Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Who's Who: Validus

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Validus Ranzz
Super-Power(s): Giant sized strength and invulnerability, mental lightning
Planet of Origin: Winath
Relationship to Legion: Villain; member of the original Fatal Five

Legion Log
Before the Legion ever met Validus he had a reputation as one of the most powerful and feared beings in the universe. No one knew where this giant creature had come from or even what he was. The Science Police considered him dangerous, like a force of nature. They were intending to execute him when Sun Boy arrived with a pardon if Validus agreed to help the Legion fight the Sun-Eater. With no other choice, Validus agreed. Unfortunately, it was during this time that master criminal Tharok plotted to take mental control of Validus, making him a less-than-enthusiastic member of the newly formed Fatal Five.

While Tharok was free and active, he kept Validus on a tight leash. However, this did not stop Validus from sometimes rebelling against his master's control. For example, during their first adventure together Tharok ordered Validus to kill the Legion with his mental lightning, but remembering the kindness Princess Projectra had shown him, Validus refused and turned against his erstwhile team-mates.

Initially Validus appeared to have his own intellect and personality. However, after years of Tharok's mental control he began to revert to a more child-like state. It was also during this time under Tharok's control that Validus was used as a weapon to kill the first Invisible Kid.

When Tharok was destroyed during his encounter with the Dark Man, Validus was freed from his control. Validus was captured by the Legion and imprisoned in an inertron cage on the prison planet Takron-Galtos. Validus would have remained there for the rest of his natural life except that the so-called Crisis on Infinite Earths occurred, destroying the prison planet. Tellus freed the giant in a rescue attempt, but before the Legionnaires could coax him onto a ship, Darkseid arrived and guided him off-planet via a Boom Tube. To the universe at large, it appeared that Validus had died during Takron-Galtos' explosion.

Several months later, however, Validus returned. He was able to travel wherever he wanted due to the power of Darkseid's Boom Tubes, but to the Legion it appeared that he had some mysterious new teleportational abilities. In fact, Validus was trying to find his parents. He eventually appeared on the planet Winath, where he faced down Saturn Girl and Lighting Lad and their son, Graym. It was during this battle that Saturn Girl realized that Validus was actually their second son. Saturn Girl telepathically "saw" that Darkseid had stolen their son on the day he was born, mutated him, and then sent him back in time in the hopes that his parents would kill him in battle. Saturn Girl then begged for Darkseid to return Validus to normal. Darkseid, knowing that now that they knew who he was, they would never kill him, chose to return the boy to normal.

After the so-called Five-Year Gap, Validus was now Garridan Ranzz once more. It was revealed that Darkseid's tampering with his body chemistry had spawned a new virus dubbed the Validus Plague. Only natives of Winath and Titan (his parents' homeworlds) were susceptible to this fatal disease, forcing Garridan to wear a containment suit at all times. When the Fatal Five rose up again, this time to fight the SW6 Legion on New Earth, Validus was replaced by the monstrous Mordecai.

After the Reboot, the Fatal Five were assembled by the Legion and the United Planets to combat the Sun Eater; Validus was once again among their number. No longer the child of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, nor Darkseid's creation, he was significantly weaker. The deal with the Five went sour and the Five turned on their masters. They would return several times to plague the Legion. The last time was during Infinite Crisis when Tharok discovered the Persuader's axe could carve into other realities where they could recruit other Fatal Fives. It took the combined strength of the Legion and the Teen Titans to fight the Fatal Five Hundred! The Reboot Legion was lost in Limbo as a result of that battle.

After the Threeboot, Validus was the name of a nature spirit in the folklore of the planet of Winath, known as the Lord of Lightning. Mekt Ranzz was a member of a cult that worshiped him. Since the Ranzzes gained their powers and left the planet the cult has grown considerably, seemingly granting everyone on Winath lightning powers. It was later revealed that this was the result of nanomachines in their blood.

After Infinite Crisis, Validus' original history has more or less been restored, but a plague-free Garridan appears to be a member of the Ardeen-Ranzz family, while the monster took part in the final assault on the Legion that led to the destruction of the team's headquarters and several Legionnaires being either injured or killed. Validus also acted as members of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains during Final Crisis; perhaps those events allowed a time-lost Validus to re-enter the timeline. It may also be that Flashpoint affected Legion history more than is believed, as those Validus appearances all occur after that event.

Validus, like the Fatal Five, has appeared in animation, in both Justice League Unlimited and the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series.

Oddly, on the cover of Justice League of America (v2) #13, Validus appears as a member of the latest incarnation of the Injustice League. However, in the actual issue, he does not appear. He is later seen as having fallen to Eclipso's will some time in the 21st Century. Are there more time-lost versions of Validus than we realize?

Defining Villainous Moment: 

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #203
Validus murders Invisible Kid

Important Validus Stories:

Adventure Comics (v1) #352-353
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6, 
The Life and Death of Ferro Lad TPB, 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
We meet Validus for the first time 

Adventure Comics (v1) #365-366
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
Validus takes down Superboy when the Fatal Five takes over Earth

Adventure Comics (v1) #378
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4)
Karate Kid takes on the entire Fatal Five, including Validus

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #190
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Tharok has hypnotized Validus to murder the next Legion Leader

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #198
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Validus does not involve himself in Tharok's plot to kill Superboy in Smallville

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #203
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Tharok's mechanical brain orders Validus to kill Invisible Kid

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #219
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Validus breaks off part of a planetoid to create a pleasure planet for the Fatal Five

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #231
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
The Fatal Five tries to harness power from an imminent solar explosion

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #246-247
Colossal Boy can't stand up to Validus 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #269-271
Validus helps capture Shadow Lass and Mon-El during the Dark Man saga

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #300
 (reprinted in 1,050 Years of the Future TPB
and The Curse )
Validus is just as dangerous in an alternate universe

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v1) #3 (1984)
Darkseid kidnaps Validus and mutates him before sending him back into the past

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #18
Validus is freed from Takon-Galtos before it explodes during The Crisis

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v2) #2 (1987)
Validus' parents realize who and what he is
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v4) #3
Five Years Later, Garridan Ranzz struggles with being a carrier of the Validus Plague

Legionnaires #34-35, Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #78-80
After the Reboot, the Fatal Five are assembled to destroy the Sun-Eater, but turn on the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #120-121
The Fatal Five are freed by an empowered Emerald Empress

Superman v2 #171
Warworld make use of hard light holograms of the Fatal Five

The Legion #15-16
Timber Wolf defeats the Fatal Five on his first mission

Teen Titans #16, Legion/Teen Titans Special #1
The Persuader cuts through to other Earths and one Fatal Five forms the Fatal Five Hundred

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #32-34
After the Threeboot, Validus is part of Winathian folklore, worshiped by a lightning cult
(note his effigy in the background)

Justice League of America (v2) #13
Validus turns up on an Injustice League cover, but is not actually in the comic

DC/Wildstorm: Dreamwar #5
Validus is one of the threats fought by DC and Wildstorm heroes in this crossover
Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2
Validus joins Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains

The Brave and the Bold (v3) #3-6
The Fatal Five are used by the Lord of Time to fight 21st-Century heroes

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #1-4
After Infinite Crisis, the New Gods of Apokolips kidnap Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad's kids,
but they are rescued before Garridan is turned into Validus again

Booster Gold (v2) #43
Booster Gold's travels intersect with an old adventure in which the Legion
defeated Validus

Justice League of America (v2) #59
A creature very like Validus is among the forces under Eclipso's control

Legion of Super-Heroes (v7) #20
The Fatal Five reform and almost destroy the Legion

Justice League Unlimited animated series
Validus' first animated appearance, with the Fatal Five

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
The designs for the Fatal Five as they appeared on the Legion cartoon


  1. Wait. Wait wait wait. Validus has a NOSE? What the heck.

    I mean, I went back and reviewed his first appearance in Adventure, and there are foldy things in his brain that you could POSSIBLY interpret as a hint of a browline and nose. But nothing like that bizarre nose inside his braincase on the cover to Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #203.

    Seriously, as ridiculous as having his brain exposed is, WHY THE HECK is his NOSE in there too??? It makes even less sense than the exposed brain! What, does he need to smell his brain?


  2. I still think the Validus we've been seeing since FCLO3W onward is Lightning Lord's missing twin.