|First appearance||Mister Miracle #7 (March/April 1972)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer - artist)|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
Kanto is a supervillain and extraterrestrial assassin published by DC Comics.
He first appeared in Mister Miracle #7 (March/April 1972), and was created by Jack Kirby. Kanto was allegedly modeled after Renaissance nobleman Cesare Borgia, but his appearance was "patterned after Errol Flynn in a film still".
As a student of Granny Goodness's on Apokolips, Iluthin, Kanto's name at the time, is accused of stealing weaponry from Darkseid's then-master assassin Kanto 13 and others. Iluthin is punished, not for the stealing, but being caught. He first faces a gauntlet of fellow students, defeating them with ease.
Against the wishes of Kanto 13, Iluthin is exiled from Apokolips to Renaissance-era Earth by Darkseid. There he trains under Italian teachers and falls in love with a woman named Claudia. Kanto 13 tracks Iluthin to Earth and kills Claudia at the couple's wedding altar. Iluthin defeats Kanto 13 in battle. Darkseid comes to Earth and destroys Kanto 13 for his failure. Iluthin returns to Apokolips as Darkseid's new assassin.
When Mister Miracle returns to Apokolips, he faces Kanto who captures him, taking him to Granny Goodness. Kanto dresses in a quasi-Renaissance fashion, possibly to imply both the artistic pride that he has in his assassin's work and the presence of royal court intrigue. Perhaps this attire fuels his nihilism by reminding him of his murdered love. Of all the foes Mr. Miracle faced during Kirby's run with the character, Kanto harbors a sort of professional respect with Mr. Miracle.
During writer John Byrne's Genesis comic mini-series, Kanto encounters Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, the one-time Wonder Woman, and is revealed that Kanto had been not only her teacher but a lover as well. As Artemis was trapped in a demon dimension alongside her Amazonian sisters from age fourteen to twenty-four and was not shown with Kanto until the Genesis storyline, speculation about this alleged affair suggests time travel. While mutually amorous, the tryst was apparently unconsummated since Artemis, during Mike Deodato's Requiem mini-series, claimed to be a virgin.
When New Gods are being slaughtered across the galaxy, Kanto is recalled to Apokolips where he faithfully serves Darkseid's, voicing private concerns with Granny Goodness. He is killed by Infinity-Man while spying on Orion, Mister Miracle, and Superman. His body is found by Kalibak.
During the Final Crisis storyline, Kanto has since appeared serving Darkseid, going by Boss Dark Side at the time, and Kalibak. The three inhabit human hosts posing as businessmen in the Dark Side company and brainwash gifted Earth children. It is suggested that their host bodies burn out easily.
In his Prime Earth version, Kanto had an affair with Leonardo da Vinci during his stay in Renaissance Italy.
Kanto is one of many responsible for training the KGBeast.
As a member of the New Gods, Kanto is functionally immortal, possesses incredible physical attributes such as superhuman strength, stamina, speed and reflexes. Kanto is strong enough to lift about 50 tons, his reflexes and speed allow him to dodge bullets, lasers, etc. Kanto has a high level of invulnerability (he survived a fall into Apokolips's fire pits), does not fatigue, and his mind is resistant to psychic powers. Kanto is a trained athlete and a fine hand-to-hand combatant. He is renowned as a master of weapons. And he is equally adept at the use of weapons of Earth's Italian Renaissance, such as swords, knives and at the use of the advanced technological weaponry created by the scientist of Apokolips. Except perhaps of Darkseid himself, Kanto is unequaled on Apokolips as a cunning strategist in devising methods of hunting and assassinating victims. He considers his work an art.