Ferro Lad

+ Ferro

Created by Jim Shooter and Sheldon Moldoff

NAME + ALIASES:
Andrew Nolan of Earth

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Luiza Karamante (mother), Andrew Douglas Nolan (father), Douglas Nolan (twin brother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Adventure Comics #346 (July 1966)

DEATH: Adventure Comics #353 (February 1967)

Ferro

NAME + ALIASES:
Andrew Nolan of Earth

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Nancy Nolan (mother), Douglas Nolan (Ingot, brother, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Adventures of Superman #540 (November 1996)

JOINED: Legion of Super Heores v.4 #93 (June 1997)

History

Ferro Lad's sacrifice. From Adventure #351 (1966).
Art by Curt Swan.

30th century skanks.
From Adventure #354 (1967). Art by Curt Swan.

The ghost of Ferro Lad.
From Adventure #357 (1967). Art by Curt Swan.

Fighting to save Douglas Nolan.
From Legion v.2 #300 (1983). Art by Keigh Giffen.

Luiza Karamante was a famous actress when she married Andrew Douglas Nolan. She expected that the children of herself and her handsome husband would be good-looking as well. She couldn't have been more wrong. She gave birth to twins, both of whom were horribly deformed. Their father died in a spaceship crash — some say it was a suicide — not long after, and the twins were named after their father.

The two children, who were raised in secrecy, were nothing alike. Andrew was very outgoing and wished to experience everything that life could possibly offer. He craved attention, and would do anything to get it. Douglas, on the other hand, was quiet and introverted. It therefore made sense, when the two discovered that they had the power to turn into living iron, it was Andrew who went out and became Ferro Lad. (Secret Origins #47) He joined the Legion on the eve of the second Khundish invasion of Earth, together with Nemesis Kid, Karate Kid and Princess Projectra. (Adventure #346) His mother feared that when his existence was discovered by the public, that his freakish appearance would turn public sentiment against her and destroy her acting career; instead, her masked son had become a beloved hero, only helping her out.

His Legion career, though, was regrettably brief. Just four months after he joined, he was one of the five Legionnaires on Earth when the Sun-Eater approached. When all other attempts to destroy it or divert it failed, Tharok of the newly-formed Fatal Five created a bomb that would absorb all of its energies, destroying it, but had to be delivered in person. Sensing that Superman was weakened from the Sun-Eater's emission of red-sun radiation, Ferro Lad snatched the bomb and sacrificed himself to the killer cloud. (Just before his death, it was predicted by the White Witch, who claimed his fate was "too dreadful" to reveal. [ #351]) He was buried with honors on Shanghalla (#353), and his mother established a series of "Ferro Lad" action-adventure films in his memory. (Secret Origins #47)

After his death, there were several incidents which led some Legionnaires to believe that the ghost of Ferro Lad wandered the halls of the Legion headquarters. Right after his death, Supeman was captured by the Controller who created the Sun-Eater. Superman was saved by some mysterious force, which he guessed was Andrew's ghost. The renegade Controller, incidentally, died after being startled by some unseen force. (#357)

And in another eerie predictor of fate, Invisible Kid and the young Condo Arlik (Chemical King) defeated a member of the Taurus Gang with the aid of mysterious force as well. (Legion v.3 #59) (These two Legionnaires would also die young.)

Though life in the 31st century is much advanced, certain things like cloning and time travel remain imperfect sciences. After their deaths, the Legion once created clones of Ferro Lad and Invisible Kid that were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Sadly, these clones could survive for only 48 hours. (This was made possible because all Legionnaires contribute DNA samples to cell banks.) (Superboy v.1 #206)

As for Ferro Lad's brother, Douglas, he withdrew from the real world, preferring to live a delusional existence. His mother ultimately put him in the care of Brainiac 5 and Rond Vidar, who followed Douglas through various visions of alternate realities. In one, Douglas dreamt that he succeeded his brother in the Legion as Ferro Lad. Somehow, upon discovering this "heaven," Douglas' body vanished. (Legion v.2 #300)

NOTES: Ferro Lad's real name and the existence of his brother were first revealed in Adventure Comics #354 (Mar. 1967). His brother, Douglas Nolan, first appeared in that same Adult Legion story, in Adventure #354-355 (1967). The identity of their mother was established in Who's Who in the LSH #2 (June 1988), their father in Secret Origins #47 (Feb. 1990).

Writer Jim Shooter, who created Ferro Lad, purposely showed him memorialized before his own introduction. He had also intended on revealing Ferro Lad as black, but when his editor, Mort Weisinger, blocked that idea, Shooter was angered and killed off Ferro Lad with pleasure. —The Legion Companion

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Ferro Lad: Being a repulsive freak of nature has given Andrew a devil-may-care streak that almost borders on fatalism. There seems to be a death wish lurking somewhere in there, and a determination to have as much fun and shake up his teammates as much as possible until the inevitable end comes. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), there was a duplicate of Ferro Lad in the so-called SW6 Legionnaires. He shortened his code-name to "Ferro" and served on the New Earth team of Legionnaires.

Legion 2: Earth-247

Ferro card from DC Cosmic Teams #98 (1993).
Art by Chris Sprouse.

Ferro and his brother Douglas (Ingot, just before his death.
From Legion #93 (1997). Art by Mike Collins.

There is another Ferro from Universe-247, which was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis. This Ferro was born in the 20th century. It remains to be seen if his 20th century history is still valid on Earth-0, or if it ceased to exist along with Earth-247.

Broadway star Nancy Nolan received a nasty shock when her two sons were born: their faces were so badly deformed, she could hardly bear to look at them. She left them in the care of a scientist named Doc 30, who she didn't know was an abusive thief, and seldom thought about them again.

But the boys grew up and didn't forget their mother. Andrew broke out of the institution and spent time in shelters and on the streets with homeless friends such as Frank. And when the Sun-Eater threatened to end all life on Earth in the late twentieth century, Andrew decided he couldn't die without seeing his mother one last time. While in the institution, Andrew had discovered that his freakishness was part of a greater mutation: he had the power to turn his body to iron. When Nancy staged a free show to lift peoples' spirits during the Sun-Eater's attack, Andrew made his way to the theater and confronted her... only seconds before the roof caved in. Andrew, using his powers, saved his mother, and, with Superman's guidance, saved and helped others, feeling like a hero and a human being for the first time in his life.

Andrew, adopting the alias Ferro, was introduced to other heroes who were fightting the Sun-Eater, including the Legion of Super-Heroes, one of whom, Spark, lent him her flight ring so he could help more people. As he helped try to control the disaster, he came up with the idea of destroying the Sun-Eater with a bomb, which he would deliver. Though the scientists fighting the Sun-Eater were unable to devise such a bomb, they did come up with a plan that involved someone being in a spaceship to deploy the devices, and that person would have to risk firey death in a supernova. Superman said he'd do it, but Andrew decided that Superman meant too much to Earth to possibly risk his life, and that he would go instead. He snuck aboard the ship and was going to die fighting the Sun-Eater, but he was saved by Hal Jordan, a. k. a. Parallax, who saved Earth in the end.

Shortly thereafter, the Legion of Super-Heroes invited Ferro to stay with them at the old headquarters of the Justice League of America, and revealed to him, somewhat unintentionally, that they are from the thirtieth century. He then became an unofficial member of the team, helping them against such foes as Dr. Psycho. After going off to free his brother Douglas from Doc 30's institution, an attempt that instead resulted in Douglas's death, Ferro was rewarded for his bravery with an offer to officially join the Legion of Super-Heroes, an ofer he accepted, and for which he was so grateful, he made new uniforms as a gift for the team, though only Inferno's survived a fire she started.

Later, when the Legion was finally able to return to the 30th century, they took him with them, and he has begun to acclimate himself to 30th century life. Ferro now fully considers the future his home.

After a group of Legionnaires were lost and the team disbanded, Andrew chose to accompany Karate Kid to Steeple, where he planned to study with pacifists. What they did not foresee, however, was that this world would be cut off from the rest of the galaxy for ten years because of black hole activity. As they were preparing to leave, Steeple came under attack by Nadir. Ferro took a critical blow from Nadir and Val chose to stay on Steeple to tend to Ferro's health. They missed the window and were stranded on Steeple. (Legion Worlds #5)

Later, when Brainiac 5 finally found a moment, he set about trying to establish a stargate to retrieve Val and Ferro from Steeple. (#19) This plan succeeded and they were rescued by Shikari and Sensor amidst the Legion's battle with Universo, and helped turn the tide. In the interim, Ferro had been cured, but he was now permanently trapped in his metallic form. (#22)

Other Versions

Ferro Lad was also a member in TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.

+ Powers

All versions of this character can transform his entire body into iron. In this state, he is completely mobile. However, when he is injured in his iron state, he risks injury upon reversion to human form.

Appearances + References

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