Ultra Boy

Created by Curt Swan & George Klein

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Crav and Mytra Nah (parents)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE & JOINED:
Superboy v.1 #98 (July 1962)

Ultra Boy II

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed mother, Tinya Wazzo (wife), Cub (son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Legion of Super Heores v.4 #64

JOINED: Legion of Super Heroes v.4 #72 (September 1995)

Ultra Boy III

NAME + ALIASES:
Jo Nah of Rimbor

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Legion of Super-Heroes

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Teen Titans/Legion Special (2004)

History

Ultra Boy's origin and joining. From Superboy #98 (1962). Art by Curt Swan

Jo Nah was born and bred on the rough-and-tumble world of Rimbor, where gang warfare, for some, is a way of life. Although his parents raised him with a strong moral foundation, there was no way for a Rimborian youth to not take to the streets. His time as a gang member sharpened his mind and gave him a set of rules that he would carry with him for the rest of his life.

Rimbor was also a place where Space Dragons gathered, and many a young thrill-seeking Rimborian would take a spacecraft out to play among them. When one of Jo's friends did this, he went out to stop him ... and ended up being swallowed himself, not by a Space Dragon, but by an Ultra-Energy Beast. This was fortunate for Jo, since rather than kill him, he absorbed some of its energy. He soon learned that he was able to focus the ultra-energy  on certain parts of his body, giving him penetra-vision or flash vision when it's in his eyes, super-strength or speed when it's in his muscles, and an invulnerable force-field (which sometimes causes odd effects when other energies hit it) when it's in his skin.

Jo looked to Earth for his next big opportunity, applying to the Legion for membership. His gangster style and speech hid an extremely sharp mind. For his Legion initiation, Jo was required to travel into the 20th century and discover the secret identity of Superman. (Superboy v.1 #98)

Immediately after joining, sparks flew between Jo and fellow Legionnaire Phantom Girl. They first expressed their attraction after Ultra Boy pretended to "go bad" and infiltrate a group of space pirates. (Adventure #316) His prowess and personality are infectious, and he has been elected Legion leader twice. (Adventure #371, Superboy v.1 #184)

Jo's luck ran low for a while after his former girlfriend, An Ryd, was murdered by Pulsar Stargrave. Brainiac 5 was driven mad by Stargrave and frames Ultra Boy for the crime. (Superboy & the Legion #239) After Brainy's treachery was exposed, Ultra Boy traveled with the Legionnaires to Rimbor, where they discovered An Ryd's true fate. Before Stargrave was destroyed, the alien apparently killed Ultra Boy. (Legion v.2 #273) The Legion went so far as to hold a memorial service for him, but Jo was actually stricken with amnesia and became part of the pirate crew of Captain Alisia Frake. (#274) When the Legion confronted Captain Frake, Saturn Girl realized that Ultra Boy was still alive. Before she could reach him, though, he was blasted by Frake and vanished. (#275)

Very soon after this, a mysterious hero called Reflecto appeared. Some suspected that the hero was Jo in disguise, but they were shocked and confused to learn that it was actually Superman in disguise. (#279) Even stranger, after waking up from this disguise, Superman believed that he was Ultra Boy! The Legion ventured back to Superman's era to discover the truth, where they were taunted by the Time Trapper. (#280) They eventually found Jo and learned how his mind was switched with Superman's. (#282)

Since this ordeal, Jo and Tinya have served relatively normal tours with the Legion.

NOTES: Ultra Boy's parents are Crav and Mytra Nah. His parents first appeared in Adventure Comics #356 (May 1967).

Jim Shooter on Ultra Boy: For whatever reason in his background he is kind of a depressing person. He equates being negative and sober and worried and dull with being serious about what he is doing. His humor is strictly sardonic, a kind of black humor. He is always certain that the worst will happen. Even Phantom Girl, the love of his life, is a source for more dire imaginings on his part. He is certain she will die, or be hurt, and is vastly overprotective. On the good side, he is strong, solid, dependable and absolutely devastating in anger. He angers easily. He bears authority well and can lead, but his judgment is suspect—it is occasionally bent by his bleak oitlook and a system or priorities that puts Phantom Girl over everything. He is, however, selfless and bright and willing to risk his own life often in a morbid, intense, almost passionate rage. Ultra Boy would be hell in bed. He undoubtedly, however, makes gentle, tender (and expert) love to Phantom Girl and saves his occasional forays into the bizarre for someone less angelic to him—say, Dream Girl. This guy is probably the Legion's closest to being a mental case. Though he would deny it, he needs a Bouncing Boy type—I think he is smart enough to know that. But Bouncing Boy is gone now .... hmm.... —Interlac (1976)

Tom & Mary Bierbaum on Ultra Boy: A street rat with a heart of gold. Raised in the squalor of an amoral frontier world, he picked up from his parents an unyielding sense of morality. From his hardscrabble background he picked up the resourceful intelligence of somebody who's survived a thousand scrapes that would have wiped out those of us from more genteel worlds. Yes, he's overmatched by Tinya's charms and powerful personality, but it all works out. Given some of the secrets he's carrying around, he desperately needs to be under-estimated, and coming off as Tinya's big, dumb plaything doesn't hurt that cause. —Interlac (2000)

Legion 1.5 (v.4)

From Who's Who #5 (1990). Art by Dan Jurgens.

Emerald Dragon card (#12). From DC Master cards, 1994.
Art by Nelson.

In the history that unfolded after the first Crisis (no longer valid), Ultra Boy returned to Rimbor after tragedy struck…

His gangster fighting style and mode of speech made people think of him as an intellectual lightweight, but beneath the rough-hewn exterior laid an extremely sharp mind. He used it, and his considerable (but equally unrecognized) acting abilities to subdue the Mystery Raiders when they tried to plunder Earth. And he also single-handedly figured out the universe's single greatest secret: that the Legion came into existence due to the machinations of Glorith of Baaldur to prevent the inevitable rise of the sorcerer Mordru. When, on his Legion initiation, he was required to find out the whereabouts of the great twentieth-century hero Valor after his disappearance, he went back in time to do it. But a freak time-storm bounced him to an earlier period, where he found himself helping create the legend of Valor. The paradox bothered him, and he even consulted Brainiac 5 about it. But once he put the pieces together on his own, he realized that if he revealed it to anyone, that person would be in mortal danger. Using his acting ability, he secretly goaded Mordru into a battle with Glorith, from which neither emerged a winner, and each severely weakened. He had saved the universe...but couldn't tell anyone about it.

He served in the Legion for a long time, becoming leader twice, and experiencing his share of difficulties. He was framed for the murder of a former girlfriend by an insane Brainiac 5, and was believed dead for a while...and later believed himself to be Reflecto, another hero from Rimbor. But through it all, Phantom Girl stayed by his side, and he was steady and dependable. Then it all came crashing down around him. It started when five Legionnaires conspired to take revenge upon Glorith for her wanton destruction of the planet Daxam. Jo found out about it, and implored Saturn Girl to probe his mind and see why he thought Valor shouldn't be brought along. Saturn Girl, in a moment of extreme pain, mentally leaked to Glorith the fact that Jo had been the undoer of her plan for universal domination. Jo felt more secure with his secret after Glorith's apparent defeat, and in 2991, finally asked Phantom Girl to marry him, an offer which she accepted. On a trip back to her home planet, Glorith engineered an explosion of the craft that carried her, sending her back in time (to complete the spell that created the Legion in the first place), and having her believed dead by everyone.

Tinya's apparent death, coupled with the pressures associated with being a Legionnaire at the time, prompted Jo to leave the Legion. He headed beck to Rimbor, and began a smuggling ring, assuming the alias of Green Dragon. After several years of moderate success, former Legionnaires Reep Daggle and Rokk Krinn asked him to join them in freeing Mysa Nal from the abuses of Mordru. He joined them, bringing with him his business partner, Kono, and the huge furry creature that had once been Timber Wolf. Soon afterward, he was sent back in time by Roxxas the Butcher, an adventure that made him come to terms with his grief over Tinya's death three years earlier. A lucky thing, since Jo soon found himself deluged with eligible females, such as former criminal Spider Girl, and Khund Legionnaire Veilmist.

But before long, the wound was re-opened. In a disastrous encounter with Glorith, the sorceress let slip that Tinya was alive, somewhere in time, and Jo decided to leave the Legion to find her. This was easier said than done, though, as the Legion was soon sent on the run, and Jo's Rimborian connections seemed to provide the best place to hide. Rimbor, however, was torn apart by gang wars and government corruption, and Jo felt the need to first clean up the mess with the help of the Legion. This, however, blew the Legion's cover and they had to move on, until they ended up on Weber's World, where they stopped a Khundish attempt to blow the planet up. In the aftermath of the battle, he met up with Valor, who suggested that Tinya might be in the twentieth century as Phase of the L. E. G. I. O. N., and with Rond Vidar, the younger Invisible Kid and the younger Brainiac 5, who had a time-bubble with them. He went back in time to follow up on Valor's lead, but it turned out that Phase was, instead, Tinya's cousin Enya. He attempted to return to the thirtieth century, but the crisis in time known as Zero Hour left him stuck in the twentieth until one of the heroes fighting the crisis transported them there, to try and establish a beachhead in the thirtieth century. They appeared to have succeeded, but when he was reunited with the rest of the Legion, he found out from the Time Trapper that it was hopeless. Before he joined with his younger counterpart and departed the universe, though, the Trapper did him the favor of retrieving Tinya from the time of Glorith's explosion...giving them the chance to face the unknown together.

The Ultra Boy of Batch SW6 has kept his old code-name and his Phantom Girl (now called Apparition), somewhat haunted by seeing how badly the older Jo has fared without her. He serves with his friends on the Earth-0 team of Legionnaires.

Legion 2: Earth-247

Back to reality. From Legion v.4 #82 (1996).
Art by Lee Moder.
The Legion's first marriage.
From Legion #96 (1997). Art by Lee Moder.

The Ultra Boy of universe-247 (which was destroyed in the Infinite Crisis) remains active with that team, wandering the multiverse.

Jo Nah, a Rimborian youth who took pride in his ability and willingness to stand up to the brutal gangs who ran almost every aspect of life on the planet, once went too far in his resistance and ended up escaping from the gangsters who were chasing him only by flying into the mouth of an immense space whale. He learned to survive inside the creature's stomach by eating its flesh, and soon discovered that eating the beast's flesh imbued him with the powers of super strength, speed, invulnerability, penetra-vision, flash-vision and flight. He escaped from the creature's innards, and was contacted by Leland McCauley when he was seeking to assemble his own group of super-beings as a personal security force. Always interested in some extra spending money, Jo accepted his offer and joined McCauley's Workforce, taking the code-name Ultra Boy. During the first several weeks, he grew attached to Spider Girl, one of his fellow Workforce members. One of the first things he did was spy on the Legion of Super-Heroes to determine if any of their members could be useful to his new boss, and during this mission, he spotted Apparition in a heated discussion with her mother and felt pity for her. When he was spotted by Saturn Girl and thereafter attacked by Spark, the fight that ensued led to Live Wire's departure from the Legion, and Ultra Boy convinced him to join the Workforce.

Ultra Boy, upon meeting the Legion on a Workforce mission to Planet Hell, became further attracted to Apparition, and the feeling turned out to be mutual, much to Spider Girl's dismay. In time, they developed a true relationship, exchanging gifts and dating, but one thing came between them... Jo's inability — or unwillingness - to see working for McCauley as a morally reprehensible idea. Only after they fought together against the White Triangle Daxamites were they willing to fully declare their love for one another... but to late, as Apparition died in that battle in Jo's arms. Jo felt cheated of his chance to prove himself worthy of Apparition in life, and the shock and guilt of that knowledge made him resolve to do so after her death. He severed ties with McCauley and would have joined the Legion of Super-Heroes if not for President Chu's moratorium on new members. Despite his inability to gain actual membership to the Legion, he has been hanging around the Legion in the hopes that he can help them, and on some occasions, has actually been able to help, such as the effort to rescue Valor from the Stasis Zone. Cosmic Boy, unable, at the time, to make him a Legionnaire, had him recruited by Live Wire to join the Legion rescue squad, which saved the Legion from the Fatal Five.

Immediately upon the arrest of President Chu and new president R. J. Brande's relaxation of membership restrictions upon the Legion, Jo became a full-fledged member. He has since found Tinya alive in some way inside of him, and now she is by his side in some ethereal way. He and she remain that way even in the twentieth century, where they were thrown by the Emerald Eye of Ekron, and have gotten married there, proving to Tinya that although she is unable to touch Jo, she is the only woman in his life.Following the Blight's attack on Earth, Ultra Boy became one of ten Legionnaires who disappeared into a rift in space. He at first thought he had Apparition with him, but this turned out to be an illusion created by Saturn Girl, who was afraid that he would be unstable without her presence. Since the illusion disappeared, he has been extremely angry at Saturn Girl... but understanding as well, as he's not sure how well he'll do without her either. He didn't have to think about the issue long. Shortly thereafter, the Legionnaires were captured by the Progeny and after that, headed home.

NOTES: Olivier Coipel on Ultra Boy: "I like him a lot! He is really cool, someone who'd be easy to live with and a simple guy. And he's a big guy: it's fun drawing big guys like him. —Comic Book Resources

Legion 3: Earth-Prime

Jo Nah gained his powers in an undisclosed accident. He has recently had trouble controlling his powers and has been training with Karate Kid in order to gain better focus. He's a street tough ladies man and has dated Light Lass (#1) and Triplicate Girl (#3).

At one point during the Legion's showdown with Lemnos and Terror Firma, Ultra Boy's powers went out of control. (#5) No explanation was ever really give for this, but his girlfriend, Shadow Lass encouraged him to overcome it by training with Karate Kid. (#6)

This wouldn't be the last time that Shadow Lass asks for help in curbing Jo's impetuous nature. When Supergirl arrived from the 21st century, Ultra Boy was no longer the strongest Legionnaire. Karate Kid engineered a faux mission, pairing Jo with Supergirl on a red sun world. Because her powers did not work under a red sun, Jo was forced to send her back and deal with the threat himself. The ploy restored Ultra Boy's confidence about his place in the Legion (#22)

Ultra Boy's rogue nature appeals to many of the Legion's members at-large, as evidenced by the Legion's first open leadership election. Although he didn't win—Supergirl did—he garnered a sizable percentage of the vote that day. (#30)

Jo drifted away from Shadow Lass as well and made advances towards Saturn Girl. Imra succumbed to his charms and when the two lost themselves indiscretely to passion, they were discovered by Invisible Kid. (#45) Invisible Kid kept his promise not to tell Saturn Girl's boyfriend, Lightning Lad, but Jo and Imra both decided to tell him anyway. Despite this devastating news, Lightning Lad maintained his composure, but things remain strained between them. (#46)

Other Versions

Ultra Boy was a character on TV's Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, but he never joined the team.

+ Powers

Ultra Boy has super-strength, super speed, flight, flash vision, tracking vision, and invulnerability, but he can only use one of these powers at a time. He gained these abilities from his stay inside a Space Whale.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

  • ...

» SERIES: