Created by Edmond Hamilton & John Forte
Name: Ral Benem of Mardru
First appearance & Joined the Subs: Adventure Comics #306 (March 1963)
Mardru is a dull place to grow up, unless you're a plant. It's one of the main agricultural research centers in the United Planets, and most of the people who live there are in that line of work. So it was, that one day, little Ral Benem was visiting his father's workplace, and he fell into a vat of an experimental fertilizer. From such humble origins came Chlorophyll Kid, with the ability to accelerate (or slow down) the growth of any plant.
The Legion of Super-Heroes was not impressed by this ability.But then again, there are many super-powers which have failed to overwhelm the Legionnaires...the ability to produce exterme cold, for instance. Polar Boy's bid for Legion membership was rejected on the same day that Ral's was, but he wasn't going to take rejection lying down. Polar Boy gathered up four other rejects, Ral among them, and the five decided to try to handle minor emergencies and offer the Legion assistance when possible. They called themselves the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and they did their jobs quietly and proudly. Chlorophyll Kid's power was instrumental in their first case, stopping an intended invasion of Earth by the Zatonian Plant-Men. They soon came to the attention of the Legion and forged a comfortable working arrangement. Chlorophyll Kid, as a member of the Subs, played a part in many Legion adventures, including the Earthwar and the Great Darkness.
But the Substitutes' powers were still not truly Legion caliber, and other factors, over the years, lessened the effectiveness of the team. Chlorophyll Kid in particular gained weight to the point of obesity. Finally, after an embarrassing incident on Bismoll, Polar Boy disbanded the Subs.
Legion 1.5 (v.4)
Ral went to receive weight-loss treatments on Bismoll, but when they were done, he came back to Earth and started gaining again.It was this sorry state that Ral had been living in when the Legion, reeling from Earthgov persecution, asked him to join. Chlorophyll Kid squeezed back into his old costume more from a desire to help his friend Polar Boy than to actually join the Legion, which had lost most of its prestige. But though he and his teammates labored diligently to uphold the Legion and fight crime, Earthgov and, for Ral, his physical condition, made the job impossible. He resigned from the Legion and joined the underground Earthgov-resistance movement.
It was here that Chlorophyll Kid finally blossomed, under the command of Jacques Foccart, the second Invisible Kid. He was put on a strict diet and exercise regimen, and he learned how to manipulate plants in brand new ways. He played a major part in the storming of the Dominators' underground chambers, as Dominator technology is plant-based, so he had the power to manipulate it. The Subs returned from the battle hailed as the heroes thay had always wanted to be, and, since the destruction of Earth, have directed their efforts toward helping the resettlement of the displaced and training super-powered beings at the United Planets Militia Academy. He was called upon to help in the transportation of the pocket universe's Earth to replace the destroyed planet in the true universe, but disappeared during Zero Hour shortly after that task was completed.
Element Lad was also a member in TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.