Saturday, January 31, 2015

Justice League United #7

The Infinitus Saga continues with Part 3 (of 5) in the pages of Justice League United #7.
Released December 10th 2014
Written by Jeff Lemire
Penciled by Neil Edwards
Inked by Jay Leisten and Keith Champagne
Colors by Jeromy Cox
Cover by Andrew Robinson
Darwyn Cooke Vintage Variant

The story opens where the last issue left off, the JLU are on the moon Ryngor in the Polaris system battling the storm of energy beings that Bythe has just unleashed on the Universe. But luckily for the JLU, the members of the Legion Lost team have joined the fray and come to their aid. Black Mass teleports Ultra back to Byth’s inner temple while Byth attacks Dawnstar and the other Legionnaires. Just as it looks like the heroes are about to be overwhelmed, they are transported to safety on Rann, where the other members of the team reside. Brainiac-5 informs them that once Sardath was able to get through the interference caused by the cosmic storm of energy beings that Byth released, they were able to lock onto their position and teleport them to safety. The team regroups and introductions are made while Martian Manhunter tries to telepathically contact Ultra the Multi-Alien. As Manhunter and Ultra converse telepathically, Byth hijacks their astral chat and kicks Martian Manhunter out of Ultra’s mind. Martian Manhunter reveals to the team that all they thought they knew about Byth was wrong, and that he is much more powerful than they ever dreamed. After a little more discussion, the members of the Legion and Justice League United teams agree to re-enter the fray and try to put an end to Byth’s plan once and for all.

Meanwhile, Byth and Hawkman prepare a ship to take Ultra close to the black hole where Byth’s forces are pouring out. Once in position, they can take the final steps to Ultra’s evolution into Infinitus, and bring about the end of everything. And that is where they meet the combined forces of our assembled heroes. However, in a final ominous splash page, our heroes are told by an armored Hawkman that they are too late, for “THE END IS HERE.” To be continued...! 

Closing Thoughts:
The story really comes to a screeching halt in this issue. Not a lot happens this issue, and the result is a very short $3.99 read. The art is very good and pretty to look at, very detailed and action packed. It feels like it was stepped up a bit since last issue. That may be in part due to the additional inking support provided by Keith Champagne, an industry mainstay for the last 20 years and one of my personal favorite inkers of the modern era of comics. There is a lot of action in this issue but not a whole lot of plot development or story. The issue opens a midst a battle, the heroes are temporarily teleported out of battle to safety, they regroup, then they teleport back in. Throw in a reveal of Byth being more powerful than they imagined, and you pretty much nailed all that happens as far as moving the story along. It's great to see the Legion Lost cast of characters back in action, but what started off as a plot and character driven mystery surrounding, Ultra, Byth, and his Cult has become a casualty of the "write for the trade" story.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hot: Super-Heroines On A Mission

Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl, and White Witch heading out into space to help fellow Legionnaires in trouble. The bad guys don't stand a chance against Mysa's magical cleavage!
Later in this issue, Ayla Ranzz aka Light(ning) Lass gets a close-up that is pretty darn hot, too!
And Dream Girl shows up, too...and she is *always* hot!
(Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #3, art by Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt)

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #20

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #20 is one of those issues in this run that makes me smile as a critical reader. This series has sort of pushed the boundaries of comics since its inception, making creative decisions that were interesting and innovative. And this issue showcases that sort of elan.

Last issue, the Dominators' Triple-Strike, a sort of doomsday plan to raze Earth should they be in danger of losing control, was accidentally triggered. We see the moon destroyed, the debris from Luna smashing into the planet. We then learn that all the fusion power-spheres on the planet explode. We just get a sense of how horrifying the devastation is on planet when the story shifts to Jo Nah's adventure in the past.

With that issue behind us, I assumed that this twentieth issue would exclusively focus on the destruction and chaos on Earth. But we again only get a sliver of what is happening on Earth. Instead, much of this issue is spent catching up with all the different Legionnaires who are recovering from the Khund War. There are deep character moments (like Venado Bay as seen on the cover) and humor in the Legion HQ while we cut back and forth to the anarchy on Earth. It is a fascinating decision and as a reader is different than what I am used to. It is odd to laugh at Kono's antics and then watch Dominators slaughter SciPo officers.

Keith Giffen, Tom & Mary Bierbaum, and Al Gordon are all on board this issue. 9 panel pages are here. And the wonderfully dense feeling of the book is there as well.

One thing the book may have introduced to comics is the concept of text pieces and back matter.

In this issue, it isn't back matter. It's front matter. We open with a decree from the Dominion.

Their fleet is to abandon their missions in space and come to Earth to quell rebellions that are occurring in the face of the Triple Strike fallout. But the Dominators want to somehow maintain a 'behind the scenes' control. Keep Earthgov 'in power' but submissive. Keep the propaganda going. Keep the Science Police active as riot control, working for the Dominion. It shows just how much Earth is under the thumb of the Dominion. How did it get this far??

I think it would be hard to maintain a level of invisibility when a fleet of Dominator battle wagons are in orbit above Earth. And the creative team knows it too ...

The other thing that the creative team has done is upped the ante in terms of the danger of this new universe. In the old Legion, it was rare for there to be a death or maiming.

In the 5YL universe we have seen Blok, Power Boy, and Northwind die. We have seen Vi lose a limb. We have seen Celeste beaten to a pulp.
Now we see Sun Boy dying. The null radiation from Triple Strike has made his powers go out of control. He is burning himself up from the inside. Awake, in agony, slowly losing his life ... brutal.

Of course, Sun Boy's character in this series isn't great or heroic. He is the voice of the Dominion, living in opulence while acting as a shill for the fascist aliens. I was disgusted by him and how far he strayed from the Legion code. But I don't think I would wish this on him.

Unfortunately, the Dominion propaganda machine continues to churn, even if no one else in the universe is buying it.

When the United Planets want to come to the aid of Earth given what is going on, they are rebuffed. "Earthgov" sends a message telling the UP to stay away. The Dominion will help Earth recover from this 'Khund' attack.

Maybe in an older Legion story the UP wouldn't care and would swoop in to help. But this is a more serious, more realistic interpretation of things. Their hands tied, they can only sit back and watch.

On the planet itself, between blackouts, SciPo rebellions, and general disasters, things aren't going well.

Legion friend Devlin O'Ryan is injured, bleeding out, and trying to find help so he can report on the Dominion death squads.

Before he can find safety, he runs into .... someone.

Cloaked in shadows, this group knocks him out with some sort of blast, but then tends to Devlin's wounds.

We only see a snippet of leg coloring in that first panel. We get a sense of their attitudes in wondering why someone attacked him, of wanting to help him. Who are these people??

Way back in 1991 ... I had no idea.

But I was able to figure out that they must be from the mysterious chambers we first read about last issue. Right after seeing them knock out Devlin, we get a page where the Dominators learn that the Chambers were breached and the 'perfect specimens' within are on the run, and before they could be mind wiped.

So within the destruction, a very very large subplot begins to take root.

Once again, just as I am ready to dive into the Earth disaster, Giffen and the Bierbaums take a left hand turn. We head to the Legion HQ where the team seems blissfully ignorant of everything that is going on back home.

We leave this mystery, this devastation ...

And we see that Brainy teleports Celeste to the HQ because he wants her quarantined. But the teleportation leaves her clothes behind.  Meanwhile, Kono is phasing into the men's shower to catch a peep of Kent Shakespeare.

Locker room shenanigans and nudity jokes.

After we see SciPo getting gunned down.

Yes, this is funny. But the juxtaposition is stark.

Meanwhile, Mysa has a dream that insinuates that Amethyst and the Gem World, or maybe Wizard's World, is still out there. It is great to see Mysa smiling again.

And we see Vi and Ayla flirting with each other while Vi models her new smooth blue artificial leg.

And we learn that Imra delivered healthy twins - Dacey and Dorritt.

And we see that Night Girl has moved into the Legion headquarters.

At least Cham seems to be aware of Earth's issues.

For the second time this issue we see that there is footage of Superman on the moon when it exploded. Could he have caused it? Cham chooses to simply ignore the footage. You can't sully the image. This universe needs its symbols of heroism and goodness.

In my mind, I think this somehow tied into the Time and Time Again arc in Superman. There was an explanation why he might be visible. But he didn't do it.

In the most poignant vignette, we see Rokk visiting another soldier who had been at the Venado Bay battle in the Imsk-Braal war. We have heard about this fight. We know both Rokk and Vi were there. We know the Braalians were slaughtered. That Rokk lost his powers. But now we see it up close.

The Imsk army fires its power damper which makes the Braalian magnetic powers seem to go amok. The soldiers bodies compress, explode, fry. Rokk is knocked into a ravine ... by a piece of someone. And that somehow lessens the effect on him. He survives ... barely.

Giffen does a fine job in the panels here. You have to look closely to understand what you are seeing. It mirrors the chaos of the scene. And keeping it all in rust tones, even the gutters, gives it a scab-like feel.

Dazed, he stumbles back to his basecamp only to find it overrun with Imskians.

He is saved from death by Vi who is a commanding officer here. But then, in his incoherence, Rokk lashes out with the one weapon he has, slashing Vi in the face.

Rokk gave Vi her scar.

Whoa ...

No wonder they have felt so awkward and sad around each other. It is this depth of character and nuance that makes me love this book.

Plus, having the Imsk army have violet visors is a nice touch. Having them colorful in the brownish-reddish background is also a nice touch. They aren't effected by this as much as Rokk and his men.

But who was this little trip down memory lane for?

Even Rokk knows that this was Brainy's way of examining him ... not the other patient. I love Rokk in this book. He is powerless. But he has skills that are incredible. And this back story of tragedy is a great wrinkle for him.

So we have caught up with just about everybody. There are some funny scenes. We get great personal character moments. Some new subplots are introduced. All this while Earth burns.

I think the purpose of these vignettes of the Legion show that they simply cannot rest in this 5YL universe. There is no downtime. This 'rest' is the calm before the newest storm.

But then we are back to Earth.

Things are unraveling. Weather is horrific with a planetwide cold snap effecting everything. Riots are everywhere. Science Police officers are being murdered in the streets by Dominion death squads. The Dominators are crushing opposition violently.

But their grip is slipping. The resolve of those who worked with them is slipping. And no  scene shows that better than this one. Circe, one of the Dominators patsies and Sun Boys paramour, kills a Dominator official. These SciPo troops were under her charge. She isn't going to work for these bastards any more.

And there is Bounty, watching the whole time, intrigued by this change in loyalties. But look closely. Bounty is looking through a scope, holding a rifle. Was she there to assassinate Circe?? This is a darker world. Heroes might just have to be killers in this war.

So this is a great issue and sort of reignited my love of this title. There is story progression and new subplots and wonderful character moments that give depth to the cast members. The creative team really shines here, giving us just enough of each are to tantalize us and make us want more.

How is this run not beloved by everyone??

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Superboy starring the Legion #204

Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #204 (Oct, 1974)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "The Legionnaire Nobody Remembered"
writer: Cary Bates
artist: Mike Grell
editor: Murray Boltinoff
cover: Nick Cardy

Mission Monitor Board:  
current: Mon-El, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Superboy
past: Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Brainiac 5

convoluted time travel theories

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Colossal Boy!

According to the 1976 DC Calendar, today will be the birthday of Gim Allon, better known throughout the galaxy as Colossal Boy.
Colossal Boy was the 7th member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He served with distinction through the Magic Wars, for a duration of approximately sixteen years.
Colossal Boy is an Aquarius. An enchanting presence will let him know he is wanted, not needed, today. The pressure is off, and he knows he can really be himself.
(When your wife is a Durlan and your best friend is a Durlan, too, it's hard to be yourself....haha!)

As an extra bonus, here's the scene where Colossal Boy decides to stay married to Yera (Legion of Super-Heroes #305 with art by Keith Giffen & Kurt Schaffenberger)

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes

CROSSOVER! Everybody loves a crossover! 
Today the Legion of Super-Bloggers joins the illustrious Super-Blog Team-Up! 
Several different blogs have combined forces today under the banner "Parallel Worlds and Alternate Realities." Each blog in this crossover will focus on alternate versions of their favorite characters and niches. 
We are happy to present our own Tim Wallace as he reviews the Star Trek-Legion team-up from 2013. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #10

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol 3) #10 (May, 1985)
a review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "Election Day!"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Steve Lightle
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Sun Boy, Star Boy, Chameleon Boy, Element Lad, Dream Girl, Blok, Invisible Kid, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lass, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Wildfire, Shrinking Violet, Cosmic Boy, White Witch, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy, Colossal Boy

four Khund warriors: Ghorbak, Wharlik, Khirdrack, and unidentified

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Legion of Substitute-Heroes Special

Legion of Substitute-Heroes Special #1 (April, 1985)
a review by Siskoid
title: You Can't Keep a Good Villain Down
storytellers: Paul Levitz & Keith Giffen
inker: Karl Kesel
letterer: John Constanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger (she's sorry, she swears it won't happen again)
cover: Keith Giffen & Karl Kesel (signed)

Mission Monitor Board: 
Matter-Eater Lad calls in Polar Boy, Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Fire Lad, Stone Boy, Infectious Lass, Porcupine Pete

Proty, Gigi Cusimano

Tusker, Eyeful Ethel, Pulsar Stargrave, Computo
The Subs are called to Bismoll on Matter-Eater Lad's hunch, and end up saving the planet from Pulsar Stargrave. If you can believe it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Legion Archive 2: Curt Swan

Continuing our series on the art of The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives. The second volume features another wonderful piece by Curt Swan. Although he admitted in several interviews that the Legion was not his favorite assignment, Swan was gracious with fans and did numerous Legion commissions after he retired. Here his piece shows how the Legion literally exploded with characters during its second and third years...which is why he didn't like them! Inks are by Karl Kesel.

Adventure Comics #306~312
 (the debut of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, Element Lad, Lightning Lass, the return of Lightning Lad)
Jimmy Olsen #72 (Jimmy is made an Honorary Legionnaire)
Adventure Comics #313~317 (the debut of Dream Girl)
Legion Profile Pages from Superman Annual #4 and Adventure Comics #316

We pick up in year three as Saturn Girl is still the leader. Five rejected Legion applicants form the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and eventually meet up with the true Legion. Stone Boy wins a contest to gain membership, but turns it down to stay with the Subs. Lightning Lass joins to take her dead brother's place, but stays even after he is revived. Dream Girl joins just long enough to change Ayla to Light Lass. Oh, and the entire Legion is killed by Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

TOS: Superboy #86

Superboy #86
Cover Date January 1961
On sale November 22, 1960
Cover Art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye
Editor: Mort Weisinger
reviewed by Metropolis Kid

Friday, January 23, 2015

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #19

Legion of Super-Heroes #19 is something of a return to form for this groundbreaking Legion series. After 4 issues away from Earth, away from 9 panel grids, away from Keith Giffen's art, this nineteenth issue brings all those things back. And I for one am glad.

I know that Giffen has been plotting this thing since the beginning, I know that last story arc with the Khunds and the Dark Circle was a very good story. But there was something different ... something vibrant ... about the Giffen drawn, 9 panel, innovative beginning of this book.

Maybe 1990 wasn't ready for this book. Maybe Legion readers weren't ready for this book (the letter column seems to show that). And I don't mean to say that this isn't a good Legion book. I enjoy this entire run. I just think there is something breath-taking and daring about the first year of this book.

We sort of recapture that here. One thing that Giffen set forth to do in this series was to show that the future might not be as bright and shiny as we think it will be. And nothing can say that more than a massive planetary disaster. The cover is almost the first panel of the book, as we see pieces of the moon plummeting to Earth.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg, tips that will set up the next major arc. But then the creative team of Giffen, the Bierbaums, and Gordon make another bold decision. After showing us the scope of this disaster, they leave that plot. Instead they finish up the Jo Nah subplot which has been percolating through the last issues. I love the Jo story. But I also, almost immediately, wanted to know more about the disaster plot. Nice way to whet the appetite!

The 9 panel grid has been a mainstay of the book, with Giffen reserving the splash page for only the biggest moments.

Here is page 1 of LSH #19, a splash page of the moon exploding, incinerating a nearby satellite.

There is going to be obvious fallout from such a disaster, from the initial shockwave, to the physical strikes of the massive fragments, to the obvious impact on Earth's orbit.

Remember, the Legion is off-planet, wrapping up the Khund war efforts or on their asteroid headquarters. They simply aren't around to help.

Earth is on its own.

The Dominators have been 'secretly' running Earth for some time now but they have been inhospitable masters, running the place with an iron fist.

Now we find out that this destruction of the moon was a portion of some doomsday self-destruct plan called Triple Strike. The destruction of the moon was the first strike and interestingly enough, the Dominion did not authorize it. It happened for some other reason.

The second  strike is the depowering of the Earth's electro-shields. The chunks of Luna are going to fall to Earth unabated.

Unfortunately, the Dominion Battle Wagon that has the override codes that can shut down the remaining strike gets destroyed by Lunar debris. It explodes in the atmosphere releasing an EMP which shuts down tech. This is a threat on a planetary level.

And yet, even amongst the chaos, Giffen et al sow the seeds of future plots. What are these chambers the Dominators are so worried about?

Now one thing I have noticed in this series is that minor characters should be worried about their health. I don't know if it is a way for the creative team to show us how dark and deadly this 5YL universe is but things can be deadly for the characters on the periphery of the Legion mythos.

Power Boy and Northwind both recently got killed in the Khund war. Rond Vidar was tortured. And here we see the final moment of Brainy's old friend Circadia Sensus. 

Circadia knows something must replace the moon gravitational influence on Earth. He fires a replacement device into space, calculating the trajectory by hand!! Moments later the site is incinerated by a chunk of the moon.

I have to admit that is a pretty great moment for Circadia, an unsung hero. And it is these powerful small character moments, even if it is their last, that adds depth to this book.

We then learn what the third strike of Triple-Strike is ... the detonation of fusion power spheres on the planet.

That is some list of cities in which a nuclear explosion occurs. The use of white space here, as in the first page, as in the universe rewrite segments, is powerful. There is nothingness here.

The moon is gone; without electroshields, the Earth is pulverized by the fragments. And now the fusion spheres blow. Earth is going to be in chaos with much of it a wasteland. If this is how the Dominion treats its prize, I would hate to know how it treats things it doesn't cherish.

But we shouldn't be surprised by any of this. The 5YL universe is a dark place where evil has flourished. And Earth, with its rejection of the Legion, its acceptance of Dominion rule, and its dingy politics has allowed it to thrive.

This is a mid-issue cliffhanger though. Just when we see this utter devastation, Giffen shifts the story to Jo. We are going to have to wait a month to get a sense of just how bad things are.

Remember, Jo was struck with a time grenade by Roxxas way back in LSH #10! We knew Jo had been shunted back in time. And now we get a sense of the 'when'.

Jo has limped his way back to Earth hoping to find himself at home. Instead he is way back in time. That old man in the third panel? It's Nabu!! We are talking ancient Egypt!

Giffen has a history with Dr. Fate so I was glad to see him working on the character, in his original identity of Nabu, again.

But this is Jo's story.

He runs into a pile of decomposing corpses and then a ravishing young woman named Asherya who hopes he will protect her. She says the villagers think she is a demon. It seems a bit too convenient that she looks like Tinya and even more insane that her village is called Bgztl, Tinya's home planet. Jo seems to fall in love immediately.

Certainly my spider-sense was tingling about this woman. And it seems that Nabu's is as well.

It is hard to know how long Jo is in this time. Giffen shows the passing of time by showing weather changes around the fence surrounding their home. But it is long enough for Asherya to get pregnant! And Nabu thinks he has seen enough. While Nabu was hoping that Asherya would lead him to bigger fish, he needs to step in now.

It is an interesting artistic choice to just draw a fence to show the passing of time. I suppose that Giffen knew that there was going to be a lot of word bubbles in these tiny panels to show how the Jo/Asherya relationship was progressing. Why put in a lot of detailed or character art that would just be covered up.

Still, the material here is so dense that it works.

As expected, Asherya isn't what she seems to be. Nabu shows up in the original (I suppose) Dr. Fate costume. In his presence, she reveals her true self ... a Chaos demon. And she has her hooks in Jo.

But her threats are pretty empty. With one blast, he vaporizes her.

Now Jo has been lost for so long. He was just looking for some comfort, someone to be with. And his slipping Tinya's name in his grief shows that it isn't Asherya he is crying for. That one little word makes this so much more powerful!

But in the end, anger is one of the stages of grief. Jo loses his temper and is about to engage with Fate. Nabu knows Jo doesn't belong in this time and so ... hurray magic ... sends Jo back.

I absolutely love the epilogue of the issue where we finally see Jo mourn the passing of his beloved Tinya. The rough pirate exterior, the gruff attitude, the macho brawler ... some of it was a shield to cover up his pain.

He finally can cry.

So it is these moments that make this 5YL series so powerful. This is half an issue, a subplot that reaches its end in ancient Egypt that just makes Jo a more complex and more believable and relatable character. I have never been a big Ultra Boy fan but this story made me care.

But that subplot puts Earth's devastation on hold for a month.

The backmatter shows that revolt is about to happen. Earth knows the Dominion created the Triple Strike. The SciPo are finally going to fight back against the Dominators. Nothing will be the same.

The Earth in this 5YL period was dark before. Now it is going to be darker.

Hot: A Night On The Town by Joe Staton

There is a period of the Legion where the writer was Gerry Conway and the artist was Joe Staton.

Now Staton has something of a cartoony style and I think he needs the right title and characters for his work to flourish. And frankly, for me, the Legion is not in his wheelhouse.

Still, he was able to raise the heat in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #253! In this issue, the Legion are suffering some financial woes and the UP Government seems poised to turn their back on the team. Needing to decompress, a team of Legionnaires head for a night on the town.

Here are two of the more famous Legion couples - Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl, and Timber Wolf and Light Lass - dancing in a liquid crystal environment. And while dancing, they can remember 'pleasures far more private ....'

Colossal Boy and Superboy, painfully single, have to watch their friends dance and love. Look at Superboy watching from afar ... maybe jealous. Trust me, I have felt like that Superboy ... in fact that was probably all of High School.

And Timber Wolf and Light Lass will have a night to long treasure ...

All is not pure romance.

Brin takes Ayla back to his apartment ... maybe for private pleasures and a night to long treasure? But his place is pretty spartan and he decides to get all unemotional with her.

Still, I get the sense that Ayla's love would be able to melt away Wolf's cold exterior and get him to express his emotions.

Unfortunately, before anything can come to fruition, the League of Super-Assassins strikes.

Great stuff by Staton.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Superboy starring the Legion #203

Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #203 (August, 1974)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "Massacre by Remote Control!"
writer: Cary Bates
artist: Mike Grell
editor: Murray Boltinoff
cover: Nick Cardy

Mission Monitor Board:  
Mon-El, Superboy, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl, Element Lad, Sun Boy, Lightning Lad, Karate Kid, Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Saturn Girl

Validus, Tharok 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Pete Ross!

According to the 1976 DC Calendar, today is the birthday of Honorary Legionnaire Pete Ross.
Pete Ross was out camping one night when something happened between him and Clark Kent that changed his life forever. Pete wasn't trying to perv on Clark or anything...he just happened to look over. Pete couldn't believe what he wasn't what he had expected to see! Timid and shy Clark was taking off his clothes, trying not to show Pete his biggest secret, when the night sky was lit up by a flash of lightning. Suddenly, Pete could not un-see what Clark had accidentally shown him! For keeping quiet and being Superboy's "secret ally" for his entire life, Pete was given Honorary Legionnaire status.

Pete Ross is an Aquarius. Not a lot of good will come of thinking that your work is very important. This evening, logic will prevail, and, in a strange way, life will prove, for once, to be quite fair.

As an added extra, here is one of the few times Pete Ross actually helped the Legion out. From Adventure Comics #379. Art by Curt Swan and Jack Abel.

Who's Who: Matter-Eater Lad

Matter-Eater Lad
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Tenzil Kem
Super-Power(s): The ability to eat virtually any type of matter or energy. This is a natural ability of all native Bismollians.  
Planet of Origin: Bismoll
Legion Seniority: Matter-Eater Lad joined after Mon-El but before Element Lad, making him Legionnaire #18.

Legion Log 
Matter-Eater Lad joined after one of the last open application calls for new members. There is a possibility that he appeared in a different costume and heard Bouncing Boy's origin (Adventure Comics #301), but his first official appearance was three issues later when he is inducted into the Legion. Oddly, he is not seen again until Adventure Comics #317. It's possible that around this time, editor Mort Weisinger took another look at just who was supposed to be in this so-called Legion of his and assigned his writers to clarify the point. This would explain the return of Star Boy in this same issue, and the absence of any new throwaway members after this. Regardless of the circumstances, Matter-Eater Lad returned and from then on was an active member. 

Matter-Eater Lad struggled to be taken seriously, but was sometimes portrayed as comic relief, most famously when he was changed into a grossly obese young man. Later, he was shown to have a difficult family life, with his parents moving to Earth to be near him, then moving back to Bismoll so their younger son could grow up on Bismoll. Matter-Eater Lad also had issues with self-confidence. Just as he seemed to conquer these doubts, he had to leave the Legion when he was drafted into politics on his home planet. Later, Brainiac 5 had him eat the Miracle Machine, which drove him insane. Although he was eventually cured, he never rejoined the Legion, preferring the life of a Senator on Bismoll. And although Calorie Queen and his younger brother both vied for his spot in the Legion while he was a member, neither came forward to actually join after Matter-Eater Lad had left. 

Although Matter-Eater Lad was one of Dave Cockrum's least favorite Legionnaires, he was Keith Giffen's favorite.

During and after the five-year gap following the Magic Wars, Matter-Eater Lad was drawn back into the Legion after Polar Boy was unjustly imprisoned on Dominator-controlled Earth. He freed his friend and would use his political connections and owed favors on behalf of the team. Matter-Eater Lad ultimately seduced and married former Legion villain Saturn Queen.

Matter-Eater Lad was also one of the members of the SW6 Legionnaires, and appeared in Legionnaires when it was spun-off into its own series. This version of Tenzil harbored feelings for Shrinking Violet.

After the Reboot, Tenzil Kem, like Bouncing Boy, is recast as part of the Legion's civilian support staff. Tenzil serves as the team's personal chef. Unlike his pre-Reboot counterpart, Tenzil's spit is similar to acid.

After the Threeboot, Tenzil Kem is reintroduced as a government lawyer, investigating Cosmic Boy's disappearance and the legality of his final act as Legion leader. He seems to possess the powers of his previous incarnations, escaping a deathtrap by devouring an entire silo full of grain; and bites off one of Mekt Ranzz's fingers.

After Infinite Crisis, Matter-Eater Lad's original history has more or less been re-established. For a time, he posed as a 21st-century diner owner called Mitch so he could befriend Mon-El in the past and make sure the future happened as it should. When he returned to the 31st century, he once again left the Legion for Bismoll, but as of Justice League United Annual #1, appears to be an active member once more.

Matter-Eater Lad has appeared in several episodes of The Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by Alexander Polansky.

American indie rock band Guided By Voices recorded a song based on the character called "Matter-Eater Lad" for their 1994 EP Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer.

Important Matter-Eater Lad Stories: 

Adventure Comics #303
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Matter-Eater Lad is introduced as the newest member of the Legion

Adventure Comics #317
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2)
Matter-Eater Lad re-appears after a year-long absence

Adventure Comics #338
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 4)
The first time we meet Matter-Eater Lad's parents

Adventure Comics #344
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 5)
Matter-Eater Lad tries to escape from imprisonment

Adventure Comics #345
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 5)
Matter-Eater Lad is accidentally turned obese

Adventure Comics  #351
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Matter-Eater Lad returns to normal size

Adventure Comics #374
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8)
Matter-Eater Lad participates in Mission: Diabolical

Action Comics #381
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9)
Matter-Eater Lad has problems with his parents

Superboy #184
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Matter-Eater Lad has problems with his little brother

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #212
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Matter-Eater Lad resigns from the Legion

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #251
Matter-Eater Lad eats the Miracle Machine; goes insane

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #289
Brainiac 5 attempts to cure Matter-Eater Lad's insanity

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #297
Matter-Eater Lad is cured of his insanity

Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1 (1985)
Matter-Eater Lad helps the Subs fight Pulsar Stargrave

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #10-11
Matter-Eater Lad rescues Polar Boy from a Dominator prison

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #14
Matter-Eater Lad vs. Evilo, during which time he loses his political office
to Calorie Queen

Legionnaires #9-10
SW6 Matter-Eater Lad gets his feelings hurt by a Violet doppelganger

Legionnaires #14
SW6 Matter-Eater Lad goes undercover as a female pirate

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #49
Matter-Eater Lad trading cards; collect them all (click for bigger image)

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #49-50
Matter-Eater Lad falls in love with, and marries, the former Saturn Queen,
becoming co-ruler of Tartarus

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #63
Reboot Tenzil Kem is hired as the Legion's resident chef

Legionnaires #35
Tenzil fights his doppelganger with the help of his acid spit

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #31-33
Threeboot Tenzil Kem meets Supergirl while investigating Cosmic Boy

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #33
Tenzil bites off Mekt Ranzz's finger

Superman #688
Matter-Eater Lad befriends 21st-century Mon-El as "Mitch" (click for bigger image)

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
Matter-Eater Lad, voiced by Alexander Polansky