Sun Boy is presently starring in the ongoing Legion of Superheroes series since the rebooted DC universe in the new 52. The Legion is was forced into fighting a Daxamite and a group of Controllers on the planet of Panoptes and they were eventually successful after the intervention of Element Lad.
Dirk Morgna's mother died during child birth and Dirk was raised by a distant, business-minded father. Dirk's father owned a nuclear power plant and Dirk worked as an assistant there as an adolescent. One of the scientists, Dr. Zaxton Regulus, was working on a machine when there was an accident, which resulted in the death of worker Zarl Hedricks. Dr. Zaxton was blamed for the accident and was dismissed. Angered, Dr, Zaxton blamed Dirk for the accident as he was the one who was sent to deliver supplies to him. In a rage, the doctor threw Dirk into an atomic reactor and left him to die. Dirk instead gained special powers due to his unique genetics and used them to help escape. For the adulation, Dirk took on the name Sun Boy and applied for the Legion, but was rejected in favor of Brainiac 5 and Supergirl for that year's membership slots. He was accepted the next year when he developed his powers of heat generation.
Sun Boy was created by by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney.
Original Continuity: New Earth
As Sun Boy, Dirk had a dramatic Legion career. Early on he lost his powers and was sidelined, but they recovered. He became space happy on an extended mission in space where he was leader and locked up his teammates, who eventually saved him. Dirk was hit in the head during a press event and suffered amnesia just as Dr. Regulus returned to seek revenge. Dirk regained his memories in time to defeat his rival, doing so again years later when he returned after Dirk's 11 solar year (17-18 years) birthday party. His powers were instrumental in weakening the Servants of Darkness in the Great Darkness Saga but Darkseid continuously knocked him out. During an encounter with the Emerald Empress, she broke Dirk's jaw for his back-talking. He recovered shortly thereafter. Dirk, notorious for quick relationships, had a steady one for a period of time then with Gigi Cusimano, an old friend of Dirk's buddy Colossal Boy. However Dirk ended that relationship as well.
On Earth-247, Dirk Morgna once again was blamed for Dr. Regulus' firing and was left in an atomic reactor to die which gave him super-powers. However this Dirk's luminance could not be controlled, which caused him to go under scientific quarantine to protect others. Dirk became frustrated by his months in isolation and escaped to find his father, who had let him be admitted to such a place. During the confrontation with his father, the Legion arrived with a tromium-lined transuit. The suit muted Dirk's brightness and permitted him to interact with others again.
Dirk assisted the Legion on an assignment when Dr. Regulus took over one of Leland McCauley's factories. The battle exposed Dirk to more radiation, which cured him of his powers. Dirk then became the owner of the Magnoball team the Lodestones. He was shortly thereafter possessed by a fire elemental, turning Dirk into a fiery monster named Ph'yr of the Elements of Disaster. Dirk was one of the hosts to usurp control and survive, though this left Dirk with infrared vision. This led Dirk to be the first to spot the anti-energy cloud that went on to become Wildfire. Dirk, as well as the rest of Earth-247, was destroyed during Infinite Crisis.
On Earth-Prime, Dirk Morgna was once again a member of the Legion, now a youth rights movement. Dirk's parents were some of the few adults who supported the Legion enthusiastically, much to Dirk's embarrassment. Dirk was often a field leader among the Legion and had an over-confident, assertive personality that butted heads with Cosmic Boy's leadership constantly. He previously had a relationship with Light Lass, which was short lived. Feeling stifled by his parents and never getting the opportunity in the Legion to properly come to his own as a leader, Sun Boy resigned from the team to lead a group of meta=humans called Terra Firma, who had been manipulated by the villainous Lemnos.
Retroboot: New Earth
Infinite Crisis restored the original Legion to continuity before the Five Year Later, leaving Dirk once more alive and an active member of the Legion. He was kidnapped while Earth-Man's Justice League took over Earth and was hooked to a machine that drew his power so that the yellow sun of Earth could be turned red. He was eventually freed, but the experience left him drained physically and emotionally. Dirk sequestered himself from his teammates and initially refused to assist them when Superboy-Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains went on a rampage. Two other Legions were recruited to assist and Earth Prime's Sun Boy was killed, which this Dirk felt. His counterpart's death pained him and reignited Dirk's fighting spirit. He aided the Legion in the villains' defeat and rejoined them properly.
Major Story Arcs
Original Continuity: New Earth
Five Years Later
During the off-panel period of time known as the Five Year Later, Dirk became the leader of Legion and after a series of defections, he left the group. He was hired by Earthgov as a public relations liaison and used his popularity to get the public's opinion. When Earthgov is exposed to be under the control of Dominators, Dirk is branded a traitor to Earth and his teammates. Dirk gets exposed to a fatal does of radiation when a power-sphere explodes during the destruction of the Moon and gets mercy killed by his lover, Circe. His body was later possessed to help sustain his old teammate, Wildfire.
Threeboot: Earth Prime
The Death of Sun Boy
His time with Terra Firma proved difficult as its members refused to fully reform from their criminal ways. Ultimately, Dirk's conscience got the best of him and he personally saw to it that all his teammates were jailed. Defeated but still willing to fight the good fight, Dirk returned to the Legion and insisted they even put it to a vote to see if they wanted him back. The team voted Sun Boy back in just in time for Dirk and his Legion to team with two others to save the Legion of New Earth. During this battle, Superboy-Prime froze Sun Boy with his freezing breath and then shattered him, killing him. He was later resurrected as a member of the Black Lantern Corps but died again.
Powers and Abilities
Dirk Morgna has the ability to tap into internalized solar power, allowing him to project luminance and heat to whatever degree he desires. He is able to project light bright enough to lead to permanent blindness and that could be seen from miles away in space. He can concoct heat within seconds that can melt through steel or be tossed as fireballs. In the postboot reality, Dirk also had infrared vision and could detect heat patterns.
As a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Sun Boy 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.
Five Years Later: Batch SW6
Before the death of Dirk, members of the Dominator's Batch SW6 escaped captivity. There were shown as being time-displaced Legionnaires from the team's fifth year with Dirk among their number. The Batch SW6 duplicates survived the destruction of Earth and became the Legionnaires of New Earth. This Dirk took the codename Inferno. He was best friends with Live Wire and had a habit of womanizing and belittling others. He was one of the Legionnaires who drove Cera Kesh to be the new Emerald Empress and he had a romance with a mermaid named Keiki. When all the other Legionnaires without adult counterparts began to vanish when the timeline was collapsing, Dirk questioned as to why he was immune with his counterpart deceased. Wildfire confronted him and revealed he had taken the elder Dirk's body. The pair then merged together with the other Legionnaires to reboot their collapsing timeline during Zero Hour.
Superman & the Legion of Super-Heroes
Dirk appeared as Sun Boy, a member of the Legion yet again, in the Legion's two season cartoon. This version was depicted with long hair and inflamed eyes. He had no lines throughout the run of the show and was often depicted as a trusted assistant to Cosmic Boy, causing him to be absent like Cosmic Boy for much of the first season. He made his first appearance as a cameo on a vidscreen during "Timber Wolf" and aided the Legion in protecting Earth's atmosphere in "The Substitutes." He fought against the Sun Eater in the two part "Sundown." In the second season, Dirk was one of many Legionnaires captured on Takron-Galtos but later released in the second part of "Man from the Edge of Tomorrow." He sat as jury at Timber Wolf's trial and ultimately hunted him down in "Cry Wolf." He was depicted as one of the original Legionnaires in "In the Beginning" and fought against Brainiac in the two part "Dark Victory."