Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Who's Who: Mordru

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Mordru
Super-Power(s): Master of black magic, Mordru is able to bend virtually any force in the universe to his will.  
Planet of Origin: Zerox
Relationship to Legion: Arch Enemy

Legion Log
Mordru was born or came to Zerox, also known as the Sorcerers' World, under unknown circumstances. All that is known is that he quickly rose to become of the greatest wizards of his era. He served as one of the masters and teachers on Zerox for several years, all the time secretly building up his skills at black magic.

When Mysa of Naltor, later known as the Legionnaire the White Witch, came to Zerox to study, she inadvertently triggered Mordru's lust for power. He caused her to fail her final test as a sorcerer, and had her banished from Zerox after transforming her into a hideous "Hag." As soon as she left, Mordru moved against his fellow teachers and took over Zerox as his base of operations.

Mordru began to dominate several worlds in the United Planets, which brought him into conflict with the Legion of Super-Heroes. In an untold tale, they were eventually able to use his fear of being buried alive and captured him in an airless vault.

Mordru remained "buried" under the Legion headquarters for nearly three years, until new Legionnaire Shadow Lass, not knowing about him, accidentally set him free. He then went on a rampage, chasing after the four on-duty Legionnaires through time to Superboy's Smallville. Eventually, the Legion was able to re-bury him underground.

Mordru has regained his freedom several times, the worst of these when he manipulated the Khunds, the Dominators, and the Dark Circle to do his work for him during the Earthwar. At that time, Mordru very nearly took over the entire United Planets.

Later, Mordru's power was largely absorbed by Darkseid in his attempt to revive himself after an eon-long slumber. Mordru then became a husk and a shadow of his former self. His own acolytes attempted on several occasions to "raise" him to lead them, with no success. He remained powerless until the teachers on Zerox took it upon themselves to revive Mordru and attempt to rehabilitate him.

It would finally be revealed that, in the 20th Century, Mordru begins his existence as Wrynn, one of the twin sons of Lord Topaz and Lady Turquoise on Gemworld. Wrynn becomes entranced by the study of black magic and when performing a summoning ritual, accidentally resurrects a gemstone golem called Flaw, a servant of the Child and one of the Lords of Chaos. Flaw had chosen Wrynn to be the instrument of the Lords of Chaos who wanted to retake Gemworld. They rename Wrynn, "Mordru" and give him tremendous magical power. Wrynn kills his twin brother, Donal, during a battle with Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and is banished from the Twelve Kingdoms. Amethyst is not satisfied with this punishment and locks hm inside Gemworld by merging him with the planet itself. During his years inside Gemworld, he develops taphephobia (the fear of being buried alive). This thereafter is Mordru's "Achilles' heel".

Mordru is thus recast as a timeless "Lord of Chaos". He attempts to steal the power of Dr. Fate and for a time is imprisoned in Fate's amulet. Once escaped, he overpowers Fate (Hector Hall), steals his collar and amulet and, impersonating him, tries to conquer the world with the aid of Eclipso and Obsidian, until he is defeated by the true Dr. Fate and the Justice Society of America. Fate imprisons Mordru within the "Rock of Eternity" where he is guarded by the wizard Shazam. Shazam will be murdered moments after Mordru escapes, after which he seeks revenge on the JSA. He is once more defeated and placed, by Jakeem Thunder, "somewhere where none of us will see him again". He nonetheless returned at least once more to plague the JSA.

Back in the 30th Century, the post-Crisis Mordru is fated to rule the universe for a thousand years. The Time Trapper helps create the Legion to stop his rise to power. However, in the Great Darkness Saga, the Legion become more powerful than expected and a potential threat. Indeed, Mon-El destroys the Time Trapper, causing a disruption in the space-time continuum, revealing a universe in which Mordru does come to power. The sorceress Glorith goes back in time and becomes the temporal manipulator responsible for creation of the Legion instead, creating a new timeline that culminates in a battle between the Legion and Mordru so they can destroy each other. Ultra Boy finds out about it and makes Mordru attack Glorith instead, and the wizard is, as before, cured of his powers and megalomania by the Sorcerers of Zerox.

After the so-called Five-Year Gap, he has married Mysa Nal. Now living on Tharn, and to protect the planet against a Khund invasion, the Sorcerers' Council restores Mordru's powers (even though they know the will corrupt him). He defeats the Khund and becomes Emperor. Not as powerful as before, he can defeat the Green Lantern Rond Vidar, but not the combined powers of the Legion and United Planets. Mordru joins with Glorith and together they make a number of attempts to secure power, in one instance building a galactic undead army, in another, helping precipitate the Crisis in Time known as Zero Hour.

After the Reboot, Mordru established 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. He is released by a mining project controlled by a group of disgruntled Legion rejects and 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, 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, he remains imprisoned.

After the Threeboot, Mordru does not seem to exist, or at least, be an issue.

After Infinite Crisis, Mordru's original history (including the Gemworld elements) has presumably been restored. During the Final Crisis, Mordru is a member of Superboy-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains and ruled the Sorcerers' World, holding the White Witch hostage. After killing Glorith, Dragonmage, and Prince Evillo, he absorbed their power in addition to that of Kinetix and of the other sorcerers of the Reboot timeline. However, the White Witch absorbs Mordru; his evil turns her into the "Black Witch".

After Flashpoint, Mordru is an evil sorcerer and ally of Morgaine Le Fay in the era of Camelot. He plagued the group known as the Demon Knights on several occasions. He may or may not have gone on to be the same Mordru who tangled with the Legion in its principal continuity.

Mordru has appeared in other media, including the 1979 live-action mini-series Legends of the Superheroes, where he was portrayed by Gabriel Dell and sang an evil version of the song "That's Entertainment!"; and in the Justice League Unlimited animated series (where he has no dialog) and the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series (voiced by Jim Ward).

Defining Villainous Moment: 

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #245
Mordru comes close to taking over the entire United Planets

Important Mordru Stories:

Adventure Comics (v1) #369
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8, 
Limited Collectors' Edition C-49, 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4)
The debut of Mordru in a flashback to a story that has never been printed

Adventure Comics (v1) #369-370
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8, 
Limited Collectors' Edition C-49, 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4)
Mordru is accidentally freed and chases after the Legion back to Smallville

Superboy (v1) #173
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Mordru attempts to destroy the Legion with a murderous copy of Cosmic Boy

Superboy (v1) #188
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
Superboy defeats Mordru before he can use the Blood Crystals against the Boy of Steel

Justice League of America (v1) #147-148
 (reprinted in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 4 TPB)
Mordru attempts to free the Demons Three and control their dark magic

Superboy and the Legion #241-245
Mordru controls the Khunds, the Dark Circle, and the Dominators in an attempt to take over the universe

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2)  #276
 (reprinted in Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 2)
Mordru attempts to regain his powers on the ancient world of Avalon

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2)  #291
 (reprinted in LSH: The Great Darkness Saga TPB)
Mordru has his powers stolen by Darkseid

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #315
The White Witch explains how Mordru took control of Zerox

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v1) #2 (1984)
 (reprinted in LSH: The Great Darkness Saga TPB)
Acolytes attempt to raise Mordru from his death-like coma

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3)  #27
Teachers on Zerox revive Mordru in order to rehabilitate him

Amethyst (v3) #1-4
Mordru's origin story lies in Gemworld

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #3
5 Years Later, Mordru, now married to Mysa, tortures Green Lantern Rond Vidar

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #6-7
The Legion faces Mordru to free Mysa from his influence

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) Annual #1
Glorith fights Mordru in a version of events that excludes the Time Trapper

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #43-48
Mordru raises the dead in a bid to conquer the galaxy

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #60, Legionnaires #18, Valor #23
Mordru teams up with Glorith and precipitates Zero Hour

Legionnaires #48-50
After the Reboot, Mordru is freed and tries to collect all his artifacts... and a bride

Legionnaires #73
Forces are trying to awaken Mordru after his defeat

JSA #1-4
Mordru becomes a major JSA foe

JSA #45-51
Mordru reveals he has stolen Dr. Fate's identity and it's all-out war

JSA #78-80
Mordru escapes the Rock of Eternity by murdering Shazam

JSA #80
Jakeem Thunder banished Mordru from our plane

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2
During Final Crisis, it is revealed Mordru killed Glorith, Dragonmage and Evillo

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5
The White Witch absorbs Mordru and is turned into the Black Witch

Justice Society of America (v3) #35
Back in the 21st Century, Mordru fights the JSA one last time

Demon Knights #1-7, 13-15
After Flashpoint, Mordru becomes one of the Demon Knights' key enemies in the Arthurian era

Legends of the Superheroes mini-series
Mordru played in live action by Gabriel Dell

Justice League Unlimited animated series
Mordru appeared in the JLU episode "The Greatest Story Never Told"

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
In the Legion animated series, Mordru was voiced by Jim Ward


  1. Anyone who doubts the artistry of Curt Swan need only look at the splash with the giant Mordru face. That is FRIGHTENING. And it's from the Silver Age! See, Swan could experiment!

    Whose idea was it to put Modru in that Charlie Brown sweater? That's a horrible look. It's in his second Who's Who entry.

    I first met Mordru on Legends of the Super Heroes! I had no idea who he was.


  2. Another top villain created by Jim Shooter !

  3. If they ever make a Legion of Super-Heroes movie, I think Mordru should be the villain. I love the concept of super-advanced future-science going up against magic.

  4. They need to make a fresh movie focusing only on Mordru.

  5. And you need to update this background on Mordru - he was mentioned in Justice League Dark Annual 1