Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Who's Who: Dev-Em

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Dev-Em
Super-Power(s): Super-strength, super-speed, super-invulnerability, flight, heat vision and various other super senses
Planet of Origin: originally Krypton, then later retconned to be Daxam
Relationship to Legion: Ally, then villain

Legion Log
Dev-Em was a wild and irresponsible teenager on Krypton who, although intelligent, preferred hanging out with his delinquent friends, committing acts of vandalism to studying or playing interplanetary Word Scrambles. He often stole inventions from scientists, hoping to eventually come across a "gimmick" that would make him rich quick.

Dev-Em and his parents lived next door to Jor-El and Lara. When Jor-El publicized his theory that Krypton was going to explode, Dev-Em stole a copy of Jor-El's rocketship plans. Using equipment and materials he stole, Dev-Em converted a bomb-shelter into a space ship. He and his parents were then able to escape the explosion of Krypton.

Several years later, he and his parents arrived on Earth after Kal-El had established himself as Superboy. Due to their being in suspended animation, Dev-Em and his parents had not aged. He was now the same approximate age as Kal-El. Dev-Em surprised Superboy and sent him into the Phantom Zone. He then impersonated the Boy of Steel and hoped to ruin his reputation by committing acts of vandalism and destruction dressed as him. After Dev-Em felt he had done enough to doom Superboy to a living hell, he freed Superboy from the Phantom Zone and flew himself and his parents into the future. However, Superboy was able to enlist the help of Smallville Police Chief Parker, who convinced the world that Superboy had been the victim of a random Red Kryptonite change. They forgave him for the vandalism and destruction that Dev-Em had caused.

Dev-Em reappeared in the latter-half of the 30th Century as a candidate for membership in the Inter-Stellar Counter-Intelligence Corps. Having learned his lesson, that wrong-doers always lose out, he reformed and hoped to become a force for good. As part of the orientation for joining the ICC, Dev-Em underwent psychological testing that found that he was indeed honest and sincere.

Dev-Em's first mission with the ICC was to capture Morlock the Merciless. After he and Superboy were able to capture the crime lord, the Legion asked Dev-Em to join them. He respectfully declined, preferring to stay with the Inter-Stellar Counter-Intelligence Corps.

Dev-Em and the Legion operated in different realms, and their paths did not converge very often. During the Great Darkness, he helped the Heroes of Lallor protect Weber's World, then visited their home planet of Lallor for a vacation. Later, he was assigned to infiltrate the Dark Circle - a case which eventually involved the Legion - and was able to disrupt the entire Dark Circle organization.

Dev-Em continued to be a somewhat self-centered, egotistical adventurer who preferred to work alone. He did not regret not having joined them and for the Legion's part, they did not regret his turning them down. Oddly enough, Dev-Em's parents Ron-Em and Leeta were never mentioned or shown after their initial introduction, although the assumption is that they survived in the 30th Century.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, in the limited series Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes, Dev-Em's background was changed. Since Superman was now the only survivor of Krypton, his entry stated that he was David Emery, a resident of Titan whose powers were so strong that he could change reality with a thought, who used his mental powers to give himself Kryptonian-like super powers. This origin was never used in any actual comic story.

After the so-called Five Year Gap, no doubt due to Glorith's reality reboot, Dev-Em became a Daxamite. Now instead of Superboy, he had a 20th-Century history with Valor and had been transported to the 30th-Century to cure him of lead poisoning. After Glorith destroyed Daxam, Dev-Em went mad and was confined by the Interstellar Counter-Intelligence Corps on their safe world, Drake VI. He escaped and went on a rampage on Earth's moon. There, a time-tossed Superman helped the Legion stop him, but the Moon is destroyed as a result. He next surfaced as a captive of Leland McCauley, alongside Chameleon Boy and R.J. Brande. He escaped to face Valor again, not long before this reality collapsed and he was briefly swapped out for the earlier continuity's model as it did.

After the Reboot, Dev-Em is seen as part of a large crowd of would-be heroes trying out for the Legion. His origin is unknown, but one could infer her has Kryptonian-like powers as he is seen to fly.

Dev-Em does not appear in the Threeboot.

In the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis, a man going by the name Devem is seen as part of a cult of Kryptonian worshipers, but is revealed to actually be a psych-ward refugee named Derek Mathers who has a history of fraud. The real Dev-Em's original history has presumably been more or less restored, like the Legion's, but a new Dev-Em is also introduced in the 20th Century, a renegade Kryptonian held prisoner for murder and perversion, sentenced to the Phantom Zone. He attacks Superman there but is eventually taken down by Mon-El. How these are related may never be addressed.

The Man of Steel film featured a Kryptonian Dev-Em played by Revard Dufresne. The prequel comic revealed that a first Dev-Em lived thousands of years before the destruction of Krypton, a Kryptonian in training who begins killing his competitors, but is caught and put on trial for doing so. Despite this, he was able to escape prosecution on Krypton and managed to make his way on a scout ship during a Kryptonian expedition to Earth. He killed the entire crew on the ship, with the exception of Kara Zor-El, then is killed in a struggle with her as the ship crashes on Earth.

Defining Villainous Moment: 

Adventures of Superman #478
Dev-Em beats the tar out of the Legion, including fellow Daxamite Laurel Gand

Important Dev-Em Stories:

Adventure Comics #287-288
Dev-Em makes his debut as a trouble-making delinquent

Adventure Comics #320
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 3
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 1)
Dev-Em returns as a representative of the Inter-Stellar Counter-Intelligence Corps,
turning down membership in the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #294
(reprinted in LSH: The Great Darkness Saga TPB)
Dev-Em becomes involved in the Great Darkness 
when a horde of Daxamites attacks his ICC base

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #298
(reprinted in LSH: The Great Darkness Saga TPB)
Dev-Em helps the Heroes of Lallor re-build Weber's World, 
then joins them on their return to their home planet

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #317
Dev-Em is assigned to go undercover to infiltrate the Dark Circle

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #320
Dev-Em goes under-cover on the Dark Circle world

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #323-325
Dev-Em is cloned to create soldiers for the Dark Circle; 

the White Witch is able to re-combine him with them

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #14
(reprinted in LSH: An Eye For An Eye TPB)
Dev-Em tracks Dark Circle operative Ontiir to Earth

Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Dev-Em's origins were completely retconned

Adventures of Superman #478
Five Years Later, Dev-Em fights the Legion and Superman on the Moon; he is now a mad Daxamite

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #39
Dev-Em as a captive of Leland McCauley

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #57
Dev-Em escapes McCauley and runs afoul of Valor and Shadow Lass

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #59, Legionnaires #17 and Valor #22
During Zero Hour, Dev-Em returns to his original self and helps Valor/Mon-El

Legionnaires #43
After the Rebirth, Dev-Em is part of a large group of heroes trying out for the Legion

52 #4
After Infinite Crisis, Ralph Dibny meets a Kyptonian worshiper called Devem

Action Comics #851
Superman fights a mad Kryptonian called Dev-Em in the Phantom Zone

Man of Steel: The Prequel
Millennia before Kal-El comes to Earth in the Man of Steel film, a criminal Dev-Em fights Kara Zor-El

Man of Steel film
Dev-Em (II?) played by Revard Dufresne


  1. I actually liked the Dev-Em of the Levitz/Giffin years and hoped he take Superboy's place letting him be something he couldn't as the anti hero .

  2. Put me down for the "Dev-Em of the ICC" camp, too. I loved the notion that someone with his powers would turn down Legion membership for a damned good reason, and still be considered heroic, was a refreshing change. It demonstrated that the Legion wasn't the be-all and end-all of the UFP.

    "Crazy Dev-Em" bothered me a lot. We'd already seen that with Ol-Vir. And if "mentally unbalanced Daxamites" were such a problem, then there'd be some serious pressure to keep the planet quarantined. When you have a whole planet of people who turn into invulnerable WMDs when they leave home, you put a lot of effort into making sure that they only leave home under exceptional scrutiny and caution.

  3. Completely agree. I first met him in the Dark Circle storyline and took an immediate liking to him. He's been unrecognizable since the Crisis.

  4. I'm with you guys. I liked the idea of a bragging, self-centered guy. My favorite Dev-Em was from the Dark Circle story, too. I HATED what 5YL ended up doing to him.

    1. Its time to start a petition to add Dev-Em to the roster of the Legion of Super-Heroes !

  5. I'd settle for a petition to restore the LSH to the DC Universe? DC has a history of "Highlander Supermen". Look... another "superman" type and then, chop! "There can be only One!" ... rears its ugly head.