The Fatal Five
The Fatal Five(pop culture)
The futuristic teen superteam the Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH) meets its match in the Jim Shooter–written/Curt Swan–illustrated Adventure Comics #352–#353 (1967) as the vast and virulent galaxy-gulper the Sun-Eater zeroes in on thirtieth- century Earth's sun. When their efforts to repress the Sun-Eater fail, the desperate Legionnaires recruit a quintet of heavy hitters for an assist: Tharok, a cruel, technologically enhanced scientist (Tharok's entire body is vertically halved, his left side, from head to toe, being mechanical); Tharok's obedient charge Validus, a 25-foot mindless, infinitely powerful behemoth that fires lethal psionic bolts; the Emerald Empress, a lime-haired beauty who commands the power totem called the Emerald Eye, a bizarre, floating orb; the Persuader, a husky, iron-masked executioner who wields an atomic ax that slices through any matter or energy field; and Mano, a bubble-helmeted mutant from a toxic world whose right hand—which he normally gloves—can disintegrate any substance. A meeting of minds between Tharok and Legionnaire Brainiac 5 conceives a bomb which must be deposited into the belly of the beast, and valiant Legionnaire Ferro Lad sacrifices his life to deliver the payload. The villains refuse the indebted LSH's offer to pardon their crimes and instead pool their resources as the cacophonous cadre the Fatal Five, hell-bent on conquering the universe they just helped save. The Fatal Five returned in Adventure #365–#366 (1968) as the warlords of the planet Talok VIII; the Legion's headquarters was destroyed in that epic's climactic battle. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Fatal Five continued their path of destruction through the pages of Legion stories, perpetrating the death of Legionnaire Invisible Kid and a full-scale assault on the LSH, orchestrated by Tharok's clone the Dark Man. The reverberations caused by the 1986 revamp of Superman in the Man of Steel miniseries rattled Legion lore and caused several subsequent LSH reboots, the trickle-down effect altering the Fatal Five's history. The Fatal Five—boasting the same lethal lineup as the original group—were reintroduced in Legionnaires #34 (1996). In this revised continuity, the Legion assembled the Fatal Five at the behest of United Planets' President Chu, who covertly conspired to ignite an intergalactic war via her manipulation of the Sun-Eater threat. DC Comics readers were puzzled when the Menaces from Tomorrow reappeared in the twentyfirst- century adventures of the Man of Tomorrow in Superman vol. 2 #171 (2001). “Good characters are good characters,” remarked that comic's writer, Jeph Loeb, in a 2001 online interview; “One of the things about using a combined universe should be to combine the characters.” The Fatal Fivers pitted against Superman in Loeb and artist Ed McGuiness' tale were actually duplicates created by Brainiac 13. The “real” Fatal Five returned in The Legion #16 (2003), and will no doubt perennially plague the current and any future incarnations of the Legion. A twenty-first-century version of the Persuader, a rebellious Metropolis citizen with an ax to grind, was introduced in Adventures of Superman #601 (2002).