Today is another installment of Oddball Super Heroes, a look at comic book super heroes with quirky powers. For the last few weeks, I've cast my gaze towards the future, 10 centuries into the future in fact to look at some of the stranger heroes that came out of DC Comics' Legion of Super Heroes.
When you have a super team with the word "Legion" in the title, you're gonna have a lot of different characters, some of whom will have power sets that are just lame or very weird.
Today we look a character with one of the strangest powers of all. He even made it to full Legion membership without being forced to hang out with the rejects in the Legion of Substitute Heroes. Today, I present...
Matter Eater Lad!
Now, in case the subtlety of this character is lost on you, let me clarify that Matter-Eater Lad is a LAD who EATS MATTER.
And as you can see from the graphic above, it's a stupid looking power in action.
Matter-Eater Lad, real name Tenzil Kem, is from the planet Bismoll (really!) where all the natives possess the power to eat matter in all forms.
I would say, "You can't make this stuff up." But this is comic books; it's ALL made up.
*Once they let Bouncing Boy in, the Legion said, "Standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards!"
Matter-Eater Lad faced a double whammy of having a power that was ridiculous to look at in action but is also too formidable. The deal was Tenzil could eat through anything. So literally there was NOTHING that could stand in the Legion's way when Matter-Eater Lad was around.
"Oh no! A wall of pure neutronium!" "Don't worry! Matter-Eater Lad will eat it!"
"Oh no! We're trapped in a net made of pure steel!" "Don't worry! Matter-Eater Lad will eat it!"
"Oh no! We're encased in Venusian pig excrement!" "Don't worry! Matter-Eater Lad will....hey, where did Matter-Eater Lad go?"
Hey, even Matter-Eater Lad has to have some kind of limits, right?
Efforts were made to write Matter-Eater Lad out by drafting him into politics, making him a Senator on his home planet of Bismoll.**
**"Guys, I changed my mind about the Venusian pig excrement! Guys?!"
Later, Matter-Eater Lad came back to save the day by eating the Miracle Machine, a MACHINE that created MIRACLES (in case that got past you) that was being used to kill and destroy. This action left him insane. Of course that could've been from his time in the Bismoll Senate. Or the Venusian pig excrement.
There were later efforts to make Matter-Eater Lad more interesting and less awkward but no one really cares about that. He's a LAD that EATS MATTER and just leave it at that.
Next week, one more visit to the next millennium for a super powered dude that didn't make the grade for either the Legion or the Subs. In fact, as far as I know, he's made only one appearance. But he's a character that still captures my heart and my imagination after all these years.
There's another post coming up tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.