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When We First Met – When Did the Legion First Adopt a “No Duplicate Powers” Rule?

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today, we take a look at when the Legion of Super-Heroes adopted their “No Duplicate Powers” Rule, when Arkham Asylum first showed up in Gotham City and when Flash Thompson joined the Army.

Michael C. asked when the Legion’s No Duplicate Powers rule debut.

I actually featured this as a Comic Book Legends Revealed awhile back, because a lot of people think it is a Silver Age thing, but nope, it was 1973’s Superboy #195 that the rule was first mentioned…

(eventually the Legion learns that ERG-1 – later known as Wildfire – IS unique and he becomes a member of the team)

A little while later, they clarify what they mean by this rule…

Here‘s the Comic Book Legends Revealed installment where I debunk that it is a Silver Age invention (complete with examples from each of the Legionnaires that people typically think of as examples for the rule, like Light Lass, Star Boy and Ultra Boy).
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Awhile back, I showed the first appearance of Arkham Asylum..

Eric Henry wanted to know when was the first time Arkham Asylum was shown to be in Gotham City.

It came in Batman #326 (written by Len Wein), where Batman and Commissioner Gordon are suspicious of crimes being committed by people supposedly in Arkham Asylum…

I just love the fact that the guy doesn’t wait until he hangs up the phone before he starts laughing maniacally (the villain, by the way, is Professor Milo, who has taken over the Asylum).

Later, when Batman goes undercover to infiltrate the Asylum, we learn where it is located…


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Finally, Alex A. wanted to know when Flash Thompson first joined the Army.

It came way back in Amazing Spider-Man #43…


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If YOU have a suggestion for a comic debut you’re curious about, feel free to drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

10 Comments

The “duplicate powers” rule always felt like a “No Homers” thing to me.

Great stuff. I’m a huge Legion of Super-Heroes fan, and I’m shocked to find that the no duplicate powers rule didn’t happen until 1973!

Nice work once again Brian , but i will have to disagree with the first part.. ‘ Legion and rule of no duplicationg powers’

i am not home, so i cant check all, but
– In Adventure comics, in the 60’s, there is a story where Dream Girl devise some plan to protect the legionnaire so they dont die in an accident she forsaw, her plan cause changes in the powers of Ayla Ranzz ( Lighrtning lass – Light Lass) and Thom Kalor ( if i remember correctly)

At the end of the story , when everyone is safe, and the deaths she foresaw were all just dummies, she explains that Lightning lass shouldnt have the same powers her broither has , so she changed it , so there is no duplicating power in the Legion . ( Ed Hamilton wrote that best than me ^^ )

ollieno, Brian points out that this is a misconception in the link to his Comic Book Legends Revealed. Dream Girl doesn’t say that there can’t be duplicate powers because of the rules (Lightning Lass originally gets kicked out of the Legion because she loses her powers). She says that it makes no sense to have duplicate powers.

lostinube, you’re right except that Brian didn’t provide a link to that Comic Book Legends Revealed article.

lostinube, you’re right except that Brian didn’t provide a link to that Comic Book Legends Revealed article.

Dave B, you’re right except I did. I guess I should have been more specific than

Here‘s the Comic Book Legends Revealed installment where I debunk that it is a Silver Age invention (complete with examples from each of the Legionnaires that people typically think of as examples for the rule, like Light Lass, Star Boy and Ultra Boy)

?

Travis Pelkie

July 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Why do you expect us to read the entire post, Brian?

I just read the Arkham Asylum legend and while that may be the first appearance, wasn’t the first reference in The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge in 1973? I have a clear memory of being struck by the use of “Arkham Asylum” when I read it … but memory could be wrong.

The Justice League had a “no duplicate powers” rule too, which they used to keep Hawkwoman out of the League until Hawkman basically threatened to beat their heads in.

I don’t recall that coming up any time before or since. Did they really not like Shayera, so they made that up to keep her out? As Scott Tipton memorably put it, “With that rule in effect, technically the only members would be Superman and the Atom”.

Doug, they stated quite specifically when Hawkman joined that Shayera was not invited because they only signed up one member at a time. So I presume Englehart made up that rule to explain why she hadn’t been invited since. I’d say having duplicate powers is different from having the exact same skill set but I can still see times it would have applied and didn’t.

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