COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN VS. MONGUL

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

Superman vs. Mongul TPB A

Superman vs. Mongul TPB B

Nuts and Bolts

  • Released on December 18, 2013
  • Original Price $14.99
  • 144 pages
  • Cover by Ryan Sook

Contents

  • The Key That Unlocked Chaos! from DC Comics Presents #27
  • Warworld! from DC Comics Presents #28
  • Whatever Happened to Starman? from DC Comics Presents #36
  • In Final Battle from DC Comics Presents #43
  • For The Man Who Has Everything… from Superman Annual (Vol. 1) #11

Notes

Mongul is one of those characters that I am fascinated with.  I was introduced to the character during the Exile story line in 1989 and followed both his escapades as well as those of his son and daughter.  To me he was this bruiser that Superman met in space and one of the villains that played a large part in Reign of the Supermen.  Until recently my one experience with him during the Pre-Crisis era was For The Man Who Has Everything… which I read in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told.  In all honesty there wasn’t much difference between the Mongul in that story and the Mongul I had read in Exile.

Superman vs. Mongul is a comprehensive look at those Pre-Crisis appearances and proves that there were some differences between the two iterations of the character.  Part of me is annoyed that none of his Post Crisis appearances made the cut but I am assuming that whoever put this collection together wanted to limit this trade to this version of the character because it made for a smoother read.  To be fair his Post Crisis appearances occurred mainly during big, huge, soul shattering story lines so isolating one of those issues out of context might make for a jarring read.  Then again this didn’t seem to matter for other trades like this most notably Superman vs. Darkseid.

No matter the reason as to why certain issues were and weren’t included this is a great little trade.  The cover by Ryan Sook is re-purposed from DC Universe Special Superman: Mongul #1 from 2008.  That special reprinted Flash (Vol. 2) #102, Superman (Vol. 2) #32 and Showcase ’95 issues 7 and 8.  I have mixed feelings on the cover because while Mongul looks great there is something slightly off about Superman.  As I alluded to earlier this trade also reads a lot smoother than a lot of these Versus collections because we’re following a character’s history rather than seeing their greatest hits.  There is a narrative quality to the book so when you finally get to For The Man Who Has Everything… you feel like you’ve seen the beginning and probable end of this version of the character.

Also it’s always nice to see issues of DC Comics Presents get reprinted.  The two Showcase Presents volumes are great but sometimes you want to see these stories in full color.

This is definitely a collection I would recommend for both hardcore Superman fans and casual readers as well.  It’s rare for a relatively obscure villain that some consider to be the poor man’s Darkseid to get such a focus and while I would have liked to see some of his Post Crisis appearances get a little love I understand why they went in this direction.  Mongul is a solid character and a good villain for Superman.  Someone (I forget who so I apologize for my lack of a citation here) once said that Mongul was great becuase he was a Darkseid level bad guy without all of the Fourth World baggage.  While I personally like that Fourth World baggage I get what that person was saying.  He’s a cosmic level villain that has a fairly straight forward motivation that can mix it up physically with Superman.

That’s a character I can get behind.

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