"New Genesis is a stinking cosmic sewer. I have fouled paradise beyond repair and broken in the mire the shining cities of the gods. I have won! Is this vanity? Then I will remake the entire universe in the image of my soul, Desaad. And when at last I turn to look upon the eternal desolation I have wrought, I will see Darkseid, as in a mirror, and know what fear is."
Evil Overlord. Galactic Conqueror. Omnicidal Maniac. Physical God.None can even begin to describe Darkseid (pronounced dark-side) — Darkseid IS.A creation of Jack Kirby (though made famous by Legion of Super-Heroes writer Paul Levitz, in "The Great Darkness Saga"), Darkseid (birthname Uxas) stands tall among the New Gods, ruling dread Apokolips as he wages a constant war for control of the universe and possession of the Anti-Life Equation, which will allow him to either conquer the universe or destroy it, Depending on the Writer.First appearing in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 (December, 1970), Darkseid is a character within the Fourth World, a Jack Kirby series that was originally supposed to be self-contained and finite. However, Executive Meddling prevented the conclusion that Kirby originally intended, which would have killed most of the New Gods and ended their storylines, and Darkseid was drafted into the DCU at large along with the rest of the New Gods. Darkseid has served as the Big Bad for numerous DCU heroes and titles in the decades since his first appearance. Since Jack Kirby was never able to introduce the conclusion to the New Gods that he originally wanted, Darkseid has often drifted without clearly defined goals and roles within the DCU, and at times this results in rather drastic Badass Decay and Character Derailment when authors try to fit him into stories for which he was not originally intended. This led writer Grant Morrison to put an end of it in Final Crisis - a Crisis Crossover in which Darkseid not only regains his badassery and motives, but even manages to Take A Level In Badass and become a God of Evil, who's been killing entire Universes just by existing.Darkseid has been featured in several TV series after his comic introduction, primarily serving as an opponent to Superman while continuing his search for the Anti-Life Equation. These series include:
Young Justice hasn't featured the man himself, but Apokoliptian and New Genesis characters and technology have appeared in some episodes, so his presence is implied. He appeared in the season 2 finale, which turned out to be the series finale.
He's a hateful parent to all of his sons. He even killed his son Orion as part of his bid for conquering reality in Final Crisis. And Orion was the son he remotely had any respect for. His treatment of his other sons is even worse.
Darkseid's own parents weren't exactly Mother and Father of the Year either. His mother had the only woman he ever loved poisoned, and his father is arguably even worse than he is (but, thankfully, completely uninterested in anything except the Source itself).
Always a Bigger Fish: There are only two beings he's afraid of - dear old Daddy Yuga Khan, the only being in Creation even worse than he, and the monster Doomsday, who kicked his ass with ease.
Except he really just kicked the ass of an avatar, and partly because Darkseid met Doomsday once when he was much younger and far, far weaker, and was left with a crippling fear of the creature. Nowadays that fear is gone, and the real Darkseid was far more powerful than Doomsday even back then.
In a more meta-case, while he is often considered to be, and was actually designed to be, the ultimate evil for the DC Universe, there are a few villains who overshadow him in terms of scope, power, or influence, such as the Anti-Monitor, Nekron, Imperiex, arguably Krona, and Mandrakk, the latter of whom played Darkseid like a fiddle without the latter even knowing about it. Darkseid is certainly more evil than any of them, though, and still manages to remain one of the ultimate villains for the verse.
In Evan Dorkin's one-shot, "World's Funnest", Darkseid is comprehensively defeated by Mr. Mxyzptlk (with a little inadvertent help from Bat Mite). The Omega Beam does nothing more than provide Mxy with a handy light for his cigar.
"Thanks for the light, Frankenstein. Now it's MY turn."
In a Crossover with Marvel named "The Hunger" he has also been stomped by (a hungry, thus weakened) Galactus.
Arch-Enemy: Orion and Highfather in the "New Gods" stories. Superman in everything else. Appropriately enough, it's Superman who lands the killing blow on him in Final Crisis when he destroys what's left of Darkseid's consciousness.
Ax-Crazy: Darkseid is a simmering volcano of rage and bloodlust just waiting to go off at the slightest provocation. Only a great deal of self-control keeps him from slaughtering his own people on a whim — more than usual anyway. His son Orion inherited the bloodlust but lacks the control and needs a Mother Box to keep himself in check. The few times Orion is separated from his Mother Box he lives up to his title of "Dog of War" and literally foams at the mouth with bloodlust.
"I. Am. The. New. God. All is one in Darkseid. This mighty body is my church. When I command your surrender, I speak with three billion voices. When I make a fist to crush your resistance. It is with three billion hands. When I stare into your eyes and shatter your dreams. And break your heart. It is with six billion eyes. Nothing like Darkseid has ever come among you; nothing will again. I will take you to a hell without exit or end. And there I will murder your souls! And make you crawl and beg! And die! Die! DIE FOR DARKSEID!"
Let's not forget
"I am the revelation! The Tiger-Force at the core of all things! When you cry out in your dreams it is Darkseid that you see!"
Or the simpler
"There was a war in heaven. I won."
There is possible justification in his Darkseid is!. The name of Judeo-Christian God means "I am". Compare the two and think of it.
On his first appearance on Superman: The Animated Series, he answers Superman's "Who are you?" by blasting him to his knees and walking away. On his second, he easily defeats Superman and presents him, bound and exhausted (both physically and mentally), in the center of Metropolis, while addressing every single person on the planet: "People of Earth, I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips! Here is your savior, cowed and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the cosmos. I am power unlike any you have ever known: absolute, infinite, and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare as a long dark future as my subjects and my slaves."
"I am many things, Kal-El. You couldn't even begin to imagine half of them. But for now, I shall take the role of the executioner."
"Let the universe howl in despair, for I have returned!"
Say what you will about the Smallville but he's good at these too: "Are you sure you can win against me? You know what I am. You know the doubt in your heart. You so-called heroes are false gods, all of you, and when people stop believing in you, you'll shatter like glass."
Badass: Darkseid is, without a doubt, one of the most evil beings in all of comics but this does not make him any less of a badass (when he's written correctly). He's one of the only villains who can take on Superman in a fight and his incredible intelligence makes him even more dangerous. When he shows up, it's likely going to take an enormous effort to bring him down.
Badass Santa: Santa Claus broke through the heavy defenses of Apokalips just to give Darkseid a lump of coal. As the rest of this page demonstrates, Darkseid really, really, really deserved that lump of coal.
Brilliant but Lazy: In spite of his incredible power and intelligence, he leaves the day to day running of Apokalips to his underling, Desaad. Darkseid's more content to lounge on his throne and commission statues of himself.
Cain and Abel: Darkseid killed his older brother to claim the Omega Effect for himself.
Captain Ersatz/Expy: A curious case. Marvel Comics' Thanos is an intentional rip-off of Darkseid — his creator has admitted it. He would then later create the Superman villain Mongul, who is obviously based on Thanos.
Darkseid: If you won't be my knight, you will be my pawn.
The Corrupter: As the God of Evil, Darkseid dabbles in this from time to time. His greatest success was turning an innocent little boy into the twisted Mad Scientist Desaad.
Again, in Smallville this is his modus operandi and his ultimate goal for the entire planet Earth, since he can only possess people with darkness in their hearts.
Crapsack World: Apokolips, where the lowest slaves are kept in constant fear of torture, the highest commanders are kept in constant fear of Darkseid.
Crazy-Prepared: Remember how Darkseid used the Omega Sanction on Batman? Well, just in case his plan in Final Crisis failed, he would get his final revenge on Earth by sending Batman to the Stone Age and letting him get reincarnated over and over again, building up Omega energy in his body with each cycle. When he finally reaches the present... Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Fortunately, the heroes figured it out and saved the day.
Depower: In the Justice League Beyond comics that take place after UnlimitedDarkseid loses his sight and his Omega Force after gazing directly into the Source.
Dimension Lord: Apokolips and New Genesis occupy a different dimension.
Disappeared Dad: Darkseid's father Yuga Khan got himself stuck on the Source Wall for thousands of years. When he eventually freed himself, he immediately took back his throne from his son. Then he tried to invade the Source again and got re-imprisoned for his efforts.
Dystopia Justifies the Means: The Trope Codifier. Darkseids ultimate goal is to use the Anti-Life Equation to rob everyone in the universe of happiness and free will, turning them into nihilistic, despairful mind-slaves whose only purpose in life will be to worship him. Apokolips itself is a kind of hellish space-age Greco-Roman world where the majority of the populace exist as slaves working to build a neverending supply of monuments to him; on the rare occasions when they rebel, Darkseid simply makes those slaves the new slavemasters and due to a lifetime of conditioning they are just as petty and cruel as their predecessors.
Subverted when one of his concubines recognizes his Hidden Depths. He promptly kills her because she found them, and no one must see Darkseid's emotional weakness.
Even Evil Has Standards: Even when you're the god of evil, you have to draw the line at Sleez hypnotizing people so he could film sex tapes with them. Possibly not because it was too evil but because it was too petty.
Though he did take the time to show Sleez's porno of Big Barda to her husband Mister Miracle.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He really can't. Justified since he was born evil and grew up surrounded by nothing but evil. This guy honestly thinks that sometimes letting his enemies live a life of free will is a punishment (see Villains Dying Grace below).
Depending on the Writer, anyway. His Evil Plan before the start of the Fourth World series played heavily on Highfather's desire for peace, and allowed Darkseid plenty of time to prepare for the full war he always intended, and all it cost him was a son.
This was Kirby's intent when designing Darkseid, which makes later Villain Decay much less forgivable. Kirby's express purpose for Darkseid's place in the DCU was as its ultimate evil, implacable and cruel, so that if he ever truly unleashed his full might, the DCU would be forced to ally against him. While this hasn't always worked out into good stories, it's worth noting that Darkseid is to date one of exactly two of DC's Crisis Crossover event antagonists to have had multiple crossovers with him in a primary role, with Darkseid being the primary or biggest name villain in each of Legends, Genesis, Our Worlds At War, and Final Crisis, while having significant appearances in several others. The other guy? The Anti-Monitor, whom Darkseid significantly weakened in the Crisis, and who spent his second crossover appearance trapped inside Nekron's power battery.
Evil Uncle: Subverted with Darkseid's uncle Steppenwolf. While Steppenwolf is an evil bastard, he is also a loyal evil bastard. That, and Darkseid is exponentially more powerful and evil than Steppenwolf.
Also worth remembering that Steppenwolf is one of the few evil New Gods not particularly interested in ruling Apokalips, preferring his hunts and idle leisure. He opposed Darkseid's ascent less out of desire to reign than out of principle that someone could take something from him.
Batman: You tricked Brainiac into freeing you from your extra-dimensional prison.
Darkseid: I promised him he would unleash power beyond imagining. I fulfilled our bargain. To the letter.
Zatanna: Yeah, and he was also promised great knowledge.
Darkseid: And I delivered. What higher lesson is there than is this: Never trust Darkseid.
Eye Beams: The Omega Beam homes in on his targets, chasing them relentlessly, bending and curving around obstacles, until they finally hit. Only Batman has ever been enough of a grade-A badass to dodge one, and even then he had to maneuver a Parademon to take the hit to completely avoid it. Victims are typically vaporized, although Nigh Invulnerable folks like Superman can get away with third degree burns. A variant of his technique, the Omega Sanction, traps whoever it hits in a neverending cycle of death and rebirth, with each life worse than the last.
The effectiveness of Darkseid's Omega Beams are also perhaps the greatest indicator of the degree of Villain Decay he has suffered at a given time. Originally they were absolutely accurate and relentless, being not only able to change their own trajectory but could warp through space to hit their target, and they didn't simply vaporize targets but erased them from existence. As Darkseid became more popular as a villain making more appearances and fought more heroes his powers were downplayed as they'd be too much of a Game Breaker in most situations or if writers simply forgot. Perhaps the lowest point is in Countdown to Final Crisis, where Mary Marvel blocks the beams with her bare arms with no damage done and Darkseid makes a horribly inaccurate shot at Superman which doesn't even bend but hits the ground.
Darkseid has successfully teleported Superman with his beams, but for some reason whenever he tries to kill Superman he never thinks of teleporting him into, say, a red star or a black hole, preferring Good Old Fisticuffs instead.
To miss with Eye Beams implies that he failed an attempt to look directly at a relatively large person.
Fate Worse Than Death: Life on a hellish Death World under the heel of an immortal evil tyrant with the power to kill and resurrect people on a whim isn't exactly fun for anybody. Fortunately for his subjects most of them are too fanatically loyal to care.
Also the point of the Omega Sanction, which forces the target to live a series of increasingly more pointless and soul-breaking lives. Mister Miracle escaped because he's the world's greatest escape artist, and Batman because he's, y'know. Batman.
Fighting a Shadow: If you think you've beaten Darkseid, you've probably just beaten one of his avatars. The real Darkseid spent much of his life stuck in the Source Wall, but didn't let this stop him from ruling his planet. The Avatars are aware they are not the real deal and consider themselves subordinate to him, though above everyone else of course. This isn't always remembered in the stories, though its actually been part of the character for quite a while.
Foil: While Superman and Orion are traditionally shown as Darkseid's arch-enemies, Jack Kirby designed Mister Miracle/Scott Free to be his complete opposite. Scott Free is explicitly not only immune to every effort by Darkseid to break his spirit, one such attempt backfired horribly, leading to the most powerful Female Fury defecting from Darkseid and marrying Free. As his name implies, too, Scott Free's life has been about embracing freedom, and especially from Darkseid's reign. Kirby designed both characters to embody opposing ideals, but never had them directly oppose each other.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Forever Evil reveals his new origin in The New 52. Many millennia ago, Uxas was an ordinary mudfarmer, who put the Old Gods against each other, and when they were weakened by their war he took the opportunity to kill them and take their power for himself. Izaya was married to Darkseid sister, who got critically hurt during the old gods war with each other and he beg his god to save her. Due to Izaya still had faith, The Lord of The Sky passes on one final blessing to him. Since then, Izaya was the Highfather and him and Darkseid were The New Gods.
Galactic Conqueror: Across countless worlds, for countless eons, not a voice is raised in hope or joy. Across these worlds, these infinite lands throughout the cosmos, there is only Darkseid.
A God Am I: Rather justified, as he is one of the New Gods that arose after the destruction of the Old Gods in Ragnarok. Darkseid takes it even further. It's not enough that he is a god, he considers himself to be the God.
God of Gods: It's often forgotten that nearly all of Darkseid's senior minions and citizens- Desaad, Granny Goodness and the rest- are all technically gods in their own right, being members of the New Gods race. Darkseid however has made himself God unto even them, and can back it up too as he possesses far greater strength and power, with a chasm of difference between him and whoever his nearest rival would be.
Happiness in Slavery: Most of Darkseid's subjects revere him so much that they honestly don't care about the crap he puts them through every single day. The others are (quite rightly) too scared to do anything about it. Superman underestimated this once when he physically defeated Darkseid only to see his slaves rescue him.
Probably less happiness in slavery than dependance in slavery. Happiness has no place in the world of Darkseid; indeed he goes out of his way to make everyone as miserable as possible.
It's All About Me: An example- In a crossover with Marvel Comics, Galactus tried to take over Apokolips. After a long battle between two of the most powerful beings in comics, Galactus triumphed and began to eat the planet. Only then he realized there was no life force in Apokolips to feed on. So he asks Darkseid why he fought so hard and tooth and nail, sacrificing legions of his troops, despite knowing the fact Galactus wasn't actually a threat. Darkseid says, basically, "It's What I Do", and then gives a Not So Different to Galactus: both of them are slaves to their nature.
Jerk Ass: It's pretty rough when the ruler of your entire planet who also fancies himself a god is a douchebag to boot.
Large and in Charge: Darkseid is one of the tallest New Gods on either world, perhaps the tallest. But theres another element to this- Boom Tubes adjust the size of whoever is traveling in them so that they shrink or grow to fit the normal size of the average humanoid on whatever planet they are traveling to. Apokolips and New Genesis are about a billion times bigger than Earth or many other planets, and Darkseid or any other New God is in his naturally size is big enough to hold one of these ordinary sized planets in one hand.
Laser-Guided Karma: Darkseid's corruption of Desaad eventually leads to the death of the only woman Darkseid ever truly loved.
Love Redeems: This almost happened to him when he fell in love with Hot Scientist Suli. His mother Heggra had Desaad poison her to put an end to that. Darkseid would later return the favor with (ironically enough) Desaad's aid. The only remnant of this past love is Darkseid's relative leniency with his and Suli's son Kalibak. Yeah, Darkseid will brutalize and vaporize Kalibak just like any other minion, but he'll also always bring him back to give him another chance — eventually.
He actually took the name from old Apokoliptian writings, as the New Gods choose a new name for themselves once they reach a certain "godly" level. We're not told exactly what Darkseid means... only that it's the most feared and evil name out of all the thousands that Uxas could have chosen.
Oh Crap: Gives one when Barry Allen and Wally West lead The Black Racer to him.
Provokes one in his Badass Boast, above, and earlier when the JLA visits an alternate future where they sacrificed the Maguffin to stop Lex Luthor from having it. It's so bleak that the surviving heroes happily destroy the universe just to be absolutely sure they're killing Darkseid, too.
In the series detailing Doomsday's origin story, he has one when he realizes Doomsday is nigh-indestructible.
Omnicidal Maniac: As he never tires of telling everyone who will listen (And even those who won't), he will tear down the current universe to rebuild in his own image, and he will destroy everything to make it happen.
Parental Favoritism: Out of his three sons, he only shows respect towards Orion, but only because he's the strongest and most competent of the three.
He might be both a Sufficiently Advanced Alien and a Supernatural Deity at the same time, considering how the Belief, Magic, and such works in the DC Multiverse.
Power Copying: Darkseid is vastly more powerful than all other New Gods, for two reasons- first, the Omega Force, an evil energy that he and only he is wicked enough to contain, which he stole for himself; and second, waging war on the pantheons of other worlds, slaying those gods, and stealing all of their powers for himself. He tried to do the same to the Olympian pantheon at least once as well, but was beaten back before that Evil Plan could be completed.
Psychotic Smirk: As long as he keeps his self-control, this is the extent of emotion he shows normally.
Rage Against the Heavens: His Start of Darkness, according to the New 52. The reason the Old Gods are dead? Uxas got pissed at them constantly amusing themselves by fighting and causing massive collateral damage to the mortals like him who lived at their feet, so he killed them all and stole their power, becoming Darkseid.
Superman:The images they pumped into my brain. The death and torture Darkseid's spread across a... multiverse. I think I saw... me.
Religion of Evil: The Church of Crime, complete with "Crime Bible," the belief system of Intergang, Libra, and other disreputable sorts, is secretly backed by Darkseid. Also, "would you like to be free of choice, uncertainty, fear, pain, and confusion?" "Oh, Suzy...that would make me so happy!"
Darkseid is himself the focus of his own Religion of Evil. All of Apokolips revolves around the eternal worship of him, and he is pretty up front about the fact that he is a God of Evil so virtues like compassion, peace, joy and the rest are actively stamped out in it. He's also worshipped by other beings throughout the cosmos, most notably Malefic, Evil Counterpart and brother of the Martian Manhunter.
Really Gets Around: Seriously, and a decidedly dark take on the concept. Darkseid has three sons that we know of and each were born from different mothers but there it has been stated that he has even more children scattered throughout the cosmos. There has also been at least two women Darkseid has taken as mistresses but it is doubtful they are the only ones. Furthermore, he has killed or ordered the killing of at least two of those women.
Sufficiently Advanced Alien: He uses technology and science (Well, comic-book science) for his powers, but there are few who dare tell him that they are not advanced enough.
In an issue of Swamp Thing, he chastises Metron, New God of Science, for ignoring magic, and proposes alliances with magical heroes and villains in Cosmic Odyssey. This implies Darkseid's familiar with magic, he just prefers his own methods.
Touched by Vorlons: Darkseid wasn't born with the Omega Effect. He killed the rightful bearer — his own brother — for it.
Tranquil Fury: Darkseid embodies this. He is every bit as bloodthirsty and Ax-Crazy as his most vicious minions (if not more). Yet he hardly ever raises his voice except to give grand speeches. He just calmly makes absolutely certain that his enemies suffer and die. It's rare indeed to see someone send Darkseid into Unstoppable Rage. Batman had a Moment of Awesome when he made Darkseid have a minor Villainous Breakdown (and got pummelled for it) by threatening to blow up Apokolips and revealing that he had the means to do it.
In the DCAU, this sets up a Crowning Momentof Awesome for Darkseid. Throughout Superman's series, Darkseid relied primarily on his minions for his dirty work, and often simply observes them, hands clasped behind his back and seemingly passive. Then Superman punches Darkseid... and Darkseid not only takes it, he proceeds to give the only Curb-Stomp Battle in the series with Superman on the receiving end. Superman only barely survives by a desperation move that hurts both of them so much that the fight cannot continue.
Later on, however, Superman returns the favor and beats Darkseid to a bloody pulp. And successfully kills him. Dang near sticks, too.
Undying Loyalty: With very few exceptions, most of the inhabitants of Apokolips fanatically worship Darkseid, even the downtrodden Lowlies. One of those exceptions is Desaad, whose loyalty to Darkseid is based entirely on his fear of the tyrant. Desaad is still very loyal to Darkseid because Darkseid is just that terrifying.
This is best shown in the finale of Superman: The Animated Series. Superman has Darkseid beaten to a bloody pulp, and tosses him to the mercies of his slaves... who pick him and carry him off to be healed.
"I am many things, Kal-El. But here, I am God."
The Unfavorite: Darkseid hates all three of his sons, but he hates the youngest, Grayven, most of all.
Villainous Breakdown: When Batman forced Darkseid to release Supergirl by threatening to blow up Apokolips (and proving to Darkseid that he wasn't bluffing), Darkseid didn't take it very well. He vented his frustration by beating the crap out of Batman (who only survived thanks to a Mother Box) before giving into Batman's terms.
Darkseid had an even bigger one during the Our Worlds At War event after Wonder Woman and Raven restored his powers, and did it in such a way that a bit of Wonder Woman's inherent love and compassion found its way into Darkseid's soul. Darkseid could only howl in impotent fury when he realized that Wonder Woman had hurt him in the worst way possible.
Villains Dying Grace: Sometimes, Darkseid sentenced his enemies to... the torment of life as a being with free will. He even turned Young Justice's Secret back to a normal human girl as a form of this once she betrayed him.
However if you go meta, he gets his revenge anyway, as writers soon forgot about her (and might as well never existed).
The application of this varies, of course. The Suicide Squad earned this once he realized they dared to invade Apokalips, but the survivors were pretty much made of Survivor Guilt from then on, most notably with Amanda Waller, who's become borderline suicidal with some of her risktaking since. Similarly, in the DCAU, this is Darkseid's vengeance on Superman at the end of his series, with implications that humanity never wholly trusts Superman again. Unlike in mainstream continuity, this does last in DCAU, and leads to one of Superman's closest friends in his series to join Project Cadmus in JLAU.
The Worf Effect: A subverted one. Darkseid sometimes succumbs to this when writers want to show that their new villain means business. Doomsday, Imperiex, the Anti-Monitor, and Brainiac 13 have all threatened and (in Doomsday's case) frightened the God of Evil. It's a subversion since Darkseid did play a critical role in eventually defeating them all.
Curiously, the Trope Namer is also a subversion. While Superman initially appears to have the upper hand, Darkseid simply changes tactics, effortlessly incapacitating him. Of course, this could be seen as a Desperation Attack on Darkseid's part.
Another case of Depending on the Writer: Sometimes this is an honest reward (would YOU like to continue working for someone like this?), and sometimes, Darkseid promotes or otherwise favors his lieutenant, such as with Granny Goodness.
Being thrown off a cliff for succeeding is actually the best outcome you can hope for when working for Darkseid. And you get to live the longest amount of time too. Considering what he does to those who fail him, you best not screw things up.