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Art by Steve Lightle
|First appearance||Adventure Comics #287 (June 1961)|
Jerry Siegel (writer)|
George Papp (artist)
Interstellar Counter-Intelligence Corps|
Legion of Super-Heroes
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, freezing breath, super hearing, multiple extrasensory and vision powers, flight, and intelligence.|
Fictional character biography
In the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity, Dev-Em is a Kryptonian juvenile delinquent who took Jor-El's warnings of Krypton's impending doom seriously enough to place himself in suspended animation in an orbiting space capsule. When the planet Krypton exploded, Dev-Em's ship was blasted into space, where it eventually landed on Earth. Dev-Em imprisons Superboy in the Phantom Zone and assumes his identity in an effort to destroy the Boy of Steel's reputation. Eventually he frees Superboy and departs from the twentieth century, traveling through time to finally settle on the more advanced Earth of the 30th century. Since the people of Smallville will not believe Superboy's story of the impostor, he has to use a cover story that he was acting under the influence of Red Kryptonite to restore his reputation.
Dev-Em returns in Adventure Comics #320 (May 1964), where it is revealed that the so-called "Knave of Krypton" has reformed and joined the Interstellar Counter-Intelligence Corps of the 30th century. He is reluctantly offered membership in the Legion of Super-Heroes but turns it down. Despite his occasionally abrasive nature, Dev-Em aids the Legion on several occasions, most notably in the "Great Darkness Saga" against Darkseid.
Post-Crisis, Pre-Zero Hour
In the limited series Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (April 1988), his post-Crisis background was changed. Since Superman is now the only survivor of Krypton because of the Superman reboot, his entry in this encyclopedia-like series states that he is David Emery, a resident of Titan, home world of Saturn Girl, who uses his mental powers to give himself Kryptonian-style super powers. This origin is never used in any actual comic story.
Dev-Em appears in the "Time and Time Again" storyline in which the Man of Steel bounces between the 30th century (home of the Legion) and the 20th century. Superman encounters Dev-Em, now portrayed as an insane Daxamite, as a full grown adult whose powers rivaled Superman's. He tried to destroy the Earth's moon but was challenged by the Legion. Dev-Em makes short work of Superman, Laurel Gand and the rest of the Legion. Dev-Em is seemingly stopped by Shrinking Violet as she shrinks to a small size and enters Dev-Em's ear, scratching his insides. However, he soon initiates the Dominators' covert Triple Strike program, destroying the moon and causing massive damage to cities across the Earth.
In the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis in which Kon-El died, a man going by the name Devem is seen as part of a cult of Kryptonian worshippers in 52 #4 (May 31, 2006). He is revealed to actually be a "psych-ward refugee named Derek Mathers who has a history of fraud."
In Action Comics Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert present a new version of Dev-Em. This Dev-Em is a renegade Kryptonian being held as a prisoner for murder and perversion. As with most Kryptonian prisoners, he is sentenced to the Phantom Zone. He attacks Superman there but is eventually taken down by Mon-El.
In other media
- In the prequel comic to Man of Steel, Dev-Em is portrayed as a Kryptonian training with Kara Zor-El to take part on Krypton's space colonization program. This entailed going into the Kryptonian wilderness to test and practice survival skills. During the expedition, Dev-Em attacks a fellow Kryptonian, and Kara's lover, Kell-Ur, pushing him off a cliff into a deep ravine. Kell-Ur manages to hold on to an outcropping and calls for help. Kara hears and comes to his rescue, holding a long stick down for him to grab and climb up; however, he is bitten by a snake-like creature and falls to his death. Dev-Em appears and feigns innocence; however, Kara announces that she doesn't believe him and claims to sees blood on him. This was just a ruse, however, which successfully causes Dev's guilty conscience to reveal itself. Dev-Em then attacks her with a machete; however, Kara manages to defend herself and subdue Dev-Em. When the expedition is over, Dev-Em is put on trial for the murder of Kell-Ur and assault of Kara Zor-El, and is sentenced to indefinite custody. Kara is given some red crystals by her parents as a going away present, which contain a hologram of her with Kell-Ur. Dev-Em manages to escape custody and stow away on Kara's ship. Over the course of the 10-year voyage, Dev stays awake and brings every crew member out of stasis one by one, to kill them, except for Kara, who wakes up when the ship is in Earth's Solar system, which was not the ship's intended destination. When Kara awakes, she and Dev-Em fight, which leads to the ship crashing on Earth. Kara manages to subdue Dev-Em by stabbing his hand with the Red Kryptonian crystals, and is then able to crash the ship safely in what is to become Ellesmere Island in Canada. Once crashed, a figure is seen walking from the ship; however, the identity of the character is not revealed.
Powers and abilities
Like all Kryptonians under a yellow sun, Dev-Em possesses super strength, speed & stamina; various extra sensory and vision powers (including super hearing, x-ray vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, and heat vision); increased lung capacity and super breath (wind and ice); invulnerability, and flight. Exposure to green kryptonite weakens him, and prolonged exposure would be fatal.
- Adventures of Superman (vol. 1) #478 (May 1991)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #19 (June 1991)
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #851 (August 2007)