'Supergirl' Season 2: Who Is DC Comics Hero Mon-El?

The Hollywood Reporter dives deep into the comic book history of Chris Wood's season two role.
Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images; DC Comics

The mystery surrounding who (or what) is in the pod on Supergirl has been officially solved.

At the end of the season one finale, the CBS-turned-CW comic book series revealed that a pod shockingly similar to Kara's (Melissa Benoist) crash-landed on Earth ... right outside of Kara's apartment. When she looked inside the pod, she was surprised at what was inside of it. But the DC Comics show cut to black before viewers could be privy to the contents of the pod, and thus began the long summer wait.

But during Comic-Con, producers revealed that new series regular Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries, Containment) would be playing the person inside the pod. Executive producer Sarah Schechter still wouldn't say the character's name, though, stretching out the mystery a few more weeks until the Television Critics Association summer press tour. That's when executive producer Andrew Kreisberg finally revealed that "he is, in fact, playing Mon-El."

So who is Mon-El? The DC Comics character is best known for being a substitute for Superman, since he is a hero with almost identical abilities aside from one difference: Superman's weakness is Kryptonite while Mon-El's is lead. The character was inspired by the 1953 character Halk Kar, but reinvented in 1961 with a new name during Superman's time as Superboy.

In Superboy #89, explorer Mon-El aka Lar Gand came from Daxam, a planet home to Kryptonian colonist descendants the Daxamites, to Krypton, where Jor-El warned him that the planet was about to be destroyed. He gave Lar a map to Earth so he could escape to safety, but when he landed on Earth he suffered from amnesia and couldn't remember any of his past or even his own name. 

After Superboy saw Lar's powers, he assumed that, since they were so close to his own, they must be brothers. That's where the name Mon-El came from: Mon because he came to Earth on Monday, and El because Superboy thought they were family. He also adopted the name Bob Cobb for his secret, human identity so he could live a normal life in Smallville. 

But once Superboy saw that Mon-El wasn't hurt by Kryptonite like he was, he assumed that Mon-El was tricking him. Superboy turned around and tried to trick Mon-El back with a fake Kryptonite rock made of lead, and that's when they both realized that lead is fatally poisonous to Mon-El. The exposure infected Lar while also restoring his memories, and so Superboy, feeling guilty about potentially killing his friend, saved his life by bringing him to the Phantom Zone where he remained in stasis until a cure could be found.

Lar remained a big part of the DC Comics canon after that as he joined the Legion of Super-Heroes, the future-set superhero team, once Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 invent first a temporary, and then a permanent, cure for lead poisoning. After that, he became one of the Legion's most powerful heroes, and even led the team for a while. Other versions of the character have appeared throughout DC Comics history under new names like Valor and M'Onel.

In one version, after suffering for 1,000 years in the Phantom Zone from lead poisoning, he was so disoriented after being saved that all he remembers about who put him in the Zone in the first place was the "S" symbol, and so he attacked Supergirl. Perhaps Supergirl will follow this storyline in season two, or maybe the CW series will take on the original story substituting Kara for Superboy.

What path do you want to see Supergirl take when it comes to introducing Mon-El to live action? Let us know in the comments below.

Supergirl returns for season two on Mondays this fall at 8 p.m. on The CW.