January 20, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #329: Mongal

The alien despot Mongul had a daughter. Or a sister. Depends on which Mongul we're talking about, really...

Superman has a lot of reoccurring enemies that are basically just big, strong alien conqueror types.  It makes a certain amount of sense.  Superman is himself a big, strong alien, so why not send bigger and potentially stronger enemies to take on the Man of Steel?  Among the more prominent is Mongul from Warworld.

But then there’s Mongal…

OK, so, strap in here while I explain Mongul and Mongal.  Mongul first appeared in DC Comics Presents #27.  That was the Superman team-up book where Superman and some other DC hero would work together to stop some threat.  Then again, many of those stories I read it was more like Superman stopped some threat while some other DC hero got to watch and hang out a bit.  So, Mongul first appeared there, and it looks like he caused a lot of trouble involving conquering alien worlds, threatening Superman’s friends and allies, and generally being a violent dick.

Most notably, he is the villain Alan Moore used for his classic Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything”.

Post-Crisis showed Mongul coming back for more with his planet-sized war machine, aptly called Warworld.  He again ran afoul of Superman and finally got taken down by Hal Jordan for his role assisting the Cyborg Superman with the destruction of Coast City.  You can actually follow Mongul’s path from there.  He escaped a prison and went off to attack the Green Lantern again, only by then it was Kyle Rayner, and Kyle was new and had no idea who Mongul was.  Not long after that, Mongul took on the Flash, but Wally West had some new speed-based powers at the time and made Mongul look like a chump.  And then when someone needed to be made an example of to show how tough the new bad guy was, Mongul mouthed off to Neron in the first issue of Underworld Unleashed, after which Neron easily killed Mongul and stole the alien’s soul to torment for all eternity.

So, that was that for Mongul?  Well, if you were to say no one stays dead in comics, you would be slightly mistaken here.  Mongul did and didn’t stay dead.  See, Mongul was an alien despot, but his throne was hereditary, and he had a son, Mongul the Younger or Mongul Jr. or just Mongul.  Whatever you wanna call the guy.  And Junior looked exactly like his father.  Oh, and he had a twin sister, creatively named Mongal.  They were born to an alien chambermaid whose whole species died when the older Mongul brought the flu back with him.

These two took on Superman in July 2001’s Superman #170.  That fight ended when the newly recreated for the post-Crisis era Krypto the Superdog tried to rip out Mongul’s throat with his teeth because he’s a freakin’ dog and doesn’t play nice sometimes.

I don’t know precisely who created Mongal, but something tells me it was Jeph Loeb, a writer who never saw a Silver Age concept he didn’t want to bring back.  Mongal is such a Jeph Loeb kind of thing.

But then her brother, sensing family was a weakness, killed her in an issue of Green Lantern.

I am pretty sure Geoff Johns wrote that one because that is such a Geoff Johns thing to do.

Now, you’d think that would be the end of this character, except there were moments after Mongul joined the Sinestro Corps when he’d talk to his sister’s corpse like she was still bugging him.  And for a character with such a short shelf life, she sure has lived on in other media, appearing in a couple animated series, most notably DC Super Hero Girls and as an upcoming member of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, played by actress Mayling Ng.

Then again, that is the Suicide Squad, so her tenure might not be much longer there.

Though it does occur to me I could get a lot of weeks out of this feature just by picking up more forgotten canon fodder from various Suicide Squads…

Anyway, that was Mongal, a female version of a B-list Superman foe that got her head punched off.

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