Insect Queen and Her Other Super-Powers
Created by Bill Finger and John Sikela
Lana Lang, alias Insect Queen, Cleopatra, Sky Girl, Gravity Girl, the Wisp, Girl Atlas
Professor Lewis and Sarah Lang (parents), unnamed sister, Phineas Potter (uncle), Pete Ross (husband), Clark Ross (son)
Legion of Super-Heroes
As Lana: Superboy v.1 #10 (Oct. 1950).
As Insect Queen: Superboy v.1 #124 (Oct. 1965)
The Original Lana Lang
Lana Lang was created just after Superboy was awarded his own comic book. The character appeared very frequently, so she was included in most aspects of the young hero’s life — including the Legion of Super-Heroes. In Lana’s first appearance, Superboy v.1 #10 (Sept./Oct.1950), the teenaged Lana was new to Smallville. Clark described her as “the girl who moved next door.” This was clearly ignored in later stories, which portrayed Lana and her family as lifelong neighbors of the Kents.
Lana Lang and Clark Kent were next-door neighbors and friends from a very young age. (Superboy v.1 #102, 105) After Clark made his public debut as Superboy (Superman #144), Lana made a hobby out of trying to prove that Clark was actually Boy of Steel — but he managed to outsmart her every time. (#70, 75)
As teenagers, Lana and Clark were spent a lot of time together, and she was smitten with Superboy. This created a constant hindrance to Clark's attempts to maintain his secret identity. (Superboy v.1 #10)
?? Even though she did not live in Smallville, as a girl she met both Clark Kent and Lana Lang, one summer at Camp Hiawatha — and how, for the first time, Lois met Superbly. (Adventure Comics #261)
?? Incidentally, Lois herself never knew how her rivalry with Lana actually began. , Lana had seen the future briefly in an experimental time-view, which burned out after a few minutes. But she had witnessed =Superman kissing the grown Lois. So Lana set out to change destiny so that Lois would not become the Man of Steel’s girl. (Superboy #90)
?? Lois herself later attempted to alter destiny when she used a time machine invented by Professor Potter to go back to Smallville before Lana fell for Superboy. In an attempt to prevent it. But her try was doomed to failure, for everything throned out as fate ahad ordained. Lana played the sleeping Beauty in a Christmas Pageant, and Superboy, as the Prince kissed her. That first kiss was the bud of love for Lana. (Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #50)
Lana met other super-heroes too, like when she accompanied Superboy on a visit to the 30th century. They met the young hero called Star Boy, and Lana flirted with him in an effort to make Superboy jealous. (Adventure Comics #282)
Years later Lana Lang became a super-hero herself. She saved the life of an alien, who rewarded her with a ring possessing "biogenetic powers." Then when she sensed danger, Lana could manifest insect-like body parts and abilities. She donned a mask and called herself the Insect Queen. Insect Queen revealed her secret identity to Superboy and after that adventure, stored her Bio-Ring and costume away. (#124)
She was not secretive about her Bio-Ring, and told her father about it as well. He invited her to meet a famous entomologist, Dr. Kim Pelham. During their visit, Pelham's son Kim was critically injured. Pelham administered a serum that transformed him into a Bee-Boy, and Lana became Insect Queen again to comfort the Bee-Boy, and Superboy eventually helped restore Kim to normal. The alien who had given her the ring also returned to check up on her. She learned that she could not assume the same insect shape within 24 hours. (#127)
Insect Queen later returned to the 30th century and helped the Legionnaires defeat Oggar-Kon. For her bravery, they invited her to become a reserve member of the Legion. (Adventure #355) Note: Before this, Lana and Clark's friend, Pete Ross, was also awarded honorary Legion membership, in Superboy v.1 #98 (July 1962).
The Insect Queen participate in several more Legion missions. When the sorcerer Mordru broke free, Superboy and several Legionnaires were forced to flee to the 20th century and hide. Mordru followed them and possessed Lana to be his spy. (Adventure #369) But once she was released from his power she and Pete Ross tried to help. The Legionnaires had hypnotized themselves to forget their alter egos. To bring the super-heroes back, Pete confided to Lana that Clark Kent was Superboy so that they could make him remember his alter ego. After the mission, Superboy used a hypnosis ray to remove his secret from Lana's memory. (#370)
Superboy and Lana celebrated her birthday in the 30th century. The Insect Queen helped Ultra Boy defeat a mastermind who had taken control of the other Legionnaires. (Superboy v.1 #205)
At the end of her high school years, the Insect Queen shared one more adventure with the Legion, when they ventured back to the 20th century to investigate why Superboy had lost his memories. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #282)
Note: There is a villainous character, an alien "insect queen" called the Queen Bee. This is Zazzala of Korll, who has clashed with the Justice League several times. (Justice League of America #23, 60, 132, JLA #34)
Other Alter Egos
In addition to her turns as the Insect Queen, Lana had several teenage adventures where she temporarily acquired super-powers:
- The cover (and splash page) of Adventure Comics #167 (Aug. 1951) declared: "Lana Lang, Super-Girl!" and she was depicted in a red-and-blue costume. Inside, the story itself was not as splashy. Lana's father gave her an ancient Egyptian helmet that she believed gave her super-powers. Actually, Superboy was only making it seem she had powers. Lana was never actually called Super-Girl, nor did she wear a super-hero costume.
- She pretended to be Cleopatra when she thought that Superboy was enamored of the ancient queen (Adventure Comics #183, Dec. 1952).
- Five years before Superman's cousin came to Earth, Lana was Sky Girl, the "Girl of Steel." She got real powers from an ancient belt. It imbued Lana with flight, invulnerability and strength. But Superboy discovered these powers weren't what they seemed and feared that her enemies would figure out ways to exploit that. He convinced her to destroy it (Adventure Comics #189, June 1953).
- Lana became Superboy's sister, for a day, when her parents were believed to have been killed (Superboy #36, Oct. 1954). In this adventure, she got the idea to dress up as Superboy because some crooks thought she was Superboy. The Boy of Steel was forced to intervene in secret to make her appear to have super-powers. This story was completely recycled in Adventure Comics #297 (June 1962).
- Lana Lang became Flying Girl when she blackmailed Superboy into giving her the power to fly. She wore a green costume with an "LL" emblem, and the process required them to be connected by wires, and if they remained that way more than three hours, Lana would retain the power permanently! He tricked her into undoing the wires before the deadline. (Superboy #72, Apr. 1959).
- Another time, Professor Lang returned from an expedition with an alien belt that allowed Lana to fly, becoming Gravity Girl (Adventure Comics #285, June 1961).
- In the 30th century, Nylor Truggs stole the legendary H-Dial and museum and escaped to the 20th Century. He conscripted Clark Kent's friends and used the Dial transformed them all into super-villains for an hour. Lana was temporarily transformed into the Wisp (New Adventures of Superboy #50, Feb. 1984).
Adulthood and "Super-Lana"
By the time she left Smallville for college, Lana had yet to learn Superboy's greatest secret. And despite the frequent label of "Superboy's girl friend," no romance ever truly blossomed between the two. Lana said goodbye to Clark when he left Smallville; she had decided to attend Metropolis University but he was still undecided. (Superman #359) He visited her there — when Superboy also announced that he was relocating to Metropolis. (#365-366)
?? Lois met the adult Lana , Superbly’s former girl friend wasn’t yet making a play for Superman, however. (Superman #68)
In Metropolis, Clark ultimately went to work for the Daily Planet and met reporter Lois Lane, his new "friendly tormentor." Lana also chose a career in journalism and one day she applied for a job at the Planet. Editor Perry White gave her a trial run and assigned her to work with Lois. The two of them wasted no time bedeviling Clark with suspicion. (This was the first time Lana had seen Superman.) Lana's reporting impressed Editor Smith with the Federal Syndicate, who offered her a job there. (Superman #78)
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane
This job apparently didn't work out because one day Lois found Lana "down and out," in line for a charity meal. Lois took her in to help her back onto her feet. After a meeting with Superman, he repaid the womens' taunts by leaving a note that read, "The girl I like best has the initials L.L." (Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #7) ?? . Earlier, in the Showcase story, Lana had shown interest in getting a job as a TV announcer. In later stories, she became a top news reporter for station WMET-TV.
Once Lana recovered her career, she was a regular fixture in Clark and Lois' lives. The two women frequently played a friendly rivalry to win the Man of Steel's affections. Each secretly hoped that he would propose marriage to her. Note: Lana was such a prominent presence in the Lois Lane series that the letter column was retitled "Letters to Lois and Lana," beginning in issue #64 (Apr. 1966).
During her time in Metropolis, Lana Lang made another turns at super-heroics. She bathed herself in a special strength serum to become Girl Atlas, hoping to entice Superman. (Lois Lane #12)
And while her apartment was being redecorated, Lana moved in with Lois Lane. Lois knew about her adventures as Insect Queen, so when she heard about a fire emergency, Lois donned Lana's old suit and the Bio-Ring to save the day as Bug-Belle. She was duped by Velvet O'Mara, who stole the ring and captured Superman in a super-web. It took both Lana and Lois to save him from O'Mara. (Lois Lane #69)
Lana also once lent the Bio-Ring to Jimmy Olsen, in order to fight the Bug Bandit as the Insect-Boy. (Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #94)
When Superman defeated Brainiac, the villainous android hatched one last plot against his rival. Brainiac was untouchable, far away in space, but told Superman via projection that he would mentally compel Lois Lane and Lana Lang to their deaths. But if Superman interefered, Brainiac would destroy the Earth! Superman needed to agree that he would be off-planet at the time.
The Man of Steel got creative in order to save his beloved friends, inviting both women to receive a blood transfusion from him — to give them super powers an idea explored earlier, in dreams).
Lana was first; after her treatment she donned a yellow-and-lilac colored costume and took to the skies as “Super-Lana.” She and Super-Lois (in green-and-yellow) worked together to mitigate catastrophes. Then as Brainiac had promised, they were compelled to enter an abandoned building, which he destroyed.
Superman’s gift had saved their lives, and their super-powers faded soon thereafter. The were happy to save their uniforms as momentos of their adventure. (Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #17) Note: By the time of this adventure, Supergirl had been introduced, which is probably the reason that neither Lana nor Lois sported a costume that resembled Superman’s. Lana Lang reappeared in the costume from this story in Action Comics #583 (1986, the last Superman story before his continuity was rebooted by Crisis on Infinite Earths).
Superman's favorite women were again sporting their new costumes only a few months later. Lois and Lana decided to make a leisurely stop at the “Cavern of 1,000 Lakes,” where according to legend, lay a magic lake that imbued one with super-powers. Later at work, they dashed off to cover a story — and did so at super-speed! They had bathed in the magic lake.
Both excitedly informed Superman that he could now marry them, worry-free, because they could not be harmed by his enemies. They arranged a contest to determine the better wife. Superman wondered whether it wasn’t time to make up his mind…
Their pageantry included heroism, cooking and beauty, but as always, their powers wore off. Superman had made up his mind: the winner had the initials “L.L.” (Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #21) (Nov. 1960)
?? One of the strangest developments in the entire Lois saga #41 Lois and Lana were merged temporarily into one person by a magical jewel.
Superman and Action Comics
In 1971, writer Denny O'Neil took Superman toward "Amazing New Adventures." O'Neil transformed the world of the Daily Planet by bringing in Morgan Edge, the president of the Galaxy Broadcasting System (owners of television station WGBS). Edge acquired the Planet and his first act was to assign Clark Kent to cover a story for television! (Superman #233) Note: Morgan Edge was created by Jack Kirby in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133 (Oct. 1970).
Lana took advantage of every opportunity to flirt with Superman but she eventually had to accept that Superman only had eyes for Lois Lane. When Morgan Edge offered a job as a European correspondent, she left Metropolis. (Lois Lane #109)
Lana worked abroad for some time, but when she returned home, she caught up with Clark and Pete Ross in Smallville. (Superman #284)
Clark was shocked to learn that Edge had appointed Lang to be his co-anchor on the WGBS news. (#317-319)
This was just after Clark had proposed to Lois, but she declined unless he would admit to being Superman. (#314) He was hurt by the rejection and seemed to gravitated toward Lana again. But Superman could not deny that Lois Lane was his true love and he ultimately conceded his feelings by offering her a ring and having dinner with her. (#322)
Vartox, the so-called "hyper-man," was an alien man who met Superman in Superman #281 (Nov. 1974). He hailed from the planet Valeron and was about as powerful as Superman.
Vartox was enamored of Lana Lang, which put a twist in the usual love-triangle dynamic with Superman.
Vartox home planet Valeron died and he sought refuge on Earth. Clark introduced him to his friends in Metropolis as Vernon O'Valeron. Lana Lang was quick to show him around and the two were instantly attracted. (Action Comics #498) Even the love of a beautiful redhead could not prevent Vartox from seeking out new purpose in the stars. He left to find (or make) a new home planet for himself. (#499)
He visited her one more time before the two of them became engaged. (Superman #356-357) On their third meeting, Vartox and Lana rekindled their romance. Also during this visit, a strange ethereal entity gifted Lana with a "protective aura" that approximated the atmosphere of Tynola, Vartox's home planet. She could now marry Vartox and return to his world. She resigned from Galaxy. (Superman #373)
Lana's mysterious benefactor was actually Vartox's ex-lover, Syreena, who was bitter toward him. (#374) She manipulated Vartox into using his powers on Lana, which turned her to stone. With that, Syreena had a change of heart and took pity on the couple. She used her own powers to restore Lana. As Syreena died, it left Lana without her protective aura, so she could not go to space with Vartox. (#375)
As the multiverse succumbed to an anti-matter apocalypse, Brainiac and Lex Luthor pulled out all the stops and nearly succeeded in killing Superman. In the fight, Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen reactivated their old super-powers. They were out-gunned and killed by the Legion of Super-Villains. (Action #583)
Action Comics #583 (Sept. 1986) was the last Superman story before the character was entirely rebooted after Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the new continuity, Superman never had a career as "Superboy," but Lana Lang and Clark were still lifelong friends from Smallville.
In an "Imaginary Story" from Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #26 (July 1961), after Lana finally discovers Superman's secret identity, they are married. When they go to the Fortress of Solitude, he offers 'Mrs. Superman' a drink of Korium-66-Beta serum that, because she has blood type A, gives her permanent super-powers. She wears a version of his costume, with red gloves and they go on missions together.
And in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #46 (Jan. 1964), Lana was again presented as super-powered and married to Superman. They had a daughter, Joan. Lois had married Lex Luthor and they had a son. This story was a sequel to an earlier story in issue #34.
Appearances + References
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
As Insect Queen
- Adventure Comics #355, 369-370
- Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #281-282
- Superboy v.1 #124, 127, 205
- Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #69
- Action Comics #272, 288, 295, 298, 302, 304, 308, 309, 363, 365, 408
- Adventure Comics #355, 369-370, 378, 453-458
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, 7, 9, 12
- DC Comics Presents #12, 32, 50, 53, 54, 65, 66, 71, 73, 79, 81, 85, 91, 92, Annual #2-4
- DC Super-Stars #12
- Justice League of America #240
- Lois Lane #1-2
- Phantom Zone #1
- Showcase #9
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #255
- Superman Family #191-195, 197, 205, 207, 208, 214
- Superman v.1 #78, 111, 116, 136, 137, 144, 150, 156, 157, 161, 165, 170-174, 176, 177, 185, 186, 204, 210, 229, 284
- Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #52, 59, 64, 67, 70, 80, 81, 83, 94
- World's Finest Comics #251, 255, 303, 308, 309
- Superboy v.1 #10-205 (1950–74)
- Adventure Comics #161-315 (1951-63)
- Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #10-109 (1959–71)
- Superman v.1 #317-421 (1977–86)
- Action Comics #479-578 (1978-86)
- New Adventures of Superboy, 54 issues (1980–84)
Insect Queen of Earth-Two
First appearance: Superman Family #203 (Sept./Oct. 1980). As Insect Queen: Superman Family #213 (Dec. 1981).
In the original DC multiverse — on Earth-Two — the Golden Age Superman had never been "Superboy," and he did not meet Lana Lang until he was well into adulthood. Lana was a new figure on the scene and a native of Metropolis. Clark Kent was editor at the Daily Star, and he hired Lana to be their new television critic. Her father, Professor Lewis Lang, was born in Smallville and went to school with Clark's father. (On Earth-Two, Smallville remained a tiny town since there was no Superboy, and the resulting tourism). (Superman Family #203)
One day Lana arrived at work wearing a new scarab. It was a gift from her father, from Egypt's Valley of the Kings. It was allegedly made by a royal wizard to ward off insect plagues. Superman's high speed vibrations awakened the scarab's power and it took over Lana's mind. She was compelled by it to transform a fly to giant-sized, and rode upon it as the Insect Queen. After her magical attack on Superman, she returned to normal and remembered nothing. But back at the office, Clark recognized that Lana's brooch was the same as the Queen's. (#213)
The second time the brooch was activated, Lois Lane noticed, and witnessed Lana's powers in action. The Insect Queen attacked Superman with an army of giant ants, and this also drew the attention of the Ultra-Humanite. His men used one of that ants as the new host for Ultra's brain. The "Ultra-Ant" followed Lana back to her home and conscripted her service. (#214)
Superman consulted Lana's father for help, and Prof. Lang gave Superman an ancient powder to modify the scarab's power. He managed to separate the scarab from Lana and she regained her senses. Ultra scurried off and Superman returned the scarab to Lana — she could continue to use it if needed, but not against Superman. (#215)
Superman called on the Insect Queen to help him defeat an invasion of insectoid aliens. (#222)
The Insect Queen of Earth-Two appeared in two other places: Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 (Jan. 1968), and in a profile in Who's Who #11 (Jan. 1986).
Post-Crisis Lana Lang
First appearance, Lana: Man of Steel #1 (1986). Insect Queen: Superman #671 (Feb. 2008)
In the post-Crisis DC universe, Lana Lang grew up with Clark Kent in Smallville. (Man of Steel #1) Before he left his hometown, he revealed his powers to Lana. She was shocked — both by his secret and by the revelation that he had never loved her, romantically. (#6)
Lana remained in Smallville; she was emotionally scarred from Clark's news and tried to avoid seeing Clark. Many years into adulthood, she began dating their childhood friend Pete Ross. (Adventures of Superman #470) Pete became U.S. Senator and and they moved to Washington, D.C. (#481) They were engaged there. (Action Comics #673) Pete served as Vice President of the United States under President Lex Luthor. (Lex 2000)
Lana became a successful businessperson and was ultimately tapped to run Luthor's company, Lexcorp. (Superman #654) When an alien "Insect Queen" came to Earth looking for Lex, she found Lana Lang presiding in his stead. The Queen kidnapped Lana and used her as the template for her human form. (Superman #671)
Lex had apparently made a deal with the queen's people, but failed to hold up his end of it. The Insect Queen's "midges" attacked and captured Superman and exerted control over his mind. (#672) Lana managed to escape and talked Superman out of the trance. The Queen was rendered into suspended animation. (#673) No connection was made between this Insect Queen and Zazzala, a similar alien queen, who fought the Justice League. (JLA #34)
Some time after this, Lana became progressively more ill and was admitted to the hospital. (Supergirl v.5 #40-41) Lana then "died" in the hospital and was entombed in a cocoon. (#49) She emerged infected and possessed by the Insect Queen. She was freed with help from Supergirl. (#50)
Insect Queen: Legion Reboot
First appearance: Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #82 (July 1996)
The world of the Legion of Super-Heroes was rebooted in 1994 and in the new Legion universe, there was an Insect Queen who was from the planet Xanthu. Xanthu, like Earth, was home to many young super-heroes who formed a group called the Uncanny Amazers. Insect Queen's name was an homage to Lana: Lonna Leing. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #82)
She and the Amazers joined the Legion to fight Mordru. (Legionnaires #49)
Perhaps the Amazers' most famous member was Star Boy, who became a member of the Legion. One time when he was catching up with Insect Queen from Earth, Xanthu was attacked by aliens. Star Boy and Monstress helped their former teammates fight them off. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #101–102)
Insect Queen was among Xanthu's most loyal protectors. She demonstrated great power and bravery with the Amazers when their world was invaded by Robotica. (Legion Worlds #4)
Lana Lang as Superwoman: New 52 and Rebirth
First appearance, New 52: Action Comics #6 (April 2012).
As Superwoman: Superwoman #1 (Oct. 2017)
DC rebooted their entire universe with the "New 52." The origins of the Lana Lang in this continuity were fairly familiar. (Action Comics v.2 #6)
Her story took an interesting turn when Superman apparently died, and she and Lois Lane absorbed aspects of his power. The two women adopted costumes and both were known as Superwoman, but Lois was killed very soon after this. (Superwoman #1)
At one point, during a battle against Lena Luthor, Lana donned a specially-designed armor called the "Insect Queen." It was designed by Natasha Irons and it boosted her powers. (#7) She eventually relinquished the energies that came from Superman back to him, which left her powerless. When she returned to the Insect Queen armor, she discovered that it had residual power, and so she continued her career as a super-hero. (#10)
The original Lana Lang used an alien Bio-Ring to partially transform her body into forms that resembled insects (including spiders). When she transformed, she could mimic the abilities of these animals. She could crawl walls, spin webs, fly and leap to a superhuman degree. Once she had used a power, she could not mimic that same animal again for another 24 hours.
The Insect Queen of the original Earth-Two used the power of an ancient scarab to command insects and transform them into giant sizes.
The Insect Queen from the Reboot Legion could transform into insectoid shapes and would acquire the abilities associatged with them. These powers did not seem to be powered by a device.
Lana Lang in the New 52 era had innate super-powers from the energy she absorbed from Superman. These included flight, energy projection, and super-strength. After losing those powers, she wore the "Insect Queen" armor which allowed her to express those same powers, to a lesser degree.