Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Who's Who: Legion of Substitute Heroes

Legion of Substitute Heroes
by Russell & Siskoid

Original Members: Polar Boy, Night Girl, Chlorophyll Kid, Fire Lad, and Stone Boy
Additional Members: Color Kid, Porcupine Pete, Infectious Lass, Antenna Boy, and Double-Header; Dream Girl and Star Boy (resigned to re-join the Legion)
Second Incarnation: Cosmic Boy, Night Girl, Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy, Comet Queen, Karate Kid (II) 
Super-Power(s): Polar Boy has control over intense cold; Night Girl has super-strength, but only in darkness; Stone Boy has the ability turn into super-suspended animation; Fire Lad has fire breath; and Chlorophyll Kid can make any plant grow super-fast; Color Kid can alter the color of any object.
Relationship to Legion: Initially star-struck fans, then allies

Legion Log
Polar Boy's dream was to join the Legion of Super Heroes. He saved up his money to make the long-distance trip from his planet to Earth, intent on joining the Legion. However, his ability to control intense cold was not good, and he was rejected. Depressed, he walked the streets of Metropolis for hours, with literally nowhere else to go. That night, a beautiful young woman with a stupendous bee-hive hairdo approached him. Night Girl, too, had been rejected by the Legion. Trying to console each other, she brought him to where several other "rejects" were drowning their sorrows. Polar Boy hit on the idea of using their not-so-classic abilities to form their own, secret organization, and the Legion of Substitute Heroes was born.

The Substitutes, or Subs as they came to be called, existed without the Legion's knowledge for approximately a year. During that time they helped out the Legion in a clandestine way, never trying to grab the spotlight from their heroes. Eventually, the Subs saved the life of several Legionnaires, and they were recognized as a worthwhile fighting force. The Legion, in a misguided attempt to show their support for the group, offered membership to one Substitute Hero, but when the membership challenge was complete, Stone Boy chose to remain with his friends rather than join the Legion.

After Dream Girl resigned from the Legion because she felt she had cheated her way in, she chose to join the Substitute Heroes for additional training. Then when Star Boy was expelled for killing a man in self-defense, he was also recruited into the team.

Color Kid also joined at about this time, and remained with the Substitutes until it was disbanded. Along the way other rejected Legion applicants Porcupine Pete, Infectious Lass, Double Header, and Antennae Boy joined as well. No details were ever given as to why or how these applicants joined and not, for example, more powerful candidates such as Lamprey, Crystal Kid, or Night Wind (who all eventually ended up at the Legion Academy).

As mentioned, Polar Boy eventually disbanded the Legion of Substitute Heroes in order to join the Legion. After Night Girl went on an extended vacation with Cosmic Boy, they became embroiled in a Dominator plan to destroy Weber's World. Getting assistance from Legion Academy teacher and students Bouncing Boy, Comet Queen, and Karate Kid II, they were able to stop the attack. Afterwards they joined with Duo Damsel and decided to maintain a very loose affiliation as the new Legion of Substitute Heroes
After the Magic Wars, the Legion started to fall apart, and a desperate Polar Boy, then leader, started recruiting among the Subs; most would join the Legion before the team was finally disbanded. Five Years Later, the old Substitute Heroes became key members of the Resistance against the Dominator-controlled EarthGov, as the S.U.B.S. (Superhuman Underground Battle Squad). Monica Sade and former Legion of Super-Villains member Ron-Karr were also members. After the Dominators were expelled from Earth, they were hailed as heroes and became teachers to the next generation of United Planets heroes.

After the Reboot, several of the old members did try out for the Legion and failed to get in. They apparently banded together soon after and worked out of a headquarters in Guyana. Their adventures, if any, remain unchronicled. Some of them have also appeared, inexplicably, as kids on a Legion tour. During this time frame, Cosmic Boy, Chuck Taine, Invisible Kid and Shrinking Violet operated on Brall as the "Legion of Subs", the latter word short for "subterfuge".

After the Threeboot, Polar Boy and Chlorophyll Kid (as Plant Lad) were members of the Wanderers, and Night Girl became a reserve Legionnaire, but the Subs never came together as a unit.

After Infinite Crisis, the history of the Legion of Substitute Heroes has presumably been more or less restored. The xenophobic Earth-Man murdered Double-Header and blinded Color Kid. Chlorophyll Kid, Stone Boy, and Fire Lad, joined by Rainbow Girl helped defeat Earth-Man and his Justice League, taking that team's satellite HQ as its own.

The Legion of Substitute Heroes has made an appearance on the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, let by Porcupine Pete. They are also referenced in the Smallville episode "Legion".

Important Legion of Substitute Heroes Stories:

Adventure Comics #306
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
Polar Boy and Night Girl form the Legion of Substitute Heroes

Adventure Comics #311
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
The Substitute Heroes stops an invasion of Earth
(those aren't the real Legionnaires!)

Adventure Comics #315
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 2
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
The Legion finally meets the Substitutes

Adventure Comics #319
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 3
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
The Substitutes save the lives of several Legionnaires,
finally receiving galaxy-wide recognition

Adventure Comics #331
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 4
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 2)
The Substitutes battle the Legion of Super-Villains

Adventure Comics #342
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 5
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 2)
Star Boy joins Dream Girl in the Substitutes; 
Color Kid makes his debut as a Legion applicant

Adventure Comics #351
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
Color Kid is the first new Substitute Legionnaire

Adventure Comics #354
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
In the Silver Age Adult Legion continuity, 
the Substitutes merge with the main Legion

Adventure Comics #374
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4)
The Substitutes defeat the Taurus Gang

Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes #211
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The Substitutes take possession of the Legion's original Club-House;
Stone Boy and Chlorophyll Kid wear uniforms they never wear again

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #243
The Substitutes help defend Earth against the Khund Invasion 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 Saga

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #300
In another alternate reality, the Subs merge with the Legion again

DC Comics Presents #59
The Substitutes meet the time-traveling Ambush Bug

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #316
The Substitutes help Cosmic Boy defeat smugglers

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #4
The Substitutes are drafted to help protect Earth 
during the Legion of Super-Villains' attacks

Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1
The Substitutes help defeat Pulsar Stargrave;
Porcupine Pete & Infectious Lass are now members

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v2) #3 (1987)
The debut of the New Legion of Substitute Heroes

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #63
The Substitutes are drafted to help the Legion during the Magic War

  Secret Origins #37
The secret origin of the Legion of Substitute Heroes

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #26-36
(image from Who's Who in the DC Universe #11)
The Subs become part of the anti-Dominator resistance and help liberate Earth

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #41
Though offered spots in the Legion, the Subs choose to remain on Earth
and help train the next generation of heroes

Legionnaires #43
Several heroes we associated with the Subs unsuccessfully try out for the Legion

Legionnaires #49
Some of those rejects have banded together as a team six issues later

Legends of the Legion #1-4
The Subs appear as kids who love to listen to Legion stories, a reference
made mysterious by the fact Night Girl is among their number

Legion Worlds #3
Several Legionnaires operate under the name "Legion of Subs"

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #25-30
The Threeboot Polar Boy is a member of the Mekkt Ranzz's 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
The Subs have appeared in the Legion animated series

1 comment:

  1. As nonsensical as the Substitutes could be I actually enjoyed reading their adventures and shenanigans going back to their first appearance.

    They were even better when they got rid of the slappies and had a line up of more powerful members.

    The Legion of Substitute Heroes should have been the Legion Academy sans Chemical Kid, Dragonwing, Gravity Kid and other assorted losers and ne'er do wells.