Those of you who watch Supergirl have seen Chris Wood’s incarnation of DC legacy character Mon-El.
The CW borrowed the name, planet of origin, and vulnerability to lead from canon and that’s about it so… yeah. This guy is not that guy.
Name: Lar Gand/Mon-El
Place of Birth: Daxam
Century of Birth: 21st (as visualized mid-20th. Wow, did they blow that.)
Aliases: Valor, M’Onel, Champion, Bob Cobb, and, Jonathan Kent (Clark’s cousin)
Affiliations: Legion of Super-Heroes, L.E.G.I.O.N., Science Police, Justice League, Green Lantern Corps
Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, endurance; invulnerability; healing factor, flight, freeze breath, vortex breath, heat vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, longevity
Weaknesses: lead (for those who question his bullet… proofness on Supergirl: only some bullets are lead-jacketed these days. Mon-El is immune to those made with other metals).
First Appearance: Superboy #89 (June 1961)
Creators: Robert Bernstein and George Papp (borrowing from Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster). Based on the character Halk Kar created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.
Mon-El was an explorer who landed on Krypton; Jor-El warned him of the planet’s imminent demise and gave Mon-El a map to Earth. Mon-El made good his escape but upon landing, found himself afflicted with amnesia (start your tally here, trust me). Because comic book. Mon-El happened to crash land near Smallville and happened upon a young Clark Kent (then in his Superboy incarnation); upon realizing Mon-El had powers similar to his own, Clark decided Mon-El must be his long-lost brother. Of him he had never heard. Ever. Ever.
Superboy became suspicious of his own assumed version of Mon-El’s origin when the latter proved to be immune to kryptonite. He was not, however, immune to the lead shield around said kryptonite and contracted an irreversible, and fatal, case of lead-poisoning from it. In order to preserve Mon-El’s life, Superboy sent him to the Phantom Zone where, because he wouldn’t age, Mon-El’s condition wouldn’t deteriorate further.
Mon-El was able to join the Legion of Super-heroes in the 30th century because Saturn Girl synthesized a temporary antidote to Mon-El’s lead poisoning, allowing him to leave the Phantom Zone for brief periods of time. Brainiac 5 later created a permanent-if-taken-at-the-proper-intervals inoculation, allowing Mon-El to become a full member of the Legion. Mon-El was considered to be one of the Legion’s three most powerful heroes along with Superboy and Ultra Boy. Things traipsed along nicely until Mon-El failed to take a dose of his cure on schedule and died though he was pretty much immediately resurrected so… you know. Dramatic tension or something.
During Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Superboy bits of Clark’s story were removed from main continuity though Mon-El’s story remained the same but for the fact he and Superboy were now said to have encountered one another in a pocket dimension created by The Time Trapper. Because… I don’t know. Time Lords. Time Trapper injured Mon-El severely during a battle; Mon-El then died (that’s #2 for your tally on “deaths”) during the Magic Wars but hoping to use his body as a host, Time Trapper revived him. Because… you know. Necromancy. Mon-El killed Time Trapper before Time Trapper could hijack Mon-El’s body which, for some reason, destroyed the Superboy pocket dimension and completely resetting the timeline.
Go ahead. You know you want to call in Mon-Point.
Mon-El survived the shift. Sort of. In the new timeline, he, not Superboy, was the inspiration for the Legion of Super-Heroes in the person of Valor, a 20th century hero who stopped a Dominator invasions and freed thousands of humans, who became metahumans due to the alien experiments, from Dominator colonies. Then there was a time clone and history playing itself out too early and then Zero Hour, which hit the reboot button again because that’s what DC does.
When readers met Mon-El again, he was suffering from amnesia (that would be 2 in the “amnesia” column if you’re playing along at home) and was left with only vague memories of the Legion and his previous life. He was tricked into fighting Superboy in a sort of PPV match but started to weaken mid-bout because he had no access to the treatment for his chronic-lead poisoning (which, sadly for our hero, was not rebooted). Superboy put him in the Stasis Zone (= Phantom Zone ) where Mon-El remained for a thousand years until rescued by the Legion and Superboy, the later of whom acquired a miracle serum in the interim. Apparently concerned Mon-El’s return would start a religious fervor (I… look, I don’t even know what to say about this one), the Legion hid the fact he used to be Valor and the character is theretofore known as M’Onel, supposedly Martian for “He Who Wanders.” Because, Kryptonian and Martian are entymological kissing cousins. Who knew?
Cue a time vortex, everyone was lost, and a third reboot did the thing (Infinite Crisis).
In Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #23 (2006), Saturn Girl picked up a mysterious distress call which turned out to be Mon-El, who was dying of sensory deprivation and lead poisoning in the Phantom Zone (3). Where he had previously been stashed because he didn’t age there which meant his disease didn’t progress. Until now. When it progressed the hell out of itself. Brainiac 5 made yet another temporary cure which, when it wore off, sent Mon-El back to the Phantom Zone (4). Which doesn’t really make sense because he had just been dying a slow, painful, horrible death of lead poisoning in the Phantom Zone.
*waves wand, waves hand, sings Let it Go*
Post Infinite-Crisis, Mon-El’s backstory was retconned all to hell: he was suddenly the child of a female Daxemite and a human male who met when the former visited Earth during the reign of the Maya. Not wanting her child to be viewed as a demigod (because we all know how that goes), she returned with him to Daxam though she did program her spaceship for escape should Daxam’s isolationist, xenophobic tendencies endanger her decedents. Mon-El ended up on Earth, the preprogrammed destination and was immediately struck with… everyone together now… Amnesia (3). The story of Mon-El’s meeting with Clark in the new-new-new continuity was similar to the original: in trying to discern whether Mon-El is Kryptonian, Superman brought out the kryptonite in a lead casing. The lead poisoned Mon-El and restored his memories because that is totally how toxicology works. Clark put Mon-El in stasis until he could be cured. In the Phantom Zone (5). *throws up hands and walks away*
Clark eventually freed Mon-El from the Phantom Zone to save him from it’s collapse and he is cured of lead poisoning by an anonymous benefactor (spoiler: it’s the Legion). Mon-El subbed in for Superman while Kal was messing around on New Krypton. He joined the the Justice League briefly but soon found he had become immune to the lead-cure and gets stashed back in the reconstituted Phantom Zone (6). Because, you know. That’s been super effective in the past.
At least the next time he came back, Mon-El got to be a Green Lantern.
In the New-52, Mon-El was the leader of the Legion of Super-Heroes. It was implied Mon-El and the other members of the Legion are the pre-Flashpoint versions of themselves as they remembered the pre-Flashpoint version of the Universe.
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