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In the Superman comics all the way up to 1985 (when the writers re-did Superman all over again), exactly what is Mongul? Is he stronger than Superman physically? I mean if they fought without each one of them holding back to the death, is Mongul strong enough to kill Superman?

I am not asking for opinion, but rather facts presented to us in the comics. Also, does anyone know the first comic that talks about Mongul's origin and powers in depth?

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Pre-Crisis (1980 - 1985)

When originally introduced in DC Comics Presents #27/28, Mongul was only given a cursory origin. It was explained that he had been the ruling despot of his race's homeworld, until they finally got tired of him and overthrew him in a revolution. He then escaped (or was exiled) and decided to get revenge on his people by taking over Warworld and using it to destroy his own planet. The original version towered over Superman and proved to be his physical match when they fought. In each case, however, Superman proved to be the stronger of the two.

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Post-Crisis (1985 - 2011)

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths retcon, Mongul was largely unchanged with two notable exceptions - he was now closer to human-size (yet still quite large), and he was now the ruler of Warworld, a planet where the populace was kept docile through gladiator games that were broadcast across their world. Eventually, Mongul would lose his throne in this version as well, and thereafter seek revenge against the Justice League, specifically Superman.

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Mongul's species is never defined in the Pre-Crisis or Post-Crisis Universe. Neither is the source of his metahuman abilities. However, in the Pre-Crisis universe, the desire of the writer, Jim Stalin was to create a villain whose power and ability were greater than Superman's and capable of giving the Man of Tomorrow a run for his money.

Of Pre-Crisis Mongul's origin, we know only this:

The only known fact about Mongul's early life is that he was once the merciless dictator of an entire world until an ancient holy man called the Arkymandyte appeared and incited the general population to revolt against his rule. The revolution proved successful, and Mongul was forced to abandon his world and flee into space in order to save his own life. Because of this, it is generally assumed that Mongul aquired his vast powers at some point after his exile and before his first encounter with Superman, otherwise he would have been able to use them to put down the revolt against his dictatorship. The origin of Mongul's powers are also a complete unknown.

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  • In his initial appearance of DC Comics Presents #27, Mongol boasted an array of superhuman abilities including near-invulnerability and strength on par with Pre-Crisis Superman. Mongul stood toe to toe with Superman and nearly defeated him.

  • Mongul engages Superman in personal combat and the villain proves to be one of the Man of Tomorrow's most dangerous opponents, nearly besting him before finally escaping with the Key to the technological battlestation known as WarWorld. (DCCP No. 27/1, Nov 1980: "The Key That Unlocked Chaos")

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In this recap from DC Comics Present #28, Superman is beaten by Mongul

  • This Pre-Crisis Mongul would remain a physical threat to Superman until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, engaging in several gambits in the pages of DC Comics Presents including unleashing the threat of a deadly Sun-Eater. In one of their last physical confrontations in DC Comics Presents #36, Superman and Mongul go at it one last time and Superman is astounded as to Mongul's ability to take damage and dish it out...

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  • Their most pivotal confrontation was chronicled in the famed comic: For the Man Who Has Everything, written by Alan Moore. In this issue, we discover Mongul also has a green thumb and a preference for growing a deadly plant called a Black Mercy. The plant is a parasite which while consuming its prey, gives them visions of an ideal life, perfect in every way. The plant had the power to pierce Superman's invulnerable skin, and hijack his mind, making him believe Krypton had never exploded and that he was living a normal family life.

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  • It is this story which cemented Mongul as a premiere Superman foe, who could challenge both body and mind and though he is defeated by Superman's force of will, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin show up to lend a hand. In this case, Mongul is so tough, Wonder Woman nearly breaks her hand trying to bring the battle to the alien warlord.

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Upon Superman's liberation from the Black Mercy, he and Mongul mix it up one last time. They appear almost equally matched.

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  • In the end, Mongul is hoisted upon his own petard and dreams of a Universe where he is the complete master of all he surveys.

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