Steppenwolf
Steppenwolf Earth 2 1.png
Steppenwolf in Earth 2 #1 (July 2012).
Art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceNew Gods #7 (February 1972)
Created byJack Kirby
In-story information
SpeciesNew God
Place of originApokolips
Team affiliationsDarkseid's Elite
Notable aliasesGeneral of Apokolips
Abilities
  • Armor with the capability of reshaping itself
  • Enhanced superhuman strength, agility and endurance
  • Exceptional warrior and military leader
  • Wields nigh-indestructible Electro-Axe

Steppenwolf (German for "Steppe wolf") is a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer-artist Jack Kirby, the character is introduced in New Gods #7 (February 1972).[1] A New God and military general from the planet Apokolips, Steppenwolf is the brother of Heggra and therefore the maternal uncle of Darkseid. He is commonly depicted as Darkseid's subordinate, commanding his nephew's army of Parademons in conflicts against Superman and the Justice League.

The character is featured in the DC Extended Universe and made his live-action debut in the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with the use of computer-generated imagery, before being portrayed through motion capture by Ciarán Hinds in both the theatrical release and the director's cut of Justice League.

Fictional character biography

Steppenwolf is a New God who is the younger brother of Heggra (Darkseid's mother) and the uncle of Uxas (Darkseid). He is also a member of Darkseid's Elite. He leads the military forces of Apokolips and rides hounds bred for battle.

Steppenwolf is one of the earliest survivors of Doomsday, the monster who once killed Superman. Two hundred forty-five thousand years ago, Steppenwolf takes an Apokoliptian shuttle with Darkseid, Master Mayhem and a small crew to the planet of Bylan 5. The planet holds delicate natural materials Apokolips needs for weaponry, material which would be destroyed in the event of an invasion. The forcible marriage of Darkseid to the planet's princess comes to an end when Doomsday attacks. Master Mayhem is swiftly torn apart. Darkseid ignores Steppenwolf's orders to use omega beams and engages the creature in hand-to-hand combat. Steppenwolf sees that the destruction that has been wrought has doomed the planet, and all who live on it. He teleports Darkseid out of harm's way, agreeing with Darkseid not to mention this to anyone. Doomsday escapes by stowing away on the Apokoliptian shuttle.[2]

Most of Steppenwolf's appearances under the pen of Jack Kirby are in flashbacks. His debut, in New Gods #7, was a flashback story in which he helps Darkseid murder the wife of Darkseid's hated rival, Highfather. Highfather later tracks down and kills Steppenwolf in retaliation, and the murder reignites the war between the two sides.[3] However, Steppenwolf appeared in the seemingly non-canon (despite Jack Kirby's involvement) Super Powers (1985) mini-series, and his entry in Who's Who in the DC Universe clarified that he had been resurrected by Apokoliptian technology.[4]

Steppenwolf appears when Mister Miracle (Scott Free) gains godlike powers over life and death. Steppenwolf torments him over his role in killing Scott's mother (or alleged mother figure as is claimed) and in return is physically tortured. Free ends up healing him, instead of killing him as he desires. He is sent away with Darkseid's legions.[5]

He is seen in New Gods (vol. 2) #6, with a new costume (a Kirby redesign for the figure's Super Powers action figure). Though considered a "mockery", Steppenwolf is given the job of running Darkseid's military forces. He is later seen fighting the Flash (Barry Allen) and the Justice League of America.[6]

In Terror Titans #2, Steppenwolf appears as a member of the board of the Dark Side Club. He is killed by Clock King, who was using the club for gladiator fights and cruel amusements.

The New 52

With The New 52 reboot that followed the 2011 Flashpoint limited series, a new version of Earth-2 (home of the Justice Society of America) is introduced. In the continuity of that parallel world, Steppenwolf leads a massive invasion of the planet by Darkseid's parademons. Earth's heroes successfully repel the invaders, but that world's Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are killed in battle.[7] Five years later, Steppenwolf is apparently hiding on Earth-2, and there is a $300 million reward for him. He is eventually killed by Bizarro, whom Steppenwolf had employed as a soldier and indoctrinated into fighting for Apokolips.

Steppenwolf also appears briefly in an issue of Justice League within The New 52. He participates in the torture of Superman on the Prime Earth.[8] Steppenwolf is seen as support for Darkseid when he moves to attack the Anti-Monitor.[9]

Powers and abilities

Steppenwolf is an immortal with vast superhuman strength, endurance and speed, capable of lifting about 10,000 tons and jumping huge distances easily. He has superhuman reflexes and a high degree of invulnerability, which increases with his battle armor and allows him to resist most physical and energetic attacks.

He is an experienced military leader, having served as the head of Apokolips's armed forces, and when going into battle personally often commands units of the dog cavalry — warriors riding enormous dogs, known for the carnage and mass deaths he causes when he leads forces.

Steppenwolf wields several weapons, including a cable-snare in which he can entrap opponents and from which he can fire lethal radion beams. His main weapon is his electro-axe. He is a master swordsman and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant forged in hundreds of battles.

In other media

Television

Steppenwolf as seen in Superman: The Animated Series
Steppenwolf as seen in Superman: The Animated Series

Film

DC Extended Universe

Steppenwolf in the theatrically-released Justice League (top) and in Zack Snyder's Justice League director's cut (bottom).
Steppenwolf in the theatrically-released Justice League (top) and in Zack Snyder's Justice League director's cut (bottom).

Main article: Steppenwolf (DC Extended Universe)

Video games

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. 288. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Doomsday: Year One Annual
  3. ^ New Gods #7
  4. ^ Who's Who in the DC Universe #22
  5. ^ Mister Miracle (vol. 3) #4 (July 1996)
  6. ^ The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #9
  7. ^ Earth-2 #1 (July 2012)
  8. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #6 (April 2012)
  9. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #43–45 (2015)
  10. ^ Kendrick, Ben (June 21, 2016). "Justice League Movie Villain is Steppenwolf Not Darkseid". Screenrant.com. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  11. ^ Muncy, Julie (October 8, 2017). "The Shadow of Superman Looms Large in New Justice League Trailer." Gizmodo. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  12. ^ Mottram, James (March 29, 2017). "Ciaran Hinds on Bleed for This, playing a supervillain in Justice League and asking old friend Liam Neeson for motion-capture performance tips". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-25. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  13. ^ "Ciarán Hinds Not Happy With the Theatrical Cut of Justice League – DC Comics Movie". Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  14. ^ Gunning, Cathal (2020-11-24). "Zack Snyder's New Steppenwolf Design Fixes Justice League's Biggest Issue". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  15. ^ Laman, Douglas (July 5, 2020). "Zack Snyder Confirms Steppenwolf's Original Design for HBO Max Cut". CBR.com. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved November 3, 2020. Zack Snyder has confirmed that his forthcoming cut of Justice League will feature the original design of the film's villain, Steppenwolf.
  16. ^ Maverick, Myck (27 March 2021). "Justice League: 10 Ways The Snyder Cut Saved Steppenwolf". ComicBook Cast. Retrieved April 12, 2021.