Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021



In the United States, the last Monday in May is marked as Memorial Day. This is the day we Americans set aside to honor those who died while on active military duty. It started after the US Civil War, which ended in April 1865. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971. 

The Legion of Super-Heroes has had more than their share of members fall in battle. Although they are a group of fictional characters, we believe that when they are done well they represent character traits we as real (?) people can aspire to. 

With that in mind, we honor Those Who Gave All...

Lightning Lad was the first Legionnaire to perish, giving his life to save that of his sweetheart, Saturn Girl in Adventure Comics #304. 

Well, sort of. This was one of the first character deaths in comics, and DC hedged their bets and eventually relented by bringing Lightning Lad back. 

But in so doing, we had another Legion character, Proty, sacrifices its life. So we get the ultimate sacrifice, again, in Adventure Comics #312. 


Triplicate Girl was the first "real" death in the Legion, in Adventure Comics #340. She did not die to save anyone, but was killed gratuitously by Computo. In fact, writer Edmond Hamilton had complained about how to write a girl whose power was to turn into three, so he literally shaved one of her selves off. 

It was still a powerful moment, even if DC never did any follow-up with Duo Damsel's grief or emotional well-being after a third of her died. 


The next, most famous Legion death was that of Ferro Lad from Adventure Comics #353. He felt less than worthy when he was unable to help slow down the Suneater's approach to Earth. So when he had the chance, the took the Absorbatron bomb into the heart of the creature and destroyed it, and himself. He gave his life so that the galaxy could live. 


Several years later in Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #203, the first Invisible Kid used his most powerful weapon, his brain, to stop Tharok of the Fatal Five from returning to full power. In order to try to stop him, Tharok sicced the monstrous Validus on him. Although he tried to escape, Invisible Kid was crushed to death. In dying, however, he was able to stop Tharok and thus save his friends. 


When the Dark Circle attempted to start World War VII using the Australian dictator Deregon as their tool in Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #228, it was Chemical King who gave his life to stop the explosion of a nuclear power-sphere. He saved millions of lives, including those of his fellow Legionnaires. 

The Legion of Super-Villains took over Princess Projectra's home planet of Orando and enslaved her and her people. In Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #4Karate Kid, her royal consort, had enough. He  battled the LSV leader, Nemesis Kid, and then, once he was fatally wounded, he gladly flew into their teleportation and communication network, destroying it like a far future Kamikaze. This was the break his fellow Legionnaires needed, who then rallied and defeated the Super Villains. 


Supergirl faced the Anti-Monitor in his final attempt to destroy all time and space. She stepped up and saved her cousin, Superman, and then the entire universe. 


Conversely, a younger version of Superman known as Superboy died before he could be saved by his cousin! Superboy became aware that he lived in a "pocket universe" created and controlled by the Time Trapper, and was not fated to grow up to be the "real" Superman after all. Superboy fought against his so-called creator, finally managing to save his Earth from both the Crisis and the Time Trapper's clutches. Unfortunately, the strain of these efforts exhausted even him, and he died in Mon-El's arms in Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #38. 


Nearly a year later, determined to extract vengeance against the Time Trapper, several Legionnaires formed a pact to kill the Time Trapper. Although they managed to erase the villain from existence, it came with the price of another of Duo Damsel's selves. (Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #50


Not an official Legionnaire, Mentalla wanted desperately to prove her worth by helping them defeat the Fatal Five. Unfortunately, she was not prepared for the vehemence shown her by the Emerald Empress, who murdered her in cold blood in Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #26. Considering the untimely death of her designer, Steve Lightle, earlier this year, it seems fitting to mark her heroism here. 


The last Legionnaire to give his life for others in the original run was Cosmic Boy's younger brother Pol, known as Magnetic Kid. When the Legionnaires attempted to attack the Arch Mage on the Sorcerers' World in Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #62, they found that the magician required a human sacrifice. Magnetic Kid selflessly gave up his life to give his friends a fighting chance to save everyone else.


All Gave Some, 
Some Gave All

6 comments:

  1. Kid Psycho should count too.

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  2. Really? I don't recall seeing him in the Hall of Heroes.

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  3. Kid Psycho fell rescuing civilians in Crisis (CoIE).

    Nice to see a Legion entry. I don't really consider the 20th century Legion related stuff (REBELS, Valor) that interesting.

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    1. I know Kid Psycho died, I just don't think the Legion itself recognized him in the same way that they recognized Mentalla, who did have a statue shown atleast one time.

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  4. I know it's a later incarnation but Monstress rates a mention.

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