Shadow Lass

+ Umbra

Created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan*

+ History

Shadow Lass steps up.
From Adventure #365 (1968). Art by Curt Swan.

Shadow Lass applies whiteface for the 20th century.
From Adventure #369 (1968). Art by Curt Swan.

night girl

The dreamy team: Shadow Lass and Night Girl.
From Superboy #212 (1975). Art by Mike Grell.

The Mallor family has defended Talok VIII for thousands of years. It started when Talok VIII was under the rule of alien conquerors, who enslaved the Talokians through the use of technology, which the primitive blue-skinned humanoids had never seen before. When it finally dawned on the natives that the machines were the cause of their woes, a band of freedom fighters set out to destroy them, and in the forefront of the fight was Mallor. When he destroyed the power source for the machines, the radiation it released altered his genetic structure, and gave him the power to project darkness. This newfound power became a rallying point for all Talok, and the oppressors were driven out. For centuries, as each member of the Mallor clan matured, they were brought to the cave of shadows, to be judged and empowered by their ancestors' spirits. (Skeptics believe that it is the gases in the cave which unlock the genetic potential that the Mallors possess, and that this gas is somewhat hallucinogenic, leading to the perceived encounter with the dead.)

When worshippers of the god Makkas — the hill-dwelling Yakka-Mahor encircled the enlightened city where most Talokians live, the city-dwellers had no ready defense. They combed the city until they found a descendant of their most recent champion, Sarven Mallor: his granddaughter Tasmia. Using a compass that was supposed to point to the shadow cave, she slipped out of the city and made it to the cave, where she found another grandchild of Sarven Mallor, who was raised in the wilderness rather than in the city, her cousin Grev. The two scared but brave children entered the cave, where they were enveloped by the shadows, and empowered with the hereditary ability by their predecessors. With the shadow power, Tasmia became Shadow Lass, champion of Talok VIII, and drove the Yakka-Mahor back. For the next several years she defended Talok City from threats of many different sorts. (Secret Origins #8)

One day, while she was off-planet on a diplomatic mission, the Fatal Five came in contact with Talok through another dimension, and, through their contacts, took over the world. When Tasmia saw what had become of her world, she decided to call the Legion of Super-Heroes to help take it back. The Fatal Five, who had counted on the Legion's intervention, freed themselves from that dimension and attacked the Legion in its own headquarters, almost destroying it. During the siege, Shadow Lass officially joined the Legion, and helped them defeat the Five. (Adventure #365-366)

Tasmia was originally attracted to Brainiac 5, but after seeing that he was already spoken for, fell for Mon-El instead. (#375) They have been steadfastly commited to one another ever since. Her devotion to the Legion is similarly constant. She has survived a near-death possession (Superboy v.1 #183) and was badly injured by a sewer monster (#248).

Tasmia was shaken to her core when Darkseid assembled his army and used her ancestor's (Lydea Mallor's) DNA to create a dark servant. (Legion v.2 #289, 291)

At one point, Shadow Lass doubted her place in Mon-El's heart. She donned Caucasian body makeup and called herself "Shadow Woman" in order to be more attractive to him. Mon-El dismissed her insecurities and reassured her of his love. (#299-300) She was there for him, too, helping him through his own near-death bout with lead poisoning. (Legion v.3 #21, 23)

Though she has returned to Talok VIII, she does not serve on-planet as Champion. On her last visit home, she helped her cousin Grev defeat the Persuader, who had allied with Lady Memory, a power-hungry woman from a rival tribe. (Tales of the Legion #318-319)

NOTES: Shadow Lass is the daughter of Tarnia Tolarn and granddaughter of Sarven Mallor, the champion of Talok VIII. Her real name was first revealed in Adventure Comics #369 (6.68). Her mother first appeared in Legion v.2 #263 (5.80), her grandfather (as a ghost) in Secret Origins #8 (11.86). Superboy & the Legion #240 initially described Grev Mallor has her younger brother, rather than her cousin.

Tasmia has two known ancestors in the 20th century: Lyrissa Mallor and her daughter, Lydea. Both are affiliated with the intergalactic police force, L.E.G.I.O.N. Lyrissa died in L.E.G.I.O.N. #21 (November 1990).

One interesting anomaly in this character's history is her early appearance as a caucasion. A year before her first actual appearance (Adventure #365), she was shown as a deceased (caucasian) Legionnaire in the Adult Legion story from Adventure #354. Much later, in Legion v.2 #299, she wore caucasian make-up, which was writer Paul Levitz's homage to this imaginary tale. She was mistakenly depicted as caucasian in Superboy v.1 #190.

*Shadow Lass is among the many Legion characters originally proposed by Legion fans. In this instance, she was submitted by George Vincent and Mike Rickford, along with Chemical King (these two came forward in the Legion fanzine, The Legion Outpost). Issues surrounding Shadow Lass's race and creation are covered in the web column, Comic Book Legends Revealed #276. It's generally beleived that she was created as the Legion's first black member.

Jim Shooter on Shadow Lass: A romantic, a busybody, probably a gossip and a bright, sexy, sultry, swinging chick who is a lot of fun for Mon-El. —Interlac (1976)

Shooter, who created Shadow Lass, purposely showed her memorialized before her own introduction. He intended to kill her off, but never got around to it. He placated himself by killing off Ferro Lad, though. (The Legion Companion, Glen Cadigan, Two Morrows Publishing, 2003)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Shadow Lass: She's a great hero, but also a bit of a schemer and manipulator. Has a dark side and can be a brat. All of which makes her a great partner for stuffy Mon-El, getting him to loosen up and enjoy life a little more. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5: Post-Crisis

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), Tasmia went on to wander the galaxy with her husband, Valor…

Tasmia was originally attracted to Brainiac 5, but after seeing that he was already spoken for, fell for Valor instead. Although originally attracted by his courage and strength of character, she stayed with him even when his true personality was submerged beneath the weaker one of Eltro Gand. This state of affairs was, for a long time, unknown to the Legion, but after several incidents of Valor displaying an unbalanced mind -- including one that started on Talok -- she began to suspect that this was not the Valor of old. Finally, when Valor was critically injured during the conspiracy against Glorith, his true personality, and its strength, began to reemerge. Tasmia, convinced that this is the man with whom she fell in love, married him during his recovery period, and the two left the Legion to explore the frontiers of space and keep the peace there, where conventional law-enforcement organizations don't reach. The two of them were doing that still, frequently stopping on Talok VIII to see if their aid was needed (as it was during a recent Khund invasion) and to offer moral support to its current champion, Grev, when, in early 2996, their aid was needed more by R. J. Brande, to pull the planet Earth from the pocket universe into the real one. During this activity, people started vanishing due to Zero Hour, a fate she and Valor avoided by using each other as anchors to reality. But when a stray blast during the battle against Mordru and Glorith soon afterward made it too painful to concentrate on staying extant, she vanished...and Valor shortly followed.

Legion 2: Earth-247

The Tasmia Mallor of Universe-247 goes by the code name Umbra. That universe was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis, but she remains with that team, wandering the multiverse…

Tasmia Mallor is the latest descendant of a family of heroes that has defended Talok VIII for centuries with their power to project darkness. She, though, was deemed too zealously protective of Talok's unique traditions by a planetary leadership which wished to have greater contact with other worlds, including joining the United Planets, and she was therefore removed from her position planetary champion. She traveled throughout the U. P.. eventually taking the code-name Umbra and joining the Legion of Super-Heroes during their open call for new members which followed their unfortunate encounter with the Emerald Eye of Ekron, which she considers something of a consolation prize.

During the Blight's attack on Earth, Umbra was one of several Legionnaires who were taken over by the Blight. After she was freed of the Blight, she took the memories of her actions while under Blight influence harder than anyone else, and her usually bristly personality became even more extreme. Umbra became one of ten Legionnaires who disappeared into a rift in space, and during that time, despite her best efforts at keeping to herself, she has softened somewhat. She and the others returned to Earth after a battle against former Legionnaire Element Lad, who had become the genocidal Progenitor.

Soon after she returned from the Second Galaxy, Umbra found that her powers were waning, and they eventually disappeared altogether. (The Legion #2) She embarked on a return journey home (#10) and found that in her absence, Talok VIII had been completely consumed by the darkfield that powered her. Her people presumed that she was dead. And since she was the last of her direct bloodline, they attempted to use technology to graft the Shadow Champion's power onto her distant cousin, Grev. Grev couldn't handle the power, which eventually killed him and went berserk. Upon reestablishing contact with Tasmia, the shadowforce realigned to her.

Afterwards, the Legion established a permanent teleportational threshold with Talok VIII so that Umbra could serve her people at a moment's notice. (#24)

NOTES: Olivier Coipel on Umbra: "Umbra is one of my favorites too: I had a girlfriend like her before so it makes me think of my ex! I had a hard time trying to imagine Umbra at the beginning but once I found the right kind of old fashioned haircut for her, I began to understand the character better. We're pushing a contrast in her visual right now, focusing on a lot dark area, so we'll see how it goes" —Comic Book Resources

Legion 3: Earth-Prime

Requires editing...

Tasmia Mallor is descended from a long line of planetary champions. She is the most skilled fighter in the Legion after Karate Kid. She comes from a race of warriors and likes to get physical. She appears to have a casual relationship with Ultra Boy.

Shadow Lass encourages Ultra Boy to train with Karate Kid. (#6)

Shadow Lass and Karate Kid find they are incompatible and split up. (#22)

Shadow Lass asks for Karate Kid's help rid Ultra Boy's of his jealousy of Supergirl. In a faux mission, Val pairs Jo with Supergirl on a red sun world, and he has to send her back. The ploy gives Jo confidence. (#22)

Atom Girl accompanies Shadow Lass to Talok VIII. Tasmia spars with her brother, Grev to defend her title as planetary champion. Shady contemplates running for Legion leader and meets Plant Lad (Ral Benem, a Wanderer) beneath Metropolis. (#23)

On Lallor, Shadow Lass uses her position as Planetary Champion to smooth over tensions. E.R.G. arrives to kill the President and tells the Legionnaires he once applied for membership. (#34)

On Talok VIII, Brainiac 5 helps Shadow Lass against the strange alien invaders. He uses new teleportation tech using wormholes. (#40)

Other Versions

Shadow Lass appeared once in animated form, on Justice League Unlimited, season 3, episode 10 (air date: 15 April 2006).

+ Powers

Umbra can generate a "darkfield" which creates total darkness and some concussive force. She is also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant.

Appearances + References

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