Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Who's Who: Shadow Lass

Shadow Lass
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Tasmia Mallor 
Super-Power(s): Ability to project darkness
Planet of Origin: Talok VIII
Legion Seniority: Shadow Lass joined during a battle between the Legion and the Fatal Five, the first Legionnaire inducted during a mission. She is Legionnaire #25.

Legion Log 
Shadow Lass was famous as the native super-heroine of the planet Talok VIII when her planet was attacked by some unknown force and then locked down. Unable to return openly, she acted as guide for a group of Legionnaires sent to investigate. They found that the Fatal Five had taken over her planet. Now back at full strength, they charge to Earth. The Legion follows, but has little chance of actually defeating the villains. Thinking they were all about to die, Shadow Lass requests induction into the Legion. Of course, they manage to beat the Fatal Five back, and Shady remained a member. 

However, Shadow Lass as a character had already appeared. She was in the infamous "Adult Legion" story (Adventure Comics #354) where it is revealed that she was a "future" Legionnaire who was fated to die defending the Science Asteroid. One year later, writer Jim Shooter introduced the character into actual continuity. 

As younger children Shadow Lass and her cousin Grev had wandered into mystic caves and been granted control over the dark mists. In each generation one Mallor had been granted this power in order to be the hero of Talok VIII. They were too young to understand what was going to happen, so entered together. As soon as Shadow Lass met the Legion, she and Grev understood why both of them had been give the power: she traveled the universe, while he stayed behind as Shadow Kid to be the hero on their planet.  

Shadow Lass served with the team for nearly seven years.  Originally attracted to the strong intellect of Brainiac 5, when she met the strong and moody Mon-El she fell deeply in love with him. He was attracted to her, too, so for the rest of her Legion career they were one of the Legion's most famous power couples. In fact, she actually married Mon-El after his fatal battle with the Time Trapper, just before he died. (He later got better.) 

During Shadow Lass' tenure she was friendly with most of the Legionnaires, striking up an especially strong friendship with Phantom Girl. Shady and Mon-El often double-dated with Phantom Girl and her boyfriend, Ultra Boy (who was one of Mon-El's best friends). She was also friendly with Night Girl, of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, as their powers complemented each other well. Other Legion friends included Superboy, Cosmic Boy, and, while he was a member, Tyroc. She did not particularly care for Timber Wolf, however, who she considered ignorant and slow-witted.

Besides her shadow-creating powers Shadow Lass was a master of Talokian martial arts, and did not shy away from battles. In fact, on her first case she took on the Emerald Empress single-handedly.

Shadow Lass's history was changed by the Crisis and Glorithverse's passing. Originally attracted to Brainiac 5, she eventually fell for Valor instead. When, at the end of the Magic Wars, Valor was critically injured fighting Glorith, she married him during his recovery period, and the two left the Legion to explore the frontiers of space and keep the peace there. When people started vanishing due to Zero Hour, she and Valor avoided that fate by using each other as anchors to reality, until a stray blast from a Mordru/Glorith battle made it too painful to concentrate on staying extant, and she vanished, Valor soon following.

After the Reboot, Tasmia was deemed too zealously protective of Talok's unique traditions by a planetary leadership which wished to have greater contact with other worlds, including joining the United Planets, and she was therefore removed from her position as planetary champion. Taking the codename Umbra, she eventually joined the Legion during anopen call for new members, but considers this something of a consolation prize. Umbra was one of several Legionnaires taken over by the Blight, but the most deeply affected by the experience, her usually bristly personality becoming even more extreme. She was also one of the Legionnaires lost in the Second Galaxy for a time.

Soon after she returned from the Second Galaxy, Umbra found her powers were waning, and eventually disappearing altogether. Her return home to Talok VIII revealed that in her absence, the planet had been consumed by the darkfield that powered her. Thinking her dead, her people attempted to use technology to graft the Shadow Champion's power onto her distant cousin, Grev. He couldn't handle the power, which made him go mad and  eventually killed him. Upon reestablishing contact with Umbra, the shadowforce realigned to her. The Legion then established a permanent teleportational threshold with Talok VIII so that she could serve her people at a moment's notice.

After the Threeboot, Shadow Lass, because she comes from a warrior race, is the most skilled fighter in the Legion after Karate Kid (her boyfriend), and entreated the latter to train her close friend Ultra Boy, so he could fine-tune his powers. She eventually leaves Karate Kid FOR Ultra Boy. When the Legion visited Talok VIII, they were surprised at the degree of favor Shadow Lass commanded, and Atom Girl was inspired to suggest Shadow Lass run for Legion leader on a hedonism platform; nothing came of it. Tasmia has a friendly rivalry with Grev, who in this continuity is her brother, rather than cousin.

After Infinite Crisis, Shadow Lass' original history has more or less been re-established. She is among the group of Legionnaires who help Superman defeat Earth-Man, and at the start of the Final Crisis, rescues Mon-El from the Phantom Zone where Earth-Man had banished him. In a strange twist, Tasmia and Mon-El soon after broke up under unknown circumstances, and she became Earth-Man's lover, despite his intense xenophobia. She blamed Mon-El for letting Earth-Man get killed, for a time, but their bond could not be so easily broken. When Mon-El was severely injured, she brought him home to heal. Both are still active Legionnaires, relationship status unclear.

Shadow Lass has had a non-speaking cameo on the Justice League Unlimited animated series in the episode Far From Home.

Important Shadow Lass Stories: 

Adventure Comics #354
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Shadow Lass makes her a statue in the Hall of Heroes

Adventure Comics #365
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7)
Shadow Lass makes her actual debut as a heroine from Talok VIII

Adventure Comics #366
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7)
Shadow Lass joins the Legion

Adventure Comics #369-370
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8)
Shadow Lass helps fight against Mordru

Superboy #183
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Shadow Lass has an awful new uniform

Superboy #191
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Shadow Lass helps defeat Dr. Regulus

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #199
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Shadow Lass shows off her Dave Cockrum uniform

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #212
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Shadow Lass teams up with Night Girl

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #248
Shadow Lass is seriously injured by Chemical Conqueror

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #263
Shadow Lass' "mother" is kidnapped by Dagon

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #264-265
Shadow Lass says good-bye to Tyroc

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #287
Shadow Lass and Mon-El awaken Darkseid

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #290-294
Shadow Lass' ancestor is cloned and darkened by Darkseid

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #300
Shadow Lass toys with the idea of changing her name to Shadow Woman
while she and Mon-El are at the Science Asteroid

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #301 & 302

Shadow Lass gets her new costume on the cover; 
it appears in the story in the next issue

Tales of Legion of Super-Heroes #318-319
Shadow Lass and Mon-El return to Talok VIII

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #23
Shadow Lass risks time-traveling to save Mon-El

Secret Origins #8
Background information on Shadow Lass' debut

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #3 (1984)
Shadow Lass is used to reanimate Mordru

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #51
Shadow Lass travels the galaxy to save Mon-El's life

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #52
Shadow Lass marries Mon-El

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #3
Shadow Lass fights Glorith's forces on the eve of the Glorithverse's creation

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #18
In 2996, Shadow Lass and Valor free Orando from the Black Circle

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) Annual #4
In one of Shadow Lass' few 5YL appearances, she encounters the 20th century's Jamm

Valor #22-23
During Zero Hour, Shadow Lass and Valor anchor each other in reality, but are eventually
wiped from existence

Legionnaires #43
After the Reboot, Tasmia joins the Legion as Umbra

Legionnaires #44
Umbra is soon put to the test

Legends of the Legion #3
The secret origin of Umbra

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #122
Umbra is infected with the Blight, an event that would substantially
transform her personality

Legion Lost (v1) #6
Umbra was one of the Legionnaires lost in the Second Galaxy

The Legion #2
Umbra finds her powers are gone upon returning to Earth

The Legion #24
Umbra fights to regain her powers on Talok VIII

Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #6
Threeboot Shadow Lass asks Karate Kid to train Ultra Boy

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #22
Shadow Lass is miffed that Supergirl is meddling with her love life

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34
Shadow Lass shows leadership on Talok VIII

Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #40
Shadow Lass fights to protect Talok VIII from an invasion

Action Comics #860
After Infinite Crisis, Shadow Lass and Night Girl are freedom fighters
up against Earth-Man's xenophobic "Justice League"

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1
Shadow Lass frees Mon-El from the Phantom Zone during Final Crisis

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #5
Shadow Lass becomes Earth-Man's lover

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #16
Shadow Lass grieves after Earth-Man's death

Legion of Super-Heroes (v7) #23
Shadow Lass takes Mon-El home to heal up after the Legion disbands once again

Justice League United Annual #1
Shadow Lass is grievously injured in battle with the Cadre

Justice League Unlimited animated series
Shadow Lass' silent cameo in the episode "Far From Home"


  1. That spotlight story in The Legion #24 was particularly good - and it showed Steve Lightle could still draw a damn fine Legion story.

  2. Shadow Lass Fun Fact: Back in the Adventure run, the lettercol had a thing called Bits of Legionnaire Business, where fans could propose new characters. While Shady's wasn't published, the name was given to Jim Shooter by editor Mort Weisinger to use. More here:

  3. Why is Umbra wearing Ms. Marvel's old costume in Legionnaires #43-44 and Legends of the Legion #3? ;)