The Substitutes
Season 1, Episode 10
The Substitutes
Air date February 17, 2007
Written by Scott Sonneborn
Directed by Ben Jones
Episode guide
Brain Drain
Chain of Command


It's that time of year again—Legion Auditions! This year's crop is hardly promising, with most hopefuls turning out to be comic duds. But when the Legion is overwhelmed fighting a mysterious foe in Earth's upper atmosphere, a group of rejects takes it upon themselves to save the world below... with outrageous results.


Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:





Outside of the Legion Clubhouse, a banner reads "Auditions Today!" and the line of hopeful applicants snakes around the building. Inside, the Legion watches the applicants perform. First up: Chlorophyll Kid, who takes some seeds from a pocket and causes them to rapidly grow - but the plant starts damaging the gallery in the audition room. Unfortunately, he can only make plants grow fast, he doesn't control them. The Legionnaires are exasperated already, and it's only the first applicant.

The plant takes a bite out of Brainac 5's console, but then Bouncing Boy distracts it so that it eats him. Not to worry, he inflates to super-size and bursts out, downing the plant. Chlorophyll Kid is gently escorted out of the audition chamber. Stone Boy is next - he can turn into a stone statue. The Legion doesn't see a use for that, so next up is Color Kid, who can change the color of things, and then Porcupine Pete. Lightning Lad remembers what happened between the two of them at the pre-tryout workshop, but Bouncing Boy assures him that Pete has passed his prep test with flying colors. Unfortunately, his aim is still off, as he peppers the room with quills. Only Superboy is immune, and everyone else hides behind an inflated Bouncing Boy. Tenzil Kem is next up, and Lightning Lad remembers him from the Galactic Games incident. Kem tells them his super-hero name is Matter-Eater Lad, and he proceeds to live up to his name by eating matter (a bomb that explodes harmlessly inside him). The Legionnaires seem impressed. Star Boy impresses everyone with his powers to make things super-lightweight as well as super-heavy. Infectious Lass takes a hit from her inhaler and throws a disease at Bouncing Boy, who immediately starts to sneeze and cough. Later, the Legion gathers the throng of applicants to announce the two new members: Matter-Eater Lad and Star Boy. In the audience, disappointed, are Antennae Lad, The Mess, Night Girl, Double Header, Breath Boy, Invisible Kid, Fire Lad, Chlorophyll Kid, Infectious Lass, Color Kid, Quake Kid, Polar Boy, Porcupine Pete, and Stone Boy (who is still a statue). After the group has left, the rejects are still hanging around when Bouncing Boy comes out to see them, and tells them that he didn't make it on his first try. Pete brings out his Official Collector's Edition of the Legion Log and reminds Bouncing Boy that it took four times before he made it. He replies that his powers may not seem like much, but it's what you do with them that matters. Brainiac 5 calls all the Legionnaires to the launch bay, there's trouble. As the Legion Cruiser leaves, Chlorophyll Kid says that will be them someday - and Pete says why not now? In near-Earth orbit, some creatures are attacking Earth's ionosphere, and without it, cosmic rays would incinerate the Earth. The newly-enlarged Legion leaves the Cruiser to confront the beasts, and Superman suggests seeing what the new guys can do. Star Boy makes one super-heavy, and it falls right into Matter-Eater Lad's mouth. Mmm, tastes just like chicken! Unfortunately, there's a swarm of the beasts coming.

Porcupine Pete and the rest of the Substitutes in his group (which include Infectious Lass, Stone Boy, Cholorphyll Kid, and Color Kid) ride around New Metropolis in search of bad guys. They stop to patrol, and Pete thanks his mom for driving them. Infectious Lass reports in her official log that their first day fighting evil went well (as she is shown helping a little old lady across the street, who then has to be taken away by ambulance when she gets sick), and everyone used their powers in exciting new ways (Stone Boy tries to stop bank robbers by turning into a statue with his hand held out in the "stop" position, which doesn't work; Chlorophyll Kid helps some firefighters reach a high-rise fire by growing plants to take them higher, but they keep growing and go too high; Color Kid changes a dog's color so he can return a missing dog to its owner, unaware that the dog he changed was someone else's missing pet; Porcupine Pete saves a drowning girl, but she's left riddled with quills). They are congratulating themselves on a good day when Starfinger appears. Starfinger monologues that the world once mocked him, but now he has powers in every finger - he can shoot cold from one, sonic booms from another, etc. He creates little furry creatures who steal purses and float away with a third finger. The Subs confront him - and realize at that point that they have not chosen a name yet - but are quickly taken out. Stone Boy is a statue, and Color Kid realizes that his power is not good defensively. Starfinger grabs the loot and flies off. Meanwhile, out in space, the Legionnaires fight off the atmosphere stealing creatures, and Brainiac 5 tells them that they are not from this or any adjacent dimension, but there seems to be an unlimited supply of them. The Subs track Starfinger to his hideout, which wasn't difficult since they had a long line of his fuzzy creatures to follow. They call Brainiac 5 with the urgent news that they've located Starfinger, but Brainy doesn't think he's all that urgent, calling him a third-rate nuisance and a waste of the Legion's time. While Brainy calls in reinforcements, the Subs use Stone Boy as a battering ram to gain entrance to Starfinger's HQ. He's annoyed - and very over dramatic - and tries to disable the Subs. They are largely ineffective, to say the least. In space, the creatures keep coming, but Brainy has a plan: they'll use a cannon to charge the ionosphere and make it into a giant bug zapper, but there's a 14.349% chance it will incinerate the sky over Western Hemisphere. Unless he can figure out where the creatures are coming from, they might have a better chance. Just then, Stone Boy floats by, carried into space by a bunch of Starfinger's floating fuzzy creatures. As they get higher, they turn into the atmosphere eating creatures.

The Legion reinforcements arrive and help battle the never-ending wave of creatures: Element Lad, Sun Boy, Tyroc, and Blok. Brainy is ready to deploy his ionosphere charger, fearing there are no other options, as radiation levels on the surface are rising, while Stone Boy plummets back to Earth as a meteor. Back in Starfinger's lab, Chlorophyll Kid is urged on by the other Subs, and breaks out the seeds to the same type of venus-flytrap-like plant he showed at the audition earlier. Starfinger escapes, and as he's ready to blast them with all ten fingers, Stone Boy crashes into him. His powers backfire and he's now trapped and tangled up like he tried to do to them. Stone Boy, who speaks for the first time, tells them it wasn't luck, he had to calculate the trajectory manually - but that's not important, he found that the fuzzy creature are what's eating the atmosphere. But they can't remove Starfinger's glove, and they can't contact the Legion. In space, Brainy thinks he has no choice but to shoot, when suddenly Porcupine Pete's mom drives up with them in her car. They convince the Legion that the problem is from Starfinger, and Brainy quickly and simply removes the glove. He attaches it to his ionosphere gun, blasts the creatures away, and reminds the Subs that they saved the world. Back home at the Legion HQ, the Legion tells the Subs that not only did they underestimate Starfinger, but they also underestimated them. Lightning Lad tells them he's looking forward to seeing them at the next audition. The Subs politely decline - they might not be as powerful, but the five of them make a good team, and maybe they could fill in sometime if the Legion isn't too busy. Bouncing Boy replies that it sounds like they're asking to be a Legion of Substitute Heroes. The Subs like the name, and Superman says that they'd be happy to work with the group again. Nothing could ruin that moment for Pete - until his mom shows up, reminding him that it's nap time.


  • This was produced as episode 1.10 but aired as the 9th new episode.
  • Interlac usage: The posters of the missing dogs are not translatable, as they use a mix of Interlac and other characters. The girl lives in apartment 2429.
  • Matter-Eater Lad last appeared in episode Champions. The Subs last appeared in episode Lightning Storm.
  • This is Star Boy's first appearance.
  • This is the first in-story appearance of Sun Boy, Element Lad, Tyroc, and Blok. Shrinking Violet only appears at the end of the episode standing on Blok's shoulder.
  • Rejected applicants do not get a Flight Rings or apparently any other kind of souvenir.
  • This story is loosely adapted from Adventure Comics #306, where a number of rejected applicants band together to fight a menace while the Legion is away. This version of the Subs most resembles that seen in the Legion of Substitute Heroes Special, from which this story draws its tone and humor.
  • In the original stories, the Subs were secretly helping out the Legion, while in this episode they're publicly known to the Legion from the beginning.
  • Starfinger's powers are based on Lars Hanscom, the first Starfinger, while his costume is based on the second Starfinger, Char Burrane. Starfinger's motive, personality, and storyline are new for this episode though.