Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Renegade Super-Hero!” (Adventure Comics #316 – January, 1964)

This issue looks to be especially geared towards new readers. The cover promises an origins and powers feature, and the opening page has Superboy providing introductions, including the names and powers of several members, on the first page. He does this in alleged conversation:

“Hello, Phantom Girl! I see you’re practicing your power of walking through walls!”

Phantom Girl is finally included in a story, speaking and everything. And it’s good, in her case, that she gets such an intro. Readers had probably forgotten her. But she’s important here, because this is an Ultra Boy-centric story, and her heretofore unknown admiration for / attraction to him is key.

Ultra Boy’s origin is retold, explaining how he was swallowed by an energy beast in space, and gained “penetra vision.” This time, though, the origin says that “Later, I discovered” more powers. But it still says he discovered them prior to joining the Legion, which doesn’t quite mesh with his first appearance. This is the first story to cement all of his powers in place and establish that he can only use one at a time.

While trying to learn the identities of raiders who are stealing resources from Earth, (which seems to happen a lot!), the Legionnaires find a police record for Ronn Varal, an escaped criminal from Ultra Boy’s home world, Rimbor. Varal looks exactly like Ultra Boy, and, after a fingerprint check, Ultra Boy confesses to being Varal. The name placards come out, this time mounted atop a huge “high tribunal” structure that looks as tall as the whole clubhouse. He is drummed out of the Legion with one abstaining vote—Phantom Girl’s. He escapes, vowing revenge.

The Legionnaires have the good grace to be sad as they pursue their former comrade. Phantom Girl keeps all kinds of intel to herself, in an effort to help him. She also tries to remind the others how good he is. There’s a reference back to the Giant Puppet World—to a scene that wasn’t included in the story of Satan Girl. This kind of continuity is what made the Legion very different back in the day.

Meanwhile, Saturn Girl makes the unlikely observation that she did not sense Ultra Boy’s true identity because, “As you know, I never pry for curiosity into others’ minds!” (She used to, all the time. I think not under Edmond Hamilton, though.)

For some reason, Sun Boy is again barking orders at everyone. I guess he was so popular that the creative team just forgot that he had not been elected leader. Mon-El is revealed to be a biophysicist. We knew he was from a super-scientific world, but a particular discipline was heretofore unmentioned. The Legion didn’t lack for geniuses!

A nice “showcase” story for a popular member. The touch of the Legionnaires burning off Ultra Boy’s insignia when he’s expelled, and then Phantom Girl smoothing it back on his chest when he’s reinstated (“Uh, Tinya, I think it’s on there now. No you can stop now. No, we’re good here.”) is silly but perfect.

Firsts: Expelled member, Ultra Boy’s “One at a time” powers, Phantom Girl / Ultra Boy





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1 thought on “Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Renegade Super-Hero!” (Adventure Comics #316 – January, 1964)

  1. Pingback: Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read - "The Weddings That Wrecked The Legion!" (Adventure Comics #337, October, 1965) - Steven H. WilsonSteven H. Wilson

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