Chemical King is the name of two fictional characters in the DC Comics universe. The first was Mr. Lambert, who was murdered by Alfred Stryker in Detective Comics #27. The second character named Chemical King is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century.
Fictional character biography
Chemical King was born Condo Arlik on the planet Phlon (though some sources state he is from the planet Valdow). He is a mutant with power to act as a human catalyst; he can slow down or speed up chemical reactions.
Chemical King's name is first mentioned in an Adult Legion story in Adventure Comics #354, where it is engraved on a memorial statue. The actual statue is not seen. It was said in this story that Chemical King had died sacrificing his life to prevent World War VII. The adult Legion stories were believed to be true glimpses of the Legion's future, but it is revealed years later that they belong to a different possible timeline.
In Chemical King's full debut (Adventure Comics #371), he is a member of the Legion Academy and works undercover to infiltrate the Legion of Super-Villains. After graduating alongside Timber Wolf, he becomes a full Legion member in Adventure Comics #372 (September 1968). Chemical King appears in few subsequent stories afterwards Plagued with self-doubts over the relative usefulness of his powers, he dies in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #228 (June 1977), when he sacrifices his life to stop Deregon, a Dark Circle agent and the governor of Australia, from starting World War VII, thus fulfilling the prophecy of his first posthumous appearance.
Later the sorcerer Mordru resurrected Chemical King along with millions of other corpses as part of a plan to conquer the universe. The "zombie" Chemical King displayed limited imagination with his abilities, igniting pockets of methane gas and starting fires. He was readily disposed of.
Post Zero Hour
In post-Zero Hour continuity, he first appears in Legionnaires #59 (April 1998) then again in issue #64 (September 1998). He is not a Legionnaire, but instead works as a reporter. It is hinted that he is in a relationship with Lyle Norg, Invisible Kid (the relationship is confirmed in his entry in the DC Comics Encyclopedia). This version of the character has dark skin, instead of the Caucasian skin of the pre-Zero Hour version.
The events of the Infinite Crisis miniseries have apparently restored a close analogue of the Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Legion to continuity, as seen in "The Lightning Saga" story arc in Justice League of America and Justice Society of America, and in the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story arc in Action Comics. However, a series of Legionnaire statues shown in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #5 did not include Chemical King, and his membership in this version of the team has yet to be confirmed.
Powers and abilities
Chemical King is a mutant with the power to act as a human catalyst. He can speed up or slow down any chemical reaction; for example, he can cause iron to rapidly rust, or even burst into flames from rapid oxidation. His powers can affect the chemical reactions in the human body, rendering an opponent unconscious from shock, but take several seconds and can only focus on a single opponent at a time. Late in his career, Chemical King displayed the ability to change energy reaction rates as well, causing batteries to drain of power and force fields to decay. As the final act before his death, he used his powers to alter and absorb vast amounts of radiation capable of paralyzing Superboy.
Chemical King appears in the second (2007-2008) season of the current animated Legion TV series, in the episode "Dark Victory, part 1", as part of a crowd of Legionaires.
- Superboy #205 (December 1974)
- Batman #238, (January 1972)
- Legion of Super-Heroes #300 (June 1983)