Mala was once second-in-command of the planet Krypton's planetary defense force.
A brilliant warrior at the height of her career, Mala became the trusted lieutenant of High General Jax-Ur, until he grew power hungry and attempted to seize control of the planet. The attempted coup d'état was foiled by Jor-El. At his trial, Jax-Ur claimed sole responsibility for the uprising. The ruling council, feeling that Mala had only been following orders, sentenced her to only twenty years imprisonment in the Phantom Zone, while Jax-Ur's sentence was for life.
Years later, after Krypton's destruction, Superman discovered the Phantom Zone projector that his father had placed aboard his spaceship, and was able to use it to communicate with Mala. After reviewing the official record of her trial, Superman decided to release Mala, figuring her sentence was over.
Though initially disoriented by the loss of Krypton, Mala was delighted with her new super-powers and, despite Superman's efforts, quickly became too aggressive and overly destructive in her efforts to "help" Superman fight crime. Believing Superman weak for not using his powers to dominate the world (and possibly jealous of his affection for Lois Lane), Mala stole the projector and released Jax-Ur.
Together, the two Kryptonians attempted to destroy Superman and take over Earth, but Superman lured them both into a trap and sent them back to the Phantom Zone.
Superman would encounter them again in another part of the galaxy, where an unexpected rift in the Phantom Zone had released them into space. They seized control of a nearby planet, re-making it and its people in Krypton's image. Superman was initially hesitant to intervene, feeling that, whatever his personal feelings, Jax-Ur seemed an efficient ruler, and his subjects seemed content under his guidance. That changed quickly when Superman encountered a member of the planet's underground resistance, who revealed that the Kryptonians were tyrants who were preparing their planet for an invasion of Earth. In a fight with the Kryptonians' battle fleet, Jax-Ur and Mala were sucked into a black hole, never to be seen again.
Powers and abilities
Being a Kryptonian, Mala had powers equal to Superman's after exposure to Earth's yellow sun: super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability, enhanced hearing, X-ray and heat vision, and flight.
Even before she acquired her new powers, Mala's military background made her a trained and ruthless fighter, which seemed to give her an advantage over Superman in combat.
- Mala is an original character created for the DCAU, but seems to be a combination of two Kryptonian villains from the comics and movies, Ursa and Faora. Fittingly, in her second appearance, Mala is voiced by Sarah Douglas, the actress who portrayed Ursa in the films Superman and Superman II.
- While Mala draws inspiration from Ursa and Faora, her name is derived from a male character, who, with his brothers Kizo and U-Ban, attempted to take over Krypton, only to be stopped by Jor-El and placed in suspended animation. This version of Mala first appeared in 1950's Superman #65, before making a subsequent (and final appearance) in Action Comics #194, from July 1954.
- Mala made several appearances in the Superman Adventures comic, most notably in issue 21 (July 1998), alongside Jax-Ur and the DCAU version of General Zod (in his debut). Mala later appeared in Justice League Unlimited #34 (June 2007), once more in Jax-Ur and Zod's company.
- Goodman, Robert (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (September 8, 1997). "Blasts From the Past, Part I". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 1 (airdate). Episode 14 (production). Kids WB!.
- Goodman, Robert (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (September 9, 1997). "Blasts From the Past, Part II". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 2 (airdate). Episode 17 (production). Kids WB!.
- Bader, Hilary J., Burnett, Alan (writers) & Lukic, Butch (director) (January 16, 1999). "Absolute Power". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 3. Episode 6 (airdate). Episode 46 (production). Kids WB!.