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Phase of L.E.G.I.O.N. / LEGION (DC Comics)

Phase


Context

Phase was one of the main characters in D.C.’s L.E.G.I.O.N., an excellent comic about space super-cops. She appeared in 1989, early in the run (which ended in 1996, though it’s complicated).

Phase was suspiciously similar to Phantom Girl and to Apparition. But what was initially straightforward accidentally became quite intricate…


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Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed (see the Phantom Girl and Apparition writeups).
  • Other Aliases: See the Phantom Girl and Apparition writeups.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed (see the Phantom Girl and Apparition writeups).
  • Known Relatives: Unrevealed (see the Phantom Girl and Apparition writeups).
  • Group Affiliation: L.E.G.I.O.N. (Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network); R.E.B.E.L.S. (Revolutionary Elite Brigade to Eradicate L.E.G.I.O.N. Supremacy).
  • Base Of Operations: L.E.G.I.O.N. HQ in Zalman City on the planet Cairn.
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 106 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Phase has the ability to pass through solid objects and become intangible (in DC Heroes terms, Dispersal). When thus phasing  she’s almost completely impervious to harm. She has such control of her ability that she can solidify only selected portions of her body. This allows her to punch or kick someone while remaining mostly ephemeral.

Her power level is so high that she’s practically impossible to harm, barring a surprise attack. Howbeit she still has to breathe, so she’s also vulnerable to gas attacks and the like.

Phase has learned to wield objects, make them out-of-phase, leave them in an opponent’s body (say, the head, in this case), and release them. This allows the object to solidify and instantly kill her target (Claws). This is rarely if ever done (Marginal).

Another, more modest application of her ability to partially solidify allows her to reach into locks and make them open (Thief — Locks and Safes).

Phase knows how to use firearms and pilot spaceships. She’s an excellent hand-to-hand fighter whose ability to hit while her opponents’ attacks pass through her makes her particularly devastating.


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Jumpin’ timelines, it’s a phase phase phase

Research confirms that Phase originally *was* Phantom Girl, but isn’t any more. She is a victim of several retcons  (retroactive alterations of continuity) which fortunately don’t much affect her game stats. See the special sections below for details.

As part of the editorial decision to focus this writeup on Phase’s appearances in actual L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. stories, I’ve chosen to refer only lightly to her “current” revised history as one third of the Post Zero Hour Legionnaire Apparition. Again, see the special sections.

Retcon, schmetcon

This retcon took place after L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. were cancelled, and thus doesn’t really affect her appearances therein. It was also prior to the return of the Multiverse, which may have an impact.

More to the point, Apparition already has a writeup on WORG (which fans of Phase should refer to). Once Apparition and Phase merge, Phase effectively ceases to exist as a separate character. Apparition’s stats entirely replace hers.

This writeup therefore focuses on Phase while she was a separate character appearing as a major character in a monthly comic book.

The Ghost of Past Futures, part 1

Clear editorial statements and strong in-story evidence indicate that the Pre-Zero Hour Phase was originally Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo) of the Legion of Super-Heroes, from the 30th century.

Technically, this was Phantom Girl II — from the post-Crisis, pre-Zero Hour incarnation of the LSH, as envisioned primarily by Keith Giffen and Tom & Mary Bierbaum. This Phantom Girl’s history was almost identical to that of the pre-Crisis Phantom Girl.

She and her teammates, however, were all the victims of manipulation by the Empress Glorith of Baalduur.

The Ghost of Past Futures, part 2

At the core of Glorith’s plan was the creation of a force powerful enough to prevent her rival, the master sorcerer Mordru, from amassing unstoppable power and conquering the galaxy. Glorith created the LSH by creating the heroic legend of teen-hero Valor (Lar Gand of Daxam) to inspire 30th century youths. She then provided financing in the form of R.J. Brande.

One of the richest men in the galaxy, Brande was also a Durlan from the 20th century. Once part of Vril Dox’s L.E.G.I.O.N., he had been displaced through time by Glorith to the 30th century. His wealth could be used to create a similar organization in this era.

Glorith planned to have the LSH and Mordru confront each other, severely weakening each other. From there she could pick off the survivors and conquer all.

Glorith’s plan went awry when Ultra Boy (Jo Nah), Phantom Girl’s lover, deduced her plan. He arranged for Mordru to confront Glorith before either ever fought the Legionnaires. Glorith and Mordru battled each other to a bloody stalemate. That left the Legion undamaged and strong enough to hold off both would-be conquerors.

The Ghost of Past Futures, part 3

When Glorith eventually learned that Ultra Boy was responsible for her failure, she took her revenge. Her displacement of the Durlan from the 20th century to the 30th had created a chronal imbalance. For some time she used that to create an “Iron Curtain of Time”, preventing Mordru or the LSH from traveling into their own future.

After learning of Ultra Boy’s interference in her plans, she used the energies of the “Iron Curtain” to explosively shift Phantom Girl to the 20th century. She would take the Durlan’s place, only a moment after he’d first vanished. The LSH thought Phantom Girl died in a freak accident, only days before she was due to marry Ultra Boy.

Instead, she appeared on 20th century Cairn in place of the Durlan. Her memories were wiped by the shock of unprotected time travel. Howbeit her sense of justice and heroism were intact, and she joined L.E.G.I.O.N.

Change of Phase, part 1

The shifting timelines  which were the build-up to Zero Hour and the relaunch of the L.E.G.I.O.N. comic into R.E.B.E.L.S. saw Phase retroactively transformed into a different character. She now was Phantom Girl’s previously non-existent cousin Enya Wazzo.

Enya was a mercenary-minded trader with a reputation for driving a very hard bargain, sometimes forcefully. But she was nevertheless close to Tinya and admired her. When Tinya came to Bgztl to buy a wedding dress, she also visited with Enya, who accompanied her on the return trip back to Earth.

Their freighter was destroyed when Glorith attacked. But Glorith’s attack was clumsy and she shifted Enya, not Tinya, to the 20th century to replace the Durlan. Tinya was actually lost in time, but Glorith was unaware of her mistake.

The shock of unprotected time travel wiped out Enya’s memories, and put her in a new situation where her own buried heroism came out. She proved as brave and resourceful as her cousin.

Change of Phase, part 2

During Zero Hour, Jo Nah tracked Enya through time to L.E.G.I.O.N. HQ on Cairn. That was while he was attempting to find Phantom Girl. He recognized Enya and reminded her of her past, theorizing that Glorith had probably meant to send Tinya through time, not Enya.

Jo offered to take Enya back home to the 30th century with him. However, she chose to stay with her friends on Cairn. When L.E.G.I.O.N. went bad, she joined R.E.B.E.L.S..

Enya’s introduction was never credible, even had it not been so abrupt. There were a number of factors that didn’t add up unless Phase were truly Phantom Girl. Such as :

  1. Her possession of a Legion Transuit.
  2. Her instinctive knowledge that she’d never been a criminal (only barely true for Enya).
  3. Her fighting skills and mastery of her power which rivaled Tinya’s, even though Enya never had the advantage of tutelage with Karate Kid.

Change of Phase, part 3

The creation of Enya was a thinly veiled editorial pretext. It had devised to keep Phase out of the “End of an Era” storyline, which wiped the Giffen/Bierbaum LSH from the timeline, and to keep her as an active member of the L.E.G.I.O.N./R.E.B.E.L.S. cast. It’s little wonder that “Enya” lasted barely a year after she was introduced in Zero Hour.

Enya proved to be a short-lived alternate version of Phase. She was quickly retconned out of existence again, telling her friends that discovering her identity and finding out about her past “never happened.”

This made sense. Jo Nah/Ultra Boy and Tinya Wazzo/Phantom Girl had been wiped from the future timeline in “End of an Era”. Thus, there was no such timeline left for Phase to be connected to.

Triplicated!

Eventually, Phase was given a new origin. Once again she was Tinya Wazzo of the Legion of Super-Heroes — but a different Tinya and different LSH. She was now Apparition of the 31st century Legion of Super-Heroes, from the post-Zero Hour timeline.

To be more precise, she was one-third of Apparition, who was born with the power to phase *and* the power to triplicate. See Danielle Mendus’s Apparition writeup for details.

One of Apparition’s three bodies was forced into servitude by the Luck Lords. Later on, it was flung back in time and became Phase. In essence, there were three versions of Phase, each of them retroactively replacing the prior version with a rewritten history. So that as far as L.E.G.I.O.N. was concerned, there was only one.

The three versions are:

  1. Phase I, i.e. Phantom Girl.
  2. Phase II, Enya Wazzo.
  3. Phase III, who was part of Apparition.

When the two met, Phase merged with Apparition. Then she went back to her timeline in the late 30th and early 31st centuries.

A sudden Apparition

Phase III’s origin is little more convincing than Phase II’s. For instance, it still doesn’t explain where her transuit or her combat training (which is far superior to Apparition’s) came from. Moreover, Apparition was notably younger than Phase.

Despite the multiple and conflicting origins, all three versions of Phase have identical stats, appearance, and personality. Thus, they can all be depicted with the one writeup. However Phase III, after merging with Apparition, uses Apparition’s stats. Not those given here.

After the events of Infinite Crisis, it now appears that the Multiverse has returned. Furthermore, a reasonable facsimile of the Pre-Crisis Legion exists again, complete with Phantom Girl. However, Apparition and the post-Zero Hour Legion also still exist on an alternate Earth.

Presumably, Phase was still Apparition, and was transported across dimensions as well as across time when she first appeared on Cairn. So far, none of the new adventures of the Pre-Crisis LSH seem to affect Phase’s background.


History

Phase’s origin is a mystery, both to herself and to her teammates in the Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network (L.E.G.I.O.N.). She appeared from nowhere in L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters on the planet Cairn. Phase popped up right on the spot occupied a moment earlier by the L.E.G.I.O.N. member known only as “the Durlan”.

Neither she nor L.E.G.I.O.N. ever learned what had become of the Durlan. Nor did she have any memories prior to her appearance on Cairn.

Her learned skills were all intact. She had no problem with mathematics, fighting skills, piloting, language (although she had trouble communicating at first, describing the version of Interlac spoken by L.E.G.I.O.N. as “archaic”), etc.. But she had no personal memories prior to the moment she appeared in the Durlan’s place.

Finding herself strangely sympathetic to the L.E.G.I.O.N.’s mission of justice, and with no other prospects, she joined Vril Dox’s L.E.G.I.O.N.. She took the name “Phase” due to her ability to pass through solid objects.

They want you, They want you, They want you as a new recruit

Her poise and ability quickly won her the respect of her new teammates. Even, grudgingly, Vril Dox, who resented her taking the Durlan’s place. After the death of Lyrissa Mallor — for whom Phase had felt an instinctive affinity — Dox even selected Phase as his new second-in-command.

Though she still longed to know her true identity, even telepathic probes failed to uncover any memories. Therefore, Phase dedicated herself to the cause of the L.E.G.I.O.N.. She forged strong friendships with Strata, Stealth, and Telepath. She got along very well with Garryn and Marij’n Bek, Captain Comet, and practically all other L.E.G.I.O.N. operatives.

The exceptions were:

  1. Lobo, who couldn’t terrorize her the way he did others.
  2. Lady Quark, who sometimes felt a rivalry with Phase, and whose regal manner made her reluctant to take orders. Still, the two shared a mutual respect.
  3. Dox, who selected her as his second and respected her, but didn’t like her. Phase for her part worked well with Dox but distrusted him. She was vigilant in trying to protect L.E.G.I.O.N. and L.E.G.I.O.N.naires from the worst of Dox’s excesses.

Pear-shaped

Unfortunately, Phase’s vigilance failed to detect the machinations of Dox’s and Stealth’s son, Lyrl. The megalomaniacal infant genius usurped control of L.E.G.I.O.N. by use of an “enhanced charisma program” originally developed by Vril.

Phase punches Lobo

As the subjects of the enhanced charisma program lost their free will, Vril had been persuaded by the Durlan not to use it. Lyrl secretly revived the project and used it on most of L.E.G.I.O.N.. Thus, hr converted it into a dictatorial organization loyal to him personally.

A few L.E.G.I.O.N.naires (Vril Dox, Phase, Stealth, Strata, Lobo, and Borb Borbb) evaded Lyrl’s brainwashing. Together, they founded the R.E.B.E.L.S. (Revolutionary Elite Brigade to Eradicate L.E.G.I.O.N. Supremacy).

R.E.B.E.L.S., R.E.B.E.L.S.

Over the following months Lyrl Dox’s L.E.G.I.O.N. conquered a number of planets and imposed harsh martial law. But eventually, the R.E.B.E.L.S. brought down Lyrl and regained control of L.E.G.I.O.N.. That was mostly through the efforts of Vril Dox and Captain Comet.

Dox and Stealth retired to take care of Lyrl. Captain Comet took charge of L.E.G.I.O.N., with Phase again taking up her post as Deputy Commander.

A few months later, Phase encountered Apparition of the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes from the 31st century. The two merged, and Phase thus left L.E.G.I.O.N. for the 31st century.


Description

Phase is a fit, attractive woman of average height. She has blue eyes and black hair. When she first appeared on Cairn, her hair was shoulder length and generally arranged in pig tails or a pony tail. To symbolize that she was starting a new life, she cut her hair short not long after joining L.E.G.I.O.N.

Her costume is a mostly black body suit. It comes with white half-boots and white stripes down the outside of each leg, and a white over-tunic. She appeared wearing this outfit.

After joining L.E.G.I.O.N. she had its insignia added over the left breast. This is a yellow hand clutching a golden yellow star, with streams of light radiating out between the fingers, all on a black field.


Personality

Phase is even-tempered, cool and efficient under pressure. Yet she is also likable and easily earns the respect of most L.E.G.I.O.N.naires. Even amnesiac, she is still almost ridiculously self-assured. She fears no one and speaks her mind without hesitation.

She makes an excellent Deputy Commander, able to be either persuasive and warm or commanding and fiery as the situation demands.

Despite the swift ease with which Phase became an integral part of L.E.G.I.O.N., she grieved over the loss of her memory. She wondered if there were people who missed her or shared her abilities, or if she was unique, and alone, in the galaxy.

With no alternatives at hand, she threw herself heart and soul into L.E.G.I.O.N., and made no real attempts at developing a personal life or romantic entanglements.

In the line of duty

Phase adopted the code and Rules of Engagement for L.E.G.I.O.N. officers, including their willingness to use lethal force. This means that Phase, unusually for a Character whose Motivation is Upholding the Good, will kill opponents if necessary. She does not seem to suffer Hero Points  loss for doing so.

She is, however, among L.E.G.I.O.N.’s most pacific members. Phase does not use lethal force except when she deems it necessary to save others. Outside of those occasions, killing will cause her Hero Points loss as per normal.


Quotes

Phase: “It’s what I want more than anything – to know who I am – where I came from…”
Telepath: “Even if it turns out you’re an escaped psychopath – or worse ?”
Phase: “Don’t worry. I don’t know how I know – but I was never anything like that !”

“Honestly, I understand your feelings.”

“L.E.G.I.O.N. is a team. We’re in it together – so let’s do it together !”

Lobo: “Come back here, ya crop-headed ghost !”
Phase: “With pleasure !” (WAPP ! Phase gives him a full-body uppercut that floors him.) “I’ve waited months to be able to teach you the lesson you need — and, boy, are you ever going to learn it NOW !”
Lobo: “THAT is IT ! Total maim-job MAXIMUM MUTILATION !”
Phase: “Moron ! You can’t lay a finger on me !” (BOPP! Phase knocks him ass-over-teakettle.) “ ’Uncle‘ ?”
Lobo: “I’ll ram yer uncle down yer GIZZARD, ya frigid, man-hating SPOOK !”
Phase: “How is it you put it…? ‘Ooh ! Hurt me, sweet thing !‘ “
Lobo: “SLOW STRANGULATION ! AMPUTATION OF THE TORSO ! OWWW ! Stay solid just one stinkin’ second ! Just ONE !”

“Your heart’s in the right place. I trust you. And you’re one of us. L.E.G.I.O.N. owes you — but you owe us, too.”

“You’re all about to learn the consequences of trying to buy time with the lives of the innocent !”


DC Universe History

Despite Infinite Crisis and the return of the Multiverse and the Pre-Crisis Legion, Phase was still presumably Apparition, and was transported across dimensions as well as across time when she first appeared on Cairn.

So far, none of the new adventures of the Pre-Crisis LSH seem to affect Phase’s background. The Luck Lords were recently seen in The Brave and the Bold but as far as I know nothing was said of their connection with Phase/Apparition.

One hook for involving Phase in the current DCU might be finding out why she and the Durlan were switched, who did it, and what finally happened to the Durlan. He apparently only became R.J. Brande in the reality created by Glorith. What happened to him in other timelines is unclear.

Of course, that timeline may now exist again in the new Multiverse. Not that I expect the current regime would ever want to bring it back, but you could in your own game universe.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Phase

Dex: 07 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Deputy Commander of L.E.G.I.O.N.
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 021 HP: 070

Powers:
Claws: 25, Intangibility: 16

Note:
As a presumed Bgztlian, Phase likely has the power to Dimension Travel (at around 7 APs) to and from Bgztl through the Phantom Zone. If so, she doesn’t know it and has never used it.

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Claws are Contingent Upon Intangibility (-1 each). It represents partially solidifying inside an opponent rather than actual Claws, as explained in “Ephemeral Encounter” below.
  • Claws is Catastrophically Marginal and attacks Phase herself as well as her target, unless she uses an Object of Opportunity (which is attacked instead — see below).
  • Intangibility may be Partial (+2 FC).
  • Phase can hit with her full strength and skill (STR, Martial Artist) even when Intangible. But this allows an opponent to make a Trick Shot against her, targeting whatever she’s made solid (hand, foot, etc.). Howbeit, her APs of Intangibility are then added to her RV.
  • Intangibility does not allow Partial Solidification attacks according to the normal rules (-2 FC), even though Phase’s thoughts indicates that she has partially solidified as an attack. These attacks are represented by Claws rather than the Partial Solidification rules.

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion): 06, Martial Artist: 06, Thief (Locks and Safes): 08, Vehicles (Space): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

    Thief (Locks and Safes) is a Powered Skill (-1 FC) and is Contingent Upon Intangibility (-1 FC).

    Advantages:
    Credentials (L.E.G.I.O.N. — High), Expansive Headquarters (L.E.G.I.O.N. central HQ, on Cairn), Languages (Interlac — 20th century dialect, Interlac — 30th century dialect, English), Leadership.

    Connections:
    L.E.G.I.O.N. (High).

    Drawbacks:
    Miscellaneous: Phase has complete amnesia about her life prior to appearing in L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters on the planet Cairn for the first time.

    Equipment:

    • TRANSUIT. See the writeup on www.writeups.org for Legion of Super Heroes equipment. Also note that the Transuit was created using 30th Century technology and the Genius Advantage. Therfore, there is no practical way for it to receive maintenance in the 20th or 21st centuries.
    • Sometimes she uses a L.E.G.I.O.N. blaster pistol [BODY 04, Energy Blast: 07, R#: 03], but this is rare as she has to keep a hand solid to use it.
    • Once, on an espionage mission for Dox, she used a computer disk which could decrypt and download data from the most highly secure installations, but this was a one-off. Such small objects can be carried with her when she phases, though.

    Design notes

    • Earlier iterations of this writeup relied too heavily on Phantom Girl’s stats. This version is re-researched and based purely on what we see in L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S..
    • There aren’t many benchmarks for setting Phase’s APs of Dispersal, as she never encounters anything like Promethium or Inertron which would tell us if she’s as powerful as Phantom Girl. One key incident is the complete ineffectiveness of Mr. Starr’s Energy Blast against her — blasts powerful enough to hurt Strata, Lady Quark, and the Emerald Eye of Ekron have no effect on Phase.
      The meaning of that particular benchmark varies depending on whether or not Energy Blast includes its own Acting Value, as in the official rules (which I’ve not used here). I’ve assumed that Energy Blast does *not* include its own AV. If you disagree, then increase Phase’s Dispersal to 28.
    • Dispersal is the Blood of Heroes version, which chiefly differs from DCH 3rd edition in that it adds to RV but does not add to OV.
    • (The Intangibility Power was later developed to address such issues. The profile originally used 25 APs of Dispersal, for the reasons outlines just above — Ed.)
    • Claws may seem absurdly high. But on the two occasions it has been used it has knocked out or killed the target with one blow. One of those targets was Strata, who is approximately as indestructible as Superman and has about as many HPs as Phase. I experimented with lower APs of Claws and some APs of Sharpness, but even with lots of Sharpness I still needed about 20 APs of Claws. So I went the simpler route.


    Ephemeral Encounter

    Not long after she joined L.E.G.I.O.N., Phase had occasion to try to stop her teammate Strata from killing someone in a berserker rage. Phase’s attempt to stop Strata by partially solidifying inside her caused an unexpected energy feedback which knocked out and injured both Phase and Strata.

    Telepath was on the fringe of the energy feedback and was also knocked unconscious, but woke quickly and was fine. The other two were unconscious longer and required medical care.

    The energy feedback didn’t occur the next time she partially solidified in something (the lock on a safe, this time, which opened when she solidified inside it), which Vril Dox apparently predicted. On a later occasion, though, she demonstrated that this was still a lethal attack, using it to kill a demon by allowing a rock shard to solidify inside his head, killing him instantly.

    Accordingly, I’m treating the explosion which felled Telepath as a Power Complication Subplot. I have only tried to account for the primary attack — the one which took down both Strata and Phase in one attack, and later killed a powerful demon, again in one attack.

    Use of this ability is automatically Killing Combat, and Phase thus very rarely used it (it is Catastrophically Marginal, in fact). It is represented by Claws. This highly potent attack is certain to damage Phase as well as her target, unless she uses an opportune object, allowing it to solidify inside the target instead of using her own body — likely destroying the object instead of harming Phase directly.

By Chris Cottingham.

Helper(s): Dr. Peter S. Piispanen, Danielle Mendus (for the Apparition writeup referenced here), Sébastien Andrivet (subtle reminders to finish, plus the Shadowcat writeup), DC’s Loose Leaf Who’s Who series, Darci, the Mayfair writeup.

Source of Character: DCU (L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S.).

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