Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who's Who Vol.XVI: Mongul (6/1986)


Featuring art by co-creator Jim Starlin, this profile covers Mongul's entire Bronze Age/Pre-Crisis history... sort of. It's nice to see Starlin on Martian Manhunter and Superman again, even if my guy is visibly getting clobbered. We also see a reference to a story Starlin had nothing to do with, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' revered "For The Man Who Has Everything." The out-of-continuity DC Challenge is understandably ignored in the text, but I didn't remember Who's Who pages being so... dubious?

Lacking much origin information beyond the scant reference related to the misspelled "Arkymandyte," the profile writer seems to just start winging it. "Though no data exists on Mongul either before or immediately after the above-stated events, it is assumed that he gained his vast superhuman powers sometime after escaping his homeworld, otherwise he would have been able to utilize them suppress the revolution." Ignoring the run-on sentence, that was quite a wad of supposition on the writer's part. There are more runs, the Largas are referenced without being named, and no mention of Superman's battle with J'Onn J'Onzz for the Crystal Key is made. The entry just jumps from telling you the Manhunter was meant to guard the key, then "Superman and Mongul engaged in combat for possession of the key, and Mongul proved himself a worthy foe against Superman, nearly besting the Kryptonian in battle before escaping with the key." Try saying all that in one breath, while wondering how shooting Superman with eyebeams and running away with the key counts as besting combat.

The next paragraph gives a much clearer synopsis of DC Comics Presents #36, a better but less important story. Contributing profile writers for this edition of Who's Who included Paul Levitz, who wrote that comic. Hmmm? On the other hand, Levitz wrote a later DC Comics Presents appearance featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes, where Mongul displayed powers not mentioned here. Other potentially responsible parties on the entry include Mike W. Barr, Gary Cohn, Barbara Randall and Greg Weisman.