M. Matter-Eater Lad

2000 Legion of Super-Heroes Pin

2000 Legion of Super-Heroes Pin (Photo credit: JD Hancock)

Matter-Eater Lad, real name Tenzil Kem, was first seen in Adventure Comic #303, December 1963.  He is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  His power is to be able to eat all forms of matter, same as all of the natives of his home planet of Bismoll.

Matter-Eater Lad was the fifteenth member inducted to the Legion of Super-Heroes. He joined soon after Bouncing Boy.  According to Matter-Eater Lad, his people found that microbes had made their food inedible. So they had to evolve their ability to eat all matter as a way to survive.  His big moment came in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #251, when he does the impossible and destroys the indestructible Miracle Machine by eating it.  Doing this left him insane for many years.

The character was revamped, which could be explained as a consequence of his regained sanity, as a free spirit who rebels against his planet’s virtual enslavement of him as a senator by becoming a multi-media celebrity, using his planet’s tax money to finance multiple television shows that allow Tenzil to leave his planet for multiple trips to Earth and other planets for adventure and fun.  Despite these short comings his government still kept him on, with “trust me, I’m a senator” becoming a catch phrase for him.

Post-Crisis Matter-Eater Lad is revealed to have been masquerading as Mon-El’s friend Mitch, an owner of a local cafe. He revealed himself to save a woman trapped in a burning car. This allowed Mon-El to fight the larger threats.  He was also part of a team the was transported back to the 21st century to save the future in the Last Stand of New Krypton storyline.

I have always found Matter-Eater Lad to be a fun character.  Watching him deal with problems by eating them always made me chuckle.  He was created during a time when certain “herbs” were very popular, so it kind of seemed that a natural power to give someone at the time.  Currently there aren’t any immediate plans to make him a continuing character in the New 52.


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  1. #1 by Tony Laplume on April 15, 2013 - 6:05 pm

    You’ve managed to make Matter-Eater Lad sound fascinating. Which is an achievement, because he’s got a terrible name.

    • #2 by pwetzig on April 21, 2013 - 12:26 am

      It wasn’t easy.

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