Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who's Who: Chlorophyll Kid

Chlorophyll Kid
by Siskoid

Real Name: Ral Benem
Super-Power(s): Plant growth
Planet of Origin: Mardru
Legion Seniority: Chlorophyll Kid was the tenth recruit to join the Legion in the mostly-unchronicled era known as the Five-Year Gap.

Legion Log

Chlorophyll Kid hails from Mardru, a boring agrarian planet where he accidentally fell into a hydroponic vat of experimental fertilizer and gained the power to stimulate (or retard) plant growth. He applied for Legion membership, but was found lacking. Fortunately for him, he was found by Polar Boy, another reject who felt that even rejected applicants could be useful, and became one of the original members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

For several years "The Subs" worked behind the scenes to assist the actual Legion until officially deputized as official "back-up" Legionnaires. During their nearly ten-year career, they fought such foes as the Khunds, the League of Super-Assassins, and Pulsar Stargrave, as well as Darkseid himself. In their first case, Chlorophyll Kid's powers were instrumental in defeating an invasion of Plant-Men. As time went on, the Subs' star waned and he gained a lot of weight.

Some time after the Subs disbanded, after Polar Boy became Legion leader in the so-called Five-Year Gap, Chlorophyll Kid was finally asked to join, but soon resigned to work with the underground movement run by Jacques Foccart, the second Invisible Kid, where he fought the Dominion Occupation of Earth. Placed on a diet and strict exercise regimen, he learned how to use plants in new and useful ways. With the other former Subs, he helped with the efforts to resettle the survivors of Earth and train a new super-powered United Planets Militia Academy. They were all called upon to help transport the pocket universe's Earth to the true universe, after which they disappeared as a result of Zero Hour.

After the Reboot, Chlorophyll Kid tried to apply for Legion membership, but was rejected.

After the Threeboot, Chlorophyll Kid was renamed Plant Lad and was a member of Lightning Lord's Wanderers.

After Infinite Crisis, Chlorophyll Kid's original history has more or less been re-established. When Earth Man and his Justice League took over Earth, the Subs were instrumental in helping form the resistance.

Chlorophyll Kid has had two appearances on the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by Alexander Polinsky.

Important Fire Lad Stories:

Adventure Comics #306
Chlorophyll Kid makes his debut in the Legion of Substitute Heroes

Adventure Comics #311
The Substitute Heroes stops an invasion of Earth

Adventure Comics #315
The Legion offers membership to one Substitute

Adventure Comics #319
The Substitutes receive galaxy-wide recognition

Adventure Comics #331
In the Adult Legion era, competent Subs fight the Legion of Super-Villains

Adventure Comics #351
The Substitutes battle an amnesiac Supergirl

Adventure Comics #374
The Substitutes defeat the Taurus Gang

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #243
The Substitutes fight the Khunds during Earthwar

 Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #254
The Substitutes defeat The League of Super-Assassins

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #294
The Substitutes help during The Great Darkness

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #300
The Subs merge with the Legion in an alternate reality

DC Comics Presents #59
The Substitutes meet Ambush Bug

Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1
The Substitutes help defeat Pulsar Stargrave

Secret Origins #37
The secret origin of the Legion of Substitute-Heroes
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #16
Five Years Later, Ral returns to the book as a member of the Earth Resistance
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #26
Chlorophyll Kid is well-suited to fighting the Dominion
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #28
Chlorophyll Kind finds Sun Boy in the Dominator cells
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #40
Chlorophyll Kid and the other Subs are heralded heroes in the wake of Earth'sdestruction

Legionnaires #43
After the Reboot, Chlorophyll Kid unsuccessfully tries out for the Legion (cameo)

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #25
After the Threeboot, Ral is re-imagined as Plant Lad, a member of the Wanderers
Action Comics #862-863
After Infinite Crisis, very competent Subs act as a Resistance movement
against Earth Man and his Justice League
Brave and the Bold (v3) #35
The Substitute Heroes team up with the Inferior Five
Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
Chlorophyll Kid, voiced by Alexander Polinsky


  1. There's a lot I like about Secret Origins #37, but Chlorophyll Kid adding "and slower" when asked about his powers is near the top.

  2. So great. How do you make a lame duck actually lamer.

  3. Ral has always been a great character, but he hasn't been given an easy run;
    As a Sub he's been rejected by the Legion right from the start!

    In the Subs special he's given an eating disorder and sidelined from the action for breaking Bismol's Weight Laws.

    In Ty Templetons (admittedly hilarious) retelling of his origin he's portrayed as not very bright.

    5YL he gained the cool ability to hack plant based technology, but developed a stutter.

    His appearances in the PZH and Threeboot universes were cameos.

    As a final indignity in his last recent appearance Geoff Johns had it that he delusionally believed that all plants talked to him.

    Great guy, not an easy run.
    Though the portrait up top doesn't show him at his physical best it's one of the most interesting costumes he's had and I like it a lot.