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Sun-Eaters are artificial life-forms capable of hyper-light speed, which they employ to travel between stars. When they near them, they completely absorb their mass and energy, leaving the stars totally drained.
The only form of natural defense the Sun-Eaters have are their ability to focus absorbed stellar energy in whatever form necessary to overcome a potential threat. For example, when confronting Superboy, one Sun-Eater somehow 'sensed' that it could protect itself by radiating red solar energy.
A Sun-Eater is a living nebula with the ability to drain whole stars of all their energy; this snuffs out the star and causes its solar system to freeze (and all living beings in it to die.) The Sun-Eaters were created by the alien Controllers as a way to destroy entire worlds that they judged to be too "evil." Each Sun-Eater is kept in a dormant state until needed, watched over by a Controller.
The Sun-Eater first appeared in Adventure Comics #352 (Jan. 1967), in a story that took place in the 30th century, the setting of the Legion of Superheroes, by writer Jim Shooter. Its keeper had gone insane and had released it on the Milky Way galaxy unprovoked. To stop the star-sized creature, the Legion actually recruited some of the worst criminals in the Galaxy to help them (these would stay together to form the Fatal Five afterwards.) But in the end, only one way to stop it was found: an "Anti-Energy" bomb would have to be detonated inside its core. Only Superboy was invulnerable enough to deliver the bomb inside, but he was weakened by radiation inside the Sun-Eater (from the red suns it had already consumed.) New Legion member Ferro Lad (introduced in this story), who possesses the power to turn into living steel, could resist going inside the Sun-Eater but not the bomb's explosion. Heroically, he stole the bomb and delivered it anyway, killing himself but destroying the Sun-Eater and saving the Galaxy (Adv. Comics #353.)
Another Sun-Eater appeared in DC Comics Presents #43, in a story set in the 20th century. The space villain Mongul kills a Controller and unleashes his Sun-Eater to destroy Earth in revenge for his defeats by Superman. The Legion travels through time to the present to help him save the world. While Superman fought Mongul, Legion member Wildfire apparently sacrificed himself by exploding his anti-energy body inside the Sun-Eater's core, but he managed to re-form.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, history changed so that the events of neither of these stories happened. Instead, the Sun-Eater's first appearance was now in the Final Night miniseries (1997.) A rogue Sun-Eater destroys several planets, eventually reaching our Solar System and snuffing out the Sun. The heroes of Earth are powerless to stop it, until Parallax sacrifices his powers and life and destroy it and reignite the Sun.
In 2005's The Return of Donna Troy miniseries, it was discovered that a planet called Minosyss hosted a Sun-Eater factory hidden deep inside. One of its Sun-Eaters was used to kill two of the Titans of Myth.
At the end of the Infinite Crisis miniseries (2006-2007) a "junior" Sun-Eater was used by the Green Lantern Corps to keep Superboy-Prime imprisoned inside of it (because of its red-sun radiation).
First Appearance: Adventure Comics (1938) #352
View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Action Comics (1938)
Adventure Comics (1938)
Adventures of Superman (1987)
#477 DC Comics Classics Library (2009)
- 'Phase Four: Death Rekindled'
HC vol. 02 DC Comics Presents (1978)
- 'The Legion of Super-Heroes - The Life and Death of Ferro Lad'
DC Comics Presents: Batman - Blink (2011)
#1 DCU: Legacies (2010)
- 'DC Comics Presents: Batman - Blink'
Final Night (1996)
Legion of Super-Heroes (1989)
#1 Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes (1988)
- 'Five Years Later...'#86
- 'Heart of Iron'
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985)
- 'Starfire I to Syonide'
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