The Fatal Five was the name given to the five most dangerous criminals in the galaxy of the 30th Century/31st Century. Brought together by the Legion of Super-Heroes to help them stop a runaway Sun-Eater in exchange for a full presidential pardon, the Fatal Five instead united their forces to conquer and pillage to their black hearts' content through the United Planets. Over subsequent encounters, the Fatal Five proved themselves to be the Legion's most powerful and tenacious adversaries.
Tharok, the Emerald Empress, the Persuader, Mano, and Validus were the five most notorious fiends that the United Planets had ever known. In the latter half of the 30th Century, all five individually made a name for himself or herself by committing some type of atrocious crime. For Tharok, it was a one-man war against all agencies of the law in revenge for his transformation into a cyborg. For the Empress, it was conquering her home-world Venegar with the power of the Emerald Eye, and after being overthrown by a popular revolution, raiding U.P. merchant vessels to amass enough wealth to finance a coup attempt to retake power. For the Persuader, it was his career as an enforcer for intergalactic organized crime. For Mano, it was the genocide of his home-world Angtu, followed by a career as a professional assassin. Lastly, Validus's crime was to appear at random at various worlds in the U.P. and wreak unreasoning destruction and havoc, drawing comparisons between the monster and an unbridled force of nature. The Fatal Five were sought out by members of the Legion of Super-Heroes and propositioned with the offer of helping to avert the extinguishment of Sol by a Sun-Eater device in exchange for full presidential pardons. As Mano and Validus in particular were about to face the executioner within only moments of the Legionnaires' arrival, the Legion considered the offer to be one the Five were unlikely to turn down. Indeed, the Five consented, but with the secret agenda of conserving their energies while the Legionnaires exhausted themselves neutralizing the threat, at which time they would reveal their true colors and kill the Legion. The Fatal Five went through with their scheme after Ferro Lad's sacrifice disabled the Sun-Eater, but Princess Projectra convinced Validus to turn on his comrades for treating him like their mindless lapdog. Validus's psychic lightning clashed against Persuader's Atomic Axe and caused the Fatal Five to disappear in a flash of light, seemingly annihilating them.
In actuality, the Fatal Five were shunted into another dimension, cut off from the physical plane of reality. After establishing total mental domination over Validus, Tharok extended his control over the rulers of the rim world Talok VIII and influenced the military reorganization of Talokite society, interfering with interstellar shipping lanes using Talok's defensive weapons systems in order to attract the attentions of the Science Police. The S.P. sent the Legion Espionage Squad in to infiltrate the citadel of Talok VIII's government, with assistance from an S.P. contact native to the planet named Tasmia Mallor, A.K.A. Shadow Lass. The Legionnaires were allowed to breach the citadel after an arduous days-long trek through the merciless Talokite desert and death-traps were sprung upon the Legionnaires. Although the Legionnaires broke free from the death-traps through willpower and cleverness, the energy output generated in so doing was fed into a machine constructed by Talok VIII's brainwashed ruling body to break the dimensional barriers, allowing the Fatal Five to return to corporeal reality, as it was Tharok's plan all along for the Legion to surmount the obstacles facing them and thereby facilitate his release. The villains then headed for Earth to occupy the U.P. capital megacity Metropolis and seize control of the central command console of the U.P.'s automated weapons systems, to enforce their control over all other U.P. worlds. One of the 3 keys needed to authorize access to the console was kept in the Legion Clubhouse, however, drawing the Fatal Five into a conflict with the LSH over the fate of the galaxy. Although the Legion did not succeed in vanquishing their Fatal Five adversaries, they did succeed in holding them off long enough for U.P. military reinforcements to be called from other nearby inhabited worlds, driving the Fatal Five on the run. In the aftermath, the Clubhouse was left in ruins, requiring the construction of a larger, more elaborate, and more heavily fortified HQ complex for the Legion to use as a base.
Some months after this incident had passed, the Fatal Five were planning their next act of grand larceny from an asteroid lair when the Legionnaire Karate Kid confronted them by himself, feeling suicidally reckless due to the knowledge that the Rakurga toxin in his system would kill him within hours anyway. Devoid of any true super-powers, Karate Kid's mastery of all known forms of armed and unarmed combat, masterful technique and unsurpassed agility, and hot-headed impulse to succeed at any cost won him the day, as the Fatal Five were forced on the run again and their hideout was trashed during the heat of battle. During the next round of elections for the primus inter pares of the Legion, Tharok struck accompanied only by Validus, teleporting Saturn Girl and Mon-El against their will to a barren planet where he planned to kill them both, hoping to repeat the stratagem of knocking off the Legion's leadership candidates as many times as necessary until the Legion was whittled down to nothing or made too demoralized to continue operations. However, Mon-El defeated Tharok by tricking Validus into sizzling the cyborg villain, melting his cybernetic half into useless slag and nearly killing his biological half as well. Still not completely recovered from his prior defeat, Tharok concocted a new plan concerning the whole Fatal Five. Using a device called a Time-Sorter, the Five would introduce changes to history to retroactively erase the Legion from existence, concealing the device in 20th Century Smallville after the Emerald Empress and Persuader scouted the area for a suitable hiding place and successfully defeated and captured ex-Legionnaire Superboy. The team of Legionnaires sent after the Empress and Persuader, consisting of Brainiac 5, Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, Chameleon Boy, and Element Lad, were cut off from the 30th century when the Time-Sorter's effects became felt in that era, but they succeeded in duping the Empress and the Persuader into revealing the device's location by having Cham impersonate Mano and revived Superboy in the process. With the Time-Sorter destroyed, its effects on the future were undone. Tharok, Validus, and Mano suffered the indignity of being caught when the brig of Legion HQ coincidentally materialized back around them, while the Emerald Empress and the Persuader escaped into the timestream to evade capture. Tharok's cybernetic half was later subjected to extensive repairs upon his resumed incarceration in Takron-Galtos, in order to preserve his life so he could serve his sentence in full. However, the Legion kept confiscated parts from the computer-half of Tharok's brain as a trophy in their HQ. The telepathic resonance between Tharok's psychic residue within these loose components and the mind of the bestial Validus drew the monster to Earth to attack Legion HQ solo. Although Validus was repelled and the computerized brain components were destroyed, long-time Legionnaire and one-time Legion chairman Invisible Kid laid down his life to secure victory. The Emerald Empress briefly struck out on her own out of dissatisfaction with Tharok's leadership and impatience to reclaim the throne of Venegar. Her solo plans were still interfered with by the Legion, but she managed to get away regardless. By her next appearance, she was once more affiliated with the Fatal Five.
The Fatal Five's next spree of debauchery involved the theft of toxic chemicals from planet Zeffro, android components from planet Rerel, circuit-boards from Imsk, and half the landmass of planet Cyrem. Along the way, Duplicate Boy of the Heroes of Lallor tried to stop them and was mauled by the Persuader for his efforts, left at death's door in an Imskian medical facility. In retaliation, the Legion of Super-Heroes dispatched Superboy, Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet, Colossal Boy, Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Light Lass, and Sun Boy to track the Fatal Five down and recapture them. Brainy deduced that the Five had molded the landmass from Cyrem that Validus had torn loose into an artificial moon, in stationary orbit behind the largest of Cyrem's other 6 moons. The Legionnaires landed on the planetoid and did battle with the criminals, capturing Empress, Persuader, and Mano. Afterwards, the Legionnaires realized that the Five had not absconded with any of their stolen materials to facilitate future terrorist attacks against the United Planets, but rather to furnish their temporary surroundings with personal comforts until they found the right opportunity to strike back at the U.P. With their base uncovered and seized by the LSH, that plan came to an abortive end. Fortunately, Duplicate Boy made a full recovery thanks to Saturn Girl, who thought to psychically force Duplicate Boy to duplicate Superboy's exceptional recuperative capabilities.
The Fatal Five returned in typically grandiose form, threatening the annihilation of an entire backwater planet and all its people for the sake of their petty greed. From a heavily weaponized starship, Tharok artificially stimulated a sun to go nova, in order so Mordan, a planet in close orbit to the sun's corona, would be converted by superheating and external technological manipulation into pure Energite. The Energite would then be sold to any faction on the galactic black market willing to pay, in order to finance the Fatal Five's future criminal enterprises. The U.P. ordered the LSH to supervise the effort to rapidly evacuate the entire sentient population of the planet in quickly produced space-arks for resettlement as refugees elsewhere, and while there was no significant loss of life by some miracle, Mordan itself was destroyed. The Legion were hindered in their attempts to save the planet by the Fatal Five, but the Legion won a bittersweet victory over them in the end, as while Mordan was incinerated by the nova, the Legion tricked Tharok into missing the right opportunity to prime his equipment for the Energite-conversion process. The Fatal Five were all defeated and rounded up by the Legionnaires, but Tharok managed his team's escape by faking their deaths in the self-destruct sequence of their ship.
Under cover of the ship's detonation, the Fatal Five teleported to the planet Corvan IV, which was inhabited by a primitive race when the criminals first discovered it. Acting in an oddly altruistic manner, the Five shared their advanced technology with the Corvanians to jumpstart radical social progress and improvements in living conditions. In gratitude, the Corvanians willingly and autonomously elevated the Fatal Five to a position of rulership over their planet. With a power base of their own on an unincorporated world, the Fatal Five seized the opportunity to send a delegation to the United Planets for recognition and U.P. membership status. Earthgov President Kandro Boltax sent a team of Legionnaires consisting of Superboy, Element Lad, and Colossal Boy to assess Corvan's suitability for incorporation, disregarding the Fatal Five's criminal background. The Legion commission toured the planet with the Five's blessings and determined with impartial objectivity that Corvan's membership application to the U.P. should be rejected, for reasons that the rapid introduction of off-world tech was causing social upheaval in the form of culture shock among the planetary natives. Their rejection caused the Fatal Five to resume hostilities against the Legion, until the Corvanian population themselves intervened in the battle. The Corvanian representative explained much of what the Legion had warned of was true and renounced the Fatal Five's technology and rule so that their culture could progress independently. The Fatal Five reluctantly accepted their subjects' decision and ceased their combat with their Legionnaire adversaries. The Fatal Five then teleported away to parts unknown.
At a later date, Tharok was confronted by his fully-human clone, The Dark Man, whose very existence had the effect of inducing chronic headaches in Tharok. The Dark Man coerced Tharok into directing the Fatal Five to launch strategic attacks on several isolated groups of Legionnaires and capture them to be executed by the Dark Man himself, but Saturn Girl managed to telepathically influence Tharok into releasing them. The Legion and the Fatal Five then called a truce to unite against the Dark Man, and both Tharok and the Dark Man appeared to perish in an explosion caused by the clash between two equal yet oppositional forces. The rest of the Fatal Five were then arrested by the Legionnaires.
The Fatal Five would go on to menace the Legion of Super-Heroes on countless other occasions and earn a place in the annals of super-villainy for all time.
- Any number of ingenious hi-tech devices created by Tharok
- Any number of ingenious hi-tech vehicles created by Tharok
- 49 Appearances of Fatal Five (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 4 Images that include Fatal Five (Pre-Zero Hour)
- Team Gallery: Fatal Five (Pre-Zero Hour)
Links and References
- Adventure Comics #352
- Adventure Comics #353
- Adventure Comics #365
- Adventure Comics #366
- Adventure Comics #378
- Superboy #190
- Superboy #198
- Superboy #203
- Superboy #215
- Superboy #219
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #231
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #246
- Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #247
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #269
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #270
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2) #271
|Legion of Super-Heroes Villain(s)|
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