Element Lad

Element Lad


character_name=Element Lad
real_name=Jan Arrah
publisher=DC Comics
debut="Adventure Comics" # 307
(April 1963)
creators= Edmond Hamilton
John Forte
homeworld= Trom
alliances=Legion of Super-Heroes
aliases=Mystery Lad, Alchemist, Starfinger
powers= The ability to transmute chemical elements.|

Element Lad is the alias of Jan Arrah, a fictional character in the 30th and 31st centuries of the DC Universe, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He is from the planet Trom. He has the power to transmute chemical elements, as did all natives of Trom.

Pre-"Zero Hour"

He first appeared in "Adventure Comics" #307 (1963). In this first story he was briefly known as Mystery Lad as the Legionnaires tried to guess his superpower. Jan was the last survivor of Trom, as the other Trommites had been massacred by the space pirate Roxxas in revenge for their refusal to transmute valuable elements for him (how a band of pirates was able to systematically massacre an entire planet of people with element-transmutation powers is unclear). Jan survived this genocide because he had been in space at the time.

With the aid of the Legion, Roxxas was brought to justice and Jan joined the Legion, using the codename Element Lad. He was a member of the Legion for many years, serving terms as leader and deputy leader. He was romantically linked to Shvaughn Erin, the Science Police's Legion liaison, who was depicted as a transsexual later in the series. When Shvaughn was forced to revert back to being a man, Element Lad revealed he stayed with 'her' all this time not because of 'her' being a woman, but despite it. This interpretation of the character disappeared during "Zero Hour". [cite web |url=http://www.gayleague.com/gay/characters/display.php?id=139 |title=Element Lad & Shvaugn Erin |accessdate=2008-08-29 |last=Companik |first=Chris |work=Gay League]

During the "Five Year Gap" following the Magic Wars, Earth fell under the covert control of the Dominators, and withdrew from the United Planets. A few years later, the members of the Dominators' highly classified "Batch SW6" escaped captivity. Originally, Batch SW6 appeared to be a group of teeange Legionnaire clones, created from samples apparently taken just prior to Ferro Lad's death at the hands of the Sun-Eater. Later, they were revealed to be time-paradox duplicates, every bit as legitimate as their older counterparts. After Earth was destroyed in a disaster reminiscent of the destruction of Krypton over a millennium earlier, ["Legion of Super-Heroes" (Vol. 4) #38, Late December 1992.] a few dozen surviving cities and their inhabitants reconstituted their world as New Earth. The SW6 Legionnaires remained, and their version of Element Lad assumed the code name Alchemist.

Post-"Zero Hour"

In post-Zero Hour continuity, Jan is still the last survivor of Trom. This time the Trommites were killed by the heat vision of Daxamite White Triangle terrorists who decimated Trom from space. After a brief period of the traumatised Jan being brainwashed into becoming the villainous Starfinger, this version served with the Legion for some time.

Since his people had no need to worry about material things (as they could produce anything they needed with a thought), his meditative, spiritual side was more prevalent from the outset, which disconcerted some of his teammates. This was especially true when given to statements such as (replying to a question about death being only the beginning) "Death isn't the beginning, it's the middle".

After an encounter with the sorcerer Mordru, Jan's powers changed so that he could transmute himself into elements too, so he was frequently seen in metal or crystal forms exploring the nature of his physical self. The events of the "Widening Rifts" storyline caused him to become lost in deep space for millions of years, whereby he went insane and became the extremely powerful villain Progenitor and eventually had to be killed by Live Wire (the Legionnaire formerly known before Zero Hour as Lightning Lad) who sacrificed his own life in the process. However, Live Wire later turned up alive, his consciousness housed in Jan's crystalline body. This plot was never resolved as the Legion's reality was shortly rebooted once again.


It has not yet been revealed whether the present version of Jan Arrah in the Waid/Kitson 'reimagining' is still the last survivor of his people. He finds physical fights barbaric and apparently is in a flirtarious/romantic relationship with Triplicate Girl.

This most recent version of the character 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). It is speculated by Legion fandom that these limitations have been introduced to prevent him becoming overly powerful, as has tended to happen in the past.Fact|date=October 2007

Other media

He has appeared in the Legion of Super Heroes animated series mostly as cameos.


External links

* [http://www.majorspoilers.com/archives/2306.htm/ A "Hero History" of Element Lad] covering his many incarnations.

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