Darkseid

+ Heggra + Tigra + Yuga Khan

Created by Jack Kirby
Yuga Khan created by Mark Evanier and Paris Cullins

NAME + ALIASES:
Uxas

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Yuga Khan (father, deceased), Heggra (mother, deceased), Drax (Infinity Man, brother), Kalibak (son), Orion (son), Suli (wife, deceased), Tigra (wife, deceased), Steppenwolf (uncle)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Secret Society of Super-Villains

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (Dec. 1970)

Tigra

NAME + ALIASES:
None

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Orion (son), Darkseid (Uxas, husband), Heggra (mother-in-law, deceased), Drax (Infinity Man, brother-in-law)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
New Gods v.1 #7 (Feb./Mar. 1972)

HEGGRA

NAME + ALIASES:
None

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Yuga Khan (husband), Steppenwolf (brother), Drax (Infinity Man, son) Darkseid (Uxas, son)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
New Gods v.1 #7 (Feb./Mar. 1972)

YUGA KHAN

NAME + ALIASES:
None

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Heggra (wife, deceased), Steppenwolf (brother), Drax (Infinity Man, son) Darkseid (Uxas, son)brother-in-la)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
New Gods v.3 #17 (June 1990)

History

Darkseid addresses Glorious Godfrey. From Forever People #3 (1971); art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.

Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, is the king among Jack Kirby's DC Comics creations, though it wasn't always so. The character was a significant presence in Jack Kirby's Jimmy Olsen and Forever People — moreso than in The New Gods. Until the 1980s, the character was a threat only within the confines of the Fourth World, appearing in conjunction with the New Gods. Today Darkseid is practically the arch villain of the DC universe, elevated by a series of high profile story arcs. His rise began in the early 1980s with appearances on the popular Super Friends television cartoon, which coincided with Kirby's Super Powers comic book series.

While still somewhat obscure, Darkseid was also cast as the starring villain in the classic Legion of Super-Heroes story, "The Great Darkness" by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen. In the publishing era following DC's reboot (1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths), creators Jim Starlin, John Ostrander, and John Byrne put Darkseid front and center in epic tales and crossover events like Cosmic Odyssey and Legends. Byrne also penned many post-Crisis Superman tales that reintroduced the threat of Apokolips.

Kirby's Darkseid was cunning, quiet, and unpredictable — even prone to levity. Many writers miss Kirby's subtler characterization of this god and portray a clichéd cold and omnipotent monster.

The original version of this character was supremely powerful, but his aim was not mere destruction. Darkseid was motivated primarily by his quest to master the Anti-Life Equation (which he achieved shortly before his doom). He desired total control, dominion, conquest — to impose ultimate order on the universe.

The Darkseid presented in DC's "New 52" universe is more akin to Marvel's Galactus, who brings genocide and devastation. This profile concerns only the pre-New 52 Darkseid.

Darkseid's origin was incomplete until John Byrne's story in Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2-5 (1997). The original Fourth World titles touched only on his mother (Heggra), wives (Suli and Tigra), and children (Kalibak and Orion). His father, Yuga Khan, was a post-Crisis invention.

Ascension

Brothers Drax and Uxas in the court of Queen Heggra. From Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2 (1997); art by John Byrne.
In the Infinity Pit, Uxas steps in to claim the power of Omega from his brother Drax. From Jack Kirby's Fourth World #4 (1997); art by John Byrne.
The newly minted Darkseid learns that he is due to have another heir. From Jack Kirby's Fourth World #5 (1997); art by John Byrne.
Drax wakes on Adon, where he meets the Infinity Man. From Jack Kirby's Fourth World #18 (1998); art by John Byrne.

Darkseid was born 24,000 years ago as Uxas, of a race of powerful aliens (frequently referred to as "gods"). (New Gods Secret Files) His father, Yuga Khan, was the first leader of their planet, Apokolips. Yuga Khan was a ravenous conqueror, curious about the fate of the Old Gods who had preceded them. Khan's hubris led him to attempt to snatch ultimate knowledge from the Source, the center of all creation. He suffered the same fate as those before him; he was punished by the Source, entombed in the great wall which surrounds it. (New Gods v.3 #19-20)

Yuga Khan was succeeded as ruler of Apokolips by his wife, Heggra. They had two sons, Drax and Uxas. In this era, the people of Apokolips interacted freely with the gods of their sister planet, New Genesis and Drax was great friends with its citizen, Izaya. There was peace between the two planets and being pacifists, Izaya and Drax promised to maintain it. Uxas, on the other hand, was a duplicitous sort and plotted to ascend the throne with the help of his friend, Desaad. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2)

Heggra liked to joke that the elder Drax was her favorite son, but she mocked his proclamations of peace. She later admitted that she was grooming Uxas for the throne instead. All gods were eventually expected to undergo a rite to acquire their so-called "god power." Drax was pressured to claim a terrible, legendary power called the Omega Effect — a feat which many before him had failed. One needed the fortitude to contain this power and to bear the name which the lore paired with it: "Darkseid." Drax acquiesced, donned protective armor, and prepared to enter the Infinity Pit — the passageway to power. (#3)

When Drax began channeling its energy, Uxas and Desaad caused his armor to malfunction, and Uxas stepped in to seize the power of Omega. (#4) Drax was apparently vaporized but Uxas was transformed. He emerged from the Infinity Pit with skin like blue granite, now Darkseid. (#5)

Drax did not die. He awoke to find himself badly burnt but alive on the world called Adon. He was greeted by a fellow from Apokolips, Astorr, the last contender to be cast from the Infinity Pit. He learned that all who had ever sought power in the Pit had reappeared on Adon. In time their cumulative knowledge led to a mastery of a different kind of power — "the ways of Infinity." Each added his own knowledge to the last's and created the persona called the Infinity Man. Astorr was old. As he died he passed this wisdom and power on to Drax. Their order regarded this power as the opposite of Darkseid's, a response by the Source to balance his dark potential. Drax became the new Infinity Man and began seeking a way to return home. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #18)

Issue

Heggra disapproved of Uxas's first wife, a so-called "sorceress" named Suli. Suli bore his first child, the beastly Kalibak. Heggra commanded Uxas's "friend" Desaad to poison Suli after their son's birth. (New Gods v.1 #11) This betrayal left Uxas less trustful, more rageful, and unwilling to welcome anyone into his heart again. (New Gods v.2 #8)

Instead Heggra arranged for her son to marry a woman named Tigra. It was a loveless union, one which drove her to take a lover, Captain Hathek of the Imperial Guard. Darkseid found them and kissing unleashed his Omega power to destroy him. He would have killed Tigra too, if not for his plans to sire another son. (Orion #2)

Darkseid assumed his god power during his marriage to Tigra. He had a long-term plan to rule Apokolips but he knew Heggra would live for many more years. He did not want his heir born too soon. He needed time to assemble his own power base, so when Tigra became pregnant Darkseid put her into a bio-freeze chamber for a thousand years. His son would be born at the more opportune time. When Tigra emerged, Heggra was still queen. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #8, 10)

When she began giving birth, Tigra fled underground. Their son Orion roared into the world and Darkseid soon found them. He knew that Tigra would plot to put her son on the throne, so he exiled her and wiped her name from all records. Orion was raised outside the royal palace and never knew his parentage. (Orion #3) Tigra was shut away to wither in Section Zero, a luxurious if solitary prison. (Mister Miracle v.1 #8)

Making for War

Darkseid and his uncle Steppenwolf gloat over the deaths of Avia and Izaya. From The New Gods #7 (1972); art by Kirby and Royer.
Darkseid inspects the X-Element, coveted by Metron. From The New Gods #7 (1972); art by Kirby and Royer.
Tigra learns that Darkseid is giving their son Orion over to Highfather. From The New Gods #7 (1972); art by Kirby and Royer.

With his brother out of the way, Darkseid turned his attentions to conquering New Genesis. He and his uncle Steppenwolf led a band of raiders and attacked his brother's friend, "Izaya the Inheritor." Izaya and his wife Avia were enjoying time in the countryside when they were ambushed and Avia died lunging to save her husband from a deathblow. Darkseid stepped in to finish Izaya off. After they departed, Izaya recovered and he retaliated with all-out war by his army of Monitors. (New Gods v.1 #7)

Darkseid may have chosen that moment to attack because he was experimenting with creation of a powerful teleportation technology. The source of its power was a metal that phased in and out of reality called the X-Element. Early experiments drained too much of Apokolips' energy and Darkseid ordered the experiments to stop. It would be another thousand years before he could develop it properly and seize power. (New Gods #7, Jack Kirby's Fourth World #14-15)

The X-Element was first discovered by Darkseid's rival, Himon, a man from New Genesis who lived on Apokolips. Himon eventually used the X-Element for teleportation as well. He incorporated it into the Mother Box, a creation which required sufficient enlightenment of its user; Darkseid could never use one. (Mister Miracle v.1 #8, New Gods v.2 #22, Jack Kirby's Fourth World #14)

While dining with his mother and her elite, Darkseid produced the Element but admitted he didn't know how to harness it. Just then the scientist called Metron appeared, rabid to claim it. Metron was from New Genesis but bore allegiance only to his own quest for knowledge. He had already achieved some success in piercing the barriers of time and space. To obtain a sample of the X-Element, Metron allied with Darkseid. (New Gods #7, Jack Kirby's Fourth World #14-15)

Metron succeeded and created the Boom Tube for Darkseid (and completed his own Mobius Chair). Darkseid and Steppenwolf used it to transport huge dragon-tanks and legions of warriors to New Genesis. Steppenwolf was engaged again by Izaya, who killed him. (New Gods v.1 #7, New Gods v.3 #22)

The Pact

Scott Free breaks tha pact by fleeing Apokolips. From Mister Miracle #9 (1972); art by Kirby and Royer.

This war raged for many years and ultimately Izaya came to reflect on his own dark impulses. He cast off his armor, was enveloped by the Source, and transformed into the Highfather, a man of peace. Highfather proposed an end to the war, a pact between Apokolips and New Genesis. Izaya and Darkseid agreed to exchange their own young sons as a promise of nonaggression. Darkseid traded Orion for Highfather's infant son, who was taken by Granny Goodness and named Scott Free. (New Gods #7)

Darkseid knew that one day Scott Free would defy him and escape from Apokolips, thus nullifying the pact. Free defied Granny's teachings and was encouraged by Himon and Metron to become a rebel leader in the Armagetto. After many years Scott mustered the will to renounce Darkseid and escaped through a Boom Tube to Earth. Darkseid looked on and made a half-hearted plea for Scott to stay, but did nothing to stop him. On Earth Scott became Mister Miracle. (Mister Miracle v.1 #9)

Jack Kirby's Fourth World

Inter-Gang and Jimmy Olsen

Darkseid's lackluster first appearance. From Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (1970); art by Kirby and Colletta.
Darkseid directs Simyan and Mokkari on Earth. From Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #136 (1971); art by Jack Kirby.

Before the Boom Tube the Fourth World was isolated from the rest of the universe, (Cosmic Odyssey #1) but this new device allowed Darkseid entrée to Earth as well. He sent emissaries to the planet to begin experimentation on its lifeforms and arm its city gangs. Inter-Gang was formed by arming the gangs of Metropolis with weapons from Apokolips. One of its bosses was a clone of Morgan Edge, president of the Galaxy Broadcasting System. Galaxy bought the Daily Planet, which employed Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent (aka Superman). Edge found these reporters to be too inquisitive and tried to bump them off them by sending the pals on dangerous missions. (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #133) Note: The evil Morgan Edge was revealed as a clone in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #118–119, which were by Bob Kanigher and Werner Roth, not Kirby. There's no indication in the Kirby Jimmy Olsen stories that Edge isn't the original.

Edge failed repeatedly at this and Olsen and Superman instead became allies with the strange people of the Wild Area. The secrets of the Wild Area eluded Inter-Gang and Darkseid "telephoned" Edge to express his displeasure. (#134) Note: This cameo was Darkseid's first appearance in print.

Darkseid's primary Earth agents were scientists Simyan and Mokkari, who created advanced equipment and experimented freely with human DNA. Some of their knowledge was purloined from a similar endeavor called "the Project," created by the former members of the Newsboy Legion. (#135) Simian and Mokkari's mission was to create monsters for Darkseid to bring forth chaos and become the new masters of Earth. (#136)

Jimmy Olsen eventually uncovered Darkseid's "Evil Factory" (aka Brigadoom) under Loch Trevor in Scotland. He and the Newsboys dodged Inter-Gang assassins while Superman encountered a splinter gang, the San Diego Five String Mob. (#144) Olsen was transformed into a monster and set of an atom-expanding ray that destroyed the facility. (#145-146)

The Forever People

Darkseid releases Beautiful Dreamer. From The Forever People #1 (1971); art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.

Darkseid meddled a surprising amount in the affairs of the Forever People, five youths from New Genesis whose adventures intersected his search for the Anti-Life Equation. Somewhere along the way, Darkseid became utterly consumed by the quest to master this principle. Could he learn its secret, a single word from his lips would subjugate all free will in the universe.

His search began on Earth, where he discovered that the Equation's potential lay latent inside the minds of various humans. He also believed that the Forever People's Beautiful Dreamer held a portion of its knowledge. He kidnapped her and brought her to Earth, drawing her friends, Mark Moonrider, Vykin, Big Bear, and Serifan. The Forever People could combine their souls and trade places with the powerful Infinity Man — Darkseid's brother Drax! Inter-Gang spied their arrival and attacked in order for Darkseid to continue his experiment unimpeded. A battle was averted when Darkseid declared that Dreamer's mind held none of the secrets he sought. (Forever People v.1 #1) Note: The Infinity Man was not named as Darkseid's brother until the origin story in Jack Kirby's Fourth World (above).

Mantis was one of Darkseid's earliest agents on Earth. Mantis emerged from his special pod to terrorize Metropolis. Darkseid and Desaad witnessed the Forever People defeat him. (#2) Glorious Godfrey, an acolyte with persuasive powers akin to the Anti-Life Equation, fared better. Godfrey recruited humans to be Justifiers, slave troops who wore armor infused with Darkseid's Omega energy. Darkseid himself stepped in to confront the Infinity Man, forcing his transformation back into the Forever People. (#3)

Desaad tortured the Forever People in his "amusement park" called Happyland. There Darkseid strolled freely, savoring the terror he invoked in people . (#4) The young heroes were freed by Sonny Sumo, whom their Mother Box had discovered could wield the Anti-Life. (#5) Darkseid never analyzed Sumo, as he used his Omega Effect to banish all his adversaries into Earth's past. Darkseid admitted: he was fascinated by the Forever People's ability to vex him. (#6)

The tycoon known as Billion-Dollar Bates also possessed master of the Anti-Life. Bates had dark ambitions, just like Darkseid, who with Desaad infiltrated Bates' operation in hopes of discerning the secrets to his power. In fighting the Forever People, Bates accidentally rendered himself unconscious, and was then accidentally shot by one of his own men. Darkseid lamented the loss and lashed out at the Forever People. He let them go again reasoning, "Greatness does not come from killing the young!"(#8)

But his patience was near its end...

Darkseid had a change of heart and sent his bounty hunter, Devilance the Pursuer, to finish off the Forever People. They were overwhelmed until they managed to summon the Infinity Man, who fought the Pursuer to a stalemate. His power lance was destroyed and the explosion took out an entire island. It appeared that the Infinity Man had died, and so the Forever People were stranded on a world called Adon. Only Darkseid knew their whereabouts. (#11)

The New Gods

Darkseid and Desaad search Earth for secrets of the Anti-Life Equation. From The New Gods #2 (1971); art by Kirby and Colletta.

After the pact was broken, Darkseid's son Orion returned to the world of his birth. Orion was raised under Highfather's precepts of peace but he was constantly challenged by his own inner rage, his inheritance. But Orion would forever be a champion of New Genesis, and hellbent on ending his father's scourge. Orion tolerated no interference by Darkseid on New Genesis or Earth. (New Gods #2)

Darkseid returned to Earth briefly to watch Orion struggle against Inter-Gang, which had been using a Jammer to mask Apokolips' presence (including the Deep Six) from any Mother Box. Orion and his friend Lightray disabled the Jammer, which revealed the location of the Deep Six. (#4)

Orion's brother Kalibak also went to Earth to engage with Orion. When Darkseid witnessed his sons in battle, he admitted to Desaad that he'd rather not see either die in combat. During their duel, Darkseid caught Desaad feeding power to Kalibak and killed him with his Omega Effect (the first of several times). Orion rallied and the killed Kalibak (who was taken to the Source by the Black Racer). Orion decreed his destiny was to meet his father "in the red light of the fire pits" and end their war. (New Gods v.1 #11) Note: This proclamation by Orion in the last issue of New Gods became the Fourth World gospel. Later writers returned to the thread of the father/son death match.

Mister Miracle

Darkseid is too late to prevent the marriage of Scott Free and Big Barda. From Mister Miracle #18 (1974); art by Kirby and Royer.

Darkseid needled his escaped ward, Scott Free, through his power elite. Scott's mistress, Granny Goodness sent a ceaseless succession of assassins to Earth, where Scott had become a sort of super-hero called Mister Miracle. (Mister Miracle v.1 #1) Agents such as Doctor Bedlam were ordered by Darkseid to "arrest" Scott, and eventually he grew weary of fighting them. (#3-4)

Mister Miracle returned to Apokolips to face Darkseid and win his freedom fairly. He was met by Darkseid's chief assassin, Kanto, who escorted Free to Section Zero, at the center of the royal stronghold. (#7) Even Tigra — designated as "high-rank" but a "non-being" — watched as Scott battled the powerful psychic called the Lump. Scott triumphed and for a time Darkseid was content to leave him alone. (#8)

He returned with many of his Elite on the day of Scott's wedding. This might have been because Mister Miracle's bride, Big Barda, was a fugitive herself (and former leader of his Female Furies). Highfather married them hurriedly and Darkseid arrived at the center of a great tornado only after they had returned to New Genesis. (#18)

Earth-17

The events from the 1977 revival of New Gods are not considered part of normal pre- or post-Crisis continuity. There are several reasons for this. » SEE: New Gods History: Earth-17

Secret Society of Super-Villains

Darkseid surveys his new villain group on Earth. From Secret Society of Super-Villains #3 (1976); art by Pablo Marcos and Vince Colletta.

Darkseid extended his machinations past Inter-Gang, into Earth's metahuman population. He covertly assembled the Secret Society of Super-Villains and constructed the Sinister Citadel. Once recruited, its members learned they had no choice to but obey. He sent Mantis to oversee the operation. (Secret Society of Super-Villains #2) Manhunter turned on Mantis and fomented a revolution among the villains. (#3) Darkseid countered by sending in Kalibak (who was narrowly defeated by Grodd), while the team was already being targeted for takeover by a would-be leader, Funky Flashman. Darkseid came to Earth himself, with the angel of death called the Black Racer in tow. (#4) The Society refused to end their rebellion and Darkseid rather gave up. As he prepared to step through his Boom Tube, Manhunter dove in with him and detonated a bomb. Manhunter was killed and Darkseid did not return. (#5)

Return of the New Gods

Darkseid taps the six humans carrying the Anti-Life Equation. From The New Gods #19 (1978); art by Don Newton and Dan Adkins.
Darkseid is incapacitated by the Source Wall then destroyed by unwitting Desaad. From Adventure Comics #460 (1978); art by Don Newton and Augie Sotto.
Batman, the Huntress, and Mister Miracle learn that Darkseid has reconstituted himself with the help of the villains of Earth-Two. From Justice League of America #185 (1978); art by George Pérez and Frank McLaughlin.

Darkseid intensified his attacks on Earth, going so far as to attune his own heart to Earth's sun. If he died, it would explode. Orion challenged his father directly but was dissuaded from combat by Highfather and Metron. (1st Issue Special #13) Darkseid had built a base on the dark side of the moon from which to search for humans who harbored the secrets of Anti-Life. Orion led a team of New Gods to protect these humans. (New Gods v.1 #12) The dark lord's next victim was noble Lonar of New Genesis, who died defending one of those people. (#15) Darkseid took a sliver of Anti-Life knowledge from the mind of Nomak, an Eskimo. And in a perverted sequel to his pact with Highfather, he sent young Lucifar to New Genesis and kidnapped young Esak from New Genesis, giving him over to Tigra for "education." (#15-16)

Darkseid revived Desaad to help administer new experiments that could interrupt the journey of the soul after death. (#17) He sent his largest invasion ever to Earth to acquire the remaining human subjects. (#18) When Darkseid drained the Equation from them, an image formed above them. It showed six beams shooting out from the final battle between the Infinity Man and Devilance (suggesting that energy came to rest in the six humans). (Forever People #11)

Desaad's computer then "solved" the Equation:

Infinity Man = Life and Anti-Life equations.
Life Equation = Source, therefore
Infinity Man = Source, and
Source = Anti-Life...
they are one and the same. (#19)

Orion freed the humans and confronted Darkseid, who proposed that they become allies. Darkseid blasted Orion (Adventure Comics #459) and also blew past Highfather. Now seething with power, Darkseid made a beeline for the Source. But he could not penetrate its barrier and fend off another attack from Orion. In the fight, Darkseid was thrown into the Source Wall and became one of its giant frozen guardians. In this state, he hurtled towards Apokolips and Desaad panicked; he blasted his master to smithereens. (#460)

Darkseid's powerful consciousness survived and reached from beyond the Source to influence the Injustice Society of Earth-Two (Fiddler, Shade, Icicle). (Justice League of America #183) Fourth World heroes recruited the Justice League and Justice Society to help them stop the villains from building a machine to bring Darkseid back to life. Darkseid's ultimate plan was to have Apokolips shatter Earth-Two and take its place. (#184) He managed to reconstitute his body but showed no gratitude toward his allies, instead unleashing his Omega Force on them and transporting them to a prison. Darkseid's return was brief; Metron redirected the energy from the machine back at the despot himself, reducing him again to atoms. (#185)

Kirby's Return

Portrait of Darkseid from Who's Who #6 (1985). Art by Jack Kirby.
Darkseid uses his Omega Effect to resurrect Desaad. From New Gods v.2 #6 (1984); art by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.

Kirby ignored the 1977 revival when he returned to DC to ostensibly "finish" his New Gods saga. (Or did he? His new tale depicted Esak as corrupted by Apokolips.) His new story began straight from the ending of New Gods #11.

Darkseid's dominion on Apokolips had become so absolute that he actually admitted to feeling lonely, so he used a brain scanner and restored four of his Elite to life: Desaad, Kalibak (whom he had destroyed with his Omega Effect), Steppenwolf, and Mantis. Darkseid used a brain scanner to scan his own memory of Desaad then his Omega power reconstituted Desaad's errant atoms. The men were listless, "mindless animals," and needed adjustments to their psyches.

After Orion's proclamation of war, he rampaged toward Apokolips for blood. His first order of business was to find and liberate his mother, Tigra. He smashed into Darkseid's sanctum and his father actually led him to his captive mother — then Darkseid's men riddled Orion with bullets and his seemingly lifeless body tumbled into a fire pit. (New Gods v.2 #6)

Orion survived his wounds with the help of Himon and began to terrorize Darkseid's soldiers throughout Armagetto, the slums of Apokolips, fomenting dissent among the Hunger Dogs, the lowliest of Darkseid's subjects. Meanwhile, Himon tried unsuccessfully to seize Darkseid's powerful new bomb, the Micro-Mark, which had been created by a horribly corrupted Esak. Orion killed Esak, but Darkseid used Micro-Mark to finally destroy New Genesis. As Apokolips was showered with debris, the Lowlies revolted, fearing that Darkseid's new weapon would destroy their world next. A bitter and vengeful Darkseid killed Himon, but Orion escaped aboard a ship with Tigra and Himon's daughter, Bekka, leaving Darkseid in the ruins of Armagetto.. (DC Graphic Novel: The Hunger Dogs) After losing control of Apokolips, Darkseid and his elite temporarily took refuge in a base on Earth's moon while plotting their return to power. (Super Powers v.3 #1-4) Note: These stories were retconned out of continuity by the post-Crisis New Gods (v.3) series.

Post-Crisis

Apokolips comes on strong following the Crisis. From Legends #1 (1986); art by John Byrne and Karl Kesel.
Darkseid harnesses the power of the Demon (another one of Jack Kirby's creations) to steal the power of the Anti-Life Entity. From Cosmic Odyssey #3 (1988); art by Mike Mignola.
Darkseid and Desaad invade the abandoned Olympus. From Action Comics #600 (1988); art by John Byrne and George Pérez.

Darkseid was one of the few New Gods to make a (fairly minor) appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC's reboot of its multiverse. The writers in charge of rebuilding the DCU after Crisis were big Jack Kirby fans, and a cornerstone to this world-building was an epic involving Darkseid as the central villain. (Crisis #8, 12)

Darkseid's attention turned once again to Earth, whose heroes plagued him. So that humanity could become more compliant, he would need to destroy these legends. His primary agent was Glorious Godfrey, whose powers of persuasion whipped up antisuper-hero sentiments in the populace. Meanwhile Darkseid's techno-seed created a monster called Brimstone from a S.T.A.R. Labs nuclear generator. (Legends #1)

The Phantom Stranger visited Darkseid during this campaign and the two held an ongoing discussion about the values of hope versus obedience. Godfrey's campaign nearly succeeded until a group of children came forward to challenge him. When Godfrey struck a young girl, the adults came out of their haze and the heroes (along with the Suicide Squad) rallied. Godfrey donned the helmet of Doctor Fate, which only induced catatonia. Darkseid proclaimed this a temporary setback; he would destroy them one day. Afterwards, Fate suggested the formation of a new Justice League. (#6)

Darkseid returned to Earth to vex Superman, who was blasted by the Omega Effect and transported to Armagetto. (Superman #3) This rendered Superman amnesiac and like Orion before him, he became a hero to the Lowlies. He befriended Amazing Grace, who was secretly Darkseid's servant. (Adventures of Superman #426) Orion's Mother Box restored Superman, who managed to out-fly Darkseid's Omega beams and caused them to strike Darkseid himself. The villain was spent, and sent Superman back to Earth. (Action Comics #586)

Long before Darkseid ruled Apokolips, he discovered that Earth's Olympian gods were created by the same energies as the Fourth World. He now invaded Olympus, which drew Wonder Woman and Superman to investigate. The heroes eventually found Desaad's lair and Wonder Woman pointed out that the gods had clearly deserted Olympus, leaving nothing for Darkseid to conquer. Darkseid's bombs did not affect the gods themselves, (Action #600) but devastated Olympus, prompting the gods to depart for a time to other cosmic realms.

Darkseid's search for the Anti-Life Equation led him to the discover of an Anti-Life Entity that embodied this dark force. Metron predicted that the Entity would destroy their universe if it broke through. This menace was so great that Darkseid allied with Highfather and gathered help from a group of heroes (all the while plotting to grab its power and knowledge for himself). Teams were sent to protect four key worlds across the galaxy. (Cosmic Odyssey #1)

Darkseid tapped into the power of the Demon, with whom he and others merged to confront the Entity head-on. (#2) Meanwhile, Batman charged Doctor Fate to spy on Darkseid, lest he betray them. (#3)

Darkseid managed to acquire a portion of the Entity's power but it retaliated. He was saved by Highfather and Doctor Fate. One final unified blast staggered the Entity into retreat and Fate destroyed its dimensional gateway. Darkseid returned to Apokolips with a crystal containing a sliver of Anti-Life energy. (#4)

Darkseid destroys his own son, Kalibak. From New Gods v.2 #12 (1990); art by Paris Cullins and Will Blyberg.
Darkseid fears his father's coming. From New Gods v.2 #19 (1990); art by Rick Hoberg and Will Blyberg.
Yuga Khan takes back Apokolips. From New Gods v.2 #20 (1990); art by Rick Hoberg and Will Blyberg.

This success emboldened Darkseid in his mission. His next campaign on Earth was met once again by opposition led by Orion. After kidnapping Wilson Gilmore, Darkseid's machine captured another sliver of knowledge to add to his black crystal; Gilmore was disintegrated. (New Gods v.3 #1) More kidnappings followed, including Orion and Lightray's friend, Eve Donner. (#5)

Orion returned to Apokolips intent on freeing his mother. (Note: The events of Hunger Dogs were retconned by the Crisis.) He infiltrated his father's troops and quickly rose through their ranks. (#10) He reached Tigra inside Section Zero but was crushed when she refused to leave with him. She'd become too comfortable with the scraps of luxury afforded to her as a royal prisoner. Darkseid would never allowed her to be free because she would become a symbol of his vulnerability. Orion's rescue attempt had been manipulated in secret by Kalibak, who was trying to prove his fealty to his father. But when Darkseid discovered that Kalibak had killed Desaad, he killed his son as well. Darkseid remarked that he would probably need to resurrect them both again. (#12)

Darkseid's power on Apokolips was absolute but his father's power had been even greater. Yuga Khan was imprisoned in the Source Wall for thousands of years, gathering strength to free himself. He alighted on an isolated world, there absorbing all its life and destroying the planet. Khan's return caused Darkseid's Omega power to stutter; he knew instantly that his father was free. (#17)

Yuga Khan craved ultimate knowledge but he knew that Darkseid's might could surpassed his. When Khan returned to Apokolips he snuffed out the fire pits, crashed into Darkseid's lair, and bound his son, whom he could not kill outright. This was an existential law of the Fourth World — it was physically impossible for a god to kill his own parent or child. (#19) NOTE: The premise that the gods could not kill their relatives conflicted with Darkseid's recent filicide of Kalibak.

Khan conscripted the sniveling Desaad despite acknowledging that Desaad had killed Heggra (at Darkseid's command). Orion was forced to partner with Darkseid to try to defeat Khan. Darkseid had theorized a plan to break the family killing law. (#20) As Khan massacred the forces of New Genesis, Orion and Darkseid submitted their psyches to the astral world of the Lump. Orion was to slay his father on this nonphysical plane, but he refused in the end. Orion was filled with angst but he reasoned that killing his father would be the ultimate act of self-loathing —  intolerable. They need not have bothered with any of it, as Yuga Khan was soon undone by his own greed. Khan made another attempt to breach the Source, believing it was possible if he first transformed himself into primal energy. When he tried to merge with the Source Wall he was imprisoned as before. (#21)

Post Zero-Hour

New Gods v.4

A bizarre battle inside the Source. From New Gods v.4 #2 (1995); art by Luke Ross and Brian Garvey.
In Pythia's Garden of Hope, Darkseid has swagger but no power. From New Gods v.4 #4 (1996); art by Luke Ross and Brian Garvey.
Darkseid and Highfather are trapped in the Source Wall and manifest themselves using avatars. From New Gods v.4 #15 (1997); art by John Byrne and Bob Wiacek.

Wonder Woman uncovered a new lair in Gateway City where Darkseid housed weapons and Parademons. (Wonder Woman #101) He tried to torture her for information about the Olympian gods, whose power he coveted. She freed herself only to realize she'd been taken to Apokolips. She was found by Metron, who showed her that Darkseid had destroyed her home of Themyscira. (#102) Wonder Woman returned home and mobilized the Amazons to fight Darkseid's shock troops. For their defiance, Darkseid reduced their civilization to flaming ruins. (#103) Diana prevented Darkseid from learning the location of her gods, but thousands of Amazons were killed. (#104)

Doomsday — the monster that killed Superman — found his way to Apokolips via a trade ship. But even Darkseid's Omega Beams at point blank range failed to phase the monster. Desaad contacted Oberon on Earth, which alerted Superman to the matter. (Superman/Doomsday: Hunter / Prey #1) When the Cyborg Superman joined in on the attack, Superman and Darkseid were forced into an alliance. (#2) Superman eventually dispatched the monster with the help of the time-traveling Waverider, who stranded Doomsday at the end of time. (#3)

Darkseid eventually redirected his attentions toward the Source itself. He knew what fate awaited those who tried to penetrate it, and assembled a device to allow him to crack it. He succeeded and his evil tainted the Source. The entire Fourth World was thrown into madness and chaos. Orion knew instinctively that his father was to blame, and stormed off to find him. His attack sent both Orion and Darkseid tumbling into the Source. (New Gods v.4 #1)

In their surreal brawl, Orion took Darkseid's form and plunged a dagger into his own gut, to destroy the seed of his father's evil. Darkseid goaded Orion into lunging at him and they merged temporarily. Both collapsed from the trauma and Orion's Mother Box returned him to normal space. (#2)

Darkseid was, by ordinary measures, dead. His absence sent shockwaves across Apokolips and his power Elite scrambled to outmaneuver one another. Granny Goodness was betrayed by Kanto, who allied with Virman Vundabar and Doctor Bedlam. Meanwhile Neron (a demon from Earth) seized upon the dissent to offer them their hearts' desires. Desaad, who was closest to the throne, squashed all resistance by impersonating Darkseid and appearing in public. This left him essentially in charge. (Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips — Dark Uprising)

Orion actually lamented his father's demise and to his horror noticed that his body seemed to be transforming to become like Darkseid's. (New Gods v.4 #3) Highfather told Orion that Darkseid was not dead (#4) but that his darkness now roamed the universe sowing unrest. This disturbance threatened to waken a forgotten ancient entity called S'ivaa, who could devour the universe. (#5)

After another public battle between Kalibak and Orion, Orion unmasked Desaad to the populace. Suddenly Orion writhed and was split in two — Darkseid emerged from within Orion's body! (#6) Darkseid's return did not restore order to the universe so he approached Highfather in hopes of rebalancing the cosmos. (#7-8)

With Metron, they concluded that both Darkseid and Highfather must give themselves to the Source to reestablish the balance between dark and light, and send S'ivaa back to his eternal sleep. But when they approached the Source Wall, Darkseid tricked Highfather into entering while he remained outside. (#9-10)

Superman and Orion propelled S'ivaa into the Source Wall, where it was bound. The force of its impact sent Darkseid in as well, and he and Highfather were consumed by divine flame. This restored the universe but fundamentally changed the Fourth World — Apokolips and New Genesis were merged into one planet! (#11)

Darkseid and Highfather were not permanently imprisoned by in the Source Wall; they were able to send avatars of themselves into the material world. (#12) Darkseid recruited Vykin to help free him (#14) and many the New Gods converged at the Source Wall to witness the birth of their new world. (#15)

Jack Kirby's Fourth World

Arzaz, the Nameless One, Ares, and Darkseid are sacrificed to the Source Wall. From Genesis #4 (1997); art by Ron Wagner and Joe Rubinstein.
Kalibak's plot to steal his father's power fails, fatally. From Jack Kirby's Fourth World #18 (1998); art by John Byrne.

Tigra found the courage to escape her confinement and began plotting to install her son on the throne of Apokolips. She restored the Old God Thor to life and ventured to New Genesis. She warned Highfather that Darkseid had been killing gods across the universe and stealing their power, hording it for some impending catastrophe. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2) Those aliens whose gods he'd slain gathered a great armada and prepared to attack Earth. (#3)

The New Gods forestalled the alien attack and confronted Darkseid. They reached a truce, but Darkseid coerced Orion into killing the aliens anyway (it was later revealed that Orion was merged with Desaad and thus, was more susceptible to Darkseid's command). (#5)

The event that Darkseid anticipated was the passing of the Godwave. This energy had been created by the Big Bang and spread out across the universe, seeding the potential for godlike power in the Fourth World and beyond. The Godwave had reached the outer limits of the universe and was now collapsing. Darkseid hoped to claim its power, (#6) but he also feared cosmic regenesis — the coming of the Fifth World. (#7)

Earth's heroes formed a task force to head off Darkseid and prevent him from seizing the wave's power. (Genesis #2) Highfather also prepared to confront Darkseid by allying with the gods Zeus, Jove, and Odin. Ares feigned to join them too but betrayed the others. When they reached the center of the Source, Ares killed Highfather by spearing him through the heart. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #8)

Ares beat Darkseid to the heart of the Source, and to the power of the Godwave. Meanwhile two Old Gods, Arzaz and the "Nameless One" pledged their aid in stopping Ares. (Genesis #3) Final victory was achieved when the telepaths of the universe linked all living beings together. The cosmos paused for a single collective thought and the energy was directed back at the Source through a lens — the unified planet of Apokolips/New Genesis. This separated the two worlds once again. The Source Wall was restored and it became the prison for Darkseid, Ares, and the two Old Gods. (#4)

Darkseid's Elite panicked again and Apokolips was in chaos. Its fire pits overflowed, making even more of its surface uninhabitable. Desaad feared a civil war but trusted that the shock troops would obey him. (#9)

Orion sensed that Darkseid was still alive in some way, within the Source Wall, almost as if he had become more powerful. Meanwhile Desaad and Metron formed an alliance to rescue Darkseid from the Wall. (#10) Only Metron could engineer Darkseid's escape. He convinced an ancient Promethean Giant, Prodigan, to take Darkseid's place in the wall. Desaad's workers completed a special mechanism but when Darkseid reached out to Prodigan, the god Mars stepped in and freed Ares instead. (#14)

Takion, the new leader of New Genesis, agreed with Metron that Darkseid must be freed in order to maintain cosmic balance between dark and light. (#16) Orion discovered Kalibak using a cannon to siphon Darkseid's power. (#17) His brother plotted to take over Apokolips by using their father's own power to release him from the Source Wall, then kill him. Metron aided Kalibak and Darkseid was released. Kalibak tried to assume the name "Darkseid" but his father yet had power in him. Darkseid unleashed his Omega beams and imprisoned Kalibak in the wall. (#18) The master returned to Apokolips only to fend off a coup by his commander, Virman Vundabar, who was destroyed instead by the Omega Effect. (#19)

Orion

Darkseid is struck by his own Omega beams, paving the way for Orion to ascend the throne of Apokolips. From Orion #5 (2001); art by Walter Simonson.

Darkseid's devoted assassin, Justeen (Desaad's lieutenant) ordered Tigra to be killed by Parademons. (Orion #1) Tigra fought them off and escaped to Earth, where Orion discovered a town enslaved by the Anti-Life Equation — it appeared his father had finally mastered it. (#2) Tigra did not survive the Parademons' next attack and Orion was so bereaved that he unleashed an energy that disrupted Darkseid's Anti-Life experiment. It was the final straw. Orion penetrated Darkseid's underground lair and challenged his father to a formal duel. (#3)

Both donned armor for the contest (#4) and were not allowed to use their powers. The brute force battle reached a stalemate and both collapsed. Darkseid broke protocol by activating his Omega power and Orion formed an opposing Alpha shield. It deflected the blast back on Darkseid, who was apparently destroyed again. (#5)

Orion claimed the throne and was determined to liberate Apokolips with enlightenment, but those faithful to his father thwarted him at every turn. Darkseid's mistress, Mortalla, schemed against Orion while she ingratiated herself to him. She claimed that she was human, stolen by Desaad for Anti-Life experimentation, and tortured. Afterwards she was remade in the image of Darkseid's lost love, Suli. (#6)

Ironically, Orion fulfilled Darkseid's dream: he gained full control of the Anti-Life Equation. He was suffused with the energy after destroying Desaad's laboratory for generating the same. (#11)

Orion became possessed by the Equation and Metron was forced to ally with Darkseid , who was hiding in the Garden of Hope, deep within Apokolips. (#13) Darkseid had engineered the ruse of his own death. It was in hopes of staining Orion's soul by putting him in control of Apokolips and of a "Father Box." Darkseid hoped they might rule together. (#14) Their plan failed to stop Orion. Only the timely intervention of Mister Miracle led Orion into a "Doom Tube," a one-way portal. (#15)

When Darkseid returned to his home, he confronted Justeen about killing Tigra. She was unapologetic and he was amused by her. He gave Justeen Desaad's post (who had recently been killed by Orion). (#24)

Imperiex War

Superman's friend and ally, Steel, sacrificed his life to defeat the cosmic destroyer called Imperiex. (Man of Steel #116) Steel was spared by the Black Racer from proceeding onto the afterlife and he accepted an offer from Darkseid to wear the Entropy Aegis, a powerful suit of armor. The suit, however, put Steel firmly under Darkseid's influence. (Man of Steel #117)

His body was bonded to the Aegis but Superman could not allow his friend to remain on Apokolips and staged a calculated attack on Darkseid. While his team (Superboy, Supergirl, and the Eradicator) kept the troops of Apokolips busy, Superman bested Darkseid in hand-to-hand combat. Superman offered him a deal: he would never reveal his victory if Darkseid would release Steel from the Aegis — and trouble Earth no more. Darkseid accepted and they went their separate ways. (Superman vs. Darkseid: Apokolips Now)

Death of the New Gods

DC's weekly series, 52, was such a success that they decided to stretch it out with a second weekly series, which would lead to the coup de grace, Grant Morrison's Final Crisis. This second series was called Countdown, but its stories were not coordinated with Morrison's plans in Final Crisis.

This led to major discrepancies for the New Gods in particular. Darkseid was to be the primary nemesis in Final Crisis, however he and the rest of the New Gods were simultaneously killed in Death of the New Gods, a Countdown spin-off.

Morrison did his best to reconcile the differences as he finished Final Crisis, but continuity became significantly confused.

Then there was another wrinkle involving time travel...

Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle

Boss Dark Side, flanked by Kalibak and Kanto. From Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #3 (2006); art by Freddie E. Williams II.

Darkseid and his Elite mysteriously appeared on Earth in the form of human avatars. As Boss Dark Side, they established the Dark Side Club. Granny and others kidnapped young people, applied the Anti-Life Equation, and tested them in mortal combat. At this point, none of Earth's heroes realized the fate of the New Gods. Darkseid's supernatural essence had been shunted back in time from the future. While the gods of New Genesis were weakened, Darkseid influenced human agents and engineered his own return to the material world, where he now possessed the power of the Anti-Life Equation.

With Highfather, Orion, and the other New Gods reincarnated in helpless human form, living as homeless people in New York, Darkseid instead faced their champion: the human Shilo Norman, aka Mister Miracle III. Norman had been secretly groomed by Metron and the New Gods for his potential to defy the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid coveted Shilo's "Motherboxxx," the only remaining one. He subjected Norman to a variation of his power called the Omega Sanction. Mister Miracle disappeared and tumbled through a series of soul-crushing realities, leading to his total subjugation. (Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1-2)

As Shilo fought to escape Darkseid's "life trap," the New Gods were awakened and Mister Miracle mustered the will power to escape from this trial. (#3-4) Shilo confronted Boss Dark Side, who simply shot him dead. Having escaped the Omega Sanction, Shilo found he had gained 'god sight' and could perceive Darkseid's true form within the human body of "Boss Dark Side." Shilo then offered himself in exchange for the freedom of the ancient super-being Aurakles, who had been imprisoned and tormented by the time-traveling Sheeda. Dark Side, amused, agreed — and then promptly shot Shilo dead. Aurakles went on to play an important role in preventing the Sheeda from conquering the Earth, and Shilo later escaped his own grave with the help of Motherboxxx. (Seven Soldiers Special #1)

Countdown + Death of the New Gods

Top: Mister Miracle adopts the colors of mourning. Below: Scott's Anti-Life is bigger than Darkseid's. From Death of the New Gods #2 and 3 (2007–08); art by Jim Starlin.
Darkseid surprises the Source with power of his own. From Death of the New Gods #8 (2008); art by Jim Starlin.
Orion finally kills Darkseid. From Countdown to Final Crisis #2 (2008); art by Scott Kolins.

Seven Soldiers was published before Countdown and Countdown contradicted the events of Seven Soldiers. Readers of the Seven Soldiers mini-series saw a human-avatar Darkseid. But a couple of years later, Darkseid appeared in Countdown as usual, meddling in the affairs of man. To make matters worse, Countdown's various subplots were poorly interwoven and the conclusion offered no sense of resolution to the series.

From Apokolips, Darkseid plotted to recreate all existence but he was opposed by the powerful Monitor known as Bob. The two took up a cosmic game, manipulating the heroes of Earth as if chess pieces on a board. (Countdown #51) Darkseid used various agents on Earth, including Slig of the Deep Six, a corrupted Mary Marvel, (#38) Eclipso (#27) as well as his trusted aides, Desaad, Granny Goodness, Mokkari, and Simyan.

Darkseid's plan was crafted in anticipation of the death of the New Gods. He had learned about a plan to cull all the natives of the Fourth world. An unknown "god killer" began stalking and killing everyone from the Fourth World — on Apokolips, New Genesis, and Earth — first slaying Lightray. (#40) Darkseid correctly assumed that this killer would spare no one, including himself. He would need a plan to survive.

The culprit behind the killings was the Source itself. It considered the Fourth World a "failed experiment": imperfect, lesser creations who warred ceaselessly. To create a Fifth World it needed to reunite with its darker half, and the souls of the New Gods would be the raw material for rebirth. The souls were stored in a second Source Wall. The killer's victims were found with their souls ripped from their body, something even Darkseid could not do using Anti-Life. Darkseid's success relied upon denying the Source those souls. He chose the human vessel of Jimmy Olsen to house the stolen souls of the gods, but Olsen remained oblivious to his new condition. (Death of the New Gods #1, 2, 5)

Olsen became involved in the Earth heroes' battle against Darkseid and found himself in the slave pits on Apokolips. Darkseid spared Jimmy from death (Countdown #25) and his minions came to understand that their master was 'watching over' Olsen. Jimmy eventually discovered he had a Mother Box inside of him. (#19)

Even Darkseid's storm troopers were eliminated by the god killer, and he withdrew into isolation. He also discovered that he was now powerless against Scott Free, who possessed total control of the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid's last gambit was to work with Desaad to revisit an early experiment with Anti-Life, called the Soul Fire Project. (Death of the New Gods #3)

Elsewhere Orion, Scott, and Superman learned that Darkseid's brother, the Infinity Man, was the Source's hit man. (#4) As Scott slowly went mad, Orion fell to the Infinity Man. (#6) The Source goaded Scott into destroying the original Source Wall, and it reunited with it's lost half, whole again. The only god left standing was Darkseid. As the Source headed for Apokolips, the dark lord drank the Soul Fire serum. (#7) The serum allowed Darkseid to access the power of his stolen souls. The Source resurrected Orion as its defender, and Darkseid retreated. The Source then destroyed Apokolips and New Genesis. (#8)

location ?? Darkseid needed to claim the power he'd hidden inside Jimmy Olsen. from whom he cannot reclaim his power. The Atom shrunk down and ventured inside Jimmy's body and enabled power from within Darkseid's device. (Countdown to Final Crisis #3) Jimmy battled Darkseid while the Atom continued to sabotage Darkseid's reservoir of souls. He removed and crushed it, and the souls departed. Just then a Boom Tube opened to bring Orion, who killed his father for the Source. In his dying moments, Darkseid realized that he was never destined for ultimate power. (#2)

Notes: The events of Countdown and Death of the New Gods contradict one another. In the former, Jimmy Olsen was the repository of Darkseid's stolen power. In the latter, Darkseid accessed the power of the stolen souls with the Soul Fire serum.

Final Crisis

Darkseid takes over the body of Dan Turpin. From Final Crisis #3 (2008); art by J. G. Jones.
Batman fires the radion bullet into Darkseid just before the Omega Sanction strikes him and sends him into the distant past. From Final Crisis #6 (2009); art by J. G. Jones.

After slaying his father, Orion tumbled to Earth and died as well and was found by policeman Dan Turpin. Darkseid had been destroyed — but his essence had been sent back several years through time. His spirit was rooted to Earth via a human avatar, Boss Dark Side. Simyan and Mokkari were busy experimenting to create the best possible host body. They kidnapped Turpin, who was selected as the ultimate host. Meanwhile Darkseid's human agent, Libra, recruited Earth's villains to help spread the Anti-Life Equation across the planet. (Final Crisis #1) Soon Mokkari was sending an Anti-Life email to everyone on Earth. (#3)

Shilo Norman returned and recruited help from another Anti-Life master, Super-Sumo (Sonny Sumo). They were aided by Japan's Super Young Team. (#2)

It rained blood when Darkseid took over Turpin's body. (#4) His team had also captured the Batman, who proved impossible to transform. During an attempted "psycho-merge," the feedback killed an entire army of Darkseid's clones, but the dark lord himself was invigorated, and now in command of a legion of slaves. (#5)

Mister Miracle, Batman, and Superman played key roles in defeating Darkseid. Shilo used his god sight to recognize and distribute an ancient Fourth World symbol that provided immunity to to the Anti-Life Equation. And Batman delivered the final blow with bullet made of radion (an element fatal to New Gods). As the bullet struck and destroyed Darkseid, his Omega Sanction struck Batman in return. "The Dark Knight was sent back to the time of primitive man, pursued by a "Hyper-Adapter" from Apokolips. (#6, Batman #702)

Darkseid was gone but the universe was broken. Superman used future technology called the Miracle Machine (which harnessed both Fourth World and Oan will-power technologies). It was a pseudo-Mother Box capable of a single operation. It calculated a "Life Equation" which was activated when Superman sang. Darkseid's taint was cleansed and the gods of New Genesis were reborn. They took up residence in the universe of Earth-51. (#7) Note: Earth-51 was designed by Morrison as "Kirby Earth" in the new DC multiverse. It's where Kamandi and other Kirby creations settled during Final Crisis.

After being catapulted from the distant past to the end of time, Batman returned to his native era, now possessed by the Hyper-Adapter and imbued with a charge of Omega radiation that made him a human time bomb. With the help of the Justice League and the shade of Metron, Batman broke free of the Hyper-Adapter and overcame the final echoes of Darkseid himself. (Return of Bruce Wayne #6)

Darkseid made no more appearances before the DC universe was completely rebooted to form the "New 52."

Alternate Timelines

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (1982)

Darkseid gathers his Servants of Darkness. From Legion of Super-Heroes #290 (1982); art by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt.

One thousand years in the future, Darkseid renewed his campaign for galactic dominance. The New Gods were dead or dormant, and Darkseid was just emerging from centuries of hibernation, to recover his strength. (Legion of Super-Heroes v.2 #287) He tested the 30th century's defenses by cloning the remains of powerful 20th century heroes to become his Servants of Darkness. These were planetary champion of Talok VIII, Lyrissa Mallor, a Guardian of the Universe, his own sons Orion and Kalibak, and Superman. (#289) He added to his power by stealing powerful artifacts from across the galaxy. (#290)

He eventually learned about the planet Daxam, whose inhabitants were like Kryptonians. (#291) He moved the planet into a system with a yellow sun, then ordered them to reshape their planet into a bust shaped like Darkseid's own head. (#293)

These millions of super-men were defeated by Highfather, who was brought back to the life as an infant by the mages of the Sorcerer's World. (#292) He quickly grew to adulthood and reacquired a Mother Box. With it he restored Orion to his normal self. As Highfather's essence waned so did Orion's form, and Highfather bestowed his remaining power on three Legionnaires. Darkseid's hold over the Daxamites was broken and they forced him into retreat. Darkseid retreated but left the Legion with a curse: "that which is purest of you shall be the first to go!" (#294)

His prophesy took root in the twin son of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. The boy's birth was shrouded in darkness and Darkseid stole him and transformed the infant into a terrible monster called Validus. This monster was sent back in time and became one of the Legion's greatest adversaries, a member of the Fatal Five. (Legion v.3 Annual #3) Upon their next meeting, Saturn Girl learned realized that Validus was her son and implored Darkseid to restore him. He granted her boon and Validus was restored to normal, Garridan Ranzz. (Legion v.3 Annual #2)

When originally published, this story was in the canonical future of the DC Universe. Since that time, Legion continuity has been in flux. It's uncertain whether these events are a part of the current canonical future of Earth-0.

Legion: The Quiet Darkness (1991)

Darkseid struck again at the heroes of the 30th century, this time covertly. He allied with Francis Campbell, on a mysterious project — involving Campbell's son, Coda — called the "Gemini Matrix." His daughter, Aria, escaped and was rescued by the Legionnaires. (Legion v.4 #21)

Darkseid hired Lobo to take care of the Legionnaires and recapture Aria. (#23) Brainiac 5 deduced Matrix was a formula for the Life Equation. The experiment successfully merged Aria with Coda to create a being called Gemini. Darkseid then apparently goaded Gemini into erasing him from existence. (#24)

The Legion: Foundations (2003)

Legion continuity was wholly rebooted after Zero Hour. This Legion also ran into Darkseid after inhabitants of Apokolips abducted a 15-year-old Clark Kent (Superman) from the 20th Century. (The Legion #25)

Meanwhile, Superboy, a clone of Superman from the 21st century had come to the future and struggled to assimilate. Similar to the pre-Crisis "Darkness Saga," Darkseid perverted 21st Century heroes (Superman, Orion, Green Lantern, Lobo, Firestorm, Barda, a White Martian, and Hawkwoman), who set about restoring him to full power. (#26) These minions abducted heroes from the 21st century. (The Legion Secret Files 3003)

These servants took over the Time Institute in and began draining dark matter from the universe into stargates, into 10 years in the past. (#27) As the Legionnaires arrived on Apokolips, they witnessed Darkseid greeting his much younger self from the past. (#28) The young Darkseid's absence from the timestream results in the progressive erasure of history: the future would belong to Darkseid. But unexpectedly, the younger Darkseid rejected the elder's plan to merge their selves, and summoned Orion to destroy him. (#29)

A team of Legionnaires rushed into the past to prevent the murder of the elder Darkseid. They pushed the younger back into his own time, and as the elder's powers waned, his minions returned to their own times. Ultimately, Clark Kent battered the dark god back into his former stasis. (#30)

Inter-Company Crossovers

Darkseid is a popular figure in inter-company crossovers. He was featured in at least four:

  • Before writing the New Gods, John Byrne penned the Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger one-shot (1995). The story actually held fairly tightly to the continuities of both universes. In this story, Darkseid managed to turn away Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer, from consuming Apokolips.
  • In a 1996 joint publishing event called "Amalgam," DC and Marvel combined aspects of similar characters. It was an opportunity for Kirby's creations to come together —  Orion was fused with Marvel's Thor to create Thorion. Darkseid was paired with Marvel's own gray alien conqueror, Thanos, to create Thanoseid. (Thorion of the New Asgods) Thanoseid also appeared in Bullets and Bracelets.
  • DC and Image comics published a one-shot Superman and Savage Dragon: Metropolis (1999)
  • DC and Dark Horse created Superman/Aliens II: God War, a 4-issue limited series (2002).

Superman: The Dark Side (1998)

In the world of The Dark Side, Darkseid diverted baby Kal-El's rocket to Apokolips because the baby's father, Jor-El, had encoded the Anti-Life Equation into his son's DNA. Darkseid raised Kal-El to be his Superman, an obedient soldier who killed Kalibak in combat. Kal-El then delivered a doomsday bomb and destroyed New Genesis. But after an intervention by Highfather, who gave Kal a Mother Box, Kal gradually began to oppose his adopted father.

Darkseid used the Anti-Life Equation to begin enslaving Earth but Kal led the remaining New Gods to victory against him. His enhanced powers under Earth's yellow sun gave him enough power to withstand Darkseid's Omega beams, and kill him. The New Gods established a colony on Earth while Kal-El returned to liberate Apokolips, in hopes of creating another New Genesis.

Other Tales

  • Jack Kirby created Captain Victory, published by Pacific Comics (1981–84), in which the title character was a thinly disguised version of Darkseid' grandson (Orion's son). Darkseid's analog in this tale was a conqueror called Great Blackmass, and the origin story was told in Captain Victory #11–12 (June–Oct. 1983).
  • Darkseid and his Elite were featured villains in Superman Adventures #28, 53, 66 (1999–2002). This series was based upon the 1996 animated show, Superman: The Animated Series. Darkseid made appearances on that cartoon as well.
  • John Byrne's Superman/Batman: Generations III (2003) followed Darkseid through a millennium's worth of attacks on Earth.

+ Powers

Before acquiring his god power in the Infinity Pit, Darkseid had the normal resilience of all Fourth World natives and his appearance was relatively human. People of his race may be immortal; they are known to live for tens of thousands of years (thought they do age). After his transformation, he commanded the power of Omega, considered one of the most powerful forces. His skin became hardened, described as "blue granite." (New Gods v.1 #1)

Darkseid can use his Omega Effect in varying degrees. Its victims appear to be vaporized, and some are known to be killed outright. However the Omega Effect has various applications. It can also teleport people and/or send them through time. The power can also revive the dead, though one's soul and mind is usually corrupted in some way. As he described it, "Whatsoever is touched by my Omega beams not only ceases to live, it ceases ever to have been!" (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #5)

Even without using the Omega Effect, Darkseid was powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with Superman, which he did on several occasions. Over the years each has managed to overpower the other.

The Omega Effect has no harmful affect on those who are already dead, such as the zombie-like Dreggs.

Though terrible, Omega is an elemental cosmic force. Without it (and its host), the universe becomes unbalanced.

Darkseid is so powerful that he has escaped his own death several times. His spirit and will are never fully destroyed along with his physical form. Even without a body, his consciousness maintains cohesion. He can create avatars and visions, manipulate others, and even reach out from within the Source.

Darkseid has no power in the Garden of Hope, an anomalous place hidden within Apokolips. (Orion #12)

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • A. Bizarro #3
  • Action Comics #586, 593, 600, 636-638, 643, 770, 780-782
  • Adventure Comics #459, 460
  • Adventures of Superman #495, 518
  • Anarky #2
  • Armageddon 2001 #1
  • Batman #701, 702
  • Blue Beetle #9, 10
  • Books of Magic #4
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, 12
  • Darkstars #31
  • DC Challenge #11, 12
  • DC Holiday Bash #2
  • Doomsday Annual #1
  • Doctor Fate #10-12
  • Eclipso #10
  • Firestorm #54, 76
  • First Issue Special #13
  • Genesis #3-4
  • Green Lantern v.2 #61
  • Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #3
  • Guy Gardner: Warrior #29
  • History of the DC Universe #1-2
  • JLA #13-14
  • JLA in Crisis Secret Files #1
  • JLA Showcase 80-Page Giant
  • Justice League America #88, Annual #9
  • Justice League International #21
  • Justice League of America #183-185
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #v.1 287, 290, 291-294, Annual #2, 3
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.3 #21-24
  • Legends of the DCU #14, 24, 25, 80-Page Giant #1, 2
  • Martian Manhunter #19, 33-35, 1 million
  • Millennium #8
  • Mister Miracle v.1 #9, 18, 21, 25, Special #1
  • Mister Miracle v.2 #17-19
  • Mister Miracle v.3 #4
  • Outsiders v.1 #6, 21-22
  • Return of Bruce Wayne #5, 6
  • Sandman #72
  • Secret Origins #33
  • Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant
  • Secret Society of Super-Villains #2-5
  • Showcase '95 #12
  • The Spectre v.3 #19
  • Suicide Squad #3, 36
  • Supergirl #29
  • Superman v.2 #3, 35, 104, 173-175
  • Superman: Emperor Joker
  • Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #116, 117, 199
  • Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134-136, 152
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #115-117
  • Superman vs. Darkseid: Apokolips Now
  • Supermen of America #2
  • Swamp Thing #62
  • Takion #2
  • Warlord #121
  • Warlord Annual #6
  • Total Justice #3
  • War of the Gods #1, 3, 4
  • Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #6, 16
  • Who's Who in the DC Universe #1, 7
  • Who's Who in the Legion #1
  • Wonder Woman v.2 #101-103, 173
  • Young Justice #29, 37, 53, 54
  • Zero Hour #4

 

Elseworlds:

  • Bizarro Comics
  • Bullets and Bracelets (Amalgam, as Thanoseid)
  • DC/Marvel: Unlimited Access #2-4
  • DC vs. Marvel #2-4
  • Justice League of America: The Nail
  • Marvel and DC Present featuring the Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans
  • Superman and Batman: World's Funnest
  • Superman Adventures #28, 53, 66
  • Superman/Aliens II #1, 3, 4
  • Superman/Batman: Generations III #6, 7, 9
  • Superman and Savage Dragon: Metropolis
  • Thorion of the New Asgods (Amalgam, as Thanoseid)

» SERIES:

  • New Gods v.1, #1-11 (1971–72)
  • Forever People, 11 issues (1971–72)
  • New Gods v.1, #13-19 (1977–78)
  • New Gods v.2 (reprints), 6-issue limited series (1984)
  • DC Graphic Novel 4: The Hunger Dogs (1985)
  • Super Powers v.1, 5-issue limited series (1984)
  • Super Powers v.2, 6-issue limited series (1985–86)
  • Super Powers v.3, 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Legends, 6-issue limited series (1986)
  • Cosmic Odyssey, 4-issue prestige series (1988)
  • New Gods v.3, 28 issues (1989–91)
  • Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, 3-issue limited series (1994)
  • New Gods v.4, 15 issues (1995-97)
  • Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips—Dark Uprising, one-shot (1995)
  • Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger, one-shot (1995)
  • Jack Kirby's Fourth World, 20 issues (1997-98)
  • New Gods Secret Files (1998)
  • Superman: The Dark Side, 3-issue prestige series (1998, Elseworlds)
  • Darkseid (New Year's Evil) #1 (1998)
  • Orion, 25 issues (2000-02)
  • Superman vs. Darkseid: Apokolips Now!, one-shot (2003)
  • Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle, 4-issue limited series (2005-06)
  • Death of the New Gods, 8-issue limited series (2007-08)

» SEE ALSO: