Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who's Who: Durlans

by Russell & Siskoid

Planet of Origin: Durla
Super-Power(s): Shape-shifting
Relationship to Legion: Withdrawn species that actually spawned one or more Legionnaires and its financial benefactor. 

Legion Log
Durla is well-known throughout the United Planets as "the Chameleon Planet." This nickname stems from the code name of its most famous son, Reep Daggle aka Chameleon Boy.

Sometime before the 9th Century B.C., Durla suffered from a devastating nuclear civil war known as the "six-minute war" that almost destroyed it. The Durlans who managed to survive on their inhospitable world were those who had a genetic mutation that allowed them to transmute themselves into any known form. Each Durlan has a set of antennae able to analyze unfamiliar objects so that they can duplicate whatever is desired. As that group of survivors broke into separate tribes and re-populated their world, each adopted a different common identifying form. The original Durlan form has been lost to history.

Because of their shape-changing abilities, Durlans were often viewed with suspicion or mistrust when they ventured off-world. This has caused an already shy race to become even more wary of co-existence. However, a young Durlan named Reep Daggle, when faced with this prejudice, was determined to enter U.P. society and gain respect for his race. To this end, he left his self-quarantined planet for Earth with the distinct mission to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. Colossal Boy, who joined at the same time, likened the Durlans' ability to that of the chameleon, coining his code name and his planet's nickname.

Durlans have remained nomadic since their civil war; terraforming equipment and expertise have been offered to them by the U.P., but Durla has always declined any assistance to improve their environment. Pre-Crisis, Chameleon Boy was shown on his homeworld only once (Legion (v2) #301), so most knowledge of Durla comes from that story and quotes from Encyclopedia Galactica.

It has been established that Chameleon Boy's tribe was one of the more "open-minded" sects on Durla. It was later revealed that his sect was considered "cosmopolitan" and enjoyed traveling off-world. This is in part because his biological father Ren Daggle was secretly R.J. Brande, one of the richest men in the universe, and he was paying the expenses for his sister to visit him and "her son" (actually her nephew). Brande's true race is known to only a handful of people outside of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Brande's family's travels is one of the reasons that the most common Durlan form recognized in the U.P. is that of Chameleon Boy: golden skin, large ears, and antennae.  Each Durlan the Legion met before the Five-Year Gap followed this basic biological pattern. This included Chameleon Kid, who attempted to take Chameleon Boy's place in the Legion; Yera, an actress who joined the Legion as Shrinking Violet but ended up marrying Colossal Boy (and who later joined as Chameleon Girl); and possibly Chameleon Chief from the Legion of Super-Villains, who insists that he is not Durlan, but who nevertheless resembles one.

After the Reboot, the Durlans of the 30th Century are treated with open xenophobia, and their presence on Earth and other member worlds is not normally tolerated. In addition to Legion draftee Chameleon, one Durlan criminal with the power to mimic super-powers, code name Composite Man, managed to get to Earth in his efforts to kill Cham, a member of the family responsible for his incarceration. The Composite Man was a super soldier created in an earlier time and deemed to dangerous to be free, and would escape again and become part of a plot to destabilize the United Planets.

After the Threeboot, not much is known of the Durlans, except for the fact that Chameleon Boy is a member of the Legion.

After Infinite Crisis, the Durlans' original history has presumably been more or less restored. In recent years, the drive to rebuild Durla has exploded in violence when those who follow a deified R.J. Brande's great plan were attacked by another faction. The Legion had to take a hand to keep the peace.

Note that this profile does not include 20th and 21st-Century appearances made by Durlans.

Important Durlan Stories:

Action Comics (v1) #267
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
The debut of Chameleon Boy

Superman Annual (v1) #4 (1961)
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
Chameleon Boy's Legion profile in this issue is the first mention of the planet Durla

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #208
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Chameleon Chief helps the LSV in its effort to destroy the Legion

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #212
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The debut of Legionnaire-wannabe Chameleon Kid

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #263
The debut of Chameleon Boy's mother (aunt), Ji Daggle 

Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #3
The first meeting as father and son

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #301
 (reprinted in LSH: The Cure TPB)
Cham and his father return to Durla, 
with detailed explanations from Encyclopedia Galactica

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v1) #2 (1983)
 (reprinted in LSH: The Cure TPB)
Time-traveling Legionnaires come across space-traveling Durlans

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #305
 (reprinted in LSH: The Cure TPB)
A Durlan actress named Yera is revealed to have infiltrated the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #39

The first meeting between Chameleon Boy and Colossal Boy;  
Durlans get their universal nick-name
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #8
An origin of the Legion that focuses on the time-lost Durlan who would become R.J. Brande

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #62

After the Reboot, Durlans like Chameleon are faced with xenophobia in the nascent United Planets

Legionnaires #25, Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #69
A mad Durlan with the power to mimic powers, code name the Composite Man, escapes Durla to get his revenge on Chameleon's family

Legionnaires #46
Chameleon must make a case for his staying with the Legion when recalled by isolationist Durla

Legionnaires #62-65, Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #106-107
The Composite Man returns to destabilize the United Planets

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #8-10
Durlans who want to rebuild the homeworld must be protected by the Legion from a violent faction


  1. I always found that Who's Who page by Staton...odd. And I had no idea General Thunderbolt Ross was a Durlan! That explains everything!!!


  2. Didn't Chameleon Chief always claim he wasn't a Durlan?