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Bouncing Boy of the Legion of super-heroes (DC Comics)

Bouncing Boy


Context

Bouncing Boy is one of the classic (first appearance in 1961) secondary characters of DC Comics’ Legion of Super Heroes. His power is visually distinctive, if unabashedly goofy.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a sort of super-heroic youths club in the spaceships-and-lasers future of the XXXth century, and was originally a naïve and very Silver Age  setting.


Background

  • Real Name: Chuck Taine
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Known Relatives: Luornu Durgo Taine (wife), unnamed but still living parents
  • Group Affiliation: Legion of Super-Heroes (reserve member), Legion of Substitute Heroes II
  • Base Of Operations: 30th century, formerly the Legion Academy on Earth at Montauk Point; now the United Planets Militia Academy on Xolnar
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 227 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Chuck can expand his body, balloon-like, at will. In this soft, spongy form, Bouncing Boy can rebound his body off of surfaces with expert ease (in DC Heroes RPG terms, Jumping). While in mid-bounce, he is protected from electrical charges and shocks since he is not grounded (Electrical Immunity).

While his rubberized body does not feel pain from normal bounce impact (Skin Armor), he is not invulnerable to harm. Sufficient force can cause him pain. Still, his expert agility and extreme resilience make him a bounding, bouncing dervish on the battlefield.

When on the defensive he bounces rapidly all over the place in seemingly random patterns, becoming an extremely difficult target (Acrobatics/Dodging). In his inflated form, he often executes Charging attacks (using his APs of Jumping as EV), often combining this with a Multi-Attack to literally bowl over the opposition.

This makes him far more effective in physical combat than many would expect.

Skills

In addition to his powers, Chuck is well-versed in strategy and tactics and is a skilled combat instructor (Martial Arts, Military Science, Weaponry, Expertise). His jocular personality, bravery, and heroism make him an effective leader (Charisma/Persuasion, Leadership).

He also retains the right to wear a Legion Flight Ring, though he stops wearing it at some point during the Five Year Gap.


History

While working as an errand boy for a famous scientist, Chuck was sent to the Science Council to deliver a super-plastic fluid. Enroute, Chuck yielded to temptation and went to a robot gladiator tournament. Excited by the event, Chuck accidentally mistook his soda-pop bottle for the lab-bottle and ended up drinking the super-plastic fluid by mistake.

His body immediately expanded within the stretchable fiber of his clothing and he took on the appearance of a balloon. After accidentally disrupting the tournament, Chuck went for a check-up at the hospital. The medics concluded that he could mentally will his power to work and that his bouncing ability would be permanent.

Application

As Bouncing Boy, Chuck applied for membership on September 5, 2973. It was a particularly unlucky time to apply, as the other applicants were Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Brainiac 5 and Supergirl. The latter two were accepted and Chuck, like Violet and Sun Boy, was rejected, his power deemed impractical.

Chuck further embarrassed himself a few days later when he intercepted an advertising missile message. He had believed it to be a bomb.

Several months after being rejected, Chuck used his power of super-bouncing to save Saturn Girl from an electrical crook that had stolen an invaluable healing urn from the Museum of Medical Wonders. Chuck was protected from the paralyzing charge because, while bouncing, he was not grounded.

Cosmic Boy admitted that he was wrong in calling the power impractical. Bouncing Boy was sworn into the Legion of Super-Heroes in a ceremony outside the clubhouse, on August 30, 2974.

Super-Heroes

Bouncing Boy quickly distinguished himself as a member on several cases, despite his limited power levels. During the Legion’s battle with the Legion of Super-Monsters, the Legionnaires drew lots to determine who would face Jungle King, the Monster Master, in single combat.

Bouncing Boy won the right to go. He defeated the Earthquake Beast, the most powerful of Jungle King’s monsters.

Bouncing Boy bouncing away

Bouncing Boy’s “permanent” powers, however, did not last. His ricocheting accuracy compromised by his exuberant nature, he accidentally bounced into and activated a matter-shrinking projector. The beam robbed him of his super-power and resulted in his being forced to step down from active duty, on December 14, 2975.

Due to his proven worthiness as a Legionnaire, he was made the first member of the Legion Reserve.

Reservist

Chuck still assisted the Legion from time to time, notably in its battle against Computo in April 2977.

Bouncing Boy bouncing ahead

The next year, Chuck was kidnapped by Sugyn of the Devil’s Dozen and taken to Tartarus. There, Dr. Zan Orbal recreated the original super-plastic formula and Chuck became Bouncing Boy once more, taking part in the Legion’s battle against the Devil’s Dozen and Prince Evillo.

At the conclusion of that affair he was re-admitted to the team, on March 31, 2978.

I’d like to thank the Academy…

During this second stint with the team, Chuck begins spending time with Duo Damsel, gently wooing her. He also, perhaps as a result of his bout of powerlessness, is greatly interested in the Legion Academy, which opens in October of 2978.

He is one of the Legionnaires to take full advantage of the Academy’s faculties, taking classes in tactics, strategy, and self-defense. He does well enough to serve as self-defense class substitute trainer at the Academy when Karate Kid in unavailable.

In 2979, after suspecting Colossal Boy’s motives while Gim was being retrained at the Academy, Bouncing Boy investigated the situation and discovered that Gim was taking illegal notes and stealing top secret manuals on Legion training procedures. He acted as prosecutor at Colossal Boy’s trial.

But he also continued to investigate the situation even after Colossal Boy was expelled, finding evidence that eventually led to Colossal Boy’s exoneration and the Legion’s successful break-up of Tarik the Mute’s School for Super-Villains.

Marriage

But three years after regaining his powers, they faded again for no apparent reason. This was especially disheartening, as it occurred right after his greatest triumph – a solo victory over the super-villain Hunter.

But the optimistic Chuck turned this to his advantage, and proposed marriage to Duo Damsel, also suffering a power loss, with whom he had become very close. The two married, resigned from the Legion, and settled on the icy world of Wondil IX.

Bouncing Boy dodges an alien diplodocus

Although both later regained their powers and helped the Legion on several cases during and after the Earthwar, they decided not to rejoin the Legion permanently, retaining Reserve membership.

Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel really found their niche when they became instructors at the Legion Academy, demonstrating to new heroes how teamwork, quick-thinking, and courage could make great heroes out of the weakest powers.

Xolnar

When increasing hostility from Earthgov and a lack of funding led to the closure of the Legion Academy, the couple was tapped by one of the United Planets greatest generals, King Jonn of Pasnic, to become Co-Instructor Generals of the newly-opened United Planets Militia Academy on Xolnar.

Along with many of their former Legion Academy students, they began training meta-powered beings to become soldiers and special operatives (militia, ground forces, as opposed to operating within the UP Starfleet where there powers would be wasted). These helped stiffen the UP’s resistance to invasion by the Khund Empire.

His marriage to Duo Damsel has occasionally been strained by the infidelities of one of her bodies, which had been affected by radiation from the superhero Namlor of Ikros. Apparently that was the body killed during a battle with the Time Trapper (or Glorith, depending on the timeline).

The second body has recently returned, but appears to be faithful this time, her encounter with death sobering her somewhat. The other Luornu has no doubt that she is married to one of the bravest, kindest, most heroic men to have ever worn a Legion Flight Ring.


Description

Chuck’s a man of unimpressive appearance, portly and not very tall. He’s even less impressive when dressed in his costume, which is basically black pants and a blue shirt with a white stripe around his belly, as if he’s trying to highlight his girth.

He’s least impressive of all when using his powers, as his body swells and alters into a round, balloon-like appearance, sometimes with stubby arms and legs projecting out from it. But he typically is smiling and joking and has a great deal of likeability.

He has black hair, blue eyes, and in his later years as an Instructor General at the UP Militia Academy, he sports a beard.


Personality

Chuck is a kind and helpful guy and has a good sense of humor. He has often been called the happiest Legionnaire and often functioned as a self-appointed morale officer, his clowning helping to release tension and keep the other Legionnaires balanced.

He can, at times, become over-excited and easily distracted, especially about sporting events like Moopsball or Robot Gladiators.

Early in his tenure, Chuck had some feelings of inadequacy and a desire to prove himself, which he did many times. Chuck is courageous and law-abiding, and despite his silly, happy-go-lucky exterior, he has a sharp mind.

Like a rock

He’s also capable of being gentle and serious when someone is really upset. At his best he uses a combination of humor, outrageousness, or compassion and good listening skills to help his friends and his students deal with pressure and perform at their best.

Chuck’s love for his wife Luornu is deep and abiding. He’s out-going and extroverted, but goes to her when he is discouraged and needs recharging. He may boost the morale of the team he is with, but she boosts his morale – so to speak. He’s basically living the dream of the nice-but-dorky non-jock guy, and he knows it.


Quotes

“Look at them run ! I guess they never saw super-bouncing before !”

“Hi, gang ! Your regular teacher, Karate Kid, is off duty today, so I hopped down to show you some real fighting !”

“Recruit ! This is no parlor game ! Keep your mind on what you’re doing, or I’ll bounce you out of here !”

Mysa Nal (crying): “Oh, come on, Chuck, this isn’t going to work…you can’t weave a spell like this…”
Chuck Taine: “The White Witch could ! And damn it ! The White Witch is still inside you, Mysa !…Your powers don’t come from your ingredients, they come from your heart.”

(While watching Luornu kiss Valor on the cheek)
Bouncing Boy: “Huh !”
Shadow Lass: “Well, I never !”
Bouncing Boy: “NEVER ?! Oh, ma chérie, we shall correct zat ! While zey carry on zeir tawdry affair, you and I, we weel run euff togezher !”
Shadow Lass: “Oh, Chuck ! Yes ! Yes ! Kiss me, you mad fool !”
Bouncing Boy: “Oh, smooch-smooch-smooch !”
Luornu: “…please…”


DC Universe History

Chuck already exists in the post Zero Hour universe (but not, so far, in the “Teenage Revolution” Legion currently being published) as an unpowered architect for the Legion. His stats would be different in a number of particulars, though his winning personality and his skill with angles and thrown objects are the same.

You may notice that the fluid the pre-Crisis Chuck drank to gain his bouncing abilities is probably related to the gingold extract that gives Elongated Man his powers. So if you want Chuck to be powered, you might consider going the full Stretching and Self-Manipulation route (Self-Manipulation allowing him to use a “bouncing boy” form for travel, Charging, and nostalgia) – possibly making him into a post-Crisis Elastic Lad.

But of course, a lot of Bouncing Boy’s charm comes from his dorky name and powers. So if you want a 30th century timeline that is as close as possible to the Pre-boot and Pre-Crisis reality, but still consistent with the modern-day DCU, then I suggest using the “New Kids in Town” story (from Superman’s animated series) for inspiration.

The most essential missing element of the pre-Crisis Legion is Clark Kent in the Legion, even if he was never a Superboy in the 20th century. Have the LSH meet a teenage Clark Kent and invite him to the 30th century to become a Legionnaire, even if it’s only honorary.

With that in place, the Legion’s pre-Crisis history can be as intact as you want, with the caveat always in place that inconsistencies are due to imaginary stories or chronicler’s errors – or even 30th century cartoons.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Bouncing Boy

Dex: 08 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Instructor General, U.P. Militia Academy
Inf: 04 Aur: 06 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 020 HP: 060

Powers:
Acrobatics (Dodging): 10, Electrical Immunity: 04, Jumping: 07, Skin Armor: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Acrobatics (Dodging) is a Powered Skill (-1 FC)
  • Electrical Immunity is only when Chuck is bouncing through the air and not grounded – as such it can be bypassed with a +2 CS Trick Shot (-1 FC)
  • All powers (including Acrobatics/Dodging) are Derived from Jumping (-1 FC each)

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion): 05, Martial Artist: 05, Military Science: 05, Vehicles: 04, Weaponry: 05

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Xolnar), Credentials (UP Militia, High), Expansive HQ (formerly Legion Academy, now UP Militia Academy), Expertise (combat and powers training), Popularity (as a Legionnaire)

Connections:
Legion of Super-Heroes (High), Legion Reserve (High), UP Militia (High), Science Police (Low), R.J. Brande (Low), UP Council (Low)

Drawbacks:
Alter Ego (Controllable), Married (to Duo Damsel, 0 pts), Public Identity, Miscellaneous: Bouncing Boy has a very distinctive appearance in his powered form, looking like a human-sized beach ball or balloon, with a tiny round head, arms, and vestigial feet attached. This causes him no penalties in combat or character interaction, but makes it clear that he’s unusual, and for those familiar with him, they’ll know who he is and that he’s using his powers.

Equipment:
LSH Flight Ring – see the Legion Equipment write-up for details. As a Reservist, Bouncing Boy retains the right to wear and use a Flight Ring. If he’s called in to help the Legion, he will also have access to Telepathic Earplugs and Legion Transuits.


Previous Stats

During most of his career, he had Credentials (Science Police-High) and a High level Connection with the SPs. He lacked his UP Militia Credentials and Connection and his Area Knowledge of Xolnar.


White Men Can’t Jump

If Chuck’s Powers are Neutralized, he loses his Alter Ego until his powers are recovered. Since all Powers (including Acrobatics) are Derived from Jumping, the OV/RV of attempts to Neutralize is only 07/07 – lower than any other Legionnaire, which is why he loses his powers more often than anybody else.

(Well, it’s really that writers didn’t want to deal with him, but whatever works….)

In his non-bouncing Alter Ego, Chuck has the following stats:

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Instructor General, U.P. Militia Academy
Inf: 04 Aur: 06 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 018 HP: 060

Note:
Though Chuck in DCH terms has no Powers in this form, he’s still vulnerable to having Jumping Neutralized, which would deny him access to his Alter Ego.

Both forms share the same Skills, Advantages, Connections, etc.


Design Notes

This writeup harmonizes the Pre-Crisis and Pre-Zero Hour (Five Year Gap) versions of the character, which are basically identical anyway. I’ve also used Alter Ego for his powers, rather than giving him a mangled version of Stretching or Shape Change like his published writeups from Mayfair used.

In previous Mayfair writeups, BB could also use his APs of Skin Armour or Shape Change to break grapples. I chose not to represent it, b/c I’ve never seen him use his powers that way – it struck me as an attempt to make his powers just that bit more useful. But I think they’re useful enough as is – if silly looking. 🙂


By Chris Cottingham

Helper(s): Chaim Mattis Keller’s Legion Help File, the Silver Age Legion site (defunct), Who’s Who v.3 (May 1985), Who’s Who in the Legion v.1 (April 1988), Michael Andrew, John Colagioia

Source of Character: DCU (Pre-Crisis and Pre-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes)

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