The Legion’s greatest foes, the Fatal Five not only debut in Adventure 352 (Jan 67), but are actually assembled by the Legion itself, in order to combat the Sun-Eater. Jim Shooter and Curt Swan are both at the top of their game in this classic story.
The story begins with the Legionnaires reviewing tapes of the galaxy’s five greatest villains: Tharok, who is half man, half robot, the Persuader, armed with an atomic axe, the Emerald Empress, with her extremely powerful Eye of Ekron, Validus, a giant mindless monster, and Mano, whose touch can destroy anything.
Shortly after, they are alerted to the fact that a Sun-Eater is approaching Earth. Unlike the Sun-Eater shown in an earlier issue, this appears to be almost a force of nature, much like a black hole, consuming everything in it’s path, and drawn by the energy given off by stars.
The story never really explains where all the rest of the Legion are, even the leader, Invisible Kid, does not appear in the tale. Superboy, as deputy leader, takes charge and he, Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, Ferro Lad and Princess Projectra all set out to recruit the five villains they had been observing earlier.
While recruiting the Emerald Empress, she, and the reader, discover that both Superboy and the Eye of Ekron are vulnerable to kryptonite. Sadly, nothing is ever made of this intriguing fact, and over the years it simply gets ignored and forgotten.
Validus is shown to be able to speak in this story, though later ones would restrict him to growls rather than words.
The story concludes next issue.