Mongul is the name of two fictional characters that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The original Mongul first appeared in DC Comics Presents #27 (November 1980), and was created by writer Jim Starlin and artist Len Wein. The second Mongul, the son of the first, first appeared in Showcase '95 #8 and was created by Jeph Loeb.
Fictional character biography
Mongul was originally the tyrannical ruler of his own alien
race. He was eventually deposed by a revolution and Mongul swore that he would reconquer his subjects. To this end, he sought the most powerful weapon in the Universe: the artificial planet, Warworld
. To activate it, however, he needs a "key" device, which is under the care of the Martian Manhunter
. Mongul kidnapped three of Superman's friends (Lois Lane
, Jimmy Olsen
, and Steve Lombard) to force the hero to get the key for him. Superman fought against and defeated the Manhunter and obtained the key. In the subsequent scuffle, the Manhunter rescued Superman's friends, but Mongul escaped with the key. Mongul activated Warworld and linked his mind directly to its controls. Warworld was attacked by Superman and Supergirl
and Mongul used its superweapons against them. Almost too late, he realized that the controls' drain on his brain was too strong; however, he managed to escape just before the heroes destroyed Warworld. Some time later, Mongul again tried to steal a superweapon; this time, it was a planet-destroying ray machine used by the empress of another galaxy to blackmail its citizens into obedience. It was controlled by the empress' crown. In a plot to obtain the crown, Mongul killed the empress, captured her brother, the alien superhero Starman
and threatened to kill him unless Starman's lover gave him the crown. He got the crown, but was attacked again by Superman; this proved to be a diversion while Starman destroyed the weapon. Again, Mongul escaped. Desiring revenge on Superman, Mongul steals a Sun-Eater
from the Controller
who kept it and tried to use it to devour the Earth's solar system. With help from the Legion of Super-Heroes
, the Sun-Eater was destroyed (and Superman was finally able to defeat Mongul in hand-to-hand combat).
Mongul is probably best known for his villainous part in Alan Moore's story For the Man Who Has Everything, which appeared in Superman Annual #11.
After DC Comics decided to reboot their Universe (see Crisis on Infinite Earths), the original Mongul stories were no longer valid. Mongul was reintroduced as already having obtained Warworld and having used it to create his own space empire. He entertained the empire's citizens with gladiatorial games; the champion was an alien warrior called Draaga. Mongul captured Superman for use in the games, but the hero ended up joining forces with Draaga and making Mongul flee. Mongul was then persuaded via torture to serve the Cyborg Superman in order to gain vengeance on Superman and to try to turn the Earth into another Warworld. In the process, Green Lantern Hal Jordan's home, Coast City, was destroyed, which led to Jordan joining Superman and his allies to defeat Mongul (see The Death of Superman). After his defeat, Mongul was imprisoned in a jail for intergalactic criminals, only to break out during a riot. His first target was Green Lantern; he found out that the one who he faced (Kyle Rayner), was not the one he fought earlier. Even more so, he was defeated when Kyle's ring showed no weakness to yellow, something that even shocked the aiding Superman. Following his defeat, he was re-imprisoned. During the Underworld Unleashed storyline, the Demon Lord Neron began offering supervillains enhanced power in exchange for their souls, all by lighting a candle. Mongul was one of those offered the deal, but his pride caused him to decline the offer and threaten Neron. In response, Neron easily beat Mongul to death for his defiance, taking his soul in the process.
Son of Mongul
Mongul's son, also named Mongul, appeared to assist and train Superman, in preparation for the arrival of Imperiex
. He appeared to have been killed later in the Our Worlds at War
crossover, but returned during Infinite Crisis
after learning from Despero
that the Justice League had apparently been destroyed. His intention was to loot their Watchtower headquarters but he ended up fighting Batman
, and Wonder Woman
. During the fight, he declared he would take Batman's skull for his throne. He was almost killed by Wonder Woman before escaping via a working teleporter. The teleportation transported him to Earth, to menace Hal Jordan
, the newly-returned Green Lantern
, by using the Black Mercy
on him and Green Arrow
. In the meantime, he sought his sister, Mongal
, to settle family squabbles. The heroes broke free and used a teleporter to transport Mongul and Mongal to their home planet. Stating family to be a weakness, Mongul punched off Mongal's head.
In Green Lantern Corps #19, Mongul receives a Yellow power ring after breaking a dying Sinestro Corps member's neck. Green Lantern Corps #20 shows him tracking down the other Yellow Power Rings looking for a new bearer. A later promotional image shows Mongul with the Yellow ring as well a Green Lantern Corps ring. A red ring is also floating above his palm. Mongul begins tracking Sinestro Corps rings, and offering the inductees a choice: to serve him or die. He removes the ring from each one who refuses, and at the moment has gained an extra five rings. He then attacks Arisia and Sodam Yat with Black Mercy plants, and takes them prisoner. He uses his ring to send thousands of Black Mercy seeds, which he had genetically engineered to bring the victims greatest fears to life, instead of their dreams, to several unsuspecting planets. In a confrontation with several members of the Green Lantern Corps, Mongul is defeated when the fly-like Lantern Bzzd flys through his eye, and he is thrown down to the Black Mercy's planet. He is last seen buried in soil, being used as food by the Black Mercys. However, he soon busts free of the Mercy vines that have pierced his flesh, and escapes the planet, while keeping his rings. He attacks a nearby ship to get food for himself, killing the husband of the pilot. This inadvertantly causes the woman to become the first recruit of the Star Sapphire Corps, the pink Power Ring having been drawn to her by the void in her heart created by her loss.
Powers and abilities
Mongul possesses extraordinary superhuman physical attributes. He demonstrated that he actually was stronger than Silver Age Superman
himself. In addition, he was invulnerable to nearly all forms of physical harm. Superman at one time did defeat Mongul using his strength, speed and heat vision without restraint, but was rendered unconscious by the effort. Mongul also had the capacity to create dimensional-inversion cubes, designed to prevent escape by warping their interior reality and absorbing any power used against them from within. He also possessed a limited capacity for telepathy, and could teleport himself across even interplanetary distances.
After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mongul no longer possessed his other powers, and was no stronger than Superman. However, he was still strong enough to challenge the Man of Steel. Mongul II, his progeny, possesses the same abilities as he once had. Both incarnations of Mongul were also capable of projecting extremely potent energy beams from their chest.
Mongul often uses a parasitic plant-based lifeform called the "Black Mercy" as a sort of weapon. This parasite has the ability to totally immerse a victim in a fantasy world. It does so simply by wrapping itself around the victim. These parasites have also demonstrated an unusual amount of durability at times. Sometimes to the point where they appear to be nearly indestructible.
Since the aftermath of the Sinestro Corp War, Mongul II has obtained a Yellow Qwardian Power Ring, as such he now has all the powers that come with wielding such a weapon.
In other media
Mongul appears in the Justice League
animated series, voiced by Eric Roberts
. He is the ruler of War World and sends Superman to the gladiator pits of his domain. However, he is defeated and disappears until Justice League Unlimited
, in the episode "For the Man Who Has Everything", (which is an adaptation of the comic story of the same name
) Mongul tricked Superman by sending him an alien parasite
(a Black Mercy Plant) disguised as a birthday present. The Black Mercy trapped Superman in a coma
, while making him live an imaginary life in his mind, a life in which Krypton
had never exploded and he had grown to adulthood there. With help from Batman
and Wonder Woman
(who had also come to give him birthday presents), Superman escaped the trance, with the illusionary Krypton exploding, much as it did in the real world. Wonder Woman then trapped Mongul with his own parasite. The viewers never see the fantasy Mongul has when he is trapped, but we have a brief moment where we hear screams.
Mongul appears in the Superman Returns
video game, as one of the major villains of the story. The evil tyrant intercepts Kal-El as he returns to Earth from his voyage to Krypton. He forces Superman to compete in gladitorial combat in Warworld. After the Kryptonian defeats all of his minions Mongul himself steps into the arena and a massive battle ensues, which ends with Superman overpowering the warlord and leaving his battered body in the gladiator's pit. Mongul swears revenge and later in the game travels to Metropolis for a rematch. He attempts to destroy the city but Superman once again bests him, and Mongul flees from Earth.