Heroes. He is the chief financier of the group and helped to found the group in a later retconned origin.

It's also revealed later that he is the father of Chameleon Boy and was a Durlan who had gotten Yorggian fever which trapped him permanently in human form. He is one of the richest men in the universe and this issue reveals that he is the financier of the group when he contacts them while being robbed.

This may be a cameo appearance of R.J. Brande or 1st brief appearance. Not sure about that. It's over-looked considering his first appearance.

Apparently Prince Evillo has gathered his lieutenants known as the Devil's Dozen, an odd name since there are only four characters in that group in their first appearance. This group consists of Hag also known as the White Witch, Apollo, Wild Huntsman, and Sugyn.

The mission are to make 4 different robberies. Apollo is sent to rob the Interplanetary Bank, and the Legion are dispatched to stop him. It's only at near the end when they discover R.J. Brande is also being robbed by the Devil's Dozen.

The only member of the Devil's Dozen that has made any impact is the character of White Witch, who is actually is Dream Girl's sister, and she would become a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Unlike the other natives of Naltor, she cannot see into the future.

Instead, she learned the mystic arts of magic. Despite her villainous first appearance, it was later learned that she was under the spell of Mordru. Her real name is Mysa Nal.

All these characters were created by E. Nelson Bridwell and Curt Swan. Adventure Comics #350 was published November, 1966.

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1st appearance of Fatal Five
1st appearance of Sun-Eater
Origin of Tharok and Mano

With the first appearance of the Fatal Five also comes the first appearances of Emerald Empress, Mano, The Persuader, Tharok and Validus. Tharok is the leader but the Fatal Five were first assembled by the Legion themselves to help fight the Sun-Eater.

Probably a big mistake since the Fatal Five are notable foes for the Legion, plaguing them at every possible opportunity. All the members of this group were created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan.

So first up is Emerald Empress, often just called Empress. From the planet Venegar, Sarya holds the Emerald Eye of Ekron, an item of immense power.

It hasn't really been established the lengths of what the Emerald Eye of Ekron can do however. It allows Empress to fly and it can emit blasts of energy. It has allowed her super strength in one battle and the ability to grow to a gigantic size in another.

Mano is a mutant and has what's called the "anti-matter touch". With a single touch of his right hand, he can disintegrate virtually anything. He destroyed his home planet of Angtu by using his power.

Tharok is the leader of the Fatal Five and is a cyborg and a native of Zadron, home to some of the most advanced doctors and scientists in the galaxy. When the entire left side of his body was destroyed in an explosion, the doctors of his planet replaced it with robotics.

His brain was replaced with a computer and this made him far more intelligent than he was before but did nothing about his evil tendencies.

Validus is actually an interesting character. He is the son of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl and is a twin. Of course, he was kidnapped by none other than Darkseid at the instant of his birth and sent backwards in time ten years. This was all retconned later obviously.

Garridan Ranzz has a monstrous body is practically mindless. This is a vulnerability that Tharok used against Validus at every opportunity, keeping Validus a loyal member of the Fatal Five.

Nyeun Chun Ti is The Persuader and is the original version of this character. He seemingly possesses no real super power but has enhanced strength and endurance since he comes from a heavy-gravity planet. He wields an atomic axe that can seemingly cut through anything.

January, 1967 is the publishing date for Adventure Comics #352.

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Death of Ferro Lad
2nd appearance of Fatal Five

We all know about comic book deaths, but there's actually an interesting story concerning the death of Ferro Lad. Jim Shooter apparently intended this character to be black, but editor Mort Weisinger put the kabosh on that idea.

What was the reason? Fear of losing distribution in the south. Apparently Marvel wasn't concerned about that since Black Panther came out a year earlier.

The reason why Ferro Lad had to die besides having a dumb name was recounted by Shooter in which he said, "Ferro Lad, I killed because my plan was that he was a black guy, and Mort said no. Then I said, 'Well, let's see. I've got this idea for a story, and someone needs to die...Ah-ha! Him!' So basically, I killed him off because it annoyed me that I couldn't do with him what I wanted."

Anyways, death of Ferro Lad and 2nd appearance of the Fatal Five. Adventure Comics #353 was published February, 1967, and this comic issue is a fan-favorite story.

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1st mention of Shadow Woman
1st mention of Chemical King

With all this future stuff and time traveling going on between Superboy and Superman, things can get pretty hairy. So this comic has Superman meet the Adult Legion of Super-Heroes in the future.

In this future, he learns what happens to all the members of the group. Some have married and had kids, some have left the team to do something else, and some members have died and are memorialized in the Legion's base.

Shadow Woman and Chemical King do not actually appear in the story, but they are mentioned in it. They do appear on this classic cover that shows the memorials of deceased Legion members.

You can clearly see Chemical King and Shadow Woman on the cover. This is like a prelude to the character's actual first appearance. Shadow Woman would be introduced as Shadow Lass in her first actual comic appearance.

This Superman futuristic adventure was published March, 1967, and you could say that this is the first cover appearance of Chemical King and Shadow Lass, but as adult versions of themselves.

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1st appearance of Echo
1st appearance of Beauty Blaze

Created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, Echo is Myke-4 Astor and from the Khundish planet of Calish-Aetia. Yes, this character is a Khund, and he would become a member of the Legion of Super-Villains.

Another first appearance in the issue is the introduction of Beauty Blaze, a fire generating foe of the Legion and also a member of the Legion of Super-Villains. Adventure Comics #355 was published April, 1967.

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1st appearance of the Controllers

In their initial early appearances, the Controllers were determined to prevent the Earth-One universe from being destroyed by war in the same way their universe had been. They had mind-control powers and weapons like the Sun-Eater.

It's this weapon that kills Ferro Lad in issue #353. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, this race of being's origin was revamped or changed. They are Maltusians who left their planet and colonized Oa, so the Controllers are Oans.

However, the group of Oans that decided that they should contain evil became the Guardians of the Universe, and the other group that believed they should destroy evil became the Controllers and left Oa long ago. The Controllers are not blue-skinned like the Guardians.

Pretty interesting group that connects with the Green Lantern mythos. Adventure Comics #357 was published June, 1967.

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1st appearance of Hunter

There are two versions of this character, and this is the original Otto Orion. No superpowers, just a master tracker and hunter. He only has one appearance and dies in this issue when he makes the mistake of trying to hunt the Legion of Super-Heroes.

However, his son would take up the mantle later on and became a foe that later joined the Legion of Super-Villains. Not that major of a key issue for sure and both versions of Hunter are pretty minor villains for the Legion. This comic was published July, 1967.

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1st appearance of the Dominators

Known as the Dominion, these bad ass, technologically advanced race of aliens were first villains for the Legion of Super-Heroes. They are threats to the United Planets and fought a long war with the government.

The Dominators would be responsible for quite a bit of mischief that extended beyond the Legion of Super-Heroes' tales. One member of their race would invent the "Gene Bomb" during the Invasion cross-over event that would affect many of DC's super-heroes. 

If there is ever a Legion movie, I think the Dominators will be in it. October, 1967 is the publishing date for Adventure Comics #361, and it's this comic that establishes the long-time feud and tensions between the Dominion and the United Planets.

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Dominators and Fatal Five? Might be first appearances to seriously consider, especially the first one. First R.J. Brande might probably be another.

Since the upcoming Green Lantern movie has officially been titled the Green Lantern Corps, I wonder if the retconned Controllers' origin will be used for the cinematic world, or if that group of distant Oans will be introduced later on down the sequel road. Just food for thought on that one.

Click the PART 7 link below to continue.


  1. Hi Mayhem,

    didn' t know you were a Lantern fan. Great to hear about the movie! I remember you wanted to have the grade of my Green Lantern 16 - I would say its probably a 7,0, so I am super happy with that. Just imagine, it' s from 1962, and I don' t own to many comics from that era. I like the art so much, I could imagine becoming a Latern collector too, allthough I am not a big fan of the character.

    Best regards from your long time follower

    1. Yep, I'm a Green Lantern fan. Not a big bad hard-core fan, but I like the character and the mythos that surrounds the Green Lantern characters. Nice snag for sure and congrats, man!

  2. Hey Mayhem, Just got a look at the New Crossbones in Full Costume. He looks bad ass! I think Civil War is going to be crazy! Keep Up the Awesome Work!!! LK

    1. Heya LK, I saw the Crossbones costume online as well and I was pleasantly surprised. He does look really cool. Civil War will be an event for sure. Keep rockin' LK!

  3. One amusing little thing I noticed. At the end of the Universo story, the Legion members are impersonating the high council or whatever they're called when Universo comes in. They all whip off their masks, including......Chameleon Boy! Hello, he's Chameleon Boy. He don't need no steenkin' mask.

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