Darkseid (pronounced Dark-side) is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (November 1970) and was created by writer-artist Jack Kirby.
Darkseid is one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. Debuting in the Bronze Age of Comic Books, he has appeared in four decades of DC Comics publications, featuring prominently in the New Gods titles and limited series as the recurring nemesis of the New Gods and Superman. The character has also been associated with DC Comics merchandise including animated television series, toys, trading cards, and video games.
Darkseid was ranked number 6 on IGN's top 100 comic book villains of all time.
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, with a special emphasis on Richard Milhous Nixon."
Fictional character biography
The son of King Yuga Khan and Queen Heggra, Prince Uxas, second in line to the throne of Apokolips, plotted to seize power over the planet. When his brother, Drax, attempted to claim the fabled Omega Force, Uxas murdered him and took the power for himself; transforming him into a rock-like creature, and taking a new name: Darkseid. At some point, he fell in love with an Apokoliptian scientist named Suli, with whom he had a son, Kalibak; however, Suli was poisoned by Desaad on Heggra's behalf, who believed that Suli was corrupting her son. Following Suli's death, Darkseid's heart grew even colder, and he had Desaad poison Heggra, finally becoming the supreme monarch of Apokolips. Darkseid had briefly been forced by his mother to marry Tigra, with whom he also had a son. After murdering his mother, Darkseid had both Tigra and their son, Orion, banished from Apokolips.
The destructive war with the rival planet, New Genesis, was stopped only with a diplomatic exchange of the sons of Highfather and Darkseid. Darkseid's second born son was surrendered to Highfather, while Darkseid received Scott Free, who later became the master escape artist Mister Miracle. This eventually turned 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. The prophecy foretold that Darkseid would meet his final defeat at the hands of his son in a cataclysmic battle in the fiery Armaghetto of Apokolips.
Seeing other gods as a threat, Darkseid invaded the island of Themyscira in order to discover the secret location of the Olympian gods, planning 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 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.
Darkseid's goal was to eliminate all free will from the universe and reshape it into his own image. To this end, he sought to unravel the mysterious Anti-Life Equation, which gives its user complete control over the thoughts and emotions of all living beings in the universe. Darkseid had tried on several other occasions to achieve dominance of the universe through other methods, most notably through his minion Glorious Godfrey, who could control people's minds with his voice. He had a special interest in Earth, as he believed humans possess collectively within their minds most, if not all, fragments of the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid intended to probe the minds of every human in order to piece together the Equation. This has caused him to clash with many superheroes of the DC Universe, notably, the Kryptonian Superman. Darkseid worked behind-the-scenes, using superpowered minions in his schemes to overthrow Earth, including working through Intergang, a crime syndicate which employs Apokoliptian technology and later morphed into a religious cult that worships Darkseid as the god of Evil.
Seven Soldiers and "Boss Dark Side"
In Grant Morrison's 2005 Mister Miracle limited series, it was revealed that Darkseid had 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 were now a group of homeless people. Metron used a wheelchair, the Black Racer was an old white man in a wheelchair, Desaad was an evil psychiatrist, Granny Goodness was a pimp for the Female Furies, and Darkseid himself was now an evil gang leader who is referred to only as "Boss Dark Side". It is revealed that Darkseid actually gave the Sheeda North America in return for Aurakles, Earth's first superhero. This was, in turn, purely in order for Darkseid to get Shilo Norman, whom he considers the "Avatar of Freedom", in his clutches so that he could eventually destroy the New Gods.
As prophesied, Orion returns to Earth via Boom Tube for his final battle with Darkseid. During the massive fight, Orion ultimately kills him by ripping his heart out, creating a firepit of Apokolips from Darkseid's chest cavity (in reference to the prophecy of their final battle). As Darkseid dies, a battered, wounded Orion walks away from the battlefield having "won" the battle against his father once and for all. However, Darkseid's life essence endured even the death of his body and fell back in time, where he was reborn as "Boss Dark Side", aided by his resurrected minions and the supervillain Libra.
Now, once again bound to the form of a human, "Boss Dark Side" began to appear in a number of titles in the run up to Final Crisis. In Flash (vol. 2) #240, he led an army of fanatics, their will broken by the "spoken form" of the Anti-Life Equation, to kidnap the Tornado Twins. In Birds of Prey #118, he runs his Dark Side Club where superhumans fight to the death, brainwashed by drugs produced by Bernadeth. In Teen Titans #59, it was revealed that he had employed the Terror Titans to capture the Teen Titans and use them in his club fights.
In Final Crisis, Darkseid has begun to take over Earth and corrupt the Multiverse with the aid of his herald Libra, a reborn supervillain and antichrist-like figure who soon converts much of the Secret Society of Super Villains to his cause with the aid of the Crime Bible and the Holy Lance. Darkseid is also joined by the souls of his fellow evil New Gods, who, like Darkseid, now possess either modified human bodies or the bodies of other superpowered beings, such as Mary Marvel.
Using Metron's abandoned Mobius Chair, Darkseid assassinates his son Orion via a "time travel" bullet fired into the past. He also arranges for detective Dan Turpin to be lured into the Dark Side Club, where Turpin is turned into Darkseid's "final host", as his Boss Dark Side body has begun to mummify due to Darkseid's foul astral presence. With his legion of followers and allies aiding him as he undergoes his latest "rebirth", Darkseid successfully conquers the Earth with the unleashing of the Anti-Life Equation onto mankind. However, the rebirthing process is still far from complete as Dan Turpin's mind and soul, while corrupted by Darkseid's essence, still remains in firm control over his body. However, at the same moment Shilo Norman, the "Embodiment of Freedom" is shot by S.H.A.D.E. operatives, thus signaling the "Victory of Evil". Darkseid wins control over Turpin's body, now twisted in a close copy of his Apokoliptan former appearance, and wearing an updated version of his battle armor. Darkseid then gains the fullest of his power, his "fall" having the effect of compressing and crumpling space-time around Earth.
After escaping from captivity, Batman shoots Darkseid with the same radion bullet that killed Orion, while Darkseid simultaneously hits Batman with the Omega Sanction, "infecting" Batman with Omega energy that will cause him to jump forward in time, with disastrous results when he reaches the present. Darkseid is mortally wounded, but not before his Omega Sanction teleports Batman into prehistoric times. Remains believed to be Batman's (later revealed to be the last of the many Batman clones that Darkseid created) are found by Superman, who confronts Darkseid. As Darkseid mocks his old enemy for failing to defend Earth, it emerges that in Darkseid's fall through the multiverse, he is dragging all of time and space in the entire multiverse into a doomsday singularity with him. While Superman attempts to physically assault him, Darkseid is beyond physical attack, as he now almost entirely controls reality itself. With his body dying of radion poisoning, his physical form is then killed when Barry Allen and Wally West lead the Black Racer to him after he fires the bullet which will go back in time and slay Orion. In his final effort, Darkseid's disembodied essence appears and tries to seize the Miracle Machine Superman has created; however, Superman uses counter-vibrations to destroy him. Furthermore, the last piece of Darkseid's plan fails when Batman, thanks to the actions of the new Batman (Dick Grayson), Red Robin (Tim Drake), Robin (Damian Wayne) and the Justice League, is able to return safely to the present, consuming the Omega Energy in his body without damaging the timestream further, thus becoming the second individual, along with Mister Miracle, to escape the Omega Sanction.
Doctor Impossible later manipulates the Crime Syndicate of Amerika into helping him resurrect Darkseid via a machine that draws energy from the Multiverse itself. The resurrection backfires, and instead creates a new being known as the Omega Man.
The New 52
In Justice League #1, Darkseid's name is invoked by a Parademon. He is later mentioned again in Justice League #2, and in Justice League #3 Darkseid make his first appearance in the series, seen in a vision by Victor Stone after he is injured by an exploding Mother Box. In the final pages of Justice League #4, Darkseid himself appears. In Justice League #5, the League confronts him but they are overpowered by him, when he severely hurts Superman with his Omega Beams and breaks Green Lantern's arm. Finally, in Justice League #6, Darkseid is driven out when Cyborg activates the invaders' Mother Boxes and Superman forces him through a Boom Tube. The issue also reveals Desaad and Steppenwolf, referring Darkseid's daughter and their ceaseless search for her across countless worlds.
In Legion of Super-Heroes #3, a Daxamite dignitary refers to Daxamites having been used by Darkseid as enforcers in the past (a reference to the Great Darkness saga).
Powers and Abilities
Darkseid is an extremely powerful being, filled with godly power. He has great physical strength, invulnerability, and Omega Beams, which are a vision power that is immensely powerful and can even do considerable damage to a Kryptonian. He can control the beams in midair, even after they've left his eyes. Unlike his parents Darkseid possess many powers and abilities.
Super strength - Darkseid is extremely strong, but he is not as powerful as Superman.
Invulnerability - Darkseid is invulnerable to bullets, rockets and high frequency energy blasts. There are a lot more that could be added to this list but these are the main three. Darkseid is immune to all human diseases.
Omega Beam - Darkseid is able to shoot beams from his eyes. The Omega beam is extremely powerful.
Immortality - Darkseid is immortal.
Telepathy: Darkseid is capable of forming telepathic links with seemingly any being in the universe.
Mind Control: Ability to control the minds of others by sheer force of will. His ability to use this power is so great that he can dominate millions of beings all at once.
Telekinesis: Darkseid is able to use psychokinetic attacks or attack the mind by simple thought. With this ability he is able to lift objects at will, as well as use them as projectile weapons or barriers. The limits to this power are unknown.
Matter Transmutation: Darkseid is able to simply transmute matter by force of will.
Molecular Dispersion: He is also able to dissipate and disperse the molecules of an object or organism, effectively erasing them from existence.
Avatar Creation: A simple thought allows Darkseid to create liable avatars if/when the need arises.
Psionic Possession: psychic abilities to possess an individual and negate any superhuman abilities they may have.
Energy Manipulation: can also mentally control most known forms of energy, allowing him to erect protective force fields and project withering energy bolts.
Teleportation: Darkseid is able to teleport himself or any other being simply just by thought or sheer willpower.
Size manipulation: Darkseid has the ability to alter his body to grow to giantitc size, such as his battle with Jimmy Olsen (who had the combined powers of all of the New Gods) in Countdown To Final Crisis #4.
As an almost god-like being, Darkseid has several powers that surpass most other beings in the known universe.
In other media
- Darkseid appears in the intercompany crossovers, The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans (where he attempts to recreate Dark Phoenix to help him convert Earth into a new Apokolips), Darkseid/Galactus: The Hunger (where he fights Galactus when the Devourer of Worlds attempts to consume Apokolips), and DC vs. Marvel (where he fights Thanos, his Marvel equivalent, until the fight is interrupted by Thor, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Storm, Green Lantern, and the Silver Surfer). In Unlimited Access, the second of the limited run of DC vs. Marvel follow-ups, Darkseid and the gods of Apokolips have forged an alliance with Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants. He also makes a brief appearance in JLA/Avengers, where he briefly holds the Infinity Gauntlet before discarding it as the Infinity Gems do not work in his universe.
- In the alternate future story, "Rock of Ages", Darkseid has found the Anti-Life Equation and rules Earth, although he is killed when Connor Hawke and the Atom manage to bypass his protective force-field when Atom shrinks down to the size of a speck of light (reasoning that light must penetrate the force-field, otherwise Darkseid could not see) and detonates a bomb inside Darkseid's head.
In other media
DC Animated Universe
Darkseid would also later appear in several animated series set in the DC Animated Universe, namely Superman: The Animated Series (1996), Justice League (2001), and Justice League Unlimited (2005); voiced by Michael Ironside. In Superman: The Animated Series, Darkseid is resentful of his second born son Kalibak and only somewhat jokingly acknowledges that Orion is his true son (mainly trying to egg on Orion to be like him). After his first invasion of Earth in the two-part episode "Apokolips...Now!", Darkseid promises that Apokolips will not attack again, as part of a truce with the planet New Genesis. To bypass his promise, Darkseid develops various schemes to destroy Earth indirectly, such as through manipulation of Intergang and even Superman. In the concluding two-part episode "Legacy", Darkseid attempts one final invasion of Earth which involves brainwashing Superman. He is stopped by Superman and pursued to Apokolips where he is defeated. To Superman's shock, Darkseid's slaves willingly come to his aid after the battle, carrying his broken body away to recover. As Darkseid leaves, he explains to Superman that on Apokolips, "I am many things, Kal-El. Here I am God".
A few years later, on Justice League, Darkseid seeks the help of the League in order to defeat a common enemy Brainiac, who has come to Apokolips and to download all knowledge of the planet, then destroy it. Superman opposes helping Darkseid, but the rest of the League agrees in order to take down Brainiac once and for all. Unfortunately, after defeating Brainiac's forces and following him back to his base, the League discovers that Darkseid was playing them all along. In return for sparing Apokolips, Darkseid delivered Superman and his allies to Brainiac, allowing him revenge against the Kryptonian, and no opposition for the acquisition of Earth Knowledge, then its destruction. Superman, however, defeats Brainiac, and with the help of Batman and Orion confronts Darkseid. As Orion fights his father, Superman delivers the finishing blow. But just as Darkseid is near defeat, the base begins to collapse, at which point Batman forcibly brings Superman to safety into Orion's boom tube. Darkseid looks on, buried under rubble, and nonchalantly says "Loser", then is killed in the explosion of the base.
Some time afterwards, near the end of "Justice League Unlimited", Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom traveled into deep space, to the location where Brainiac's base once was. After reaching the destination, Luthor sacrifices both the ship's power and Tala to fuel a device that will mystically draw Brainiac's essence from the debris of his asteroid base. But before the machine kills her, Tala channels a different set of energy through the machine. As a final act of revenge against Luthor, she has Darkseid resurrected instead, but with at least some of Brainiac's powers. He thanks the group of villains by offering them a quick and painless death, then destroys their base with his Omega beams. Lex Luthor and his band of villains survive thanks to Sinistro's yellow power ring and return to Earth. Darkseid returns to Apokolips claiming revenge against Superman and launched an assault on Earth, in which the Justice League and the Legion work together to stop the Parademon's invasion. Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor battle against Darkseid, and most notably, Batman becomes, according to Darkseid, the first ever being to avoid Darkseid's omega beam, and on the final match Superman was almost defeated by Darkseid's Agony Matrix and a kryptonite knife, but then Lex Luthor, who went to the Source Wall aided by Metron, returned and offered him the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid's most wanted possession. Then Darkseid stopped the battle and touched Luthor's hand which held the equation, then he and Luthor disappeared, although there is no sign of death for both of them.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Darkseid appears in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold titled "Darkseid Descending!" voiced by Michael-Leon Wooley. In the episode, Darkseid leads the forces of Apokolips in an invasion of Earth, only to be challenged by Batman and his new Justice League. After soundly defeating the League, Darkseid is goaded into a fist fight with Batman after the hero implies that he is simply a coward who hides behind his god-like abilities. Though Darkseid subsequently wins this fight, he and his army are sent back to Apokolips by the Question, who had infiltrated Darkseid's cadre of minions and reversed the Boom Tubes that had brought them to Earth.
Darkseid is alluded to in the Young Justice episode "Disordered" though he is never explicitly named. Beautiful Dreamer of the Forever People refers to him as Desaad's master, while Desaad simply calls him "Unspeakable". The Character was set to appear later in the series, with John DiMaggio providing his voice. However, the series was cancelled and Darkseid only made a brief cameo appearance in the final episode shaking hands with Vandal Savage, alluding to a third season that would never be made.
Darkseid is the main antagonist for the tenth and final season of Smallville. Producers of the series mentioned that the character will not be fully revealed at the beginning and will be a force that is going to be felt throughout the season and eventually materialize as the episodes progress. In the series version, he mostly appears as an non-corporeal being. In the season premiere "Lazarus", both Jor-El (Terence Stamp) and the spirit of Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) warned Clark Kent (Tom Welling) of a dark force that is coming to Earth to corrupt it. It heard of Clark's power and the doubts and fears in his heart and wants to turn him into a weapon. The dark force gathers on a rooftop in Metropolis and forms into the shape of a rock-like creature. In "Supergirl", Kara (Laura Vandervoort) tells Clark that the darkness came to Earth after a rip in the universe was created. Clark concludes that when he opened a portal to another world (used to send the Kandorians to a world that would become New Krypton), it must have allowed the darkness to come to Earth. Darkseid went on to possess the radio jockey Gordon Godfrey (Michael Daingerfield). Using him as his vessel, Darkseid created a backlash against the superheroes in Metropolis but left Godfrey's body after a confrontation with Clark and Kara.
In "Abandoned", Darkseid's minions Granny Goodness (Christine Willes), Desaad (Steve Byers), and Godfrey (who was now corrupted by Darkseid's darkness although no longer directly possessed by him) discuss their plans for paving the way for the coming of their dark lord. The episode "Patriot" revealed that Slade Wilson (Michael Hogan) is one of the people whom Darkseid is influencing, as he bears the Omega symbol on his skull. In "Masquerade", it's shown that Darkseid through Desaad is bringing more under his control bearing the Omega symbol, attracting the attention of the FBI. It is shown that the influence gains control by exploiting a person's weakness, thematically one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It fails to ensnare Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) but succeeds in capturing Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley). In "Scion", Darkseid is revealed taking shape from a mass of black smoke before alternate-universe Lionel Luthor (John Glover) in front of his son's tombstone as the episode ends. In "Dominion", Clark and Oliver discover that Darkseid has indeed been to other worlds and that General Zod/Major Zod (Callum Blue) made a deal with Darkseid to get rid of Clark in exchange for Zod to rule over the Phantom Zone. Darkseid manipulates Oliver into finding the Bow of Orion - the weapon that his son Orion used to defeat him the previous time Darkseid attempted to conquer Earth. After Oliver finds the Bow of Orion in "Prophecy", Granny Goodness subsequently destroyed the bow so that it cannot be used against her master again and brings Oliver completely under Darkseid's control and is later seen digging a gold kryptonite rock so he can permanently remove Clark's powers according to his master's will.
During the two part series finale, Granny Goodness tells Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) that Darkseid was in Earth's history by many names such as Hades and Lucifer and was also connected to the Hindu goddess Kali. During Clark's wedding with Lois Lane (Erica Durance), Oliver (still possessed) tries to force a gold kryptonite ring on him but Clark saved Oliver from the darkness. Darkseid appeared before Lionel and offered Lionel to bring back Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) to which Darkseid takes out Lionel's heart to resurrect Lex. Darkseid then possesses Lionel's body and confronts Clark in his barn. Darkseid (Glover) realizes that the Kryptonian is a threat after he saved Oliver from his spell, and tries to kill him. However, Clark is now at the pinnacle of his Kryptonian abilities, finally mastering the power of flight after Darkseid threw him into the air while they fought in the Kent barn, Clark regaining control mid-air and flying directly at Darkseid to strike him hard in the chest, defeating him and blasting him out of Lionel's body, seemingly killing Darkseid (Although he may have simply defeated the host). Clark then becomes Superman and stops the arriving planet Apokolips from destroying Earth by pushing it in outer space, while foiling the demon-deity's plans.
Darkseid is the main antagonist in the direct-to-video animated film Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. He is voiced by actor Andre Braugher. In the film, when he learns about Supergirl's presence on Earth, he manages to control her mind and attempts to finally defeat Superman and Batman and take over the world. In the end, he is defeated by the combined efforts of Superman and Supergirl, who throw him into a Boom Tube which teleports him into space where he ends up frozen.
Darkseid appears in the video games Superman: The Game (1985), Justice League Task Force (1995), Superman (1999), Superman: Shadow of Apokolips (2002), Justice League Heroes (2006) and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008).
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