Right, I’ll Come in Again—The Changing Powers of Ultra Boy

So a while back, I reviewed “The Boy with the Ultra-Powers,” the first appearance of Jo Nah of Rimbor, later to be known as the Legionnaire called Ultra Boy. In that first appearance, in Superboy 98, Jo talked on and on about his Penetra-Vision, which allowed him to assist (and baffle) Superboy by seeing through lead. Superboy’s X-Ray vision couldn’t do that, so this was a pretty big deal.

The other Legionnaire who could out-see Superboy was Star Boy, who first appeared in “Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes” in Adventure Comics #282. In that story, Star Boy also had all of Superboy’s other powers.

Strangely enough, when the two characters re-appeared as part of the Legion, their powers had swapped. Ultra Boy now had all of Superboy’s powers, but could use only one of them at a time. Star Boy, without any explanation whatever, now had only the power to make things super-heavy. This oversight was corrected many years later by Paul Levitz in Legion of Super-Heroes #306.

Ultra Boy didn’t get even a ret-conned explanation, but a reprint of his origin story in Superboy #147 included retouched word balloons.

These changes gave him Ultra Powers, in addition to Penetra Vision.

They specified that he had used only Penetra Vision to join the Legion.

And, randomly, they renamed his vision powers to Ultra Vision…

also to Flash Vision…

but in places left it called Penetra Vision.

So amongst Ultra Boy’s powers are… Penetra Vision, Flash Vision, Ultra Vision, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

Did you not get that reference, or were you just not expecting it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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