The Legion of Superheroes is one of DC’s most popular groups and has continued to gain new followers since its inception back in 1958. It was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. Although it was only meant to be a one-off, the group proved so popular that it became the focus of many of DC’s Silver Age Stories.
Within its ranks lie some of the greatest DC superheroes ever created. The group was founded by just three members (Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl) and quickly grew to multiple dozens of members. The Legion of Superheroes primarily consists of teenagers who, for whatever reason, left their home planets in search of more.
With so many members, it can be difficult to choose who are the greatest. I mean, even writing this list was no easy task. But write it we did and present it to you we will. Let’s take a look at our list of the best members of the legion of superheroes.
Gates was the third non-humanoid creature to become a member of the Legion of Superheroes (Tellus and Quislet were the first two) and the first not wanting to actually be a part of the team. He was then forced to become a member of his homeworld as a way of representing them.
Gates comes from a planet where very few inhabitants are free-thinkers. Instead, the majority follow a conformist way of thinking. Because of his non-conformity, Gates was able to develop the species’ inherent power of creating teleportation “gates” that allowed the user to jump to anywhere they could visualize. So why is he on this list?
Simple. His unwillingness to be a member has resulted in some of the best and funniest stories in Legion history.
9. Colossal Boy
Gim Allon (Colossal Boy) was once a Science Police Cadet on Earth. Unfortunately, as much as he desired to be a member of the police, fate had other plans for him. While vacationing on Mars with his girlfriend, Gim was hit by a radioactive meteor. The blast sent him to the infirmary where he would stay for some time.
Eventually, he was released and upon his release, he spotted a crime happening. Although the criminal was able to escape him in an elevator, the escape was short-lived. As a product of the meteor blast, Gim was able to grow. After growing to 15 feet, he easily caught the criminal. At the request of his mother, he joined and became one of the greatest members of the Legion of Superheroes ever.
8. Element Lad
As a native of the planet Trom, Element Lad has the power to transmute chemical elements. Element Lad has a history a little more grim than most other members of the Legion of Superheroes. In the early years of his life, Trom was attacked by Roxxas. The attack killed all of the Trommites, save for Element Lad who had been in space. With the help of the Legion of Superheroes, Roxxas was brought to justice and Element Lad was made a member of the team.
As someone capable of transmuting elements, Element Lad has always been one of the most powerful Legionaries…a good enough reason on it’s on for making this list. However, it’s not the only reason. In addition to his power, he also possesses a Legion Flight Ring. The Ring, as you’ve probably guessed, allows its wearer flight.
7. Karate Kid
When you’re able to hold your own against the likes of Superboy without actually possessing any superpowers, it’s no wonder that you’re one of the greatest members of the Legion of Superheroes.
At a young age, Japan’s greatest warrior (Sensei Toshiaki) took in Val Armorr after Val’s was orphaned. Under Sensei, Val learned multiple forms of Martial Arts, even becoming the youngest warrior to earn the title of Samurai. As a Samurai, Val began to travel the galaxy in search of new Martial Arts to master.
After he learned that the Legion of Superheroes was looking for new recruits, he auditioned, fought Superboy to a standstill, and even though he was unpowered, became one of the greatest members of the Legion of Superheroes.
There isn’t too much to be said about Superboy. Superboy is the genetic clone of both Lex Luthor and Superman. Due to this, he has the majority of Superman’s power with the intelligence of Luthor. While most of the members of the Legion of Superheroes hail from the 30th or 31st Century, Superboy hails from the 20th Century and chooses to spend the majority of his life there.
The downside of Superboy (if there is one) is that he’s a teenager trapped inside the body of an adult. That is, he possesses all the physical attributes of a grown man but has the maturity and know-how of a teenager. That, however, really doesn’t matter. He’s a clone of Superman and that alone easily lands him here.
5. Chameleon Boy
Chameleon Boy is the son of R.J. Brande, or the founder of the Legion of Superheroes. He was created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney and made his first appearance inside the pages of Action Comics #267.
Chameleon Boy is of Durlan descent. Coming from Durla means that he, like the other inhabitants of the planet, can shapeshift. The Durlans gained their shapeshifting abilities during the Six Minute War. The war ended with a nuclear blast and due to the blast, the Durlans were exposed to nuclear radiation. With the planet left in shambles, the Durlans learned to use their new powers as a way of hiding and protecting themselves should trouble to arise.
Turned off by the violent nature of his species, Chameleon Boy left Durla and applied to be a member of the Legion of Superheroes. He was immediately accepted and rose to become one of their greatest.
4. Brainiac 5
When you’re the ancestor of arguably Superman’s greatest enemy, it’s remarkable that you’re even able to join a team with the word “superheroes” in it.
Brainiac 5 is an ancestor of Brainiac. As such, the actions of the original Brainiac always weigh on the mind of Brainiac 5. This, however, doesn’t stop him from wanting to do good in the world. Quite the opposite actually.
Brainiac 5, as his name implies, possesses a high level of intelligence. He is also a capable shapeshifter who, despite his condescending nature, is one of the funniest and most caring members of the team.
3. Cosmic Boy
The first of the original three members to make this list, Cosmic Boy possesses the power of metal manipulation. This means that he can manipulate metal, fly, create force fields, project concussive blasts, and absorb energy. Cosmic Boy is also considered one of the greatest and most respected leaders in all of DC Comics.
At the young age of 15, Cosmic Boy left his home planet of Braal and made his way to Earth. He did this because he had spent his entire life watching his parents struggle to find work on Braal and didn’t want that life for himself. After arriving on Earth, he, Garth Ranzz, and Irma Ardeen successfully stopped the assassination of the well-known billionaire R.J. Brande.
Impressed by the three, Brande offered them a chance to do something greater. He offered them a chance to become the Legion of Superheroes…and they accepted.
2. Lightning Lad
As another of the original three members, Lightning Lad’s (Garth Ranzz) place among the greatest Legionnaires has cemented a long time ago.
Born on the planet Winath, Garth and his two siblings we destined to live a fairly average life. This, however, changed the day their ship lost power and forced the three to land on the nearby planet of Korbal. Figuring that the only way to restore power to the ship was to use the electrical energy of the native Electrical Beasts, the three attempted to siphon the power of the beasts. Unfortunately, the act backfired and left the three with superpowers.
While two of the siblings (Garth and Ayla) began using their powers for good, the third (Mekt) did not. Instead, he became the evil Lightning Lord and opted to use his power for evil.
1. Saturn Girl
As one of the founding members of the Legion of Superheroes, it’s easy to place Saturn Girl at number one on this list.
Saturn Girl comes from a moon of Saturn known as Titan. Like all who come from Titan, Saturn Girl is inherently gifted with telepathy. Unlike all who come from Titan, Saturn Girl is extremely proficient with it. This means that among the various DC characters that possess telepathy, Saturn Girl is arguably the strongest of them all. In fact, she’s so strong with telepathy that many, myself included, believe that if she fought any of Marvel’s telepaths, she probably walk away as the victor.
Saturn Girl has been in nearly every version of the Legion of Superheroes. This, if you think about it, is a testament to how important she is to the team.