Featured Columns

November 27, 2016

Character Spotlight: Matter-Eater Lad

We got a weird one folks. So weird was he it took years for writers to figure out what to do with him. Matter-Eater Lad does exactly what his name implies, he got on an intergalactic super team thanks to that power. How does someone get such a power? What do you even do with it? Let’s find out!

Tenzil Kem hails from the planet Bismol, a place with such harsh and inedible materials, the Bismollians species evolved to eat all forms of matter. He’d leave his home to join the Legion of Super-Heroes who had definitely never seen such a super power before allowed him in. Bismollians politics would get him wrapped up along with Legion work, Tenzil would get elected Senator.

matter-eater-lad-eating-disorder-1-1One of his greatest heroic efforts was eating the indestructible Miracle Machine that threatened to destroy the universe, he did pay a price by losing sanity for quite some time. When he would regain his sanity, he’d find that his role as Senator was more in line with that of a slave. Tenzil’s clever thinking had him realize he could regain his freedom by becoming a celebrity, the people would want him to go as he pleases, especially as a Legionnaire.

Now a well known star and politician, Tenzil brought more than just his digestion abilities to the Legion. He could often pull favors and socialize his way through many missions. Landing in a Hell dimension for some time, Tenzil was declared dead on Bismoll so the opposing party could get him out of office since he was making a mockery of their system. When the Legion would reunite after the Magic Wars, he’d return and use his social skills to help several key members escape from imprisonment.

Post-Zero Hour, Tenzil is not a full member of the Legion but instead, their personal chef. Most reboots have him in smaller and smaller roles, either MIA or committed to being the rescue services of the Legion. Tenzil has had a rough time finding a place among writers.

There you have it! Matter-Eater Lad certainly does have some of the stranger powers in mainstream comics when it comes to major league teams. He’s been in the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series but I doubt we’ll ever get to see him in movies or anything live-action. I’d love to see him make a cameo on Supergirl or Legends of Tomorrow some day. See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Adventure Comics #303
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Legion of Super-Heroes

Dr. Bustos



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