Ultra Boy is presently starring in the ongoing Legion of Superheroes series since the rebooted DC universe in the new 52. The Legion is presently fighting a Daxamite and a group of Controllers on the planet of Panoptes.
Jo Nah (his real name was derived from the biblical figure Jonah by his creators) was a young man born on the seedy world of Rimbor. He used to run with a gang called the Emerald Dragons. Jo was traveling in his space-speedster when he was swallowed by an energy-beast. Fortunately, a Galactic Patrol Cruiser saw this and rescued him by slicing the creature open with a ray. Jo escaped, but his body was charged by the radiation of the monster. He discovered that he could see through anything, even lead. Later, he found that the energy could be used for many different powers, but he could only use it for one super-power at a time. He decided to use these abilities to help law enforcement, earning him the name UItra Boy and a recommendation to join the Legion of Super-Heroes. As part of his initiation, Jo traveled with Marla Latham to the 20th century to learn Superboy's secret identity. Upon success, Ultra Boy was inducted into the team.
Ultra Boy was created by Jerry Siegel and Curt Swan.
As a Legionnaire, Ultra Boy proved to be one of their cleverest members. He purposefully planted a criminal record for himself to be expelled by the Legion, so that he could gain the trust of space thieves and then turn around and bring them into custody. Legionnaire Phantom Girl was his biggest defender. The two began a long-term romance shortly thereafter. Ultra Boy often worked alongside Mon-El and Superboy as the Legion's "big three" for their power levels and Jo was once possessed by the spirit of Nero because of it. Years later, Ultra Boy served two terms as Legion leader. Following his stint as leader, Ultra Boy was on the run a second time when he was framed in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, An Ryd. Jo managed to find the real killer, Pulsar Stargrave, but was defeated and believed dead at the hands of the villain. In actuality, Jo had been blown through time. He made his way to the 20th century and attempted to contact Superboy, but the merged the heroes' minds together. They became Reflecto and returned to the 30th century, where the Legion learned of this revelation and returned to the past to save Ultra Boy and Superboy. He campaigned for a third term as Legion leader but became the deputy to Dream Girl. Their leadership styles were incompatible and he resigned from the position.
Five Years Later
Following the Magic Wars, Ultra Boy proposed to Phantom Girl. On the eve of their wedding, her shuttle was destroyed by Glorith and Phantom Girl was believed dead. In mourning, Jo quit the Legion and returned to his homeworld of Rimbor where he founded a smuggling ring. This got the attention of the Dominators, who sent assassins to kill him. They destroyed his home and ring, but Ultra Boy survived and defeated them. He rejoined his former comrades and helped form a new Legion of Super-Heroes on Winath. During a battle with Roxxas, Ultra Boy was struck with a bomb that hurled him once more through time. Stranded centuries in the past, Jo used his wits to build a shuttle that took him to Earth, specifically ancient Egypt. There he was seduced by a Lord of Chaos and ultimately saved and returned home by the Lord of Order Nabu. Jo rejoined the Legion, helping liberate Earth from the Dominators and meeting a younger version of himself among the time-displaced Batch SW6 Legionnaires. The sight of seeing a young Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl together upset the elder Jo. The younger version kept the codename Ultra Boy and helped form a new Legion on New Earth upon Earth's destruction.
Five Years Later / Batch SW6
When Earth fell under the covert control of the Dominators, and withdrew from the United Planets. A few years later, the members of the Dominators' highly classified "Batch SW6" escaped captivity. Originally, Batch SW6 appeared to be a group of teenage Legionnaire clones, created from samples apparently taken just prior to Ferro Lad's death at the hands of the Sun-Eater. Later, they were revealed to be time-paradox duplicates, every bit as legitimate as their older counterparts. After Earth was destroyed in a disaster reminiscent of the destruction of Krypton over a millennium earlier, few dozen surviving cities and their inhabitants reconstituted their world as New Earth.
Reboot / Earth-247
On Earth-247, Jo Nah was once again from seedy Rimbor and a member of the Emerald Dragon street gang. When he flew his space cruiser into a space whale, he was trapped for weeks. The only way for Jo to survive was to eat the meat of the beast, which gave Jo super-powers and allowed him to escape. Once free, Jo decided to try to become a hero. He was enlisted by an Earthman by the name of Leland McCauley to become a member of his Workforce, rivals to the Legion. Despite this status, Ultra Boy became fascinated with Legion member Apparition. After recruiting Live Wire for the Workforce, Jo and Tinya began to date to the disdain of her mother, Winema. During a battle against the White Triangle, Apparition was incinerated in Ultra Boy's invulnerable arms. In mourning, Jo quit the Workforce and aided the Legion covertly before becoming a Legionnaire himself. Days into his Legion membership, Ultra Boy became ill and began having hallucinations. He discovered that Apparition's spirit had survived, tethered to Ultra Boy. She was only visible to Jo and Winema Wazzo, causing other Legionnaires to think Ultra Boy strange and speaking to himself.
Threeboot / Earth-Prime
On Earth-Prime, Ultra Boy was once more a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes which was now a youth rights movement. While his past was unknown, Ultra Boy's mantras were well spoken. He liked to have fun, be a super-hero, and didn't see the harm in things unless they would pose a danger to others. He formerly had a relationship with Light Lass and tried to sleep with Triplicate Girl until he found out he was being strung along for information. He dated Shadow Lass for a time before they decided to part ways and was being trained by Karate Kid to help him focus his many super-powers. This iteration of Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl were never showed to be romantically linked and hardly ever interacted.
Retroboot / New Earth
Infinite Crisis restored the original Legion to continuity, from before the Five Year Gap event. Due to this, Phantom Girl is alive and she and Ultra Boy are still long-standing members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Both were captured early on during Earth-Man's takeover of Earth but were eventually freed.
Major Story Arcs
Five Years Later
Jo as Emerald Dragon
The elder Jo Nah assisted the Khunds in fighting Mordru and learned from Glorith that Phantom Girl may not have been killed but sent through time before leaving again for Rimbor. While on the run, the Legion also travel to Rimbor, where they are captured by Jo in his new guise as the Emerald Dragon and freed by him to help defeat several gangs. A reunion with Mon-el has the Daxamite recall that he worked in the 20th century with a hero named Phase who reminded him of Phantom Girl. Jo took a time bubble to the past to save his girlfriend, only to discover instead that Phase was actually Tinya's cousin, Ella. Defeated, Jo returned to the future just in time for Zero Hour to wipe his reality away. Before it did, Jo merged with his younger counterpart alongside other Legionnaires to reset their timeline.
Reboot / Earth-247
Ultra Boy kissed Saturn Girl
When Ultra Boy and several Legionnaires were stranded in the 20th century, a team up with Deadman left Apparition visible for all to see. Though her intangibility put a strain on their relationship at times, Ultra Boy still loved her and to cement this fact the two were married in a secret ceremony in the past. After merging with Phase, Apparition was restored to physicality and the Ultra lovebirds returned to the 30th century. They were separated twice thereafter, once when Apparition was off-world and Ultra Boy was possessed during the Blight Invasion and again when Ultra Boy is lost in another galaxy with a team of Legionnaires. Ultra Boy initially believed Apparition was lost with him, but he and the Legion soon learned that Tinya was merely a telepathic illusion made by Saturn Girl to keep the powerful Ultra Boy in-line. During a confrontation on the matter, the despondent Ultra Boy kissed Saturn Girl as he felt a familiar connection after weeks of her roleplaying Jo's wife.
Ultra Boy's meets his baby son Cub
Upon his return to his own galaxy after a year lost in space, Ultra Boy assisted the Legionnaires in reforming the team and taking down the corrupt government of Ra's Al Ghul. He was reunited weeks later with Apparition, finding that she now had an infant - Ultra Boy's son, named Cub. During their time apart, Tinya had been watched over by Timber Wolf and Wolf's closeness to Jo's family left the two at odds with each other. Jo's son was also rapidly aging, though this matter was never resolved before Infinite Crisis wiped Earth-247 away. While his son didn't survive, the Legion did as they were lost in the timestream. Ultra Boy joined his teammates on pushing into the Multiverse to become the new Wanderers.
Threeboot / Earth-Prime
Jo makes a connection with Saturn Girl
While on Rimbor with a team of Legionnaires, Ultra Boy's presence attracted the attention of the Science Police and he revealed that they were after him for vehicular manslaughter. During this adventure, a connection was made between Jo and Saturn Girl, whose boyfriend was neglecting her at the time. When he later confronted her about it, the two had a brief moment of intimacy psychically. Before anything physical could happen, they were interrupted by Invisible Kid and Saturn Girl rejected Ultra Boy's further advances.
Powers and Abilities
Ultra Boy can utilize the energy in his body in a variety of ways, but only one at a time. Such uses are:
Ultra-strength - He is strong enough to toss an object to the "far corner of the universe", bust planet sized asteroids with his fists, & sling a ship at hyper-light speeds to break through a dimension therefore returning to Earth. Ultra boy can be thought of as either just below or (more commonly) equal to Superboy, though there exists an instance where he dominates & hogties (to unconsciousness) the Kryptonian in solo combat & required 5 legionnaires to restrain him. Ultra-boy can break inertion, but as with Superboy it depends on the thickness of the metal.
Ultra-speed - When using this power he can move, think and run faster than the eye can follow. Has can keep up with the likes of Daxamites/Kryptonians, but given he lacks their durability for such speeds it's often in short bursts.
Ultra-flight -He is able to fly without a Legion flight ring and maneuver just as easily.
Ultra-invulnerability - When using this power he is impervious to harm by nuclear forces. He has withstood punches/blitzes from Daxamites, tanked 1/4 of a planet busting blast, withstood a planet-busting assault, passed through a solar flare with no burns, took the destructive force of a star, survived the full force of the star crusher cannon (known as the most dangerous weapon in 10 solars systems. The Crystal used to power it was later used to constrict the entire Earth with Gigantic chains), and tank blasts from the Pulsar Stargrave. If propelled at sufficient force he can use his body like a human missile.
Ultra-vision - He has several different vision powers. Penetra-vision is strong enough that Jo can see through lead. The heat of his flash-vision is strong enough to melt the same material, as well as evaporate tidal waves & melt enough metal to fill up a volcano. Telescopic, or macro, vision allows Ultra Boy to see over vast distances.
As a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Ultra Boy 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. His ring is modified to detect changes in his strength and durability and adjust its flight governors accordingly.
Weight: 190 lbs
DC Animated Universe
Ultra Boy appeared as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in both Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. On Superman, he made a cameo in the episode "New Kids in Town" as one of many Legionnaires in the 30th century. In the JLU episode "Far From Home," he was among the Legionnaires possessed by the Emerald Eye that attacked Supergirl and were ultimately freed. He had no speaking parts.
Superman & the Legion of Super-Heroes
Jo Nah appeared as a supporting character during the first and second seasons of the Legion's animated series. He first appeared in the season one episode "Champions" as one of several individuals participating in the Galactic Games alongside Lightning Lad. He aided them in defeating the Fatal Five and was voiced by James Arnold Taylor. This was Jo's first and only speaking role. He would later reappear in part two of "Sundown" as an emissary from Rimbor to help the Legion defeat the Sun-Eater, but did not join the team. Late in season two, Ultra Boy was suddenly depicted as a Legionnaire through cameos in the episodes "In the Beginning" and the two-part "Dark Victory."