|First appearance||Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (December, 1970)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
Secret Society of Super Villains
|Notable aliases||Boss Dark Side|
Darkseid (//) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer-artist Jack Kirby, the character briefly appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 in December, 1970, before being fully introduced in the debut issue of The Forever People in February, 1971. Darkseid is the tyrannical Lord of Apokolips whose ultimate goal is to enslave the multiverse by eliminating all hope and free will in sentient beings. A New God and one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, he was initially conceived as the chief antagonist of Kirby's Fourth World saga before becoming one of Superman's greatest villains and the Justice League's archenemy.
The character was ranked as the 6th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time by IGN and the 23rd Greatest Villain of All Time by Wizard magazine. Darkseid has been substantially adapted from the comics into various forms of media, having most notably been voiced by Michael Ironside in the DC animated universe, Andre Braugher in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, and Tony Todd in the DC Animated Movie Universe. In 2021, the character made his feature film debut in the DC Extended Universe film Zack Snyder's Justice League, portrayed by Ray Porter.
When Jack Kirby returned to DC Comics in 1970, he produced a series of interlinked titles under the blanket sobriquet "The Fourth World", which included a trilogy of new titles — New Gods, Mister Miracle, and The Forever People — as well as the extant Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. The omnipotent dictator Darkseid was created to serve as the chief antagonist of this new series. According to writer Mark Evanier, Kirby modeled the character's face on actor Jack Palance, while the villain's personality was inspired by Adolf Hitler and Richard Nixon. Darkseid made a cameo in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 (November 1970) before making a full first appearance in The Forever People #1 (February 1971). The character has continued to appear as a main villain in DC Comics, having faced renowned superheroes such as Superman and Batman, and is now widely considered the greatest enemy of the Justice League.
Prince Uxas, the son of King Yuga Khan and Queen Heggra and the second in line to the throne of Apokolips, plotted to seize control over the planet from his older brother, Drax. When Drax attempted to claim the fabled Omega Force, Uxas murdered him and claimed its power for himself. His skin turned to stone, Uxas rechristened himself as Darkseid. At some point, he fell in love with an Apokoliptian scientist and sorceress named Suli, with whom he had a son, Kalibak. However, Heggra ordered Desaad to poison Suli out of the belief that she was corrupting her son.
Following Suli's death, Darkseid's heart grew even colder and his disdain for his mother intensified when she forced him to marry a woman named Tigra, with whom he had another son, Orion. Seeking vengeance against Heggra for killing the one he loved, Darkseid ordered Desaad to poison her so he could finally become the supreme monarch of Apokolips. Darkseid then tried to force Tigra to eliminate Orion, but the latter was ultimately traded with Highfather's son, Scott Free, as part of a peace treaty between the warring planets of Apokolips and New Genesis. This trade eventually became a setback for Darkseid, with Orion growing up to value and defend the ideals of New Genesis as a powerful champion in opposition to his father. The prophecy foretold that Darkseid would meet his final defeat at the hands of Orion in a cataclysmic battle in the fiery Armaghetto of Apokolips. Likewise, Darkseid and his training minion, Granny Goodness, were unable to break Scott Free's spirit after a long, torturous upbringing and Free ultimately managed to escape Apokolips, taking with him the mightiest of the Female Furies, Big Barda, as his wife. Free, now known as the superhero Mister Miracle, and Barda began living on Earth, and Darkseid used this "betrayal" as a pretext to declare the treaty with New Genesis abrogated so the planets could resume their conflict.
Seeing other deities as a threat, Darkseid invaded the island of Themyscira in order to discover the secret location of the Olympian deities, planning to overthrow the Olympians and steal their power. Refusing to aid Darkseid in his mad quest, the Amazons battled his Parademon troops, causing half of the Amazon population's death. Wonder Woman was able to gain her revenge against Darkseid for killing so many of her sisters by placing a portion of her own soul into Darkseid. This supposedly weakened the god's power as he lost a portion of his dark edge.
Darkseid's goal was to eliminate all free will from the universe and reshape it into his own image. To this end, he sought to unravel the mysterious Anti-Life Equation, which gives its user complete control over the thoughts and emotions of all living beings in the universe. Darkseid had tried on several other occasions to achieve dominance of the universe through other methods, most notably through his minion Glorious Godfrey, who could control people's minds with his voice. He had a special interest in Earth, as he believed humans possess collectively within their minds most, if not all, fragments of the Anti-Life Equation.
Darkseid intended to probe the minds of every human in order to piece together the Equation. This has caused him to clash with many superheroes of the DC Universe, most notably the Kryptonian Superman. Darkseid worked behind the scenes, using superpowered minions in his schemes to overthrow Earth, including working through Intergang, a crime syndicate which employs Apokoliptian technology and later morphed into a religious cult that worships Darkseid as the god of evil.
Main article: The Great Darkness Saga
One thousand years in the future, Darkseid has been absent for centuries and is almost completely forgotten. He returns and comes into conflict with that era's champions, the Legion of Super-Heroes. After using both scientific and magical methods to enhance his power, Darkseid transposes the planets Apokolips and Daxam—which places Daxam under a yellow sun and gives each of its inhabitants Kryptonian-like superpowers equal to those of Superman. Placing the Daxamites under his mental thrall, he uses them in a massive attempt to conquer the known universe. However, he is eventually defeated by the Legion and many of its allies.
In Grant Morrison's 2005 Mister Miracle limited series, it was revealed that Darkseid had finally discovered the Anti-Life Equation, which he then used to destroy the Fourth World altogether. The New Gods fled to Earth, where they hid. Highfather and his followers were now a group of homeless people. Metron used a wheelchair, the Black Racer was an old white man in a wheelchair, DeSaad was an evil psychiatrist, Granny Goodness was a pimp (or "madam") for the Female Furies and Darkseid himself was now an evil gang leader who is referred to only as "Boss Dark Side". It is revealed that Darkseid actually gave the Sheeda North America in return for Aurakles, Earth's first superhero. This was, in turn, purely in order for Darkseid to get Shilo Norman, whom he considers the "Avatar of Freedom", in his clutches so that he could eventually destroy the New Gods.
Main article: Final Crisis
As prophesied, Orion returns to Earth via boom tube for his final battle with Darkseid. During the massive fight, Orion ultimately kills him by ripping his heart out, which created a firepit of Apokolips from Darkseid's chest cavity (in reference to the prophecy of their final battle). As Darkseid dies, a battered, wounded Orion walks away from the battlefield having "won" the battle against his father once and for all. However, Darkseid's life essence endured even the death of his body and fell back in time, where he was reborn as "Boss Dark Side", aided by his resurrected minions and the supervillain Libra.
Once again bound to the form of a human, "Boss Dark Side" began to appear in a number of titles in the run up to Final Crisis. In The Flash vol. 2 #240, he led an army of fanatics, their will broken by the "spoken form" of the Anti-Life Equation, to kidnap the Tornado Twins. In Birds of Prey #118, he runs his Dark Side Club where superhumans fight to the death, brainwashed by drugs produced by Bernadeth. In Teen Titans #59, it was revealed that he had employed the Terror Titans to capture the Teen Titans and use them in his club fights.
In Final Crisis, Darkseid has begun to take over Earth and corrupt the Multiverse with the aid of his herald Libra, a reborn supervillain and antichrist-like figure who soon converts much of the Secret Society of Super Villains to his cause with the aid of the Crime Bible and the Holy Lance. Darkseid is also joined by the souls of his fellow evil New Gods, who, like Darkseid, now possess either modified human bodies or the bodies of other superpowered beings, such as Mary Marvel.
Darkseid also arranges for detective Dan Turpin to be lured into the Dark Side Club, where Turpin is turned into Darkseid's "final host", as his Boss Dark Side body has begun to mummify due to Darkseid's foul astral presence. With his legion of followers and allies aiding him as he undergoes his latest "rebirth", Darkseid successfully conquers the Earth with the unleashing of the Anti-Life Equation onto mankind. However, the rebirthing process is still far from complete as Dan Turpin's mind and soul, while corrupted by Darkseid's essence, still remains in firm control over his body. However, at the same moment Shilo Norman, the "Embodiment of Freedom" is shot by S.H.A.D.E. operatives, thus signalling the "Victory of Evil". Darkseid wins control over Turpin's body, now twisted in a close copy of his Apokoliptan former appearance, and wearing an updated version of his battle armor. Darkseid then gains the fullest of his power, his "fall" having the effect of compressing and crumpling spacetime around Earth.
After escaping from captivity, Batman shoots Darkseid with the same radion bullet that killed Orion, while Darkseid simultaneously hits Batman with the Omega Beam, sending back in time and then "infecting" Batman with Omega energy that will cause him to jump forward in time, with disastrous results when he reaches the present. Darkseid is mortally wounded, but not before his Omega Sanction teleports Batman into prehistoric times. Remains believed to be Batman's (later revealed to be the last of the many Batman clones that Darkseid created) are found by Superman, who confronts Darkseid. As Darkseid mocks his old enemy for failing to defend Earth, it emerges that in Darkseid's fall through the multiverse, he created a doomsday singularity that now threatens all of existence. When Superman attempts to physically assault him, Darkseid reveals that he now exists inside the bodies of all those who fell to the power of the Anti-Life Equation and that killing Darkseid will kill humanity. Darkseid then reloads the gun that was used to shoot him, to kill Orion by way of firing the bullet backwards in time (a move Superman deems to be suicide due to the paradoxical nature of his actions: the bullet used to kill Orion is ultimately fired at him by Batman and is now poisoning him to death).
Before Darkseid can use the Omega Effect to kill Superman, Barry Allen and Wally West lead the Black Racer to Darkseid and making contact with him frees Turpin from Darkseid's control. Wonder Woman (having been freed from possession by one of Darkseid's minions) then uses her lasso of truth to bind Darkseid's spirit form, effectively freeing humanity from the Anti-Life Equation and being controlled by Darkseid. In his final effort, Darkseid's disembodied essence appears and tries to seize the Miracle Machine Superman has created; however, Superman uses counter-vibrations to destroy him. Furthermore, the last piece of Darkseid's plan fails when Batman, thanks to the actions of the new Batman (Dick Grayson), Red Robin (Tim Drake), Robin (Damian Wayne), and the Justice League, is able to return safely to the present, consuming the Omega Energy in his body without damaging the time-stream further, thus becoming the second individual, along with Mister Miracle, to escape the Omega Sanction.
Doctor Impossible later manipulates the Crime Syndicate of America into helping him resurrect Darkseid via a machine that draws energy from the Multiverse itself. The resurrection backfires, and instead creates a new being known as the Omega Man.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Darkseid's name is first invoked by a Parademon in Justice League #1. He is later mentioned again in Justice League #2, and in Justice League #3 Darkseid makes his first appearance in the series, seen in a vision by Victor Stone after he is injured by an exploding Mother Box. In the final pages of Justice League #4, Darkseid himself appears. In Justice League #5, the League confronts him but they are overpowered by him, when he severely hurts Superman with his Omega Beams and breaks Green Lantern's arm. Finally, in Justice League #6, Darkseid is driven out when Cyborg activates the invaders' Mother Boxes and Superman forces him through a boom tube. The incidents that occur in these issues make Darkseid the very first foe the newly formed League faces as a team. The issue also reveals DeSaad and Steppenwolf, referring to Darkseid's daughter and their ceaseless search for her across countless worlds. Darkseid's daughter escapes containment in Justice League of America's Vibe #7 after the dampeners on her cage are temporarily disabled.
In the New 52 continuity, there is only one set of New Gods across the 52 Multiverse. So as Darkseid invades Prime Earth in Justice League, he sends his lieutenant Steppenwolf to do the same, with greater success, on Earth 2, resulting in the deaths of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and stranding Helena Wayne and Kara Zor-L on Prime Earth. Five years later, Darkseid once again invades Earth 2, which never fully recovered from his armies' earlier assault, and it is revealed that he and Highfather of New Genesis struck a deal allowing him the unchallenged right to invade Earth 2.
In Darkseid #1, his background story was revealed. Formerly a farmer named Uxas, he hated the deities of his world. So he traveled up to their mountain while they slept and tricked them all into fighting each other. As they were all weakened from the war, he killed them one by one with his scythe (similar to Kronos of Greek mythology) and stole their power, before destroying his world and creating Apokolips.
In Justice League: The Darkseid War (after the retirement of the "New 52" imprint), Darkseid comes into conflict with the Anti-Monitor. Darkseid's daughter Grail leads the Anti-Monitor, who is revealed to be a scientist named Mobius, to Darkseid for the former to kill the latter. Mobius believes that with the death of Darkseid, he will be free from being the Anti-Monitor. After an intense battle, the Anti-Monitor fuses the Black Racer with Flash and sends it after Darkseid. Using the fused Flash and his own powers, he kills Darkseid. With Darkseid dead, the universe is unbalanced as it has lost its God of Evil. Later, Lex Luthor would be merged with the Omega Sanction, becoming the new ruler of Apokolips.
After killing the Anti-Monitor using an Anti-Life Equation-powered Steve Trevor, Grail would later resurrect Darkseid through the newborn child of Superwoman. The child has the same powers as his father Mazahs, with the ability to steal the powers of others. Stealing the new "God" abilities of the Justice League, Grail fuses them with the child and brings Darkseid back to life. However, he is under her complete control. Grail later attempts to redeem herself by seemingly killing Darkseid with the Anti-Life Equation. However, it is later revealed that she reincarnated him back as a baby with the intention of teaching him differently.
Darkseid (as a baby) appears in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 where Grail tells him of Wonder Woman's long lost brother, Jason.
Baby Darkseid reappears in Dark Nights: Metal where it is shown that Batman stole him from Grail and intends to use the Omega Beams to send himself back in time. This never comes to fruition and Darkseid is either returned to or retrieved by Grail.
Sometime afterwards, Darkseid matured into a toddler, and using telepathy, demanded that he needed to feast on Old Gods to return to his former self. After killing A.R.G.U.S. agents that were hunting them down, Darkseid and Grail began hunting down and taking the life force of Zeus' demi-god children, killing several including Perseus and Hercules, and growing into the size of a child. After recruiting Jason and luring Wonder Woman to him, Darkseid ages once again into a young man. He fights Wonder Woman himself and as he starts to drain her life force, he is betrayed by Jason. When Zeus appears and transforms into his true form, Darkseid fights the Olympian God, destroying their surroundings in their brawl. When they take a Boom Tube to Manila, Philippines, Zeus grabs onto Darkseid and unleashes bolts of lightning on him. However, Darkseid reveals that he planned for this and that his true target was Zeus himself, and he begins to drain and kill him, restoring Darkseid back to his original self. When the rest of the Justice League arrive, Darkseid decides it is best not to fight them as he does not want to risk revealing his greater plans, and promptly leaves through a Boom Tube with Grail.
During the Infinite Frontier era, as a result of the Multiverse being expanded into an Omniverse, Darkseid is trapped in Earth-Omega, but regained his original form by fusing with all his previous counterparts.
As a New God, Darkseid is among the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. His most well-known and utilised ability derives from the Omega Effect, which allows him to blast Omega Beams from his eyes. Omega Beams are an intense form of heated energy that can either act as a concussive force to subdue an opponent or as a disintegrating agent capable of eradicating organisms or objects from existence. Some super-powered beings, such as Superman and Doomsday, have proven resistant to the Beams, although in the case of Superman, with a great deal of pain. Also, Orion and Diana were able to deflect them, Firestorm once used his powers to redirect them and in a crossover story, Galactus was unaffected by them. These beams stem from a cosmic energy source called the "Omega Effect". The Omega Beams can also resurrect fallen beings previously killed by them. He will sometimes use this as punishment upon those who fail him but are too valuable to kill outright. Darkseid has pinpoint control of this energy, and his unerring aim allows the beam to travel in straight lines, bend, or curve around corners and even pass through matter or other forms of energy. He can also teleport himself or others through time and space. His Omega Sanction traps organisms in a series of alternate realities, each one worse than the previous. During the Final Crisis, Darkseid used his Omega Beams to grant power to Mary Marvel, and her powers afterwards were based on Anti-Life rather than magic.
Darkseid's strength is depicted as immensely high, effortlessly breaking a Green Lantern Ring with his bare hands. He has easily overpowered two Kryptonians at once, and the entire Justice League. He can also move with great speed, as he has been able to catch Superman off guard, and he is known to be able to react in nanoseconds. Even without Darkseid's full power and strength, he is still able to hold his own against an Olympian God such as Zeus. He can also increase his physical size. Darkseid also has additional powers of telepathy and telekinesis, and he can create psionic avatars. His Omega Beams have the ability to erase his enemies, causing them to have never existed.  While Darkseid is a deity and immortal, having lived for several hundred thousand years, he is not invincible and has been killed on several occasions.
In "The Great Darkness Saga", Darkseid displayed a range of deity-like powers, such as transposing the positions of two planets in different solar systems, taking mental control of the entire population of a planet, instantly absorbing all the information from another being's mind, manifesting the worst fears of other beings as realities, easily defeating incredibly powerful beings such as Mon-El, Mordru, and the Time Trapper, and pronouncing a curse.
Darkseid is a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant who has been trained in the art of war on Apokolips. Combining his superhuman powers with his combat skills makes him one of the strongest beings in the DC Universe. He is proficient in the use of various weapons, even though he rarely uses them due to other powers like the Omega beams.
Despite Darkseid's extraordinary physical powers, he rarely engages himself personally in confrontations, as he prefers to use his superhuman intellect to manipulate or control others to his ends. Darkseid has displayed his godly abilities by sensing the death of his son Orion and fluctuations of the energy of the "Godwave". As the ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid has access to all of its military and technological resources.
Darkseid is able to drain the life force of other godly beings to rejuvenate himself or return to his full power. Demi-gods are capable of slowly rejuvenating Darkseid, but a god (such as Zeus) can return Darkseid back to his original form by draining the demi-gods.[vague]
Darkseid makes his first official appearance in Chapter 22 of the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic on Apokolips. He is seen overseeing the torture of an unseen figure as his son Kalibak approaches him. Kalibak informs his father of Superman's worldwide ceasefire on Earth. Darkseid muses if Superman has begun to soften before Kalibak asks to take a war party to personally investigate. When Kalibak sees just who it is Darkseid is torturing, the lord of Apokolips confirms the man's identity before saying, "He made a mistake." When Kalibak asks if he can be killed, Darkseid chides his son, "Of course not. Who would come for him?" He then allows Kalibak to go, bidding him to kill the Kryptonian and take the Earth. Darkseid grins to himself as he asks to be left alone with his prisoner: Black Racer, death himself, as Darkseid resumes his torture. In the Injustice Annual, Darkseid hires the bounty hunter Lobo to go to Earth and kill Superman in retaliation for the death of Kalibak at the Man of Steel's hands. However, Lobo returns some time later after a 'therapy' session with Harley Quinn, and brazenly challenges the Dread Lord to a battle. Later, under Darkseid's command, Ares manipulates the Justice League into battle with the Greek Gods. The attempt, while initially successful, is defused by Batman and Highfather's intervention. The Greek Gods depart with no further conflict and Superman brings Ares to Darkseid to torture in exchange for Darkseid, Ares and their underlings to "never step foot on Earth."
In a crossover comic Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips invaded Earth and Eternia to take the Power of Grayskull for themselves and reach the Nexus of All Realities. There, with his Soul Siphon (a pseudo-Infinity Gauntlet) and the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid planned to rewrite and enslave a new reality. It turned out that Skeletor was working with Darkseid all this time since he also wanted to enter Castle Grayskull. He secretly co-opted the power of Shazam to make his own power sword, and he did battle with Darkseid to control the Nexus. As Darkseid breaks into Castle Grayskull, and prepares to use the Anti-Life Equation, along with the Sorceress of Eternia's Orb of Power, to poison the multiverse, Skeletor betrays him and attacks. He's now powered up, a la Black Adam, because of the Rock of Eternity, and he wants all of that power for himself. However, Darkseid proves too mighty, and pummels the dark wizard, beating him into submission for his treachery. With the help of Supergirl and Batman and Superman, He-Man's crew and the League defeat Darkseid's forces and the residual legion Skeletor had there occupying the lands. That provides a window of opportunity for Superman to fly in and blindside the ruler of Apokolips. With the villain's focus is on Superman, He-Man ambushes the New God, and stabs him in the chest with his inactive Sword of Power, which penetrates Darkseid's armor. Instead of being a full-blown killing stroke on the physical plane, it actually strips Darkseid's essence from reality and turns him into knowledge, which the elders of Grayskull store within the castle. Superman looks on as Darkseid withers away into the abyss, becoming the very thing he sought. After Darkseid death Superman betrayed everyone and killed Skeletor to seize the ultimate power for himself and takes up the sword/orb, puts on Darkseid's Soul Syphon and prepares to step into the Nexus of All Realities. He-Man returned to face the Man of Steel, and with his Eldritch magic, he disintegrated the Kryptonian and helped save all realms. Eternia was at peace again with Sorceress and Zatanna working to ensure no future threats like Skeletor or Darkseid arose.
Darkseid is featured in the DC Extended Universe.
Darkseid, as depicted in Zack Snyder's Justice League, was created as a 1/4 scale high-end polystone sculpture by Wētā Workshop Collectibles in 2021.