Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Who's Who: Magpie

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Mert Gaterra
Super-Power(s): 360-Degree Vision
Planet of Origin: Angtu
Relationship to Legion: Petty crook

Legion Log
Little was known of Magpie, the so-called "greatest thief in the galaxy" until he was hired by the Monitor to break into the Legion of Super-Heroes' headquarters and steal a time-chip. Taking advantage of his enhanced visual abilities and high-tech devices provided him by the Monitor, he actually succeeded in gaining access to the Legion HQ. However, he eventually encountered Dream Girl and Star Boy, who prevented him from actually stealing the time-chip. When he was cornered by the Legionnaires the Monitor teleported him to safety.

It was later revealed that the Monitor was working on a commission from Universo, but this information was not shared with Magpie. 

Magpie is the second thief to encounter the Legion who called himself "the greatest thief in the galaxy." The first was Benn Pares, as mentioned in the Who's Who profile above. Neither thief was successful in acquiring what they had hoped to steal from the Legion.

There was never any reason given for why Merg Gaterra took on the code-name "Magpie;" the assumption is the name comes from the species of bird known to "steal" shiny objects compulsively. That doesn't explain why the story where he appeared is entitled "The Magpie Complex," though, as he is on a very specific assignment and his actions are not related to any uncontrollable action at all.

After the so-called Five-Year Gap, Magpie was in prison (whether on the above charges or others) and broke out when the Persuader attacked the facility to free Mano. Whether he failed to escape or returned to his criminal career was never revealed.

Magpie does not appear in the Reboot or Threeboot

After Infinite Crisis, Magpie's original history has presumably been more or less restored.

Important Magpie stories:

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #320
The debut of  Magpie the thief

Legionnaires #4

Magpie breaks out of prison when the Persuader helps Mano escape


  1. I always loved the art on this story. Dream Girl's high kick, Magpie's wanderings through the headquarters, and Thom trying to pick up the super-heavy time chip have all stuck in my brain over the years.

    1. I remembered that, too. I always thought Star Boy could negate his own power.

  2. It was one of my first Legion comics. It also made sure I would be a Dream Girl fan.