The Substitue Heroes

This page covers members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes. In post-Crisis continuity (Legion 1.5), many of the following heroes were admitted to full Legion membership. That history is no longer valid in any timeline/parallel Earth. Polar Boy and Night Girl are former Subs who were later admitted to the Legion.

» SEE ALSO: Legion of Substitute Heroes ProfileMembership ListProfile Index.

Chlorophyll Kid

Created by Edmond Hamilton & John Forte

Name: Ral Benem of Mardru

First appearance & Joined the Subs: Adventure Comics #306 (Mar. 1963)

Mardru is a dull place to grow up, unless you're a plant. It's one of the main agricultural research centers in the United Planets, and most of the people who live there are in that line of work. So it was, that one day, little Ral Benem was visiting his father's workplace, and he fell into a vat of an experimental fertilizer. From such humble origins came Chlorophyll Kid, with the ability to accelerate (or slow down) the growth of any plant.

The Legion of Super-Heroes was not impressed by this ability.But then again, there are many super-powers which have failed to overwhelm the Legionnaires...the ability to produce exterme cold, for instance. Polar Boy's bid for Legion membership was rejected on the same day that Ral's was, but he wasn't going to take rejection lying down. Polar Boy gathered up four other rejects, Ral among them, and the five decided to try to handle minor emergencies and offer the Legion assistance when possible. They called themselves the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and they did their jobs quietly and proudly. Chlorophyll Kid's power was instrumental in their first case, stopping an intended invasion of Earth by the Zatonian Plant-Men. They soon came to the attention of the Legion and forged a comfortable working arrangement. Chlorophyll Kid, as a member of the Subs, played a part in many Legion adventures, including the Earthwar and the Great Darkness.

But the Substitutes' powers were still not truly Legion caliber, and other factors, over the years, lessened the effectiveness of the team. Chlorophyll Kid in particular gained weight to the point of obesity. Finally, after an embarrassing incident on Bismoll, Polar Boy disbanded the Subs.

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

Ral went to receive weight-loss treatments on Bismoll, but when they were done, he came back to Earth and started gaining again.It was this sorry state that Ral had been living in when the Legion, reeling from Earthgov persecution, asked him to join. Chlorophyll Kid squeezed back into his old costume more from a desire to help his friend Polar Boy than to actually join the Legion, which had lost most of its prestige. But though he and his teammates labored diligently to uphold the Legion and fight crime, Earthgov and, for Ral, his physical condition, made the job impossible. He resigned from the Legion and joined the underground Earthgov-resistance movement.

It was here that Chlorophyll Kid finally blossomed, under the command of Jacques Foccart, the second Invisible Kid. He was put on a strict diet and exercise regimen, and he learned how to manipulate plants in brand new ways. He played a major part in the storming of the Dominators' underground chambers, as Dominator technology is plant-based, so he had the power to manipulate it. The Subs returned from the battle hailed as the heroes thay had always wanted to be, and, since the destruction of Earth, have directed their efforts toward helping the resettlement of the displaced and training super-powered beings at the United Planets Militia Academy. He was called upon to help in the transportation of the pocket universe's Earth to replace the destroyed planet in the true universe, but disappeared during Zero Hour shortly after that task was completed.

Other Versions

Element Lad was also a member in TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.

Color Kid

Name: Ulu Vakk of Lupra

First appearance: Adventure Comics #342 (Mar. 1966)
Joined the Subs: Adventure Comics #351 (Dec. 1966)

Ulu Vakk was just a normal kid from Lupra who had a job in a scientific laboratory which had been conducting energy research. When his lack of grace made him stumble through a beam of extradimensional light, he gained the power to affect the electromagnetic properties of an object, changing the wavelength and frequency at which it reflects light. In layman's terms, he was able to change an object's color; and, thinking this was all he could do, he applied for the Legion in 2977 as Color Kid. Thinking this was all he could do, they rejected him, referring him to the Legion of Substitute Heroes, where he was accepted.

It was shortly thereafter that he got some notion of the further scope of his power. When the Earth was surrounded in early 2978 by a cloud of radiation that rendered the Daxamite anti-lead serum inert, forcing Valor and Laurel Gand to resign from the Legion, he changed the radiation cloud's properties so that it no longer affected the serum, allowing the two back into the Legion. After this, he began to display much more imagination in the use of his powers, to the extent that his power, which was once thought to be a pretty but useless in combat situations, evolved into illusionary powers on a lower scale than those of Princess Projectra. He also proved very handy to have around the Subs to help Night Girl by creating the darkness necessary for her strength powers to function.

The Subs were disbanded in late 2985 after an embarrassing incident on Bismoll, and he made a good living by using his powers for artistic purposes.

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

When he got the call from Polar Boy in late 2991 that the Legion needed him, he came on board, but left after five months when it became obvious that the Legion was unable to function effectively in the atmosphere that prevailed at that time. He signed on with Jacques Foccart to fight Earthgov from underground, and he was one of the Subs who needed little improvement or retraining. His power was employed in disguise and distraction, and his lightshows kept people and Dominators from getting killed during the battle to take the underground chambers. Since that time, he and the other Subs have immersed themselves in the resettlement efforts for those displaced by the Earth's destruction and the training of police forces at the United Planets Militia Academy. He and his fellow SUBs helped transport the pocket dimension's Earth to the true universe in early 2996, shortly before they disappeared during Zero Hour.

Fire Lad

Created by Edmond Hamilton & John Forte

Name: Staq Mavlen of Shwar

First appearance & Joined the Subs: Adventure Comics #306 (Mar. 1963)

Staq Mavlen hails from Shwar, a world with an oxygen-poor (but still breatheable by humans) atmosphere. When he accidentally inhaled the vapors emitting from a fallen meteor and gained the power to breathe flame, he figured this would make him a natural for the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Alas, he forgot to take into account the fact that Earth, where the Legion was based, had an oxygen-rich atmosphere, which made his flame-breath too unstable to control. Not wishing to raise their already-high insurance premiums, they rejected Staq, now calling himself Fire Lad. Fortunately for him, he was found by Polar Boy, another reject who felt that even rejected applicants could be useful. Staq was one of the original five rejectees who formed the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and there he stayed until the team disbanded.

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

But even while with the Subs, he had a control problem, and he spent much time fruitlessly trying to solve them. They were not adequately solved when Polar Boy, now a member of the somewhat desperate Legion of Super-Heroes, asked him to join. Fire Lad's lack of control, though, only caused more problems for a Legion that could hardly afford them. He was still with the Legion when it disbanded.From there he joined the underground movement run by Jacques Foccart, the second Invisible Kid. Among the doctors and trainers who joined the movement was a speech pathologist who was able to help Staq control his flames, albeit at the cost of hissing every time he says an "s" sound. There, Staq emerged as a leader and ran Foccart's side of the siezing of the Dominator underground chambers. As de facto leader of the Subs, he is trying to decide in which direction to lead his team (one option being membership in the newly re-formed Legion), and in the meantime, is helping with the efforts to resettle the survivors of Earth's destruction and to train super-powered beings at the United Planets Militia Academy. He and his fellow Subs were called upon to help transport the pocket universe's Earth to the true universe, after which they disappeared as a result of Zero Hour.

Infectious Lass

Name: Drura Sehpt of Somahtur

First appearance: Superboy v.1 #201 (Apr. 1974)
JOINED THE SUBS: DC Comics Presents #59 (July 1983)

Drura Sehpt comes from Somahtur, a planet whose inhabitants' bodies are homes for colonies of microorganisms. These colonies can infect other people while the host remains unaffected. Drura was the first of her race to travel to the United Planets. She was confined to Medicus One — a medical satellite that orbits Earth — and when she learned of the Legion of Super-Heroes, she immediately set about escaping in order to apply for membership. She took the name Infectious Lass, but demonstrated a lack of control and was disqualified. Though this was disappointing, she met her first real friend, the fellow applicant Porcupine Pete Dursin. (Superboy v.1 #201)

After a while, the two of them joined the Legion of Substitute Heroes, but spent little time refining their powers. (DC Comics Presents #59, Legion of Subs Special) Her accidental infection of bystanders was a recurring embarrassment, one of many which led Polar Boy to disband the Subs when he was admitted to the Legion proper. (Legion v.3 #14)

The Subs found an opportunity to prove themselves once again when Earth was overtaken by Earth-Man and his Justice League of Earth. In battle, Drura was cast into the timestream (Action #862) and found herself in the 21st century. She did not arrive on Earth, exactly, but found herself in the company of other strange heroes from throughout time. This band of unlikely allies was led by Doctor 13 and fought against a near-omnipotent group of overlords known as the "Architects." Although they seemed successful in saving their own existence, the ultimate fate of these heroes remains a mystery. (Tales the Unexpected v.2 #4-8)

NOTES: In the Tales of the Unexpected series, writer Brian Azzarello grouped heroes who were supposedly considered to have been dropped from Earth-0 continuity following Infinite Crisis. The "Architects" were the writers who rewrote the DC Universe in Infinte Crisis and 52. The final panel of Unexpected references Showcase #74 (1968), the first appearance of Anthro. This may be a foreshadowing of the group's involvement in the upcoming Final Crisis and the so-called "Great Disaster."

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

When the Subs disbanded, Drura felt responsible, but she managed to keep in touch with the other former Subs.

Fortunately, super-hero wanna-bes don't hold grudges, and when Polar Boy turned to his old friends to help him keep up the Legion, she was contacted as well. Unfortunately, her power made her a lightning rod for the kind of harrassment that Earthgov was giving the Legion, and she was forced to flee the Legion to avoid arrest. After hiding for a while, she found her way to the anti-Earthgov underground movement led by Jacques Foccart, the second Invisible Kid, and there she fell in love with Jacques, and he with her.

When the war against the Dominators was won, she joined Jacquesuw¬Ãá in the presidential palace, but Jacques never felt comfortable in the position, and eventually resigned it to return to the re-formed Legion. Drura has accompanied Jacques there as well, even though she is not officially a member of the current Legion. She and Jacques were appointed the Legion's advocates on Weber's World after the Legion was framed for treason by Universo, and it was she who stopped him from escaping Weber's World. She and Jacques then proceeded to New Earth to help in the transporting of the pocket dimension's Earth to the real universe, whereupon they disappeared due to Zero Hour.

Porcupine Pete

Name: Peter Dursin of Earth

First appearance: Superboy v.1 #201 (Apr. 1974)

Joined the Subs: DC Comics Presents #59 (July 1983)

Peter Dursin was born with extremely rough skin. His parents thought that made it uncomfortable to hold him.Then they saw what his skin developed into.Slowly but surely, the rough spots became individual spikes. Those, then, grew into quills, like those of a porcupine. They were extremely sharp, and they even came out when he willed them to. Young Pete did not get many hugs.

But the necessary lack of physical affection was well compensated for. His parents raised him in a very loving environment, and he developed a friendly demeanor. Most physically deformed people would certainly have been taunted by the schoolchildren amongst whom Pete had to walk every day, but not he. His winning personality turned his abnormality into an object of popularity, and eventually, one of his many friends suggested that he try out for the Legion of Super Heroes.

Liking the idea, Pete practiced shooting his quills until he could propel them from his body with considerable force. But when it came time for Porcupine Pete to present himself to the Legion, he watched everyone duck out of the way of his quills, and realized that unless he improved his control, his abilities would not be very well suited for teamwork.Fortunately for Pete, several previous Legion rejects had formed the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and he found companionship there, as well as a kindred spirit in fellow recruit Infectious Lass.

Since he was still required to continue his schooling, he spent little time with the Subs, and did not further refine his powers. This proved disastrous on a number of occasions with the Subs before their disbanding.

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

This proved disastrous on a number of occasions with the Subs before their disbanding, but when Legion leader and former Sub leader Polar Boy sought out new members for the harassed Legion after the Black Dawn disaster, he asked Pete as well. But the Legion's problems were too great to be solved, and after a few months, Pete began to get frustrated with the constraints of the Legion's operations. He quit and joined the Earthgov resistance movement founded by Jacques Foccart, and there improved his skills considerably, not only in greater control of his powers, but becoming an excellent aircraft pilot as well. He and his friends from the original Substitute Legion played instrumental roles in freeing the Earth from Dominion tyranny. With the end of the war, and that of the Earth, he is currently aiding the refugee resettlement efforts and training of young super-powered beings at the United Planets Militia Academy.

Rainbow Girl

Name: Dori Aandraison of Xolnar

First appearance:Adventure Comics #309 (June 1963)

Joined the Subs: before Action Comics #862 (Apr. 2008)

Rainbow Girl: reject. From Adventure #309 (1963); art by John Forte.

Dori Aandraison won a trip to Metropolis, Earth as part of her prize for winning the "Miss Xolnar" competition, in which she was helped by her power to project pheromones in slightly stronger amounts than ordinary people can, making her irresistable and creating a rainbow around her head. She tried out for the Legion of Super-Heroes as Rainbow Girl in order to gain exposure that might land her a job in holovids, but she was rejected. (Adventure #309)

She married Irveang Polamar, one of Metropolis's wealthiest men, in order to not have to return to Xolnar, and later toyed with the idea of joining the Legion of Substitute Heroes, but discarded it, since they got very little publicity. She settled into life as a socialite, and has written her autobiography. (Who's Who in the Legion #5)

At some point after Earth-Man formed his Justice League of Earth, Dori found a better reason to join the Legion of Substitute Heroes — to aid in their underground resistance. (Action #862) She has also begun to tap into the greater potential of her powers. She can now access (but not necessarily control) the entire emotional spectrum of colors. These are the same energies used by the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro Corps and others.

Stone Boy

Created by Edmond Hamilton & John Forte

Name: Dag Wentim of Zwen

First appearance & Joined the Subs: Adventure Comics #306 (Mar. 1963)

Stone Boy turns down his chance to be a full-fledged Legionnaire. From Adventure #315 (1963); art by Curt Swan and George Klein.

All natives of Zwen turn themselves into dormant stone statues. This is not a power that most people would think is useful in fighting crime.The Legion of Super-Heroes were among the doubters.But Legion reject Polar Boy wasn't, and he set out to prove it. He took four Legion rejects and formed them into the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and among that group was Dag Wentim, a Zwennite who applied for the Legion as Stone Boy.

Stone Boy managed to prove his worth to the Legion. Although his powers were unimpressive, he managed to win a contest among the Subs for admission to the Legion through his character and self-sacrifice. By that time, though, he had become so attatched to his newfound friends that he opted to stay with them rather than move up to the Legion, his original aim. This turned out to be a mistake. Although he and the Subs were able to do a lot of good for a while, as time went on, the Legion had less and less need of Substitutes, and Dag, whose power seemed particularly useless, felt extremely inadequate. The Subs eventually disbanded, and he went back to Zwen, finding employment as a deep-space explorer, since in his stone state he needed no food, drink or air.

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

When the Legion was plagued by Earthgov hostility and mass resignations in 2991, Polar Boy, who had become its leader, looked toward his old friends for new members. Dag answered the call out of his friendship for Polar Boy, but his heart wasn't truly in it. Earthgov's hostility combined with his feelings of inadequacy to make the experience particularly unpleasant. Nonetheless, he stayed with the Legion until Polar Boy disbanded it. After that, he joined most of his friends in the underground Earthgov resistance movement headed by Jacques Foccart, formerly the second Invisible Kid.

It was there that he finally got a sense of his true value. Jacques' doctors studied him and came to the realization that his immobility in stone form wasn't due to the fact that he was stone (although that did limit his potential agility), but due to the fact that he was asleep. Using hypnosis, the doctors were able to induce him to move in his stone state, as if he were sleepwalking. Soon he was able to master his full range of waking movements through hypno-therapy, and a post-hypnotically suggested code word was implanted in his mind to allow him or another person to place him in his hypnotically mobile state when necessary. With this, he became one of the leaders among the resistance fighters, and was instrumental in the fight to liberate Earth. He, like most of his fellow underground members, was helping with the resettlement efforts for those displaced by Earth's destruction and helping train young super-powered beings for service at the United Planets Militia Academy, when he and his teammates were called upon to help transport the pocket dimension's Earth to their dimension, an operation they completed just before Zero Hour caused them to disappear.

Text courtesy of C. Keller's Legion Help File. Download the Legion Help File (Windows only) to access the wealth of other Legion info therein!