Maxima
Maxima as seen in the interior artwork of Wonder Woman #754 (May 2020, DC Comics)
Art by Gleb Melnikov and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceAction Comics #645
(September 1989)
Created byRoger Stern (writer)
George Pérez (artist)
In-story information
Full nameMaxima
SpeciesAlmeracian
Team affiliationsJustice League International
Extreme Justice
Superman Revenge Squad
Justice League
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength
Superhuman speed
Superhuman endurance
Invulnerability
Flight
Telekinesis
Empathy
Telepathy
Hypnosis
Teleportation
Ability to emit powerful optic blasts
Force field generation

Maxima (/ˈmæksɪmə/) is a fictional comic book character in DC Comics. In her original incarnation, she was a morally ambiguous queen from the planet Almerac who is known for searching for mates among Earth's superhuman male population to be wedded as her king, and became obsessed with Superman for a time. She has also worked as a superheroine member of the Justice League. In her recent incarnations, she is re-introduced as a younger princess of Almerac and ally of Supergirl. Unlike her previous version, she is gay and struggles with following Almerac's traditions in continuing the royal line with finding a male mate.

Publication history

Maxima first appeared in Action Comics #645 (Sept. 1989) and was created by writer Roger Stern and artist George Pérez.[1]

Fictional character biography

Post Crisis

The oldest child of the royal family of the planet Almerac, the fiery-tempered Maxima came to Earth in search of a suitable mate to sire her heir, leaving behind Ultraa, her betrothed.[2] Maxima's first appearance in Metropolis was not actually her but a simulacrum of her brought to Earth by her servant Sazu, who took it upon herself to convince Superman to be her mate. The simulacrum was destroyed and Sazu was imprisoned. The real Maxima then appeared to free Sazu and came face to face with Superman. She and Superman, she argued, were genetically compatible; she could "give him what no Earth woman could - children". She was infuriated when Superman rejected her offer, saying he had no desire to father despots.[3]

Maxima later found herself reluctantly working with Brainiac who had destroyed Almerac with the Warworld. She turned against him, and helped Earth's heroes defeat him, subsequently joining a reformed Justice League for her own reasons. When the League helped her save Almerac from Starbreaker, the planet's ruling council exiled her. As a Leaguer, she helped in the fight against Doomsday, and when that version of the League disbanded, she became a member of Captain Atom's Extreme Justice team.[4] She considered Captain Atom as a potential mate, but he was not interested. During the period of her flirtation with Captain Atom, a jilted Ultraa angrily attacked him. Maxima eventually stopped the brawl and sent Ultraa back to Almerac. She later had a brief fling with another teammate, Amazing-Man, which lasted until the team was dissolved. While part of the Extreme Justice team, she joined with other heroes on a trip to Hell itself, mistakenly believing that Superman was trapped there. During the battle, Maxima fell and was lost in one of the 'nine rings'. She was sent back to Earth when Neron, the current ruler of Hell, was subdued.[5]

She offered herself sexually to Superman again, hoping that her recent good deeds would offset her earlier ruthlessness.[6] Superman, now married to Lois Lane, was even less interested in her proposal than before. Angry and humiliated, she joined the Superman Revenge Squad. She swore that Superman had rejected, humbled and humiliated her for the last time, and threatened that the next time they meet, it would truly be war.[7]

In her next appearance, during the buildup to the "Our Worlds at War" crossover, Maxima and the "Chosen People of Almerac", as she phrased it, showed up in Earth's Solar System where they met up with Superman and fellow JLA member, Green Lantern. Superman and Green Lantern were just beginning to investigate the disturbing disappearance of Pluto and the even more distressing ion engine trail associated with Warworld, when they stumbled across Maxima, her people, and the supervillain Massacre.

After a battle full of wounded pride, Maxima eventually conceded her position when Almerac's rendezvous showed up using a Boom Tube. She explained that she was leading her people to safety from Imperiex, the force that conquered her world. Massacre had seemed to meet his death;[8] however, somehow Maxima came across him and described her association in these words: "Massacre serves only me now". To save her people, she allied herself with Darkseid's son, Grayven, who was taking them to regions unknown. This was also being undertaken without the knowledge of Darkseid. Maxima left Superman with the following words: "Mark my words, when Imperiex comes for your precious homeworld, you'll see alliances you've never dreamed of".

All that Maxima warned eventually came to fruition as she and a myriad of other characters (both heroes and villains) formed alliances with Earth and Apokolips in an effort to destroy Imperiex.[9]

Maxima ultimately met her demise in a heroic effort to put her ship between the destructive beams of Brainiac 13's Warworld which would have resulted in the destruction of the entire universe, making amends with Superman prior to after he had rescued her despite her animosity over his constant rejection of her.[10][11]

The New 52

In 2011, The New 52 rebooted the DC Universe. A younger, revamped Maxima is briefly introduced in Supergirl #36 as a distinguished member of the Crucible Academy, an intergalactic organization that trains some planets' finest specimens to become their planets' protectors. She spends the next few issues bonding with Kara before eventually revealing in issue #40 that she is emotionally and sexually attracted to Kara. Maxima's homosexuality is the reason she left her home world and the demands of her culture to find a heterosexual partner to produce children with.[12] Additionally, "Maxima" is revealed to be a titled rather than simply a name.

DC Rebirth

Superwoman

An older woman who resembles the more traditional Pre-Flashpoint version of the character in both appearance and personality briefly appeared as a villain and usurped the title. This version was a former Almeracian soldier serving the true Maxima's mother who was disappointed with the younger Maxima's reluctance in finding a male mate on account of her homosexuality. Believing her unworthy of the Maxima title and her royal heritage, the usuper would kidnap the younger woman and attempt to take her place. The older impostor was eventually defeated and imprisoned by the combined might of Supergirl, Superwoman and the real Maxima.[13]

Personality and motivations

Overall, the portrayal of Maxima varied by writer. In her appearances in the various Superman titles, Maxima was typically depicted as a haughty and shallow individual with only self-centered motivations, lacking any real depth as a character. By contrast, in her appearances in the comic book series Extreme Justice and Steel, Maxima was developed as an individual with a warrior's sense of honor and a strong countenance of noble pride that had its humorous moments in relation to other characters. This was evident during Extreme Justice #10 and #11, where Maxima hosted the bachelorette party for Captain Atom's fiancée, Plastique, wearing a stylish and elegant "red carpet" dress while everyone else wore jeans to the event that was held in the party room of a humble Tex-Mex restaurant. This occurred again in later issues of that series, where she is visibly uncomfortable from seeing newly joined members, Zan and Jayna, gorge themselves on junk food at a mall food court.

Powers and abilities

As a scion of the Blood Royale of Almerac, Maxima commands a vast array of immense psionic powers that come from selective breeding and years of gene therapy which she can utilize in a variety of ways. In her first face to face encounter with Superman[14] she displayed a high level of psionic powers, such as psychokinesis and seemingly hypnotic mind control. Maxima can use her psionic powers to give herself superhuman strength, enough to prove an effective opponent in hand-to-hand combat with a resurrected Superman or hold her own against the even stronger Doomsday. Maxima can increase her strength to an unlimited degree, pushing her past those in her tier. She also has enhanced stamina, as well as having such a degree of superhuman speed that she could easily move faster than the speed of light and proven herself to be able to keep up with speedsters such as the Flash.[14] Through skillful application of her psionic powers Maxima has been shown to emit powerful optical beams that can severely injure even Superman, take out Orion with one bolt, and she can create nearly impervious force fields. She is also capable of teleporting herself and others across vast distances, even from other worlds, which was demonstrated when she brought her adviser Sazu to Earth from a prison world. In the first battle with Doomsday in Adventures of Superman #498, Maxima is the only one in that incarnation of the Justice League besides Superman who was able to actually hurt and withstand blows from Doomsday. Her various abilities and powers make her a threat potentially for the entire Justice League.

Other versions

An alternate history where Superman marries Maxima after Lois dies was presented as an Elseworlds story[15] that was part of the Armageddon 2001 crossover in which Waverider looked at possible futures of DC characters.[15] In this scenario, Superman is overcome with grief from the death of his wife Lois Lane, after their unborn child causes her death from internal bleeding when it kicks in her womb. Apparently, even a half-Kryptonian child was too much for a normal Earth woman to bear. Blaming himself and grief-stricken, Superman exiles himself from Earth once again, and is ready to die in space when he comes across one of the many enemies of Almerac. He is saved by Maxima, who at this time is unwillingly engaged to the Krenon cyborg De'Cine. Following on the advice of her handmaiden Sazu, she pretends to become more tactful and 'nice' in order to win Superman's heart, but in the process, she truly falls in love with him. At the end, she and Superman leave Earth forever to protect it from a potential reprisal from the Krenon Empire after the death of De'Cine. As they leave, Maxima remarks what fine children they would have.

In other media

Television

Maxima in Superman: The Animated Series.

Film

Maxima appeared in the animated film DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games, but had no dialogue. She appears as a student from Korugar Academy competing in the Intergalactic Games.

Web series

Maxima debuted in DC Super Hero Girls episode "Tamaranean Dance Club Part 1". She appears with the rest of Korugar Academy.

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. 197. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 239–240. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  3. ^ Action Comics #652. DC Comics.
  4. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008). "Extreme Justice". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1. OCLC 213309017.
  5. ^ Underworld Unleashed #1-3 (Nov. - late Dec. 1995). DC Comics.
  6. ^ Superman: The Wedding Album, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #7. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #10 (March 1998). DC Comics.
  8. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #106. DC Comics.
  9. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #115. DC Comics.
  10. ^ Superman: The Man of Steel #117. DC Comics.
  11. ^ The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2004. p. 199. ISBN 0-7566-0592-X.
  12. ^ "Supergirl Adds Maxima to DC's LGBT List". Bleeding Cool. March 23, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  13. ^ Superwoman #14. DC Comics.
  14. ^ a b Action Comics #651
  15. ^ a b Adventures of Superman Annual #3. DC Comics.
  16. ^ Al Septien & Turi Meyer (writers) & James Conway (director) (2008-10-09). "Instinct". Smallville. Season 8. Episode 4. The CW.
  17. ^ "New Supergirl Synopsis Reveals Former WWE Diva Eve Torres is Maxima".