Element Lad

Element Lad

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Element Lad is a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 in the 30th and 31st centuries of the , a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes
Legion of Super-Heroes
The Legion of Super-Heroes is a fictional superhero team in the 30th and 31st centuries of the . The team first appears in Adventure Comics #247 , and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino....

. A native of the planet Trom
Trom is a fictional planet in the 30th century . It was home to Legionnaire Element Lad, who is the planet's sole survivor.Due to the high radioactivity of the planet, the natives of Trom were never many, living in a few valleys. They all had the ability to transmute elements...

, he has the power to transmute
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

 chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...


Pre-Zero Hour

Element Lad first appears in Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics was a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1935 to 1983 and then revamped from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues , making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman...

 (vol. 1) #307 (1963). In this first story he is briefly known as "Mystery Lad" as the Legionnaires try to guess his superpower. Jan is the last survivor of Trom; with all of the planet's natives sharing Jan's abilities, the other Trommites had been massacred by the space pirate Roxxas
Kivun Roxxas is a fictional supervillain in the DC Universe. Primarily a foe of the Legion of Super-Heroes, he first appeared in Adventure Comics #307 .-Fictional character biography:...

 for refusing to transmute valuable elements for him. Jan had only survived this genocide because he had been in space at the time.

With the aid of the Legion, Roxxas is brought to justice and Jan joins the Legion, using the codename Element Lad. He is a member of the Legion for many years, serving terms as leader and deputy leader. He is eventually linked romantically to Shvaughn Erin
Shvaughn Erin
Shvaughn Erin is a fictional character in the 30th and 31st centuries of the , appearing primarily as a supporting character in the various Legion of Super-Heroes series...

, the Science Police's
Science Police
Science Police is a fictional law enforcement agency in the . They were referred to as "World-Wide Police" in their first appearance in the 30th century. They were featured in a four issue limited series titled Legion Science Police. In the 30th and 31st centuries, the Science Police serves the...

 Legion liaison, who herself first appeared in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241 (July 1978).

"Five Years Later"

In November 1989 the Legion continuity jumps ahead five years; during this "Five Year Gap" following the Magic Wars, Earth had fallen under the covert control of the Dominators
The Dominators, collectively known as the Dominion, are a fictional alien race from the outer cosmos of the DC Universe. They are highly technologically advanced, and live in a rigid hierarchical society, in which one's caste is determined by the size of a red circle on one's forehead...

, and had withdrawn from the United Planets
United Planets
In the , the United Planets is a fictional governing body, traditionally depicted as active in the 30th and 31st century.-History of the published versions of the United Planets:...

. In a storyline written by Tom and Mary Bierbaum
Tom and Mary Bierbaum
Tom and Mary Bierbaum are an American husband-and-wife writing team, known for their work on the DC comic book Legion of Super-Heroes.-Biography:...

, it is revealed in Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #31 (July 1992) that Shvaughn had been born as a male named Sean, and had taken a futuristic sex-change drug called ProFem in order to secure Element Lad's love. With ProFem no longer available in the tough economical times, Shvaughn reverts back to Sean; Jan is unfazed, saying "Look, it doesn't matter. Don't you understand ... ? Anything we ever shared physically ... it was in spite of the ProFem, not because of it ... !"

At the same time, the Dominators' highly classified "Batch SW6" escapes captivity. Originally, Batch SW6 appears to be a group of teenage Legionnaire clones, created from samples apparently taken just prior to Ferro Lad
Ferro Lad
Ferro Lad is a fictional character, a comic book superhero and member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century of the . He is Andrew Nolan of Earth...

's death at the hands of the Sun-Eater
A Sun-Eater is a fictional, artificially created living weapon in the DC Comics universe. It has played an important role in various storylines.-History:...

. Later, they are revealed to be time-paradox
Temporal paradox
Temporal paradox is a theoretical paradoxical situation that happens because of time travel. A time traveler goes to the past, and does something that would prevent him from time travel in the first place...

 duplicates. After Earth is destroyed in a disaster reminiscent of the destruction of Krypton
Krypton (comics)
Krypton is a fictional planet in the DC Comics universe, and the native world of the super-heroes Superman and, in some tellings, Supergirl and Krypto the Superdog. Krypton has been portrayed consistently as having been destroyed just after Superman's flight from the planet, with exact details of...

 over a millennium earlier, a few dozen surviving cities and their inhabitants reconstitute their world as New Earth. The SW6 Legionnaires remain, and their version of Element Lad assumes the code name Alchemist.

Post-Zero Hour

After Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #61 (September 1994), DC Comics rebooted
Reboot (continuity)
The verb reboot, in media dealing with serial fiction, means to discard much or even all previous continuity in the series and start anew with fresh ideas...

 the Legion continuity as part of the Zero Hour
Zero Hour (comics)
Zero Hour: Crisis in Time is a five-issue comic book limited series and crossover storyline published by DC Comics in 1994. In it, the former hero Hal Jordan, who had until then been a member of the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps, mad with grief after the destruction of...

 company-wide crossover storyline. In post-Zero Hour continuity, Jan is still the last survivor of Trom, however the Trommites had been killed by the heat vision of Daxamite White Triangle
White Triangle
White Triangle is a fictional racist organization in the post-Zero Hour continuity of DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes. They first appear in Legion of Superheroes vol...

 terrorists who had decimated Trom from space. After a brief period of the traumatized Jan being brainwashed into becoming the villainous Starfinger
Starfinger is a fictional DC Comics supervillain. He first appeared in Adventure Comics #335 and was an enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes.-Lars Hanscom:...

, this version of Element Lad serves with the Legion for some time. Jan's previous history with Shvaughn Erin is erased in this continuity.

After an encounter with the sorcerer Mordru
Mordru is a fictional character, a supervillain in the DC Comics' main shared universe.Mordru is the most prominent Lord of Chaos who is fated to survive even after the end of the universe, although he is usually shown as a powerful wizard...

, Jan's powers change so that he can transmute himself into elements as well; he is subsequently often seen in metal or crystal forms, exploring the nature of his physical self.

In the Legion Lost
Legion Lost
Legion Lost is a superhero team published by DC Comics.It was originally published as a 12-issue comic book limited series starring the Legion of Super-Heroes...

 limited series (2000 - 2001) it is shown that the events from "Widening Rifts" had caused Element Lad to become lost in deep space for billions of years, whereby his perspective changes to a point of arguable insaninty and he becomes the extremely powerful villain Progenitor. He is eventually killed during this story by Live Wire (Garth Ranzz, the Legionnaire formerly known before Zero Hour as Lightning Lad), who sacrifices his own life in the process. However, Garth later reappears in another form. Kid Quantum
Kid Quantum
Kid Quantum is the name of three fictional superheroes that appear in comic books published by DC Comics, who were members of different incarnations of the Legion of Super-Heroes.-Original:...

 had taken the few crystals left from the destruction of the Progenitor and had left them on Shanghalla, the heroes' resting place. It turns out that Garth's essence had survived in the crystals; Jan's body had regrown, but housing Garth's consciousness. The reincarnated Garth is able to use both the Element Lad and Lightning Lad powers in his new crystalline body, but his relationship with other Legionnaires (including former love Saturn Girl
Saturn Girl
Saturn Girl is a fictional character appearing in DC comic books. A talented telepath from the 30th century, Imra first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 as a founding member of the Legion of Super-Heroes...

) is strained due to his outward resemblance to the Progenitor. Before this plot is resolved, the Legion's continuity was rebooted a third time
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004 team)
The 2004 version of the Legion of Super-Heroes is a fictional superhero team in the 31st century of the . The team is the third major incarnation of the Legion of Super-Heroes after the 1958 and 1994 versions...

 in 2004.

In the Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 (2008–2009), the post-Zero Hour Legion is brought to the pre-crisis Legion's timeline, to help battle Superboy Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains
Legion of Super-Villains
The Legion of Super-Villains is a team of fictional supervillains that appear in comic books published by DC Comics. They are adversaries of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the future...

. During this time, the pre-crisis Brainiac 5
Brainiac 5
Brainiac 5 is a fictional character who exists in the 30th and 31st centuries of the DC Universe. He is a long standing member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Brainiac 5 is from the planet Colu...

 uses a specially charged lightning rod to increase the transmutation ability of Element Lad's body, allowing Garth to mutate the body itself into a match for his own.


In the Waid/Kitson 'reimagining' Element Lad is the lone survivor of a lost planet. This most recent version of has to touch things in order to transmute them, and anything he transmutes reverts to its original chemical composition in a matter of minutes; both are limitations he never had before (all previous versions of Element Lad have been able to transmute matter permanently and to do so from great distances).

He finds physical fights barbaric and has romantic feelings toward Triplicate Girl
Triplicate Girl
Triplicate Girl is a fictional character, a superhero in the 30th and 31st centuries of the and a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. She has also used the aliases Duo Damsel, Triad, Una and Duplicate Damsel....


This Element Lad and the corresponding Legion also appear in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds. He turns the ground around Superboy-Prime into Kryptonite, causing him great pain. Superboy-Prime retaliates by throwing a Kryptonite rock through Element Lad's body, killing him.

Post-Infinite Crisis

The events of the Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis is a 2005 - 2006 comic book storyline published by DC Comics, consisting of an eponymous, seven-issue comic book limited series written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Phil Jimenez, George Pérez, Ivan Reis, and Jerry Ordway, and a number of tie-in books...

 miniseries have apparently restored a close analogue of the Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a 12-issue American comic book limited series and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 to simplify its then 50-year-old continuity...

 Legion to continuity, as seen in "The Lightning Saga
The Lightning Saga
"The Lightning Saga" is a comic book crossover story arc that took place in DC Comics' two flagship team books: Justice League of America and Justice Society of America. It was written by Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns, and illustrated by Ed Benes, Dale Eaglesham, and Shane Davis...

" story arc in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America
Justice Society of America
The Justice Society of America, or JSA, is a DC Comics superhero group, the first team of superheroes in comic book history. Conceived by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox, the JSA first appeared in All Star Comics #3 ....

, and in the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story arc in Action Comics
Action Comics
Action Comics is an American comic book series that introduced Superman, the first major superhero character as the term is popularly defined...

. This version of Element Lad is among a group of Legionnaires listed as missing.

Element Lad appeared in Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics was a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1935 to 1983 and then revamped from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues , making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman...

 (vol.2) #1, where it was revealed he is one of the Legionnaires stationed in the 21st Century. He's currently posing as the chemistry teacher at Smallville High, "Mr. Janson".

As revealed in Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics
Adventure Comics was a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1935 to 1983 and then revamped from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues , making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman...

 (vol. 2) #8, Element Lad is part of a secret team sent by the late RJ Brande to the 21st century to save the future in the Last Stand of New Krypton
Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton
"Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton" is a 2010 crossover story arc in the various Superman comic book series published by DC Comics. It follows the events from World of New Krypton and leads directly into War of the Supermen....


In other media

Element Lad made cameo appearances in the Legion of Super Heroes
Legion of Super Heroes (TV series)
Legion of Super Heroes is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation that debuted on September 23, 2006, based on characters appearing in the DC Comics comic book series. The series centers on the young Superman's adventures in the 31st century, fighting alongside a...

 animated series (2006–2008).

External links