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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 Let's put Supergirl in Teen Titans instead! After all that was the sidekick team.

Wouldn't Stan have them be Imra Irdeen, Tinya Tazzo, Ayla Aranzz, and Luornu Lurgo?

Ronald Morgan said:

"Imra Ardeen." "Tinya Wazzo." "Ayla Ranzz." "Luornu Durgo."

Sounds like Stan was working both companies for awhile there.

16. Shrinking Violet

Intangibles – 5 – She gets small.

Perceived Value – 8 – I for one think that having a character who can change size readily makes for someone who’s useful—maybe not so much in a fight, but in other ways.

Actual Value – 8 – She got small. She got smaller. She did what she was supposed to.

Total: 21

As I recall, Mort Weisinger was much more likely to assign alliterative names to characters, especially female characters.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Wouldn't Stan have them be Imra Irdeen, Tinya Tazzo, Ayla Aranzz, and Luornu Lurgo?

ere.

What Stan would have done is forget the exact name and take a guess at it.

Yeah, Weisinger gave us Lyra Lerroll, Lena Luthor, Lori Lemaris and one or two others. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lana Lang and maybe Lex Luthor would have preceded him.

Meanwhile, Stan gave us Peter Parker, Sue Storm, Reed Richards, Dr. Doom, Matt Murdock, Mike Murdock, Bruce Banner, "Bob" Banner, Scott Summers, Dr. Droom, Warren Worthington, Betty Brant and God knows how many others. I have to give the alliteration award to Stan!

And as long as we're talking names, Stan should get some sort of award for Cain Marko. Think how it would read in the phone book.

Stan also gave us Peter Palmer, at least for one panel.
The two-parter in Action 390 & 391 may provide some guidance as to Element Lad's upper limit. The Espionage Squad goes undercover

SPOILER ALERT

to overthrow a despot but also the rebel leader who is secretly part of the Dark Circle. The Legionnaires pose as gunrunners to the rebels but the weapons are rendered harmless and only seem to be effective due to Element Lad's power. The despot is protected by an invincible army of artificial humanoids. In the final battle the rebels (it seems like about 100 at most) defeat the humanoids. Let's be generous and say there are 1,000 of them. Transmuting the humanoids wipes Element Lad out, and by the end of the story he has has passed out from fatigue. That would seem to be the max that he can transmute.

Let's say the humanoids weigh 500 pounds each, so he ended up transmuting 500,000 pounds or 250 short tons of matter. The Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013 is estimated at 14,000 short tons, and according to Adventure #350 there were a lot of meteors involved, let's say 1,000, so the cloud contained 14 million short tons. Even without the "fireworks" danger it would have taken Element Lad a long time to transmute the entire cloud, which just reinforces how powerful Color Kid is. (I hope I didn't make a math error somewhere.)

This story is from 1970 but still with Weisinger as the editor so it may be the best estimate we have for the limits to Element Lad's power.

Also, since the humanoids were "chemical" in nature, why didn't Chameleon Boy include Chemical King on the team. Maybe working with Element Lad the two of them could have come up with a method to defeat the humanoids that wasn't so taxing for Element Lad (e.g., speeding up the chemical reactions).


Captain Comics said:

Randy Jackson said:

And now for a question: was an upper limit ever established of how much matter Jan could actually convert at one time? Part of the reason I’m asking is the story where Superboy and Supergirl were forced to quit the Legion because of the Green Kryptonite dust surrounding Earth that Color Kid eventually turned into Blue Kryptonite. Why couldn’t Element Lad have turned into, say, helium or hydrogen or some harmless gas? And is Color Kid really that powerful that he can change all of that Kryptonite in such a quick fashion? Seriously, just how powerful was Color Kid? That’s a lot of mass to change the composition by changing it’s color.

You're so close to the money, Randy, that I suspect you read the story that answers your question, and just the details elude you.

It was Adventure Comics #350 where the kryptonite cloud encircled Earth, and with Superboy and Brainiac Five watching, various Legionnaires tried their powers against the cloud. It wasn't Element Lad, but Cosmic Boy, who found his powers inadequate for the task at hand.

"I flopped," thought Cosmic Boy. "My power isn't great enough for a titanic job like this. Earth's field is too strong."

Lightning Lad and Sun Boy also tried their hand with no results.

"My most powerful bolts have no effect on this confounded cloud," says Lightning Lad.

"I'm projecting the heat of an exploding supernova," says Sun Boy "the hottest thing in the universe -- but this green K is completely heat resistant!"

None of that makes much sense -- green K is lightning and heat resistant? Tell that to Superman, and all the times he destroyed green K with his heat vision!

But then the Legion brought out its (seldom used) big gun: Element Lad.

"I'll use my element-changing power to turn the kryptonite into harmless helium gas," he thought. "But wait! I never expected this! Suddenly the dust is sparkling like a fireworks display!"

Two panels later, Brainiac Five delivers the bad news.

"Your hunch was right, Element Lad," he says. "If you'd used any more power on the green K dust, you would have caused a chain reaction that could destroy Earth!"

So the plot called for the most powerful Legionnaires to fail, but for Color Kid to succeed.

Captain Comics said:

Yeah, Weisinger gave us Lyra Lerroll, Lena Luthor, Lori Lemaris and one or two others. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lana Lang and maybe Lex Luthor would have preceded him.

Luthor preceded Mort, but he didn't become Lex Luthor until Mort added him to the Superboy cast, probably because having a teen with no first name would be odd.

The run in Action may provide a bit of insight into Duo Damsel. In #380 (1969)

SPOILER ALERT

one of her bodies goes off on a space mission for a week or so while the other recuperates on Earth. When the one returns she has fallen in love (and is engaged) and turned evil (it happens). The good Luornu and Bouncing Boy resolve the case. The story seems to indicate that the two "Luornus" can live independent lives unknown to the other until they merge back together. (However, when one of her bodies was destroyed in the Computo story she didn't seem too bummed by the experience, maybe the same reaction we have to a haircut, "a part of me is gone, but no big deal".)

The run in Action did feature a number of stories that were smaller in scope and focused on a small handful of Legionnaires each time, which allowed for some character development.
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The Baron said:

Characters I Would Have Liked To See Developed More

  • Duo Damsel - At least in the stories I saw, they never really did much with what it might be like for a person to have more than one body. Must have made Chuck Taine's life real interesting, at least.
  • White Witch - One of the later additions that I would have liked to see developed more.

I was on board for the earliest Legion stories, but for the most part didn't buy the Weisinger titles after discovering the titles from Schwartz and Lee. As young as I was at the time, it never occurred to me to question why, in 1,000 years, the world was so close to our world. How different is the 21st century from the 11th century? It would have made more sense if the Legion was 100 years in the future, not 1,000.

17. Colossal Boy

Intangibles – 6 – He gets big. There’s a certain psychological effect when you see a giant striding towards you. Even if the enemy isn’t scared, he’ll draw a lot of attention because of his size.

Perceived Value – 8 – He’s a brick on a team loaded with bricks. Still, it never hurts to have an extra brick—just ask Ignatz.

Actual Value – 7 – Did what he was supposed to. Wasn’t quite as effective as one would hope--probably because it was impressive to see an enemy stop him (oh no, they just stopped the giant--now what?)--but he did well enough.

Total: 21

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