My favorite Legion of Superhero characters:
Matter Eater Lad: Who doesn’t love a superhero who encompasses your favorite activity with none of the drawbacks. Matter Eater Lad could quite literally eat anything, including items previously assumed to be indestructible. He saves the universe by eating an ultimate doomsday device that even superboy couldn’t dent. Superboy may have had the strength to move planets but only Matter Eater Lad had the strength to break the unbreakable machine. Sure, it drove him insane for a few years, but he still succeeded where no other super being could.
But how could he? The things he ate were often more durable than titanium. His teeth would have to have been the sharpest and strongest things in the universe, and his jaw muscles would have been stronger than Superboy’s. And in order to endure that kind of strength his jaw bones would have had to have been just as invulnerable as Superboy as well. Then his digestive tract would have also have had to be invulnerable to endure the jagged and often toxic pieces he’d swallow. His stomach acid would have had to have been able to disolve literally anything except his stomach. And what would his waste product have been like? I suppose it would depend on how his digestion worked. If it broke everything down to base components he would have excreted pure materials of carbon and hydrogen. If he burned up what he consumed his stomach would have been a nuclear furnace that rivaled that of a Sun Eater.
An argument could be made that Tenzil’s race would eventually evolve to become the sun eaters the Legion so frequently had to fight.
A) millenia after the Legion is gone there will be collectors and bounty hunters on a quest to collect Tenzil’s teeth and jawbones. They would be the ultimate artifacts, indestructible to the point of being impossible. Anybody able to replicate their material would have the ultimate building supplies.
B) Shortly after his death his body would naturally decompose, but his stomach acid would be the kind of thing that could disolve a planet. There would be a protocol in place to make sure his corpse was intured someplace away from any civilized space to avoid having it disolve the whole world.
C) His waste product would either be so toxic as to become a huge risk to everyone around him or so pure a set of materials that he would be able to sift them out and sell them for a profit. If he ate an entire distillery he’d crap out hundreds of kilos of pure copper.
Ferro Lad: Another superman knockoff the Lad only had super strength and enough durability to mimic iron. Now every normal person can envision how hard it is to break iron, but we also all know that a sufficiently powerful enough explosion can certainly do it. Just a little gunpowder is all you need and you could turn this hero into so much shrapnel. This is one of the reasons I loved the character so much: he wasn’t nearly as powerful as the rest. I also loved him for the simple fact that he always wore a mask. You never found out who he was, even after he died sacrificing himself to defeat the Sun Eater. ( another eater, but much less fuzzy wuzzy)
The most obvious explanation for Ferro Lad and his ever present mask is that he was never just one person. He is most likely from an entire planet of iron strength people who alternate through he role of Ferro Lad like a lottery. They would keep their race secret because they would worry about being feared as a possible army of unstoppable warriors. They would be hunted down and enslaved.t
The other explanation, even simpler (for the LSH anyway), is that Ferro Lad was a self aware android. Made of strong materials his robotic strength and durability would easily match the character and there were literally dozens of self aware computer constructs in the LSH universe, Braniac being among the worst.
Ultra Boy: Still another superman knockoff but with one distinctive difference: he could only use one power at a time. Super strength, invulnerability, flight, and heat vision, he only got to use one at a time. Even as a child I wondered how he managed to balance them all. After all, the only reason I believed Superboy could successfully employ his super strength was because he was also invulnerable at the same time. A normal human with the strength to lift an entire freightliner would rip his musculature and bone structure apart just trying to. I always assumed Ultra Boy had to retain a certain percentage of his invulnerability to use his strength. The same with his heat vision. His face would have ignited into flames the first time he tried to use it if his face weren’t resistant to the heat.
My theory is that Ultra Boy had all the same powers of Superboy and Mon-El but had some kind of low self esteme / mental block problem that prevented him from believing he could use all of his powers at the same time.
Story Idea: a psychic takes over Ultra Boy’s mind and uses his body to it’s full potential, confounding the LSH. They already had a story in which Ultra Boy defeated Superboy and Mon-El through his better mastery of each individual power, if he were capable of using them all at once he’d be unstoppable.
Firestar / burninator: a hero made entirely of energy who has to wear a containment suit to prevent himself from dissipating and from damaging those around him. At last the writers had come up with a plausible limitation to an energy projector’s powers. The one problem I had with him, though, was that it was implied that the blasts he unleashed on his targets were portions of his own energy body. In my mind that meant he was venting a limited resource and would, eventually, run out. If I’d been writing him in a story I would have had his legs gradually shrink and he sprayed portions of himself all over his enemies. He’d have to eventually consume some kind of repleneshing fuel to rebuild himself or eventually become nothing more than a disembodied head terrified of expending any more energy for fear of losing his brain.
Story Idea: Firestorm is involved in an endless battle that depletes him down to almost nothing and is then left helpless in space, unable to form enough of a body to move or talk.
Calorie Lass: Able to eat just as much as Matter Eater lad but then converted the energy into super strength. Dammit, they had my idea before I did. I wanted a super hero who converted ingested food directly to energy enabling him to fly, blast, and shield himself with energy. My one difference was that he would be able fire up his matter conversion to enable him to travel at FTL speeds, effectively turning himself into a cosmic beam weapon able to pierce just about anything.
Chameleon Kid: Able to turn into any beast from any planet. Since this was the LSH universe many of the beasts he turned into had fantastic powers of their own, including the lightning beast that gave Lightning Lad his powers. If he could gain the beast’s powers by turning into it he should have been able to duplicate any of the heros who’s powers were native to their race. That would have included the superboy like powers of Mon-El, the magnetic powers of Cosmic Lad, and the matter eating powers of Matter Eater lad. He should have been able to duplicate the multi-dimensional powers of Phantom Girl as well as the triplicating powers of triplicate girl and… god, he could have been another Lobo.
Story Idea: Chameleon Kid’s race joins together in one huge massive blob of shared knowledge and experience, much like that character on DS9. They adopt the powers of all the universe’s most powerful races, eat their entire planet and turn into a world sized ship that explores the universe and absorbs everything they encounter. Oh, hey, another sun eater.