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Byron Brewer

Brew's Crew: Darkseid, scourge of the DCU!

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(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)

By Byron Brewer

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Darkseid has been one of my favorite cosmic characters since he crept out of Jack Kirby’s amazing post-Marvel Age imagination lo those many decades ago. A more fitting foe for the latest New 52 iteration of the Justice League I cannot think of.

That said, He Who Would Be DCnU God has a somewhat messy history, going through many reboots, as will other DC cosmic characters in the future. What I try to give you herein is a taste of the best, even though it may not jibe with current DCU continuity … whatever that is. (Perhaps Brew’s Crew needs a Zero Month, eh?)

Darkseid  first appeared (of all places, lol) in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 (November 1970) and was intended to be one of the most powerful characters in the DCU. 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 (and by extension the Justice League).

According to writer Mark Evanier, Kirby modeled Darkseid's face on actor Jack Palance (another creepy dude). Kirby modeled Darkseid himself on Hitler and the world of Apokolips on Nazi Germany. Like Hitler, Darkseid is a jackboot-wearing megalomaniac and warmonger who, in fascist style, sees every citizen as an extension of the state and himself. His society is highly militant, with children being indoctrinated from a young age (ala Hitler Youth) to be warlike and utterly loyal to him.

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 (hmm?), attempted to claim (destroy? lol) 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 (shades of Darth Unohoo!), 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 (loving these Kirby monikers!).

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.

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.

In Justice League #1 (August 2011), Darkseid's name is invoked by a Parademon. He is later mentioned again in issue #2, and in Justice League #3 Darkseid makes his first appearance in the New 52, 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, and in #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 #6, Darkseid is driven out when Cyborg activates the invaders' Mother Boxes and Superman forces him through a Boom Tube.

The incidents that occur in these issues make Darkseid the very first foe the newly-formed League faces as a team. The issue also reveals Desaad and Steppenwolf, referring Darkseid's daughter and their ceaseless search for her across countless worlds.

I cannot wait for the rest of the Fourth World to come to the New 52, and I hear we may not have too long to wait!

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