Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Who's Who: Ultra Boy

Ultra Boy
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Jo Nah
Super-Power(s): Ultra-energy provides super-strength, super-speed, super-invulnerability (except to certain types of radiation), various super vision powers, super-breath, and flight
Planet of Origin: Rimbor
Legion Seniority: Historically, Ultra Boy joined before Star Boy, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, and Bouncing Boy, even though in publishing chronology his first appearance was after all four of these members. There is some disagreement on this order, but according to DC Role Playing Reference: LSH (co-authored by long-time LSH scribe Paul Levitz), he is Legionnaire #12. It appears that Levitz wanted to make Star Boy Legionnaire #13, but to do that he had to bump Ultra Boy up in membership order in front of the other three members.  
Ultra Boy served as Legion Leader twice, during Years Seven and Eight (half terms each time). 

Legion Log 
Ultra Boy made his debut in Superboy #98 in 1962. Young Jo Nah was rocketing through space near his home planet of Rimbor when he was swallowed by an Energy Beast. The Science Police managed to cut him out, but by the time he was rescued he had absorbed enough radiation to gain super-powers. He called himself Ultra Boy and petitioned to join the Legion. With Marla, the Legion's new Senior Advisor, Ultra Boy visited Smallville to learn Superboy's secret identity. When he passed that initiation test he was granted full Legion membership. 

Early in his career, Ultra Boy found out about a secret invasion plan, so pretended to have a criminal record in order to infiltrate the invasion force. At that time he convinced all Legionnaires of his guilt except Phantom Girl; they started going out as soon as this adventure ended.

Ultra Boy served with distinction for several years, serving as Leader twice. During his first term he had to handle the expulsion of Colossal Boy, the Legion's first battle with the Legion of Super-Villains, and the addition of new members Timber Wolf and Chemical King. During his second term nothing historically significant occurred.

During Year Ten, he was framed for murder. Thanks to Chameleon Boy, who stuck by him in order to prove his innocence, the frame was discovered. A year later, during a battle with Pulsar Stargrave,  Ultra Boy was displaced through space, suffering a mild concussion and losing his memory. The Legion believed him dead, although Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl held out faith that he was alive. Then in an attempt to save innocent lives, he threw himself on a space grenade and was "killed" again. In reality he was thrown into a warp between space and time. In a complex maneuver involving time travel and Superboy, he was able to return to the 30th century. 

Ultra Boy was friendly with all of the Legionnaires but was especially close to Phantom Girl, Mon-El and his girl-friend Shadow Lass (with whom they often double-dated), Chameleon Boy, and Superboy. Among the more cerebral members, he had a reputation for being more of a doer than a thinker.

During the Five Year Gap, Ultra Boy proposed to Phantom Girl, but she was seemingly killed before they were married - though she had actually been sent back in time by Glorith as revenge for Jo having once figured out her plans despite "playing dumb" - and he became a smuggler and an outlaw on Rimbor. After the Gap, he once again joined the Legion and helped them liberate Earth from the Dominators. When the team found itself on the wrong side of the law, he took on the identity of the Emerald Dragon. He was reunited with Phantom Girl moments before the timeline collapsed.

Ultra Boy was also one of the members of the SW6 Legionnaires, and appeared in Legionnaires when it was spun-off into its own series.

After the Reboot, Ultra Boy has much the same background, but had been the leader of a Rimborian gang called the Emerald Dragons. After gaining his powers, he did not initially join the Legion, but the rival group Workforce instead, where he was briefly romantically involved with Spider-Girl. Later falling in love with Apparition (the Reboot Phantom Girl), he leaves Workforce and joins the Legion. When Apparition is incinerated in his invulnerable arms, he goes into a deep depression until he discovers her "ghost" is tethered and only visible to him. Ultra Boy and Apparition eventually marry and, after she is restored to physical presence, have a son named Cub.

Ultra Boy was one of the Legionnaires sent to the ends of the universe in Legion Lost. To keep him stable, Saturn Girl mentally projected a version of Phantom Girl for him to interact with. The confusion would lead him to kiss Saturn Girl. Oops! After the Legion of 3 Worlds event, this version of Ultra Boy would seek to explore the multiverse with other surviving Reboot Legionnaires as the New Wanderers.

After the Threeboot, Ultra Boy is again basically the same, but is involved with Shadow Lass instead of Phantom Girl. Though charged on Rimbor with a vehicular homicide he didn't commit, he is later cleared of the crime. More empathetic than his gruff exterior might let show, he sensed that Saturn Girl felt neglected by Lightning Lad, which led to a brief affair between them. He also had romantic entanglements with Light Lass and tried to sleep with Triplicate Girl. Let's just say he got around. He was being trained by Karate Kid to hone his abilities.

After Infinite Crisis, Ultra Boy's original history has more or less been reestablished.

"Jo Nah" was featured in The Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by James Arnold Taylor. He also had cameos in Superman the Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited.

The Champions superhero role-playing game paid tribute to Ultra Boy by including the concept of an "Ultra Slot", used to describe one of the powers within a framework in which only one power can be used at a time.

Important Ultra Boy Stories: 

Superboy #98
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Ultra Boy meets Superboy and Pete Ross during his Legion initiation test

Adventure Comics #301
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Ultra Boy makes his debut appearance with the Legion 

Action Comics #287
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2)
Ultra Boy pretends to be a bad boy to get the low-down on an invasion of Earth

Adventure Comics #337
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 4)
 Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl pretend to quit and get married

Adventure Comics #351
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Ultra Boy tries to do some non-sanctioned peeping

 Adeventure Comics #371
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8)
Ultra Boy presides over the expulsion of Colossal Boy

Adventure Comics #374
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8)
Ultra Boy is called out as "Current Legion Leader" 

Action Comics  #386
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9)
Ultra Boy saves the day against super-villain Uli

Superboy #184
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Ultra Boy is Legion Leader again

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #205
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Ultra Boy appears to have gone insane

  Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #208
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Ultra Boy takes a vacation on Rimbor with his parents

  Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #213
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12)
Ultra Boy has a phobia about being swallowed by space lizards

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #239

Ultra Boy is framed for murder of a former girlfriend 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #273
Ultra Boy is "killed" by Pulsar Stargrave

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #275
Ultra Boy is "killed" again? 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #282
Ultra Boy returns to life

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #7-8 
 (reprinted in The More Things Change TPB)
Ultra Boy helps defeat the Sun-Eater factory planetoid

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #19-20
Ultra Boy helps defeat Tyr's moveable planet of death

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #37-38
  (reprinted in The Man of Steel vol 4 TPB)
Ultra Boy returns to Smallville to investigate The Crisis

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #2
Jo Nah rejoins the Legion after years as an outlaw and smuggler

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v4) #1

Ultra Boy outsmarts Glorith and earns her ire

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #9
Jo Nah is sent to Ancient Egypt where he teams up with Nabu

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #9
Returning to the future, Jo finally comes to terms with the loss of Phantom Girl

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #55
Jo becomes the Emerald Dragon

Legionnaires #15
The SW6 Ultra Boy served the secondary Legion with courage

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #61
The older Jo Nah is reunited with Phantom Girl just before the timeline collapses

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #64
The Reboot Ultra Boy joins Workforce rather than the Legion

Legionnaires #26
For love of a good woman, Ultra Boy defects to the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #82
Ultra Boy discovers he has a bond with Apparition that goes beyond her death

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #96
Ultra Boy and Apparition are married

Legends of the Legion #1
Ultra Boy's secret origin

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #122
Ultra Boy is taken over by the Blight

Legion Lost (v1) #9
Manipulated by Saturn Girl, a confused Ultra Boy acts on his feelings

Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #6
The Threeboot Ultra Boy suffers training at the hands of Karate Kid

Legion of Super-Heroes (2006)

Jo Nah, voiced by James Arnold Taylor

1 comment:

  1. I read a lot of those early appearances and was surprised how long it took to establish his ‘one at a time’ powers. The only power he ever used prior to Adventure 316 was penetra-vision.