The adventures of Mandrill

No better way to start off the week than chronicling the appearances of a minor supervillain!

Despite his ape features, Mandrill’s a human mutant with the incredibly creepy superpowers to excrete pheromones that make every woman in the vicinity immediately attracted and enslaved to him. Yup, which means his only weakness is the other half of the population.

Actually, I’m quite proud of myself, because this is easily the largest collection of issues I’ve put together for one article.  To avoid having to name each one I’m going through, here’s what we’ll be looking at select scenes from today (in order):

Shanna the She-Devil #4, written by Carole Seuling & Steve Gerber and drawn by Ross Andru
Daredevil #110-112, volume 1, written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Gene Colan
The Defenders #91, written by Ed Hannigan and drawn by Don Perlin & Pablo Marcos
Avengers West Coast #66, written by Roy and Dan Thomas and drawn by Paul Ryan
Punisher War Journal #15, volume 2, written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Scott Wegener
Thunderbolts Annual #1, written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Bob McLeod
Spider-Man: Breakout #3, written by Tony Bedard and drawn by Manuel Garcia
New Avengers #61-64, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Stuart Immonen & Mike McKone
Spider-Man: Web of Romance one-shot, written by Tom Beland and drawn by Cory Walker

Okay, that was exhausting.  Let’s get to the good stuff.  Mandrill first appeared antagonizing Shanna the She-Devil, who’s like a female Tarzan.

Can you guess our recurring theme?  Mandrill, despite his sexy powers, loses badly.  Every time.  In increasingly humiliating ways.  No matter how good looking of an ape you are, pet jaguars and panthers just can’t see that seductive twinkle in your eye.

But when he finally meets Daredevil, we get some insight into his tragic past and evil motivations.

How sad.  Anyway, in really the only major and ambitious threat he’s ever possessed, he tries to take over the White House.  First Mandrill president and all that.  Instead of campaigning like respectable politicians, he does the whole hostile takeover thing.  The Mandrill presidency lasts less than a minute:

Later, in possibly the only real character development the character’s gotten, he totally meets his parents.  Y’know, the ones who abandoned him and left him to fend for himself in the desert.  Spoiler alert: he’s not happy about it.  Oh, but first, how do the baddest of supervillains escape pursuit by angry superheroes?  Giant cave worm?  Nope, that’s Mole Man.

That outfit he now wears?  Hasn’t changed in 20ish years.  And I love it, because the only thing better than a mind-controlling monkey is a flamboyant mind-controlling monkey.

So, how does his mother feel about her son’s achievements?

Well, you see the results of poor parenting?  Half the X-Men are uglier than Mandrill, but because their parents enrolled them in a school instead of throwing them out of a car in the middle of nowhere, they fight bad guys and use their powers to save innocent people.  Mandrill, on the other hand, became a misogynistic, selfish jerk.  Lesson learned.

Over the next few years as we slowly advance into the modern age, Mandrill briefly pops a few times to get his butt kicked, and then disappears again.  Usually in the span of a single page.

Finally getting to the second half of the previous decade, he makes his living as a supervillain henchman.  President Mandrill has certainly fallen from grace.

Though, I’d be a horrible journalist (kinda?) if I didn’t mention his only shining moment of the past decade.  That time he enslaved Spider-Woman to beat up Spider-Man.  Finally doing something useful with those pheromones.  First page has nothing to do with Mandrill, but it made me laugh.  Plus, my love-affair with Spider-Man and all that jazz.

Behold, Mandrill at his most menacing!

Of course she breaks his spell, most likely out of sheer willpower.  My theory, and this is based on zero facts and entirely on conjecture, relies on Spider-Woman’s own pheromones.  Y’see, she also emits sexy smells, but hers are far more subtle, plus she’s not a manipulative creep.  Having experience with her own attraction pheromones raises her resistance to similar stuff a little, so the two spiders can deviously trick the monkey baddie.

Humiliation achieved, theme intact, PTSD acquired.  Poor Mandrill turns into a whiny little ape when his supervillain boss requests they all attack Asgard, where Thor and other dangerous gods live.

Super embarrassing to watch, right?  Luckily, The Hood (the boss dude) gets even whinier like twenty pages later.  Full evil karma circle.  Right now, we can assume Mandrill’s locked up in prison with all the other supervillain henchmen.  Will he show up in future comics?  Absolutely.

But to spend all this time chronicling our new buddy and end the article on that pathetic note?  No way.  How about a conversation with Spider-Man about Mary Jane’s birthday?  We’ll go out with a bang!  Though, still more of a whimper.

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One Comment on “The adventures of Mandrill”

  1. Ebonstorm says:

    Outstanding work on a much-aggrieved character of the Mandrill. Despite his overall issues as a character, it is interesting to see how some writers tried to give him depth and make him more than just a parody of human nature. The last panels with Spider-Man are priceless. Nicely done.


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