Darkseid was the absolute ruler of Apokolips, would-be conqueror of the universe and one of the greatest enemies of Superman (and, by extension, the greatest enemy of the Justice League itself). He psychically fed on the despair and misery of others. Darkseid has conquered and subjugated an unspecified number of planets throughout the universe.
The origins of Darkseid and his rise to power are lost to time, but as long as Apokolips has burned, Darkseid has been the iron fist ruling over its inhabitants.
Feud with New Genesis
Darkseid seeks to bring the entire universe under his control. To achieve this end, he seeks the cosmic power of the Anti-Life Equation, which theoretically will enable him to control any and all existing life in the universe. Darkseid's perpetual rival is Highfather, the leader of New Genesis ― Apokolips's sister planet. For thousands of years, Apokolips and New Genesis waged war, claiming millions of lives until a truce was finally agreed upon. To seal their bond, Highfather and Darkseid exchanged their infant children: Highfather would look after Darkseid's son Orion and Darkseid would raise Highfather's son Scott Free. Scott, despite the influence of Darkseid and Granny Goodness, grew up to become a freedom fighter in opposition to his adopted father. Orion took to the lessons of New Genesis and became an enemy to Darkseid as well.
Moving in on Earth
Though maintaining an uneasy peace, Darkseid still looked to acquire power without Highfather's interference. He soon took notice of the planet Earth, not only for its vast natural resources and vulnerable population but also because a potential rival had appeared amongst the otherwise "unworthy" masses: Superman. In an effort to gauge Superman's power (as well as prepare Earth for his coming) Darkseid aided Intergang by supplying powerful weapons of his world to the greedy human criminals.
Darkseid ordered his servant Desaad to destroy Superman, but his device failed. After his son Kalibak disobeyed orders by battling Superman, Darkseid made his presence known to the Man of Steel, injuring Superman with his Omega Beams before disappearing into a boom tube.
Darkseid would later launch a full attack on Earth, beginning with the massive destruction of a nuclear facility in an effort to recreate the fire pits of Apokolips. Superman was again effortlessly defeated in personal combat and bound to the head of Darkseid's war machine. The invasion would have succeeded if not for the timely intervention of Highfather and the armies of New Genesis. With Highfather declaring that Earth was off-limits, Darkseid grudgingly retreated, but not before murdering Dan Turpin in front of all of Metropolis, then escaping through a boom tube before Superman could get to him.
Darkseid would orchestrate several attacks against Superman, though keeping his word by avoiding a direct invasion of Earth. He dispatched Granny Goodness to build a device that would pull a comet to Earth but was thwarted by Supergirl. His most crushing blow to Superman came when he brainwashed the hero into believing Darkseid had adopted him. He sent Superman to lead an invasion of Earth. Though Superman fought against the conditioning and eventually managed to break free of it, Darkseid had at least partially achieved a victory by shattering the public trust of Superman.
Unfortunately for Darkseid, he had finally pushed Superman too far. The Man of Steel invaded Apokolips, swatting aside the forces between him and Darkseid's palace, clashing directly with the Dread Lord of Apokolips. Darkseid gained the upper hand, telling Superman he would kill more humans, and was about to finish Superman with his Omega Beams when Superman clamped his hands over the overlord's eyes. The backlash of energy exploded against Darkseid's skull, wounding him grievously and knocking him unconscious. Superman threw Darkseid's prone form at the feet of his subjects and declared them free. However, the Lowlies respectfully carried their lord from the battlefield before an astonished Superman, with Darkseid reminding the hero, "I am many things, Kal-El... but here, I am God."
In the quest for the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid invaded a sector protected by New Genesis, thus violating the rivaling planets' ancient peace treaty. Orion's fleet was waiting for Apokolips's invasion force and shattered Darkseid's armada. Upon this, Highfather gave Darkseid an ultimatum assuring that the next breach of their treaty would result in his annihilation. While Apokolips was rebuilding its military forces, the villainous Kryptonian supercomputer Brainiac arrived with the intent of assimilating the planet. Darkseid secretly approached Brainiac and offered him to hand over Superman and in return, Brainiac would spare Apokolips. So, Darkseid went to the Justice League and asked for their help to battle Brainiac, which Superman reluctantly conceded.
In Apokolips, Darkseid and Superman fought together until Brainiac's forces retreated. Darkseid told the League to follow and finish him off, which they did.
Afterward, Darkseid boom tubed inside Brainiac's headquarters just in time to vanquish the League, thus delivering his end of the bargain: Superman. When Brainiac started extracting living DNA from Superman, Darkseid implanted a device that overrode Brainiac's control circuits, turning him into his puppet. Darkseid intended to use Brainiac's program to collect the Anti-Life Equation and reorder the universe at his will. At that point, Orion, Batman, and Wonder Woman showed up to thwart him. Orion and Darkseid exchanged punches, but Darkseid was victorious. Darkseid attempted to leave the asteroid, however, he was intercepted by Superman, who was determined to hold him inside until its destruction. Darkseid fought with everything he had but was overpowered by the Man of the Steel finally and left stranded within the exploding headquarters, dying in the blast. Despite the circumstances, Darkseid rejoiced and scorned Superman as a "loser" with his last breath.
Darkseid returned thanks to Lex Luthor, who had been trying to resurrect Brainiac instead. This was due to Tala using her last ounce of power to exact revenge by reviving Darkseid, who showed his gratitude to Luthor by unleashing the Omega Beams upon Luthor's spacecraft, destroying it. He then returned to Apokolips, halting a power struggle between Granny Goodness and Virman Vundabar in his absence. Seething with hatred for Superman, Darkseid declared war on Earth, implying that his treaty with Highfather would no longer apply as he was heading there afterward.
He launched simultaneous attacks across the globe and set up magma-tappers to ignite Earth's core and generate fire pits, thus creating Apokolips on Earth. Darkseid found himself opposed not only by Earth's military and the Justice League but by the surviving members of Luthor's Legion of Doom who had escaped death at Darkseid's hands only days earlier. With his flagship hovering above the Daily Planet, Darkseid was confronted by the unlikely trio of Superman, Batman, and Lex Luthor. Upon this, the Lord of Apokolips vowed to kill the Man of Steel, but not before making him and everyone he loved suffer dearly. The two engaged in battle, demolishing the Daily Planet along the way.
Darkseid was repeatedly hindered by Batman, who was then targeted by his Omega Beam. Darkseid was impressed to see how Batman adroitly dodged it by causing one of his Parademons to get struck. He turned to Luthor to see if he would be as lucky, but Luthor promptly fled, an act Darkseid remarked as wise. Then, Superman thrashed Darkseid across the city with his full might, but the tyrant managed to gain the upper hand by using a hidden pain amplification weapon ― the Agony Matrix. Darkseid gloated upon Superman's pain, but was impressed by his endurance and proclaimed how he was going to carve out his heart with a Kryptonite blade as a token of mercy. And he would have succeeded, if not for Lex Luthor stepping in on time to bestow Darkseid with his greatest desire ― the Anti-Life Equation. Superman was forgotten behind, as Darkseid was mesmerized and overwhelmed by the Equation's dazzling beauty. He took it on and vanished into thin air with Luthor.
Powers and abilities
Darkseid is one of the most powerful individuals in the entire universe. His monstrous strength is unparalleled by almost anybody, except Superman, who has proven to be almost as powerful. He has consistently proven himself to be incredibly resistant to almost all forms of physical injury. His speed and stamina are also roughly equal to that of Superman.
Darkseid will usually avoid hands-on conflict via the use of his deadly Omega Beam. The Omega Beam is emitted as red beams of light from Darkseid's eyes and affect their targets according to Darkseid's whim.
The Omega Beam can project as concussive force, intense heat, or a beam of disintegration. Their power level is relative to the target, as Superman seems to be able to survive what is presumably the full force of the Omega Beam. Average beings (such as the unfortunate Dan Turpin) are often disintegrated instantly. The beam can also be used to teleport certain beings, a trick that Darkseid often employs to dispatch disgraced servants to the slave mines of Apokolips.
The Omega Beam has a legendary level of accuracy. Once released, the beam will seek their prey relentlessly, dissipating only after impact. Darkseid remarked during his final invasion of Earth that only one being —Batman — has ever been able to avoid the touch of the Omega Beam (by causing the beam to strike an unlucky Parademon). This is particularly impressive as Darkseid has often fired upon targets possessing superhuman speed and reflexes.
After the fusion with the remnants of Brainiac, Darkseid gained increased power, as well as new abilities. He was then able to teleport himself without the use of a boom tube and could also suspend a person (like Lex) in midair and push him back with a wave of his hand. When he teleported to Apokolips from Brainiac's asteroid it appeared as a huge explosion to stop the power struggle. When he stopped Lex Luthor from attacking him, his Telekinesis was accompanied with a huge electricity.
Outside the use of his powers, Darkseid's mind in itself is a deadly weapon: he is a patient and cunning schemer, gloating over his enemies even in defeat. Darkseid is known to at least have a 12th level intellect, as evidenced by his ability to comprehend the Anti-Life Equation.
Bruno Mannheim: You promised you'd make me a king!
Darkseid: I am many things, Kal-El. You couldn't begin to imagine half of them. But for now, I shall take the role of an executioner. (Darkseid uses the Omega Beams against Superman) A final gift my wayward son. A fast death. Infinitely preferable to the shame of returning to Earth. There, your legacy would be one of fear and distrust. A pariah, desperately chasing the favor of a world that cursed your name.
Darkseid: Had I known one human's death would pain you so, I would have killed more. And kill more I shall. Carry that agony with you to oblivion, Superman.
Darkseid: Still alive. You impress me, Kryptonian. More... your valor has touched my heart. Oh yes, there is still some small part of me that knows mercy. I will end your pain with something special I've been saving for just this occasion (takes out a Kryptonite knife). I'm going to carve out your heart and put it on a pike in my throne room.
Differences from DC comics version
Darkseid has often opposed Superman in DC comic books. However, Apokolips and New Genesis were originally meant to be stand-alone creations as part of a conclusive storyline. However, since Jack Kirby left DC Comics before the story's end, the tale (most notably Orion's quest to destroy his father Darkseid) was left unfinished, thus the Fourth World as a whole was folded into the mainstream continuity of DC. In the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Darkseid was a pivotal figure (in addition to Superman) in stopping the ultimate destruction of all creation. However, Darkseid did not perform this deed out of heroism or selflessness — it was merely a necessary action to preserve Apokolips: saving the universe (and/or multiverse) was merely a side effect.
The animated series does not mention Orion and Kalibak's mothers by name. In the comics, Kalibak is the son of Darkseid's first wife, Suli, with Orion as the son of Darkseid's second wife, Tigra. Darkseid was genuinely in love with Suli, who was assassinated by Desaad on the orders of Darkseid's mother Heggra, the previous ruler of Apokolips, who did not approve of the match, thus Darkseid was then forced into a loveless arranged marriage with Tigra. Steppenwolf is Heggra's brother and Darkseid's uncle. Darkseid was not the first male ruler/sovereign (king) of Apokolips. The first king was Yuga Khan, Darkseid's father. Darkseid also has a third son, Grayven, by an unknown mother.
Recently in comic book continuity, the character has been killed by his son Orion, but returns after taking over Dan Turpin's body, only to be killed again, this time by Batman with a Radion bullet.
Appearances and references
- "The Greatest Story Never Told" (Mentioned Only)
- "The Ties That Bind" (Mentioned Only)
- "Question Authority" (Mentioned Only)
- "Divided We Fall" (Mentioned Only)
|The New Gods|
|Bernadeth • Darkseid • Desaad • Granny Goodness • Kalibak • Kanto • Lashina • Mad Harriet • Mantis • Steppenwolf • Stompa • Virman Vundabar|
|Beautiful Dreamer • Big Barda • Big Bear • Black Racer • Forager • Highfather • Lightray • Mark Moonrider • Metron • Mister Miracle • Orion • Sera • Serifan • Vykin the Black|