Matter-Eater Lad always shows up on the “Dumbest Superpower” lists but he is one of the most heroic Legionnaires. He has singlehandedly saved the entire Legion from a concentration camp by creating a tunnel. He has saved the whole universe by eating a machine designed to control all life. The power may be dumb or lame but what you do with the power is all that matters.
"I learned last night that you have to look life in the face. If it has some Hard Knocks for you, stand up and Take ‘Em!” - Matter-Eater Lad*
Microbes on the 30th Century planet Bismoll make all material inedible. The people of Bismoll evolve. The bodies learn to eat and digest any type of matter to survive. Tenzil Kem leaves his home planet to join the Legion of Superheroes as Matter-Eater Lad. Eventually Tenzil will have to leave the Legion because he was drafted into Political Service. On Bismoll young people were drafted into politics not military service. What the Legion doesn’t know is Tenzil’s father has a gambling problem and his mother lives in denial. Tenzil does what he must to take care of himself but at the same time in the service of others. Through it all Matter-Eater Lad would stand up and face an issue.
We all have hard knocks. We all have troubles. The important thing is how we face our troubles or our “hard knocks”. A good message here is that we ALL have our issues. We can wallow in the issues or we can stand up face them and move forward. We can take a lesson from Matter-Eater Lad. First and foremost take care of ourselves and then find away to be of service to others. The best way out of our issues is to step out of the issue and help someone else.
First Appearances: Adventure Comics, #303 (December 1962)
Creators: Jerry Siegal (writer) & John Forte (art)
*Action Comics, The Hapless Hero, #381 (October 1969)