The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Top 5 Heroes

Long live The Legion

Timber Wolf:To the Legion of Super Heroes, I make this solemn pledge: To use my powers for good. To fight for justice and protect the innocent. To aid my fellow Legionnaires in times of peril, and to keep their secrets safe. We are the Legion of Super-Heroes. Long Live the Legion!

Legion of Superheroes “Timber Wolf” (Season 1, Episode 2)

The Legion of Super-Heroes are the guardians of the 31st century. Comprised of several teenagers from different worlds, they protect the United Planets from threats. The Legion is also authorized to stop time traveling villains, leading to team-ups with contemporary superheroes.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a frequent victim of retcons and reboots because it has to be the future of the current DC Universe. They’ve experienced several eras, from selfless heroes, to rebellious social justice advocates, to political puppets of the United Planets. But no matter the era, they are always heroes. So who are the top Legionnaires? Let’s find out.

Note: Because the characters can differ wildly based on the era, we’ll examine their standard incarnations.

Honorable Mention: Supergirl

Played by: Melissa Benoist and Summer Glau
Species: Kryptonian

Supergirl: “Nice ship!
Brainiac 5: “It’s strictly no frills, but it’s fast. What do you pilot back home?
Supergirl: “Usually just a pickup.”
Brainiac 5: “A pickup…  is that a type of starcruiser?
Green Arrow: [hiding a smirk] “Yes. Yes it is.”

Justice League: Unlimited “Far From Home” (Season 3, Episode 10)

The Legion of Super-Heroes tends to pick up strays. Superboy has joined on a few occasions, but he was beaten to the punch by our honorable mention, his cousin Supergirl.

Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin from the city of Argo that survived Krypton’s destruction and endured as a colony for several years before being ravaged by kryptonite meteors. Supergirl’s genius father built a rocket so she could escape to Earth. Superman welcomed his cousin with open arms, but hid her in an orphanage so she could learn to control her powers.

Supergirl felt like an outcast until a psychic voice called to her. Time traveling Legionnaires Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, and Triplicate Girl encouraged her to join the Legion, which was seeking new members. Supergirl aced her audition by finding several relics, including Excalibur, which should have made her the new Queen of England. She gladly joined the Legion, but eventually returned to the past where she played an important historical role.

What role? Check out our Supergirl backstory.

#5 Mon-El/Valor

Played By: Chris Wood and Yuri Lowenthal
Species: Daxamite

Mon-El:I’ve lived long enough that I know I don’t understand “forever.” But whatever forever means, I hope yours is happily ever after. And I know our paths will cross again, somehow.

Adventure Comics #521

The Legion of Super-Heroes could always use a powerhouse, but Superboy and Supergirl can’t remain in the future. Luckily, there’s someone who’s always willing to fill their shoes.

Superboy found a spaceship that crash-landed on Earth. Its pilot had lost his memories, but quickly developed several of Superboy’s powers. Even more shocking, he had a note from Jor-El calling him “my son.” Clark thought the new arrival was his older brother. He named the stranger Mon-El (because he arrived on a Monday) and helped him adjust to life on Earth.

Superboy grew jealous of Mon-El’s skills and immunity to Kryptonite. He used a green-painted lump of lead to prove Mon-El was faking the immunity, which caused Mon-El’s memory to return. He was actually Lar Gand from the world Daxam. He was exploring the universe and had crashed on Krypton shortly before the explosion. Jor-El managed to fix his ship and gave Mon-El a map to Earth.

Unfortunately, lead is a Daxamite’s kryptonite and Superboy’s scheme fatally poisoned Mon-El. A guilt-laden Superboy put him into the Phantom Zone to stabilize him until a cure was found. One thousand years later, the Legion of Super-Heroes discovered Mon-El and cured him. He joined up with the team as Valor.

Daxamites are a xenophobic offshoot of the Kryptonians with all of their progenitors’ powers. This provided convenient cover when DC executives mandated that Superman had never been Superboy. The writers claimed that all of Superboy’s stories actually featured Mon-El.

#4 Bouncing Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes

Played By: Michael Cornacchia and Googy Gress
Species: Human

Green Lantern:Time travel. Swell.
Bouncing Boy: “It’s a real thrill for me to meet you, sir. You’re the famous John Stewart, father of…”
Green Lantern:You wanna shut up before you create a time paradox?

Justice League: Unlimited “Far From Home” (Season 3, Episode 10)

The Legionaries often act too serious. They’ll juggle romantic drama, inter-team rivalries, galactic politics, and whatever threat is occurring that day. Luckily, Bouncing Boy is there to lighten the mood.

Chuck Taine was an average teenager. He accidentally drank an experimental chemical that he mistook for a soda and gained the ability to inflate his body and bounce off of any surface. The Legion of Super-Heroes was leery about recruiting him, but Chuck joined as Bouncing Boy after catching a villain that had eluded them.

Bouncing Boy’s powers and goofy nature often get retconned for being too silly for some writers. He frequently loses his powers and is relegated to reserve status until they return. One reboot turned him into the Legion’s chief mechanic and made Bouncing Boy the name of his ship. That aspect was popular and is often worked into Chuck’s repertoire.

Turning into a big ball and bouncing doesn’t sound very impressive, but don’t discount Bouncing Boy. He is much faster than he appears and can go faster by ricocheting off objects. A standard issue Legion Flight Ring means that he can start bouncing as soon as he arrives on the scene. A 200 pound guy bouncing into you at 80 MPH can do a lot of damage, while his body’s composition means Bouncing Boy remains unharmed.

#3 Lightning Lad/Live Wire

Played By: Andy Milder and Calum Worthy
Species: Winathian

Lightning Lad:We need to bring whoever did this to justice. Remember what I always said about justice? You gotta strike hard and strike fast.

Action Comics #864

Heroes aren’t always nice. A few members of the Legion of Super-Heroes lean toward being anti-heroes. We’re looking at you, Live Wire.

Garth Ranzz was playing with his brother and sister when they were attacked by a Lightning Beast, one of his home planet’s predators. The attack gave the siblings the power to control lightning. Garth’s brother, Mekt, ran away and became the villain Lightning Lord. Garth left home to stop him, adopting the title Lightning Lad and helping start the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Lightning Lad’s anger issues led to a tough career with the Legion. He lashed out at allies and got rough with criminals. He lost an arm during a battle and had it replaced with a prosthesis. He opened up to fellow founder Saturn Girl and eventually married her, but never tamed his hot-headed nature.

Lightning Lad’s terrible luck is a running gag in-story, but there’s more to it. Extra-dimensional beings called The Luck Lords have manipulated Garth’s life in a convoluted plan to eradicate science. Fortunately, his luck is so good that it automatically counters their schemes without him even knowing that they exist.

#2 Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes

Played By: Kari Whalgren and Amy Jackson
Species: Titanian

Saturn Girl:Nice work, Cham. They might not have found Superboy without you.
Phantom Girl:And Beast Boy? I thought we weren’t supposed to intervene in anything except… you know, the one big thing?
Saturn Girl:H-history books don’t mention this event one way or another. Maybe we were always supposed to come back? [gets disapproving looks] Garfield was hurting. I had to help or else… why do this?

Young Justice “Volatile” (Season 4, Episode 3)

The Legion of Super-Heroes has a lot of strong personalities and potential issues because of intergalactic politics. Luckily, Saturn Girl has plenty of experience leading them.

Imra Ardeen was a prodigy among her homeworld’s genius telepaths. She traveled to Earth to join an intergalactic military police force called the Science Patrol. On the way, assassins attacked the shuttle which also carried R.J. Brande, the richest man in the universe. 

Imra and newcomers Garth and Rokk stopped the killers. A grateful Brande offered to bankroll them as a team of heroes. They accepted and created The Legion of Super-Heroes, with Imra taking the name Saturn Girl.

Saturn Girl often leads the Legion and is portrayed as a workaholic. Her telepathy allows her to understand other Legionnaires’ problems and smooth them over. Unfortunately, she has a self-sacrificial streak that borders on being a martyr complex.

Saturn Girl is one of the strongest telepaths in the DC universe, but sometimes has lapses in control. She once used her powers to animate a comatose Cosmic Boy and briefly dated him before realizing what she had done. Saturn Girl recently manipulated the Legion into letting Jon Kent join them because she is a huge Superboy fan.

#1 Brainiac 5 of The Legion of Super-Heroes

Played by: Harry Shum Jr., Adam Wylie, Jesse Rath
Species: Coluan

Brainiac 5: “With the right amount of genius and a touch of perceived insanity, science can conquer anything!

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds

The brightest lights can often be found in the darkest shadows. The Legion of Super-Heroes’ top member also has ties to one of DC Comics’ deadliest villains.

Brainiac 5 is the descendant of the mad Coluan Brainiac, who ravaged dozens of worlds in pursuit of knowledge. 5 wanted to join the Legion of Super-Heroes to atone for his ancestor’s crimes and made the grade protecting Supergirl during a kryptonite swarm.

He wants to be a good guy, but Brainiac 5 still has villainous traits. He’s an insufferable genius who is easily annoyed when others interrupt his research. He also created Omega and Computo, monsters who later maimed 5’s fellow legionnaire Triplicate Girl.

When not giving into the call of mad science, Brainiac 5 wooed Supergirl. She was wary of him and his background, but eventually fell in love. Unfortunately, the two can’t be together because Brainiac knows she has to die during the Crisis on Infinite Earths to save the multiverse. 

Brainiac 5’s main power is a 12th level intelligence about double our current level. He created the Legion’s Flight Rings and uses both a force field and time machine. In truly dire situations, Brainiac 5 knows the location of a reality warping superweapon called the Miracle Machine, but he will only use it as an absolute last resort.

Who’s your favorite member of the Legion of Super-Heroes? Is there a Legionnaire you like more than these? Tell us in the comments.

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