Chemical King

Created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan

NAME + ALIASES:
Condo Arlik of Phlon

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Darvon (mother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion Academy, Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Adventure Comics #371 (August 1968)

JOINED:
Adventure Comics #372 (September 1968)

DEATH:
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #228 (June 1977)

History

Chemical King's real-life tryout.
From Adventure #372 (1968). Art by Curt Swan.

Condo Arlik was born on the colony world of Phlon. The hospital in which he was born rusted over shortly afterward and caused a media sensation. Condo, it turned out, was a mutant catalyst for chemical reactions. The doctors' solution was to teach the boy chemistry immediately. Baby Condo grew up in almost total protective isolation, all the while learning the properties of chemical elements and compounds.

Fortunately, Condo's case came to the attention of teenaged biochemical genius Lyle Norg, better known as Invisible Kid. Lyle came up with a solution that would keep his powers under control, and the two became good friends. Lyle released Condo from his forced isolation, and taught him that powers should be utilized as a force for good, not suppressed. (Secret Origins #47) When the Legion Academy opened, Lyle enrolled Condo under the code name Chemical King, where he learned to refine the use of his powers and other combat techniques. (Legion v.3 #59) Lyle and Condo also defeated the "Invisible Invader," a thief who duplicated Invisible Kid's invisibility formula. (Superboy v.1 #176)

When the Legion needed to infiltrate the Legion of Super-Villains, Chemical King and Timber Wolf were the two students chosen for the job, and upon successful completion of that mission, both were inducted into the Legion. (Adventure #371-372)

Chemical King served the Legion well for several years, but when Lyle died in 2981, something died inside of him as well. (Superboy v.1 #203) He became extremely depressed and his formerly minor inferiority complex became a major problem. When Deregon, premier of Earth's Australian region, proved to be a Dark Circle agent, and the Legion went to try and prevent him from starting what would have been World War VII, Chemical King joined the mission out of necessity. When Deregon revealed the bomb with which he would cause mass destruction, Condo realized that his power could be of use in stopping it, and he accelerated the bomb's chemical reactions to the point where the bomb was useless. But to do so, he had to get close to the bomb, and suffer severe radiation poisoning. Condo chose to follow Lyle's example by sacrificing himself in the line of duty. Chemical King died on February 10, 2982, and was buried with full honors on Shanghalla. (#228)

Chemical King is now succeeded by Chemical Kid, of Phlon, whose father imbued the boy with Condo's powers.

Notes

His death was "predicted" in the Adult Legion story from Adventure #354, where his memorial statue was depicted. This was his actual first appearance.

Controversy surrounds the sexual orientation of the Earth-0 Chemical King. This stems from his origin story in Secret Origins #47 (also an early DC work by Chris Sprouse) , where Condo was depicted as rather worshipful of Invisible Kid. Historically, the original Lyle displayed romantic interest only in a ghostly girlfriend, Myla.

Jim Shooter on Chemical King: Hmm. I pictured him as a rich kid who sees this Legion biz as one big, happy, nifty-neat adventure. A likeable 30th Century kid-from-the-big-house-in-the-hill who never saw hard imes and approaches disaster, chaos, and destitution with a let-them-eat-cake naivete. He is a real chin-up character who firmly believes things will work out because they always have for him. It's fun for him... to the end. —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Chemical King: A minor character that we never wrote and never got to use much. Robert Loren Fleming's excellent Secret Origin seems like the definitive take on the character. —Interlac (2000)

Paul Levitz on Chemical King: "I like Chemical King. I probably shouldn't have killed him." Legion of Substitute Podcasters (episode #70)

Legion 2: Earth-247

FIRST APPEARANCE: Legionnaires #64 (September 1998)

There was a Condo Arlik in the universe of Earth-247, which was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis. He ceased to exist along with that universe.

Condo Arlik was a reporter with some interest in the Legion. (Legionnaires #59) He wrote an article about the Legionnaires who went to Paris, getting Chameleon and Sensor in trouble with the governments of their native planets. (#60) He was broadcasting to the galaxy when the anomaly in space exploded, stopping time (#64), and also interviewed Invisible Kid following the arrest of Winathian ex-president Zakk Arn. (#65)

It was hinted that Condo may have had a special realtionship with the Legionnaire, Invisible Kid. Lyle once received a note that read: "Can't wait to see you! —C." (#59)

Notes

This version of Condo Arlik was originally intended to become a romantic partner to Invisible Kid. In Legionnaires #59 (1998), Invisible Kid received a note reading: "Can't wait to see you! —C." In the Legion Chat on AOL dated 29 July 1999, artist Jeff Moy confirmed that Invisible Kid was intended to be gay, and that his "C" friend was reporter Condo Arlik, saying: "It wouldn't have been a big deal for Lyle to out himself; his teammates would have been comfortable." None of this was ever verified in any story, however.

+ Powers

Chemical King could speed or slow physical chemical reactions.

Appearances + References

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