Shadow Lass currently stars in the ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes series since the DC Universe was rebooted with the new 52. Tasmia and her teammates are presently fighting a villainous Daxamite and a group of Controllers on the planet of Panoptes. She was particularly vital in subduing the Daxamite while Mon-El battled him directly, as she provided confusion in the form of darkness to which Mon-El was relatively accustomed (as their previous relationship hinted at).
Tasmia Mallor is the latest in a line of hereditary shadow champions of her desert homeworld of Talok VIII, as were her ancestors before her for the past thousand years. Tasmia possesses the blue skin and pointed ears typical of her race, and as the Talokian champion she has the power to create and manipulate darkness. Tasmia is well adapted to the harsh desert terrain of Talok VIII and has kept very true to her people's beliefs and rituals, training hard from an early age to assert her family's power and status among her people.
She and her younger cousin Grev Mallor received their powers from their ancestors, whose spirits reside in a mysterious and forbidden cave beneath the surface of the planet. When they entered the cavern their ancestors spoke to them, casting a pitch black cloud which acted on their genetic heritage and unleashed their powers. Tasmia's 20th-century ancestors Lydea Mallor (Darkstar) and Lyrissa Mallor were also shadow champions, as well as members of the interstellar police force called L.E.G.I.O.N. As Shadow Lass, Tasmia has continued that tradition as a member of the 30th-century Legion of Super-Heroes.
Shadow Lass was created in 1968 by writer Jim Shooter and Curt Swan. She became the Legion's eighth female member and the 24th Legionnaire overall. Though her 20th century Talokian ancestors Lydea and Lyrissa predate her in DC's timeline by a thousand years, Shadow Lass was the first of her race to actually make an appearance in comics.
Original Continuity: New Earth
When the team of super-villains known as the Fatal Five attacked and conquered Talok VIII, Tasmia was off-world and unable to defend her people. But she seized the opportunity to request the aid of the Legion of Super-Heroes and led them to her homeworld. The Legion made Tasmia a temporary Legionnaire during the ensuing battle, and together they defeated the Fatal Five. Afterward Tasmia was offered full membership into the Legion and she accepted, taking the code name of Shadow Lass. She became the first Legionnaire in history to win membership directly through battle. Tasmia's cousin Grev, who also wielded the shadow power thanks to his bloodline, went on to join the Legion Academy as Shadow Kid, though he was aware that he could never join the team while Tasmia was an active member, due to a Legion rule prohibiting members with the same powers. Both cousins hoped that Grev's training at the Academy would give him the skills necessary to protect their homeworld during Tasmia's absence.
Tasmia's first costume in original continuity was essentially a dark blue bathing suit with a cape. Like many Legionnaires she underwent a sexy makeover in the 1970's, adopting a revealing black bikini-like outfit with gold accessories -- a tiara, bracelets, and an "S"-shaped logo just below her navel.
Five Year Gap: New Earth
Tasmia went on to wander the galaxy with her husband Lar Gand. Their marriage was rocky for many years despite their strong feelings for each other and Tasmia went into mourning when Gand died. Tasmia resigns from the Legion, returning home to become a nun, she spend years in isolation. Her mourning came to end when Gand returned from dead. He was briefly inhabited by the Time Trapper's essence, but return normal. The couple is reunited, then the timestream changed by come events of the Zero Hour. Time changed as young Lar Gand (Valor) made his way to Earth and had heroic adventures there before being put into the Phantom Zone. When young Lar dies in the past, this cause Mon-El in future and Shadow Lass to forget one another, but she felt still felt some toward to Gand even if he didn't feel the same toward her. Later when people started vanishing due to Zero Hour, a fate she and Gand avoided by using each other as anchors to reality. But when a stray blast during the battle against Mordru and Glorith soon afterward made it too painful to concentrate on staying extant, she vanished and Valor shortly followed.
In the 1980's Shadow Lass's costume became more conservative, consisting of black tights and a cape, though still with a hint of sexiness due to a revealing 'cleavage window' on her chest.
Tasmia Mallor was the latest in a long line of Shadow Champions of Talok VIII. At birth she was taken from her mother, the then-current Champion, in a bid to ensure that no single accident or attack could ever claim both of them, and saw her only seven times during her lifetime, all at solemn ceremonies in which they were forbidden to speak. As she grew up, she was raised by priests and was trained in combat and drilled in the order of her bloodline. She loved it. Finally, one day, her mother was killed in battle and she was brought before the leaders of Talok VIII's twelve tribes - the only time they would ever congregate peacefully - before entering the Shadow Cave, where she met the spirits of her mother and the other prior Champions. After they chastised her for never wondering how her mother died, she took to heart their counsel to protect Talok VIII (but not their warning against egocentrism) and they told her to Go In Power. On leaving the cave, she found the inhabitants of Talok VIII on their knees, waiting for a sign - which she provided when she let the Shadows loose. After that, she became the Champion, using her position to give orders to leaders and priests, all in maintenance of the Old Ways.
This lasted until the ship came. The United Planets ship came in peace, proselytizing the benefits of U.P. membership. Sent to greet the "invaders," she understood none of it , and she set about dismantling the "hideous" ship and crew. Despite their best efforts, she caused an explosion that caused the ship's landing gear to collapse. After that, the priests (who had already been harboring doubts about the "zealot") kept her drugged until UP entry negotiations were complete. Profoundly disturbed by the cultural influx and Talok's "captitulance,"she was eventually "dismissed" and told to study the galaxy to "open her mind."
Umbra's costume drew on the character's earlier and sexier 1970's look, consisting of a skimpy black bikini with a revealing open 'slash' pattern, long black boots and gloves, and a cape. Curiously, she also wore a metal codpiece on the crotch of her costume.
Legion continuity was rebooted yet again (referred to by fans as the "threeboot") in a new reality, officially designated as Earth-Prime. Not much was revealed about Tasmia's past in the continuity, except that she loved being in the Legion of Super-Heroes. She was dating Ultra Boy and asked Karate Kid to help him when Ultra Boy had trouble with controlling his powers. She had mistakenly thought that Ultra Boy was interested in Supergirl. When she and other Legionnaires visited her homeworld of Talok VIII, they were surprised of the favor that she demanded of her people, including a large banquet in her honor. She explained that it was because that she didn't want to look aloof (by not accepting such gifts). She had a friendly rivalry with her brother Grev Mallor.
The Earth-Prime Shadow Lass wore a variation of the character's black tights and cape costume from the 1980's, though the cleavage window was replaced with an even more revealing open V-neck that plunged all the way to her navel.
Retroboot: New Earth
Tasmia storyline picks up before Five Year Later, she is among the group of Legionnaires who help Superman defeat the villainous Justice League of Earth. During the Justice League of Earth's xenophobic reign, Night Girl and Shadow Lass worked with Timber Wolf and Lightning Lass to help thousands of extraterrestrials escape Earth to their home planets via an "underground" interstellar portal zone. Shady also debuts a reworked version of her classic 1970's bikini in the Action Comics arc, and uses her shadow-casting powers in tandem with Night Girl's only-in-darkness super strength. Shadow Lass along with fellow Legionnaires Phantom Girl and Lightning Lass, rescue Mon-El from the Phantom Zone, where he had been imprisoned by Earth Man and the villainous Justice League of Earth. Upon leaving the Zone, Mon-El once again suffers the effects of lead poisoning, but as in the past, is inoculated with an antidote created by Brainiac 5.
Major Story Arcs
Original Continuity: New Earth
Romance and Tragedy
Shortly after joining the Legion, Shadow Lass became romantically involved with a teammate, the Daxamite Mon-El (also known as Lar Gand). The two went on to become one of the Legion's most enduring couples. Eventually they married after Mon-El was mortally wounded fighting the Time Trapper as part of a major conspiracy to avenge Superboy's death at the Trapper's hands. Mon-El recovered, but the marriage was rocky for many years despite their strong feelings for each other.
Mon-El was later killed in action, and Shadow Lass went into mourning. Her grief was brought to an end after Mon-El seemingly returned from the dead. However, it turned out that he was now inhabited by the Time Trapper's essence. A cataclysmic battle then erased the Trapper from existence and completely rewrote reality, causing Shadow Lass to lose her husband yet again.
Tasmia eventually made her way to Earth, and entered the Legion tryouts and was accepted as Umbra, although her curt attitude irritated Sensor. As part of the Legion, she fought Mordru, and later played a key part in saving Wildfire - despite, after her initial fierce compassion, being disgusted at the thought of the forcible integration of his two original souls. Far later, the Blight enslaved most of Earth, including all but a few of the Legionnaires. Umbra was not among these escapees. When she was freed, she began to have a mental breakdown, prompted not only by the fact of her enslavement and what she'd been forced to do, but by the fact that the Blight's touching of her mind had meant that she'd enjoyed it. Shortly thereafter, she became one of the Legionnaires lost through a space rift and catapulted into another galaxy. There, she became harder and colder than ever in lieu of breaking down completely and showing the fear that now guided her, while the voices of her ancestors from the shadow became faint and hard to understand.
Then Saturn Girl tried to telepathically calm her, and it all went wrong - a telepathic matrix over a whole planet interfered with her powers, and the result left Saturn Girl in a coma, a shadow-creature fueled by Umbra and Saturn Girl's combined pain and fear loose on the ship - and an Umbra completely without pain or anxiety, leaving only anger and arrogant self-confidence. She went down to the planet, where she began to fight Singularity (a Superman-like being), for whom the telepathic illusion which had caused the trouble was being maintained (to keep him from causing trouble on his race's real planet). When Ultra Boy and Monstress went down to get her, she began to fight them too. Finally, she was knocked out by Singularity while the Legion, having captured the shadow-creature and realized what it was, knocked out the illusion causing Singularity to go looking for his original planet. Then Brainiac 5 managed to restore Umbra and Saturn Girl's minds, and Umbra finally broke down in a crying heap.
After this she finally began to heal from everything that had happened to her - until, after they managed to return to UP space, her power mysteriously cut out. To find out what had happened, she finally returned to Talok VIII for the first time since her dismissal. There she found a planet completely cloaked in shadow, and a shadow which knocked her out. Shadow Maven, one of the priests who had trained her, found her and told her that after her loss in the rift, they had believed her dead and managed to empower her "distant cousin Grev" with the shadows through the use of technology, and had him cloak the planet completely, withdrawing from the United Planets.
Angry at the thought that just as she had accepted the galaxy Talok had turned away from it, she went to confront Grev. The shadow gradually leeched back to her, until she split open the suit Grev used to control the shadow - and found a withered corpse inside, as he had been unable to withstand being a conduit for the Shadow, while the suit ran on its last programmed directives. She cast the shadow-cloak from the planet, and spent some time there before returning to the Legion.
Retroboot: New Earth
Affair with Earth-Man
At the start of current continuity Shadow Lass appeared to have broken up with Mon-El, with no reason truly given. Tasmia's close friend Phantom Girl later caught Tasmia in bed with the reformed xenophobe Earth-Man. When Tasmia found out that Mon-El was chosen to be a Green Lantern, she felt a bit uneasy about it. However Mon-El told her that even though his part of the Corp, the Legion and Earth will always be his family. Earth-Man was later killed in action, and by the end of the latest Legion title it appeared that Tasmia and Mon-El were taking steps to patch up their relationship.
Powers and Abilities
Shadow Lass is able to tap into an unknown and ancient connection to the source of darkness in the universe. She received the gift when she visited the ancient spirits of her ancestral caves. The intense darkness that she creates can engulf large areas of space almost instantly, causing an absolute absence of light which very few (like Sensor Girl) can penetrate with their vision. Shadow Lass is able to control the shape of her darkness, from a large amorphous cloud to a tight beam of concentrated shadows. Those trapped within her darkness become disoriented and deprived of their senses, driving many enemies to the point of experiencing rampant fear and helplessness. Shadow Lass is completely immune to the effects of the darkness she generates and is able to see perfectly through it.
Shadow Lass is a superb athlete and hand-to-hand combatant who learned great fighting skill from her native people as their chosen champion. After joining the Legion, Tasmia's fighting skill grew even more formidable after she trained with martial arts master Karate Kid and other Legionnaires.
As a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Shadow Lass possesses a Legion Flight Ring. The ring gives its wearer the ability to fly, the speed and range of which is determined by the wearer's willpower. It also acts as a long-range communicator (enabling constant vocal contact with other Legionnaires, even across vast distances of space), a signal device, and a navigational compass, all powered by a micro-computer built inside the ring.
Elseworlds: Superboy's Legion
Shadow Lass appeared as a member of Legion in Superboy's Legion, an Elseworlds story. In this reality it was revealed that her darkness powers were magic-based. Shadow Lass wore a skimpy costume reminiscent of her 1970's bikini-like uniform from original continuity. Series artist Alan Davis drew her with no pupils to add to her exotic appearance.
Justice League Unlimited
An animated version of Shadow Lass had a non-speaking appearance in the episode Far From Home, which featured several members of the JLU traveling to the 31st century and encountering the Legion of Super-Heroes. Her costume was a more modest version of the 1970's bikini-like uniform that she wore in original comic book continuity.
Citing her exotic blue skin and penchant for revealing outfits, Shadow Lass was ranked 18th in Comic Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list. She was the sexiest of five Legionnaires to make the list, beating out teammates Duplicate Girl, Lightning Lass, Saturn Girl, and Phantom Girl.