Despero was once a cast out Kalanorian due his third-eye, who, after encountering the Flame of Py'tar, became ruler of Kalanor and built an empire, bent on galactic conquest. Only through the intervention of the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps were his plans halted.
Despero was a Kalanorian peasant born with a deformity — a third eye. For that reason he was cast out, and went to wander in the wasteland. One day, when he was jumped by a group of criminals, Despero was saved by a mystical flame, the Flame of Py'tar. It infused him with great physical strength and mental powers, which he could project through his third eye. The Flame told Despero of a time when Kalanor would become a paradise. Consumed by anger and hatred, Despero misunderstood this message and believed that he had been chosen to impose his will upon the galaxy, and as a result, he used his mental powers to subjugate his fellow natives.
His third eye became the ruler of the Pytar and it gave him the ability to use his third eye as a weapon and as a way to make his fellow people bow to him. With an entire planet in his hands, he built his empire called the Legion of the Third Eye. Despero twisted the Pytar into a source of hatred. He banned all those not worthy of reading and punished anyone who opposed him. He was often accompanied by his beautiful "personal attendants".
Despero planned to expand his power. He immersed several of his loyal followers in the Pytar and attacked the planet of Ramstead VII as a test run. The Green Lantern Corps responded immediately by sending Katma Tui, Kilowog, Arkkis Chummuck and Gallius Zed to stop them. However, they proved to be more then a match. Arkkis and Gallius were vaporized by his massive fleet. Kilowog was forced to retreat and find help while Katmai Tui covered his escape. Katmai Tui was captured or seemingly killed. She infiltrated his palace as a priestess.
When Green Lantern John Stewart arrived to find Katmai Tui, his old mentor, he was captured and brought before Despero. Despero attempted to make the Green Lantern step aside, along with the Guardians of the Universe. When he informed John of his origins, the Lantern was not convinced of him nor of his "bonfire". Despero attacked John with his third eye and managed to over-power him to the point of breaking his will. He ordered a priestess to throw John's body into the Pytar where he assumed him to be dead.
Despero began his conquest soon afterwards. He bestowed the Flame's energies upon his followers and sent them off as an invasion wave to spread his word and will across the cosmos. However, Despero had a thorn in his side to deal with. A small resistance hidden underground. He ordered his troops to eliminate them however, assistance from Earth arrived with Kilowog and helped them escape.
Though with this, Despero ordered his Pytar infused troops to attack this time on a word from Rodoku, a former resistance troop who had betrayed them by giving Despero this information. The leader of the resistance, Shifflet, the Green Lantern Kilowog and two Justice League members escaped in separate directions. But the attack was not a complete lost. His troops managed to captured the thought to be dead John Stewart, Katma Tui and Justice League member, Hawkgirl. Despero infused Katma with the Pytar and binded her to his will. However, Despero found Hawkgirls Thanagarian wings to be of "exotic quality" and would rather had made her one of his personal attendants.
As Despero attempted to bind Hawkgirl, John Stewart summoned the will to grab his Power Ring and break free of the bindings Despero had placed them in. John blasted Despero away from Hawkgirl and the two fought each other in the caves underneath his palace. The battle raged on, much differently then the last. Despero's third eye was sealed shut when John punched it and left the Green Lantern symbol over the lids.
The battle would finally end when Kilowog, The Flash and Martian Manhunter arrived in the Pytar chamber. J'onn leaped into the Pytar in an attempt to communicate with it. J'onn flew up with the Pytar communicating through him. J'onn informed the people of Kalanor of Despero's evil ways and asked them to step into the light where Kalanor would return to it's former paradise state. The people of Kalanor did so. Despero's powers immediately ceased to exist during the battle. Where he stood, a tree shot up from the ground and wrapped him in it's vines where finally he saw the true paradise emblazoned by Py'tar, right before being converted into a tree.
All over the planet, the Pytar spread new foliage and greenery around their sterile wastelands. And in space, Despero's infused troops transformed into foliage themselves. The new foliage destroyed Despero's kingdom and the people of Kalanor were left to rebuild it's civilization with Katma and Kilowog.
- Despero first debuted in Justice League of America #1 (Oct. 1960), and was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. He was an inhabitant of the planet Kalanor, and like all of the other natives, Despero had pink skin, pointed ears, a fin on his head, and violet eyes. However, Despero wasn't an ordinary Kalanorian; he was born with a third eye on his forehead — a mutation that resulted from the radiation of a previous atomic war. Once day, Despero stumbled upon the Flame of Py'tar, a power-giving flame that imbued him with great mental powers. He used such powers to enslave his own kind and assert himself as the ruler of Kalanor. The Justice League brought his tyranny to an end, and Despero had ever since sworn revenge against the heroes. Despero has undergone many transformations. Originally, he was a scrawny dictator, using chess as a gimmick to play with the fates of his foes. Later on, he was redesigned into a bulked-up version of his old self, capable of physically standing up against the mightiest of heroes, and driven by his blinding hatred of the Justice League. Despero is generally remembered for wearing a United Nations flag like a cape, and murdering the parents of the Leaguer, Gypsy. The Flame of Py'tar gave Despero super-strength, durability, intelligence, and telepathic powers that he could channel through his third eye, making him altogether a formidable foe. The version featured on Justice League is a combination of both DC Comics incarnations.
- While Despero's skin in the comics had a pink-orange shade, Despero colors were changed into a shade of purple in order to differentiate him from Katmai Tui in.