The Universo Project
|"The Universo Project"|
|Publication date||March – June 1987|
|Title(s)||Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #32-35|
|Main character(s)||Legion of Super-Heroes
"The Universo Project" is a story arc that was published by DC Comics, and presented in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #32-35 (March–June 1987). It was written by Paul Levitz and pencilled by Greg LaRocque. In the story arc, the supervillain Universo manages to enthrall everyone of Earth, conquering the planet — leaving only four members of the Legion of Super-Heroes with any chance of defeating him.
Legion of Super-Heroes co-founder Saturn Girl — who recently resigned to spend time with her family — awakens to find herself in the barracks of a work farm on an unfamiliar planet. Everyone that she finds there is mind-blocked and controlled, restrictions that she was able to break due to her mental abilities as a native of Titan. Additionally, she soon realizes that the workers imprisoned with her are all superheroes or Science Police officers. Among them are three of her fellow Legionnaires: Chameleon Boy, Dream Girl and Brainiac 5. After several days have passed, she manages to break the mental blocks on her teammates. Meanwhile, Mon-El, Ultra Boy and Blok accompany United Planets Ambassador Relnic on a diplomatic mission to extend the treaty with the Dominators. They are shocked when they are greeted by warships. On Tellus' watery homeworld Hykraius, he and teammates Wildfire, Quislet and the White Witch search for Xanthu's missing champion, Atmos. They are soon attacked by the Gil'Dishpan criminal Zymyr. On Earth, the planetary government seizes control of Legion Headquarters, on the orders of Earth President Mojai Desai. No one is aware that Desai is under the mental control of the Legion's longtime enemy, Universo. The villain is pleased that he has taken complete control of Earth, even though it he apparently killed his son Rond Vidar to ensure that his plan would succeed.
In space, the Dominators are convinced that Relnic and the U.P. officials are not interested in diplomacy, and open fire on his ship. The attack is repelled by Mon-El, Ultra Boy and Blok, but then Relnic’s ship inexplicably begins to fire on them. On Earth, Universo — who has been posing as presidential aide Vid-Gupta — continues to manipulate President Desai. Meanwhile, the Legionnaires on the work farm planet manage to counteract the chemicals which have kept the heroes under mental control. The heroes — which include Gas Girl (of the Heroes of Lallor) and Atmos — destroy the robotic machines which have helped to keep them imprisoned. Using their respective powers, they escape the planet, with the Legionnaires determined to locate their unknown jailer.
On Hykraius, Zymyr manages to capture Wildfire, Quislet, Tellus and the White Witch. He then advises Universo, with whom he has been conspiring, that his plan to isolate “the most dangerous Legionnaires” off-planet is failing. Universo is confident that he can handle any of them should they reach Earth. Meanwhile, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Dream Girl and Brainiac 5 reach Naltor, Dream Girl's homeworld. The High Seer informs then that Earth has disbanded the Legion and shut down almost all communication with other planets. The four Legionnaires attempt to return to Earth in disguise via mass transit, but Chameleon Boy is detected and the group is forced to steal a cruiser. Upon reaching orbit over Earth, they are attacked by the Science Police and the cruiser crashes. The Legionnaires realize that they are now outlaws on Earth. Remembering the last time that the entire Legion was turned into outlaws, the four of them finally deduce that the mastermind behind their current predicament is the same person who conquered Earth and disbanded the Legion once before: Universo.
After probing the mind of a Science Police officer, the Legionnaires learn that Universo managed to put Earth's populace to sleep at once, making them susceptible to suggestion. President Desai blamed the phenomenon on an alien sleeping plague, and began instituting changes which eventually resulted in the disbanding of the Legion and the isolation of Earth. Convinced that Desai is really Universo, the Legionnaires storm the Presidential Palace in Metropolis. Upon finding him, they realize that he is a just a pawn, and has been enthralled like the others. When a group of their hypnotized teammates attack, Chameleon Boy, Dream Girl and Brainiac 5 fend them off. Eventually, they are overwhelmed by their comrades' superior numbers and defeated. Meanwhile, Saturn Girl searches for Universo on her own. After consulting Former President Marte Allon (Colossal Boy's mother), Saturn Girl correctly determines that Universo has been posing as Vid-Gupta. Although the villain is using Mon-El and Ultra Boy as his personal bodyguards, Saturn Girl is able to mentally overwhelm them -- and eventually Universo as well. She seizes his hypnotic medallion, the key to freeing the others from his mental control. Later, President Desai revokes all regulations and presidential edicts issued while under Universo's control. The Legion reforms, and Saturn Girl returns to active duty.
In the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis miniseries, most of the Legion's original continuity has been restored. However, events occurring after the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series have not. Thus, "The Universo Project" saga — published a year after Crisis — is currently viewed as non-canonical.
- All three of the founding Legionnaires resigned from active duty in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #12 (July 1985).
- After Atmos was reported missing, the government of Xanthu ordered Star Boy to replace him as planetary champion. – Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #28 (November 1986)
- Rond Vidar is immune to Universo's powers of super-hypnotism. – Adventure Comics #360 (September 1967)
- Brainiac 5 was notified about Rond Vidar's supposed death in Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #30 (January 1987). However, it was later revealed that Rond is a member of the Green Lantern Corps, and that his power ring allowed him to survive Universo's attempt upon his life. – Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 3, #49-50 (August–September 1988)
- Chameleon Boy theorized that he, Dream Girl, Saturn Girl, and Brainiac 5 were sent to the unknown planet because they were the "smartest Legionnaires."
- Years earlier, Universo enthralled and conquered the people of Earth while disguised as President Kandro Boltax. – Adventure Comics #359-360 (August–September 1967)
- The restoration of the original continuity was confirmed in the "Lightning Saga" and "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story arcs.