Condo Arlik was born to a normal pair of colonists on the planet Phlon, His birth was uneventful, until the hospital started rusting around him. The doctors quickly discovered the newborn was responsible for the oxidation, and isolated Condo. The began a strict education regimen for the young boy, subjecting him to lesson after lesson in science and chemistry so that Condo could will the objects around him to act normally, despite his power.
Condo spent his life up until his mid-teens in nearly complete seclusion, making him a very lonely individual. Eventually, a brilliant young biochemist named Lyle Norg, the Legion's Invisible Kid took an interest in Condo's case. Lyle managed not only to concoct a formula to help Condo with his powers, but also reach out and deeply befriend the isolated teenager, taking him out and showing him many of the things he'd missed in his isolation. With his newfound control over his catalyst abilities, and the help of a new mentor and friend, Condo tried out for and was accepted into the newly founded Legion Academy under the alias 'Chemical King'.
Chemical King created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan
After he and fellow Legion Cadet Timber Wolf managed to infiltrate the Legion of Super-Villains, they were granted full membership in the LSH. Chemical King served honorably, though he did seem to suffer from a slight inferiority complex throughout his tenure. After the death of Lyle at the hands of monstrous Validus, Condo became even more withdrawn from his teammates and peers.
Reboot / Earth-247
In the post-Zero Hour continuity, he is not a Legionnaire, but instead works as a reporter. He and Invisible Kid are lovers. This version of the character has dark skin, instead of the Caucasian skin of the pre-Zero Hour version.
Retroboot / New Earth
The events of Infinite Crisis have apparently restored a close analogue of the pre-Crisis Legion to continuity. In Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, an image of Condo alongside Invisible Kid and Ferro Lad can be seen in the Superman Museum, indicating that he is still dead.
Major Story Arcs
The Death of Chemical King
When the Australian leader Deregon turned out to be a mole for the villainous Dark Circle, the Legion tried to apprehend him before his machinations began World War VII. When Deregon armed an extremely powerful explosive, Chemical King rushed forward into the bath of radiation the device was giving off, to disarm it. While managing to render the device inert, Condo had also absorbed too much radiation, and died in the line of duty. He was buried a hero of the Legion, and laid to rest next to his best friend.
Powers & Abilities
Chemical King had the ability to control the speed of chemical reactions near him. While this was a rather unique ability, it made the character a difficult one to write (not every writer has a science background). This could be used for a variety of abilities (none of which fit the comicvine powers list well). Among those demostrated, his most common stunt was oxidizing objects at great speed causing them to rust quickly or burst into flame. He could accellerate cellular decay. He could also affect other people's abilities if they had a chemical mechanism for the abilities. This could allow him to slow the susceptibility to kryptonite, radiation or other materials temporarily, or a chemical reaction which turns the body invisible could be slowed to the point that it was ineffective. He could also throw various chemical interactions in a body out of whack at once - instantly inducing shock (medical shock, not electric shock) or slowing down an opponent's metabolism to the point they passed out. He had to be careful with these abilities - too much could easily be deadly. He could also affect his own body chemistry, giving himself super strength and speed - but doing so was temporary and exhausting.
As a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Chemical King 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.