|First appearance||Action Comics #267
|Created by||Jerry Siegel
|Alter ego||Reep Daggle|
|Place of origin||Durla|
|Team affiliations||Legion of Super-Heroes|
Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle), also known as Chameleon, is a DC Comics superhero, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th and 31st centuries. He first appeared in Action Comics #267 (August 1960).
Fictional character biography
Reep Daggle is from the planet Durla, where everyone has the power to change their physical form. He has orange skin, pointed ears and antennae, and has no hair in his usual humanoid form, although both his name and usual shape were forced on him by Earthgov's immigrations officers. In pre-Zero Hour continuity, he was the son of Legion financer R. J. Brande, who was revealed to be a Durlan who had become frozen in human form after contracting a disease. and a female Durlan named Zhay  Reep did not learn that Brande was his father for many years (Brande's name was originally revealed to be Ren Daggle, but later altered after the Crisis storyline). Reep and his twin sibling Liggt were raised by their maternal aunt Ji, until he and his brother were forced to battle to the death for the Durlan Right of Survival, which Reep won. Growing into his teens, Reep began to understand that Durlans with their protean abilities generally were not trusted and were otherwise ill treated among humans. Reep decided that he should counter this attitude by providing a positive example of his species as a superhero. To do so, he applied for membership in the Legion, and the organization was pleased to recruit him in sympathy with his social aims. Chameleon Boy was also an exceptional detective; his deductive prowess coupled with his shapeshifting abilities led to his being named the permanent head of the Legion's Espionage Squad.
Chameleon Boy was sentenced to incarceration on the prison world Takron-Galtos for his espionage activities against the Khunds, which almost led to war. He was released after his heroics against rogue Daxamite Ol-Vir in the Great Darkness Saga. During his incarceration, he was forced to wear binders on his antennae that canceled his shape-shifting powers, although he regained them a few months later when father and son reconciled in a pilgrimage to Durla to visit a sacred temple which regenerated lost shape-shifting abilities. Following the dissolution of the Legion after volume 3, bored by running Brande Industries, (for his wandering father) "Cham" became the primary force behind the reassembly of the Legion in volume 4.
During the "Five Year Gap" following the Magic Wars, Earth fell under the covert control of the Dominators and withdrew from the United Planets. A few years later, the members of the Dominators' highly classified "Batch SW6" escaped captivity. Originally, Batch SW6 appeared to be a group of teenage Legionnaire clones, created from samples apparently taken just prior to Ferro Lad's death at the hands of the Sun-Eater. Later, they were revealed to be time-paradox duplicates, every bit as legitimate as their older counterparts. However, this version of Chameleon Boy was killed in battle (along with SW6's Princess Projectra and Karate Kid) fighting Dominion troops.
Zero Hour Reboot
Post-Zero Hour, Reep was known simply as 'Chameleon' and was not related to R. J. Brande. This time, he was the son of Durla's spiritual leader and heir to that title. During his first year of service with the Legion, his father and many of Durla's priesthood were slaughtered by the Composite Man, a mutant Durlan able to copy innate abilities as well as appearance. The Durlan people would repeatedly attempt to get Reep to assume his father's position, but Reep steadfastly refused, believing he served his people better as part of the Legion. Originally he did not speak Interlac (the universal language of the 30th century) and Invisible Kid had to translate. After learning the language, he feigned continued difficulty as a part of a sting operation against President Chu, organized by Invisible Kid's Espionage Squad. Once this was completed, he abandoned the ruse. He was the secret admirer of Spark, and they later began a relationship. He also maintained close friendships with Invisible Kid, Leviathan (until his death) and Sensor.
In the 2005 reimagining/reboot of the Legion, the character was still referred to as Chameleon, but is now portrayed as a completely androgynous (non-gender specific) humanoid. Chameleon still has the power to change into any form at will, but the character's revised origin has yet to be revealed, although Jeyra Entinn, a female Titanian and telepath, squeezed out of his mind the image of a childhood ambiguously described as filled with prejudices which left him driven to achieve results as a detective and a Legionnaire as a way to achieve a better image for all Durlans. He is still a master detective and proficient not only in Interlac but in many aspects of life in the United Planets. He is currently able to mimic only the superficial appearance of people or animals, though duplication of most metahuman abilities is beyond his capacity; purely physical powers, however, are in his grasp (for example he can gain a dog's sense of smell and the infrared vision of an exotic beast, but not the heat vision or the superstrength of Superman). He can also mimic complex machinery and use his shapeshifting abilities as an ersatz healing factor, both evidenced when Brainiac 5 convinced him to morph his hand into an advanced alien item he had seen and cut it off with a sharp knife, leaving Chameleon with some degree of pain, but able to rebuild a new hand out of his remaining mass.
A minor difference to prior versions of the character is that his default form does not usually have visible antennae, although he produces them to analyze unfamiliar objects.
The events of the Infinite Crisis miniseries have apparently restored a close analogue of the Pre-Crisis 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. Chameleon Boy is included in their number, but is considered "missing."
It is finally revealed in Superman (vol. 1) #696 that Chameleon Boy has been posing as Control, a young woman that assists in running the Science Police in the 21st Century. He is found by the Guardian in rubble beneath the Science Police station, half way between both forms. After he wakes up, he is attacked by General Lane before he escapes with the help of Quislet.
Powers and abilities
Chameleon Boy has the same shape-shifting ability that is innate among all his people. They can take the form of any object or organism their body can 'scan' with their antennae and morph into it within seconds. Reep is able to shift into forms both larger and smaller than he is, creating or disregarding mass at whim. He can also elongate parts of his body with this excess mass creation, as well as rearrange his internal organs and tissue such as his eyes, nose, heart, etc. He is a skilled voice imitator to go along with his disguises. Because of these feats he is considered one of the most powerful and versatile Durlan shape-shifters.
In other media
Chameleon appeared in an episode of the Superman animated series with Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy titled "New Kids in Town". He was voiced by Jason Priestley. He later appeared in an episode of Justice League Unlimited titled "Far From Home".
He appears in the second season of Legion of Super Heroes, voiced by Alexander Polinsky. In this series, Chameleon Boy is characterized as a generally humorous and wise-cracking character, similar to Beast Boy in the Teen Titans series, although he can be serious if necessary, and is prepared to defy Legion rules if he thinks they are unjust. Also like Beast Boy, he appears to be younger than his comic book counterpart and mostly turns into animals. In his first appearance he commented "My dad's rich, remember?" and later episodes confirmed that this was a reference to R. J. Brande.
As a boy, comic writer Peter Hogan liked the design aesthetic of Chameleon Boy. When he and artist Steve Parkhouse were creating Resident Alien, Hogan specifically requested Parkhouse base the main character's appearance on the DC hero.
- Jimenez, Phil (2008). "Chameleon". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 77. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
- Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #3, March 1981.
- Legion of Super-Heroes #263, May 1980.
- Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1, January 1981.
- Robinson, James (w), Chang, Bernard ,, Pina, Javier (a). "Man of Valor, Part Three" Superman (comic book) 696 (March 2010), DC Comics
- Hickey, Patrick Jr (March 23, 2013), "Review Fix Exclusive: Interview With ‘Resident Alien’ Creator Peter Hogan," Review Fix (accessed March 29, 2016)