|First appearance||Adventure Comics #369 (June 1968)|
|Created by||Jim Shooter (writer)|
Curt Swan (artist)
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Lords of Chaos|
Legion of Super-Villains
|Notable aliases||The Dark Lord, The Dark Nobleman|
|Abilities||Practically limitless sorcerous power|
Mordru (also known as Mordru the Merciless) is a fictional supervillain appearing in books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Jim Shooter and artist Curt Swan, Mordru first appeared in Adventure Comics #369 (June 1968).
Mordru is the most prominent Lord of Chaos and is fated to survive even after the end of the universe, although he is usually shown as a powerful wizard. While he is sometimes depicted as a present-day adversary of the Justice Society of America and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Mordru's primary foes are the Legion of Super-Heroes in the future world of the 30th and 31st centuries. He is arguably the team's most powerful enemy.
Fictional character biography
The Lord of Chaos Mordru begins his existence by possessing Wrynn, one of the twin sons of Lord Topaz and Lady Turquoise. Wrynn becomes entranced by the study of black magic. When performing a summoning ritual, Wrynn accidentally resurrects a gemstone golem called Flaw, a servant of the Child and one of the Lords of Chaos; Flaw chooses Wrynn to be the Lords' instrument as they attempt to retake Gemworld. The Lords, giving Wrynn tremendous magical power, rename him "Mordru". As time progresses, Mordru takes over Wrynn's mind and body. Wrynn is reduced to a trapped subconscious with Mordru in full control. Mordru kills Donal during a battle with Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, and is banished from the Twelve Kingdoms of Gemworld. Amethyst, however, unsatisfied with this punishment, locks Mordru inside Gemworld by merging him with the planet itself. During his years inside Gemworld, Mordru develops taphephobia (the fear of being buried alive), which becomes Mordru's "Achilles' heel".
The Gemworld realm is different from Earth's time. Whenever 20 years time pass on the Gemworld, only 13 years will pass on Earth. At the end of the 20 years later (13 yrs Earth time) future Gemworld/Mordru saga, the Gemworld planet is displaced into Earths universe. Mordru (a Lord of Chaos immortal) exists many years before the Gemworld "origin" back story (which is a contradiction). Infinite Crisis erases the Gemworld origin and continues Mordru's Post Crisis timeline battles with Dr. Fate and other super heroes. Even if Wrynn existed post Infinite Crisis, he would only be 6-7 years old in current DC time. The 1987 Amethyst 4-issue mini series was a possible "future story" +13 years after Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Pre-Crisis (20th century)
Chronologically (in DC Universe time), his first battle with costumed superheroes occurs during a meeting between Earth-One's Justice League of America and Earth-Two's Justice Society of America. Mordru (who inhabits the Earth-One universe) magically reaches back through time from the 30th century to the 20th, in order to capture members of the JLA and JSA and bring them to the future so that they can retrieve artifacts that would free the Demons Three and allow him to steal their powers. During the battle, the Justice League and the Justice Society ally with the Legion of Super-Heroes. His plan fails. There is some loss of continuity following Crisis on Infinite Earths, the battle is restored to continuity by the events of Infinite Crisis, where the Justice League and the Justice Society reside on a combined "New Earth".
Post-Crisis (20th and 21st centuries)
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mordru is recast as a timeless "Lord of Chaos". He attempts to steal the power of "Doctor Fate" and for a time is imprisoned in Fate's amulet. Once escaped, he overpowers Fate (Hector Hall), steals his collar and amulet and takes on the familiar garb of Doctor Fate. With the aid of Eclipso and Obsidian, Mordru tries to conquer the world but is defeated by Doctor Fate and the Justice Society. Fate imprisons Mordru within the "Rock of Eternity". There, Mordru is guarded by the wizard Shazam. Spectre is seduced by Jean Loring, hosted by Eclipso, then murders Shazam moments after Mordru escapes. Mordru's appearance in this Princes of Darkness story arc marks a connection with the backstory of Power Girl and its revision in Infinite Crisis. The defeat of Mordru entails the freeing the soul of Atlantean sorcerer Arion and states he is not the grandfather of Power Girl.
After his escape from the "Rock of Eternity", Mordru seeks revenge on Fate and the Justice Society. During Mordru's battle with Fate, Mordru and Fate encounter different timelines, such as the Kingdom Come timeline. Fate mocks Mordru, suggesting he is a 'cosmic fluke' and a cancer and that no other versions of him exist. Mordru is then defeated by Jakeem Thunder, who places him "somewhere where none of us will see him again".
Mordru returns to again impersonate Fate. However, the members of the Justice Society see the ruse. When cast out, Mordru returns to his original form. (Volume 2, issue #34).
Pre-Zero Hour (30th Century)
In the 30th century, Mordru becomes one of the most powerful figures in the universe. Although Mordru's story line suffers some loss of continuity, there is an essential plot: Mordru appears on Zerox (the Sorcerer's planet). He joins the sorcerers, rises in power and takes control in a coup. In doing so, he steals the sorcerers' powers. However, his apprentice, Mysa Nal (the White Witch) escapes.
Mordru, now known as the "Dark Lord", creates an unstoppable, tyrannical space empire by conquering nearby planets. He combines the technology of the conquered planets with his sorcery. For example, he can jam an enemy's weapons before a space battle. However, Brainiac 5 notices that the Dark Lord is choosing his conquests carefully "as if selecting baubles from a jeweller's tray" (Adventure Comics #369) thus suggesting his power has wavered. Earth remains free, defended by "The Legion of Superheroes". In a large space battle, the Legion defeats the Dark Lord's armada. Mordru fights back by appearing as a hundred-foot armored giant. After he defeats the Legion, he reverts to his normal stature to rejoice in his victory, failing to notice that Mon-El and Superboy were not present during the fight. He is then quickly sealed in an airless vault at superspeed by Superboy and Mon-El. This triggers his phobia rendering him comatose. The vault is placed beneath Legion Headquarters.
While exploring the headquarters, Shadow Lass finds Mordru's vault and opens the outer door. While trying to open the main door, she is interrupted by Mon-El, who warns Shadow Lass and shuts the vault. He opens an outer glass window which lets them see safely inside, but they see Mordru is revived and coming thru the vault side. Mon-El sounds the alarm and Superboy tries to reach him but is rendered unconscious by Mordru, who has not yet regained his full strength. The Legion flee through a Time Bubble. The Legion have no time to set the bubble and arrive at its last setting, Smallville in Superboy's time. They hide the bubble and aided by Clark Kent (Superboy) they assume secret identities. Through Lana Lang and the Smallville townsfolk, Mordru finds the Legion. They battle and again, Mordru is left imprisoned and comatose. This establishes the classic Mordru story cycle: Mordru is freed, continues his obsession with destroying the Legion then loses in battle, only to be trapped again until the next time.
Mordru manipulated the Resource Raiders, the Khunds, the Dark Circle and events on Weber's World (a diplomatic conference between the United Planets and the Dominion) in order to take over Earth and defeat the Legion, but is defeated. In the aftermath of the crisis, the Khunds and the Dark Circle are driven out of United Planets territory. The U.P. and the Dominion sign an extended peace treaty.
Great Darkness Saga
One of Darkseid's Servants of Darkness frees Mordru from imprisonment on Avalon, and Darkseid steals his powers. He is left powerless on Zerox.
Mordru is fated to rule the universe for a thousand years. The Time Trapper tries to use the Legion to stop Mordru's rise to power. However, in the Great Darkness Saga, the Legion become more powerful than expected. The Time Trapper realizes the Legion is a potential threat. When Mon-El destroys the Time Trapper, it causes a disruption of the space-time continuum and reveals a universe in which Mordru does come to power. Glorith, a minor villain, casts a spell, at the expense of her own life. With this spell, she goes back in time and becomes a time manipulator responsible for creation of the Legion (and modifying the timeline to account for the removal of Superboy and Supergirl from continuity and their replacement with Valor and Andromeda, with Valor being a combination of Mon-El with Superboy's history and influence in the Legion).
In the new timeline, Glorith orchestrates a battle between Mordru and the Legion. Glorith plans to have Mordru and the Legion destroy each other so she can come to power. Ultra Boy discovers her plan. He coerces Mordru to attack Glorith. It is this battle which is said to explain Mordru's wavering planetary conquest (Adventure Comics #369). At this point, the Sorcerers of Zerox find an opportunity to remove Mordru's powers and cure his mind. He finds contentment on Zerox and later, after Zerox was destroyed in the "Magic Wars", on Tharn. He marries Mysa Nal.
Following the Magic Wars, there is galactic economic collapse and Tharn faces destruction by the Khund. To protect the planet against the Khund starships, the Sorcerers' Council restores Mordru's powers (even though they know the power will corrupt Mordru). Mordru defeats the Khunds and becomes Emperor. He is not as powerful as before. He can defeat the Green Lantern, Rond Vidar but not the combined powers of The Legion and the United Planets. Mordru joins with Glorith and together they make a number of attempts to secure power. One such attempt disturbs the internal logic of the Zero Hour crossover story.
Relations with other Villains (Pre-Zero Hour)
Due to Mordru's power, other would-be conquerors of the 30th century consider Mordru (and hence the Legion) in their plans. For example, Pulsar Stargrave masquerades as Brainiac 5's father and sends Brainy's real father on a series of missions to gather artifacts that could defeat Mordru. Stargrave enlists the aid of the Time Trapper, a "time manipulator". Stargrave orders the Time Trapper to prove his worth by killing the Legion. When the Time Trapper fails, Stargrave tries to enlist the Legion themselves. Later on, an alien sorcerer named Sden tries to trick the Legion into retrieving yet another artifact, again with the goal of defeating Mordru.
Post-Zero Hour (30th and 31st centuries)
After Zero Hour, the future of the DC Universe was completely rebooted. Instead of an established Legion, a new Legion with younger heroes had just been formed, and the history between the 21st and 30th centuries had changed. The story after Zero Hour has Mordru establishing a large empire in the 28th and 29th centuries before being imprisoned by Mysa (now his daughter rather than his apprentice) in an airtight vault on the Yuen asteroid. In the battle, Mysa's allies are killed and she is severely aged.
Mordru is released by a mining project on the Yuen asteroid controlled by a group of disgruntled Legion rejects. The new Legion consisting of Sensor, Umbra and Magno investigates unusual events on the asteroid. Mordru searches for his lost talismans which hold his power such as the Emerald Eye of Ekron. The owner of the Eye defends the relic until a Legion led alliance (including Mysa (who is now de-aged), the Workforce, and the Amazers) defeats Mordru and imprisons him in an airtight sphere. Although the "Elements of Disaster" threatened at one point to revive him, Mordru remains imprisoned.
Legion of 3 Worlds
In this story that is part of the Final Crisis storyline, Mordru is one of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains. Mordru rules the Sorcerers' World and holds the White Witch hostage. After killing Glorith, Dragonmage and Prince Evillo, Mordru holds the remaining magic of the universe. He also receives the power of Kinetix (killed by Superboy-Prime) and that of the other sorcerers of "Universe-247". However, the White Witch absorbs Mordru. Due to Mordru's evil in doing so, she becomes the "Black Witch".
Powers and abilities
In the 30th and 31st centuries, Mordru is the premiere sorcerer of the known universe. He is the "Legion of Super-Heroes'" most powerful individual foe. Only Darkseid and the Time Trapper (or Glorith) rival his powers.
Mordru's sorcerous powers are among the most formidable in the DC universe. They include:
- Invulnerability - for example, during an attack on the Justice Society in New York, Mordru was able to take multiple blows from Power Girl without serious damage and was able to withstand a joint attack by the JSA and the Freedom Fighters.
- Superhuman strength
- Control of matter at a molecular level and formation of solid objects
- Generation of magical energy in bolts or shields
- Healing of fatal wounds - when Alan Scott slashed Mordru's abdomen open with an energy sword, the sorcerer was able to heal the injury in seconds before ripping the Starheart from Alan's body.
- Regrowing limbs using "chthonic energy".
Mordru's powers are increased by repositories of magical energy. Examples are the Rock of Eternity, Fate's artifacts, the Starheart, and Arion's body.
Mordru is apparently ageless. In JSA: Justice Be Done, the Hourman Android attempts to de-age Mordru and discovers his life has no beginning or end. Mordru has never been born and will never die.
In other media
- Gabriel Dell portrayed Mordru in the 1979 live action miniseries Legends of the Superheroes. In this, he sings an evil version of the song "That's Entertainment!"
- Mordru appears in Justice League Unlimited's first-season episode "The Greatest Story Never Told". He is depicted as he was in his Silver Age incarnation. As the episode focuses on the adventure of Booster Gold, Mordru's backstory is not explored. However, his god-like power is noted as it takes almost the entire Justice League to confront him. Mordru decimates Metropolis, and uses his magic to fuse Superman and Batman into one person with Wonder Woman's voice. He is defeated by the heroes with Elongated Man delivering the blow that knocks him unconscious.
- In the Legion of Super-Heroes episode "Child's Play", a wizard that resembles Mordru (voiced by Richard McGonagle) appears a member of the Sorcerer's World Council on Zarok. Openly disdainful of the "United Planets", he supports a war with Earth over a minor breach in etiquette.
- The actual Mordru appears in the episode "Trials" voiced by Jim Ward. He attempts to drain the magic of the wizards on the Sorcerer's World Council so he can rule the planet Zarok, but is defeated by Zyx and the Legion.
- Mordru appears in an episode of DC Universe Online as a character to pursue whom obtains the Spear of Destiny and the Crime Bible.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Dark Lord", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 94, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. pp. 235–236. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
- Amethyst Vol.3 #1-4 (November 1987 - February 1988)
- Justice League of America #147-148 (1977)
- Action Comics #864 (June 2008)
- JSA #78 (December 2005)
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4-5
- Mordru at DC Comics Wiki