Vandal Savage was an immortal who lusted for power.
25,000 years ago, his prehistoric tribe witnessed an asteroid fall to earth. While his fellow men ran away from it in fear, the man then known as Vandar Adg walked up to it and slept by it, as the night was cold and it provided warmth. Where the rock came from was never known, but its radiation and heat transformed him for life. Only a couple decades later did he realize he would never age — while his brothers, sisters and tribesmen passed on and on, Savage continued in his present form — never changing physically, but always evolving mentally.
World War II
The Justice League first encountered Vandal Savage when they returned to Earth and found it altered as a result of his tampering with history. Having invented a time machine, Savage sent a "gift" to his younger self during the era of World War II: a laptop computer containing schematics for advanced technology, and knowledge of the future that would help him overcome the Allies. Using this information, Savage supplanted Adolf Hitler, placing him in suspended animation, and took control of the Nazi German regime. With his highly advanced technology, as well as knowledge of future events such as D-Day, the Axis Powers easily defeated the Allies. As a result, Vandal Savage became the undisputed dictator of the world.
However, the Justice League traveled back in time through Savage's time portal and prevented Savage's plans from happening, managing to destroy the laptop. They also thwarted his attempted airborne invasion of the United States, and they assumed Savage was killed when one of his planes crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. In order to cope with Savage's failure and the loss of their leader, the Nazis reinstalled Hitler, and thus the war ended as an Allied victory. Due to the League's actions, Savage's reign was stopped in its infancy.
Dictator of Kaznia
Savage showed up again to face the Justice League in the early 21st century, initially posing as his own grandson to conceal his immortality from public knowledge. As the head of Kaznia's space program, he oversaw its substantial contribution to an International Space Station, and became sufficiently well-regarded by the King, Gustav, to become affianced to Princess Audrey, the heir to the throne. After poisoning Gustav with the help of a treacherous maid, Savage induced Audrey, his trusting fiancée, to take up her father's crown and rule Kaznia. This allowed Savage to reveal his plan to the world: an orbital rail gun mounted on the space station allowed him to fire asteroids at earth with pinpoint accuracy and devastating effect.
Luckily, Green Lantern, Flash and J'onn J'onzz boarded the station in time to set it to self-destruct — but not before a final asteroid was fired. On Earth, Batman and Wonder Woman freed Audrey from Savage's clutches, and Batman managed to change the asteroid's target to Savage's own headquarters. Civilians escaped, while Savage was buried under the rubble — but, like the immortal being he was, he rose up again, popped his bones back into place and lived on. Audrey had him arrested on the spot, promising he would pay for his crimes. Savage sneered that no one could kill him and invited her to do her worst. Audrey smiled back, apparently intending to do just that, and test just how impossible killing him would be.
When Superman was inadvertently thrust forward 30,000 years into the future, by a blast from Toyman's device, he met a warmer, saner Savage, who happened to be the sole surviving member of the human race. Savage confessed that he had unveiled his latest superweapon a few months after Superman's "death"—a device capable of controlling gravity—which sent the world into a downward spiral. He had killed the rest of the Justice League that day, but caused a cataclysmic orbital shift that also killed off the rest of the human race. In a cruel joke, Savage became what he had always thought he was destined to be—the ruler of the world—but with no one to rule over.
After 25,000 years of thirsting for power, Savage finally began to evolve in character as well as in strength and intellect. He built himself a comfortable home in the ruins of Metropolis and kept himself amused with various hobbies, such as rediscovering agriculture, reading self-help books, restoring portions of the city through archaeology, and building several advanced inventions. Although one of these inventions was a starship capable of taking him off Earth, he decided to stay, feeling he deserved to be punished.
Another had been a version of the time machine he had used before. He did not finish it, since it wouldn't allow him to travel back to any time when he was already alive. However, he gained a unique chance to undo his past when Superman came to the future; since he was gone and presumed dead in the past, Superman could use the time machine to stop the younger Savage. Together, they completed the machine, and Savage sent back the only friend he had made in millennia in order to stop his younger self from destroying the world.
In his last moments, Savage saw the world restore itself to life as he himself faded from existence with the words "Thank you, my friend" on his lips.
Powers and abilities
Savage was immortal, meaning he did not age and had healing abilities that allowed him to survive any injury that would maim or kill a normal human being.
Being a prehistoric man, he was already exceptionally strong before his transformation, and continued to grow in strength to a nearly superhuman level.
His long life gave him vast knowledge, a genius-level intellect, and great technological inventiveness, which includes the invention of the time machine.
Finally, because Savage had literally "all the time in the world," his plans, when sprung, were always well-prepared in advance and difficult to upset.
In the comics, Savage's original name was Vandar Adg, the chief of a Cro-Magnon tribe called the Blood Tribe. Also, his age was given as over 50,000 years, not 25,000 as shown in the series. In the course of his long life, he claims to have been, at various times, the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, the pirate Blackbeard, and Vlad Tepes, and at others times, to have been a close advisor to other famous conquerors, including Napoleon and Hitler.
He originally appeared in DC Comics during the 1940s, as an enemy of Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern.
- "I Am Legion" (Cameo on portrait)