Ultra Boy

Created by Curt Swan & George Klein

Ultra Boy I

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Crav and Mytra Nah (parents)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Green Dragons, Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Superboy v.1 #98 (July 1962)
SW6 version: Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #24 (Dec. 1991)
Retroboot: Action Comics #859 (Jan. 2008)

Original Ultra Boy

Ultra Boy retells his origin story. From Adventure Comics #316 (1964); art by Win Mortimer.
Ultra Boy and Marla Latham go to the 20th century to learn Superboy's secret identity. From Superboy #98 (1962); art by Curt Swan
An Ryd summons Ultra Boy back to Rimbor. From Superboy & the Legion #239 (1978); art by Jim Starlin and Joe Rubinstein.
Captain Frake takes a liking to her amnesiac new crew member. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #274 (1981); art by Steve Ditko and Frank Chiaramonte.
Ultra Boy is finally rescued from limbo. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #282 (1981); art by Jim Janes and Bruce D. Patterson.

Jo Nah was born on Rimbor, a world that lives in perpetual night and where gang warfare is a way of life. His parents raised him with a strong moral foundation but he ultimately took to the streets. In his time as a gang member, Jo sharpened his body and mind, and was instilled with a certain moral code. NOTE: Ultra Boy's parents are Crav and Mytra Nah. They first appeared in Adventure Comics #356 (May 1967).

When Space Dragons gathered near Rimbor, thrill-seeking Rimborians would take a spacecraft to "play" among them. When one of Jo's friends set out to engage a dragon, Jo tried to stop him. He ended up being swallowed by the beast, which was actually an Ultra-Energy Beast. Jo was not killed; instead he absorbed some of its energy and soon found that he was able to focus the ultra-energy in various ways. He had penetra-vision and flash vision, super-strength, super-speed and an invulnerable force-field. He could only channel his energy into one of these abilities at a time.

Jo applied for membership in the Legion of Super-Heroes as Ultra Boy, and for his initiation he was required to travel into the 20th century with the Legion's advisor, Marla Latham, to uncover the secret identity of Superboy. (Superboy v.1 #98) Notes: In his first appearance, his code name was hyphenated, and it was implied that his only super-power was penetra-vision.

Immediately after joining, sparks began flying Ultra Boy and his fellow Legionnaire, an upper-class girl with a taste for bad boys, Phantom Girl. She was his steadfast supporter when evidence implicated Ultra Boy in a crime. The Legion voted to expel him, but in fact the whole affair was an elaborate ruse concocted by Jo to infiltrate and capture the alien criminals. (Adventure #316) His prowess and personality were infectious. He was well-liked by his teammates and he was twice elected Legion leader. (Adventure #371, Superboy v.1 #184)

Ultra Boy returned home to Rimbor when he was summoned by his former girlfriend, An Ryd, who had partnered with a masked cohort. She double-crossed Jo and blasted him into unconsciousness. The masked man then killed An and took Ultra Boy's flight ring, framing him for the murder. By the time the Legion located Jo, he had been officially implicated in An Ryd's death (Marla Lathtam even returned from his retirement as Legion advisor to help the investigation). Ultra Boy escaped but was followed back to Rimbor by Chameleon Boy, who conducted a thorough investigation. Cham uncovered the fact that Wildfire had been replaced by a robot and it was the perpetrator of the murder. This left a crucial and unresolved question: who controlled the robot and killed An Ryd — and why? (Superboy & the Legion #239)

The case remained open with investigators on Earth, who eventually implicated Brainiac 5. Brainy resigned from the Legion and Chameleon Boy resumed his investigation back on Rimbor. The Legionnaires discovered that the real culprit was Pulsar Stargrave (the former Brainiac). (Legion v.2 #273)

This villain was mad for revenge against his 'descendant,' Brainiac 5, who had refused to join him. (Superboy & the Legion #226) Stargrave had driven Brainy mad with fever (#251) and framed Ultra Boy for the Ryd murder. Stargrave appeared to have blasted Ultra Boy into nothingness, and Brainiac 5 returned to face his twisted ancestor, using his force fields to trick him into destroying himself. (Legion v.2 #273)

The Legion held a memorial service for Ultra Boy, but Jo had actually survived. Stargrave's blast gave him amnesia, melted his Legion flight ring, and propelled him far through space where he joined the pirate crew of Captain Alisia Frake. The Legion fared poorly in a conflict with Captain Frake, but Saturn Girl sensed the truth that Ultra Boy was still alive among her crew. (#274)

Before she and the Legion could reach him, though, he was blasted by Frake, and vanished again. Saturn Girl kept this secret from Phantom Girl. (#275)

When Ultra Boy was blasted, the hero's ultra-energy manifested as invulnerability in an unusual way; it turned him into a virtual ghost who could float through time. While his body was trapped in limbo, he sent his consciousness into the past, into Superboy's body. But Superboy was drawn into a nuclear bomb explosion and it rendered both of them amnesiac. They instinctively retained the instinct to seek help from the Legion, but they were cautious and crafted the guise of Reflecto. (#282) Note: The character Reflecto has a curious Legion history.

The mysterious hero called Reflecto appeared in the 30th century and saved Phantom Girl's life; she began to suspect that this hero was secretly Ultra Boy. (#277) Reflecto followed the Legion during their case to take down Grimbor the Chainsman. Grimbor blasted off Reflecto's disguise and the Legionnaires were shocked and confused to learn that he was actually Superboy in disguise. (#278–279)

Even more strange, after waking up from this disguise, Superboy believed that he was Ultra Boy! The Legion ventured back to Superboy's era to uncover the truth, which led them to the Time Trapper. (#280) Dawnstar was able to discover a way to track Ultra Boy, where he was trapped and immobile between dimensions. Once freed, he explained everything to them, and finally returned home. (#282)

Notes

Jim Shooter on Ultra Boy:

"For whatever reason in his background he is kind of a depressing person. He equates being negative and sober and worried and dull with being serious about what he is doing. His humor is strictly sardonic, a kind of black humor. He is always certain that the worst will happen. Even Phantom Girl, the love of his life, is a source for more dire imaginings on his part. He is certain she will die, or be hurt, and is vastly overprotective. On the good side, he is strong, solid, dependable and absolutely devastating in anger. He angers easily. He bears authority well and can lead, but his judgment is suspect—it is occasionally bent by his bleak outlook and a system or priorities that puts Phantom Girl over everything. He is, however, selfless and bright and willing to risk his own life often in a morbid, intense, almost passionate rage. Ultra Boy would be hell in bed. He undoubtedly, however, makes gentle, tender (and expert) love to Phantom Girl and saves his occasional forays into the bizarre for someone less angelic to him — say, Dream Girl. This guy is probably the Legion's closest to being a mental case. Though he would deny it, he needs a Bouncing Boy type — I think he is smart enough to know that. But Bouncing Boy is gone now ... hmm..." —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Ultra Boy:

"A street rat with a heart of gold. Raised in the squalor of an amoral frontier world, he picked up from his parents an unyielding sense of morality. From his hardscrabble background he picked up the resourceful intelligence of somebody who's survived a thousand scrapes that would have wiped out those of us from more genteel worlds. Yes, he's overmatched by Tinya's charms and powerful personality, but it all works out. Given some of the secrets he's carrying around, he desperately needs to be under-estimated, and coming off as Tinya's big, dumb plaything doesn't hurt that cause." —Interlac (2000)

Glorith Reality (Legion v.4)

In his reshaped 'Glorith Reality' origin, Jo Nah meets the Legionnaire Phantom Girl on Rimbor (while with girlfriend, An Ryd). From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 Annual #1 (1990); art Doug Braithwaite and Doug Hazlewood.
Ultra Boy's Legion initiation sends him back to the 20th century to meet Valor. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 Annual #1 (1990); art Doug Braithwaite and Doug Hazlewood.
Jo Nah receives former Legionnaires on Rimbor. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #19 (1991); art Keith Giffen and Al Gordon.
Jo meets Nabu, who sends him home from ancient Egypt. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #19 (1991); art Keith Giffen and Al Gordon.
From Who's Who in the DC Universe #5 (1990); art by Dan Jurgens.
Jo Nah meets his SW6 duplicate and most shocking — Phantom Girl. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #40 (1991); art Stuart Immonen and Ron Boyd.

The Legion's reality was reshaped when Mon-El killed the Time Trapper. (Legion v.4 #4) The reconstructed timeline was the domain of Glorith, who replaced the Trapper and ascended to power, Ultra Boy's origin story was greatly embellished. Also, in the absence of a "Superboy" from the Legion's history, Ultra Boy's initiation involved a trip to the 20th century to discover the fate of the great twentieth-century hero, Valor (the renamed Mon-El).

In transit, a freak time-storm bounced him and Marla Latham to a slightly earlier period. Ultra Boy found that he was helping to create the legend of Valor. This paradox bothered him; he quietly continued his investigation, but kept his suspicions to himself. Using his acting skills, he covertly goaded the powerful magician Mordru into a battle with Glorith. It ended in stalemate and each severely weakened. Ultra Boy had saved the universe... but couldn't tell anyone about it and he'd made a mortal enemy in Glorith.

Glorith took her anger out on Brainiac 5, who had also deduced her involvement. Her poison kiss drove him mad (and in this realty), this was what led him to frame Jo for the murder of An Ryd (not Pulsar Stargrave).

Many years later, Glorith finally figured out that Ultra Boy was wise to her manipulations of the Legion. Just after Jo and Tinya were engaged to be married, Glorith sent a powerful bolt to destroy Phantom Girl's spaceship. Tinya was presumed dead (although she had actually been transported to the 20th century, where she helped found the L.E.G.I.O.N., as Phase.) (Legion v.4 Annual #1)

Ultra Boy left the Legion in grief. He returned to Rimbor and fell into old habits and created a smuggling ring. As the Green Dragon (he never used the name "Ultra Boy" again), he had several years of moderate success. But the Khunds were beginning to push into to United Planets space and on Rimbor, cybernetic assassins called Kaston and Algronsk were hired to attack the Legionnaire. They killed Nah's girlfriend Ginny and attempted to kill Kono (his young new "associate"). (Legion v.4 #2)

Former Legionnaires Reep Daggle (Chameleon Boy) and Rokk Krinn (Cosmic Boy) asked Jo to help rescue their teammate, Mysa Nal (the White Witch) from Mordru. (#3–7) This battle led to the official reformation of the Legion, but Jo was hurtled far back in time by a bomb set off by Roxxas the Butcher. Jo was sent into the distant past, on the Dominion-occupied planet of Khundia. (#11, 13)

It took him some time to realize he was in the past (#15), and he found a way to get back to Earth. (#18) He landed there in Egypt, where Jo was manipulated into falling in love with a Lord of Chaos who had taken human form. He was monitored for months by Nabu the Wise (the power behind Doctor Fate), who ultimately sent the time-lost Legionnaire back to 30th century Winath (the point from which Jo had originally disappeared). It had been an emotional journey for him as well and he went to visit Tinya's grave where he allowed himself to mourn for her fully. (#19)

Jo Nah leapt right back into service with the Legion, on a mission that led the team into unwitting opposition to Darkseid. (#21-24)

Ultra Boy II: Batch SW6

On Earth, the Dominators had secretly taken over Earthgov. One of their greatest secrets was the "Batch SW6," chambers beneath Metropolis that contained clones of the Legionnaires. When massive explosions rocked the globes, these Legionnaires were freed; they included a much younger version of Ultra Boy. (#24)

These Legionnaires were actually "chronal duplicates" made by the Time Trapper and stored as a secret army for a future battle. The teens were copied from a time early in the Legion's existence and they eventually reestablished themselves on Earth. The Ultra Boy of Batch SW6 kept his original codename. His love (now called Apparition) was somewhat haunted when she saw how traumatized the adult Jo was by Phantom Girl's death. (#40)

His grief for Tinya lingered but it certainly didn't inhibit other women's attraction to Jo. The Khund Legionnaire, Veilmist, tried to entice him into kill her husband, Firefist. (#45) And it seemed that Jo might begin a relationship with Spider Girl after she joined the Legion. (#43)

But the next time Jo encountered Glorith, the sorceress let it slip that Tinya was still alive: "You'll never find her." (#53) Before he could begin a search, the Legion was forced to go undercover and avoid authorities. He used the name "Green Dragon" during this time. (#54)

Zero Hour

Artwork from the DC Master trading card series, Emerald Dragon, card #12 (1994); art by Nelson.
In the 20th century, Jo discovers that Phase is actually Tinya's cousin, Enya Wazzo. From L.E.G.I.O.N. #69 (1994); art Arnie Jorgensen and James Pascoe.

Valor suggested to Jo that Tinya might be in the 20th century. (#59) But when he finally made his way into the past, he discovered that Phase was Enya Wazzo, Tinya's cousin who was also on the ship the day Tinya died. (L.E.G.I.O.N. #68-70)

Jo returned to the 30th century just as reality was disintegrating from the time distortions of "Zero Hour." The remaining Legionnaires decided to sacrifice themselves by using the power of the Time Trapper to merge with their younger/SW6 selves and (hopefully) seed a new reality. In these final moments, the Trapper retrieved Tinya from just before her death. Jo and Tinya were reunited for only moments before their entire reality was wiped away. (Legion v.4 #60-61)

Note: Earlier stories strongly suggested that Phase was Phantom Girl. The switch to her being Enya was made because the creators knew that the Legion (and Phantom Girl) was about to be rebooted in Zero Hour, but they wanted to keep using Phase in L.E.G.I.O.N. Phase's connection to Tinya was reinterpreted in the Reboot reality.

Powers

Ultra Boy has super-strength, super-speed, flight/antigravity, "flash vision," "penetra-vision," and invulnerability, ultra-breath but he can only use one of these powers at a time. By default, he became accustomed to leaving his invulnerability "on" at most times. He gained these abilities from exposure to an ultra-energy beast.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55
  • Armageddon: The Alien Agenda #1
  • Armageddon: The Alien Agenda #4
  • Booster Gold #8-9
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #4, 5, 8, 10
  • DC Comics Presents #80
  • DC Special #28
  • Justice League of America v.1 #147-148
  • Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #73, 76

» SERIES:

  • Adventure Comics #300–380 (1962–69)
  • Action Comics, #378–392 (1969–70)
  • Superboy (and the Legion) #197–258 (1974–79); becomes ...
    • Legion of Super-Heroes v.2, #259–313 (1980–84); becomes …
    • Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, #314–354 (1984–87)
  • Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes, 3-issue limited series (1981)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.3, 63 issues (1984–94)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.4, 125 issue (1989–2000)
  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, 5-issue limited series (2008-09)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.6, 16 issues (2010–11)
  • Legion: Secret Origin, 6-issue limited series (2011–12)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.7, 23 issues (2011–13)

Ultra Boy III

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed mother, Tinya Wazzo (wife), Cub (son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Workforce, Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Legion of Super Heroes v.4 #64 (Jan. 1995)

Ultra Boy III: The Reboot Legion

Jo Nah gains powers inside the space-whale and uses it to escape! From Legends of the Legion #1 (1998); art by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker.
Ultra Boy is ready to recruit Live Wire for the Workforce. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #64 (1995); art by Lee Moder and Ron Boyd.
Back to reality. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #82 (1996); art by Lee Moder.
The Legion's first married couple. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #96 (1997); art by Lee Moder.

Jo Nah was a teen who stood up to the gangs of Rimbor. When running from a group of gangsters, Jo flew his ship right into the mouth of an giant space whale. He did not die, but was trapped inside of it. He survived by eating the whale's own flesh, and soon discovered that it imbued him with the powers of super-strength, speed, invulnerability, penetra-vision, flash-vision and flight.

He escaped from within the creature and was later contacted by Leland McCauley, who was assembling a group of super-powered youths to be his personal security force. Jo didn't question McCauley's motives; he was interested in the money and accepted the offer to join his Workforce, and he took the code name Ultra Boy. (Legends of the Legion #1) Note: It was also later revealed that Star Boy's powers came from the same whale.

During the first several weeks, he grew attached to his teammate, Spider Girl. One of their first missions was to spy on the Legion of Super-Heroes and assess its members for consideration in the Workforce. During this mission, he witnessed Apparition in a heated discussion with her mother, and felt pity for her. The Workforce clashed with the Legionnaires but it resulted in one of their number, Live Wire, leaving the Legion to join the Workforce. (Legion v.4 #64)

The two teams were forced to partner on a mission to Planet Hell, where Ultra Boy became further attracted to Apparition. (Legionnaires #21-22, Legion v.4 #65) They exchanged gifts and began dating, despite the fact that he continued to work for McCauley, whom she considered morally reprehensible. In the fight against the White Triangle, Jo and Tinya declared their love for one another — this just before Apparition died in Jo's arms. (Legionnaires Annual #2)

Ultra Boy severed ties with McCauley and wanted to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. But after this battle, Earth's President Chu declared a moratorium on new members. (Legion v.4 #72) Despite this Jo stuck around to help the team. He helped rescue Valor from the Stasis Zone. (Legionnaires #31)

Legion leader Cosmic Boy instead instructed Live Wire to recruit Ultra Boy to join a covert "Legion rescue squad," which saved the Legion from the Fatal Five. (Legion v.4 #80) After President Chu was exposed and arrested, the Legion's membership restrictions were lifted, and Ultra Boy became a full-fledged member. (Legionnaires #37)

He discovered that somehow, Tinya had survived, ghostlike, inside of Jo. (Legion v.4 #82) She and Ultra Boy were among the Legionnaires who were cast into the 20th century by Shrinking Violet, by the power of the Emerald Eye of Ekron. (Legion v.4 #84) Ultra Boy proposed to Tinya then, and they were married. (#96)

In the past, Apparition learned that her father was Carggite and that she had been born with three bodies. (Legion v.4 #94) One of these was placed in the 20th century and was called Phase, and she was serving with the L.E.G.I.O.N. Apparition and Phase were merged and Tinya was once again corporeal. (#98-99)

When the Blight attacked Earth, Ultra Boy was again cast outside known time and space. (Legionnaires #81) Saturn Girl believed that Jo would be unstable without Apparition, so she manufactured an illusion of Tinya in his mind. (Legion: Lost #1, 8)

When this group returned home, Jo learned that Tinya had borne their son, (Legion Worlds #6) whom they called Cub. (The Legion #14)

Notes

Olivier Coipel on Ultra Boy: "I like him a lot! He is really cool, someone who'd be easy to live with and a simple guy. And he's a big guy: it's fun drawing big guys like him. —Comic Book Resources

Powers

Ultra Boy has super-strength, super-speed, flight/antigravity, "flash vision," "penetra-vision," and invulnerability, ultra-breath but he can only use one of these powers at a time.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • Final Night #1
  • Genesis #1-2
  • Green Lantern v.3 #81, 98-99
  • Inferno #3-4
  • Infinite Crisis #6
  • Showcase '96 #10-11
  • Superboy v.3 #45
  • Supergirl v.4 Annual #2
  • Superman Plus #1
  • Superman v.2 #119
  • Teen Titans v.3 #16
  • Teen Titans/Legion Special #1
  • Unlimited Access #1-2

» SERIES:

  • Legionnaires, 81 issues (1993–2000)
  • Legends of the Legion, 4-issue limited series (1998)
  • Legion: Lost, 12-issue maxi-series (2000–01)
  • Teen Titans/Legion: Universe Ablaze, 4-issue limited series (2000)
  • The Legion, 38 issues (2001–2004)

» SEE ALSO:

Ultra Boy IV

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

Threeboot: Ultra Boy of Earth-Prime

Ultra Boy trains with Karate Kid to control his powers better. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.5 #6 (2005); art by Barry Kitson and Art Thibert.
Ultra Boy and Saturn Girl share a tense moment that leads to passion. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.5 #45 (2008); art by Francis Manapul and Livesay.

Jo Nah gained his powers in an undisclosed accident. He is a street tough ladies man and during his time with the Legoin, he dated Light Lass (Legion v.5 #1) and Triplicate Girl. (#3)

At one point during the Legion's showdown with Lemnos and Terror Firma, Ultra Boy's powers went out of control. (#5) No explanation was ever found for this, but his new 'girlfriend,' Shadow Lass, encouraged him to overcome it by training with Karate Kid. (#6)

When Supergirl arrived from the 21st century, Ultra Boy was no longer the strongest Legionnaire. Karate Kid engineered a faux mission, pairing Jo with Supergirl on a red sun world. Because her powers did not work under a red sun, Jo was forced to send her back and handle the threat himself. The ploy restored Ultra Boy's confidence about his place in the Legion (Supergirl and the Legion #22)

Ultra Boy is popular among the Legionnaires and their members at-large; he fared well in the Legion's first open leadership election, although Supergirl won. (#30)

Jo drifted away from Shadow Lass and made advances towards Saturn Girl. Imra succumbed to his charms and when they gave into passion, they were discovered by Invisible Kid. (#45) Invisible Kid kept his promise not to tell Saturn Girl's boyfriend, Lightning Lad, but Jo and Imra both decided to disclose their actions anyway. (#46)

Powers

Ultra Boy has super-strength, super-speed, flight/antigravity, "flash vision," "penetra-vision," and invulnerability, ultra-breath but he can only use one of these powers at a time.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • Action Comics #850
  • Adventure Comics v.3 #4 [507]
  • The Brave and the Bold v.3 #4-5
  • Teen Titans/Legion Special #1

» SERIES:

  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.5, 50 issues (2005–09)

 

» SEE ALSO:

Ultra Boy V

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
General Crav Nah (father)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Superman v.5 #14 (Oct. 2019)

Legion 4: Ultra Boy

Ultra Boy retrieves the ancient trident of Aquaman from planet Gotham. From Legion of Super-Heroes v.8 #1 (2019); art by Ryan Sook and Wade Von Grawbadger.

Ultra Boy is the son of a prominent official in the United Planets, General Crav Nah. (#1)

Powers

Ultra Boy has super-speed.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2
  • Superman v.5 #14-15

» SERIES:

  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.8, current (2019–)

» SEE ALSO:

Other Versions

Jo Nah (center) is among the participants in the Intergalactic Games — and helps defeat the Fatal Five. From Legion of Super-Heroes, season 1, episode 5 (2006).

Ultra Boy was a minor character on TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon. He first appeared in Season 1, episode 5 and apparently joined sometime prior to Season 2, episode 13 (where he was shown in battle with the team).