Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Who's Who: Controllers

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: N/A
Super-Power(s): Alter matter and energy; immortality
Planet of Origin: Oa; long been in another dimension
Relationship to Legion: Aloof villains

Legion Log
The Controllers is the name taken by a race of aliens, probably the most advanced race ever encountered by the Legion. The Controllers are an off-shoot of the Oans, better known as the Guardians of the Universe. After the Oan scientist Krona unleashed evil into the DC Universe, the Oans argued amongst themselves as to the best way to make amends. Oans who would become the Guardians decided to create a group of "police officers." Those Oans who would become the Controllers decided to leave Oa and build technology to "control" the spread of evil instead.

The Legion first met the Controllers after one of their creations, the Sun-Eater, headed towards our solar system. The Controller who was assigned our universe had decided to conquer it instead of managing it, and was using the Sun-Eater to spread panic. Unfortunately for him, Ferro Lad gave his life to destroy his awful weapon and save the universe.

The Controller vowed revenge, and in a complicated plot attempted to take over the Legionnaires themselves to use as his army of control. However, after revealing himself to them the Controller suffered a sudden heart attack, possibly because he saw the "ghost" of Ferro Lad.

Soon after, another Controller contacted the Legion and presented them with a so-called "Miracle Machine" that could transfer thoughts into reality. The Legion used this weapon to help repel an invasion of Earth by The Dark Circle, then stored it in their head-quarters for several years.The Miracle Machine was eventually used by a clinically insane Braniac 5 to create the energy being he named Omega. Omega's mission was to destroy the Legion and help Brainiac 5 take control of the United Planets. When Matter-Eater Lad consumed the Miracle Machine, however, Omega ceased to exist.

Yet another Controller was discovered by the Legion to be re-building a Sun-Eater on a deserted factory planet. Element Lad and a group of Legionnaires destroyed the facility rather than allow another weapon of mass destruction to be created. This Controller then came to Earth and drafted the same team of Legionnaires to help him control Tyrraz, the mobile home planet of the arch-fiend Tyr. It had been this Controller's intention to use the Sun-Eater to destroy it, but the Legionnaires destroyed its warp engines instead, saving countless lives.

One more Controller, going by the name/title Clonus, inadvertently created a race of energy monsters while conducting various cloning experiments. These creatures were later responsible for the murder of the super-hero group the Wanderers. He then cloned six of the seven members, and served as their advisor and consultant on several missions.

Each Controller, though individually different, has come across as aloof and mostly unemotional. They appear to regard humans and our fellow inhabitants in the UP as we would regard ants. And although they claim to be related to the Guardians of the Universe, none has ever exhibited such "cosmic" powers as the Guardians regularly do.

It would be later revealed that the Controllers also formed their own elite patrol order-keeping force called the Darkstars. As temporal anomalies built up in the 30th Century, just prior to Zero Hour and the collapse of the Legion's "Five Years Later" timeline, Celeste Rockfish, at that point the emerald energy being Neon, was anomalously retconned as a Darkstar.

The Controllers' history does not seem to intersect the Legion's in either the Reboot nor the Threeboot. After Infinite Crisis, the Conrtollers' 30th-Century history has presumably been more or less restored. During the Final Crisis, they were confirmed to survive into the 29th Century, at which time they develop the Miracle Machine, whose schematics Superman memorizes upon a visit to the 31st Century.

In a universe that combines Legion history with that of Star Trek's Mirror Universe, the Controllers have been negotiating with the Organians about how to bring peace and order to the galaxy, but those talks broke down before the Earth Empire led by Vandal Savage could bear fruit.

A pre-Crisis Controller appears in the two-part Legion of Super-Heroes animated series episode "Sundown" voiced by David Lodge. This renegade believes that ultimate perfection comes from chaos rather than order, and releases the last Sun-Eater to spread this chaos. As in other histories, Ferro Lad sacrifices himself to stop it in Superman's stead.

Defining Villainous Moment: 
Adventure Comics (v1) #352
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Creates the Sun-Eater to devour the entire Solar System

Important Controller Stories:

Adventure Comics (v1) #357
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
The Controller attempts to make the Legion his slave army

Adventure Comics (v1) #367
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7)
The Controllers present the Miracle Machine to the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes v3 #7
 (reprinted in The More Things Change TPB)
The Legion stumbles upon another Controller making another Sun-Eater

Legion of Super-Heroes v3 #8
 (reprinted in The More Things Change TPB)
The Legion decides to destroy the Sun-Eater and the whole factory planet

Legion of Super-Heroes v3 #19-20
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 5)
The Controller kidnaps the Legionnaires to help him destroy the planet Tyrraz

The Wanderers 1-13 
A Controller uses advanced technology to clone The Wanderers
Legionnaires #17
The Legion starts noticing Celeste Rockfish has been retconned as one of the Controllers' Darkstars

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #2
The Controllers argue with the Organians in the Mirror Universe

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series "Sundown"
A Controller voiced by David Lodge appears in a two-part story


  1. What's the deal with the Time Trapper's connection with the Controllers, anyhow? Does the renegade controller who sometimes pretended to be the trapper have a name?

  2. The reveal was in DC Limited Collector's Edition #55 (1978) which I don't have in front of me right now, but I can check on that later today if you like.

  3. As far as I remember, that was the one time he was shown to be a Controller. And I don't recall him having a name.

  4. We'll definitely cover the story when the Trapper's turn comes around.

  5. I'm pretty sure that they at one point said that the thing in prison that the Servants of Darkness stole power from was a controller time trapper imposter at some later point.

    1. Yes, I remember the later Time Trapper saying something about that.