Orion

Created by Jack Kirby

NAME + ALIASES:
Orion, alias O'Ryan, alias Anthony Masters

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Darkseid (father), Tigra (mother), Steppenwolf (great uncle), Yuga Khan (grandfather, deceased), Heggra (grandmother, deceased), Izaya (Highfather, adoptive father, deceased), Scott Free (Mr. Miracle, adoptive brother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League International, Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
The New Gods #1 (Feb./Mar. 1971)
New 52: Wonder Woman v.4 #12 (Oct. 2012)

+ History

Orion is the central protagonist in Jack Kirby's original Fourth World saga, The New Gods. In every DC publishing era, Orion has taken center stage in its New Gods revivals, and he warranted his own solo series in 2000, when he was a member of the popular JLA series.

The Pact

Top: Tigra fights to keep her son. Below: Young Orion is greeted by Highfather on New Genesis. From New Gods v.1 #7 (1972); art by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.
Orion's Mother Box disguises his true heritage. From New Gods v.1 #3 (1971); art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.
Orion battles Slig of the Deep Six. From New Gods v.1 #5 (1972); art by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.

The warrior Orion was born on Apokolips over 300 years ago, (New Gods Secret Files) but in his early years he remained ignorant of his parentage. His mother, Tigra, was chosen by Queen Heggra as consort for her son, Darkseid. Prior to this, Darkseid sired another child, Kalibak, with a witch named Suli. Heggra disapproved of Suli, and ordered Desaad to poison her. (New Gods v.1 #11)

Darkseid barely tolerated Tigra but he was intent on fathering a proper heir. After her marriage Tigra met once more with her former lover, Captain Hathek. Darkseid found them kissing and unleashed his fatal Omega power on Hathek. (Orion #2) Tigra soon became pregnant but Darkseid knew that Heggra would reign for many more years. He did not want his heir to be born before he could assemble his own power base, so he put Tigra into a bio-freeze unit where she remained for a thousand years. When she emerged, Heggra was still the queen. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #10)

Tigra tried to give birth in secret, underground, but as Orion roared into the world Darkseid 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. Even Tigra wanted to keep the secret; she killed her midwife, Lakutha. Orion was raised never knowing his parentage. (Orion #3) Years later, Orion's friend Lightray visited the Armagetto of Apokolips to find a seer who held a brooch belonging to Tigra. This woman, Tatheta, had been Tigra's nanny and lady-in-waiting. The brooch betrayed Tigra's sentimentality — it contained pictures of Tigra with Darkseid, and of her infant child. (#4)

Darkseid's ambitions included nothing less than total conquest, to subjugate all life to his will. The first target for Apokolips was its sister planet, New Genesis. Darkseid joined his uncle Steppenwolf in a raid that killed Avia, wife of their leader Izaya. While Izaya set about building his defenses, Darkseid plotted with the scientist Metron to create the Boom Tube. This technology allowed Apokolips to teleport war machines to New Genesis on a massive scale. The resulting war left both worlds in ruins — yet Izaya avenged his wife by killing Steppenwolf. When Izaya could endure no more war, he achieved a state of enlightenment and committed New Genesis to a peaceful existence. Now called Highfather, Izaya proposed to Darkseid that each might exchange their own sons in a pact for peace. By this time Darkseid had succeeded his mother as the supreme leader of Apokolips. Tigra fought rabidly to keep Orion, who was now a young boy, on Apokolips. On New Genesis, Highfather took Orion under his wing and trained him to control his innate rage. (New Gods #7)

Meanwhile, Highfather's son was relegated to a cruel orphanage on Apokolips, where he was given the name Scott Free. The pact between worlds lasted for a short while and was broken when Scott escaped from Apokolips. Secretly, Darkseid had always hoped for this; the pact bought him time for planning a new war. (Mister Miracle v.1 #9)

Orion's best friend Lightray was his opposite, with a sunny disposition and the powers to match. Orion's own "god power" was to harness the Astro-Force, a reservoir which required maximum will and produced massive destructive force. Highfather could not prevent an adult and fully-empowered Orion from returning to world of his birth. Further, the Source (the well of life) had prophesied to Highfather that Orion must do precisely that. The Source bade Orion to go "To Apokolips, Then to Earth, Then to War."

When he arrived on Apokolips, Orion was beset by Darkseid's Para-Demons and clashed with his half-brother, Kalibak the Cruel. His mission was to free four people from Earth (Victor Lanza, Claudia Shane, Det. Dave Lincoln, and Harvey Lockman) whom Darkseid had kidnapped. Darkseid believed that each held a portion of the Anti-Life Equation. This Equation, if mastered, was said to give one absolute control over all life. Orion woke the humans and with the help of Metron, escorted them via Boom Tube to Earth. (New Gods #1)

Orion found Darkseid waiting for him on Earth, but the tyrant favored erudition over competition. Darkseid was toying with Earth from afar. He returned to Apokolips and ordered his minion, Desaad, to activate his Fear Machine on Earth, which was immediately detected by Orion's Mother Box. (#2)

His friends helped outfit Orion (or, "O'Ryan" as Lincoln considered him) with Earth clothes but he spared them from witnessing his most dramatic change. Orion's Mother Box constantly masked his true face, the reflection of his savage lineage. (#3)

From New Genesis, Highfather bade Orion to investigate the death of a god, Seagrin, on Earth. Seagrin had lived in the oceans and was murdered by the Deep Six, minions of Darkseid. With the help of Det. Lincoln, Orion disabled a "jammer" that had masked Apokolips' presence from his Mother Box. The trail led to Seagrin's killer, Slig of the Deep Six. (#4) In an evenly matched battle, Orion ultimately dislodged Slig's helmet (which housed a Mother Box), and killed Slig. (#5) Slig's cohorts retaliated by unleashing a great Leviathan from the sea. Lightray disobeyed Highfather by joining Orion's battle on Earth. Lightray used his power to purge the evil from the Deep Six's control hub. The seed grew anew, into a great Glory Boat that smashed the Leviathan to bits. (#6)

Kalibak returned to Earth, drawing the attention of the police and Lightray did his best to take down the beast. When he failed, Orion smashed Kalibak's Meta-Club and the brothers brawled across the Metropolis rooftops. A huge power surge knocked Kalibak out and he was taken into police custody. Whenever Orion was spent, as he was after a battle like this, he was unable to maintain his more handsome appearance. Lightray saw his friend truly for the first time but reassured Orion that he regarded his brutal visage as mere scars. (#8) Playwright Eve Donner offered her penthouse apartment for them to recover, and she took a liking to Orion, a "noble monster." (#9)

From New Genesis, the Forager came to Earth to warn of a new invasion from Apokolips led by Mantis. Lightray beat them back by amplifying his innate power with Earth technology. (#10)

The police didn't hold Kalibak for long and the siblings were soon back to battle. Darkseid took notice and admitted that he wanted neither of his sons to die. When Darkseid discovered that Desaad had been augmenting Kalibak's strength and absorbing both combatants' emotions, Darkseid killed him with his Omega Effect. Their battle awakened the Black Racer which meant death was imminent for one god. Once Orion rallied, the Black Racer took Kalibak to the Source (afterlife). Orion decreed that it was his destiny to meet his father "in the red light of the fire pits," where one way or another their war would end. (#11)

Orion's bullet-ridden body falls into the fire pit. From New Gods v.2 #6 (1984); art by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.
Bekka and Orion find love in a hopeless place. From The Hunger Dogs (1985); art by Kirby and Royer.
Orion finally liberates his mother, Tigra. From The Hunger Dogs (1985); art by Kirby and Royer.

Kirby's original epic ended in 1972, but he returned to DC in 1984 with the edict to create an "ending" to his original series. These tales continued the story directly from the end of New Gods #11. However, these latter day stories were later removed from continuity by the Crisis on Infinite Earths. And if that's not confusing enough, New Gods had been revived before Kirby's return, in 1977 (see below). Both of these eras were later viewed as out-of-continuity. Kirby's return went something like this…

After killing Kalibak (who was revived by Darkseid), Orion stormed Apokolips on a mission to find and liberate his mother, Tigra. When Orion finally broke into Darkseid's sanctum, his father led him to Tigra, then riddled Orion with bullets and threw him into a fire pit. (New Gods v.2 #6) Orion fell into the depths of Armagetto, home of Apokolips' "lowlies" or "hunger dogs." He was rescued by Himon, who introduced him to his daughter, Bekka. In a private moment with Bekka, Orion let down his guard and admitted his fatigue with war. They danced around the topic of love arguing whether such a thing was possible on Apokolips. She sensed a bond between them and he revealed his true face to her; she was unfazed. Their moment was violently interrupted by a massive bomb blast. In the chaos, Darkseid killed Himon and Orion escaped aboard a ship with Bekka and Tigra. (DC Graphic Novel: The Hunger Dogs)

Captain Victory

Captain Victory escapes from Hellikost on a familiar glider. From Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #12 (Oct. 1983); art by Jack Kirby and Mike Thibodeaux.

There is an interesting footnote to the story of Orion. In 1981 Kirby's created a new hero for Pacific Comics called Captain Victory. The titular hero was the leader of a peacekeeping force called the Galactic Raiders, and in his origin from issues #11-12 (June–Oct. 1983), Kirby gave the character some unmistakable ties to the New Gods.

Captain Victory's given name was never revealed, but at age eight, he was already successful already in helping his cousin, Big Ugly, strategize in military campaigns. They hailed from Hellikost, a giant planet of "ultimates," who had smashed their sister planet. His grandfather, Father Blackmass, had killed the boy's father. Like Orion, as Captain Victory become agitated, his features became uglier. By age 15, the boy could take no more of their savagery and he began plotting against his family. He fed a new "primal equation" into a super-computer called Turai. (Captain Victory #11)

For committing "acts of virtue" under an empire of evil," he was sentenced to exile but Turai helped him escape. As he fled Hellikost, Turai destroyed the planet and created a light-speed glider for the boy (its design was "known to [his] own father"). He landed on a primitive world where he met Captain Argus Flane. He lived with Flane until age 18, when their war with the natives came to a head. As Flane lay dying, he gifted his Galactic Ranger uniform to the youth and instructed him to find Ranger Center and join the corps. (#12)

Notes: The series also introduced the Wonder Warriors, whose Bloody Marrien was a dead ringer for Mad Harriet. They hailed from Quadrant X, and took counsel from the Voice, an intelligence "without a sense of -- 'source.'"

Earth-17

Top: The gods of New Genesis. Below: Highfather stops Orion from killing Darkseid. From 1st Issue Special #13 (1976); art by Mike Vosburg.

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

In this timeline, Orion's story also continued from New Gods #11, but Orion's costume was redesigned to include an "O" emblem and a mask instead of a helmet. He was still on Earth fighting Kalibak, but it turned out the Black Racer didn't take him after all. Orion returned to New Genesis with news of impending war and Highfather ordered him to return to Earth and do what was necessary. In order to protect his target, General Torch, Orion was forced to impersonates a civilian, Special Agent Anthony J. Masters. Meanwhile, Highfather and Metron learned that Darkseid had connected his heart's rhythm to Earth's sun — if Darkseid died, the sun would explode. They narrowly stopped Orion from killing Darkseid. (1st Issue Special #13)

Orion became the leader of a team of gods from New Genesis. His crew consisted of Lightray, Lonar, Forager, Metron, and a new heroine, Jezebelle of the Fiery Eyes. Their mission on Earth was to protect six new individuals believed to somehow house fragments of the Anti-Life Equation (Dave Lincoln among them again). Orion got off to a rocky start protecting his personal charge, General Torch, and was forced to fight off American troops. (New Gods #12) He found a different way in by impersonating Special Agent Anthony J. Masters. The Deep Six returned to attack the humans and Orion killed Slig killed (again). (#13)

Darkseid struck next with Doctor Bedlam, and Orion called Highfather for help. In the chaos, Darkseid kidnapped young Esak from New Genesis. (#14) In a perverted reminder of their former pact, Darkseid then "gave" Highfather a boy from Apokolips in exchange for Esak. Lucifar was the boy's name, and he was found by Lonar and Nomak in the Arctic. Lonar and Lightray took Lucifar to New Genesis where Darkseid attacked anew and killed Lonar. (#15) While the heroes returned to Earth to protect the remaining five humans, Darkseid began harnessing the Anti-Life from Nomak's mind. (#16) He was able to cut off Highfather's link to the Source and blacken the Source Wall on New Genesis. (#17)

Darkseid sent four commanders (Kalibak, Titan, Brola, and Bane) to Earth to kidnap the remaining humans while distracting Orion and the others. (#18) Once he finally had all six humans hooked up to Desaad's machine, Darkseid created a being called the Antagonist and sent it to Earth to enslave the populace. Further investigation led Darkseid to the knowledge that the Source was linked to the Anti-Life Equation. (#19)

Orion freed the six humans, returned them to Earth, then intercepted Darkseid on his way to the Source. (Adventure Comics #259) Darkseid had expended a great deal of his Omega Effect, and a blow from Orion sent Darkseid into the Source Wall. Like the Promethean Giants before him, the god rebounded from the Wall, expanded to gargantuan size, and began rocketing toward Apokolips. Desaad interpreted this as some kind of meteor and fired on Darkseid, apparently destroying him and causing meteors rain down on Apokolips. (#260)

NOTE: This version of Orion made a cameo in The Kingdom #2 (Feb. 1999).

Post-Crisis

Not Orion's finest hour: Superman is incredulous at his massacre of Thangarian soldiers. From Cosmic Odyssey #3 (1988); art by Mike Mignola.
Pinup from Who's Who v.2 #1 (1990); art by Paris Cullins and Will Blyberg.
Orion meets the new Forager. From New Gods v.3 #5 (1989); art by Paris Cullins and Bob Lewis.
Orion's long-awaited reunion with his mother, Tigra, does not go as expected. From New Gods v.3 #12 (1990); art by Paris Cullins and Will Blyberg.
Orion's grandfather, Yuga Khan, returns to the throne of Apokolipis. From New Gods v.3 #20 (1990); art by Rick Hoberg and Will Blyberg.

In post-Crisis continuity, Darkseid had never died and he continued as always his quest for the Anti-Life Equation. When he came dangerously close to doing so, the gods of New Genesis reached out to Earth's heroes to fight a battle across the galaxy. (Cosmic Odyssey #1) On this mission, Orion barely controlled his savage nature. He fought with Forager and was teamed with Superman to protect the planet Thanagar. (#2) Their mission was successful but when Superman returned from having destroyed Darkseid's device, he found that Orion had killed many Thanagarians (who had been under the device's thrall). Orion was unapologetic and left Superman to bury the dead. (#3) The heroes' campaign was ultimately successful but Forager gave his life on Earth, and saved Batman. When they reconvened, Orion dismissed Forager as a mere "bug." Batman was so offended and angered that he slugged Orion. As penance, Highfather tasked Orion with returning Forager's body to his people on New Genesis. (#4)

Orion's behavior during the cosmic odyssey earned censure by Highfather. He returned with Forager's body to the Insect Empire as a lesson in tolerance. (New Gods v.3 #1) He stayed for the funeral and met the new Forager (II), a female of the Insect race. Orion's prejudice against them stemmed from the stories he had been told, that the Insect race was created by Darkseid to plunder the enemy's food supplies. But this was a lie. Not only had Highfather been using insecticides on the Empire for years, but it was New Genesis that had created the mutant monsters. When he leared the truth, Orion was determined to broker peace with the Insect Empire, and he brought their emissaries back to Supertown. Highfather agreed to draft a treaty. (#2-3)

This goodwill was utterly lost when a rebel band of Insects attacked Earth and launched nuclear weapons. Orion made a split-second decision to reroute the missiles back at the Insects on New Genesis. The explosion wiped out not only the rebels but the entire race (save for Forager who was with Orion at the time). (#4-5)

Orion was still set on liberating his mother Tigra from Section Zero on Apokolips (Hunger Dogs was no longer part of post-Crisis continuity). Back home, the Commander was publicly questioning Orion's loyalties. (#7) Orion met Jovita during his quest. She was a rebel leader of Hunger Dogs and a brief love interest. (#8) With her help, and by infiltrating Darkseid's troops, Orion located his mother. (#9-10) Their reunion was nothing he had expected. Tigra was blase when she saw him and insisted that she could not be rescued. Despite her captivity she was by then too accustomed to the luxuries afforded to her on Apokolips. Orion left her and claimed to his friends that he had not found her after all. (#12) Note: The story reasserted that Tigra hadn't seen Orion since he was born.

It was a time for family matters. Orion's grandfather (Darkseid's father), Yuga Khan, returned from eons of imprisonment and assumed total control over Apokolips and the power of the Source. Darkseid was drained of all power. (#17) Darkseid told Orion that the gods were literally incapable of killing their own parents or children, so they would need a more creative way to destroy Khan. (#19) Orion hesitantly agreed to an alliance (#20) and they hooked themselves up to the Lump (a being of great telepathic power) in order to enter a nonphysical plane. Here, Darkseid insisted, Orion would be able to kill him. Supposedly this would circumvent the familial killing rule and the laws of the universe would be altered. They would exit from the Lump's astral world and Darkseid would be able to slay his own father. But Orion refused to make this "virtual kill," because it would be the ultimate act of self-loathing. Meanwhile Khan manufactured his own end by making a second attempt to enter the Source. As before, he was imprisoned by it. (#21) Notes: The premise against killing one's parents or children was contradicted within this series when Darkseid killed Kalibak, in issue #12. The rule was ignored by future writers.

Justice League

Orion and Lightray take Mister Miracle's place in the Justice League America. From Justice League America #43 (1990); art by Adam Hughes and José Marzan Jr..
Pinup from Jack Kirby's Fourth World Gallery (1996); art by John Byrne.
Orion and Darkseid battle within the Source; Orion triumphs, apparently slaying his father at last. From New Gods v.4 #2 (1995); art by Luke Ross and Brian Garvey.
Orion literally begins turning into his father. From New Gods v.4 #6 (1996); art by Luke Ross and Brian Garvey.
A moment of happines at last, for Orion and his former teacher Valkyra. From Jack Kirby's Fourth World #11 (1998); art by John Byrne.

Orion has served two terms with the Justice League. The first was after his brother, Mister Miracle, had apparently died on Earth (it had actually been an android duplicate), in service to the JLA . Orion attended Scott's funeral in secret and wondered whether his time with the League had helped him somehow. Orion resolved to join and find out. (Justice League America #40) He soon appeared with Lightray at the League Embassy in New York one day and demanded to join (this, just as Mister Miracle turned up alive). (#42)The JLA was in dire need of members and they were accepted into the ranks, but stayed only briefly. During their tenure, they helped the League battle Sonar (#43) and the Evil Eye, but Orion probably spent more time arguing with Green Lantern Guy Gardner. Orion stormed off; he acknowledged his respect for the Martian Manhunter but criticizing the League for being too soft and compassionate. Lightray agreed, it wasn't his cup of tea. (#50)

Later, he and Big Barda were sent as agents of New Genesis to serve in the JLA. (JLA #17) Their mission was to help mobilize Earth's heroes against the coming of the omnipotent Mageddon. Once Mageddon was defeated, he and Barda resigned. (JLA #41)

Post-Zero Hour

Orion and Darkseid had met in battle many times but never had the prophesy of Orion's ascension been fulfilled. They met anew as Darkseid was preparing to enter the Source itself. (New Gods v.4 #1) The force of Orion's first salvo sent both of them into the Source, which became tainted by their presence. Orion was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to end his father's reign. As he lunged at Darkseid, their two forms merged temporarily and Darkseid was felled and Orion's Mother Box returned him to normal space. (#2) In the following days Orion noticed that his skin was ossifying and becoming like Darkseid's. (#3-4) After a battle with Kalibak on Apokolips, Orion collapsed in agony and Darkseid reemerged from within Orion's body. (#6)

Highfather sensed that Orion's death, but Darkseid resurrected his son with Omega energy. (#7) Their corruption in the Source led Lightray to foment a rebellion on New Genesis. Orion was forced to unleash his full power on his friend, and imprison him in Highfather's new asylum. (#9)

Continued chaos unleashed an ancient unstoppable beast called S'ivaa on New Genesis. Highfather commanded Orion to work with Superman and they managed to push the monster through it's own rift in space. (#10-11)

The calamity resulted in Apokolips and New Genesis merging into a single world. Orion and the other New Gods found themselves on Earth with no memory of what had occurred. Orion's friends — Claudia, Dave, Victor, and Harvey — found him falling to Earth inside of an Annihilator. (#13) When he woke, Orion was confronted by Desaad. Orion tackled Desaad and activated his weapon, which burned them both to death. They disappeared. (#14)

Later Highfather retrieved Orion from the Source despite a warning from the Black Racer. Takion reached into it and called out to Orion. When he emerged, he muttered strangely, "We were Orion." (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #4) He was not himself, prone to excess violence and cruelty. Darkseid easily goaded Orion into destroying a fleet of peaceful alien ships. (#5) Highfather and Takion soon discovered that Orion had been fused with Desaad, and they were split. (#6)

Orion was despondent so his friends, the Forever People, took him to the home of Valkyra, his former trainer. In her frigid hideaway, she challenged Orion to combat in a gravity well. The fight drew a large crowd and her attack was merciless and painful. Orion finally shook off his preoccupations and rallied with savage fury. (#7) Soon the two of them admitted their mutual passion for one another. Their first kiss was so powerful it sent a wave of love across New Genesis. It was perceived by Beautiful Dreamer as a sign of spring. (#11)

During this time Tigra had defected from Apokolips and come to New Genesis. As always, her goal was to depose Darkseid and she crafted a complex scheme to position her son on the throne. For her own reasons, she told Orion that Darkseid was not his father. (#9) She claimed that she had feigned pregnancy and then conceived with the captain of the imperial guard. (#10) Metron challenged her lies, but Tigra maintained her story. Orion remained wary of her and worried about what it meant to succeed Darkseid. When Orion engaged his brother Kalibak again and their battle drew the Black Racer (mirroring Kirby's original New Gods v.1 #11). Valkyra sensed that their brief happiness was over. She summoned a mechanical horse and rode to Orion's side. She stepped in front of a powerful blast from Kalibak and was killed. (#17)

Tigra's plot failed and Kalibak went on to release Darkseid from the Source Wall. (#18) Orion returned to New Genesis with the warning that Darkseid would never relent, and all must stand ready against him. (#19)

Highest Highs/Lowest Lows

Orion sends his mother, Tigra, on to the Source. From Orion #3 (2000); art by Walt Simonson.
Top: Mortalla lures in Orioin. Below: She gives him a Father Box, previously devised by Darkseid. From Orion #6 and 8 (2001); art by Walt Simonson.
When the Bates clones are destroyed, Orion experiences the power of the Anti-Life Equation. From Orion #8 (2001); art by Walt Simonson.
Orion triumphant. From Orion #25 (2002); art by Walt Simonson.

Through a series of events, Orion became the master of the Anti-Life Equation and — for a time — fulfilled his destiny of succeeding his father on the throne of Apokolips. It began with a new plot by Darkseid to experiment with Anti-Life on Earth. Highfather had recently been killed by the god Ares within the Source and was now ensconced in the Source Wall. (Jack Kirby's Fourth World #8) While Orion tried to commune with his foster father there, a master assassin of Apokolips, Justeen, was targeting Orion's mother for death. Tigra had remained on New Genesis, where Lightray tried to elicit the truth about Orion's parentage from her. She gave him nothing save for her express wish that her son "fulfill his destiny." (Orion #1)

Justeen sent Suicide Jockeys to the woodlands of New Genesis to find Tigra. She fought like a Fury but was critically injured but escaped through Boom Tube to Earth. (#2) She arrived near Orion, who restored his true face for her during her final moments. She died there without answering truthfully about his father. Orion's anger created a force strong enough to breaks Darkseid's Anti-Life experiment (the first step toward his own possession). Orion summoned the fires of the Source to take Tigra, then tracked down Darkseid. (#3)

Takion and Lightray sensed that the final battle between father and son was nigh. They brought the people of New Genesis to witness, and gave Orion a new armored harness. (#4) Father and son did combat in the great arena on Apokolips. It looked like a stalemate until Darkseid broke protocol and activated his Omega power. Orion formed an Astro-Force shield to deflect his beams and they ricocheted back onto Darkseid, who disappeared. (#5)

Orion promptly claimed the throne of Apokolips and proclaimed his mission to bring enlightenment to that world. In Darkseid's former quarters, Orion was surprised to meet his father's concubine, Mortalla, an Earth woman who'd been transformed by Desaad into the image Darkseid's lost love, Suli. (#6) Naturally Kalibak opposed Orion's ascension and engaged Orion in battle with the added power of a Thunderbelt, a weapon of the Old Gods. Orion ordered the belt be destroyed, but Mortalla secretly gathered the pieces for herself. (#7)

Orion commanded Desaad to reveal his scheme and witnessed an entire factory that produced clones of Billion Dollar Bates (a human who controlled the power of Anti-Life). When freed the clones turned on Desaad and ran amok. Orion's control of Astro Force was waning and Mortalla gave him a Father Box to help fight the clones. He used a Hellbore to create a new firepit which destroyed them. (#8) The Anti-Life energies that were released washed over Orion. He had visions and lost the use of his Mother Box completely. Without it, he wore his true face openly. Meanwhile the people of New Genesis began to to resent Orion, and wondered whether he may become worse than Darkseid. (#9)

Desaad had escaped Orion's wrath and his trail led into the Necropolis. He discovered the labyrinth of Sirius, an ancient, giant demon-dog. Orion bested the beast, who was weary of his burden and asked for a boon —  death. Orion took pity on Sirius but before he could comply, a "Desaadite" android set off a bomb. Sirius stepped in front of Orion and died from the blast. (#10) Note: Sirius is a star in the Orion constellation.

Orion tracked Desaad back to Earth where he was activating the latent Anti-Life energy in his subjects. The release again wracked Orion with Anti-Life force but he managed to shake it off and snap Desaad's neck. Orion was left in possession of Darkseid's dream: total control of the Anti-Life Equation. (#11) Reporter Billy Batson (aka Captain Marvel) was on the scene and followed Orion through a Boom Tube back to Apokolips. He had preached peace and order but when he found Granny Goodness tormenting a mass of her "students," Orion ordered the aggressors to hurl themselves to their own deaths. (Granny herself was saved by Captain Marvel.) Orion was now fully mad. He commanded the end of destruction and war and turned his mandate on Earth as well. (#12) Orion justified his domination of Earth as the right constraint of humans' own potential to harness the Anti-Life. He ordered, "Do no harm. Love each other. Lay down your weapons," which naturally led to unforeseen consequences. Since his disappearance, Darkseid had been within Pythia's Garden of Hope on Apokolips. He plotted with Metron to stop Orion. They sounded the Trumpets of Doom to summon a Promethean Giant called Gedirath, (#13) but Orion easily turned the giant away. (#14)

Metron's next idea was to create a simulacrum of the Black Racer to confront Orion. It was outfitted with a Doom Tube — a one way portal with no return. The android failed but it was secretly taken up by Scott Free, who goaded Orion into the Doom Tube. Scott phased away just in time and when he was gone, the effects of Orion's Anti-Life power dissipated. Just before his departure, Orion had compelled the truth from Darkseid, who confirmed that he was his true father. (#15)

This doom became Orion's salvation in the desolate Abysmal Plane at the center of the universe. He met an Old God named Clockwerx, guardian of the cosmic tree that was the axis of the universe. (#16) Orion surrendered the Anti-Life Equation completely to help Clockwerx destroy a parasite called the Ecruos. (#17) Clockwerx granted Orion passage back to Apokolips where he was found by a Green Lantern named Raker. Raker discarded Orion's Father Box. (#18)

Orion returned to Earth when Slig of the Deep Six escaped from the Slab and was possessed by the Joker's poison. (#19) While Slig created an army of leviathans, Orion was called back to his Mother Box, which had passed through the hands of a mortal, then Slig's. The battle ended when Slig was released from the Joker's thrall, and Darkseid returned the monster to the Unholy See on Apokolips. Orion paused to reflect. He had betrayed Highfather's teachings; he wanted to atone for his recent actions. Before he could take action he was captured by operatives of Arnicus Wolfram, a human who had stolen Apokoliptian weapons from Intergang. They fitted Orion with a helmet called the Oedipus Crown, cut out his eyes, and shattered his wristbands. (#20)

Blind and fed only enough to stay alive, Orion's life force was used by Wolfram to restore his own mortal youth. Still Orion managed to exert enough power to alert Lightray. He told his friend that he was unconcerned about the loss of his eyes, as his powers of recuperation were great. Orion summoned the Astro-Force and with it regenerated his Mother Box, wristbands, and original harness. (#21) Orion defeated Wolfram by using Metron's Mobius Chair to follow him into the past. There in 1952 he left Wolfram to die at the site of a massive nuclear bomb test. Just before that, Orion gouged out Wolfram's eyes and put them into his own head. (#24)

Orion's sense of self had been shattered, and it was his "step-brother," Scott Free, who brought him back. When Scott approached, Orion immediately recognized that Scott possessed the power of the Anti-Life Equation. Scott staged an attack from Apokolips then feigned injury so that Orion would take up Scott's yearly mission — to deliver flowers to Apokolips as a memorial to the people Scott had inadvertently killed by using the Equation. Orion disguised himself as Mister Miracle and was captured. He freed himself using the Astro-Force, which revealed him to Darkseid but allowed him to complete the mission. Afterwards, Orion was filled with a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility, and he returned to New Genesis. (#25)

Death of the New Gods

The Source summons the soul of Orion to do final battle with his father. 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.
Orion falls to Earth and is found by Dan Turpin. From Final Crisis #1 (2008); art by J. G. Jones.
Orion and the gods of New Genesis are reborn on Earth-51. From Final Crisis #7 (2009); art by J. G. Jones.

The Source ultimately manifested itself as a sentient being and decided that its "experiment" of the New Gods had been a failure. It would begin again, cull all of the New Gods, and use the raw material to create a new world.

The Source recruited an agent — the Infinity Man — to stealthily begin claiming the lives of the gods on New Genesis, Apokolips, and Earth. Lightray and Big Barda were among the first to fall, found dead on Earth. Orion was called by Takion to get to the bottom of the deaths. (Death of the New Gods #1) The Justice League also became involved and Superman and Mister Miracle accompanied Orion to Apokolips. (#2)

No reveleations from Darkseid, the dark god was already aware of the dangers facing the Fourth World, and had concocted a plan to steal the soul-energies of the dying gods for himself. (#3) After they found the Forever People dead on Earth, Orion began to suspect the Infinity Man — but Himon (the Infinity Man in disguise) implicated Orion as the killer! (#4)

Meanwhile Scott Free was growing increasingly unstable, from grief over his wife Barda. He started to embrace his own innate power over the Anti-Life and clashed with Orion. (#5) When Orion challenged the god killer to single combat, the killer emerged but their speed and the resulting explosion concealed the killer's identity. Orion disappeared, only his helmet left behind. (#6)

In Orion's absence, the Source revealed itself and claimed the lives of Scott Free and Metron, but Darkseid yet lived. (#7) When Darkseid opposed the Source, it resurrected Orion's soul for one more clash. Darkseid retreated and Orion was dispatched to finish the job. (#8)

Darkseid went on to fight the heroes of Earth and at the moment of his defeat, a Boom Tube brought Orion to the scene, where he killed his father by reaching into Darkseid's chest and removing his "heart." Orion was the last New God left standing — but not for long. (Countdown to Final Crisis #2)

Orion fell to Earth, where he died from the bullet wound of a radion bullet (presumably the Infinity Man came to finish his work) and was discovered by Dan Turpin. Turpin alerted Green Lantern and the death was great enough to incite the Guardians of the Universe to investigate the crime. (Final Crisis #1) Note: Grant Morrison explained, "Orion's appearance on the docks and the Guardians' response in Final Crisis #1  was written and drawn first. Jim Starlin then created Orion's death scene in Death Of The New Gods  to lead into the war god's appearance in  Final Crisis #1."

Darkseid's physical existence was ended but his life force was shunted back in time. The New Gods now existed only as spirits and were required to possess humans, as avatars, in order to operate on Earth. Shilo Norman (aka Mister Miracle III) became the champion of New Genesis and fought to prevent the dark gods from creating avatars on Earth. Orion and his friends were in weakened states; they had only the power to occupy handicapped or decrepit human forms. (Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1-4)

Darkseid, however, succeeded in fashioning a powerful avatar for himself (using the body of Dan Turpin), but he was taken down by the Batman. (Final Crisis #1-7) Darkseid's machinations had destablized the entire multiverse and it was down to Superman to save it. He built a super-computer called Miracle Machine which was essentially a Mother Box capable of a single operation, calculating the Life Equation. He powered it using the X-Element from Metron's Mobius Chair, and the multiverse was corrected. During this crisis, some refugees from Earth-0 were shepherded to Earth-51. Orion and the gods of New Genesis were reborn in that universe and also made their home there. (#7) Note: As Grant Morrison explained to Newsarama, "They now have a newly-fashioned Kirby-flavoured Earth to deal with as they slowly return from 'death' to their full power and majesty. Right now, they're like tribal gods on a primitive planet. Clash of the Titans, dude!"

New 52

When the DC Universe was rebooted in 2011, it created a blank slate called the "New 52." All characters were recreated and Orion made his first appearance as a guest star in Wonder Woman #12 (Oct. 2012).

+ Powers

Orion commands the Astro-Force, a dark power which is controllable only with the aid of his Mother Box, wristbands, and a harness. This equipment is one with the Source and cannot be truly destroyed.

With this power Orion becomes the wrath of the Source, an opponent to even darker power such as Darkseid's Omega Effect. Even without his gear, Orion is still super-strong.

Orion the Hunter is an innately supreme tracker. He can instinctively navigate complex structures and locate people and things therein.

Orion uses his Mother Box to conceal his true face, which is savage and betrays his true parentage. When sufficiently enraged, Orion's face can revert to its natural state despite the presence of Mother Box.

For a time, Orion commanded the power of the Anti-Life Equation. It gave him total dominion over living things in the universe, and also corrupted his personal sense of morality. When he accepted and used the Anti-Life, he surrendered his allegiance to the Source and lost the use of the Astro-Force. This was reversed when he divested himself of the power of the Anti-Life. The only being able to resist him was Mister Miracle, who possessed the same ability.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • 1st Issue Special #13
  • Action Comics #586, 705
  • Adventure Comics #459-460
  • Adventures of Superman #489
  • Armageddon 2001 #1-2
  • Armageddon: Inferno #1-4
  • Batman & Superman: World's Finest #4
  • Bizarro Comics
  • Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger
  • DC Challenge #8, 10-12
  • Day of Judgment #1
  • DC Holiday Bash #1
  • DC Special Series #10
  • Forever People v.1 #7
  • Green Lantern v.2 #103
  • Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #3
  • Guy Gardner: Warrior #29
  • Hardcore Station #5-6
  • History of the DC Universe #2
  • Hourman #7
  • JLA #13-14, 17, 19-21, 23-24, 32-41, 80-Page Giant #2
  • JLA/Titans #1-3
  • JLA Secret Files & Origins #1-3
  • JLA in Crisis Secret Files #1
  • Justice League America #40, 42-45, 47, 49-50, Annual #9
  • Justice League of America #183-185
  • Justice League of America: The Nail #2
  • Kingdom 2
  • Kingdom Come #2
  • The L.A.W. #1
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #290-294
  • Martian Manhunter #7-9
  • Mister Miracle v.1 #23
  • Mister Miracle v.2 #27
  • Mister Miracle v.3 #1
  • New Gods Secret Files & Origins
  • Outsiders v.2 #22
  • Power of Shazam!
    #45
  • Secret Files & Origins: Guide to the DC Universe 2000
  • Showcase '94 #1
  • Showcase '95 #7
  • Starman v.1 #48
  • Stars and STRIPE #8
  • Superboy & the Ravers #14
  • Superman/Aliens II #1-4
  • Superman/Batman: Generations III #9
  • Superman: The Doomsday Wars #1-3
  • Superman: The Man of Steel #10, 20, 40
  • Superman v.2 #65, 66, 95
  • Superman: King of the World
  • Superman: The Dark Side #1-3
  • Super-Team Family #15
  • Warlord Annual #6
  • Thorion of the New Asgods (Amalgam, as Thorion)
  • War of the Gods #3-4
  • Who's Who in the DC Universe #1
  • Zero Hour #3

» SERIES:

  • The New Gods v.1, 19 issues (1971–72, 1977–78)
  • New Gods v.2, 6-issue limited series (1984)
  • DC Graphic Novel #4: The Hunger Dogs, graphic novel (1985)
  • Super Powers v.3 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Cosmic Odyssey, 4-issue limited series (1988)
  • New Gods v.3, 28 issues (1989–91)
  • New Gods v.4, 15 issues (1995-97)
  • Genesis, 4-issue limited series (1997)
  • Jack Kirby's Fourth World, 20 issues (1997-98)
  • Orion, 25 issues (2000-02)
  • Death of the New Gods, 8-issue limited series (2007–08)

» SEE ALSO: