Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Legionnaires: Karate Kid II and Visi-Lad

Let's clear up a couple of the lesser lights today. These are a couple of Legionnaires who belonged to the team during the Five Year Gap. One of them was a potentially intriguing character who never racked up too many appearances, and the other wasn't much more than a name on a list.

Karate Kid, aka Myg of Lythyl. Created by Paul Levitz and Steve Lightle.

Visi-Lad, aka Rhent Ustin of Earth. Created by Paul Levitz and Greg Larocque.

After Karate Kid I died on Orando, Timber Wolf journeyed to the harsh planet Lythyl to carry out his last request. He met a kid there named Myg who was a pretty good martial artist. Myg studied with the Sensei for a while, and later joined the Legion Academy. He was a Legionnaire during the Five Year Gap, but had to quit because of Earthgov persecution. It's implied that the Dominators caught him and put him in one of their tubes, and he got some kind of sonic powers from their experiments, but we didn't really see it. Myg hasn't appeared in the reboot or threeboot.

Visi-Lad was another Academy member, with assorted eye-based powers--heat vision, x-ray vision, that kind of thing. He was a Legionnaire briefly during the Five Year Gap, and the Legion Help File has a few details of his life after the Gap, but I don't recall them from the comics, and it's not important anyway. In the history of the Legion, if Myg was a day player, Visi-Lad was a walk-on. As can be surmised from his signature moment:

But Myg had potential.

The way the timing of different Legion eras worked out, he didn't have time to ascend to starring-character status, but something could have been done with him. I wonder if Geoff Johns is planning on using him at all... the issue in which Myg was introduced is right in that grey zone where it's not clear if Johns is including it in his continuity.

(Images from LSH v3 Annual #3; Levitz/Larocque/De Carlo)

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Blogger stile86 said...

Great blog. I too am a fan of 5yl, as well as all the other legion incarnations. Myg's sonic powers are first mentioned in the Dominator list in LSHv4 #27. We get to see him use them briefly on New Earth under Dominion mindwipe in LSHv4 #40. Personally I thought it was a shame that the writers added a power to a character whose strength was in his ability to beat people without powers. With his background from Lythyl he would have been interesting to explore character-wise.

As for Visi-Lad, apart from his part in LSHv3 Ann3 he appeared on one page in LSHv3 #54 mentioning to Bouncing Boy (Legion Academy Teacher) his temptation to scan Officer Erin with his "micro-opti". BB sensibly advised him that it might upset Element Lad and he had never met anyone stupid enough to do that! A cute line but he was mainly on the page to give BB someone to talk to about Luornu (his wife and formerly Duo Damslel, recently "maimed" by the Time Trapper and wondering what to do with Brainiac 5's gift of his force field belt). One other interesting point is Adv #307 where Element Lad joins the Legion as Mystery Lad. The cover shows another Legion applicant displaying his "camera eye" vision. I don't have a copy of the story (reprinted in the archives vol2) but the cover printed in the "Illustrated Index of the LSH" shows this character as being green in a uniform that always reminded me of Visi-Lad. Is this a pre-crisis version of the character? Did Paul Levitz or Greg LaRocque get their inspiration from here? Who knows but to me there seems to be some connection.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks for the details. I don't know if that's supposed to be the same guy as Visi-Lad; I don't believe that either or the Legion help file says that it is, but anything's possible.

LSH v4 #40, huh? One of the only issues from that era I haven't been able to track down yet.

10:21 PM  
Blogger stile86 said...

LSHv4 #40 is probably most famous for the cover, depicting an obvious Wildfire-like image and the words "Guess who's back? Wrong!". The first half of the story has various people arriving on New Earth including some mindwiped characters from the Dominator chambers who briefly get free until subdued by Universo(?!). There is a list of the characters in the letter's page of v4#44 - Black Mace, Holdur, Polecat, Charma (original's daughter), and the two bigger stars, Myg and Squire Burroughs (Wildfire's brother given similar powers by the Dominators).
The second half is a very entertaining first meeting between the original Legion and SW6. Worth the reading, especially the two Salu Digbys and Jo hiding in the lav but still meeting the SW6 Phantom Girl with the inevitable emotional scene.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That's probably why I haven't been able to find it. Eeeeeeverybody loves Wildfire.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Christopher Bird said...

Ah, yes, v4 #40 - one of the last great assholic bait-and-switches of the Bierbaum run. People were pissed off about being teased with Wildfire and then not getting him, seriously were they pissed.

Squire's costume was fucking awesome, incidentally.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm sure, had I read that issue at the time, that I wouldn't have been as angry. Of course, there's a trick to it: you basically have to not give a pinch about Wildfire.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visi-Lad and Karate Kid II can return to the retroboot on condition they both keep their original uniforms.They look neat.
We've seen a good bit of Val since the reboot,so it's a good idea to let Myg take center stage.Lot of untapped potential,as you said.As for Visi-Lad,his vision powers might be useful to a revived Espionage Squad.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, Myg was killed in high-profile fashion in FC:L3W, and I don't think he's coming back, but we could get a third Karate Kid. Geoff Johns seemed to have one in mind, but it's anybody's guess as to Levitz's interest in the idea. I'm okay either way on it. Also I'll probably be able to sleep nights without a Visi-Lad revival.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Myg's dead? I forgot about that! I read FC:L3W but all the continuity porn made my brain melt.Funny that even Perez's wonderful art didn't imbed the guy's death in my memory.
Still,what's death to a superhero? Never kept Val down,so Myg can learn from his example.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's probably less work to just come up with a new guy. Or, maybe even better, a new girl. (A Hilary Swank to Val's Ralph Macchio, if you will.)

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And a new Karate Kid is what we got! Or,if an alternate-Earth Val,a good-as-new KK. We even got Visi-Lad back! Life is good.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I really hope it's a new guy; we've already got a couple of perfectly good alternate-Earth Vals that we're not even using.

Or, even better, I hope he's a fake of some kind.

I'm glad you're happy about Visi-Lad.

11:41 AM  
Blogger LittleSallyDigby said...

"There is a list of the characters in the letter's page of v4#44 - Black Mace, Holdur, Polecat, Charma (original's daughter), and the two bigger stars, Myg and Squire Burroughs (Wildfire's brother given similar powers by the Dominators)."

Hmm! I'm really intrigued by the idea of Charma as a legacy character, because she's one of those "woman with a power that controls men but irritates women" types. I can see her settling down without (noticeable) incident if she met the right guy, but if she had a daughter... either her power would make their relationship contentious at best, or she'd have to give up using it (maybe disable it completely) to preserve her chance at a happy family, and learn to live without dudes falling all over her all the time. I kind of want to read that story.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

If we're going to have Charma, or her daughter, as a recurring character, she'd probably be more useful if she had conscious control over her powers. But of course this also makes her less tragic and less interesting. So I dunno if we want to do that.

11:20 AM  

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