Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Who's Who: Fatal Five

Fatal Five
by Russell & Siskoid

Members: The Emerald Empress, Mano, The Persuader, Tharok, and Validus
Relationship to Legion: Arch-enemies 

Legion Log
The Fatal Five was the most dangerous group of super-criminals in the 30th Century. The Science Police gave them this nickname, similar to the 20th century's "Most Wanted" term for criminals. However, it was the Legion itself who was responsible for them becoming an actual group.

When the Sun-Eater threatened our galaxy, the Legion found itself with only five members available to fight it. Desperate, they recruited the universe's five most powerful villains to help them defeat the menace with the promise of a full pardon. The Emerald Empress was found by Superboy on the primitive planet Craggok, where she had been overpowered by Green Kryptonite. Mano was found by Ferro Lad just before he was to be executed. Princess Projectra convinced the Persuader to join the crusade for the challenge of it. Cosmic Boy was able to convince Tharok that helping them was the most logical thing to do. And Validus was freed from execution by Sun Boy.

After the Fatal Five helped defeat the Sun-Eater, they decided to stay together as a force for Evil. However, Validus fought against Tharok's attempted mental control. His mental lightning combined with the Persuaders's atomic axe to somehow send all five of them into another dimension.

Eventually the Fatal Five broke through their dimensional prison, taking over Shadow Lass' home planet of Talok VIII. From there they went to Earth and attempted to overpower it as the center of the United Planets. The Fatal Five fought the Legion again and victory appeared to be in their grasp. However, before the Fatal Five could kill any of the Legionnaires, the United Planets' defense forces arrived, forcing them to retreat.

After that, the Fatal Five stayed hidden until they were ready with a new plan to conquer the galaxy. Once, the Legion accidentally came upon them trying to create for themselves a luxury hide-out. When the Legion foiled that effort, the Fatal Five (except for Validus) were especially angry.  

The strong personalities of each of its members kept the Fatal Five constantly arguing amongst themselves and jockeying for advantage in the group. Tharok was their leader, due to his computer brain, but each of the others at one time or another chafed at his over-bearing attitude. Therefore, the Fatal Five could go long periods without getting together at all.

When Tharok met and battled The Dark Man, both appeared to be killed. Validus was content on the prison planet Takron-Galtos until the Crisis occurred, when he mysteriously disappeared. The three surviving members kept to themselves, and away from each other.

Eventually, the Emerald Empress decided to reform the Fatal Five, with her as its undisputed leader. She spread the word in the criminal world that she and the Persuader were recruiting. They let Mano know that if he wanted to rejoin he would have to kill a Legionnaire first; he failed. The new Fatal Five was in the midst of planning their first big job when the Legion accidentally came upon their hideout. This led to another battle, where the new group was defeated as handily as its previous incarnation had been.

After the so-called Five-Year Gap, billionaire Leland McCauley formed a new Fatal Five, including a recovered Tharok, a new Emerald Empress called Ingria Olav, and the monster Mordecai to replace Validus. They fought the SW6 Legion and lost. After another new Emerald Empress, Cera Kesh, killed both Olav and Leland McCauley, she took control of this iteration of the team, but continuity imploded before she could do anything with it.

After the Reboot, the Fatal Five were assembled by the Legion and the United Planets to combat the Sun Eater. The deal went sour and the Five turned on their masters. They would return several times to plague the Legion. The last time was during Infinite Crisis when Tharok discovered the Persuader's axe could carve into other realities where they could recruit other Fatal Fives. It took the combined strength of the Legion and the Teen Titans to fight the Fatal Five Hundred! The Reboot Legion was lost in Limbo as a result of that battle.

After the Threeboot, the Fatal Five are used by the Lord of Time to get an artifact back in the 21st Century where they face Supergirl, Batman and Blue Beetle. It is unclear whether this version of the team is actually from the Threeboot timeline.

After Infinite Crisis, the Fatal Five's original history has more or less been restored. Their final assault on the Legion led to the destruction of the team's headquarters and several Legionnaires being either injured or killed. The Fatal Five also acted as members of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains during Final Crisis.

The Fatal Five have appeared in animation, in both Justice League Unlimited and the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series.

Defining Villainous Moment: 

Adventure Comics (v1) #366
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
The Fatal Five nearly succeeds at taking over the United Planets, 
destroying the Legion Club-House in the process

Important Fatal Five Stories:

Adventure Comics (v1) #352-353
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6, 
The Life and Death of Ferro Lad TPB, 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
The debut of the Fatal Five!
Adventure Comics (v1) #365-366
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
The Fatal Five returns, out to control Talok VIII and then Earth!

Adventure Comics (v1) #378
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4)
Karate Kid takes on the entire Fatal Five

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #198
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The Fatal Five tries to destroy Superboy in the past to destroy the Legion in the future

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #219
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The Fatal Five tries to create a luxury resort hide-out planet

DC 1977 Calendar
The Fatal Five battles the Legion in Old New York 

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #231
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
The Fatal Five tries to harness power from an imminent solar explosion

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #246-247
The Fatal Five hides out on a planet trying to "go straight." 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #269-271
The Dark Man saga; Tharok is killed 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #300
 (reprinted in 1,050 Years of the Future TPB and The Curse )
The Fatal Five is just as dangerous in an alternate universe

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #25-26
The debut of the new Fatal Five, with Emerald Empress as its undisputed leader

Legionnaires #2-6
Leland McCauley assembles the Fatal Five 5 years later

Legionnaires #34-35, Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #78-80
After the Reboot, the Fatal Five are assembled to destroy the Sun-Eater, but turn on the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #120-121
The Fatal Five are freed by an empowered Emerald Empress

Superman v2 #171
Warworld make use of hard light holograms of the Fatal Five

The Legion #15-16
Timber Wolf defeats the Fatal Five on his first mission

Teen Titans #16, Legion/Teen Titans Special #1
The Persuader cuts through to other Earths and one Fatal Five forms the Fatal Five Hundred

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2
The Fatal Five join Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains

The Brave and the Bold (v3) #3-6
The Fatal Five are used by the Lord of Time to fight 21st-Century heroes

Legion of Super-Heroes (v7) #16-22
The Fatal Five reform and almost destroy the Legion

Justice League Unlimited animated series
The Fatal Five's first animated appearance

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
The designs for the Fatal Five as they appeared on the Legion cartoon


  1. The Fatal Five are probably the best group of bad guys ever created !

    Others that would be in the running would be... The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Flash's Rogues Gallery , The Master's of Evil, The Hellfire Club, The Crime Syndicate of America, The Legion of Super Villains and of course THE LEGION OF DOOM !!!!!

  2. Few of which had all characters created to fit that team. You're right!