- I didn't camp out! I didn't beg! I worked my ass off getting into the Legion! And the whole time I did, while the Legion was being cheered on, all I would hear was "pathetic loser!" "They don't want you!" "Can't you get it through that frozen skull?!" And you know what? I couldn't!
- — Polar Boy src
Brek Bannin, Polar Boy was a native of the planet Tharr who possessed the ability to project waves of cold. Along with several other youths, Brek came to Earth and applied for membership in the Legion of Super-Heroes. Although Brek's powers were impressive, the Legion decided that they were too uncontrollable and his application was rejected. Undeterred, Brek took upon himself the code name of Polar Boy and (along with several other rejected applicants) formed the Legion of Substitute Heroes.
It was Polar Boy's intention that the Subs would serve as a pinch-hitter secret weapon, aiding the Legion whenever possible. They headquartered themselves in a secret mountain base on Earth. At first, Polar Boy's confidence in the Subs usefulness began to wane, particularly when the Legion appeared to be handling threats with great success. Soon though, Polar Boy led the Subs on their first actual mission.
While the Legion went off-world to investigate a fleet of potential invading ships, the Substitute Heroes discovered that the ships were merely a diversion from the real threat - an alien race of Plant Men. Polar Boy and his new friends defeated the Plant Men, but were never able to receive recognition for their heroism. Polar Boy continued to lead the Subs on several missions, but before long, the Legion learned of their existence.
Although they were no longer able to function in secret, they continued to share in various adventures and have helped the Legion out on numerous occasions. In time though, Brek grew weary of always playing second-string to the more popular Legion. He again applied for membership, and due to a special bylaw in the Legion charter, was able to become a member. Though he was one of their youngest members, Polar Boy served with the Legion eagerly for years, and has even served as team leader.
- Tharrian Physiology: His cyro abilities are native to a select group of people of Tharr, who require it to compensate for the super-heated atmosphere of their home world.
- Cryokinesis: Polar Boy can reduce the heat around himself or other objects, creating a drop in temperature ranging from mild to intense. Because of this, Brek can withstand hotter than normal temperatures. Usually, when he makes an item very cold, ice or frost will condense on its surface. He often wears warm clothes due to the cooler temperatures on Earth. Polar Boy also possesses the ability to project waves of intense cold from his hands. These cold blasts can freeze opponents in their tracks or act on the elements, such as transforming water vapor into ice crystals.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic): As a cadet, all potential members of the Legion undergo personal combat training.
- Leadership: Polar Boy has served as the leader of the Legion of Substitute Heroes for the entirety of their tenure. His optimism and eagerness have cultivated a strong feeling of friendship and respect among his fellow Subs. His compassion is matched only by his dedication and he is quick-witted and a strategic thinker.
- Vulnerability to Heat: Intense heat will negate the effects of Polar Boy's powers.
- Missing Limb: He lost the major part of his right arm to Tusker, and replaced with a fully functioning new arm made of ice.
- This version of Brek Bannin (Pre-Zero Hour) is no longer considered part of canon continuity. All history and corresponding appearances of Brek Bannin (Pre-Zero Hour) were erased from continuity following the events of the 1994 limited series Zero Hour: Crisis in Time.
- On the cover of his first appearance in Adventure Comics #306, Polar Boy was identified as "Polar Lad", though he has never actually been addressed as such in any other story.
- Brek Bannin is the youngest person to ever try out for Legion membership.
- The creation of Polar Boy was based on reader Buddy Le Vigne's suggestion in the "Smallville Mailbag" letters column from Adventure Comics #304.
- 140 Appearances of Brek Bannin (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 8 Images featuring Brek Bannin (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 4 Quotations by or about Brek Bannin (Pre-Zero Hour)
- Character Gallery: Brek Bannin (Pre-Zero Hour)
Legion of Super-Heroes member