Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Who's Who: Kid Quantum I

Kid Quantum I
by Siskoid

Real Name: James Cullen
Super-Power(s): Immobilization field.
Planet of Origin: Xanthu.
Legion Seniority: Kid Quantum was the SW6 Legion's fourth and last new recruit.

Legion Log 
In the timeline created by Glorith's defeat of the Time Trapper, when the Protean race was discovered on Antares II, the explorers who found it also found a gold mine of historical relics and scientific knowledge. The Proteans were an ancient race who learned their telepathic and shape-shifting abilities from a master race of galactic "stewards" called the Llorn. The Llorn left imprints of their peaceful reign across the entire galaxy. As eons passed, the Proteans, and Antares II were some of the only tangible links to Llorn culture and history. The Proteans granted the United Planets permission to explore their ancient artifacts. Two archaeologists whom the Proteans considered great friends were Niles and Esther Cullen of Xanthu.

Soon, Glorith, the power-hungry empress of Baaldur, annexed Antares II and fancied a race of shape-shifting servants. The Proteans were unwittingly betrayed by one of their own, who gave her their secrets. Before they could be enslaved, this Protean realized his error and alerted his people to the danger. The entire race amassed their collective consciousness and placed it inside a humanoid shell that could not change shape. The "Soul of Antares" was to hide from Glorith until the threat passed. Only seven Proteans remained sentient in their original forms, to one day shepherd the souls back from the host. The Soul was entrusted to the Cullens, who disguised it as their son, "James."

After staying with the Cullens for a year, James decided that the newly-formed Legion of Super-Heroes would be a better place for him. Using one of his Protean relics, a time-stasis belt that incorporated the technology of the Llorn, he applied and was accepted as Kid Quantum. But soon, Glorith discovered the Proteans' secret and he was forced to take desperate action, staging a fight on Mars where he pretended his belt overloaded and disintegrated him. He was mourned as the first Legionnaire ever to die in the line of duty. (To prevent such incidents in the future, the Legion instituted a rule that would deny admission to anyone whose powers were based on outside devices.)

Kid Quantum went so far underground, even the Proteans didn't know where he went. For clues, one Proteans maneuvered itself into the Legion as Chameleon Boy's pet, Proty. He eventually sacrificed his life to "revive" Lightning Lad. A second Protean, Proty II, then befriended the Legion, but neither of them ever found a clue to the Soul's location until, in the Five Years Later time frame, the second Proty confided in R.J. Brande who, along with Chameleon Boy, found the Soul hiding on the far-off planet of Yal. Kid Quantum soon returned to Antares II.

Sometime after his arrival, Antares II was invaded by the Khunds, but a group of SW6 Legionnaires crashed on the planet and helped the Proteans restore their sentience still contained inside Kid Quantum. This process left him alive - animated by the consciousness of the Protean who had originally betrayed his people - with internalized stasis powers. He chose to leave his brothers and serve as a Legionnaire. His great regret have turned him into the pacifist of the team.

After the Reboot, James Cullen was the proud possessor of a belt that created a time-stasis field that could paralyze anything inside of it. When the Legion of Super-Heroes was formed, he was one of three contestants vying to become the Champion of Xanthu, but he was selected by his government to join the Legion instead as Kid Quantum. He quickly alienated his team mates with his arrogance, the very trait that would prove his undoing. In a fight he tought he thought was a piece of cake, his neck was broken by the insectoid villain Tangleweb. His coffin booby-trapped by terrorists almost made a further tragedy of his funeral. James' sister Jazmin would become Kid Quantum II and will get her own entry.

Kid Quantum does not seem to exist in the Threeboot or post-Infinite Crisis versions of the 31st-century DC Universe. However, when Captain Atom assembles, kills and absorbs versions of himself from across the Multiverse in Countdown: Arena, Kid Quantum is among their number. He would also be referenced in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds and Convergence: Blue Beetle.Kid Quantum had a cameo on the Superman Animated Series, in the episode "New Kids on the Block".

Important Kid Quantum I Stories: 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) Annual #3
The Proteans are looking for Kid Quantum, AKA the Soul of Antares

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #33
First real appearance of Kid Quantum; how he fits in the Legion's changed continuity

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #39
Kid Quantum is the prisoner of Leland McCauley

Legionnaires #10-11
The SW6 Legion recruits Kid Quantum and restores the Proteans' sentience

Legionnaires #0
The Reboot Kid Quantum's dreams are dashed when he's forced to join the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #62
Kid Quantum is killed by Tangleweb

Countdown: Arena #4
Kid Quantum is one of the Multivere's "Captain Atoms"

Superman Animated Series
Kid Quantum had a cameo in the episode "New Kids on the Block"


  1. KQ worked as a concept; cool power, explaining the no artificial power rule and backdating some diversity into the group.
    But when he was revealed to be essentially a bunch of Proteans in a trenchcoat he just became silly.
    Unfortunately he is far better as a footnote in the history of his much more interesting sister, Jazmin.

    1. Yeah, that sounds right. He works as a retconned in reason for the no gadgets. But all that Protean nonsense was just that...nonsense.

  2. I have never heard of this guy. I guess I always just saw his sister.

  3. I started reading Legionnaires, and had never read any prior Legion, so only seeing the resolution to his arc confused me greatly.
    He was such a pompous jerk in the Reboot, that I took an immediate distaste to him.
    Years later, after reading a bunch of Legion stories and finally reading 5YL in full, with all of the Protean twists, I came to appreciate him, and wish the Bierbaums had gotten to do a bit more with him as part of the Legion before Zero Hour hit.

  4. I actually thought his aragant personality was a much better addition to the Legion than his sister's bland one .

    They should have switched them killing her off and adding a bitter, actually quantum powered James to the team .

    Imagine James being forced to join harboring resentment towards those he felt responsible for his sisters death, holding back on missions and perhaps ending up betraying them and joining the Legion of Super-Villains !