Monday, November 14, 2016

Scream TYROC!!

In Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #265 Tyroc quits the Legion and is no longer part of the Silver/Bronze Age Legion continuity. This is an ignoble end to a character who started off badly, was treated badly by the men who should have looked after him, and who left the stage with a whimper rather than with a roar. This is especially ironic for poor Tyroc, as his power was his super-voice! 

Here then for your consideration is our LSB Memorial To Tyroc! Sound Off!! 
Tyroc appeared in only five (count 'em, five) Legion of Super-Heroes stories in his career: his debut, his initiation, one memorable adventure, and his final appearance. In all of his other "appearances," he was simple "Third Man On Left" in group shots.

He had the magical (?) ability to cause almost anything he wanted to happen just by calling out certain words. What a stupid power, right? Oh, wait.  
Well, okay, Zatanna works as a character, but she is the exception. Sonic characters just don't work.

Well, with women it's different.

Oh....okay....anyway....moving on...

According to the Legion of Super-Heroes Profiles from the Wedding of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, Tyroc had "the power of bizarre yells (that) cause unique effects." And while that does sound a bit more complicated than "can shrink," or "can transform any element into another," it shouldn't be impossible to handle. 

For example, teleportation was one of the abilities Tyroc exhibited on several occasions. In almost every occasion, he used the same "yell." 

Except when he didn't....

These last three examples could have had something to do with "teleport home," as they were all "returning" rather than "going."

My point is, the writers could have sat down and written up a list of specific powers for Tyroc. Hell, even if it ended up he could only teleport, that would have been enough to gain membership! (Another character named Gates used teleportation as his power a few years later, if you recall.)

Of course the idea that Tyroc could do anything he wanted to was a bad one. Similar to Superman and Thor, a character with TOO much power is difficult to write for. I get that. So here's a list of all the abilities Tyroc was shown to be able to do. Even if he had only these dozen "calls," he could have been a viable character.

Or what if he could only do a few things when he was away from his "power source"? What if the miracles he could do on Marzal were impossible away from there? That would cut out half of his abilities right there, as he only had two adventures AWAY from Marzal.

Causing things to burst into flame
(SLSH #216) 

Force-field bubbles
(SLSH #216) 

Deflective force-field 
(SLSH #216)

....uh....the ability to send bad guys into the Sun?
(SLSH #216)

The first exhibition of teleportation! 
(SLSH #216) 

Causes things to explode 
(SLSH #218) 

Causes the bad guy to spin uncontrollably
(SLSH #218)

Causes a specific area to undergo "vertigo"? 
(SLSH #222) 

Causes it to rain plastic? 
(SLSH #222) 

Causes plant life to sprout wildly 
(SLSH #222) 

Causes super-humans (?) lose their balance
(SLSH #222) 

Hurricane-strong winds
(SLSH #222) 

Specific teleportation? 
Hardens clouds into a bed to catch falling super-heroines
(LSH #265) 

Specific teleportation to the edge of Marzal? 
(LSH #265) 

Dimensional porter opening
(LSH #265) 

Some of these powers are not really Legion, Superboy has Super-Ventriliquism, but that power doesn't come up in battles with the Time Trapper, now does it? 

On the other hand, teleportation, deflective shields, and explosions all sound like something that would come in handy against the Fatal Five! 

So what if Marzal returns to Earth's dimension, and the Legion figures out a way to allow it to stay forever. Because of that, Tyroc finds himself with much more specific powers. Now he can only teleport himself or others, protect his general area with a deflective shield, and cause things to explode. Wouldn't that have been an awesome Legionnaire? 

Speaking of explosions, could you please tell me the difference between AHHRRRR and ARRRHHH? (both shown above) One of them (from SLSH #216) causes a deflective shield to appear, and the other (from SLSH #218) causes things to explode. Please don't get those confused, Tyroc, okay? 

Of course, the real problem with the character of Tyroc is that he is a stereotype. In his first appearance he is the classic "Angry Black Man," similar to all the Black characters who started to appear on television in the early Seventies. Although Tyroc learns that the Legion is not racist, it turns out that its corporate boss maybe is...! His city is a fully segregated island of dis-placed Africans (Holy Marcus Garvey, Batman!) and instead of succeeding in integrating his people into the wider 30th Century society, he gives up and goes away.....WAY away. Is that a segregationist dream, or what? 

Although DC really dropped the bomb with Tyroc's origin and finale, in my opinion, he could have been re-created to be a viable, strong Legionnaire if anybody had taken the time and effort to do it. DC is a little less great because nobody ever did.  

If you are interested in collecting all of Tyroc's appearances, here they are, all six of them! 


  1. Again, stop erasing his 5YL appearances. 5YL and Retroboot are currently both out of continuity and neither is in a superior position to the other.

    1. I'm not sure what you mean. I'm clearly only looking at his Bronze Age appearances. I'm not "erasing" his 5YL appearances, I'm just ignoring them. ;-)

  2. What exactly was "Tyroc" supposed to mean ?

    Lightning Lad shoots lightning, Element Lad changes one element into another, Invisible Kid turns invisible, Bouncing Boy bounces ....

    Got it but what does Tyroc mean ?

    1. According to the DC Heroes Role Playing Reference: LSH guidebook, "Tyroc" means "Scream of the Devil" in the Marzallian language.
      According to Mike Grell, it's DC's bastardization of "Tyrone." ;-)

    2. Appreciate the reply and as soon as I read it I remembered having seen it years ago and how the editor Julius Swartz was supposedly a racist so Mike Grell designed him in an Elvis costume .

      I'm surprised he wasn't yelling "DY-NO-MITE" !

  3. He also has a full-page origin recap in Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #3, a page for which I am happy to own the original art which I bought from Jimmy Janes.

    Of course, I might have only gotten that one because no one else wanted the Tyroc page.....

  4. While Tyroc only had 6 appearances in the Bronze Age Legion, when he returned to the Retroboot Legion, especially Legion Lost, his powers and character were utilized quite effectively. He also got a much better uniform under Pete Wood's design as well. I doubt that the character will be banished again as long as the Retroboot Legion remains in continuity.

    1. I enjoyed seeing him there. I wish we had learned more about him.