Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Who's Who: Marla Latham

Marla Latham
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Marla Latham
Super-Power(s): None
Planet of Origin: Earth
Relationship to Legion: Advisor

Legion Log
Marla Latham was an executive assistant to R.J. Brande, the universe's richest man who'd discovered him running spaceport docks efficiently and wanted him to run his affairs. When Brande's life was saved by three teenagers and he decided to fund a Legion of Super-Heroes, Brande placed his trusted friend and advisor Marla Latham in the Legion organization as their Adult Advisor.

Latham's most well-known interaction with the Legion came when he chose to accompany Legion recruit Ultra Boy to Superboy's time period and monitor the applicant's responses in his initiation tests. Latham not only saw the makings of a great Legionnaire in Ultra Boy, but he saw the steadfast loyalty of Pete Ross to Superboy; Latham conferred on Pete the status of Honorary Legionnaire.

As the Legion began to establish itself, the need for an Adult Advisor diminished. Marla Latham worked on establishing a formal recruiting and training program for new Legionnaires in lieu of an Adult Advisor. He then gladly handed this program off to Bouncing Boy and other recruitment committee members.

After Latham retired as Adult Advisor, he returned to the Legion on at least two occasions: once when Ultra Boy was framed for murder, and again when R.J. Brande was ill with Yorggian fever.

When Brande deserted his financial holdings, Latham returned to the position of Executive Advisor to Brande's son, Chameleon Boy, in the day-to-day running of Brande Industries, which he did through the end of the Five Years Later era. Through the company, he played a crucial role in stabilizing New Earth's orbit after our planet's destruction.

In the small continuity update known as the Glorithverse, Marla Latham never met Superboy in Smalville, but on their time trip, he and Ultra Boy instead helped Valor thwart a second invasion of Earth by the Dominators.

In the Reboot, Marla Latham is once again an executive in R.J. Brande's organization, and made liaison and adviser to the nascent Legion of Super-Heroes. He served in that position until part of the Legion was lost in a far quadrant of space and the team temporarily disbanded. He did not return when it reassembled.

Marla Latham does not appear in the Threeboot.

After Infinite Crisis, Marla Latham's original history has presumably been more or less restored. The most recent account of the Legion's origin has Marla in charge of drawing up a list of potential recruits and approaching at least some of them.

Important Marla Latham stories:

Superboy #98
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 1)
First appearance of Marla Latham

Superboy & Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #239
(reprinted in Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1)
The return of Marla when Ultra Boy is accused of murder

Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1-3
Marla works to save R.J. Brande's life

Secret Origins (v3) #25
Flashback tells of Marla's initial meeting with the Legion

Secret Origins (v3) #42
Flashback tells of Marla's role in the Legion recruitment process

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #1
Five years later, Marla Latham is running Brande Industries for Cham

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #8
The untold origin story of Marla Latham

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #41
Marla is instrumental in the creation of a viable New Earth

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v4) #1
Marla and Ultra Boy meet Valor instead of Superboy in the updated timeline

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #66
In the Reboot, Marla is Brande Industries liaison and adviser to the young Legion

Legionnaires #35
Marla sometimes feels like Legion HQ's resident babysitter

Legionnaires #37
Marla advises the Legion on their new constitution, but does not interfere

Legionnaires #53
Marla arranges quarters for the newest member of the Legion, Monstress

Legion: Secret Origin #4
Post-Flashpoint, it is revealed it was Marla who recruited Brainiac 5, among others


  1. I like Marla. We hardly ever see him, but there is no way the Legion could have developed to the point it did without some serious support. Marla doesn't get near enough credit. While too old for membership, he probably deserves it more than Pete Ross does (and I'm not trying to dis Pete Ross).

  2. I totally lost my taste for Marla when he so completely attacked Ultra Boy during the Brainiac 5 murder frameup incident. He never recovered in my eyes after that.