Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Who's Who: R.J. Brande

René Jacques "RJ" Brande
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Ren Daggle
Super-Power(s): None (former: shape-shifting)
Planet of Origin: Durla
Relationship to Legion: Financier, ally, and secretly, a Legionnaire's father

Legion Log
Rene Jacques "RJ" Brande made his first appearance several years after the Legion had been established, being introduced to new member Ferro Lad as "the Santa Claus" whose endowment helps support the Legion. It was revealed that Brande had a private emergency line to the Legion. Later it was shown that the Legionnaires, too, had special emergency elevators giving them access to Brande. Although we did learn that Brande was the richest man in the galaxy, no reason behind his special access to the Legion was given.

Then, in Superboy #147a flash-back origin story showed how three youngsters from three different worlds happened to be on the same star-cruiser as RJ Brande, heading towards Earth. When they arrived, the girl picked up thoughts of assassination; she cried for help, and the two boys used their abilities to stop two men from killing RJ Brande. Impressed by their courage and resourcefulness, he decided to endow a group calling itself The Legion of Super-Heroes, which these three kids as its first three members.

Generally speaking RJ Brande did not involved himself with the day-to-day existence of the Legion. He hired an adult advisor named Marla Latham to "chaperone" them until they were able to become self-sufficient. He used his vast powers of persuasion to spread the "gospel" of the Legion in his "adult" society, so that they were eventually granted Deputy Science Police Status and Honorary United Planets citizenship on each world. Part of this activity was sheer philanthropy, but part of it was a secret desire to make the universe a smaller place.

Immediately after the Earthwar and its post-war chaos, RJ Brande suddenly found himself a man facing bankruptcy. Shocked that such a thing could happen, the Legion investigated and found that all of Brande's fortune had been stolen by the EarthGov to help rebuild war-torn Earth. When faced with this news, Brande refused to press charges, deciding to donate the money. He then went back into space with a group of Legionnaires and built a few more new stars, and a new fortune.

Soon after he had returned to Earth, RJ Brande suddenly came down with what turned out to be a reoccurrence of Yorggian Fever. The only way to cure him was through a blood transfusion; luckily, during his fever he had mumbled that one of the Legionnaires was his child. Eventually it came out that RJ Brande was actually Ren Daggle from the planet Durla. He, his wife, and his cousin had all come down with Yorggian Fever soon after the birth of his son. When his wife died, he and his cousin left Durla in order to try to find their fortunes off-world. Daggle became RJ Brande, and his cousin Theg became Doyle. Using his incredible intellect, Brande mastered a process for creating suns from dead stars and soon enough became the richest man in the universe. His son grew up to become the Legionnaire, Chameleon Boy.

After Brande revealed himself to his son, it took several stalled attempts for them to come to grips with their new relationship. Eventually they formed a pseudo familial bound, especially after Brande showed his son how important he was to him by going back to Durla with him to help him regain his shape-shifting abilities.

After Brande had rebuilt his fortune to the point that everything in his life was "dull" again, he decided to chuck his whole life and go out on adventures. Brande left everything to his son, Chameleon Boy, and to the Brande Corporation.

After the death of the Time Trapper led to the altered timeline known as the Glorithverse, it was revealed that RJ Brande started life back in the 20th Century. In the wake of the Dominator alliance invasion, he became friends with Vril Dox and helped found the peace-keeping force known as L.E.G.I.O.N. as the being simply referred to as the Durlan. He is soon brought forward in time to the 30th Century by Glorith, replaced in the 20th by an equally amnesiac Phantom Girl. From there, his life as Ren Daggle resumes. It is unclear how much his experiences in the past shaped his involvement in the Legion of Super-Heroes' creation.

After the Five Year Gap, Cham finally finds RJ Brande on Antares, and helps him unravel the mystery of the Proteans long-lost soul. The mission done, he once again leaves for parts unknown.

In the Reboot, RJ Brande is once again saved by Imra Ardeen, Garth Ranzz and Rokk Krinn, sparking the formation of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He plays a much greater part, however, acting as financier, appointing Marla Latham as liaison with Brande Industries, and negotiating with the nascent United Planets to get the Legion legitimacy and allowed his own personal assistant to join as Triad. His stargate technology is what makes commerce between the United Planets possible, accounting for his great fortune and a dangerous rivalry with weapons dealer Leland McCauley. Brande would eventually become President of the United Planets Federation, in even better position to give the Legion support and the occasional mission. Even after he lost the position, he still financed Legion World, a huge space station HQ for their use.

In this continuity, RJ Brande is neither a Durlan nor Chameleon's father, though there were hints that he was still from the 20th Century, where he existed as the Martian Manhunter. Though it may have been the writers' intention, the timeline collapsed before it could ever be confirmed or debunked.

In the Threeboot, RJ Brande has no connection to the Legion, though he probably exists, as there's a Brande Park in Metropolis.

After Infinite Crisis, R.J. Brande's original history has presumably been more or less restored, though his role, early on, is much closer to that of the Reboot Brande. During the Final Crisis, he returned from exile to give an empassioned speech to the U.P. on the Legion's behalf, but was assassinated by his old rival Leland McCauley. His last will and testament contained secret orders for some Legionnaires to go undercover in the 21st Century to stop Brainiac from negating their timeline.

RJ Brande played the same role in the origin of the Legion in thr Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by Lex Lane (a Superman family name if we ever heard one). As Chameleon once called him dad, it would seem his story is close to the original continuity's as revealed in the series' third volume.

Important R.J. Brande stories:

Adventure Comics #350
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 2)
First appearance and mention of RJ Brande

Adventure Comics #359
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 3)
The Legion goes to Brande when all of Earth has turned against them

Superboy #147
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 3)
The story is first told of how the founders meet and save the life of RJ Brande

Adventure Comics #374
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 4)
Taurus pretends to be RJ Brande in order to confuse the Legionnaires

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #221
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12)
First (?) mention of RJ's names, Rene Jacques

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #237
(reprinted in Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1)
RJ Brande refuses to allow himself to be held hostage

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #240
(reprinted in Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1)
RJ Brande asks Dawnstar to consider joining the Legion

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #248
(reprinted in Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2)
RJ Brande learns that he has somehow lost his fortune

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #258
(reprinted in Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2)
RJ Brande donates his fortune to the Earthwar Relief Fund

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #262
RJ Brande and some Legion escorts head into space to create stars in order to re-build his fortune

Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #3
RJ Brande's true genetic history is revealed, including that he is the father of Chameleon Boy

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #286
(reprinted in The Great Darkness Saga Deluxe Edition)
RJ Brande tries to re-create a relationship with Chameleon Boy

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #298
(reprinted in The Curse)
RJ Brande swears to accompany his son back to Durla 

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #301
(reprinted in The Curse)
RJ earns his son's respect when he returns to Durla with him 
but refuses to re-acquire their native abilities

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #3
(reprinted in The Legion: An Eye For An Eye)
RJ Brande has important friends, including the President of Earth

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #9
(reprinted in The Legion: An Eye For An Eye)

RJ Brande is a social warrior on behalf of the Proteans

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #14
The founders enjoy "down time" with RJ Brande after they take leave from the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #17
RJ Brande decides to head out into outer space again to "have some fun"

Secret Origins (v3) #25
At a distant star-port, RJ Brande remembers how a certain fateful star-cruiser ride occurred...

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #8
The revised origin of RJ Brande is told in detail, with him mysteriously appearing out of time
with no memory of where he came from

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v4) #1
Ultra Boy challenges RJ Brande about his true origins while investigating Glorith's schemes

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #33
After the Five Year Gap, Cham finds his father on Antares

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #0
The Reboot Legion begins with three kids saving the life of RJ Brande

Legionnaires #0
RJ Brande uses his influence not only to get the new Legion resources, but to ensure its independance

Legionnaires #19
RJ Brande is incensed when the U.P. president drafts members into the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #63
RJ Brande gives the Legion headquarters

 Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #71
RJ Brand's partnership with Element Lad's father is revealed, not long before White Triangle terrorists destroy Trom

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #80
RJ Brande s drafted as president of the U.P.

Legionnaires #37
RJ Brande shows off his collection of artifacts from the 20th Century's heroic era
during a long conversation with M'Onel

Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files and Origins #1
The Legion's origin is retold, from RJ Brande's perspective

Legionnaires #65
RJ Brande mends the United Planets by making apologies to the maligned Durla

Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files and Origins #2
RJ Brande interview

 Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #124
RJ Brande must defend his stargate technology from political opponents who want
to put travel bans in place

Legion Worlds #6
A year after part of the Legion was lost in space, RJ Brande is no longer president
and his successor has disbanded the Legion

The Legion #3
When the Legion re-forms, RJ Brande finances an expansive space station for their use, "Legion World"

 Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1
Back to the original continuity, and RJ Brande returns from exile to give an empassioned speech about the Legion
only to be assassinated by his business rival Leland McCauley

Adventure Comics (v2) #12
In a flashback story, RJ Brande interacts with a couple of Legionnaires, including Chameleon Boy
who doesn't know he is Brande's son

Adventure Comics #516
RJ Brande's last will and testament (and life story) is delivered to the Legion

Legion: Secret Origin #1-6
In a retold origin of the Legion, RJ Brande's role is closer to the one he had in the Reboot's early days

 Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
RJ Brande is voiced by Lex Lang

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realise it took so long for RJ to be introduced! It makes sense but I guess he just feels like such a natural insertion into the Legion's past :)

    Also, whatever nonsense is going on in that Doomsday Clock series to bring the Legion back I hope RJ, Rond and McCauley come with them...Geoff Johns really decimated their support cast with that series :\