Sun Boy

+ Inferno

Created by Jerry Siegel & Jim Mooney

NAME + ALIASES:
Dirk Morgna of Earth

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Action Comics #276 (May 1961)

JOINED: Undepicted; before his next appearance in Adventure #290 (November 1961)

Sun Boy II

NAME + ALIASES:
Dirk Morgna of Earth

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed parents

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

History

The origin of Sun Boy. From Adventure #348 (1966).
Art by George Papp

Sun Boy tricks the Legion.
From Adventure #318 (1964). Art by John Forte.

Sun Boy fights his arch enemy, Dr. Regulus.
From Legion v.2 #286 (1982). Art by Pat Broderick.

To outsiders, Dirk Morgna looked like the luckiest person on Earth. He came from a rich family, had great looks and a way with people that always got him what he wanted. But scratch the surface, and what came up was a child who nursed an inferiority complex.

Raised by his father Derek to stand up to humiliation and injury by responding in kind. Dirk often found himself badly alienating anyone who started up with him. This turned out to be a bad move in the case of Doctor Zaxton Regulus, who had been employed by Dirk's father at a time that Dirk was doing odd jobs in his laboratory. The two got along badly from the start, and Regulus's anger burned even hotter when Dirk interrupted an illegal experiment that Regulus was performing. The resulting accident killed one of Dirk's co-workers, and destroyed Regulus's career. Regulus blamed Dirk, (who had ignored warning signs around Regulus's lab, and so, to an extent, was responsible despite the illegality of the experiment) and locked him in a nuclear reactor for revenge. But Dirk got lucky. Instead of killing him, the radiation made him into a living sun.

With the power to radiate bright light, he tried out for the Legion as Sun Boy and was turned down. (Action #276) He reapplied later after discovering that he was also able to project heat and was accepted. (Adventure #290) He was once forced to leave the Legion after a temporary power loss, but this was very short-lived (Adventure #302)

But somehow, he never felt that the Legionnaires truly accepted him, and constantly set out to prove his potency as a Legionnaire and as a man. His insecurities once led him to take too many space missions, driving him mad with space fatigue and almost dooming himself and the entire population of the planet Xenn. (#318) Dirk has come to be known as a womanizer, and has never kept a relationship for long.

His past, too, had come back to haunt him as a Legionnaire; Doctor Regulus has become one of the Legion's most persistent enemies. (Adventure #348, Superboy #191, 232, 286, Legion v.3 #15)

NOTES: Sun Boy's real name was first revealed in Adventure Comics #302 (Nov. 1962).

Jim Shooter on Sun Boy: Your typical upper-middle-class happy, well-adjusted A & B student, put-together fun guy. He doesn't have to screw Dream Girl, he undoubtedly gets enough action on his own. —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Sun Boy: He turned out during our run to be a tragic hero, raised on the notion that you had to win, no matter what the cost. He really tried to rise above the fuzzy morality of his upbringing and win within the rules, but that meant pushing himself beyond his limits and he suffered a nervous breakdown. Probably never fully recovered from that, leaving himself all too vulnerable to corrupting influences during the Great Collapse of the Five-Year Gap. —Interlac (2000)


Legion 1.5 (v.4)

From Who's Who #9 (1991). Art by Colleen Doran.

Inferno, card #91 from DC Cosmic Teams (1993).
Art by Chris Sprouse.

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), Dirk suffered a rather ignoble fate…

His insecurities once led him to take too many space missions, driving him mad with space fatigue and almost dooming himself and the entire population of the planet Xenn. His past, too, had come back to haunt him as a Legionnaire; Doctor Regulus has been one of the Legion's most persistent enemies.

But few people ever suspected him of such feelings, as he was always a dependable Legionnaire, the Xenn incident notwithstanding. It was he who held the Legion together in its last year, seizing command when then-leader Timber Wolf became incapacitated during Black Dawn. But eventually, the harassment of Earthgov and the ill will of the people of Earth became too much for him to bear, and he quit the Legion.After being attacked by a lynch mob of Legion-haters even after quitting, he was rescued by longtime Legion friend Shvaughn Erin, he saw the comforts she lived with, and compared them to the squalor in which he and most Earthmen lived. Though Shvaughn told him that the comforts weren't worth the price, he was easily seduced by them, and by Circe, an officer in the Science Police who was employed by the Dominators who ran Earthgov. He became a spokesperson for Earthgov, and Circe, in return, fulfilled his every fantasy. However, after a while, it became obvious to him that Earthgov was no longer the beneficent authority he had remembered, and that any protests of his regarding government injustices were going to be ignored. Finally, he reached his breaking point, just before the deployment of the Dominator Triple-Strike program, and tried to present himself to the people of Earth as their hero once again. But it was too late. The people of Earth were mad at him for his Earthgov advocacy, and would nolonger accept him. In addition, he would not get the chance to perform any more heroism; Triple-Strike detonated fusion powerspheres all over the globe, sending the powers of metahumans, such as Dirk, out of control. Dirk's solar powers were now burning him to death. Earthgov released news of his death.

Actaully, he was placed in the Dominators' underground chambers for further study, but before anything could be learned about his condition and how to alleviate it, the chambers were seized by underground resistance fighters, and then destroyed by them. But still this didn't kill Dirk, who was in more pain than ever. By chance, he stumbled upon the Legionnaires who had emerged from Batch SW6, and upon Circe, who was nearby, and who had turned against the Dominators. The Legionnaires, including his own younger counterpart, kept a watch on him, but eventually Circe was left alone with the suffering Dirk. Over the weeks of her rebellion, she had come to the realization that she truly loved him, and she refused to see him suffer any more. Out of her love for Dirk, she shot him, and then herself. Sun Boy died on May 18, 2995.

But this was not the end of Sun Boy's story. Shortly after Mordru's animation of dead bodies (including Dirk's), Wildfire managed to gather his energies back together and think coherently. He needed a vessel to hold his anti-energy, but found that his old containment suits couldn't handle the solar energy with which he had become mixed. He made his way to Shanghalla, where he found the perfect vessel for storing solar energy -- Sun Boy's body. With this and an improved containment suit, he managed to keep himself alive for a while longer. But he was too ashamed of the desecration he wrought to reveal this to anyone.

The Sun Boy of Batch SW6 has renamed himself Inferno, and is slightly more subdued than he was before seeing his probable end in the older Dirk. Nonetheless, he still loves a good time, especially with a good-looking girl, and he is still quite talented at making enemies, having had an unwitting hand in the creation of the third Emerald Empress. Despite this, he has been a member in good standing of the Earth-0 team of Legionnaires. When he found himself still in existence as the clock approached Zero Hour, he challenged the Time Trapper's assertion that the SW6 Legionnaires and the adult Legionnsires were two time-split versions of the same being, as he thought his adult counterpart had died. This forced Wildfire to reveal his secret shame...but Inferno accepted this, disappearing, with Wildfire, in one last, friendly handshake.

Legion 2: Earth-247

Dirk Morgna breaks free.
From Legion v.4 #81 (1996). Art by Lee Moder.

There was another Dirk Morgna in the universe of Earth-247, which was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis. He was never a Legion member, and thus, he also ceased to exist along with that universe. There was, however, a female who went by the name Inferno. She may have escaped 247's fate, as she was last seen in the 21st century.

First appearance: Legionnaires #29 (September 1995)

Dirk Morgna is the son of Derek Morgna, who owns one of the most prolific energy-research laboratories on Earth. He worked as a delivery boy for his father, and had the misfortune to be making a delivery to Doctor Zaxton Regulus at the same time that Regulus was performing a dangerous and illegal experiment. The incident, which created an explosion in which, fortunately, no one was hurt, resulted in Regulus's firing, which he blamed on both Dirk and his father. In revenge, Regulus took Dirk hostage for radiocative gold with which he could continue his research on his own. While Regulus negotiated with Derek Morgna and the Science Police, he also performed an experiment on Dirk, injecting him with a solution containing radioactive gold. Dirk's plight was worsened when, in the Legion of Super-Heroes's effort to rescue him, they brought about a meltdown in the lab's nuclear reactor, bombarding Dirk with hard radiation. But Dirk managed to survive, and he emerged from the wreckage of the laboratory glowing brightly. His arrival upon the scene stopped Regulus from killing his father, the Legionnaires and the Science Police officers, as he managed to focus his light toward Regulus's eyes, blinding him. Dirk was thereafter taken to a hospital for observation of his unusual condition. (Legion v.4 #72, Legionnaires #29)

After spending a while in that hospital under the care of Doctor Leiner, Dirk got lonely for his father, who couldn't bring himself to visit him because he felt guilty over the incident. Dirk used his light and heat powers to escape and make his way toward his father. The Science Police tried recapturing the escaped "Sun Boy." (as the media dubbed him), but he plowed right through them, and through the Legionnaires, who were helpless to stop him before his father came down to see him voluntarily. Derek Morgna offered to touch Dirk, despite the burns he would suffer, but the Legionnaires found the perfect solution: Brainiac 5 and Element Lad tinted a transsuit and fortified it with inertron so that it would make human contact possible for him. (Legion #81) He has since then been in the custody of the Legion and under the care of Doctor Gym'll.

When reports of Doctor Regulus resuming activity arose, Legion leader Shrinking Violet decided to take Dirk along, figuring that his past experience with Regulus might be helpful. (Legionnaires #39) However, Regulus had learned to absorb the heat that Dirk projected, and after expending much of his energy, Dirk found his body back to normal. (possibly due to the wish-fulfillment properties of the Emerald Eye of Ekron) (Legion #83) Dirk was sent away from the Legion by the Emerald Eye-controlled Shrinking Violet shortly afterward (Legionnaires #40), but hanging around the Legion, something he had enjoyed doing, has made him regret the loss of his powers, despite his father's relief over the fact. (#43)

Months later, Dirk's father bought the magno-ball team the Terran Lodestones, and appointed Dirk to run it. Dirk did such a good job that the team reached the playoffs in the first year of his management of it. Amongst those who were present for the first playoff game were Cosmic Boy (who had actually come to see his brother Pol play for their opponents), who was attacked by Domain during that time. (Legionnaires #70) Shortly thereafter, Dirk was possessed by the Elemental known as Phy'r due to his affinity for that element. The Elemental destroyed much of Tokyo before heading into space to get to JS-1967 in order to kill Mordru. (#71-72) The Legion fought to prevent the Elementals from causing Mordru to wake up, and during that fight, Dirk asserted his mind and freed himself from the Elemental's influence, allowing Phy'R to be re-captured by Mysa. (#73) Dirk survived the possession with his vision altered so that he senses heat and energy patterns rather than light (#74), an ability that saved the life of the being who later became known as Wildfire. (#76) After a few days spent recovering on JS-1967, Dirk has since returned to Earth and is learning to adjust to his new mode of vision, and he and his father have also pledged to use the Lodestones and their resources to aid in raising funds for the repair and rebuilding of Tokyo. (#74)

Legion 3: Earth-Prime

Frozen to death by Superboy Prime.
From Legion of Three Worlds #3 (2009).
Art by George Pérez.

His parents are big Legion boosters. According to Dirk, his parents only promoted his membership in the Legion in order to relive their days as "young radicals." He quit the Legion over Cosmic Boy's vehement objecttions

Dirk Morgna is charismatic and likes the spotlight. The origin of his powers has yet  to be revealed. He served as the Legion's Deputy Leader but was only staying with the team to please his parents.  He recently left the Legion to assume leadership of Terror Firma.

Dirk's parents are atypical of other U.P. adults. They welcome interpersonal interaction, and champion the Legion's cause. This is a great embarrasment to Dirk. (#4)

Triplicate Girl goes on three dates, with Element Lad, Sun Boy and Ultra Boy. (#3)

Sun Boy contemplates quitting the Legion while his (unnamed) parents are huge Legion boosters. (#4)

Sun Boy resigns. (#8)

Core members of Terror Firma defect and Sun Boy decides to guide them. Brainy keeps Dream Girl's corpse in suspended animation. (#13)

On Narchus III, Sun Boy leads his team of former Terra Firma agents (Gron, Zepha, Kynda, Staci and 5 others) to investigate a devastated Dominion colony. They're taken prisoner by a new kind of "Super-Dominator" and the Dominators begin extracting the heroes' powers. (#22)

The Dominator combat technologist, tells Sun Boy how he created their genetically modified soldiers. Sun Boy frees himself and his team just as the Legionnaires arrive on the Dominion homeworld. (#29)

Tenzil and the Star Boy deduce that Mekt has mind-controlled the Cult, which includes his parents. Brainiac 5 unearths evidence that Mekt had planted the idea to destroy the Dominion homeworld in Cosmic Boy's head. Sun Boy returns to active duty and requests Legion membership for his band of former Terror Firmans. (#33)

The Legion holds tryouts. Sun Boy also returns. He and Gazelle are admitted and the others become new Legion Reservists. Sun Boy says his former Terror Firman followers have been jailed. Brainy deduces that the alien weapons are "scanning" reality into another dimension. When used on a person, it steals their soul. (#48)

Soon after this, the Legion of Earth-Prime was called to Earth-0 to help battle Superboy-Prime. Prime killed Dirk without a second thought. (Legion of Three Worlds #3) Sun Boy was memorialized along with his teammate Element Lad after Prime was defeated. (#5)

Other Versions

Sun Boy was also a member in TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon.

+ Powers

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Appearances + References

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