Wednesday, March 27, 2024


 Unlike many of our comic book friends, I am not given readily to gasping.

The Battle of the Empty Costumes

But gasp I did upon seeing "THE REVEAL" of who the mysterious "Legionnaire" was in the most recent Justice Society.

Literally the last person you'd expect.
Or is it...?

I assume most of you already know, but Mordu is an evil sorcerer who was introduced by writer Jim Shooter as a foe for the Legion in Adventure Comics #369 (JUN 1968). He is generally considered their most powerful single enemy, because the Time Trapper is too passive-aggressive.

This cover strikes me as odd, since sealing Mordru in an airtight container IS the way to defeat him.
Because magic.  

Mordru's original design was, to put it kindly, of its time.

Although I suppose seeing anyone THAT unconcerned about fashion-norms is going to be pretty disturbing, especially in the 30th century where fashions norms are already quite ... broad.

He had repeated dust-ups with the Legion.  And by dust-up, I mean "and now Mordru has All Teh Magickz in the Universe" or "history has been rewritten and now Mordru is the ruler of the Universe." Mordu is a not a "poison Gotham's reservoir" level villain.

In the 1987, a redesigned Mordru was repurposed as a foe for the Justice Society of America.

Because in the '80s "The Dark Lord" was deemed cooler than "The Merciless".
These things go in cycles.

It's involved, of course, because JSA arcs are involved and Legion arcs are involved and Mordru is a Legion villain.

All I will tell you is: it's completely Jean Loring's fault, which should surprise no one,
because nothing that lives OR HAS EVER LIVED is safe from Jean Loring.

So, on the one hand, the LAST person you would be expect to be a Legionnaire is effing Dark Lord Mordru the Merciless.  Even a mysterious metal-masked Legionnaire in the present.

The Legion has a history surprisingly rich in mysterious masked members, because the Legion is what happens when comics are actually written for kids (or BY them, in Shooter's case).

Especially given that the redacted bio for "The Legionnaire" clearly shows him with a different, non-Mordru-ish haircut.

On the other hand...

OF COURSE it's Mordru.  Even if Geoff Johns isn't writing this storyline, his DNA is all over much of what goes on at DC, especially anything that smacks of repairs to damage that Dan Didio has done to the timeline.

Theory: Dan Didio is the Glorith of our universe. 

And Geoff Johns always relies on making organic connections between characters in unexpected but reactively logical ways.  If you create a "The Legionnaire" character to connect the Legion to the JSA, you make it an already-existing character who already-connects them:

Okay. Fine. YES, Starboy/man would have been a much more obvious choice. But it's been done; it was TOO obvious.

And (setting aside Starboy), MORDRU is the best known character with strong ties to both the JSA and the LSH.  EVIL ties, yes, but strong ones.

And DCU is not averse to using strong evil ties.

Plus, the current arc for the JSA  (as is being made PAINFULLY REPEATEDLY LOUDLY CLEAR) is second chances for the redemption of villains.  And few characters are more irremediably evil than Mordru.  He's got no Arkham-crazy excuses; he's simply a terrible person.

With a terrible hair-care routine.

So redeeming HIM would be the ultimate impressive feat for the JSA.  What I find interesting here is that several Mordru stories in the past have implied that it is POWER that corrupts Mordru and that in the JSA story he mentions "these new powers".  Are we going to watch the battle for Mordru's soul happen right before us...?


Anonymous said...

Way back when, all the strongest heroes had specific weaknesses (kryptonite / yellow / fire), which seemed contrived. Mordru losing his powers / going unconscious when he's buried made sense to me though: magic has rules that are more conceptual than scientific, so Mordru's weakness should be in that territory.

It's a pretty crippling weakness under the right circumstances though. I read "Lord Romdur's Castle" when it first came out at the E-Z Shop; a B-Team of Legionnaires was able to beat Mordru in like three pages. Bury that jerk, he's done.

You said "dust-up" and I was wondering if that was a subconscious reference to his weakness.

- HJF1

Scipio said...

Oh, Mordru's weakness is great; he's a classic Shtarker with a Glass Jaw.
I love the implication; that the weakness is rooted in his psychology. The one thing someone who wants unlimited power fears is....
being limited.

Bryan L said...

Weaknesses, pfft. You know what impresses me? Mordru now has a LOGO. Characters with LOGOS are MAJOR PLAYERS. Don't talk to me about Silver Age history and backstories and whatnot -- if you ain't got a LOGO, you don't count.

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on doings in "Green Lantern" comics? Seems the Guardians have skedaddled again, the United Planets has been given control of the GLC and has quarantined earth, and the UP is up to some shady doings. BUT, the Guardians stashed a spare central battery on earth, exactly because humans are so ornery with an overabundance of will, and can start a new GLC if Oa ever falls. So it's shaping up to, Hal and veteran GLs versus whatever goon squad the UP can equip with rings.

Story-wise, it allows Hal and other GLs to be centered on earth, so they're not always fighting Kadflkfdjafd of Dkjdkadsda IV (a new cosmic foe who will certainly capture our imagination). Looks like the GLC is going to be a lot smaller too. And, maybe all those rival corps are on their way out.

- HJF1

Hal Shipman said...

The change from his silhouette in the faux Who's Who implies to me that they had no idea who he was going to be when finally introduced (and I'm very surprised they revealed it so early).

cybrid said...

"his DNA is all over much of what goes on at DC"

That sounded dirtier than you probably intended it to sound. ;-)

cybrid said...

off-topic but of debatable interest:

In the Supergirl story in Action Comics #287 (1962), the Legion encounters a race of Chameleon Men, who were, much, much later, implied (in a letter column for responses to Legion of Super-Heroes #301 (1983), which claimed that there were multiple "tribes" of Durlans and the orange antennaed variety was only one of several) to be one such separate "tribe" of Durlans. The "explanation" for why orange antennaed Durlans were (except for the ones in #287) the only "tribe" that had ever been seen to that point was that perhaps said "tribe" was large as the population of China OSLT.

In All-Star Comics #56 (1951), the JSA traveled to the 31st century to battle a shape-shifting race called the Chameleons. That story has waited 73 years to be followed up on and I suppose it'll still be waiting years hence...

Anonymous said...

One of my idiot joys is lining up Golden Age events so as to flesh out Earth-2 and its universe, and bring it in line with Earth-1. So if there's an Earth-2 LSH, we know of the Durlans of that universe. We also know of a contender for the Mon-El role by the name of Halk Kar.

- HJF1

cybrid said...

The golden age had any number of adventurers active in the future. I doubt that any of them were in, specifically the 30th/31st century, but they could still be used as the basis of an Earth-2 LSH were someone inclined to do so.

Solomon J. Behala said...

I like to consider the Alien Collector from Superman 45 to be the Earth-Two version of Brainiac.
There's also the comic strip version of "The Super-Duel inSpace," (Brainiac's first appearance), featuring Romado and the Kryptonian city of Dur-El-Va. Info here,
but unfortunately, I've been unable to locate it. Maybe one day I'll pay for so I can read all the old funnies.