Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Who's Who: Insect Queen

Insect Queen
by Russell & Siskoid


Real Name: Lana Lang
Super-Power(s): Using her biogenetic ring, Lana is able to alter her physiology into any insect form she knows, gaining the powers of that insect
Planet of Origin: Earth
Relationship to Legion: Honorary member

Legion Log
Insect Queen is actually Superboy's "Girl Friend," Lana Lang. Lana was gathering wild-flowers outside of Smallville one day when she received a telepathic SOS from an alien who was trapped under a fallen tree. She was able to free him, so as a gesture of appreciation he gave her a biogenetic "Bio-Ring." Later she realized that the ring allowed her to morph into a half-human version of any arthropod she could think of and to gain their abilities.

Lana used her powers several times to capture criminals in Smallville, but was never very serious about pursuing a life as a crime fighter.

Although Lana called herself "Insect Queen," the Bio-Ring actually allowed her to change into insects, arachnids, and crustaceans, as she often turned into non-insect forms such as spiders, centipedes, and scorpions, as well as actual insects such as wasps, fireflies, and moths.

Lana first learned of the Legion of Super-Heroes when new Legionnaire Star Boy tracked some criminals from his planet back to Earth's past. She finagled a trip into the future with him, but did not meet any of the other Legionnaires at this time.

Later Lana met both Mon-El and Ultra Boy while they were visiting Smallville in their secret identities. Ultra Boy could easily explain his ruse, but it seems odd that she never put two and two together and recognized Clark Kent's "cousin" Bob Cobb as the Legionnaire Mon-El. Perhaps Saturn Girl made her forget that he was the same person?

It was at about this time that Lana rescued the alien and was given her Bio-Ring. Soon after her debut as Insect Queen she had a memorable adventure in Africa, having a hand in the creation of a mutated "Bee Boy." Superboy was eventually able to return the young man to normal.

When Lana had a clear chance to discover Superboy's secret identity but resisted the urge, he rewarded her honesty with a trip to the 30th Century. She brought along her Bio-Ring and her Insect Queen costume, eventually trying out for membership. However, because her powers were not biological in nature, she was rejected. When Insect Queen then helped out on a mission and saved three Legionnaires' lives, the Legion granted her Reserve Member status.

Lana was on hand when a group of four Legionnaires appeared in Smallville in an attempt to escape from Mordru. She came under his control, along with the entire town, and was directly responsible for letting Mordru know where the Legionnaires were. However, she was soon freed of Mordru's control and then, in her identity as Insect Queen, helped them to defeat him.

As a special gift on one of Lana's birthdays, Superboy brought her into the future again. This time, she almost fell victim to mind-controlled Legionnaires. Insect Queen helped Ultra Boy defeat the would-be dictator and free the Legionnaires from his mental control.

When the Legion went back in time to visit Smallville to unravel the Superboy/Ultra Boy/Reflecto identity crisis, Insect Queen battled the US Army forces holding the Legion prisoner. Her attempts to cause a diversion helped the other Legionnaires move in and free their friends. This was Lana's last adventure with the Legion.

Lana was present in Smallville when the Time Trapper allowed the red skies of "the Crisis" to menace their town. Although Lana knew that the Legion was on the scene and saw them battling the Trapper, Lana did not change to her Insect Queen identity to try to help them.

As an adult Lana on separate occasions let her friends Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane each borrow her Bio-Ring. At the logical end of the pre-Crisis Superman's timeline, Lana became Insect Queen one last time, albeit with different powers, and was killed by the Legion of Super-Villains.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lana's timeline was reset, so she has never been an honorary member of the Legion, and she never received the Bio-Ring from the alien.

After the Reboot, however, a character called Insect Queen, who was not Lana Lang, but a 30th-Century citizen called Lonna Leign, was a member of Xanthu's super-team, the Uncanny Amazers, who staved off several alien invasions during her tenure. She had the same powers Lana had exhibited, but without resorting to a Bio-Ring.

In the Amalgam Universe, Mary Jane Watson was Insect Queen; Spider-Boy really did hit the jackpot.

Important Lana Lang/Insect Queen Stories:

Superboy (v1) #10
The debut of Lana Lang as her family moves next door to the Kents 

Adventure Comics (v1) #282
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1)
Lana meets Star Boy and learns of the existence of the Legion of Super-Heroes

(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1, 
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1, 
and Superman: Tales From the Phantom Zone TPB)
Lana meets Mon-El in his identity of Bob Cobb

Superboy (v1) #98
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1)
Lana meets Ultra Boy

Superboy (v1) #124
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 4 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2)
Lana makes her debut as Insect Queen

Superboy (v1) #127
Insect Queen meets and befriends Bee Boy

Adventure Comics (v1) #355
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3)
 
Insect Queen is made a Legion Reservist

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen (v1) #94
 
 Adult Lana lends the Bio-Ring to Jimmy Olsen

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #69
Adult Lana lends the Insect Queen identity to Lois Lane

  Adventure Comics (v1) #369
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4)
Lana inadvertently betrays the Legion to Mordru

Adventure Comics (v1) #370
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4)
Insect Queen helps the Legion defeat Mordru

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #205
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11 and
Showcase Presents The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 5)
 
Insect Queen helps the Legion defeat a mind-controlling dictator

Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #3
The Legion reviews its ranks, mentioning 
that Lana is still a Reservist in good standing

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #282
Insect Queen helps the time-trapped Legion 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #38
Lana Lang witnesses the Crisis as Superboy tries to save Smallville 

Action Comics #583
 (reprinted in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow TPB)
Lana Lang is murdered by the Legion of Super-Villains
Who's Who Update '88 #4

The Post-Crisis Lana Lang gets a new Who's Who page

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #82

The Reboot's Insect Queen makes her debut as a member of Xanthu's Uncanny Amazers

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #102

Insect Queen helps fight an invasion by the Natra Dellons on Xanthu

Starman v2 #50

After being captured by the Shade, Insect Queen is rescued by Star Boy, Umbra and Jack Knight

The Legion #17-18

Insect Queen plays a minor role in fighting Robotica on Xanthu

Spider-Boy #1

In the Amalgam universe, Spider-Boy hits the jackpot

8 comments:

  1. The pre-Crisis Lana was killed by the LSV, but it was with a different set of powers, not the Insect Queen's.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and she might have been more difficult to defeat if she had used her Insect Queen identity, because it would have been harder for Cosmic King to alter her Bio-Ring (it being made from alien materials and all).

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    2. One blast from Lightning Lord would have killed her if all she had was the bio ring. Cosmic King would not have needed to take away her invulnerability as he did with the magic formula that gave her super powers.

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  2. What year was Superboy #10 published (1st Lana Lang appearance)?
    After her tryout with the Legion failed, and she goes to sit down, her thoughts make her sound like she is a candidate for the Legion of Super Villains.

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  3. Even as a pre teen in the 1960's I found any Legion story that involved Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen or Pete Ross nauseating .

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    Replies
    1. Usually the Legion (or a few members) appeared in THEIR comics to spice up their stories. The number of times they appeared in actual bonafide Legion issue stories is pretty few and far between.

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    2. They made multiple appearances in early Adventure Comic issues !

      Both Lang & Olsen, rarely Ross !

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