Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Who's Who: Cosmic King

Cosmic King
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Unknown
Super-Power(s): Transmutation.
Planet of Origin: Venus
Relationship to Legion: Villain; member of the original Legion of Super-Villains.

Legion Log
Cosmic King seems like the villainous version of Element Lad, a cold-hearted killer who can change any object from one thing to another. However, he actually appeared before Element Lad did, and they have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Cosmic King was a scientist on Venus working on a ray which could change any object's atomic structure. He succeeded, but suffered a dizzy spell and fell into the path of the ray himself. He found that rays from his eyes could transmute one object into another. However, his planet viewed transmutation as "evil," and he was banished. He headed to Earth, where he joined the Legion of Super-Villains.

Cosmic King's debut appearance was as an adult member of the Legion of Super-Villains, against Superman. His chronological debut was twenty-three years later, when Lightning Lord, Sun Emperor, and Nemesis Kid re-formed the Legion of Super-Villains in order to take over the planet Orando. We did not learn anything of his history at this time, however.

Cosmic King's last pre-Crisis appearance was in the so-called "last case of Superman." He and fellow Adult Legion Villains Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen came back to the present day to participate in Superman's "darkest day." At this time Cosmic King was directly responsible for the murder of Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen.

In an alternate timeline, Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen came back in time to adopt young Superman and Batman after they were orphaned. In this Elseworld, they raised the World's Finest super-heroes to be tyrants and rulers of Earth. Eventually, their plot unraveled and they were returned to their "normal" timeline as prisoners of the Adult Legion of Super-Heroes. These events led to the exclusion of their adult history post-Crisis.

Cosmic King was not seen after the so-called Five-Year Gap, nor in the Reboot and Threeboot timelines.

After Infinite Crisis, Cosmic King's original history has presumably been restored (all except the Adult LSV stories, at any rate). He most recently resurfaced when he attacked Legion Academy and was responsible for the death of one of the students, Variable Lad, eventually being killed by fellow student Glorith II's magic. He also served as a member of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains during the Final Crisis.

Defining Villainous Moment: 

Action Comics (v1) #583
 (reprinted in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? TPB)
Cosmic King transmutates the chemicals in Lana Lang's super-charged body, 
leaving her powerless against Lightning Lord

Important Cosmic King Stories:

Superman (v1) #147
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)
Cosmic King makes his debut as an Adult Villain

Adventure Comics (v1) #331
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 4)
Cosmic King returns to the past to help Dynamo Boy destroy the Legion

Adventure Comics (v1) #354-355
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
The famous "Adult Legion" story where the adult Cosmic King fights against the adult Element Man

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #1-5
 (reprinted in An Eye For An Eye TPB)
Cosmic King makes his debut in "current" Legion continuity

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #7-8
 (reprinted in The More Things Change TPB)
Cosmic King is captured by Wildfire, the last appearance of his younger self pre-Crisis

Action Comics (v1) #583
 (reprinted in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow 
and DC Universe by Alan Moore)
Cosmic King and the LSV come back to enjoy the death of Superman

Superman & Batman #14-18
 (reprinted in S/B: Absolute Power TPB)
Cosmic King and the LSV raise Superman & Batman as their sons with fatal results

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1-5
Cosmic King is a member of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains

Adventure Comics #519
Cosmic King attacks Legion Academy, kills a student and is in turn, killed


  1. Saturn Queen has the same powers as Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lord has the same powers as Lightning Lad, so does Cosmic King have the same powers as Element Lad instead of Cosmic Boy? That makes zero sense.

  2. Though it's not like "Cosmic" evoked magnetism in the first place...

    1. Yeah, I always thought that was always like "Mr. Fantastic" of the Fantastic Four not being very descriptive of the power of the hero involved.
      And there are other examples.

  3. The 5YG/L era had an interesting take that he was more of a cult leader who used his ability to create addictive drugs & that was why the unstable personalities of the LSV stayed together and turn the less capital E-evil members (such as Spider Girl & even Mekt) into full on villains.
    Didn't play that out strongly on the page though, which was a pity.

    1. Also the silliest use of him was in Lo3W, where he transmuted Superboy-Prime's kryptonite blood poisoning into 'sunlight'.
      Yeeeah. Good one, Mr. Johns.