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"Mordru the Merciless!": This story is reprinted from Adventure Comics #369.



Appearing in "Mordru the Merciless!"

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Supporting Characters:

Villains:

  • Mordru (First appearance)
  • "King" Carter (Mob Boss) (Single appearance)
    • Kelly (King's Lackey) (Single appearance)
    • Slob (King's Lackey) (Single appearance)

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  • None

Synopsis for "Mordru the Merciless!"

This story is reprinted from Adventure Comics #369.

Four Legionnaires on duty at their headquarters, Superboy, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Duo Damsel, hastily use their Time Cube to escape to 20th century Smallville, as Mordru, the Dark Lord, pursues them. As a new Legionnaire, Shadow Lass had been exploring the sub-basement in which Mordru was imprisoned in a vault, and tried to open it. Mon-El spied her, warned her to stop, and told her Mordru's story.

The villain hailed from Zerox, the Sorcerers' Planet, and after mastering the ultimate mystic powers, made himself master of that world and conquered his sector of the galaxy. Saturn Girl was Legion leader at the time, and when Mordru attacked Earth, the team's battle with him seemed futile, until she directed Superboy and Mon-El to imprison him in an airless steel block, thus depriving him of his powers. He fell into a coma, and has remained in that state since.

However, Shadow Lass's tampering has caused air to seep into the block and revive him. Now forced to flee, the four Legionnaires quickly realize that Mordru will soon find them, and decide to adopt secret identities in hopes of eluding him. With the assistance of Superboy's foster parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, Mon-El resumes the guise of Bob Cobb, the identity he had used when he first met Superboy. Duo Damsel becomes Marie Elkins, a supposed second cousin of Smallville Police Chief Parker's wife Leah, with whom she stays, and Shadow Lass dons white makeup to cover her blue skin, and becomes Betsy Norcross, an exchange student who resides with Lana Lang's family.

Mordru arrives, and causes a deep shadow to penetrate the town to find the missing Legionnaires. In doing this he puts Lana under his control and sees everything she does. As the days pass, the heroes stay as hidden as possible, and try to come up with a plan, while Mordru does his best to flush them out.

Then, a week after their arrival, "King" Carter and his gangsters come to Smallville and take it over. Because of Mordru, the young heroes fear to use their powers to stop them. Instead, with Jonathan Kent leading, the townspeople are convinced to stand against the mob and fight back. The crooks are overcome, and this gives the Legionnaires the moral resolve to do the same with Mordru. As they resume their costumes and gather in an alley behind the Kent home, Lana spies them from her window. Mordru now finds them, and suddenly materializes before the heroes.

Appearing in "The Devil's Jury!"

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Synopsis for "The Devil's Jury!"

This story is reprinted from Adventure Comics #370.

Mordru easily crushes the four Legionnaires with his magic, but they escape by burrowing underground. Rushing back to the Kent home, Superboy swiftly constructs a hypnosis machine to erase their and the Kents' memories for an hour, so that Mordru cannot trace their thoughts. As they resume their earlier civilian guises, Mordru searches the minds of the Smallville populace in vain, but his probing causes the hypnosis to continue past its one-hour limit.

The villain then summons his armies to ferret out the Legionnaires, and causes Smallville to rise into space in order to limit their search. Pete Ross wonders why Superboy doesn't stop the armies and realizes that the Boy of Steel has forgotten who he is. He summons Lana Lang to a deserted house and confides the secret that Superboy is Clark Kent. With Lana as Insect Queen, they kidnap Clark and restore his memory. Superboy then does the same for his Legion comrades, and they make plans to stop Mordru and his army. The next day, the Legionnaires show themselves in battle against the invaders, but are easily defeated and taken to Mordru's cave headquarters outside town. Actually, Pete is disguised as Superboy, and Duo Damsel has portrayed both herself and Shadow Lass. The real Superboy, Shadow Lass, and Insect Queen are safe, and as the captive heroes are brought before Mordru, their allies come to rescue them. Stunned, Mordru is initially overwhelmed but easily recovers.

After defeating the heroes again, he holds a mock trial before a jury of 30th century criminals with his lackey, Wraithor, as prosecutor. Pete is defense attorney, and he attempts to shock the criminals into siding with him, but fails. Then Mordru, at Wraithor's suggestion, sentences all six youths to slow death inside a lead-lined, Kryptonite-coated vault. The heroes soon find that the vault is a fake, and after they break out, Wraithor appears and tells them that Pete's speech broke Mordru's spell over him. As he helps them to freedom, Mordru disintegrates him, and imprisons the heroes in a force-field, then creates a fireball and lifts it over his head, intending to hurl it down on them. This causes the cavern walls to crumble and collapse about him, sealing him under-ground, seemingly forever.

The Legionnaires return to Smallville, and Superboy uses his hypnosis ray to erase Lana's knowledge of his secret identity, but Mon-El prevents him from doing the same to Pete, instead causing him to forget that Pete knows his secret, because Pete is destined someday to use that information to save Superman's life. When the four Legionnaires return to Legion Headquarters, Invisible Kid explains that Mordru's attempt to destroy them failed, because Dream Girl foresaw his attack and summoned her sister, the White Witch, to protect them with her magic, while Princess Projectra cast an illusion to make him think that he had succeeded.

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