Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Who's Who: Earth-Man

by Siskoid

Real Name: Kirt Niedrigh
Super-Power(s): Absorption/mimicry of other super-humanoids' powers.
Planet of Origin: Earth
Legion Seniority: Earth-Man was the second Legion recruit after the Retroboot.

Legion Log
Kirt Niedrigh applied to the Legion as Absorbancy Boy, but lost a spot on the team to Tyroc. It would later be revealed that he had failed Saturn Girl's secret mental evaluation. He tried to prove his superiority to Tyroc by disabling Superboy and Sun Boy, but Tyroc defeated him in the end, so he gave up on a superheroing.

Kirt later traveled to the Arctic, where he unearthed a crystal tablet bearing what appeared to be the true history of Superman, which claimed he was not born on Krypton, but on Earth. This made sense to Kirt, who reasoned that the Legion had appropriated Superman to legitimize their platforms of racial harmony and galactic peace, which he regarded as an alien invasion. Taking the name Earth-Man, he succeeded in convincing many that the Legion had fooled them for years with "their version" of Superman's history. He began recruiting like-minded individuals and formed the Justice League of Earth, with Spider-Girl and several other powerful Terran rejects, with Golden Boy providing the funding.

Earth-Man's message swept the globe and soon aliens became the targets of persecution. The Justice League began to purge Earth of other super-powered heroes. They blinded Color Kid, and killed Double Header. The Legion went underground. Brainiac 5 ultimately hatched a plan to retrieve Superman from the past to make things right, but when Superman arrived in the 31st Century, he found that Earth-Man had used Sun Boy's powers to turn Earth's sun to red. But galvanized by support from across the United Planets and Superman's true legacy, the Legion freed Sun Boy, turned the sun yellow again, and defeated Earth-Man.

During the Final Crisis, Earth-Man was recruited by Superboy-Prime for his Legion of Super-Villains, but returned to prison after it lost. Meanwhile, xenophobia still reigned on Earth, and Earthgov mandated, that if the Legion wanted to keep its headquarters on Earth, it would have to accept Earth-Man into the team. They did so, but Brainiac 5 created a special flight ring for him that would serve as a "collar" to keep him in check. On the same day, he was chosen to be a Green Lantern and for a brief time, wore both rings, the latter secretly cancelling the former's effects, but soon rejects the Corps' duties and responsibilities and throws the ring away.

And so Earth-Man served with the Legion, even against other xenophobes. Most surprisingly, he is found having an affair with decidedly non-human Shadow Lass! He soon learns Brainiac 5's "collar" had been strengthening his morality. He nevertheless chooses to stay with the team and do right by it. He is killed defeating the Bringer of Chaos and Shadow Lass brings his body home as befits a hero.

Important Earth Man Stories:

Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #218
Absorbancy Boy makes his first appearance; is not Legion material

Action Comics #859-863
As Earth-Man, he creates the Justice League of Earth and turns humans against the Legion

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2-3, 5
Earth-Man is a member of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #1-2
Earth-Man joins the Legion AND the Green Lantern Corps

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #3
After finding the Green Lantern ring has ethical limits, Earth-Man throws it away

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #4
Earth-Man rejects the human supremacist movement

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #5
Earth-Man and Shadow Lass are caught in flagrante

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #6
Earth-Man realizes his Legion ring has been nudging his moral compass along

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #12-13
Earth-Man is mind controlled by Saturn Queen

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #16
Earth-Man burns himself out by absorbing everyone's powers in order to defeat the 
Bringer of Chaos, and dies


  1. "Earth-Man was the first second Legion recruit after the Retroboot." First second? I think this needs to be reworded. It left me confused and I think I know what you are talking about.

    And did the blinding of Color Kid get followed up on? That could be an interesting story.

    - Boston Moss

  2. I believe the technical term for that is a typo. Corrected it.

    As for the Color Kid thing, it never was.

  3. God, I hate this guy. Lousy story, stupid name, boring costume. The very sight of him makes me so angry and tainted the whole retroboot for me.

  4. I have to agree with Patrick Wynne. I remember being so excited about the old Legion being back and then when I read the first few issues being so disappointed that so much of the story was centered around Earth Man. I lost interest in the comic after that. It just went off the rails for me (which was a shame because I always loved the Legion over many years).

  5. The reasoning for allowing a convicted murderer onto the team was never strong.
    It didn't help that Levitz was understating this run, perhaps over-anticipating what editorial would let him write.
    His power-up was never explained, his relationship with Tasmia never satisfyingly credible and his sacrifice expedient. He represents at best what a lost opportunity this series was.

  6. I liked the concept of Absorbancy Boy back in the 1970's and would have preferred Tyroc to having his superpower instead of the lame screaming " ARRRGGGH " OR "OUUUUUUGGGH" baloney !

    Tyroc would have been a much better concept as they might as well just had him screaming " DYNOMITE " !