|First appearance||Justice League International #14 (June 1988)|
|Created by||Keith Giffen (plot, pencil layouts); J.M. DeMatteis (script); Steve Leialoha (pencils); Al Gordon (inks)|
|Alter ego||L-Ron H*bb*rd|
|Team affiliations||Justice League
|Abilities||As Despero: amplified strength, speed, stamina, agility and durability.|
Fictional character history
L-Ron (named after writer L. Ron Hubbard) was originally the robot companion of Manga Khan. At the time Manga Khan also had other robots named after famous figures in science fiction including Commander Sooroo, Captain Krikk (Justice League International #14), Hein-9 (named after Robert A. Heinlein, Justice League International #20) and K-Dikk (named after Philip K. Dick, Justice League International #21) among others. Manga Khan is an intergalactic trader, who in that role appears as a foe of the Justice League in the early 1990s. L-Ron also exhibited different robot forms at this time. Khan damages one of these forms when angered that a JLA team had successfully followed the ship (as they were holding Mister Miracle as a prisoner). L-Ron wasn't too concerned about the damage; he wonders what forms are available in the 'fall line'.
Khan and his forces later trick Mister Miracle into becoming a prisoner of contract, L-Ron is involved in this adventure as well.
L-Ron assists the League in various non-combat roles (mainly administration and maintenance). He annoys many of them by inventing praise-laden salutations when he appears.
Later on, L-Ron's consciousness is transferred into the body of Despero by Kilowog in a desperate attempt to stop the villain's latest rampage. During the "Breakdowns" storyline that ran through Justice League America and Justice League Europe, Despero wakes up in L-Ron's body and attacks the Justice League International including Fire, Ice and Blue Beetle. Despero/L-Ron is defeated when he chases them outside and is shot by a duck hunter.
L-Ron continues to associate with the League, becoming a member of the Justice League Task Force. He works closely with Gypsy, Martian Manhunter and Triumph. Despero's body affects L-Ron, giving him the urge to kill innocents.
Despero's mind temporarily takes over the body again during a battle with Supergirl, but at the end of the fight, L-Ron has resumed control, while the disembodied Despero has disappeared. (Soon thereafter, the Despero mind returns to battle Young Justice, but L-Ron is not present at that time.)
Back in form
Under unknown circumstances, he returns to the form in which he had been sold to the Justice League. He is last seen acting as Maxwell Lord's assistant and liaison with Guy Gardner in the "Super Buddies". Manga attempts to buy him back but is refused. This story reveals he had been romantically involved with a robot known as J-Lo.
During his time with the Super Buddies, several members of the team vanish due to a misunderstanding over the function and form of a mystical artifact. Lord and Sue Dibny speculate on sending L-Ron along the magical path to investigate, an idea he strongly protests. The heroes return safely.
Afterwards L-Ron disappeared into a comics limbo of sorts. Recently he has been seen working with a team of supervillains known as the Robot Renegades. His motives for working with the villains is yet unknown, though he does assist the Metal Men in fighting the Death Metal Men.
In other media
- L-Ron appears in the Young Justice: Invasion episode "Cornered" voiced by Phil LaMarr. This version is a majordomo to Despero helping him attack the Hall of Justice. When Despero's paralysis ability is turned against him by Zatanna acting through Mal Duncan, L-Ron assumes his battle form and goes on the attack. He is ultimately destroyed when Billy Batson jumps on his back and summons his magical lightning.
- L-Ron was going to be Brainiac's assistant in the unmade movie Superman Lives. Chasing Amy star Dwight Ewell was considered a possible choice for voice actor, giving L-Ron a 'gay R2-D2' persona. The unproduced script was written by Dwight's friend and fellow co-star Kevin Smith.
- Justice League International #14 (June, 1988)
- Mister Miracle #13-14 (March–April 1990).
- "Justice League of America" #40 (July 1990)
- Justice League Europe #36 (March 1, 1992)
- Justice League Task Force #13-14 (June–July 1994)
- "Formerly Known as the Justice League" #1-6 (2003)
- "JLA Classified" #4-9 (2004)
- "Metal Men" #2-3 (2007)
- Cinescape Movies: SUPERMAN LIVES, Part 2: Writer Kevin Smith