Real Name: Khruul
Identity/Class: Human, Pre-Modern to modern era
Occupation: Professional criminal, black marketeer
Group Membership: Leader of own criminal organization, including his warriors
Affiliations: Formerly Mantis, the Swordsman (Jacques DuQuesne)
Enemies: Avengers, Lua Brandt (sister), Libra (Gustav Brandt), Priests of Pama, Star Stalker, the Swordsman (Jacques DuQuesne)
Known Relatives: Lua Brandt (sister), Gustav Brandt (Libra, brother-in-law), Mantis (niece)
Aliases: King of the Saigon Underworld, Vice-Lord;
also spelled Khrull (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8)
Base of Operations: Currently unknown;
formerly a villa in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) Vietnam
First Appearance: Avengers I#121 (March, 1974)
Powers/Abilities: Khruul had no particular fighting skills, though he had the experience and knowledge to run a large criminal organization for decades. He commanded a group of sword-wielding warriors.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8) - Monsieur Khruul became the leader of a local underworld organization in Vietnam.
(Avengers I#123(fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#8) - Khruul despised all Europeans and was thus infuriated by his sister's marriage to Gustav Brandt, a German soldier. He determined to kill both his sister and her husband, confronting them alongside his warriors as they left the church after their ceremony, chasing them off under gunfire. The two fled from one Indochinese village to another for nearly ten months, at which point their daughter, Mantis, was born, and the Brandts decided to stop fleeing, but to remain in hiding. Nevertheless, Khruul and his warriors caught up to them, torching their village with flame-throwers. Lua died in the flames, and Gustav was blinded, narrowly escaping with the infant Mantis, who was unharmed.
(Giant-Size Avengers#4 (fb)) - Nearly eighteen years later, Khruul's agents were attracted to the young adult Mantis, who had been discharged from the temple of the Priests of Pama and her memory was apparently erased. Khruul's men brought Mantis to him, and she was put to work in his waterfront bars, earning American money satisfying American men. Neither Mantis nor Khruul had any idea of their relationship.
(Avengers I#121 (fb)) - Monsieur Khruul employed the Swordsman to run his black market. The Swordsman was convinced to rehabilitate himself by Mantis, but Khruul sent the Swordsman to fulfill on last job for Khruul: to raid a rival mob's warehouses to end their unwelcome competition; the Swordman was discovered, gunned down, and left for dead by the mobsters.
(Giant-Size Avengers#4 (fb)) - Mantis left Khruul's service to care for and rehabilitate the Swordsman.
(Avengers I#123) - After learning of Mantis' origins, the Swordsman flew to Saigon, intending to take vengeance on Khruul. Unphased by the Swordsman kicking down his door and threatening him, Khruul summoned to his warriors with a clap of his hands. Injured from recent injuries, the Swordsman fell under the attack of the second pair of warriors.
(Avengers I#123 (fb) - BTS) - Khruul then tortured the Swordsman, forcing him to tell him about Mantis, and about the Priests of Pama who had trained and raised her. Alongside his warriors, he traveled to the temple of the Priests, where they slaughtered the Priests.
(Avengers I#124 (fb) - BTS) - The death of the Priests of Pama caught the attention of the alien Star-Stalker, who had been afraid to act as the Priests knew his weakness. Free of his potential tormenters, the Star-Stalker traveled to Earth to feed upon the planet.
(Avengers I#123 (fb) - BTS) - Rushing through the village, Khruul encountered the Star Stalker, who slaughtered him. The Avengers heard his screams and rushed after him, but only arrived in time to hear his last words, "Never should have killed the Priests...Beware...the Star-Stalker."
(Avengers I#124) - Khruul's dead body remained in the Temple as the Avengers defeated the Star Stalker.
(West Coast Avengers II#11 - BTS) - Shockwave, Razorfist, and Zaran assaulted the West Coast Avengers under the instructions of the SHIELD Deltites, claiming to have been sent by Monsieur Khruul.
Comments: Created by Steve Englehart, John Buscema, and Don Heck.
Saigon is no Ho Chi Minh and has been since 1975 in the real world. The dates in this story would be topical, and we don't know for certain when the date would have changed in the Marvel Universe..., though it was referred to as Ho Chi Minh in the OhotMU at the time of Mantis' 18th birthday.
Thanks to Prime Eternal who pointed the use of Khruul's name in WCA II#11, which certainly didn't remember!
The OHotMU describes Mantis as working only as a barmaid under Khruul, but the original story seemed to imply she did more than serve drinks for her customers.
Profile by Snood.
No known connection to:
KRUEL (Victor Krueller) - former agent of Kingpin, killed Glorianna O'Breen and attempted to kill several others that had witnessed part of his past--Daredevil I#338
CRULE - External, employed by Nazis in cremation ovens, killed by Selene. Savage warrior, superhuman strength and durability--[X-Force#10], 12
CRUEL STRIKER - see RIMTHUSAR--Thor I#320
other "Cruel" characters, no matter how you spell it
They served as Khruul's assassins, enforcers, etc. They were with him both times when he assaulted Gustav and Lua Brandt, including the time when they torched their village, killing Lua and blinding Gustav. When the Swordsman arrived to kill Khruul, a quartet of them overpowered him. They presumably assisted in the Swordsman's torture, and they accompanied Khruul to the temple of the Priests of Pama, slaughtering all that they found. They were found shortly thereafter and defeated by the Avengers.
They were skilled with the swords they carried, and later in Khruul's career, they were treated with a drug so that they felt no pain.
--Avengers I#123 (123(fb), 123
Giant-Size Avengers#4, p17, panel 2 (seated)
Avengers I#123, p17, panel 4 (face)
panel 5 (warriors)
Avengers I#121 (March, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Don Heck (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Avengers I#123 (May, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Bob Brown (pencils), Don Heck (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Avengers I#124 (June, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Dave Cockrum (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Giant-Size Avengers I#4 (June, 1975) - by Steve Engelhart (writer), Don Heck (pencils), John Tartag (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Last updated: 12/04/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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