Maxie Zeus
200px-Maxie Zeus (by Jim Aparo).jpg
Maxie Zeus, art by Jim Aparo.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #483 (May 1979)
Created byDenny O'Neil (writer)
Don Newton (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoMaximilian "Maxie" Zeus
Team affiliationsThe New Olympians
Abilities
  • Leadership
  • Tactical analysis

Maximilian "Maxie" Zeus is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, primarily as a minor enemy of Batman. The character is depicted as a mentally ill former history professor who is obsessed with Greek mythology and believes himself to be the god Zeus, becoming a crime lord in Gotham City.

Publication history

Maxie Zeus first appeared in Detective Comics #483 (April–May 1979) and was created by Denny O'Neil and Don Newton.[1]

Fictional character biography

Criminal career

Maxie Zeus is a former Greek history teacher who started to suffer from insanity when he lost his wife.[2] He became a criminal mastermind and used his cunning and intelligence to rise to power amidst the chaos in Gotham City's underworld. He has fought Batman on several occasions before being committed to Arkham Asylum.[3]

Because Maxie seemed less dangerous than Joker, Two-Face, and other notorious Arkham inmates, Arkham's administrators did not commit him in the maximum security wing, despite repeated recommendations from Batman to do so. Batman's concern was vindicated when Maxie escaped to form a team of Greek Mythology-based superhuman agents called the New Olympians. He attempted to kidnap Olympic athlete Lacinia Nitocris and force her to marry him and become a mother to his daughter Medea. This plot was foiled by Batman and the Outsiders, who bested the New Olympians in a series of Olympic-style games.[4]

Maxie was one of the villains that escaped Arkham when Bane brought down the walls of Arkham Asylum in the Knightfall storyline. Maxie's escape attempt was disrupted when he collided with a tree.[5] Some time later, however, he was drawn into a plot engineered by the Children of AresDeimos, Phobos—and Eris (Ares' sister) to merge Gotham City with Ares' throne capital, the Aeropagus. The intent was to re-establish Ares' rule on Earth, with his children possessing the Joker, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy respectively to manifest on this plane. Maxie was killed as a result of that plot, and his sacrifice brought about Ares' return. Their scheme was foiled by Wonder Woman, Batman and their allies, and Ares himself banished his children back to Tartarus.

Robin

In issues of Robin, a vigilante called Violet was trying to track down an illegal casino named "Maxie's", with chips bearing a Zeus-like profile. Presumably, Maxie survived his encounter with the Children of Ares. After Violet was discovered by Maxie Zeus's guards, both Robin and Violet managed to escape unharmed as detectives that Robin was working with on the case raided the casino and arrested Maxie Zeus, who surrendered without a fight after an officer physically threatened him.

Batman: Cacophony

Maxie returns in Kevin Smith's Batman: Cacophony. Apparently cured of his delusions, he has been hired by Joker to use Joker Venom on random people on April First as an April Fool's Day joke, but instead mixes the poison with ecstasy to produce a new designer drug called "Chuckles". He uses the profits to fund his empire as well as building his dream of creating a public school that is run like a private school. The Joker, angry that his creation is being used for a noble purpose, swears revenge against Maxie. After witnessing the death of his nephew and a dozen other children when the Joker blows up a school, Maxie suffers a psychotic break and reverts to his Zeus persona. After Batman rescues him from an attack by the Joker at a nightclub, he visits Maxie again at his penthouse. After temporarily restoring Maxie's sanity with a massive dose of antipsychotics, Batman convinces him to confess and turn himself in to the police. This move is later revealed to be part of Batman's plan to lure the Joker and Onomatopoeia out of hiding.

The New 52

As part of The New 52 reboot of DC Universe, in the Batman Eternal story, Maxie Zeus is used as a host for the spirit of Deacon Blackfire as he attempts to use the spirits of the Arkham Asylum inmates to return to life only to be thwarted by Batwing and Jim Corrigan.[6] Following Arkham Asylum's destruction, Maggie Sawyer attempts to get answers from Maxie Zeus on what happened.[7]

Doomsday Clock

In the Watchmen sequel Doomsday Clock, Maxie Zeus was at Arkham Asylum when Rorschach was incarcerated there by Batman.[8]

Other versions

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

An electrified, emaciated version of Maxie Zeus appears in the graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Batman finds him connected to the electroshock therapy room of Arkham Asylum, perpetually receiving electrical currents, which he believes to be "fire from heaven". On the one occasion in the story in which he and Batman cross paths, he compares himself to the supreme gods in many mythologies. He also does not recognize Batman, warmly addressing him as "a pilgrim". Early drafts of the script describes Zeus as resembling his original comic book counterpart, but with female breasts and genitalia crudely drawn on his filthy toga.[9]

The Batman Adventures

In The Batman Adventures (a comic series based on the animated series), Maxie Zeus escapes Arkham Asylum several times and teams up with villains such as Lex Luthor and Ra's al Ghul to destroy Gotham. Each time, he is foiled by Batman and Robin and returned to Arkham.

The Batman Strikes!

In an issue of The Batman Strikes!, Maxie Zeus joins a group of villains led by the Joker. This was revealed to be a simulation created by Batman to train Robin. On a later issue, Maxie Zeus goes on a criminal rampage alongside Ragdoll, Spellbinder, and an Everywhere Man, but is defeated by Batgirl.

Batman Beyond

In the Batman Beyond comic series, Bruce tells Terry a secured location where he has kept some of his most disturbed rogues in captivity. Maxie Zeus and Mad Hatter were among the catatonic inhabitants. It's possible that Maxie suffered a great deal from electro shock, brought on by the crude methods at Arkham Asylum, or from his delusions of godhood which forced him to wield a lightning-discharging staff.

In other media

Television

Maxie Zeus as seen in Batman: The Animated Series.
Maxie Zeus as seen in Batman: The Animated Series.

Video games

Maxie Zeus appears in the NES version of Batman: The Video Game.

See also

References

  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 339. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Manning, Matthew K.; McAvennie, Michael; Wallace, Daniel (2019). DC Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle. DK Publishing. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-4654-8578-6.
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 384–385. ISBN 9780345501066.
  4. ^ Batman and the Outsiders #14. DC Comics.
  5. ^ Batman #491. DC Comics.
  6. ^ Batman Eternal #17. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Batman Eternal #44. DC Comics.
  8. ^ Doomsday Clock #4 (March 2018). DC Comics.
  9. ^ Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
  10. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (November 12, 2019). "Harley Quinn Comes Out Swinging in Full Trailer".