Malcolm Arnold Duncan (Guardian)

guardianiifilmThere’s been quite a change in Supergirl‘s supporting cast recently, as Jimmy Olsen decided to finally stop being a side-kick and, with the help of Win, created a brand new superhero identity for himself: Guardian. He dons his suit and shield for the first time in Changing, just in time to help Supergirl and Mon-El against the monstrous Parasite (another wasted villain, despite the funny The Thing references). Of course, in the comics Olsen never becomes Guardian, and we already met the original one, Jim Harper, in the show, albeit as a villain… but there are many people who took the mantle of Guardian over the years, and not always Harper’s clones. Jimmy Olsen’s version seems to be based on the second Guardian, Mal Duncan, who used the identity at the beginning of his superhero career before taking other mantles and monikers. Let’s see together.

Malcolm Duncan, “Mal” for friends, was born in San FranciscoCalifornia, from an unknown family. His life was a perfectly normal one, and Mal himself was a perfectly normal guy, a teenager who spent his time through school, friends and sports (in the latter he excelled particularly in boxing), albeit his greatest passion had always been music. A boy with a good heart and a selfless character, he had however some street-smartness in him, due to the time he spent in San Francisco’s alleys, and not in the best blocks and neighborhoods. It was in one of these streets that he met the Teen Titans, the superhero group, cornered by a notorious street gang, the Hell Hawks, who had used their number superiority to overpower the heroes. Knowing how to deal with those guys, Mal challenged the Hawks’ leader to a boxing match, putting the Titans’ safety on the plate in case he won the fight. Valuing his honor and his reputation with his comrades, the criminal accepted, and in the following cage-fight Mal emerged victorious. guardianiicomics1Bound by their leader’s word, the Hell Hawks released the Teen Titans, unarmed. Grateful for having their lives saved, and impressed by the boy’s skills, the heroes offered Mal Duncan a place in their group, something that he enthusiastically accepted. Life with superheroes, however, wasn’t like he had imagined it, and he always felt like a bench-warmer, with no special power to help the Titans, and always underestimated and left behind by them. When he nearly lost his life on a rocket, Mal felt the burden of being powerless even heavier… but the final drop came when he was neglected and underestimated even by villains.

In one of his plans to bring down the Justice League of America, the super-villain Doctor Light attacked the Teen Titans, wanting to use them as keys to enter the JLA’s headquarters. He defeated each one of them and locked them in a sphere of solid light, but when he came to Mal, he took him from some sort of mascot and left, ignoring him. Enraged and humiliated, Mal rushed to the Teen Titans’ hideout, looking for something that would have made him able to assist his friends properly. In the storage area, where all heroes kept tokens and souvenirs from past battles, Mal collected two items: the first was the Man-Amplifier, a special exoskeleton designed to augment its wearer’s strength, once used by Frank Reynolds, a high-school friend of Robin; the other one was the costume of Golden Age hero Guardian, Speedy‘s grandfather, along with his indestructible shield. Wearing the Man-Amplifier under the costume, Mal was ready to make his debut as the new Guardian, and he headed to the JLA headquarters first, sure to find Doctor Light there. The villain had indeed defeated the entire League already, and was about to kill them all along with the Titans… but Mal appeared just in time to foil his plan. With Guardian’s shield, Mal defended himself from Light’s attacks, and with his newfound super-strength he guardianiicomics2knocked him out and broke the solid-light sphere imprisoning the Titans. With Light defeated and both the JLA and the Titans free, Guardian was ready to take his rightful place among the heroes, without anybody considering him a second-rate crime-fighter or even a mascot.

Mal Duncan is a good-hearted and selfless young man, always ready to land a hand to whoever needing it; extremely proud, he’s also always ready to defend his honor and reputation, even with his fists, being extremely easy to make him angry. As the new Guardian, he’s an expert boxer, able to adapt also to other forms of combat; his exoskeleton grants him superhuman strength and durability, while his shield can protect him from virtually any arm, being nearly indestructible. Finally out of the shadows of the other heroes, Guardian is willing to make his part and to be a hero on his own.



  1. […] the second and last character appearing in The Darkest Place. In his first deeds as the heroic Guardian, things go pretty well for James Olsen, until one of the thieves he arrested is found dead, and […]

  2. […] behave quite as saintly as he should have. Once, for example, he appeared to claim the soul of Mal Duncan, the new Guardian, who had just been buried under debris by the Wreckers. As it very rarely […]

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