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March 31, 2013

Character Spotlight: Monsieur Mallah

We arrive to one of my favorite characters in all of comics, and one of my favorite couples in comics. Monseiur Mallah and the Brain, a super-intelligent, talking gorilla, and a brain hooked up to some sort of device to allow him to survive. How did this power couple come into existence, and what can they teach you about life and love? Let’s dive into this one, folks, because these two are pretty great.

He looks orange to me but I'm not complaining.

Years ago, a scientist found the best gorilla in his homeland; he was the strongest, fastest, and biggest of all the apes that the scientist could find. The scientist took the ape with him. You see, this wasn’t just any scientist, but a mad scientist who did not wish to die. He decided he would put his mind into the body of this powerful creature so he could live longer. (We’ve all thought about this very thing in the middle of the night just before falling asleep, I’m sure.) That is, until he actually looked at the gorilla and decided to enhance his intelligence instead.

Oh, did I mention he's great with a chain gun? Because Monsieur Mallah is great with a chain gun.

The gorilla was given a genius level intellect and the ability to speak, then granted the name Monsieur Mallah. The scientist taught him all things academic, especially science and medicine. This training came in handy when the scientist was near-death; Mallah put his brain into a machine that would allow it to continue living and process what the brain could experience, and thus the scientist’s nickname became fitting, he was now The Brain.

Mallah and The Brain are popular cartoon characters, but sadly they are never a couple.

The two helped found the Brotherhood of Evil (not the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants; that’s Magneto and Marvel), becoming a main source of anguish for the team of strange heroes known as the Doom Patrol (Beast Boy worked with them, remember?) due to The Brain’s animosity toward their leader, The Chief. The two spent years trying to take down the team, all the while trying to build or obtain a body for The Brain to inhabit.

Yes, that's the Mona Lisa. It is way too big to be the actual one, though. That painting is tiny.

These years showed that the two cared for one another deeply, not just as friends and colleagues, but as lovers. When the two stole one of the robotic bodies of Robotman (I’ll cover him down the line) that The Brain would inhabit, they were finally able to express that they truly loved one another through a kiss. Sadly, this was cut short when the robot body gained sentience and didn’t want to be under anyone else’s control, and self-destructed when the two kissed.

Passion!

Thankfully, the pair survived and went on to terrorize the superhero community for years to come. They ended up launched to a prison planet along with numerous other villains, where Mallah did his best to make sure he and The Brain were safe, including trying to make a deal with Gorilla Grodd for a partnership in taking over the prison planet. Grodd found this gorilla to be a freak and not worthy of a true child of Gorilla City. The two fought, with Grodd having the upper hand until The Brain pleaded that Grodd let Mallah go. Grodd would instead use The Brain’s “Skull2-D2” body to beat Mallah to death. As the two lied dying, The Brain, in Mallah’s arms, said that everything was okay, because now the two could be together forever beyond this life.

I decided we all needed a happier picture after that ending.

So that is the tale of a gorilla who was experimented on by an evil, French mad scientist who ended up as a brain in a jar, and how the two learned despite all their plans for power and wealth that none of that mattered as long as they had each other. They learned that bodies were not important as long as they could see each other for who they were, and be with one another til the very end. The two found love that many would kill for, and they died together, having lived the life they wanted, and to hell with everyone else. That’s rather admirable, and may they return to comics some day as a happy couple again.

Suggested Reading
Doom Patrol, Vol. 1 #86
Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison
Animal Man #15
Salvation Run #4 (if you want to see how it ends)

Alexander Bustos
drbustos@comicattack.net

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