Chameleon Boy

+ Chameleon

Created by Jerry Siegel & Jim Mooney

NAME + ALIASES:
Reep Daggle of Durla

KNOWN RELATIVES:
R. J. Brande (Ren Daggle, father, deceased), Zhay (mother, deceased), Liggt (brother, deceased), Ji (aunt)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Action Comics #267 (August 1960)

JOINED: Before first appearance; depicted in Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #39 (October 1987)

chameleon

NAME + ALIASES:
Reep Daggle of Durla

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Gozz Daggle (father, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Legionnaires #0 (October 1994)

JOINED: Legion of Super Heroes v.4 #62 (November 1994)

Chameleon II

NAME + ALIASES:
Reep Daggle of Durla

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

History

Cham and his "pet," Proty II.
From Adventure #322 (1964). Art by John Forte.

Cham and his father, R. J. Brande.
From Legion v.2 #286 (1982). Art by Pat Broderick.

The galaxy learns the truth. From Legion of
Three Worlds
#1 (2009). Art by George Pérez.

The planet Durla is a nuclear wasteland where the shape-changing natives are prone to xenophobia and rarely leave their own world. The Legionnaire who would become Chameleon Boy was born to Ren Daggle and his mate, Zhay.

Reep's father left Durla, following Zhay's death to the Yorggian Fever. Ren left Reep and his brother in the care of their aunt, Ji, who raised them as her own children. This Fever also infected Ren, and although he survived, he and his brother, Theg, were eventually robbed of their ability to shape-change and became stuck in human form. In these forms, they took the identities of Rene Jacques (R. J.) and Doyle Brande, forming Brande Industries.

In reproduction, Durlans simultaneously impregnate each other, which results in twin births. One twin must then prove its worthiness to survive... by killing the other. When Reep Daggle was forced to kill his brother Liggt, he vowed to never again take part in such barbarity, and as soon as he was able to find a way, he left Durla for United Planets space. Like most, he came to Earth. (Legion v.4 #8)

There, he found something he never knew before — prejudice. Humans and other non-shape-changers view shape-changers with great suspicion. He vowed to fight this bigotry, and immersed himself in charity work and performance of good deeds. This is what he originally thought brought him to the attention of R. J. Brande, who had his assistant, Marla Latham, recruited him for the fledgling Legion of Super-Heroes. He was accepted together with Colossal Boy, who suggested his "Chameleon Boy" code name, and the two became best friends for the duration of their Legion membership. (Action #267) "Cham," as he was called, became a great asset to the Legion, as he was a natural spy, and his keen intelligence and sense of observation made him particularly fit to lead the Legion Espionage Squad. (Adventure #360)

Reeps love life has always been a bit lacking. He once had a chance at true love on the other-dimensional world of Nadir. There he defeated Kodar the Black Vassal and romanced Princess Elwinda. He wanted to marry her, but when her father found out, he ordered Cham's execution. The Legionnaires teleported him out just in time, but it was bittersweet knowing he wouldn't see her again. (#376)

Cham learned the truth about R. J. Brande when the Legion's founder fell ill with Yorrgian fever, and, in search of a suitable blood donor, Cham was found he was Brande's son. Although he understood why his father had to abandon him on Durla, he was bitter that Brande hadn't revealed himself during his years with the Legion. (Secrets of the Legion #1-3) In his anger, he ordered an espionage mission to Khundia, and almost set off a war. (Legion v.2 #286) This act got him sent to Takron-Galtos (#290, 292), where prolonged wearing of a shape-change inhibiting device robbed him of his power. (#296) He was awarded with clemency for his help in quelling the riots when Ol-Vir freed many criminals during the Great Darkness (#294), and he and his father took a trip back to Durla to see if he could get his power back. The trip was successful, and father and son were reconciled. (#298, 301)

Reep lost his father, R. j. Brande, who was killed by his rival, Leland McCauley, acting as an agent of the Time Trapper. (Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1) To fulfill his father's last will, Chameleon Boy led the Legion Espionage Squad back to the 21st century in order to shepherd the hero Mon-El on to his destiny (among other things). Cham disguised himself as "Control," the commander of Metropolis’ Science Police. (Superman #677) There he was able to manipulate the organization, covering fellow Legionnaires Quislet and Sensor Girl, and hiring Mon-El himself, eventually. (#686-687) His cover was blown when a bomb took out the S.P. headquarters. He revealed himself to the Guardian and to Mon-El, but retreated in order to regroup with his fellow Legionnaires. (#696-697)

NOTES: Cham and R. j. Brande's origins were expanded in the post-Crisis tale from Legion v.4 #8 (June 1990). Like other volume 4 origins, I consider these past details beneficial to the history of the Legionnaires, and not in conflict with the rest of the timeline.

Just before Chameleon Boy's debut, there was a race of chameleon-like aliens who appeared in Superman #136 (Apr. 1960). They also had antennae. The were evolved Earth humans from the 23rd century. One named X-Plam proposed to Lois Lane. None of this exists in current continuity. The two stories had entirely different creative teams.

Jim Shooter on Chameleon Boy: Hmm. A little paranoid, but he is a fighter. He knows people stare at him, but he is almost defiant. His personality is reminiscent of a slightly militant black, circa 1969. His relationship with Proty I and II should not be overblown. Cham of all people would not patronize a truly intelligent creature. Despite the Weisinger-era "dialogye" of the Proteans, I suspect they communicate simple feelings or pictures and are not human-equivalent. I doubt he resents L.L., but he may be jealous of Saturn Girl's rapport with Proty, his pet. Cham is unique, for a shape shifter he can identify with beauty the other Legionnaires misss. He could turn up with a shaggy, horned alien chick as easily as Elwinda. Liberal, he is—even philosophical. And probably a little kinky. —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Chameleon Boy: Another collection of contradictions. Mysterious, unfathomable, utterly alien, the consummate detective and spy. But also emotionally vulnerable, especially in matters involving anti-alien bigotry and the secretive father who "abandoned" him, R.J. Brande. Cham lacks the patience to really enjoy the leadership positions he's thrust into. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), Cham went on to head his father's company, and was the driving force behind the Legion as well …

He stayed with the Legion until the U. P.'s economy collapsed, taking Brande Industries with it. R. J., who had disappeared several years earlier, named him to take over the corporation and try to get it, and the galactic economy back into shape. Chameleon Boy had to honor his father's wishes, and he watched from the sidelines as member after membe:r of the Legion dropped out, Earthgov hounded the Legion, and finally, the team disbanded. He harbored hope of re-creating the Legion, and in 2994, he saw a window of opportunity. He recruited Rokk Krinn, Jo Nah, and two of Jo's associates, Kono and Furball, and the five went to rescue Mysa Nal from Mordru. After doing this (and getting Rond Vidar as well), he linked up with more former Legionnaires on Winath, and, after capturing Roxxas the Butcher, he officially re-formed the Legion. But somehow, the feeling that he remembered from his youth was not recaptured. The adult Legionnaires were more jaded and cynical, and too far removed from the youthful idealism he once knew. Thus, when he discovered the existence of the teenagers who emerged from Batch SW6, he decided to help them find their place in the new world rather than continue with the adults. He got Jacques Foccart to replace him with the older Legion, changed his name to "Chameleon" and became the younger Legion's "adult advisor" and financier.

The Chameleon Boy of Batch SW6 was killed in the explosion of Dominion underground chambers along with the SW6 Princess Projectra and Karate Kid.

NOTES: Just before Chameleon Boy's debut, there was a race of chameleon-like aliens who appeared in Superman #136 (Apr. 1960). They also had antennae. The were evolved Earth humans from the 23rd century. One named X-Plam proposed to Lois Lane. None of this exists in current continuity. The two stories had entirely different creative teams.

Tom Bierbaum on Chameleon Boy: "Cham became quite a three-dimensional character for me based on his relationship to Brande. The personal pride he took in the Legion, the tension between trying to be a responsible corporate "suit" and the fun-loving guy we knew in the Legion's earlier days, the quest to track down his missing father, etc." —It's OK I'm a Senator

Legion 2: Earth-247

Chameleon encounters one of Durla's faithful.
From Legion v.4 #72 (1995). Art by Lee Moder.

Affections returned.
From Legionnaires #65 (1988).
Art by Jeff Moy.

Chameleon Boy's counterpart from Earth-247 went only by the code name Chameleon. Universe-247 was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis, but Chameleon survived along with his Legion…

Reep Daggle was born into the priestly class of the religion on his native planet, Durla. For this reason, he was selected to use his inherent shape-changing powers to represent his planet in the Legion of Super-Heroes as Chameleon. (Legion #62)

At first, Chameleon was shunned by other Legionnaires because he die not speak the Interlac language. But one Legionnaire, Invisible Kid, befriended him and helped him acclimate. Because of his adaptable nature, Chameleon actually learned Interlac very quickly, but used his perceived ignorance to his advantage for a while.

Shortly after Chameleon joined the Legion, his family was killed by another Durlan, the Composite Man. The Legion came to his aid at great risk (Saturn Girl was traumatized psychically by the battle). (#69) As the last surviving member of his clan, Reep was expected to fulfill his father 's responsibilities. He managed to forestall this destiny and was a key player in exposing the United Planets' corrupt President President Chu. (#80)

Chameleon harbors feelings for his fellow Legionnaire Spark, who was initially horrified to learn that he was her secret admirer. (#81) Yet over time, Ayla has grown more fond of him. He has also dated Sensor, but the two of them agreed mutually that they would be better as friends. (Legionnaires #46)

Reep was ultimately asked to return to Durla as its rightful spiritual leader. He returned home just as the planet was under siege from the Dark Circle. At the successful conclusion of this conflict, he was unexpectedly absolved of his duties. The strife created by the Dark Circle led the Durlans to reevaluate their position among the United Planets. A new spiritual leader named Leeja emerged to fill this role and lead Durla to better cooperation among peoples. (#65)

Chameleon proved that he had the mettle to be the ultimate survivor when the alien Blight possessed the population of Earth. The Legion's battle with this race left Earth devastated and Chameleon was one of a group of Legionnaires who were thrust through a rift in space to a galaxy much far

NOTES: Olivier Coipel on Chameleon: I think I'd get along well with Chameleon. He is the one who'd make me laugh but still be serious when the situation called for that. Maybe he's not a joker in all the stories, but I so seem him as fun guy who is also very thin, but not too tall. —Comic Book Resources

Legion 3: Earth-Prime

Reep Daggle is one of a race of asexual shape shifters. Because of their lack of gender, and their ability to take any form, Durlans are usually suspect in United Planets society at large. By nature, Reep is inquisitive; when he encounters new forms of life, antennae automatically manifest to "scan" the object or being. (#15)

This ability was useful in another unexpected way, when the Legion was trailing Lemnos, a villain who could mask his presence. When Chameleon's antennae began to scan the air, they knew Lemnos was near. (#7)

Disguise comes naturally to Reep. He thinks nothing of impersonating others and in fact enjoys pranking others. As if life in the Legion weren't busy enough, Chameleon began moonlighting as a Science Police officer. (#18) He investigated a traitor among the S.P.'s who was jailed but then murdered. To solve the case, he was teamed with a Titanian, Jeyra Entinn. Jeyra's telepathy found him out, but she had secrets of her own. By the time Cham realized that Jeyra was the killer, she had framed him for the crime, and he was jailed. Chameleon ultimately outwitted her. (#19)

Other Versions

Chameleon Boy was a featured member in the second season of TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.

+ Powers

All versions of Reep Daggle have the native Durlan ability to change their shapes. Their antennae act as "scanners"—when they encounter an unfamiliar object, their antenna collect information so that they can replicate it. Both the Earth-0 and Earth-247 Chameleons can mimic any form, but not its chemical makeup. Durlans' powers can be inhibited by placing a "collar" on their antennae, or by using a compound called Cancelite.

The Chameleon of Earth-Prime is potentially more powerful. When he changes, he also mimics the physical properties of the thing he imitates. Brainiac 5 once asked Chameleon to replicate an alien weapon—then chopped off the replica off from his arm! Though this wasn't painless, Cham was actually reasonably unphased. (#46)

Appearances + References

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