FIRST APPEARANCE: Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 (1971)
Outside of normal time and space exists the ‘Fourth World’, where resides the twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips. From these two planets hail the New Gods, a race of extraordinarily advanced beings.
The rise of these New Gods began many millennia ago, on the planet Urgrund; the ‘First World’, also known as GodWorld or Asgard (basically, DC’s variant of Norse myth, as the New Gods were originally created for Marvel comics).
This planet would become the ‘Second World’, as its inhabitants attained Godhood and began developing marvelous powers and technology. But this golden age would not last, and eventually, the God of Mischief started the war known as Ragnarok – the end of all things. In this battle for the heavens, the planet was torn asunder by an explosion of immense magnitude.
This explosion spread across the universe as the ‘Godwave’, a force that seeded planets such as Earth with enough power to produce its own Gods. This was known as the creation of the ‘Third World’. Urgrund itself was split in two, forming the aforementioned planets New Genesis and Apokolips. The inhabitants of these worlds also attained Godhood, with the former devoting themselves to peace and goodness, while the latter became a race of cruel and warlike beings.
Resisting the tyranny of Apokolips, the Gods of New Genesis became a prosperous people under the leadership of their ruler, Highfather, with many becoming heroes renowned across the cosmos.
Many of these heroes have at times travelled to Earth to aid the planet’s superheroes in fighting off threats, and as such, the Justice League is proud to count the likes of Mister Miracle and Big Barda as their allies.
While the New Gods do have enemies from across the Cosmos who are not confined to their evil number residing on Apokolips, few beings have plagued them (or, in fact, the entire universe) more than the leader of Apokolips.
Formerly known as Prince Uxas, the tyrant of Apokolips long had designs on taking the throne. However, despite his father having been lost to the Source Wall (the lining around the multiverse), his elder brother Drax and mother Heggra stood in his way. He would eventually fulfill his goal when his people located the ‘Omega Realm’ and his brother Drax prepared to connect with it and assume a more Godly persona. Uxas interrupted the process, however, taking the power of the ‘Omega Realm’ for himself, and in doing so became Darkseid, a powerful being who could traverse space and time, manipulate the mind and fire his ‘Omega Beams’ – energy blasted from his eyes that could teleport enemies to a place of his choosing or erase them from reality completely.
Darkseid has always shown a penchant for the corruption and dark schemes. His manipulations lead to one of New Genesis’ own being twisted into his dark advisor and confidant DeSaad. Similarly, a trade of firstborns with Highfather, meant to keep the peace between the two realms, instead gave Darkseid new outlets to induce pain. Subjugating Highfather’s son, Scott Free (Mister Miracle) to years of torment and cruelty, the only way for the young hero to survive was to develop skills as an escape artist. While on New Genesis, the knowledge that Darkseid is his father has proven to be torture enough for the great warrior Orion.
However, his greatest drive in life has been to find the ‘Anti-Life Equation’ – a mathematical formula that allows those who know it to dominate the will of sentient races. His pursuit of the Anti-Life equation has often lead him to the Planet Earth, where he has become a sworn foe of Superman and the heroes known as the Justice League.
Like all myths, the history of Darkseid has been subject to retelling and consequently, change. After The Flash changed the universe by travelling back in time, Darkseid became an even bigger threat. In this new reality, Darkseid came to power by manipulating the old Gods into war, and stealing their powers as they wittled out alongside Highfather, who was now his brother.
With these powers, he became an enemy of multiple universes, breaking numerous parallel Earth before he found his way to the universe where the likes of the (mainstream) Justice League resided – in fact, in this new universe, it was his attack on the planet that brought together the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquamn and Cyborg to form Earth’s premiere Super-Team.
He would later return to Earth to battle the League when chasing a new goal – instead of his focus on the ‘Anti-Life Equation’, Darkseid now searched the cosmos for his daughter, Grail, half New God, half Amazonian.
His quest brought only ruin, however, as his daughter manipulated him into a battle with the Anti-Monitor, destroyer of universes, and in the aftermath, Darkseid’s consciousness was transferred into the body of a baby.
While the likes of Mister Miracle and Orion still adventure on both New Genesis and the planet Earth, Darkseid, under the protection of his deceptive daughter Grail, slowly returns to to full strength, so he can once again plague the universe as he pursues greater power.
CURRENTLY APPEARS IN: Justice League Odyssey, Wonder Woman