It's said that there are no bad characters, just bad stories. That's true, and Mongul is Exhibit A.
Blaming Earth's heroes for his father's death, this alien warrior is determined to have his vengeance.
Mongul, when he was introduced in 1980, was pretty much the poor man's Darkseid. Which made sense, in a way, since he was created by writer/artist Jim Starlin.
Starlin's signature character to that point had been created for Marvel Comics: Thanos, who was himself a version of Darkseid. Mongul is a copy of a copy, and he often got treated as such once the novelty of being able to play with "Darkseid-lite" wore off.
Mongul was killed by the demon Neron during the "Underworld Unleashed" crossover, but DC wasted no time in intoducing his son, Mongul II, who managed to look and act exactly like his father. Junior seemed somewhat heroic at first, but just because he needed help against a greater threat. As soon as that was done, he was back to looking out for #1. He appreared briefly in Infinite Crisis, which was apparently just long enough to warrant an action figure in the first series of IC toys from DC Direct.
And oh, what a figure it is. The first thing you'll notice is his size - the card alone is twice the size of any other in his line, and this is easily the biggest figure DCD has ever released. He's 8 3/4" tall, and nearly as wide. Even given DCD's unreliable scale, this is a monster figure.
Mongul was sculpted by Jeremy Bush, and he looks pretty good. He's got a nicer costume than his dad, even if his personality isn't all that different. He's absolutely enraged, as evidenced by the deep furrows on his brow. His mouth is open wide, so you can see the fine detailing in all his little teeth. The detail on the body and costume is a bit soft, but in a good way: everything in this series is based on the artwork of Phil Jimenez, and while his art is detailed, it's not exaggerated. If Mongul had deep, thick lines carved into him, he wouldn't look right.
Even by DCD standards, articulation is light. He joins the exclusive club of DCD figures who move at the waist, and he has peg joints for the boots, balljointed hips, pegged wrists, balljointed shoulders and a peg neck. No elbows, no knees. Because of Mongul's huge size, some sacrifices had to be made: articulation is one; material is another. The majority of the figure is rotocast, to keep costs down, which is why he's articulated the way he is and why he's so light.
The paint is good. Mongul's skin is bright yellow, and his costume is very dark blue and purple, so any errors would have really stood out. Even the silver pods and the square on his chest are done well. His mouth is pink, and his beady little eyes are red. One weird thing, though. His hands are purple, so he's obviously wearing gloves - in that case, why does he have distinct fingernails? They're even painted a different color.
Mongul has no accessories, of course.
He does include the same Infinite Crisis logo base that the rest of the figures in this series have, but that's just silly. He's stable enough that he doesn't need it, it's too small to adequately fit his feet, and it doesn't even serve as the logo on his blister card since his packaging is super-sized.
The original Mongul may have been the poor man's Thanos (and the homeless man's Darkseid), but he was used in one of the greatest Superman stories ever told - "For The Man Who Has Everything." The story was written by Alan Moore, and was even adapted into an episode of Justice League Unlimited. And since you can't really tell the difference between Mongul and Mongul Jr., who's to say whether or not this is the one who nearly kicked Superman's ass? Buy this intergalactic despot and have him dominate your other toys!
Who's your favorite: Darkseid, Thanos or Mongul? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge