Just for fun, I’ve decided to rank the Silver Age Legion of Super Heroes. This is my list, so if you disagree, please create your own. I’d love to see it.

 

Here are the guidelines I’ve set for myself for this list:

 

  • The Silver Age ends in 1968—the end of 1968
  • Only active, full-time Legionnaires are being considered. No Subs, Reservists or Honorary members, and nobody that was a member for one story but was expelled afterwards.
  • Rankings will be based on each character’s potential and actual contributions to the team. It’s entirely possible that a character I think is pretty awesome is ranked pretty low—or vice versa.

 

Characters will be ranked in several areas:

 

  • Intangibles – what, beyond their powers and abilities, did they bring to the team? For instance, if a character helped significantly boost morale, made a major scientific contribution or brought great leadership, that character would likely get extra points.
  • Perceived Value – Looking at the character’s powers and abilities, what should they bring to the table for the team.
  • Actual Value – Looking at the stories, what did those characters actually do with their powers and abilities? What contributions did they make?

 

I’ll tell you all right now, there are gonna be some surprises.

 

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10. Ferro Lad

Intangibles – 6 – I’m going to give him a point for his selfless sacrifice in defeating the Sun Eater.

Perceived Value – 8– A brick on a team full of bricks more powerful than he was. Still, it never hurts to have another strongman on the team.

Actual Value – 8— He had little time to impress, but what he did do he did with style and panache. Plus, for whatever reason, he’s always—always been a favorite of mine.

Total: 22

11. Brainiac 5

Intangibles – 6 – Created/co-created the Legion Flight Rings

Perceived Value – 10– A 12th level Coluan intellect should be a great addition to a team.

Actual Value – 6— Unfortunately, Brainiac 5, while he’s a great character, has underperformed as a team member. Sure, he did the Legion Flight Rings and perfected Mon-El’s serum, but he also created Computo, and one would really hope that he would have done more.

Total: 22

Randy Jackson wrote:

There's sort of been a working definition ending the Silver Age in 1968 in this community for a while now., based primarily on the shifting of the guard at DC, when the old creators were fired and the new ones brought in.

I know all about the discussion about DC's Silver Age starting to wind down in 1968, since I wrote an article on that very topic for Comic Book Marketplace quite a few years ago. But I don't know of any definition that says the Silver Age actually ended in 1968. The two most frequently cited end-points for the end of the Silver Age both occurred in 1970: Jack Kirby leaving Marvel for DC, and Mort Weisinger's retirement from DC.

Also, this isn't about how good of a character a Legionnaire was, but rather what did they bring to the team. There's no doubt, for instance, that Brainiac 5 is a great character, but that's not what the rankings are based on (if so, you'd be seeing the likes of Bouncing Boy and Matter-Eater Lad near the top because I think those guys are awesome).

Okay, thanks, now I see the distinction. On that basis of pure power, then, I think you'd have to go the obvious route:

1. Superboy

2. Supergirl

3. Mon-El

4. Ultra Boy, etc.

I would also contend that Sun Boy should be way, way up the list. His power, after all, is basically the ability to channel the raw power of a star. That's pretty darn powerful!

Well, it's not quite about pure power either. However, this is why you should create your own list. This one is for me and reflects my particular opinions.

Dave Blanchard said:


Okay, thanks, now I see the distinction. On that basis of pure power, then, I think you'd have to go the obvious route:

1. Superboy

2. Supergirl

3. Mon-El

4. Ultra Boy, etc.

I would also contend that Sun Boy should be way, way up the list. His power, after all, is basically the ability to channel the raw power of a star. That's pretty darn powerful!

Dave Blanchard said:

I know all about the discussion about DC's Silver Age starting to wind down in 1968, since I wrote an article on that very topic for Comic Book Marketplace quite a few years ago. But I don't know of any definition that says the Silver Age actually ended in 1968. The two most frequently cited end-points for the end of the Silver Age both occurred in 1970: Jack Kirby leaving Marvel for DC, and Mort Weisinger's retirement from DC.

True, there's no definition that establishes the year 1968 as the end of the Silver Age. By the same token, no definition establishes 1970 as that final year, either.  When the Silver Age ended is essentially personal opinion.  There is no authority that stipulates a specific year.  

Again, true, many people, perhaps most, feel that 1970 was the last year of the Silver Age.  Two of the reasons given for that rationale---Kirby leaving Marvel and Weisinger retiring---seem rather arbitrary to me.  But 1970 as an ending year is no more official than 1968 or any other year.

13. Shadow Lass

Intangibles – 5 – She’s blue

Perceived Value – 8– Her power to cast shadows over a large area can be useful, assuming her teammates can see in the dark somehow.

Actual Value – 8— She did what she was expected to do, and there’s really not much else to say. Good character, good teammate.

Total: 21

Randy speaks of us making our own lists. I'm up for that. I love me a good list. I figured I'd start by listing who I think of when I think of "The Legion of super-Heroes". Doubtless an observant person will be able to figure out from this list approximately what time frame I read their adventures in.

  1. Blok
  2. Bouncing Boy (Chuck  Taine)
  3. Brainiac Five (Querl Dox)
  4. Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle)
  5. Chemical King (Condo Arlik)
  6. Colossal Boy (Gim Allon)
  7. Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn)
  8. Dawnstar
  9. Dream Girl (Nura Nal)
  10. Duo Damsel (Luornu Durgo)
  11. Element Lad (Jan Arrah)
  12. Ferro Lad (Andrew Nolan)
  13. Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg)
  14. Invisible Kid II (Jacques Foccart)
  15. Karate Kid (Val Armorr)
  16. Lightning Lad (Ranzz)
  17. Light(ning) Lass (Ayla Ranzz)
  18. Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem)
  19. Mon-El (Lar Gand)
  20. Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo)
  21. Polar Boy (Brek Bannin)
  22. Princess Projectra
  23. Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen)
  24. Shadow Lass (Tasmia Malor)*
  25. Shrinking violet (Salu Digby)
  26. Star Boy (Thom Kallor)
  27. Sun Boy (Dirk Morgna)
  28. Superboy (Clark Kent)
  29. Supergirl (Linda Lee Danvers)
  30. Timber Wolf (Brin Londo)
  31. Tyroc (Troy Stewart)
  32. Ultra Boy (Jo Nah)
  33. White Witch (Mysa Nal)
  34. Wildfire (Drake Burroughs)

*Was her last name meant to be spelled with one "l" or two? I swear I've seen it done both ways.

Rating them is a little tougher. I'll start with an easy one, the guys I gotta give an "Incomplete" to:

Characters Where I Never Saw Them In A Story:

  • Ferro Lad
  • Invisible Kid I
  • Matter-Eater Lad
  • Tyroc

And One Where I Only Saw Him In His Last Story

  • Chemical King - It was hard to get worked up over him being killed off. He didn't come across as all that interesting to me.  Even as a much less cynical youngster, it felt to me like they were killing off Expendable Lad.  

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The Baron said:

Randy speaks of us making our own lists. I'm up for that. I love me a good list. I figured I'd start by listing who I think of when I think of "The Legion of super-Heroes". Doubtless an observant person will be able to figure out from this list approximately what time frame I read their adventures in.

  1. Blok
  2. Bouncing Boy (Chuck  Taine)
  3. Brainiac Five (Querl Dox)
  4. Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle)
  5. Chemical King (Condo Arlik)
  6. Colossal Boy (Gim Allon)
  7. Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn)
  8. Dawnstar
  9. Dream Girl (Nura Nal)
  10. Duo Damsel (Luornu Durgo)
  11. Element Lad (Jan Arrah)
  12. Ferro Lad (Andrew Nolan)
  13. Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg)
  14. Invisible Kid II (Jacques Foccart)
  15. Karate Kid (Val Armorr)
  16. Lightning Lad (Ranzz)
  17. Light(ning) Lass (Ayla Ranzz)
  18. Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem)
  19. Mon-El (Lar Gand)
  20. Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo)
  21. Polar Boy (Brek Bannin)
  22. Princess Projectra
  23. Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen)
  24. Shadow Lass (Tasmia Malor)*
  25. Shrinking violet (Salu Digby)
  26. Star Boy (Thom Kallor)
  27. Sun Boy (Dirk Morgna)
  28. Superboy (Clark Kent)
  29. Supergirl (Linda Lee Danvers)
  30. Timber Wolf (Brin Londo)
  31. Tyroc (Troy Stewart)
  32. Ultra Boy (Jo Nah)
  33. White Witch (Mysa Nal)
  34. Wildfire (Drake Burroughs)

*Was her last name meant to be spelled with one "l" or two? I swear I've seen it done both ways.

Regarding Shadow Lass I think I sent DC a letter, many, many years ago, noting what a natural it would be for her and Night Girl to work as a team. That would remove Night Girl's weakness and make her one of the more powerful (strength-wise) characters. Was this ever used in a story? -- it just seems so obvious.

Yes it was, and it worked nicely, other than Night Girl's ridiculous costume in that story.

Dave Palmer said:

Regarding Shadow Lass I think I sent DC a letter, many, many years ago, noting what a natural it would be for her and Night Girl to work as a team. That would remove Night Girl's weakness and make her one of the more powerful (strength-wise) characters. Was this ever used in a story? -- it just seems so obvious.
Regarding Chemical King, I always thought the way he used his power in Adventure #379 was very imaginative. He speed up his own metabolism and for a short time had super strength. There were probably other interesting things that could have been done with his power.

The Baron said:

Rating them is a little tougher. I'll start with an easy one, the guys I gotta give an "Incomplete" to:

Characters Where I Never Saw Them In A Story:

  • Ferro Lad
  • Invisible Kid I
  • Matter-Eater Lad
  • Tyroc

And One Where I Only Saw Him In His Last Story

  • Chemical King - It was hard to get worked up over him being killed off. He didn't come across as all that interesting to me.  Even as a much less cynical youngster, it felt to me like they were killing off Expendable Lad.  

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