Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who's Who: Sun Boy

Sun Boy
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Dirk Morgna
Super-Power(s): Sun Boy can emit heat and light in controlled quantities
Planet of Origin: Earth
Legion Seniority: Sun Boy applied for membership at the same time as Shrinking Violet and Bouncing Boy. However, it is not clear when he actually joined. It was shown that he joined before Bouncing Boy, but although he was shown as a Legionnaire before Shrinking Violet was, it is said that she joined before he did. Perhaps they joined together, similarly to Supergirl and Brainiac 5, and she is listed first alphabetically (or through chivalry?). Regardless, according to DC Role Playing Reference: LSH (co-authored by long-time LSH author Paul Levitz), Sun Boy is considered Legionnaire #16.

Legion Log 
Sun Boy made his debut in Action Comics #276 as an applicant for membership. He did not join at this time (Supergirl and Brainiac 5 were admitted) but in Adventure Comics #290 he is shown to have already been admitted. Later, when Bouncing Boy is admitted, Sun Boy is shown to be a member (with fellow applicant Shrinking Violet), welcoming him to the club. 

Sun Boy's time with the Legion was exciting right from the beginning. He enjoyed the attention and action of being a Legionnaire; so much so that he put himself under too much stress too quickly and eventually suffered "space fatigue." After that initial over-work, though, he settled in for a long, stable membership. Due to his earliest "burn-outs," Sun Boy never again aspired to a position of leadership with the Legion, only serving as Deputy Leader or as Mission Leader when required.

Sun Boy has been on call when the Legion fought such classic villains as The Time Trapper, the Sun-Eater, the Fatal Five, and his arch-nemesis, Dr. Regulus. Zaxton Regulus was working at Dirk's father's research reactor when his dangerous research methods caused death and injury. He was fired, but blamed Dirk, locking him in a solar reactor in an attempt to murder him. Instead, Dirk became Sun Boy. Regulus eventually harnessed solar energy himself and fought the Legion; Sun Boy was always the point man in these battles.

Sun Boy was one of only four Legionnaires who never changed the look of his uniform during the Silver and Bronze ages. (The others were Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and Brainiac 5.) The sun insignia on his chest, however, did switch from red/yellow to solid yellow sometime in the late Seventies.

Early in his Legion career Sun Boy considered Lightning Lad his best friend, even willing to sacrifice his life for his (Adventure #312). Later Sun Boy spent more time with Element Lad and Colossal Boy. Eventually Sun Boy spent most of his time out on the town with various women, as he considered himself a "hot stud." He has spent time with SP Officer Gigi Cusimano, Shrinking Violet, and Laurel Kent, but never committed to any of them.

During and after the five-year gap following the Magic Wars, Sun Boy became leader of the Legion amidst a series of defections resulting in his resignation. Soon afterwards, he is hired by Earthgov as a public relations liaison, using his good looks and popularity to spin public opinion, even after it's  revealed to be under Dominator control. Branded a traitor to the Legion and Earth, Dirk is later exposed to a fatal dose of radiation when a power sphere explodes near him during the destruction of the Moon. He is euthanized by his sometime lover Circe in an act of euthanasia, but his corpse is later briefly animated by former teammate Wildfire.

Sun Boy was also one of the members of the SW6 Legionnaires, and appeared in Legionnaires when it was spun-off into its own series, taking the name Inferno. A womanizer and a jerk, this Dirk nevertheless was best friends with Live Wire and had a romance with a mermaid named Keiki.

After the Reboot, Dirk Morgna is a supporting character, who only occasionally gains "Sun Boy" powers, but he is not a member of the Legion. He gains these powers when Dr. Regulus injects him with radioactive gold, but they are spent after he helps the Legion defeat the villain. When he returns, he is possessed by an elemental spirit called Ph'yr, one of the four Elements of Disaster, and turns into a living fireball. He regains control and once again helps the Legion, but does not keep his powers. In this timeline, his role is more or less filled by Sandy Anderson, the female Inferno.

After the Threeboot, Sun Boy is the only Legionnaire whose parents openly support the galactic movement the Legion represents. Cosmic Boy names him the group's field leader. Confused as to whether or not his Legion membership is his idea or his parents', Dirk ultimately resigns from the team to lead a group of meta-humans called Terra Firma, who had been manipulated by the villainous Lemnos. He eventually returned to the Legion after getting all of Terra Firma arrested, and was killed by Superboy-Prime in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3. His body was later briefly revived as a Black Lantern.

After Infinite Crisis, Sun Boy's original history has more or less been reestablished. Captured by Earth Man and plugged into a machine to turn many of the suns in the galaxy red as protection against Daxamites, he is left deeply weakened and traumatized by the experience, refusing to ever use his powers again. He resigns temporarily, returning to active duty during Legion of 3 Worlds. He is one of the Legionnaires most opposed to Earth Man joining the team, but shows grace by saving his life when given the chance. Not long after, Sun Boy was apparently killed in a starcruiser crash, his body later cooked and eaten by the planet's inhabitants.

Sun Boy has appeared regularly in the background of The Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, but has never gotten a line of dialog.

Important Sun Boy Stories: 

Action Comics #276
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Sun Boy makes his debut as a Legion applicant

Action Comics #290
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Sun Boy is now a member of the Legion

Adventure Comics #302
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Sun Boy loses his powers

Adventure Comics #308
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2)
Sun Boy catches on that Lightning Lad is really Lightning LASS

Adventure Comics #312
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2)
Sun Boy considers Lightning Lad his best friend and is willing to die for him

  Adventure Comics #318
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 3)
Sun Boy suffers from space fatigue

Adventure Comics #348
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 5)
The first appearance of Dr. Regulus, and Sun Boy's origin

Adventure Comics  #352-353
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Sun Boy helps create the Fatal Five in the battle against the Sun-Eater

Adventure Comics #356
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7)
The only appearance of Sun Boy's father in a Legion story

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #191
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Sun Boy celebrates his birthday by fighting Dr. Regulus again

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #208
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Sun Boy is stressed out as deputy leader in Mon-El's absence

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #215
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12)
Sun Boy is possessed by a "phantom" from the planet Bgtzl

 Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #223
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12)
Sun Boy helps fight the Time Trapper

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #246
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
Sun Boy loses control of his powers?

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #286
Sun Boy faces Dr. Regulus again

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #303
The Emerald Empress breaks Sun Boy's jaw

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #312
Sun Boy goes out with SP Officer Cusimano

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #320
Sun Boy gets a taste of his own medicine from Gigi Cusimano

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #13
(reprinted in The More Things Change TPB)
Sun Boy starts going out with Shrinking Violet

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #15
Dr. Regulus attacks again, demanding Sun Boy surrenders to him

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #43
Sun Boy makes out with Laurel Kent, then has to battle her

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #1
Five years later, Dirk Morgna is a spin doctor for a Dominator-controlled Earthgov

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #28
Sun Boy is branded a traitor and is hit with a dose of lethal radiation

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #35
Dirk Morgna meets the SW6 Sun Boy, by which point he is a flaming zombie

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #36
Dirk's lover Cersi kills him out of pity before committing suicide

Legionnaires #2
SW6 Sun Boy, now Inferno, inadvertently creates the new Emerald Empress

Legionnaires #7
Inferno finds love under the sea

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #81
The Reboot Dirk Morgna gains temporary sun powers due to Dr. Regulus' experiments

Legionnaires #71-72
Dirk gains sun powers AGAIN, this time as a member of the Elements of Disaster

Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #1
The Threeboot Sun Boy is one of the group's most popular members

Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #13
Sun Boy resigns to lead the members of Terror Firma

Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #48
Sun Boy returns to the Legion

Action Comics (v1) #861
After Infinite Crisis, the original Sun Boy is back, but is traumatized out of
using his powers by Earth-Man

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3
The Threeboot Sun Boy is killed by Superboy-Prime

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4
The original Sun Boy comes out of retirement just in time to save Polar Boy

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #3
Sun Boy saves Earth-Man's life, hard feeling or not

Legion of Super-Heroes (v7) #17
Sun Boy is apparently killed in a star-cruiser crash

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series (2006)
Sun Boy was a background character on the show


  1. Do remember that Dirk said he was rejected on his first attempt because he only had 'super-radiance'. When he also learned how to project heat he was accepted, though retellings of his origin aren't as clear.
    That may mean he applied before Violet & was accepted with her or after her but before Chuck.
    Karate Kid may legendarily have a target on his back but it's Dirk's who died in 4 seperate continuities now. You'd think someone had it out for him.

  2. Wait...he was decapitated, then his body was cooked and eaten?

    Man, I LOVE the New 52. :-(


  3. How can he be cooked, wouldn't his deceased cellular structure still have resistance to heat?

  4. Why would dead cells necessarily retain the abilities they had while they were alive? We'd never rot and turn to dust if they did.