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Chemical King

According to a story written by Robert Loren Fleming (Secret Origins #47), Condo Arlik’s birth caused seizures and a nearly fatal diabetic coma in hospital staff. Doctors believed the newborn carried a highly infectious virus that accelerated the glucose metabolizing process and wearing protective gear, was given an IV tube of glucose. Not long afterwards, the infrastructure of the hospital collapsed, leading to a new theory that the infant had somehow caused the building’s disintegration. The baby was sedated and sent to Earth. His parents seemed either disinterested or fearful and allowed their son to be studied in isolation by scientists.

Fourteen years later, Condo is surprised by his first outside visitor, Lyle Norg (Invisible Kid of the Legion of Super Heroes). After a brief introduction, Lyle injects Condo and informs him that he’ll no longer need his IV insulin drip as well as that Condo is leaving the medical facility and will be staying at “his place,” an apartment completely separate from Legion HQ.

Two months later, Condo has overcome his lack of socialization that was a consequence of isolation. He and Lyle have become close friends. There is a scene in this story of the two “roughhousing.” Condo became one of the first applicants to the Legion Academy after Lyle’s recommendation (Timber Wolf was his roommate). He gained total control over his powers to accelerate chemical reactions and graduated with honors from the Academy.

According to the “Who’s Who in the LoSH” (1986), when the Legion needed more aid, Condo and Timber Wolf were sent to infiltrate the LSV’s own training academy. After the successful mission, Condo (now Chemical King) was inducted into the Legion.

Sometime later (in pre-Crisis continuity) Lyle was killed and Condo was greatly affected by his closest, perhaps only, friend’s death. The “Secret Origins” story indicates Condo’s behavior became extremely unreliable with regard to Legion missions after Lyle’s death, while the “Who’s Who” entry simply states “After participating in several other Legion cases during the next few years, Chemical King was ready to quit, thinking himself useless, when his first big case came along.”

In either case, the outcome is the same. Deregon, governor of the Australian Region, has been a double agent for the Dark Circle, and he attempts to incite World War VII, using a cosmic energy sphere as the catalyst. Condo takes his power to its limit to stop the reaction of the sphere’s key component, and sacrificed his life in the process.

In post-Zero Hour continuity, Condo made minor appearances as a reporter. With this version, Condo apparently had no powers and was older than his former teammates. It was hinted at and widely speculated that Condo and Invisible Kid were romantically involved. Issues of interest are Legionnaires #59 and #64. This relationship was confirmed in the character’s entry, researched and written by Dan Wallace, in the hardcover DC Comics Encyclopedia, 2004 and subsequent 2008 edition. Please read the Invisible Kid profile.

Chemical King did not reappear in the Mark Waid/ Barry Kitson version of the Legion. However, the status quo of the DC Universe may be in a state of flux. In Justice Society of America #5, Superman shows Stargirl, Red Tornado, and Cyclone statues of the Legion in his Fortress, and for the first time in post-Crisis continuity reminisces about adventures with the Legion. All of the statues depict members from pre-Zero Hour continuity. However, Chemical King does not have a statue. The Legion of Three Worlds mini series which may restore Chemical King to a new continuity is due to wrap up soon. One can hope that any new Condo will again be romantically involved with Lyle.

Chemical King’s first appearance is in Adventure #354, a story that features the adult Legion. In this story, he and several other members have statues that memorialize dead members. Condo’s first appearance as a character is in Adventure #371.

Chemical King created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan. Art by Dan Jurgens and Larry Mahlstedt.

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July 4, 2021
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