Our group of candid women with no real Legion knowledge asked to check out the Substitute-Heroes. We said yes. Did they notice us snickering?
Our honorary Legion members are...
Art-Girl - As long as the flowers are pink, she's happy.
DJ Nath - Lives in a basement apartment where nothing grows.
Havana Nights - Eats fresh.
Lip-Bomb - Has been known to wear a crown of flowers, like a delightful druidess. With her sister Nath, she co-hosts the YouTube channel Mind Linked.
Science Girl - Thinks experimental fertilizer is sexy.
Shotgun - A girl from the woods.
Moderator: Siskoid - A gray thumb if there ever was one.
And note that now the girls are now doing a podcast with the same premise, only over in the Marvel Universe in oHOTmu or NOT? every three weeks.
Okay, you've signed on for a second tour, looking at Legion rejects, more specifically those that joined the Legion of Substitute-Heroes and acted as Legion reservists. Originally, these "lovable losers" were still pretty useful even if they weren't always the best at using their powers. For a time, writers turned them into a joke (you'll see this in their evolution), and then back into more experienced heroes.
First impressions on Chlorophyll Kid
Chlorophyll Kid (Ral Benem of Mardru) hails from Mardru, a boring agrarian planet where he accidentally fell into a hydroponic vat of experimental fertilizer and gained the power to stimulate (or retard) plant growth (he carries all sorts of seeds to help where plants do not exist). He applied for Legion membership, but didn't have the best control over those powers. Fortunately for him, he was found by Polar Boy, another reject who felt that even rejected applicants could be useful, and became one of the original members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes.
Havana Nights: The tree on his shirt looks like the friendliest of trees.
DJ Nath: His logo is a tree, I'm sold.
Art-Girl: He can grow me all the flowers.
Science Girl: TWINKIE BELT!!!
Shotgun: Is it really a tree or some broccoli?
Art-Girl: Awwwww, our yard would have all the Japanese cherry blossoms!!!
DJ Nath: Warning, this is too much - Chlorophyll me up with your seed (sorry that's gross).
Havana Nights: Dear God.
Science Girl: Ew.
Havana Nights: Why doesn't he have hair? I wish he had hair...
Siskoid: He has hair
Art-Girl: Yay, we win! The hair is just hidden.
Lip-Bomb: I hate those costumes with that head covering business
Science Girl: And that grass-head business.
DJ Nath: I feel like he should hang out with the Lorax.
Shotgun: I'm not against the colors.
Havana Nights: The costume is very... asexual.
Siskoid: The classic costumes from the 50s and 60s were very kid-like.
Havana Nights: He looks like he could be on a kid show.
Shotgun: (awful attempt at a pun) The colors are.. down to earth.
Science Girl: What. That makes no sense.
Shotgun: Yes it does... because green and brown... like.... weed and... never mind *curls up in a corner and cries*
Art-Girl: Nice try, sweetie.
DJ Nath: On the plus side, his outfit look comfy.
Art-Girl: I don't mind the costume - I like it - just the baggy legs. There is no need; it's just silly looking.
Lip-Bomb: It's a pretty cute power.
Science Girl: The outfit looks like a Forever 21 dinosaur onesie.
DJ Nath: Yes.
Art-Girl: O_O yes! He needs more spikes on his back!!!
Lip-Bomb: Definitely does.
DJ Nath: It's like blades of grass growing out of his head.
Art-Girl: Because Stegosaurs are the best dinosaurs.
Shotgun: But the contrast between the top that's way too tight and the baggy pants makes me uncomfortable. Why?!
Havana Nights: I kind of like that the pants are baggy... seems more comfortable.
DJ Nath: You would always have fresh flowers on each date.
Art-Girl: Never mind fresh flowers, I want an English garden!
Lip-Bomb: You know what sounds unpleasant? Falling in hydroponic vat of experimental fertilizer. What is he, Obelix?
Art-Girl: Classic! Falls in the magic potion as a baby. But fertilizer would be way worse!
Science Girl: By that analogy, if we drink experimental fertilizer, we get his powers.
Art-Girl: Did he drink it or just soak in it for a while?
Science Girl: Is it that easy to get super powers?
DJ Nath: I guess not super impressive ones, yes.
Shotgun: What do you mean, unimpressive? He's cracking mountains open.
Lip-Bomb: If he doesn't have the best control of his power... what exactly happens? Like trees randomly grow?
Science Girl: Or does he randomly kill plants?
Siskoid: Makes a tree grow to block a villain, but by the time he's thrown the seed and made it happen, it's too late and he's blocking his allies, that kind of thing.
Havana Nights: Aw.
DJ Nath: That's a bummer.
Shotgun: Sounds really sad.
Siskoid: Official reason - We go to planets with no plants, so maybe you're not always useful.
Lip-Bomb: Are his plants special in any way? Does he create power plants?
Siskoid: He can make strange plants grow, like giant Venus fly-traps, etc.
DJ Nath: Badass. Can he make an Audrey II?
Shotgun: Or like, exotic fruit trees in Canada?
Art-Girl: I want him to grow a mushroom that I can sit in, like in Alice in Wonderland.
Science Girl: OMG, imagine all the pineapples.
Art-Girl: ALL THE FRESH LEMONS!
Shotgun: Fresh fruit all day, every day.
Science Girl: I could eat pineapples all the time. OR ALL THE THYME AMIRITE?
Lip-Bomb: You need fruit salad? Give me a minute.
DJ Nath: Sold.
Art-Girl: Hahaha, he's kicking Canadian winter in the butt with all his fresh fruit and vegetables.
On Mike Grell's redesign
He briefly wore this updated uniform in the 2970s (so briefly, most won't even know about it until today):
Shotgun: Why hello there!
DJ Nath: He looks like he was branded by John Deere.
Lip-Bomb: It's slightly forest ranger-ish.
Havana Nights: So we see the hair. Meh... not big on blonds.
Lip-Bomb: Not necessarily a bad thing.
Science Girl: Heeeeey!
Havana Nights: Blond guys.
Science Girl: *frowns*
Shotgun: For once, I'm not the one complaining about hair color, but I feel you, Havana.
DJ Nath: He looks more like a hero here.
Lip-Bomb: What is happening around his body? Plant magic?
Art-Girl: I don't like blond men either, I am blonde, I want something different.
Shotgun: I don't like the spruce tree as much. Less like broccoli, but also less unusual-looking.
On the decline into comic relief
The Subs were actually fairly useful for a while, but their star waned, and Chlorophyll Kid started spending more and more time serving as a gardening consultant and avoiding his training sessions. He gained a lot of weight in the process. And this costume.
Havana Nights: Oh dear God.
Art-Girl: What is this? Are you kidding me?
DJ Nath: He now looks like he's wearing a bad Halloween costume.
Lip-Bomb: Ok, this is the look he had when he... stopped?
Havana Nights: That costume looks like a Halloween costume gone wrong.
Lip-Bomb: I wish my gardener dressed like this. I also wish I was posh enough to have a gardener.
Art-Girl: It looks like Robin Hood meets Halloween meets someone that made this in the dark.
Shotgun: I don't know what to say...
Lip-Bomb: He looks like a chicken.
Shotgun: It's practically horrifying.
Art-Girl: The tree is all over his costume. The petals around his face.
Siskoid: Struggled with his weight, what can I say... You were the ones expounding on his ability to make food grow.
Art-Girl: It's just--
DJ Nath: I don't like that you can see the roots, it's weird and unsettling.
Science Girl: Does he have a girlfriend in one of those pumpkin costumes.
Art-Girl: Slutty pumpkin.
Shotgun: His hood makes him look like Chespin (he's a Pokemon, guys).
Havana Nights: I guess even superheroes can't take their physique for granted... a lesson to us all.
Art-Girl: The weight is fine, the costume is horrific no matter the size.
DJ Nath: The baggy pants are not a good choice.
Lip-Bomb: Nope. Can't get passed the rooster-ness.
Art-Girl: The tree trunk in the crotch area...there's something there I just don't enjoy.
Shotgun: Those pants just remind me of his origin story. Sorry but... did he poop his pants?
Havana Nights: I mean, he still looks very friendly, that's a plus.
Science Girl: I feel like he should be in a children's play or something.
Lip-Bomb: Is he shooting plant magic from his finger there?
Siskoid: Yes, he's making that flower in the surprint grow. The one that seems to have his head as a pistil.
Art-Girl: Can he become the plants and stuff?
Siskoid: No, it's just a weird superimposition.
Art-Girl: Aw I am sad now. It would of been like the flowers in Alice in Wonderland. Far less bitchy I'm sure, but still, singing flowers.
Shotgun: Did he have fun cross-breeding plants to make super-plants?
Science Girl: GMOh no!!! (zing!)
Shotgun: But he does look friendly; he just needs a fashion lesson, and as soon as possible.
Lip-Bomb: The text calls his home planet boring, but they are inventing experimental fertilizer.
Siskoid: The planet is just a big farm - it's Saskatchewan.
Havana Nights: Shout-out to our one Saskatchewan friend!
Shotgun: So a flat rectangle with no bodies of water.
Science Girl: Well, of all the things you can invent, experimental fertilizer does top my list of exciting things.
Lip-Bomb: I mean it's so experimental that it gave some dude powers. And bad fashion choices.
Science Girl: Imagine experimental donuts or something. You end up shooting out donuts.
Art-Girl: It wouldn't surprise me if he wore socks with sandals.
Shotgun: He could grow himself a badass Groot costume--I AM SO SOLD NOW!
On his later look
Later in life, he was placed on a diet and strict exercise regimen, he learned how to use plants in new and useful ways. His connection to the plant world has grown to the point where he's something of a plants' rights activist. Now he looks like this:
Siskoid: Somebody hurt a plant and he's gonna take revenge.
Art-Girl: I don't mind the bad boys.
DJ Nath: He's so terrifying.
Shotgun: Nope. Why does he need to be so creepy?
Lip-Bomb: He's terrifying. That's what diets do to people.
Siskoid: At this point, he sort of lost sight of his humanity.
Art-Girl: I like the darker hair! I can run my fingers through it now.
Science Girl: Plants' rights activist.
Lip-Bomb: Maybe he just eats meat?
Havana Nights: I like his costume, and his arms are amazing... But jeezum rice he freaks me out.
Shotgun: Not a fan of the shoulder pads.
Art-Girl: Those forearms!
Science Girl: Plants' rights activists are probably complaining about farminists on Reddit or something.
Havana Nights: HAHAHA FARMINISTS!
Shotgun: But yeah, cool hair.
Lip-Bomb: He's like Robin and the Joker mixed in with Poison Ivy. And I'm cool with it.
Shotgun: His pants and the rest of his shirt are just a shade too close to his skin... it was a little disconcerting at first.
Lip-Bomb: Yeah, it looks like just a strip of clothing in the center of his chest.
Art-Girl: He looks like he has some nice pecs there.
Science Girl: He's super buff.
Havana Nights: I mean the diet and work out regimen get a thumbs up from me.
Shotgun: Improve your health and physical appearance, and a fashion sense will magically appear.
DJ Nath: Easier to shop for clothes if you're thinner, sad fact of life.
Lip-Bomb: His powers look cooler in this drawing too.
Shotgun: I'm just glad he abandoned the hat. It makes all the difference in the world.
Lip-Bomb: It's a real shame his name isn't Phil.
Science Girl: I know, right?
Shotgun: Hats are MY thing.
Havana Nights: I mean he looks friendly in most pictures, so I'm not completely turned off. He looks like he's been through a lot and I can appreciate that. But the plant thing might make him a bit too much of a hippy for me.
DJ Nath: I'm very confused, my initial reaction was Hot but that last picture ruined it for me.
Havana Nights: I mean maybe it was just a bad angle and wrong choice of Instagram filter.
DJ Nath: I think overall Hot, but need to tone down the plant love a bit and we should go shopping.
Lip-Bomb: I feel like there's no middle ground. At the beginning he seems sweet, kind and a caretaker, but a bit boring. Later he becomes waaaaaay too intense. I'd always be second banana to all the plants.
Siskoid: He'd find a raisin to ignore you. ;-)
Lip-Bomb: Is the only social media he uses Vine?
Science Girl: I'm gonna go with Not. I'm just not Chloro-feeling it.
Shotgun: I'd say Hot. Not a fan of his hat thing. Happy to see he dropped it later. He looks friendly and I think we'd get along. I'm just afraid the plant love would make him super-condescending about my life choices.
Lip-Bomb: I don't think our love could grow.
Art-Girl: He looks quite handsome, and I like the fact that he gained weight and lost it. I am going through the same thing, lost quite a bit of weight myself, still working for the rest, but I like that he got that motivation. We can encourage each other and be there for each other when we just want that cup cake! I like the fresh garden idea, and the flowers forever. But even the last picture, while the shadows don't help, he has passion and looks like a bad boy. I'm in for this one - HOT!
Shotgun: He looks really intense in that last version, but I'm sure it was just an intense moment.
Art-Girl: A moment of passion.
Shotgun: And I mean, I'm 100% into the idea of getting fresh fruit and vegetables all year round.
Art-Girl: I WOULD SAVE SO MUCH MONEY. HOT TWICE!
Lip-Bomb: But would he let you eat them or is that cruelty to plants?
Shotgun: I've never heard of a botanist complaining about eating fruit. Pretty sure he's no carnivore; you need a balanced diet to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
Science Girl: THAT'S WHAT THE FARMINISTS TELL YOU!
Next: Don't sneeze!
Science Girl: Pepper Lad?