Darkseid

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Contents

Facts and Stats

  • Height: 7'6"
  • Weight: 515 lbs
  • Debut:Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (November 1970)
  • Powers:The Omega Effect
    Superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and intellect
    Immortality


Summary

Darkseid is an extraterrestrial supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. Created by Jack Kirby as part of the Fourth World series of comic books in the early 1970s. Darkseid first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (November 1970).

Publication history

According to writer Mark Evanier, Jack Kirby modeled Darkseid physically on actor Jack Palance, while "the style and substance of this master antagonist were based on just about every power-mad tyrant Kirby had ever met or observed.

As with gods in other mythologies, Darkseid is incredibly powerful, but cannot escape his ultimate destiny; it has been foretold that Darkseid will meet his final defeat at the hands of his son, Orion, in a cataclysmic battle in the fiery Armaghetto of Apokolips. Presumably this outcome would occur at the climax of the New Gods series, but the title's unforeseen cancellation instead brought Darkseid's story arc to an unceremonious end, as Jack Kirby moved on to other projects, and both Darkseid and Orion were brought into the mainstream DC Universe. Darkseid has risen in popularity, and become one of the most powerful and well-known villains in comics. He has appeared all over the DC universe, battling Superman and the Justice League several times.

Character biography

Born under the name of Uxas, Darkseid is son of Yuga Khan and Heggra. He is the ruler of the planet Apokolips, a post he obtained after assassinating his mother. A destructive war between his rival planet, New Genesis, was stopped only with a diplomatic exchange of the sons of Highfather and Darkseid. Darkseid's second born son Orion from his wife Tigra is surrendered to Highfather, while Darkseid receives Scott Free, who later becomes the master escape artist Mister Miracle. This eventually turns out to be a setback for Darkseid, with his biological son growing up to value and defend the ideals of New Genesis in opposition to his father. Darkseid's first born son is Kalibak the Cruel, and his third born son is Grayven. Drax, Darkseid's brother, also became the Infinity-Man.

Darkseid's greatest ambition is to eliminate all free will from the universe and reshape it into his own image. To this end, he seeks to unravel the mysterious Anti-Life Equation, which will give him complete control over the thoughts and emotions of all living beings in the universe. While he has yet to obtain a working copy of the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid has tried on several other occasions to achieve dominance of the universe through other methods. He has a special interest in Earth, as he believes humans possess collectively within their minds most, if not all, fragments of the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid intends to probe the minds of every human in order to piece together the Equation.

Darkseid confronting Diana about the after effects of her revenge.
Darkseid confronting Diana about the after effects of her revenge.

Seeing other gods as a threat, Darkseid invaded the island of Themyscira in order to discover the secret location of the Olympian gods. He planned to overthrow the Olympians and steal their power. Refusing to aid Darkseid in his mad quest, the Amazons battled his parademon troops, causing half of the Amazon population's death.Wonder Woman Vol. 2, #102-104 During the Our Worlds at War storyline it is explained that Wonder Woman was able to gain her revenge against Darkseid for killing so many of her sisters by placing a portion of her own soul into Darkseid. This supposedly weakened the god's power as he lost a portion of his dark edge.Wonder Woman Vol. 2, #173 & #188

Death of the New Gods and Countdown

Darkseid attempted to attack Earth by kidnapping Supergirl. He had used Black Kryptonite to brainwash Supergirl, thus providing him with a leader for his Female Furies, as well as a warrior on par with Superman. (This happens off-panel, as the Black Kryptonite is never shown during this storyline) However, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman were able to save Supergirl. This set forward a plan of revenge by Darkseid to destroy Supergirl; this plan also fails as Supergirl is teleported out at the last minute. Superman is set into an unparalleled fit of rage as he hurls Darkseid into the sun where they attempted to destroy each other. Superman beats Darkseid unconscious enough to throw him into the Source Wall, where Superman declares that, "For years and years, you've tried to learn the secrets of ultimate power from the other side. But you will never get the answers—just like the others who are entombed here. This is where you belong. Along with all the other failures in the universe." The mysterious appearance of the Maximums in the next story arc (see below) has been linked to Darkseid. During the Superman/Batman story arc "With a Vengeance" (issues 20-25), the Joker attempted to control Darkseid when the Clown Prince of Crime gained powers similar to Mister Mxyzptlk. It was later revealed that Bat-Mite was inside the Joker the whole time (Bat-Mite literally crawled out of his mouth). Darkseid actually attempted to vaporize the Joker with his Omega Beam, but failed to hit his target. To pay a debt incurred to an alternate reality Darkseid and in order to realign the timeline, Superman recently freed Darkseid from his entombment in the Source Wall. In Superman/Batman #25, Mister Mxyzptlk revealed that Darkseid's destiny was yet to be written and that their futures were tied together via the cryptic statement "From the fourth world into the fifth dimension. Kinda like the ring tone of that, Big D." In #40, it has been revealed that Darkseid has been drained of his omega powers when he was imprisoned in the Source Wall. Desaad used a mind-controlled Superman to retrieve Highfather's staff from the Source Wall, and use it as a conduit to recharge Darkseid's energies, via a portal to the Omega Realm.

Meanwhile, during this time Darkseid orchestrated events to his liking, observing what was happening across the universe as the death of the Fourth World drew near, plotting to remake the universe in his own image. As New Gods were killed across the galaxy, Darkseid marshalled his forces on Apokolips, even resurrecting Virman Vundabar despite his earlier attempt to assassinate Darkseid--notably putting his forces in defensive deployments. In conversation with Metron, he then indicated that he knew more than his fellow New Gods about what was transpiring with the mysterious God-killer, which he refused to share, content in knowing more than Metron for once. It has since been revealed that Darkseid appears to be manipulating almost all the key characters in Countdown to Final Crisis on a giant cosmic chess board. He has given his protection to Jimmy Olsen, vaporizing a parademon for attacking him, and he has ensured that Karate Kid, carrier of the Morticoccus virus, survives. His reasons for both these are unknown. In Countdown 25, he attempts to recruit Mary Marvel as his sorceress using his pawn Eclipso, but she turns on him and escapes. He has also assigned Desaad to ensure the "Great Disaster" comes about, and assigned Granny Goodness to recruit new Female Furies from Earth in the guise of Athena. It has been indicated by DC that with the Fourth World at an end, Darkseid seeks the rise of the "Fifth World", possibly on Earth, and is harnessing the Great Disaster and the Death of the New Gods to bring this about. Additionally, Darkseid has been manipulating the monitor Solomon to bring about a war between the Monitors and Monarch for the fate of the Multiverse.

Powers and abilities

The Omega Beams in action. Art by Joe DeVito
The Omega Beams in action. Art by Joe DeVito

Darkseid is among the most powerful New Gods. His main power, the Omega Effect, is a form of energy that he fires from his eyes as either concussive force or beams of disintegration, capable of erasing most objects and organisms from existence as well as reform them. Darkseid has pinpoint control over his Omega Beams, and his unerring aim allows them to travel in straight lines, bend, twist, or curve around corners, and can pass through matter and energy. Darkseid at one point claimed that no living being had ever survived the full force of the Omega Effect, but the Omega Effect has been shown to be ineffective against the gauntlets/bracelets of Wonder Woman (formed as they were from the Olympian Aegis) and Diana has successfully defended herself against their effects. Doomsday has likewise shrugged off the full blast.

In addition, Darkseid possesses physical strength, stamina, and durability that rival the corresponding traits of Superman. Darkseid is depicted as possessing a variety of other powers at his disposal as well.

Darkseid is extremely intelligent. He is a master planner and strategist. On Apokolips, Darkseid commands all of its vast military resources. He has access to the full technological resources of Apokolips, such as boom tubes that allows him to travel through time and between dimensions.

Other versions

Seven Soldiers

Darkseid as "Dark Side" in 'Seven Soldiers' Mr. Miracle.
Darkseid as "Dark Side" in 'Seven Soldiers' Mr. Miracle.

In Grant Morrison's 2005 Mister Miracle miniseries, it was revealed that Darkseid finally discovered the Anti-Life Equation, which he then used to destroy the Fourth World altogether. The New Gods fled to Earth, where they hid: Highfather and his followers are now a group of homeless people, Metron is an epileptic, the Black Racer is an old white man in a wheelchair, Desaad is an evil psychiatrist, Granny Goodness is a pimp for the Female Furies, and Darkseid himself is now an evil businessman who is referred to only as "Dark Side". It is revealed in Seven Soldiers #1 that Darkseid actually gave the Sheeda North America in return for Aurakles, Earth's first superhero. This is, in turn, purely in order for Darkseid to get Shilo Norman, whom he considers the "Avatar of Freedom," in his clutches so that he can eventually destroy the New Gods. How much of this change is actual, or how much a re-imagining of the New Gods as archetypes of the real world is unclear. As it stands though, the series ended with Darkseid in his current form as "Dark Side" claiming the beginning of the "Dark Era." While its place in mainstream DCU continuity has not yet been confirmed, Darkseid in the current DCU exists in his Darkseid form, and has appeared several times in Countdown, as well as Countdown to Mystery and Superman/Batman leaving the issue of Dark Side and how much, if any, of the Seven Soldiers events occurred somewhat unclear.

It is rumored that the state of Darkseid and the New Gods as depicted in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers miniseries may be the end result of the Death of the New Gods story arc.

The Great Darkness Saga

In the 1982 storyline from Legion of Super-Heroes entitled "The Great Darkness Saga", Darkseid survived into the 30th century. Having been forgotten by almost everyone, he defeated the era's two most powerful villains (Mordru and the Time Trapper) and absorbed their powers, subsequently using those abilities to enslave the entire population of the planet Daxam. Commanding an army of billions of Daxamites (each with the same powers as Superman), as well as "dark" clones of Superman and other super powered beings, he launched a full-scale assault on the United Planets. Only the efforts of the Legion of Super-Heroes and its allies were able to prevent him from conquering the entire known universe. As a result of his defeat by the Legion, Darkseid sought revenge against Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl. When Saturn Girl was in labor, Darkseid stole one of her twin children, warped him into the monstrous Validus and sent him into the Legion's past, where he became one of the Legion's deadliest foes as a member of the Fatal Five. Later, when his ploy was discovered, he restored Validus to his original form.

After the events of the Zero Hour miniseries in 1994, this storyline and all other previous Legion stories were removed from continuity. However, a new incarnation of the Legion was introduced in 2007, in "The Lightning Saga" storyline in the Justice League of America and Justice Society of America titles. Geoff Johns, one of DC Comics' key writers, has stated that this incarnation of the Legion shares the same history as the original Legion up to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Since "The Great Darkness Saga" occurred prior to Crisis, it is possible that Darkseid's battles with the Legion have been restored to continuity.

X-Men/New Teen Titans

Darkseid was one of the featured villains in the (non-continuity) crossover of the Teen Titans and Marvel Comics' X-Men. In it, he seeks to resurrect the power of Dark Phoenix, using Deathstroke to aid him in resurrecting a copy of Dark Phoenix. Thanks to the actions of the two teams, Darkseid's attempt to use Dark Phoenix to turn Earth into a new Apokolips fails when Phoenix is injured by the combined powers of Raven and Professor X, forcing her to briefly transfer her energies into Cyclops, who convinces her to turn against Darkseid.

DC Versus Marvel

In the DC/Marvel crossover, Darkseid's counterpart in the Marvel Universe was shown to be Thanos, the two facing off in a prolonged battle. During the same fight, Darkseid attempts to use the Omega Beams against Thor, but Thor is able to deflect the beams with Mjolnir.

The Hunger

Darkseid also faced off against Galactus in another intercompany crossover written and drawn by John Byrne. Set before the destruction of New Genesis, Galactus attempted to drain Apokolips, but failed because there was no true life force in the planet. However, as Galactus departed, both he and Darkseid acknowledged that they were both prisoners of their own natures; Galactus ate planets because he was what he was, and Darkseid fought for Apokolips for no other reason than that it was his.

Kingdom Come

In the miniseries Kingdom Come, Orion has now deposed Darkseid, fulfilling the prophecy, and is ruler of Apokolips. However, the changes that he wished to make (democracy, freedom) quickly failed, making him bitter and cynical. Superman is disappointed in Orion's progress and says his new demeanor is more like Darkseid than ever.

DC One Million

A very distant possible future of the DC Universe was shown in DC's 1998 line-wide crossover event DC One Million. The one-shot Martian Manhunter #1,000,000 shows that Darkseid had long since died in a final battle with Martian Manhunter by the year 85, 271; this battle cost the Martian his physical form, causing him to be merged with Mars.

Superman: Red Son

In Superman: Red Son, a statue of Darkseid is visible within Superman's Fortress of Solitude.

Rock of Ages

A much closer alternate future was seen during Rock of Ages, a JLA story written by Grant Morrison. Here, in a story roughly fifteen years from the "present day," Darkseid has found the Anti-Life Equation and become absolute ruler of Earth. Darkseid is rendered into a vegetative state at hands of Green Arrow and the Atom, before the universe is reduced to energy by Orion to remove Darkseid's influence.

In other media

Super Friends

Darkseid appeared in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. He would frequently combine the villainous agenda of the episode with the scheme of forcing Wonder Woman to marry him. He was voiced by Frank Welker, with the same throaty growl that Welker had given Inspector Gadget villain Dr. Claw (and the Dino-Riders villain Krulos). Jack Kirby said that the network executives tried to go behind his back and call the character "Darkside" for the Super Powers TV show, but Kirby was adamant about the name staying the same. An action figure of Darkseid was also made around this time, as part of the Super Powers Collection.

Superman: The Animated Series

Darkseid appears most prominently in Bruce Timm's DC animated universe, where he is voiced by Michael Ironside. Timm explained that Darkseid was brought into the series in an effort to boost Superman's rogues gallery and give him a more powerful villain with whom to contend.

After making a series of brief "teaser" appearances throughout Superman: The Animated Series, Darkseid was featured prominently in a pair of popular two-part episodes. "Apokolips…Now!" shows Darkseid leading his forces in an invasion of Earth. Darkseid confronts Superman and offers him a place at his side, but Superman rejects the offer, leading Darkseid to declare: "If you will not be my knight, you will be my pawn." After he captures Superman, he threatens to destroy Earth unless the human race surrenders. Unwilling to capitulate, Detective Dan Turpin, a hard-boiled police officer based on Darkseid's creator Jack Kirby who had been Superman's friend, frees Superman. Before Darkseid and Superman can battle, Darkseid's plan is foiled by the appearance of armies from New Genesis, the leaders of which declare Earth to be under Highfather's protection. Just as Darkseid leaves, though, in one of the most shocking moments of the series, he tells Superman that no victory comes without a price, and vaporizes Turpin with his Omega Beams. In the audio commentary for this episode, Timm explains that Turpin's funeral was intended as a tribute to Kirby's death, going so far as to hire a real-life rabbi to deliver the fictional flatfoot's eulogy.

Later, in "Legacy," the two-part series finale for Superman: The Animated Series, Darkseid makes good on his promise of making Superman his pawn. He captures the Man of Steel and brainwashes him into thinking that he is Darkseid's adopted son. Darkseid sends Superman on several conquests throughout the galaxy before sending him to invade Earth. When Superman regains his memory, he finds that he has destroyed parts of Metropolis, nearly killed Supergirl, and lost the world's trust. Traveling to Apokolips, Superman seeks revenge on Darkseid and engages him in a brutal fistfight. This is the only time Darkseid engages in a direct fight throughout the show. Darkseid quickly proves too powerful for Superman, but just as he's about to finish off Superman with his Omega Beams, Superman covers Darkseid's eyes, causing a massive explosion that severely injures both, though Darkseid is far worse off. Superman then tosses a battered Darkseid to his slaves. To his shock and disgust, the slaves pick up Darkseid and carry him away, promising to help him. Darkseid tells Superman that "I am many things, Kal-El…but here, I am god."

Justice League

Darkseid later returned in the Justice League episode "Twilight", seeking help against the threat of Brainiac. Despite severe misgivings, Superman eventually agrees to help after being pressured by his fellow League members. Though they are able to defeat Brainiac, and even follow him back to his base of operations, the entire thing is revealed to be a setup. Darkseid has made a deal with Brainiac, aiding in the capture of Superman in exchange for a truce between the two. However, Darkseid double-crosses Brainiac, using a Mother Box to take over Brainiac's main systems in an attempt to have the super-intelligent machine solve the Anti-Life equation for him. Batman and Wonder Woman (who had been unsuccessfully dispatched to seek help from New Genesis) step in to free Superman, destabilizing Brainiac's power systems. With the base about to explode, all but Superman attempt to escape; Superman is quite insistent on killing Darkseid personally. What follows is a particularly brutal confrontation between Superman and Darkseid, Superman just barely edging out Darkseid. With both ignorant of their impending deaths, Batman interrupts the fight and pulls Superman out via a boom tube just as the asteroid explodes. Just before his inevitable death, Darkseid chuckles to himself about Superman's failure to finish the job.

Justice League Unlimited

Following Darkseid's death, as shown in Justice League Unlimited, civil war breaks out on Apokolips between the armies of Granny Goodness and Virman Vundabar in an attempt to fill the vacuum left by his absence, which the Justice League makes an effort to ensure keeps going so that neither of them threaten Earth.

In the two-part series finale of Justice League Unlimited, Lex Luthor, obsessed with resurrecting Brainiac, commands the members of the Secret Society to transform their base into a spacecraft which he uses to travel with them to the location of Brainiac's destroyed base. After a failed mutiny which ends in Luthor's favor, he uses Tala as a magic conduit to draw Brainiac's remains together. However, rather than recreate Brainiac, this instead resurrects Darkseid, evidently enhanced by Brainiac's technology. This is suggested in the DVD commentary to be Tala's final "screw you" to Luthor.

As a reward for their help, Darkseid grants Luthor and his cohorts a quick death. After reuniting Apokolips under his rule once more, Darkseid stages an attack on Earth and planned to attack New Genesis once he was done. The remnants of the Secret Society, having been saved by a force field created by Sinestro and Star Sapphire, warn the Justice League of the impending threat. Soon after, boom tubes open all over Earth, unleashing an armada upon the planet. Superman tracks down and engages Darkseid in battle. The battle at first leans in Darkseid's favor, but when Batman valiantly attempts to fight Darkseid himself, Superman is convinced to stop holding back. Using his full strength, Superman effortlessly, though briefly, beats Darkseid halfway across the city. Darkseid gains the upperhand by using a new weapon: the Agony Matrix, a pain induction weapon which, as he describes it, causes "direct neuro-stimulation of pain receptors - all of them." This leaves Superman at his mercy. Just as Darkseid is about to cut out Superman's heart (which he intends to keep as a trophy) with a Kryptonite knife, Lex Luthor appears and presents him with the recently acquired Anti-Life equation, which he attained with the aid of the New God Metron. Although Luthor seemingly perishes with Darkseid in an explosion of light, Batman remarks that they will likely see the two again.

Justice League: The New Frontier

Darkseid has a cameo appearance in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. He is seen during the famous speech by John F Kennedy.

Smallville

In the hit television series about the childhood of Superman, it has been predicted that Darkseid will make an appearance in the episode Apocalypse. This speculation is due to a Boom-tube-like teleportation at the end of the episode titled "Veritas". The predictions of Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor's father, have furthered the arguments of Darkseid's appearance.

Video games

Other Appearances

  • Darkseid makes a cameo appearance in Imaginationland Episode III|part 3 of the South Park episode Imaginationland as one of the villains.
  • Darkseid is also seen at the funeral of Morpheus in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Wake.
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