Laurel Gand + Andromeda
Created by Keith Giffen, and Tom and Mary Bierbaum
NAME + ALIASES:
Laurel Gand of Ricklef II (Daxam system) aka Leala Linder
Laren Gand (Mother, deceased), Zavrel Kama (father, deceased), Eltro Gand (cousin), Lauren Gand (daughter), Rond Vidar (common-law husband)
Legion of Super-Heroes
Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #6 (Apr. 1990)
As SW6 Andromeda: Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #41
Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #58
NAME + ALIASES:
Laurel Gand of Daxam
Unnamed father, Lar Gand (ancestor)
Legion of Super-Heroes
Legion of Super Heores v.4 #66 (Mar. 1995)
As Sister Andromeda: Legionnaires #46 (Apr. 1997)
Legion 1.5 (v.4)
Laurel Gand is a direct descendant of Del Gand, older brother of the great 20th-century hero Mon-El. Her parents worked on an asteroid on the rim of the Daxam star system, operating one of the electro-towers that defended Daxam from invasion. Laurel lived with them, and was taught how to activate the tower if it ever became necessary.Then, when she was nine years old, the unthinkable happened: Zaryan, the great Khund conqueror, slipped an operative of his own into the Daxamite defense web, and had him admit a Khund force onto Ricklef II, the asteroid inhabited by the Gands. Everyone was slaughtered—except for Laurel. But rather than panic, Laurel slipped into the secondary override room, and re-activated the defenses. The Khund fleet was decimated, and Zaryan humiliated. Laurel became a hero to all of Daxam, and a hated enemy of the Khunds.
After a Khund attempt on her life, Laurel was shipped off to Earth for her own safety, where she would take an anti-lead serum (as lead is poisonous to Daxamites) and she would be in full possession of her Daxamite powers –super-strength, speed, invulnerability, heightened senses, heat vision and flight. She stayed disguised as "Leala Linder" in an orphanage until late 2973, when she was visited by the three female members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl and Triad, and invited to a Legion tryout. There she met and fell in love with Brainiac 5, who saved her life after she encountered a vein of lead during her initiation. She and Brainy joined the Legion together, and the two remained romantically linked throughout almost their entire Legion careers. Laurel felt very close to Mon-El when he joined the Legion, but her attatchment to him was more familial than romantic.
Slowly but surely, though, their romance unraveled. Brainiac began feeling pressured to apply his intellect more strongly, at the expense of his emotions. Laurel tried to be understanding, but, as much as she loved him, the neglect became too much. When Daxam's population was killed by Glorith in 2988, both Brainy and Laurel were part of a conspiracy assembled to avenge the deed. Laurel proved to be important on that mission, and it was deemed a success by the conspirators. But it was a failure in another way. When Brainy decided to leave the Legion despite his being acquitted of insubordination charges without even consulting Laurel, she shut him out of her life.
Her love life took a different direction in 2990, when she resigned from the Legion to help fight the encroaching Khund armies. She found companionship in Rond Vidar, the Darkstar of Earth's sector and a long time friend of the Legion. Eventually, this became love, and the two have a daughter, named Lauren after Laurel's late mother. When Rond was captured by Mordru, she tried to rescue him, bringing herself into contact with other members of the re-forming Legion. Laurel joined this team and made her peace with Brainy, with whom she once again dealt with on a daily basis. Her time in the revamped team was short-lived. After going underground, Laurel was instrumental in stopping the Khunds from destroying Weber's World. She took a bomb-blast head-on, and was killed. (#59)
Laurel Gand's duplicate in the SW6 Legion took the name Andromeda. As a girl, Laurel was still in love with Brainiac 5, and, thanks to a conversation with her older counterpart, hopes to avoid the mistakes that led to that breakup. Right after the funeral of her older counterpart, Andromeda came, at the behest of R. J. Brande to help pull the pocket dimension's Earth into her home dimension, and she made it most of the way... but disappeared due to Zero Hour just as she was finishing.
There is some confusion whether Laurel assumed an alternate codename when the Legion went "on the run" (Legion v.4 #54, 1994). In that issue, Mysa says to her: "Wait, er… 'Thelma' …" I'm not convinced that this was indeed her codename because all the other Legionnaires were called out by name, but Laurel never was. To me it seems like an ill-placed, anachronistic reference to Thelma and Louise (1991).
Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Laurel Gand: Tragedy and loneliness robbed her of a normal adolescence and she's determined to make up for it. She personifies zest for life. She loves being a super-hero and doesn't do anything half-way. —Interlac (2000)
Tom Bierbaum wrote about Laurel's creation:
"We tried to give Laurel an origin that contained elements of the Supergirl history but that were clearly her own. While this seemed like the obvious way to go, we probably would have done ourselves a big favor by just doing a completely new story. Editor Michael Eury and Keith weren't very pleased when our script included countless references to the early Supergirl appearances as reference for the artist. Michael and Keith didn't want the story to look like a juvenile comic of the late '50s/early '60s, nor did Michael relish xeroxing countless panels out of old issues."
Legion 2: Earth-247
The current Laurel Gand is from Universe-247, which was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis. She remains active with that team, wandering the multiverse…
Laurel Gand grew up on Daxam, in a village run by the White Triangle cult, which was devoted to racial separation and purity. She was more than a little horrified, therefore, to find herself drafted by her government to join the Legion of Super-Heroes, the United Planets' living symbol of racial co-existence and harmony.
The Legion was happy enough to have a member with super-speed, super-strength, laser vision, x-ray vision, super-senses, and invulnerability to everything but lead. Laurel, code-named Andromeda, was less pleased to have to deal with "lesser races," and was thankful for the fact that her transsuit that protected her from lead poisoning also protected her from the others' touch. She got very lonely, and the only thing that prevented her from leaving the Legion was the fact that she'd have to return to Daxam if she did.
Slowly, her attitude changed, but she was accused of traitorous behavior after freeing terrorists from the so-called White Triangle. These thugs had beaten her teammate Triad. (Legion #67) After some guilty prodding from Shrinking Violet, Andromeda brought them in, but not before they poisoned her with lead. (Legionnaires #26, Legion #70) In her life-or-death moments she repented, agreeing that all races should be treated equally. Brainiac 5 saved her life, but the incident earned her the suspicion of her teammates. The White Triangle's leader, Roxxas, soon tricked Laurel into giving him the cure for lead poisoning. When she realized she'd been duped, she fought Roxxas himself. The two of them apparently died during a fight inside a fusion reactor. (Legionnaires Annual #2)
The world has mourned her as a heroine, but Andromeda actually survived the blast. She turned herself in voluntarily to the President of the United Planets, and was imprisoned on "Planet Hell" (a fact known only to Cosmic Boy). Later, Cos sent Live Wire to free her when the deadly Fatal Five attacked. (Legion #80) Although she was redeemed and pardoned, she declined to rejoin the Legion. (Legionnaires #37) Instead she joined a religious order called the Sisters of the Eternal Cosmos, dedicating her live to helping beings in trouble—including M'onel, once. (#46)
Sister Andromeda was ordered to explore the space between galaxies, and during this exploration she discovered a phenomenon which she referred to as "Fires of Creation." She soon called upon the Legion to help investigate the anomaly. (Legion #100) The exact nature of this force is still uncertain, but after she and several Legionnaires entered it, they were prematurely pulled from within its influence. As a result, Andromeda emerged a bit shorter in height.
Laurel was soon sent by her sisters to aid the Legion against the Dark Circle on Durla. During this battle, she exhibited that the anomaly had given her some kind of light-casting or energy-manipulating powers (the nature of which is still not precisely defined), in addition to her native Daxamite abilities. (Legionnaires #64) When the Circle was defeated, she remained to help the Durlans with their new commitment to tolerance. (#65)
Andromeda has the natural Daxamite abilities of super-speed, super-strength, laser vision, flight and invulnerability. Her time in the space anomaly once gave her unspecified light or energy powers. She appeared to move like lightning, and affected objects at some distance.
Laurel Gand could fly interstellar distances. Her top speed was around the range of Earth's escape velocity. She has also demonstrated the ability to fly between star systems and had no requirement for breathing.
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