Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
He believes in a Hollow Earth. He loves the dark. And he’s a cranky coot. He’s: Mole Man.
Appearances in Heroclix: Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy, Galactic Guardians, Classic, Secret Invasion, Critical Mass
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1
Team Affiliantions: Infinity Watch
Created by: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee
Harvey Ruper Elder began life like any other young American. He grew up to become a nuclear engineer and spent what time he could exploring. Though he is always a small, dwarfish man with crackpot ideas about a hollow Earth, he is dogged in his research. One day, while following the explorers known as the Monster Hunters they all find themselves on Monster Isle. Elder falls into a massive cave and follows its tunnels to the vast cave system in the Earth’s crust known as Subterranea. He is overjoyed, believing that this vindicates his hollow Earth hypothesis and stares directly into a deposit of diamonds. These diamonds are highly reflective and do considerable damage to his eyes, such that returning to the surface would result in incredible pain.
This is when Harvey Elder becomes the Mole Man and begins exploring this land that is to become his new home. He soon discovers and becomes the ruler of the Moloids, using them as labor to re-purpose abandoned Deviant technology and hybrid creatures to conquer the portion of Subterranea beneath Monster Isle before attacking the surface world. His first attacks target nuclear plants across the globe, bringing him to the attention of the newly formed Fantastic Four in their first adventure as a team. His first plant to invade and conquer urban centers across the world is foiled when the Human Torch appears to seal the entrance to Subterranea before Monster Isle is seemingly destroyed in a massive atomic detonation.
Mole Man is able to lay in wait and strike back at the growing super hero community numerous times. He begins to steal buildings from New York City some time later only to be defeated by the Fantastic Four again. Next he allies with the Red Ghost to unleash an earthquake machine on the planet, only for the Avengers to stop them. Mole Man is among those villains mind controlled by Doctor Doom to attack the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. After this, Mole Man began a long war against a rival despot of Subterranea, Tyrannus, in which both villains recruited heroes such as the Hulk and the X-Men against each other. Through betrayal and battle, Mole Man even seems to find love with the Queen of the Subterranean Netherworlders, Kala.
Mole Man eventually befriends the Thing only to plot to raise a new continent by sinking the state of California, which is stopped by the Fantastic Four. Mole Man battles the Lava Men before trying to bring peace to Subterranea only to be attacked by clones of the Fantastic Four. Mole Man even battles a contingent of Skrulls, trying unsuccessfully to capture a Skrull technotroid egg. He battles the Deviants, the West Coast Avengers and even the New Fantastic Four (Hulk, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man and Wolverine).
After years of failed villainy and would be world conquering, Mole Man seems to change his ways. He turns the areas of Subterranea that he controls into a sanctuary for those freaks and misfits that have been rejected by the surface world. To this end, he allows the Infinity Watch to maintain a base on Monster Isle in exchange for them protecting the island from enemy forces. When the United Nations eventually tries to invade the island, the Watch is able to repel them without massive casualties and draws the attention of the Avengers. With the help of Earth’s mightiest heroes, Mole Man is recognized as the sovereign leader of Monster Isle.
Mole Man returns to his old ways in defense of his home, claiming that it has been destroyed and polluted by the surface world. His monsters are destroyed by Ultron, in its Janet Van Dyne body, and arrested. After escaping from prison, he goads a number of chupacabras to attack people in order to protect themselves from extinction. The Fantastic Four are less than sympathetic and put a stop to the attacks. When Hulk returns from Sakaar to dominate the Earth, a number of Sakaar creatures find their way to Subterranea. Mole Man is able to tame the beasts for a time until the arrival of Hulk’s son, Skaar. Mole Man is among those villains approached by the Mandarin’s rings who become the Mandarin-Six. He works with the other villains to battle Malekith as well as developing weapons based on the technology in the rings. When the group is trapped and defeated by Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, Mole Man abandons his ring and flees back to Subterranea.
Mole Man later becomes embroiled in a Subterranea civil war with his own son, Mole Monster. He later encounters and becomes smitten by Squirrel Girl. This eventually runs its course after Squirrel Girl realizes that the Deviant mutate Tricephalous is in love with Mole Man. Mole Man forms a temporary truce with the Hydra duplicate Captain America and allows his kingdom to be used in exchange for luxury items from the surface. When the real Captain America arrives, Hydra Dreadnoughts attack Subterranea. Mole Man ends his agreement with the villainous Captain and lets the heroes pass.