All About Darkseid

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A Brief Overview of Darkseid

  • First appearance: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (1970)
  • Created by: Jack Kirby
  • Alter ego: Uxas
  • Species: New Gods
  • Place of origin: Apokolips
  • Notable aliases: Boss Dark Side, God of War
  • Abilities: 12th level intellect, Brilliant military tactician, Superhuman strength, speed and stamina, Flight, Shapeshifting, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Teleportation, Limited time travel, Immortality, Invulnerability, Omega Beams project concussive force or disintegrating energy, Omega Sanction traps organisms in alternate universes

Since Darkseid appeared 45 years ago the despotic ruler of Apokolips has become one of Superman's greatest villains. He's one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe. He's fought everyone from Batman to Thanos (in a Marvel cross-over). 

All signs are pointing to him being the next big villain of the DC Films, so here are some things you need to know about the "God of War" Darkseid.

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Who is Darkseid?

Comic panel of Darkseid
Darkseid. DC Comics

Darkseid (pronounced Dark-Side) was created by the incredible artist and writer Jack Kirby. He first shows up in Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen #134 back in 1970. He’s a brutal dictator, megalomaniac and warmonger who rules over the war planet of Apokolips. His only goal is simple: To rule everything and everyone in the universe. So, he’s a space version of Adolf Hitler. That’s exactly what Kirby had in mind.

Darkseid is a jack-booted fascist dictator like Hitler and the planet of Apokolips is Nazi Germany. The planet is horrible and ruined dystopia covered in fierce machines and fire pits. The flames coming out of the massive furnaces of the planet emulate the horrible furnaces used by the Nazis. Even today it’s pretty deep stuff.

The citizens of Apokolips are pitiful and serve no other purpose than to further Darkseid's cruel plans. They’re trained from birth to be completely loyal to him and devoted to the war effort. Kirby modeled them after the Nazi Youth group.

He's a pretty powerful visual. Darkseid wears dark black armor, jackboots and a powerful body. According to Mark Evanier his rough, craggy face was inspired with actor Jack Palance. His dark grey skin and glowing eyes are a perfect contrast to the typical bright and colorful characters Kirby drew.

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Where Did Darkseid Come From?

Comic panel from Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2-5
Jack Kirby's Fourth World #2-5. DC Comics

Darkseid's background was a mystery till John Byrne expanded on it. Darkseid started out as Uxas of the royal family. Prince Uxas and his older brother Drax were sons of King Yuga Khan and Queen Heggra. Drax was peaceful while his brother Uxas was violent and cruel.

Drax tried to make a connection to the "Omega Realm" and assume his god name. Uxas interrupted the process and took the power for himself (supposedly) killing Drax. The process turned Uxas skin rock-like and he took the name Darkseid. 

His mom Heggra was cool with it since she hated Drax for being a nice guy anyway. She preferred her other son for being a jerk. That didn't help his personality any. His Mom got what was coming to her. She was so vindictive that she had Darkseid’s wife Suli poisoned for making him soft. So, Darkeid had her poisoned. 

After she died he finally achieved his dream of becoming supreme monarch of Apokolips. But, the death of his first love made him even colder than ever.

He's mainly a villain of Superman, but he's fought the whole of the DC Universe at one time or another. He even fought some of Marvel's biggest heroes and villains in the cross-over issues. His biggest moment is in Final Crisis when he tried to use the Anti-Life Equation to overthrow reality. 

After the events of Final Crisis, Darkseid died. With a new timeline, thanks to Flashpoint, his origin changed. He's no longer a member of the Royal Family, but just a farmer. He got his power by murdering the "Old Gods".

If the DC films are going to use this origin then it could get pretty complicated. His backstory alone could make a trilogy.

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What Does Darkseid Want?

Comic panel of Darkseid
Darkseid. DC Comics

While Darkseid has had many plans and schemes over the years his ultimate goal is the elimination of all free will in the universe so he can shape it in his image. To that end, he is searching for the “Anti-Life Equation”. It’s a formula that gives the user total control over the mind and will of all sentient beings.

Looking for something like that would put him at odds with pretty much everyone and it does. He’s fought pretty much every superhero in the universe. He has a special interest in Earth since he thinks humans have portions of the equation in their brain.

He has also gone on a quest to destroy all other mythical gods like the Greek gods and that’s how he’s clashed with Wonder Woman. So, expect that to come up in the DC films.

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What Powers Does Darkseid Have?

Comic panel of Darkseid
Darkseid using Omega Beams. DC Comics

Darkseid is one of the most powerful and ruthless beings in the universe. His main ability is to project “Omega Beams” from his eyes or hands. The energy beams can do a bunch of things based on his will and the needs of the comic book writer.

He can blast anything with it and the force is so strong that it disintegrates most things. One of the few powerful enough to survive it is Superman although it causes him incredible pain. Darkseid  can use the cosmic energy to erase anything from existence or teleport it through time and space. The power of the “Omega Source” can even resurrect living beings.

As a member of the race of “New Gods” Darkseid has lived hundreds of thousands of years. He’s incredibly strong and has even knocked out Superman. But, despite his bulk and strength, he's fast enough to surprise Superman.

There are some other abilities he has like being able to increase his size, telepathy and telekinesis. The truth is that Darkseid rarely gets his hands dirty. His greatest skill lies in his strategic planning. He is able to craft masterful plans and maneuver events to achieve his goals without having to lift a finger or leave Apokalips.

On Earth, he secretly worked with the criminal organization known as Intergang led by Morgan Edge (his clone anyway). He gave them advanced weaponry from Apokolips.

Besides, all that he has a literal army of minions under his command.

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Who Are the Parademons?

Comic Panel of Parademons from "Justice League" #4
Parademons by Jim Lee. DC Comics

Eagle-eyed viewers spotted what looks like flying creatures known as Parademons in the Batman v Superman trailers.

The Parademons are citizens of Apokalips that are the worst of the worst. Considering it’s a war planet ruled by a sadistic monster they’d have to be pretty bad. And they are. The most sadistic and sociopathic people are recruited into Darkseid’s army. Using Kirby’s Hitler analogue, they’re Darkseid’s shock troops.

They’re not chosen for their smarts. Usually, they’re pretty stupid and most can't talk. But they’re strong, fast and resistant to pain. Parademons have armor, rocket packs and advanced weapons. What makes them truly dangerous is that Darkseid has thousands of them at his disposal. They can overwhelm any enemy by sheer numbers.

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Where Has Darkseid Been Seen?

Publicity Still from "Batman v Superman" (2016)
"Batman v Superman" (2016). Warner Bros Pictures

Darkseid has been a major villain in the comics, but he’s also branched out into animated shows and films. He was a major villain in the Saturday morning cartoons Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians back in the 80s. He's been the villain in various animated shows and movie from the 90s to today. He has a live-action appearance on Smallville soft of. He’s mainly a “force of evil” and takes over other bodies.

Darkseid was almost the villain in a big-budget movie a decade ago. When Bryan Singer planned his sequel to Superman Returns Darkseid was the the villain and he would have been “world-destroying”.

There's a connection to Darkseid in Man of Steel since Morgan Edge's television station WGBS makes an appearance. For many years in the comics, Edge is the leader of Intergang and worked with Darkseid.

While it hasn’t been confirmed by the studio, there are signs that Darkseid is coming to the DC universe. Empire Magazine’s promotional images for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice show the “Omega Symbol” which is how he marks targets for conquest. While Doomsday is the main villain in Bagman v Superman, Zack Snyder has confirmed that a “there’s a bigger enemy to fight” by the Justice League.

Darkseid is one of Superman's strongest, cruelest villains. His powerful Parademons, Omega Beams and cunning make him a wonderful villain and a fan favorite.