Mala Publication information Publisher DC Comics First appearance Superman #65 (July/August 1950) Created by Williams Woolfolk (story)
Al Plastino (art)
In-story information Place of origin Krypton Abilities Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, senses, intelligence, regeneration, and longevity, super breath, heat vision, and flight
Fictional character biography
Mala, along with his brothers Kizo and U-Ban, is a native of the planet Krypton, and a former member of the science council. Some years before Krypton exploded the trio attempts to take over the planet by threatening to remove all moisture from the atmosphere with one of their inventions. They are stopped by Superman's father Jor-El who places them in suspended animation and sends them into outer space, as an alternative to the death penalty.
Many years later their rocketship is struck by a piece of space debris, which brings the trio out of suspended animation. Mala and his brothers find their way to Earth, where they meet Superman. Once there, the three brothers construct a machine that hypnotizes all of Earth's population. Superman manages to destroy the machine, but soon finds himself overwhelmed by the combined might of Mala and his brothers. The quick thinking Man of Steel tricks the brothers into fighting each other, until the trio are exhausted. Superman then places Mala and his brothers back into hibernation and sends them back into space.
In Action Comics #194 (Jul 1954), the three Kryptonians manage to escape again, after their rocket is once again struck by a piece of space debris. Kizo and U-Ban go to the planet Saturn (for a "vacation from trouble"), but Mala decides to get revenge on Superman. As Superman is off planet on a mission, Mala constructs a duplicate Earth in order to keep Superman out of the way. Mala, who looks exactly like Superman, decides to cause more problems for Superman by disguising himself as Clark Kent and then admitting to the public that he is Superman (never realizing that Superman really is Clark Kent).
With his plan in place, Mala summons his brothers from Saturn and prepares to destroy Earth. Superman arrives and manages to trick the three evil Kryptonians into entering their space capsule, putting them back into suspended animation once again. This is the last appearance of Mala, Kizo, and U-Ban.
Powers and abilities
Mala, like all Kryptonians, has a number of inherent superpowers. These powers include super-strength, invulnerability, flight, super-speed, heat and x-ray vision, and super-intelligence. Presumably, like Superman, Mala can only be harmed by certain forms of kryptonite.
In other media
- A character named Mala appears in three episodes of Superman: The Animated Series voiced by Leslie Easterbrook. This character, however, is a female Kryptonian, and bears a strong resemblance to Ursa, one of the evil Kryptonians from the film Superman II. In her first appearance, in the two-part episode "Blasts From the Past", Mala is a Kryptonian criminal exiled to the Phantom Zone. She convinces Superman to release her from the Zone on the grounds that she has served her sentence, despite Superman's misgivings about releasing a former criminal on Earth, where she will gain superpowers. When she is first released, she trains with Superman and agrees to accompany him in fighting crime, but it quickly becomes apparent that she misunderstands Superman's role on Earth, believing him to be ruling over the people. She also becomes extremely jealous when she learns of Superman's feelings for Lois Lane. Because of her volatile personality and the excessive force she uses, Superman mentions to Professor Hamilton that he may have to send her back to the Phantom Zone. Mala overhears the conversation and, in a rage, steals the Phantom Zone projector and releases her criminal associate, Jax-Ur. The duo overpower the Man of Steel and send him to the Phantom Zone, then begin a reign of terror on Earth. Superman is freed by Lois Lane and Professor Hamilton, and with their help, sends Mala and Jax-Ur back to the Zone. Mala returns in the 3rd season episode, "Absolute Power" (this time voiced by Sarah Douglas, who had previously played Ursa in Superman II). Superman discovers that Mala and Jax-Ur have escaped from the Zone when a black hole opened a rift into the real universe. The two Kryptonians are saved by the natives of a nearby planet and nursed back to health. Mala and Jax-Ur, instead of being grateful, conquer the planet and rule it with an iron fist. Superman is at first reluctant to oppose Mala and Jax-Ur, as they point out they have created an orderly society. However, when a rebel leader reveals to Superman that the two Kryptonians are building an armada to conquer Earth, he changes his mind. The three superpowered Kryptonians fight; Superman is nearly defeated, but Mala and Jax-Ur are pulled into the black hole and are likely dead.
- Mala is a boss in the Superman 64 video game.
- ^ As noted by his brother U-Ban in Superman #64
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