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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of the Justice League
L-Ron is a sophisticated robot that was a member of the Justice League, as formed by Maxwell Lord. The robot was also a member of the Justice League Task Force, and later a member of Lord's "Super Buddies" superhero team.
L-Ron is also known as "L-Ron H*bb*rd," which is apparently its full name.
L-Ron was named in honor of L. Ron Hubbard, a popular 20th Century science fiction writer and the founder of the Church of Scientology.
L-Ron might be classified as a Scientologist, at least to whatever extent a sophisticated artificially intelligent robot can belong to a religious denomination.
L-Ron is certainly not the first robot or artificial intelligence to be associated with a real-world church or religion. The Vision (of the Avengers), for example, tried converting to Catholicism, at least for a time. The Cylons on the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica are portrayed as devoutly religious. Victor Mancha, the "son" of Ultron and a member of Marvel's Runaways, was programmed to be super-religious and super-logical.
We are unaware of any instance in which the robot L-Ron has overtly stated that he is a Scientologist. This classification is based primarily on his name. The character is uses primarily as comic relief. Perhaps writers Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatties, the creators of the "L-Ron" character thought that the robot's sardonic and ingratiating behavior reflected their concept of how Scientologists behave. Or perhaps they just thought it was funny to name a robot after L. Ron Hubbard. Given the fact that L-Ron is a very science fictional character - a robot from a space-faring culture, the character's name may simply be an homage to a popular science fiction writer.
Below: L-Ron jokingly tells his boss Maxwell Lord that he broke up with his girlfriend (J-Lo, another robot) because of religious differences, because he was Jewish and she was Catholic. Maxwell Lord is shocked to hear this. Of course, L-Ron is joking, and he quickly tells Maxwell Lord this was only a joke. L-Ron isn't Jewish. He is a Scientologist.
[Source: Formerly Known as the Justice League #5, published by DC Comics (2003), page 11; reprinted in Formerly Known as the Justice League trade paperback (2004), page 103; written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis, pencilled by Ken Maguire, inked by Joe Rubinstein.]
From: "L-Ron" page on Wikipedia.org website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-Ron; viewed 19 June 2007):
L-Ron (full name L-Ron H*bb*rd, a reference to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard [reference: http://www.brokenfrontier.com/lowdown/details.php?id=469]), is a fictional character, a robot in the DC Comics universe. L-Ron first appeared in Justice League International #14 (June 1988).
He is initially the robot companion of Manga Khan, an intergalactic trader, and in that role appears as a foe of the Justice League in the early 1990s. Manga Khan trades L-Ron to the Justice League in exchange for the inert body of the villain Despero.
L-Ron is considered a hero and assists the League in various non-combat roles (mainly administration and maintenance). He annoys many of them by inventing praise-laden salutations when he appears.
Later on, L-Ron's consciousness is transferred into the body of Despero by Kilowog in a desperate attempt to stop the villain's latest rampage. During the "Breakdowns" storyline that ran through Justice League America and Justice League Europe, Despero wakes up in L-Ron's body and attacks the Justice League International including Fire, Ice and Blue Beetle. Despero/L-Ron is defeated when he chases them outside and is shot by a duck hunter.
L-Ron continues to associate with the League, becoming a member of the Justice League Task Force. Despero's body affects L-Ron, giving him the urge to kill innocents.
Under unknown circumstances, he returns to the form in which he had been sold to the Justice League. He is last seen acting as Maxwell Lord's assistant and liaison with Guy Gardner in the "Super Buddies". Manga attempts to buy him back but is refused. This story reveals he had been romantically involved with a robot known as J-Lo. L-Ron's whereabouts since the death of Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, are unknown.
Below: L-Ron, in recruiting Billy Batson to join Maxwell Lord's superhero group, mistakenly thinks that Billy Batson is in a romantic relationship with his own alter ego, Captain Marvel. L-Ron says that society no longer looks down on adult-adolescent gay relationships, "with the exception, of course, of televangelists." L-Ron claims to be one of the most sophisticated artificial intelligences in the galaxy, but its grasp of public opinion, societal standards and contemporary religious teachings seems lacking. L-Ron come from a star-spanning society light years away from Earth. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that L-Ron's knowledge of religious practices and teachings comes primarily from television broadcasts, rather than from first-hand experience in non-televised American religious congregations. Neither Billy Batson nor L-Ron are followers of televangelists, and this scene has little to do with the religious affiliation of either of them, but the scene is humorous.
[Source: Formerly Known as the Justice League #2, published by DC Comics (2003), page 9; reprinted in Formerly Known as the Justice League trade paperback (2004), page 35; written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis, pencilled by Ken Maguire, inked by Joe Rubinstein.]
Webpage created 19 June 2007. Last modified 19 June 2007.
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