Polar Boy

Created by Edmond Hamilton & John Forte

Brek Bannin of Tharr

Unnamed parents

Legion of Substitute Heroes, Legion of Super-Heroes

Adventure Comics #306 (Mar. 1963)

JOINED: Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #14 (Sept. 1985)

Polar Boy II

Brek Bannin of Tharr


Legion of Substitute Heroes

Legionnaires #43 (Dec. 1996)

One of the oldest human-settled planets is Tharr. It's a hell of a world, quite literally. To survive, people have adapted the power to project cold.

The descendants of the original settlers still live on Tharr, mining it for rare minerals and keeping the temperature down using their own powers. One young boy had greater facility at this than any other known Tharrian, Legion enthusiast Brek Bannin. When he heard of Lightning Lad's death, he set off for Earth to try to replace him, even though he was technically too young to join the team. His application as Polar Boy was rejected for this and other reasons.

But Brek didn't come all the way from Tharr to not become a super-hero. Instead of giving up his dream, he gathered together four other rejects — Fire Lad, Night Girl, Stone Boy, and Chlorophyll Kid and formed the first Legion of Substitute Heroes to provide emergency backup and assistance to the Legionnaires. (Adventure #306)

Although at first the Legion's ability to handle available crises discouraged the group, Brek never gave up, and soon the Subs had their purpose realized. Brek himself was instrumental in the group's second major case, when Zyzans, who need a warm climate, disguised themselves as Legionnaires and started committing crimes. (#311) The Subs, secret at first, was soon discovered, and they worked out a comfortable working relationship with the Legion. (#315)

polar boy
A Legionnaire at last. From Legion v.3 #14 (1985); art by Steve Lightle.

For years, Polar Boy was the Subs' only leader. However, as time went on, the Legion started handling problems of large scope, and the Subs started getting left behind. Substitute Legionnaires became lax in their training, and after an embarrassing incident on the planet Bismoll, Brek disbanded the team. (Legion of Subs Special) He pursued his original goal of Legion membership, and finally attainted it. To admit him, the Legionnaires voted to waive the normal age restriction, citing Polar Boy's outstanding service. (Legion v.3 #14)

Polar Boy quickly became one of the most enthusiastic Legionnaires. He was rewarded by being elected to the post of Legion leader. (#36) His success in joining the Legion inspired his former comrades in the Subs to up their game as well. When Earth Man and his Justice League took over Earth, the Subs were instrumental in helping form the resistance. Brek himself was captured by the League, and lost an arm. This horror did not deter him from his duty as a Legionnaire. He chose simply to manifest a new arm made of ice. (Action #859)

NOTES: Polar Boy's real name and planet of origin were revealed in Adventure Comics #306 (Mar. 1963), his first appearance. His parents first appeared in Superboy #148 (June 1968). His election to leader falls outside the range of current Legion continuity, but it was verified in Adventure v.3 #3 (Dec. 2009).

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Polar Boy: He's sort of the eternal freshman among all the cool seniors. Just doesn't quite have the self-confidence and accomplished manner that would allow him to come off as a full-fledged big man on campus. But he tries harder and wants it more than anyone, making him a far more valuable member than many of his teammates would care to admit. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

In post-Crisis continuity (no longer valid), Brek still fought for respect among the Legionnaires despite being elected leader, most notably Brainiac 5, who refused him any courtesy. He remained with the Legion during some of its hardest times, including the Black Dawn crisis and the Earthgov oppression that followed. When Sun Boy resigned his Legion leadership and membership in a fit of frustration, Polar Boy once again took the helm. Despite an aggressive recruiting drive that netted many former Legion rejectees (including the former Subs), the Legion was simply unable to carry on. It was he who formally disbanded the once-proud organization with a heavy heart.

Although the Legion was no more, the idealistic Brek still believed in trying to overcome tyranny and injustice, and led a minor protest against Earthgov, for which he was imprisoned for two years. His apparent salvation came when senator Tenzil Kem of Bismoll came to Earth with his media circus, and used a combination of his legal skills and galactic popularity to free him. (Legion v.4 #10-11)

But Brek went from the frying pan into the fire by following Tenzil to the planet Tartarus. There Prince Evillo invited them to meet his daughters, and Brek agreed to stay on and tutor them in the use of their magical powers. (#14) Brek found that he was not allowed to leave Tartarus and again it was Tenzil who helped him. Brek gathered several young heroes and together they all freed Tartarus from Evillo's hypnotic grip. Evillo's most recent wife, Saturn Queen, appointed Polar Boy as the leader of Tartarun security forces. (#49)

He was last seen during the Legion's last battle with Mordru and Glorith, just before this timeline faded to white.

L2: Legion of Earth-247

The Polar Boy of Universe-247 was also Brek Bannin, a young man from Tharr with super-cold powers. He was rejected by the Legion during their tryout session, and also rejected by Leland McCauley, who was recruiting Legion rejects for his Workforce. Because of Brek's small stature, McCauley thought he was far too young.) But on his way out, he met fellow reject Lydda Jath (Night Girl). He convinced her that despite their rejection, they could still use their powers for good. (Legionniares #43) The two of them gathered a few other rejects together, but, when United Planets President R. J. Brande sent out a call for super-powered beings to help stop Mordru, they felt that their team was not ready enough. (#49) Brek and the others were still avid Legion admirers, and were part of a crowd that greeted the Legion back on Earth after their fight against Mordru. (Legionnaires #52)

This Polar Boy ceased to exist along with Universe-247 during the Infinite Crisis (#5).

L3: Earth Prime


The Polar Boy of Earth Prime was affiliated with Mekt Ranzz's Wanderers. Along with several others, Polar Boy posed as a Science Police officers in order to free other recruits. Unlike his Earth-0 counterpart, the Polar Boy of Earth-Prime is green skinned. (Supergirl & the Legion #21) He fought the Legion once more (#23) before the Wanderers and the Legion were forced to ally in order to defeat the Dominators. Even after this, Mekt Ranzz's motives were suspect. When he was jailed on legitimate charges, Polar Boy and the Wanderers fled. (#33)

Polar Man

From Adventure #354 (1967); art by Curt Swan and George Klein.

Formerly Polar Boy, Polar Man was shown as a member in the Adult Legion story from Adventure #354. This "prophesy" did come true, nearly 20 years later, when Polar Boy finally earned his membership. (Legion v.3 #14, 1985)


Polar Boy can generate intense cold and ice. This ability is shared by all the natives of his homeworld, Tharr.

Appearances + References


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