- I'd hate to break every bone in your body without you knowing who did it.
- — Mon-El src
Lar Gand, known variously as Mon-El and Valor, is a superhero from the planet Daxam.
Exploring the galaxy, he landed on Krypton, but was immediately warned by Jor-El of the planet's imminent destruction and was given a map to Earth. He then went into suspended animation. After a few years, he landed on Earth and met Superboy. Although Gand suffered from amnesia upon landing on Earth, he and Superboy became good friends. Under Earth's yellow sun, he had powers like those of Superman; this led Superboy to believe that Gand might be his heretofore unknown long-lost brother. Superboy named the amnesiac alien "Mon-El": "Mon" because he landed on Earth on a Monday, and "El" for Superboy's own Kryptonian family name. Monel is also a metallic alloy, an appropriate name for the brother of the man (or boy) of steel.
Mon-El moved into the Kent home and created his own human secret identity (Bob Cobb) to integrate into Superboy's hometown of Smallville; when in alien garb, he accompanied Superboy on his heroic feats. However, when Mon-El failed to experience pain during an unnoticed inadvertent exposure to kryptonite (which is radioactively poisonous to all Kryptonians), Superboy suspected Mon-El was deliberately pretending to be a Kryptonian for some nefarious purpose. Understandably infuriated over what he believed to be a deliberate manipulation of his desire for ties to his original Kryptonian family, Superboy created a fake kryptonite meteorite made of lead and, when Mon-El was debilitated in his presence, Superboy believed his reaction to be proof of deception. However, Mon-El turned out to be in genuine pain because, in a remarkable piece of irony, Daxamites are highly sensitive to lead, even more so than Kryptonians are to kryptonite; whereas Kryptonians can recover from kryptonite poisoning if removed from exposure in time, even a small amount of lead exposure causes fatal, irreversible poisoning to Daxamites. Having regained his memories of meeting Jor-El and of his true nature, "Mon-El" was dying, so a guilt-ridden Superboy transported him into the extradimensional Phantom Zone until a cure could be found. Gand spent one thousand years as a poisoned, insubstantial, telepathic phantom, able to watch everything that happened in the outside world, but unable to affect it in the slightest.
In the 30th century, Saturn Girl created a temporary antidote to this poisoning allowing him to be released from the Zone for brief periods of time. During this period, he was considered an honorary Legionnaire. Brainiac 5 soon created a permanent antidote, based on Saturn Girl's serum, with the addition of Kryptonite.
After passing his Legion test (including inventing flight ring metal) under the name "Marvel Lad", Lar Gand then joined the Legion of Super-Heroes, using the "Mon-El" moniker Superboy had given him. During this time, he was considered one of the Legion's big 3 (along with Superboy and Ultra Boy). In fact, his Daxamite abilities coupled with his immunity to the effects of Kryptonite and lead (and later, red solar radiation) made him the most powerful of all the Legionnaires. He served two terms as leader. Many years later, he married fellow Legionnaire Shadow Lass, with whom he had a long romantic relationship.
Early in his Legion career, Mon-El apparently died after failing to take a dose of Brainiac 5's anti-lead serum in a timely fashion. Eltro Gand, a distant descendant of Mon-El's older brother, sacrificed his life force to restore Mon-El to life.
Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Gand's history was unchanged, except that his encounter with Superboy took place in a Pocket Universe created by the Time Trapper, a mysterious being living at the end of the universe, as Superboy had been removed from Superman's continuity (The Trapper stated that Mon-El is his creation  and implies Gand was of the Pocket Universe though it had been earlier stated the Pocket Universe had been "pruned" down to two inhabited planets, Krypton & Earth meaning that Daxam had been wiped out by the Trapper.)
During the Magic Wars which destroyed much of the technology throughout the United Planets, Mon-El seemingly died of injuries inflicted by the Time Trapper. Five years later, the Trapper revives him, hoping to use the Daxamite's body to preserve his own waning existence. However, Brainiac 5 discovered that Eltro Gand had not died years earlier, but had merely imbued his personality over that of Lar Gand. The Trapper's actions had separated the Lar and Eltro personalities, leaving both present within Mon-El's mind, with Lar as the dominant personality. In order to prevent the Trapper from further manipulating events throughout history, Lar kills him. The Trapper's death wipes Superboy's pocket universe out of existence, and fundamentally alters the timeline. Although it is largely restored, the Trapper's role and powers are usurped by his onetime underling Glorith, and Lar Gand is recast as "Valor".
In the new "Glorithverse" reality, Lar Gand replaced the non-existent Superboy as the Legion's inspiration. Lar Gand would enjoy a heroic career in the 20th century as "Valor," stopping the second Dominator-led invasion of Earth, freeing thousands of humans who had been experimented on by the Dominators and seeding them on a series of worlds between Dominion space and Earth as a "buffer zone" to prevent future invasions. These colonists had gained metahuman powers due to the experiments and would (in 1,000 years time), evolve into many of the worlds that would join the United Planets. After completing this task and an indefinite number of other 20th-century ventures, he would be placed in the Bgztl Buffer Zone by the time sorceress Glorith, to be rescued by the Legion in the 30th century. But none of these great 20th century adventures had occurred yet in the modern DCU.
Gand left L.E.G.I.O.N after a disagreement and traveled to Earth. He played a significant part in the "Eclipso: The Darkness Within" event, in which Superman gave him the name "Valor". His adventures began with Lar as an adventurous young man exploring the universe in a spaceship with a sentient A.I. called Babbage, encountering various aliens and civilizations.
Glorith had continued altering the timeline, inadvertently recreating the original Time Trapper in the process. Travelling back to when Lar Gand was a young man in another attempt to win his affection, she accidentally caused his death. Attempting to undo the damage this caused history, she called forth a duplicate Valor from the Legion's time (a second version of Valor created by the Time Trapper) to take his other self's place, "patched" into the 20th century timeline by Waverider. He was tasked with completing Valor's legendary feats such as stopping the Dominators' second invasion of Earth and seeding the U.P. worlds so that 30th century history would play out as it was supposed to. But history was playing out much earlier than it was supposed to which led to some changes in Valor's exploits. This was one of the many destabilization of the timestream that eventually led to Zero Hour.
Following Infinite Crisis The Legion Of Super-Heroes was once again rebooted this time back to its Pre-Zero hour lineup. After Infinite Crisis Mon-El was heavily retconned due the now Xenophobic nature of Daxam and its Residents. Bal Gand a female Daxamite visited earth during the height of the Inca culture, there she had a child with a Human Man but soon left to avoid her child from being seen as an apparent demi-god. Bal Gand later programmed her ship so that if Daxam and its xenophobia ever came to be an issue for the child it could leave Daxam for earth. Generations later Lar Gand found his suppressed instinct to escape eventually got the better of him and left Daxam and its isolated society behind in his ancestors ship.
Powers and Abilities
- Daxamite Physiology: In a solar system with a "yellow" sun, the average Daxamite possesses powers similar to those of a Kryptonian:
- Solar Energy Absorption: Under optimal conditions, this is the main source of their super powers as they are contingent upon exposure to solar radiation from a yellow sun star system. Their biological make up includes a number of organs which lack analogues in humans and whose functions are unknown. It is believed that between one or more of these and their bio-cellular matrix, "yellow" solar energy is stored for later use. This allows for the use of these powers to fade when yellow solar radiation is not available instead of immediate failure.
- Heat Vision: Daxamites can, as a conscious act, fire beams of intense heat at a target by looking at it. Typically, the power is seen as two beams of red light emanating from the eyes. These beams can be made invisible, allowing the power to be undetectable. The maximum temperature of their heat vision is said to be around that of a nuclear detonation. They can also consciously determine the area affected, down to the microscopic level.
- Super-Hearing: Daxamite hearing is sensitive enough to hear any sound at any volume or pitch. With skill, practice, and concentration, they can block out ambient sounds to focus on a specific source or frequency. As such, they can identify a person by their heartbeat, or pick out a single voice in an entire city.
- Enhanced Vision: Daxamite vision processes the entire electromagnetic spectrum as well as allowing vast control over selective perception and focus.
This umbrella ability includes the following:
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Vision: Daxamite can see well into most of the electromagnetic spectrum. They can see and identify radio and television signals as well as all other broadcast or transmitted frequencies. Using this ability, they can avoid detection by radar or satellite monitoring methods. This also allows them to see the aura generated by living thing.
- Telescopic Vision: This is the ability to see something at a great distance, without violating the laws of physics. Though limited, the exact extent of the ability is undetermined. In function, it is similar to the zoom lens on a camera.
- X-Ray Vision: This is the ability to see through any volume of matter except lead. Daxamites can see things behind a solid, opaque object as if it were not there. They can focus this ability to "peel back" layers of an object, allowing hidden image or inner workings to be observed. The exact type of energy perceived—such as x-rays, cosmic rays, or some other energy invisible to normal humans—is unclear. This ability perceives an ambient energy source though, it does not involve the eye projecting a concentrated, possibly toxic, beam to be reflected back from objects.
- Microscopic Vision: This is the ability to see extremely small objects and images down to the atomic level.
- Infrared Vision: Daxamites can see with better acuity in darkness, and to a degree in total darkness.
- Flight: Daxamites are able to manipulate graviton particles, in an unknown and apparently unconscious manner, to defy the forces of gravity. Under one Earth gravity, they are capable of speeds of multi-Mach speeds in Earth's atmosphere. Their control of their flight is very precise and they can perform aerobatic feats such as hovering, flying backwards and even lifting great weights while flying.
- Invulnerability: The bodies of Daxamites are nigh-invulnerable to extreme energy forces. In addition, their immune systems protects them from toxins and diseases. The most common explanations for this rely on the presences of a super-dense molecular structure, a supercharged bio-electric aura which acts as an invisible force field, or a combination of the two. A byproduct of the aura is that items close to the skin share their invulnerability. Using clothing as an example, loose fitting fabric would tend to shred or burn in adverse conditions, but skin tight outfits would not.
- Superhuman Stamina: Daxamites have the ability to maintain continuous strenuous physical action for an indefinite period of time. In theory they have unlimited stamina as their enhanced nourishment is produced from the yellow solar energy their cells process, which also provides the majority of the power for their superhuman abilities. However, their base physical structures do need to process food stuffs and they have a psychological need to eat and drink just as Earth humans do. They also require sleep on occasion so that they can dream. They can also hold their breath for an indefinite period of time.
- Superhuman Strength: A Daxamite develops enhanced physical strength after absorbing a sufficient amount of yellow solar radiation. This radiation interacts with the greater than human density, resilience and biological efficiency of their musculature to trigger superhuman levels. While the exact magnitude of their strength is unknown, it is generally accepted that it is sufficient to lift 100,000 tons or more. The specific range is unknown as a their strength, like their other powers, may fluctuate over time. Their strength is also more an act of conscious will on energy fields than actual physical strength. It is this act of conscious will that enables them to perform physical feats that are beyond the mere application force, such as moving a mountain top without said rock crumbling under its own mass. At full power, their normal strength levels are well into the multi-megaton range.
- Superhuman Speed: Daxamites are able to move at incredible speeds by sheer force of will. They can match most other speedsters in super-fast movements, reactions, and processes. They can use this power to disarm opponents without heightened reflexes, catch bullets or shrapnel or cross vast distances in seconds.
This also confers:
- Super-Breath: Daxamites are able to create hurricane force winds by exhaling air from their lungs. They can chill the air as it leaves their lungs to freeze targets in a variation sometimes called "freeze" or "arctic breath". They can also reverse the process and pull large volumes of air or vapor into their lungs.
- Longevity: Daxamites can live longer than regular humans, remaining at their prime as long as they was under the exposure of the "yellow" sun.
- Vision Limitation: Mon-El's x-ray vision cannot penetrate lead or lead-lined walls. It also cannot penetrate inertron, the most indestructible substance in the 30th century universe. The heat of his x-ray vision cannot melt lead, unless it is a very thin lining.
- Vulnerability to Magic: Mon-El is also vulnerable to magic.
- Vulnerability to Lead(Formerly): Unlike Kryptonians, whose super-powers are driven from them by the radioactive remnants of their home world, a Daxamite's major weakness is his vulnerability to lead, which does not exist on their planet. Another difference is that, while Green Kryptonite can eventually kill Kryptonians after prolonged exposure, once it is removed the pain eases and the Kryptonian's strength and powers eventually return to him/her. For Mon-El, any exposure to lead causes pain and weakness permanently, even after he is taken to safety. Before a cure was found, Mon-El had to stay in the Phantom Zone, without a corporal body, in order to stay alive. He was only ever able to exit the Zone permanently after Brainiac 5 invented an "anti-lead serum".
- "Superman's Big Brother", in Superman #80 (January–February 1953), introduced a character named Halk Kar—who had a logo-less costume almost identical to Superman's—as a super-powered alien much less powerful than Superman. Halk Kar was essentially the original prototype for Mon-El.
- Superman saved Mon-El from the impending destruction of the Phantom Zone, by the doing of General Zod.
- According to Mon-El, all the prisoners of the Phantom Zone died, except for him, when the Zone started to fall apart and cease to exist. Choosing to die by Superman's side due to lead poisoning, instead of dying alone in the Zone.
- 472 Appearances of Lar Gand (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 50 Images featuring Lar Gand (Pre-Zero Hour)
- 21 Quotations by or about Lar Gand (Pre-Zero Hour)
- Character Gallery: Lar Gand (Pre-Zero Hour)
- Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72
- Superboy #89
- Adventure Comics #300
- Adventure Comics #305
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 3) #52
- Action Comics #384
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4) #4
- Adventures of Superman #444
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 3) #61
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4) #3-4
- Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (Volume 4) #2
- Valor (Volume 1)
- Starman #35
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 3) #1
- Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #4
- Action Comics #874
- Superman: War of the Supermen #4
- Superman #685
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