The Mole Man is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Fantastic Four (Volume 1) #1, and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Fictional character biography
The Mole Man was originally Harvey Rupert Elder
, an American nuclear engineer and explorer. Elder was socially shunned due to a combination of his abrasive personality and his homely, dwarfish appearance. Furthermore, his fellow explorers ridiculed him for his eccentric, crackpot theories regarding a Hollow Earth
. In 1956, while following the group of explorers called the Monster Hunters
, he stumbled upon Monster Island
, which was at the time a base of the Deviant Warlord Kro
(At the time, Monster Island was located near Japan, although other stories place it in the Bermuda Triangle
; some issues of X-Men
have portrayed them as two distinct separate locations).
When Elder fell into a massive cave leading deep into the underground realm of Subterranea, he decided his theories had finally been vindicated. However, he suffered permanent damage to his eyes when he gazed directly upon a highly reflective deposit of diamonds. Partially blind and apparently secluded from the surface world forever, Elder dubbed himself the Mole Man and began exploring his new home. He eventually became the ruler of the branch of Subterraneans now known as the Moloids, and the ruler of much of Subterranea and the caverns of Monster Isle. He used the Deviant-derived creatures and technology that he found in Subterranea to strike back at the outer world in numerous attempts to rule or humble the world that had rejected him.
The Mole Man conducted attacks on the surface world until he was opposed by the Fantastic Four in their first adventure on Monster Isle. The Mole Man apparently destroyed Monster Isle in an atomic blast, although it was seen on several other occasions. The Mole Man's Deviant-bred monstrous mutates, collectively known as the "Mole Man's Monsters", include the three-headed Tricephalous, the horned Megataur, and the flying bird-insect creature known only as "Skreeal". The Mole Man also has a group of superhuman allies called the Outcasts.
The Mole Man later stole buildings from New York City, but was thwarted by the Fantastic Four. With the Red Ghost, he next battled the Avengers. Mole Man was among the criminals later assembled by Doctor Doom. Mole Man then fought a war against Tyrannus. Mole Man used the original X-Men as pawns in his war against Tyrannus. The Mole Man later trapped the Fantastic Four in a house that blinded them. Mole Man continued to fight a war with Tyrannus.
He later teamed with Kala, the queen of the Subterranean Netherworlders, and fell in love with Kala. He plotted to destroy the surface world, but was betrayed by Kala and Tyrannus. Some time later, Mole Man and Kala were betrothed to be married. Namor, the Atlantean prince, helped out the Moloids when a conquering force was slaughtering many while using them for slave labor.
Much later, Mole Man befriended the Thing and then plotted to raise a new continent at the cost of sinking California, but was again thwarted by the Fantastic Four. He was captured by Lava Men later. Mole Man then attempted to bring peace to Subterranea, but was attacked by Fantastic Four clones. He contended with Skrulls, and tried unsuccessfully to capture a Skrull technotroid egg.
Mole Man later allied with Grotesk and Tyrannus against Deviants led by Brutus. He aided the Hulk in fighting Brutus's Deviants. Together with his allies, he triumphed over Brutus, and welcomed back Kala as his consort.
Mole Man became involved with the West Coast Avengers when one of his monsters attacked Los Angeles. His Moloids were caught in the middle of a Skrull revenge scheme on the Fantastic Four. A replacement Fantastic Four, consisting of Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, the Hulk and Wolverine were tricked into entering the Mole Man's territory and battling his forces.
He later battled the West Coast Avengers along with the U-Foes during the Acts of Vengeance, but their attempts met with failure.
Later, he surrendered his desire for conquest and revenge and began assembling a sanctuary for others who had been rejected by the surface world. His two attempts to do so led to the deaths of most of the visitors to his sanctuaries. Briefly, the Mole Man allowed Adam Warlock
's superhero team, the Infinity Watch
, to use Monster Island (more specifically, a castle located on its grounds) as a base, on the reasoning that they could help protect him from any meddlers, which they did on several occasions. They proved helpful when the United Nations invaded the island. The Watch, primarily Gamora
, drove away the invading force with an absolute minimum of harm. The Avengers
assisted with the United Nations, then recognized the Mole Man's rulership over the island.
Mole Man tended to keep out of the way when the cosmic plans went on. The Watch occupied the Monster Island castle until their dissolution as a team. Following their departure, the Mole Man apparently returned to his solitary, vengeful existence. Aside from occasional fits of hostility, he seems for the most part content to rule his subterranean kingdom, and for the past few years his surface activities have mostly been limited to reacting to threats (real or imagined) to his people.
In one incident, he was causing property damage purely to help the Moloids, whose water and food had become polluted. Molly
, a member of the group Runaways
, made a brief mention of the group having fought Mole Man and his forces. He also stole shoes from children. This would be some time after the pollution incident.
He recently appeared in Mighty Avengers having led an attack on New York, claiming retaliation for his underground home, which he says is destroyed. He was humiliated by a female-formed Ultron.
Mole Man was also behind a series of Chupacabra attacks in Puerto Rico. His motive was to protect the blood-drinking race from extinction.
Powers and abilities
The Mole Man has no true superhuman abilities. He is an extraordinary genius, with knowledge of technology centuries beyond conventional science. He was able to master alien principles of technology totally foreign to his culture and environment. Due to his poor eyesight, his senses have naturally compensated to the degree that they are, like those of Daredevil
, heightened to nearly superhuman levels.
The Mole Man fights with a staff and has developed a fighting style that resembles bōjutsu; despite his small size and relative weakness he is a highly proficient hand-to-hand combatant when armed with his staff. He also commands an army of monsters and Subterraneans that are absolutely loyal to him.
The Mole Man is extremely near-sighted due to damage his vision suffered years ago, and his eyes are extremely sensitive to bright light. He is virtually blinded by normal illumination. To counter this, he wears protective glasses (an early version of a nuclear weapons test Range Officer's flash-goggles) that both reduce bright light to levels his weak eyes can tolerate and increase dim light to levels by which he can see. His sense of hearing, smell, and touch are far more sensitive than that of a normal human; these senses are heightened, but not superhuman. He possesses a "radar sense" that supplements his own weak natural vision.
Mole Man has a series of similar-looking staves (6 feet long, made of wood or aluminum), designed by the Mad Thinker, which contain built-in weapon(s) and additional features. Among such weaponry are an electrical blaster, a flame-thrower, a vibro-charge blaster, and a laser cannon. All of the staffs appear to have a low-energy radar. All staves are booby-trapped with a galvanic response meter that is tuned solely to the Mole Man's skin conductivity; this prevents anyone else from activating his staves.
Mole Man's life has made him an expert on subterranean geography, spelunking, understanding Deviant weapons systems, and monster training. He has mastered the principles underlying Deviant technology that he discovered in Subterranea and has made racial improvements upon much of it.
The spaceflight which grants the Fantastic Four their powers ends with them crash-landing on Mole Man's monster-inhabited islands. Mole Man ends up capturing Ben and Sue and takes a power source and potential explosive off the group's ship.
Later, there are hints Mole Man's island is connected to the Inhumans' city of Attilian.
House of M
In the House of M
universe created by an insane Scarlet Witch
, the Mole Man appears in Fantastic Four: House of M
as an enemy of the Fearsome Four, which is composed of Doctor Doom
, the Inhuman Torch
, the Invincible Girl and the It. The version of the Mole Man is killed by the Fearsome Four during a battle with them.
In Marvel Zombies
, the Mole Man, along with several other undead villains, first appears to attack Galactus
; after Galactus is defeated by several heroes, Mole Man gets into an argument with Colonel America
over who gets to eat the injured Galactus, and is subsequently blasted apart by the cosmically powered colonel.
The zombie Mole Man also appears in the prequel to Marvel Zombies, Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, appearing to attack Nova alongside the Wizard.
Ultimate Mole Man
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe
, Mole Man was a Baxter Building scientist named Dr. Arthur Molekevic
. Nicknamed Mole Man by the students, he was fired due to his experiments in creating life after being warned off. He claimed the files as his own but was told by the governmental officials firing him, which included Sue and John's father, Dr. Franklin Storm
that everything he created was the property of the United States government. He soon disappeared into underground caverns with his Moloids. These caverns contained advanced technology, which Mole Man claimed had been built by an ancient race. Parts of the caverns were also under the Baxter Building itself, which provided Mole Man with links into their security system. His ability to spy on the team fostered the delusion that he was a father figure to them. When the Fantastic Four gain their powers, and were transported across the world, Sue, while unconscious, was kidnapped and transported to his caverns. Mole Man sends one of his created monsters to New York to retrieve the others. The other members of the team manage to defeat it. They follow the hole the monster made and confront Mole Man, eventually rescuing Sue. The Four defeat his forces but the Mole Man escapes. However he returned and kidnapped several Baxter Building students while explaining more details of his life. He was eventually driven off when he left the students behind and went to confront the Fantastic Four, who had arrived to try and rescue them. The students created weaponry from the alien technology and drove off all parties; Mole Man, Fantastic Four and the government, intending to build their own civilization in the ruins of the city. The final panel implies their reactivation of the artificial sun awoke or attracted the monstrosities bio-engineered by the city's original inhabitants, which means the students are likely dead.
Ultimate Mole Man physically resembled the original character. However, he is bulkier, rarely washes and has an unsightly skin condition. The Ultimate Moloids are fungus-based life-forms engineered by Mole Man himself, though initially simplistic and animalistic, they are far more intelligent in their second appearance, even speaking a language which Mole Man understands.
Mole Man In Popular Culture
William Lyttle of De Beauvoir, East London, is known as "The Mole Man
". He has "spent 40 years burrowing under his 20-room house, removing 100 cubic meters of earth with a spade and pulleys. A similar feat has been done by Ben Raymond, of Casula, in 2006." On August 1, 2006, a Mirror
news article stated "The Mole Man has been banned from his £1 million home after digging a 60 ft network of tunnels beneath it."
- Mole Man appears in the 2005 Fantastic Four video game voiced by Barry Dennen. In the game, he sent out his creatures to battle the Four rather than fight himself, in the same way as Puppet Master sent his puppets. After his Monstroid (closely resembling Giganto from his first comics appearance) is destroyed, he escapes, and swears revenge the Fantastic Four.