Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Legion of Super-Outlaws!” (Adventure Comics #324, September, 1964)

Remember Jungle King? The kid with the power to control animals, who applied for Legion membership, was rejected, never collected his complimentary flight belt, and then turned super-villain? You don’t?

Yeah, that’s reasonable.

Say, how many rejected applicants did become super-villains? Not that many, at this point in time, but a bunch of the ones we’ve met in the last few issues joined the LSV some time before Adventure #372, so one wonders if the Legion shouldn’t oughtta GPS track all their failed applicants.

Anyway, Jungle King has a much older brother—guy looks about 60 if he’s a day. Jungle musta been a serious life change baby.  His name is Marden King, and he has the power to control all other people named “Marden.” But there aren’t any of them in this story, and we never see Marden King again, so… Well, that gives us something to hope for if the Legion gets their own book again in 2018, doesn’t it? Their first adventure can be a battle with the Legion of Super-Mardens.

I defy you to prove to me that Jerry Siegel would not have taken that idea and run with it.

But this is an Edmond Hamilton story, and, alas, as I said, no Mardens. Marden has to make do with tricking a bunch of nice mutant kids from the planet Lallor into helping him. There are five of them, born with powers because their parents worked near a nuclear weapons test facility. Hated and feared by the world they’ve sworn to protect, these five, under the leadership of Professor Lallor—

Sorry, got carried away there. Well, Evolvo Lad does have kind of a Professor X thing going on there when he mutates. But the Heroes of Lallor—excuse me—the “Super-Outlaws” in this story, have much greater powers than the original X-Men did. Duplicate Boy can assume the super powers of anyone he meets. Gas Girl can, well, turn to gas. Life Lass can animate inanimate objects. Evolvo Lad can evolve himself forward or backward, and Beast Boy is a famous Teen Titan.

Whoops, wrong Beast Boy. This one can turn into any animal.

And they were only hated and feared by their planet’s corrupt leadership, not by their fellow citizens.

Lallor must be a very distant planet, for King’s whole scheme hinges on his five young dupes believing that the Legion is a fascist organization that rules the Earth with an iron fist. (Please now shower me with praise for leaving out the obvious Danny Rand joke.) This ignorance on their part is a little hard to swallow, but, again, we’ll call it a really distant planet.

The new kids don’t really come off too savvy about all this anyway. Confronted with a locked records room once they’ve taken over the Legion clubhouse, they require the powers of Evolvo Lad to tell them that King is probably hiding something.

Evolvo Lad, by the way, is an obvious choice for a Hamilton-created hero. His “wise future man” form is the first stage of “The Man Who Evolved,” a very early story from his pulp days. He also used its device of an evolution ray in “The Super-Tests of the Super-Pets”.

A throwaway panel caught me out—turning an asteroid into a sun? That’s pretty amazing power for Lightning Lad and Sun Boy! And I tend to doubt an asteroid has enough mass to become a sun. But, hey, it’s just one panel, and it’s a neat idea.

Firsts: Heroes of Lallor, Duplicate Boy, Evolvo-Lad, Beast Boy, Gas Girl, Life Lass

Role Call: Saturn Girl, Sun Boy, Chameleon Boy, Mon-El, Star Boy, Invisible Kid, Shrinking Violet, Superboy, Element Lad, Ultra Boy, Colossal Boy,

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