Shrinking Violet is presently starring in the ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes series after the DC Universe was rebooted in the new 52. Violet and her teammates are currently battling a villainous Daxamite and a group of Controllers on the planet of Panoptes.
Salu Digby was born on Earth to Imskite parents, inheriting their native ability to shrink to microscopic size. Salu grew up a very quiet and shy young girl who had a hard time socializing. Despite this, she decided to attempt to join the newly-founded Legion of Super-Heroes. Upon arriving in Metropolis, she tried out for membership at the same time as Sun Boy and Bouncing Boy. At that very same try-out, Supergirl and Brainiac 5 joined the Legion, admitted right away for their impressive powers. It was partially because of Salu's shyness and lack of confidence that she failed in her first attempt at joining. But Legionnaire Triplicate Girl saw something special about this miniature applicant and convinced Salu not to give up, so Salu tried out again. Salu proved her mettle and joined as Shrinking Violet, the thirteenth member of the Legion. Her teammates gave her the nickname of "Vi."
Shrinking Violet was created in 1961 by writer Jerry Siegel (the co-creator of Superman) and artist Jim Mooney. She became the fourth female character to join the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Legion's thirteenth member overall.
Original Continuity: New Earth
Once in the Legion, Shrinking Violet proved a very capable member, though she was still not completely comfortable around other people. Violet formed a long-distance romance with Duplicate Boy, one of the Heroes of Lallor. Salu stayed true to Duplicate Boy even in the face of other suitors such fellow Legionnaire Gim Allon (Colossal Boy). Violet went on vacation with Duplicate Boy on her home planet of Imsk, but they were savagely interrupted by the Fatal Five. After the pair was rescued by the Legion, Colossal Boy again expressed a sincere romantic interest in Salu, but she chose to return to Duplicate Boy to Colossal Boy's great disappointment. Over the years, Imsk's relationship with the United Planets became strained. Imsk threatened to secede from the U.P. over a dispute involving hunting rights. When Earth's solar system was ravaged by a mysterious shrinking plague, the U.P. accused Imsk of attacking them which caused tension between Shrinking Violet and her fellow Legionnaires. The Legion eventually discovered that the plague was engineered by the evil Dr. Regulus and thwarted his plot.
Shrinking Violet's original costume was a green miniskirt with black accessories. Like many Legionnaires she underwent a sexy makeover in the 1970's, wearing green & black tights featuring a plunging "V" neckline decorated with an elaborate downwards-arrow pattern. In the 1980's she changed back to a variation of her green miniskirt costume.
In the first Legion reboot (later known as Earth-247), Salu Digby was born on Imsk, rather than Earth, and was one of several athletic teenagers in the running to be Imsk's official representative in the Legion of Super-Heroes. While timid in person, Vi's combat prowess caught the attention of moderating Legionnaires Apparition and Spark. She aided them in solving the murder of a fellow competitor, Ion, who was murdered by Vi's third competition, Micro. Vi claimed she didn't want her spot on the Legion by default, but micro-cameras caught her battle with Micro and the Legion girls encouraged Violet to join them. She was sworn in alongside Andromeda and Kinetix, the latter of which used her exuberant personality to coax Violet out of her social shell. Violet developed a crush on Leviathan, but so did Kinetix which intimidated Salu. The two girls went on to become best friends and Violet was with Kinetix when she lost her powers during a trip to Aleph. When her friend vanished on a search for new power, Violet was concerned and lost sleep several nights on monitor duty hunting for her friend.
The rebooted Shrinking Violet costume was a bodysuit that employed violet as the main color (rather than green) with black as an accent color.
Legion continuity was then rebooted again (later called the "threeboot" and designated Earth-Prime). On Earth-Prime, Salu Digby was known as Atom Girl. She was one of the first initial recruits to the Legion but soon thereafter left on a mission. She became a myth to all but the founding Legion members. She was considered a hoax by the second wave of Legionnaires, until Brainiac 5 revealed her in the battle against Elysion of Terror Firma. She said she was exploring Brainiac 5's microverse and simply lost track of time. Invisible Kid, believing Violet to have been imaginary, had used her name as a cover up to veil his tracks while spying on Brainiac 5. Subsequently, she assaulted Invisible Kid and after suspending him over the city, forgave him. She quite liked the image this gave her of being slightly crazy. She was fiercely loyal to Brainiac 5. Atom Girl overreacted to comments about her size and appeared to feel hurt about appearing small in the eyes of the other Legionnaires. Micro Lad showed to care for her a great deal and vice verse, but this was never expanded upon romantically. In her Atom Girl incarnation, she does not appear to possess this growth power and has returned to primarily shrinking once again.
Atom Girl's costume was a skintight bodysuit that incorporated both green and violet into the design.
Retroboot: New Earth
The events of Infinite Crisis brought together the Legions of all three continuities. Afterward, the current Legion of Super-Heroes returned to being a close approximation of the original Pre-Crisis team, once again set on New Earth. Shrinking Violet's history was now unaltered from before the Five Year Gap. In her tough as nails attitude, Violet was one of the first heroes who opposed Earth Man when he and his xenophobic Justice League of Earth (composed mostly of former Legion villains) took over the planet. Though she fought hard and well, Violet was eventually defeated and captured. Superman (who had traveled to the 31st century to aid the Legion) and other Legionnaires eventually defeated Earth Man and his corrupt League, and Violet was freed and returned to active duty. Violet and Lightning Lass are once again a romantic couple in current continuity.
The retroboot Violet wears a costume that incorporates the design elements and colors of all three previous continuities: The original miniskirt was brought back, now in a pattern of green, violet, and black. Her plunging "V" neckline from the 1970's is also back, this time accented in violet.
Major Story Arcs
Original Continuity: New Earth
Kidnapped and Impersonated
Over time and experience as a Legionnaire, Salu grew more confident and self-assured. But her progress was violently interrupted by a group of Imskian independence fighters led by Legion reject Micro Lad, who resented her since her presence on the Legion blocked his own membership. They kidnapped Salu, imprisoned her in a sensory deprivation tank, and replaced her in the Legion with a popular holo-vid Durlan actress named Yera, whose shape-shifting ability allowed her to both look like Violet and mimic Violet's shrinking power. By the time the Legion caught onto the scheme and rescued Violet, she had been held captive for months and was emaciated by her ordeal. Traumatized by these violations on her person, she emerged dramatically changed and decided she would never again be weak and defenseless.
Romance with Lightning Lass
Salu used her new-found anger to help her focus on recovery, and she recouped in record time through vigorous training and physical therapy. She became the second-most formidable female fighter on the team, after Dream Girl. She took control of her personal life as well, breaking off her relationship with Duplicate Boy, who had learned of her predicament but had done nothing about it. She later encountered Micro Lad, who still believed that she had a meek personality and mocked her. Violet beat him to a pulp as payback for what he had done to her.
Violet began to pursue men she had previously considered "unattainable," such as Sun Boy. But she soon realized the shallowness of such dalliances and started building close friendships with other female Legionnaires instead, especially with Ayla Ranzz (Lightning Lass), who had also broken up with her boyfriend and endured a kidnapping ordeal. The two women grew so close that they entered a romantic relationship (one of the first same-sex romances in mainstream comics) that lasted until the end of original Legion continuity.
Five Years Later
The devastation of the Magic Wars caused Legion continuity to jump ahead five years. Violet had left the Legion to serve in the Imsk military. She proved herself an elite soldier, rising quickly in rank through the army, and was on the front lines in the war against Braal. During the battle of Venado Bay, Violet came face-to-face with her ex-comrade Cosmic Boy, who was delirious and sliced her face. Despite her wound, the usually hardened Vi begged her fellow soldiers to spare Cosmic Boy's life. Violet wore her scar from the incident with pride and began to butt heads with the Imskian military brass. She was eventually discharged despite being a war hero, leaving Vi free to travel to Winath to live with Ayla Ranzz, who was now her girlfriend. The pair helped reform the Legion and worked with them to halt the Khund invasion of Orando, free Earth from the Dominators, and stop Mordru from raising his army of undead. During the Khund invasion, Violet lost a leg in battle and was grafted with a new blue one. When the Legion was framed and had to go on the run, Cosmic Boy began to show signs of instability and Violet usurped command. At this time she took the new codename Virus. She led the team until Zero Hour ended original Legion continuity. Violet and Ayla were shown tightly holding hands as their reality was wiped out of existence.
On a mission to the Scavenger's depot, Violet encountered the Emerald Eye of Ekron. The powerful artifact followed her to Earth and coaxed Vi into using its power, causing her to become more assertive and daring. When teammate Kinetix resurfaced, she was on a hunt for the Emerald Eye since she wanted its power for herself, so Violet kept the Eye secret for fear of losing her greatest comfort. She began to use the Eye to give her teammates their heart's desires as well as boost her own esteem, even getting herself elected Legion leader. Shortly into her term, the Emerald Eye gave Leviathan his heart's desire: To die in battle. Distraught by Gim's death, Violet embraced the Emerald Eye fully and became the new Emerald Empress, calling herself "Emerald Violet." She took psychic possession of her teammates but was eventually defeated. She wished for time to be turned back but this only stranded half the Legion in the 20th century. Violet and the Eye fled to space, where they were discovered by Mordru. He seduced Emerald Violet into becoming his bride in order to gain control of the Emerald Eye. But the Eye spurned the sorcerer, freeing Violet and attacking Mordru alongside the Legionnaires. Violet, realizing that she must break her connection from the Eye's influence, ordered the Eye to flee and it did, leaving her free at last.
Following this victory, Vi exhibited a new ability to grow to colossal size and began to size-change out of control. A mental probe by R.J. Brande and Sensor revealed that since the Emerald Eye couldn't revive Leviathan for Violet, it tried to do the next best thing and gave her his power set. Violet stabilized her new powers and re-joined the Legion, taking the new codename LeViathan. She served alongside the Legion until it was disbanded following the Blight Invasion, but continued to work with her former teammates in secret. When the Legion re-formed a year later, Vi was there to aid her comrades who were returning from being lost in space. Violet, alongside her teammates, was lost in the timestream and spared the destruction of Earth-247. They pushed into the Multiverse and became the new Wanderers. Vi still had the Imskian power to shrink, and when the Emerald Eye was again drawn to Violet, it bestowed her with his meta-human power to grow to giant sizes as well.
Retroboot: New Earth
Captured by the New Emerald Empress
Following a battle that left girlfriend Ayla (Lightning Lass) injured, Violet suggested Ayla join her on a vacation to her homeworld of Imsk. The two women vacationed in a private starship, which passed near the planet Orando on its way to Imsk. Unbeknownst to the Legionnaires, Orando had recently been taken over by the new Emerald Empress wielding the Emerald Eye of Ekron. Sensing their presence and realizing they were old enemies, the Empress blasted down the Legionnaires' ship with the Eye and took the two women captive. Violet and Lightning Lass were able to escape and call for backup, prompting several more Legionnaires, including Sensor Girl (Orando's rightful ruler), to arrive and battle the Empress. The Eye's power seemed too great and the Legion was on the verge of defeat, when Violet shrank down to sub-atomic size and was able to enter the Eye unnoticed. By suddenly growing back to full size from inside the Eye, she was able to shatter it, breaking its hold over the Empress. The Eye quickly re-formed and fled into space, and Sensor Girl set about the task of rebuilding Orando. Meanwhile Salu and Ayla continued their vacation together.
Powers and Abilities
As with all natives of the planet of Imsk, Shrinking Violet has the ability to shrink to drastically smaller proportions. She can easily shrink all the way down to microscopic size, and can even achieve sub-atomic size when necessary. She employs her shrinking ability in a variety of effective ways, though the most common is that of stealth as it renders her very difficult to detect by enemies. For this reason she became a founding member of the Legion Espionage Squad.
As LeViathan on Earth-247, Violet also had the power to grow to gigantic size (50 feet or more), which was granted to her after possessing the Emerald Eye of Ekron. At super-size she also had proportional super-strength. Violet lost this power after the "threeboot" (Earth-Prime), when her powers reverted back to shrinking only.
After being kidnapped and impersonated, Violet swore she would never be victimized again, and underwent extensive and rigorous martial arts training. She has honed her hand-to-hand combat skills to the point where she is now considered the second-best female fighter in the Legion, after Dream Girl (another martial arts master). One of her favorite tactics is launching an uppercut at an opponent starting at micro size and suddenly growing to full size as her fist connects, which packs far greater force behind the blow.
As a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Shrinking Violet 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.
Height: 5' 6" (normal)
Weight: 120 lbs. (normal)
Five Years Later: Batch SW6
During the Five Year Gap, teenaged duplicates of the Legion mysteriously appeared, known as "Batch SW6" because they were initially believed to be clones of the original team created by the Dominators prior to the death of Ferro Lad. They were later revealed to be time-paradox duplicates of the original Legion, rather than clones. They formed their own team and operated separately from the original Legion, calling themselves the Legionnaires and starring in their own series with that title. The teenaged duplicate of Salu initially went by the same codename of Shrinking Violet and wore the original green miniskirt costume. To differentiate herself from the original Salu, she later changed her costume to a violet-and-black outfit that became a prototype for the character's reboot (Earth-247) costume. She served with the team until Zero Hour, when the timeline of the duplicate Legionnaires was wiped out of existence.
Shrinking Violet appeared as a member of the Legion in Superboy's Legion, an Elseworlds story in which Superboy arrived on Earth during the 30th Century, rather than the 20th. This Violet wore a fanciful variation of her green miniskirt costume from original continuity, with pixie-like boots, belt, and other details. In a departure from the character's usual short hairdo, her hair was quite long and worn in a ponytail.
Legion of Super-Heroes Animated Series
Shrinking Violet appeared as a supporting character in the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, voiced by actress Kari Wahlgren. She wore a variation of the green miniskirt costume from the comics, had very pale skin, and her hair was black with violet highlights. Even at full size she was depicted as the smallest member of the Legion. During the first season, she was mostly a background character. She was mentioned in the pilot episode, Man of Tomorrow, first appeared in a cameo in Timber Wolf, and first had a speaking role in Sundown, Part 2. During the second season, her role was greatly expanded. She had dialogue and active roles in the episodes Chained Lightning and Message in a Bottle. Despite his initial disdain of her, Brainiac 5 and Violet eventually forged a caring friendship. One of the ways Brainy was shown to be completely possessed by his evil ancestor Brainiac in the episode Dark Victory was having him knock out Vi without a second thought.