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An Epic for Our Times!

"There came a time when the Old Gods died! The brave died with the cunning! The noble perished, locked in battle with the unleashed evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust! The final moment came with the fatal release of the indescribable power — which tore the home of the Old Gods asunder — split it in great halves — and filled the universe with the blinding death-flash of its destruction! In the end there were two giant molten bodies, spinning slow and barren — clean of all that had gone before — adrift in the fading sounds of cosmic thunder... Silence closed upon what had happened — a long, deep silence — wrapped in massive darkness... it was this way for an age... THEN—THERE WAS NEW LIGHT!"
— The epilogue at the beginning of the first issue of New Gods

Jack Kirby's meta-series where he developed an entire cosmic mythology involving the New Gods of the utopia of New Genesis and the dystopia of Apokolips. Collectively, they were called The Fourth World.

New Genesis and Apokolips were once one planet, but were split apart during the Old Gods' Ragnarok. New Genesis is ruled by the benevolent Highfather, while Apokolips is kept in the rocky fist of Darkseid. Before the beginning of the series, there was "The Pact," where to keep the peace between Apokolips and New Genesis, Highfather and Darkseid trade sons. Darkseid's son, Orion (the one on the left in the page image), grows up to wield the "Astro-Force" and knows that he is destined to kill Darkseid in battle. Darkseid, in turn, raises Scott Free, who rebels against him and becomes Mister Miracle (and ends up marrying Big Barda, a reformed former member of Darkseid's Female Furies).

Other characters on New Genesis include: Lightray, Orion's cheerful and optimistic friend; Forager, one of the evolved bug people of New Genesisnote ; and the Forever People, essentially hippies FROM SPACE.

Other characters on Apokolips include: Desaad, Darkseid's chief Torture Technician and dirty old man; Granny Goodness, who specializes in brainwashing people and having the evil Female Furies; Kalibak, Darkseid's other son and second-in-command; and Parademons.

Then there are Metron, a neutral figure if there ever was one, and the Black Racer, Death on skis.

Other concepts of note include the Source, an ancient metaphysical energy-thingy that's connected to the Source Wall; Mother Boxes, living magical computers that some of the New Gods have; Boom Tubes, teleportation tunnels by which the New Gods travel through space in a degree of minutes; and the Anti-Life Equation, which Darkseid is forever seeking.

The original Fourth World books were:

It may be also important to note that the New Gods was abruptly canceled before Kirby could finish it, in part because only Mister Miracle caught on with readers (and even then got canceled several issues later). The New Gods and Mr Miracle were revived in the late '70s by DC, minus Kirby's involvement, and continued the original numbering but were cancelled in the "Great DC Implosion", with New Gods' last issues being published in "Adventure Comics" (as well as an arc on "Justice League of America" designed to bring Darkseid back).

Kirby was brought back to give his own official ending to the franchise, as part of a deluxe format reprinting of the eleven issues of New Gods that Kirby produced, but the whole thing fell apart due to editorial interference (Kirby was forbidden from killing Darkseid and Orion off... maybe, some sources say otherwise). What ultimately came about was a new story called "Even Gods Must Die", which was a lead-in to the graphic novel "The Hunger Dogs", which suffered extensive executive meddling but offered a semi-decent ending to the series as Kirby (per DC's demands) ended his story with Darkseid overthrown by his slaves.

Later writers revived the characters and concepts, though with a great deal of decay in concept as only Darkseid and Mister Miracle caught on with fans (with Orion and Big Barda tagging along). These stories included the original 1970's Secret Society of Super-Villains, The Great Darkness Saga, Rock of Ages, Legends, Cosmic Odyssey, Genesis, Seven Soldiers of Victory (2005), The Death of the New Gods, Countdown to Final Crisis, and finally Final Crisis, which slammed the door on the New Gods once and for all, while giving Darkseid a hell of a send-off as the Villain Decay got shrugged off of him on his way out the door. However, after the New 52, they were all (presumably) brought back to life thanks to Cosmic Retcon. Darkseid serves as, of all things, the Starter Villain for the Justice League, and his invasion of Earth is what leads to their formation. Fittingly, he also served as the final villain of that particular Justice League run, in the "Darkseid War" story arc.

Before that though, when Kenner Toys had the Super Powers toyline in the 1980s, they used a number of Kirby's New Gods characters as action figures and Kirby finally got some sort of a direct payoff for his creativity. He also contributed to the tie-in comic, and it even seems roughly in continuity with his original stories.

Some of the characters (Orion, Scott Free, Big Barda) were brought in for the Kingdom Come story (after all, who wasn't?).

Mister Miracle, Barda, Oberon, Lightray, and Orion have all served in the Justice League of America at various times.

Because Jimmy Olsen was one of the original Fourth World books, and Superman guest stars in the first issue of The Forever People, the whole New Gods saga has had close ties to Superman since the beginning, and the 1990's Superman: The Animated Series firmly cemented the two mythoi together. These days, Darkseid tends to be depicted fighting Superman and/or the Justice League more often than he is shown fighting Orion.

Characters from the Fourth World have been featured in several DC adaptations; usually those involving Superman.

  • Super Friends - The final two seasons had Darkseid, along with several of his usual underlings, as major recurring villains. Nobody from New Genesis ever appears, though (especially odd since New Genesis characters like Orion and Mr. Miracle appeared in the Super Powers toyline the show was supposed to be tying in with).
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Superman: The Animated Series - Superman's dealings with Apokolips and New Genesis forms the major Myth Arc of the show.
    • Justice League and Justice League Unlimited - Continuing from Superman: The Animated Series, characters from the comics appear scattered across various episodes, proving to be among the most difficult for the characters to deal with.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Smallville - Forms the Myth Arc of season 10, though with much alteration in concept.
  • Justice League: War - An Origin Story for the Justice League as they have to deal with an invasion from Apokolips. Like the comics, it connects the origin of Cyborg to Mother Box technology along with a mixture of other advanced technology.
  • Young Justice (2010) - Features sporadic appearances by New Genesis and Apokolips residents and technology, beginning with an episode dedicated to the Forever People. Darkseid is eventually revealed as the overarching villain in the second season. The third delves into Mother Box and Father Box technology, while the fourth fully introduces New Genesis.
  • Justice League Action - The Justice League confront Apokoliptians in several episodes, and Mister Miracle and Big Barda play a central role in one episode.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Darkseid's omega symbol is seen in Batman's Bad Future nightmare, a Mother Box rebuilds a crippled Victor Stone into Cyborg, and a hologram of Steppenwolf is seen in the Ultimate Edition.
    • Wonder Woman - In a home video-only post-credits scene, Etta Candy gathers Steve Trevor's teammates to go on a secret mission to obtain a Mother Box (the one that would create Cyborg one century later).
    • Justice League - Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) is the Big Bad. His scheme is to find the three Mother Boxes scattered around the Earth to perform Hostile Terraforming on the planet, and the Justice League gathers to stop him. Darkseid is mentioned and it's presumably him who beams Steppenwolf back on Apokolips with a Boom Tube.
      • Zack Snyder's Justice League, a restoration of the original film, features Darkseid (voiced by Ray Porter) as well as several of the Apokoliptians in addition to Steppenwolf (whose design is revamped) including DeSaad (voiced by Peter Guinness), expanding their lore in the DCEU. The Bad Future from Batman v Superman is also shown once again.

This meta-series includes:

  • Above Good and Evil: Metron doesn't take any side, though it doesn't stop him from aiding the good guys against Darkseid any chance he gets. The main reason he's considered neutral is because in the early days of the war, he helped Darkseid develop boom tube technology, in exchange for the raw materials he needed for his Moebius Chair. Since then, he's mainly been aiding the good guys, though he's worked with Darkseid on occasion as well, despite Darkseid never making any secret of what fate he intends for Metron. It's partly that Metron's primary motivation is For Science!, and partly because Darkseid and Metron have few intellectual equals who can stand them for long.
  • Above the Gods: The Source. The New Gods may be a race of literal gods, but the Source created the New Gods and the universe itself, and remains virtually inaccessible beyond the Source Wall.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Depending on the Writer, the population of Apokolips is born evil. This is implicitly not the case in Kirby's original conception, though - rather they're almost hopelessly brainwashed by the brutality of Darkseid's regime. Much like Tolkien, it seems Kirby was uncomfortable with the idea of an irretrievably Always Chaotic Evil people, and so The Power of Love trumps Darkseid's conditioning every time.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Female Furies are women who were trained by Granny Goodness to be Apokolips' elite strike force.
  • Amazonian Beauty:
    • Big Barda is a tall, muscular woman whose good looks are noted by many men.
    • Lampshaded in the Secret Six Mini-series, where Darkseid's Furies are genetically engineered to heal from even the most grievous wounds and stay presentable after battles for his own leisure.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: All the characters are, after all, gods. Explicitly confirmed in Final Crisis, where Batman states the New Gods are Platonic Ideals.
    • Darkseid is the personification of Tyranny.
    • Granny Goodness is the personification of Abuse towards Youth and the Subjugation of Youthful Spirit.
    • Mister Miracle is the Embodiment of Freedom. When he gets shot, it signals the Victory of Evil.
    • Orion is war. His struggle with his violent nature makes him a personification of a just war, fought only when necessary but regretful of its effects. His brother Kalibak is savage war, fought for the sake and indulgence of violence.
    • Lightray is the personification of joy and charisma, the Forever People are the spirit of youth, Glorious Godfrey is propaganda, Desaad is sadism, Metron is knowledge, Highfather is wisdom, the Black Racer is death, Kanto is Machiavellianism and so on.
  • Armed Legs: Stompa fights by kicking her targets with anti-matter boots.
  • Athens and Sparta: The proto-planet divides into a warlike Mordor run by Darkseid called Apokolips and a verdant green planet called New Genesis.
  • Bad Ass Normal: Dan Turpin is a regular man who assists Orion and Lightray in the battle against Kalibak. Despite lacking powers of his own and suffering severe injuries, his assistance proves vital, as he devises a plan to channel the entire energy of Metropolis at the villain, successfully incapacitating him.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Most of New Genesis is an unspoiled paradise, and the one major city, Supertown, is sleek and futuristic with abundant gardens and parks. In contrast, Apokolips is an industrial wasteland with multiple fire-spouting craters that are each a significant portion of the planet's radius. The trope generally applies to the characters as well, with the good New Genesites being handsome/beautiful and the evil Apokaliptians being mostly ugly or deformed. There are some notable exceptions:
    • Some of the (evil) Female Furies are buff but attractive due to their side purpose as concubines to Darkseid when needed.
    • Orion (a good guy with severe anger management issues) is ugly and wears a half-mask to conceal his face. He is of Apokoliptian origin, being the son of Darkseid himself; but his goodness is due to him being raised on New Genesis by Highfather Izaya from a fairly young age.
    • Glorious Godfrey is universally considered in-story to be extremely handsome and charismatic but is thoroughly evil. His sister Amazing Grace is also evil but beautiful.
    • In the hands of a kind artist, Dan "Terrible" Turpin looks like the sort of guy you'd cast Danny Devito to play; in Kirby's original art, you might be excused for thinking he was a shaved gorilla in a suit. He's very definitely a good guy.
    • Darkseid's uncle Steppenwolf is usually depicted as reasonably handsome (but with a Beard of Evil). The same applies to Kanto, Darkseid’s most efficient assassin.
  • Bedlam House: In the DC Verse, even a God of Good can go insane. New Genesis has the aptly named "Asylum of the Gods", built for New Gods who had gone insane and needed to be confined and was actually inspired in design after Highfather paid a visit to Arkham Asylum. Fittingly he became its first patient confront his inner demons.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Issue 15 of Mister Miracle has Shilo tie together a ladder of bedsheets to climb out the window and escape from Scott Free, Big Barda and Oberon.
  • Beeping Computers: The Mother Box is a sentient computer that communicates through "ping!" noises.
  • Big Bad: Darkseid is an Evil God who wants to destroy the benevolent planet New Genesis and enslave the entire cosmos with the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical formula capable of depriving any listener of their free will. This makes him not only the biggest threat to the New Gods, but to the rest of the universe as well.
  • Big Good:
    • The Highfather is the benevolent ruler of New Genesis, and therefore the good counterpart to the villainous Darkseid. After his death, this position is taken over by Takion.
    • The Source is the ultimate universe-creating good of the series. At least until the Death of the New Gods arc.
  • Bittersweet Ending: How The Hunger Dogs turns out. New Genesis is destroyed, but the floating city of the New Gods escapes in time and is moving through space to spread the New Genesis message across the cosmos. Metron is shown following it while carrying an uninhabited planet with his chair's tractor beam, implying that the heroes will soon have a new place to call home. Meanwhile, Darkseid succeeds in killing Himon but Orion escapes with his mother Tiggra and betrothed Bekka with him. Darkseid has resurrected his inner circle but they are all pale reflections of their former selves, hollowed out by the very dark power he wields. Apokolips is on the brink of revolution and, though Darkseid will eventually stomp it out, he lives on as a sad despot alone and unloved without New Genesis to direct his loathing towards anymore.
  • Black-and-White Morality: New Genesis is unambiguously good while Apokolips is totally evil.
  • Bold Inflation: Emphasizing important words in characters' speech bubbles through bold text is one of Kirby's trademarks.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Sonny Sumo, aka that guy who had the Anti-Life equation in his head, wished to live in the times of feudal Japan in spite of living in the present. Darkseid ironically rectifies this by sending him to that exact era.
  • Brawn Hilda: Stompa is the most mannish of the Female Furies. This highlights her brutish fighting style, which consists of stomping on her foes repeatedly.
  • But Now I Must Go: Mister Miracle and Big Barda leave for New Genesis when the original Kirby series was cancelled. Before they go, they sadly bid farewell to Oberon and Shilo.
  • Came Back Wrong: In "Even Gods Must Die", Darkseid uses technology to revive some of his inner circle, including Desaad, Steppenwolf, Mantis, and Kalibak. However, the resurrection is far from perfect, and they end up being little more than caricatures of their former selves. One of his subordinates suggests that their true personalities have returned to the Source.
  • Compelling Voice: Billion Dollar Bates had the power to make people do whatever he told them to.
  • Cut Short: Kirby's original runs on New Gods and Forever People were cancelled prematurely and ended on cliffhangers. Even Mister Miracle, which wasn't cancelled, still got a heavy Retool that divorced it from the New Gods mythos (until the final issue of Kirby's run, where all of the villains from Apokolips return for one final showdown. Steve Gerber's run on the subsequent renewal ended at issue 25 with the storyline left on an obvious cliffhanger).
  • Darker and Edgier: Our hero enters the scene, confesses to (presumably mild) off-screen torture, then gloats over his fallen enemy as he slowly and deliberately batters him to death on screen, pausing only to angst about the horror of war and his own hidden inner darkness. Pretty dark and edgy for a DC comic by Jack Kirby ("Spawn") from 1971 (in the original *New Gods* run). The next comic, "The Glory Boat", underlines the idea that while New Genesis gods like Lightray are powerful, only savage fighters like the Apokolips-born Orion are truly effective warriors. Then "The Pact" shows the war between Apokolips and New Genesis escalating to the point where both sides are fighting on a planet-destroying scale.
  • Darkest Hour: Final Crisis. Not only for the New Gods, but for all of the DCU, as Darkseid at that point fully mastered the Anti-Life Equation and was close to subjugating everyone.
  • Death by Origin Story: Mister Miracle begins with Scott Free becoming Thaddeus Brown's successor as an escape artist after the latter is killed by Steel Hand.
  • Defector from Decadence: By the 12th issue of Jack Kirby's New Gods, the Apokoliptian war machines have evolved to the point of rendering the Female Furies largely obsolete. This results in said squad being demoted to computer operators, much to their disgust. When Orion launches his assault against Apokolips, the Furies revolt, first by triggering a trap to save Orion from one of Darkseid's machines, then by directly engaging Granny Goodness' followers in battle.
  • Depending on the Artist: The way Parademons look can vary wildly throughout different eras and under different artists. Sometimes, they have more human-like features. Other times, they look much more monstrous. There are also times when they can look bulky but still within the size range of a human and other times, they're absolutely massive and tower above a lot of DC heroes.
  • Depending on the Writer: Different artists had divergent, often contradictory interpretations on the series' mythos. This includes whether New Genesis and Apokolips in 'our' universe or another dimension entirely (This was lampshaded once in a Character Blog for the series Checkmate), what is the Anti-Life equation, and whether the New Gods are real gods or Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Divine Conflict: The good, freedom-loving New Gods of New Genesis led by Highfather Izaya, and evil, oppressive New Gods of Apokolips led by Darkseid are locked in an eternal conflict with each other. It was settled through truce for a time with an exchange of Highfather's son Scott Free and Darkseid's son Orion, but when Scott escaped, Darkseid used that as a justification to restart the conflict.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Darkseid made his debut in issue 134 of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, where his face appears on a monitor used by Morgan Edge. This early depiction of Darkseid noticeably has him wearing a white helmet when he is more well-known for having blue armor in addition to having a Caucasian skin tone instead of gray. He also used to have normal-looking eyes before they were eventually changed so that they were colored red and lacked pupils.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: At first Scott Free used to be at least as tall as Big Barda. That situation reversed in the 80's.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In The Hunger Dogs, New Genesis is destroyed by Darkseid's Micro-Mark bombs, though the New Gods escape its destruction.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The 18th issue of Jack Kirby's run on the original Mister Miracle series ended its final page with a message plainly stating that the comic had ended and that there wouldn't be any further issues. While the comic would be renewed for seven more issues three years later, these issues no longer had any involvement from Jack Kirby and instead had Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers as the writer and illustrator of issues 19-22, with the last three issues written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by Michael Golden. Ironically enough, this short-lived revival abruptly ended without any indication that the 25th issue was going to be the last issue, as its last page promised a 26th issue that never saw print.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Apokoliptian New God Sleez was so depraved and flat out disgusting that he repulsed even Darkseid who previously had him as an aide before growing disenchanted by Sleez's petty cruelties and permanently banished him to Earth.
  • Evil Matriarch: Granny Goodness runs the Apokolips orphanages, where children are subjected to horrible abuse as part of a training program designed to develop fanatical warriors.
  • Enforced Cold War: The war between Apokolips and New Genesis is temporarily halted when Darkseid and Highfather forge a pact, with which they agree to exchange their respective sons. However, once the son of Highfather flees from Apokolips, the deal is considered voided and the conflict resumes.
  • Evil Orphanage Lady: Granny Goodness from Apokolips could hardly be more inappropriately named, as her job is to brainwash the children in her orphanages into becoming servile, brutal slaves of Darkseid.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Esak goes from being an innocent student of Metron to a deformed Evil Genius in service to Darkseid.
  • Fad Super: All over the place; much of the story was dedicated to Kirby's views on the 1970s and the way the world was going. It's mostly managed to translate into modern times, though, as most of the issues (feminism, freedom, war versus peace, nature versus nurture, the power of authority, the goodness of youth) are still pretty relevant.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The fourth issue ends with the message "The Black Racer knows his next target! Who is it? He? She? You?" And yes, he's staring at the reader.
  • Flanderization:
    • Orion, as written by Kirby, was a basically noble person who was rough around the edges and frequently struggled with his darker side and his brutal nature. A good chunk of modern writers have him being a Hair-Trigger Temper Blood Knight.
    • Darkseid, in Kirby's take on the character, was rather more complex and well-rounded; in "the road to Armaghetto", the despot shows a somber, reflective side, wry humor and even restrained horror at the coming generation, which will be worse than he was. His 'evolution' into the most purely evil being in creation and designated villain for the universe seems degeneration into caricature.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Granny Goodness is one of the cruelest and most sadistic members of Darkseid's forces, despite looking like an old lady and having an unintimidating name.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: The ninth issue of The Forever People had a Mad Scientist named "Doc" Gideon assemble a monster from stitched-together body parts and bring his creation to life using one of Serifan's cosmic cartridges.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Granny Goodness started out as a Lowly. She became the trainer of the Female Furies and Darkseid's most effective lieutenant.
    • Esak starts of as a child in tutelage to Metron before becoming an Evil Genius that helps Darkseid blow up New Genesis.
    • Even for a New God, Glorius Godfrey was a joke character - til Legends, where he managed to turn the public against the superheroes.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale:
    • The finale of the Gerry Conway Return Of The New Gods revival was resolved in Adventure Comics after the great DC Implosion.
    • The entire New Gods mythos had one too in Final Crisis by Grant Morrison.
  • A God Am I: Darkseid strongly believes that he is the most powerful being and that anyone who dares to question his authority must either be subjugated or obliterated.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: In Walt Simonson's run on Orion, he had the title character deliver a Take That! to the concept as well as some detail into how the New Gods have taken advantage of the concept.
    Orion: Gods are not dependent on their worshipers; worshipers are dependent on their Gods. And the New Gods? We're as old as time, constantly remade, constantly reborn with each turning of the wheel... Each time a mortal turns on a computer, puts a piece of bread in the toaster, opens a door, strikes a match, or wonders at the stars, he worships at the altar of the New Gods!
  • Grand Finale:
    • The Hunger Dogs was intended to be the finale for Jack Kirby's original story and ended with the denizens of New Genesis searching for a new home after their home planet was destroyed while Darkseid is left with his empire in ruins and scheming to slowly rebuild his hold over the inhabitants of Apokolips as soon as the resolve of his subjects to defy him wears off, though the New Gods' popularity led the story to receive follow-ups from other writers.
    • Final Crisis restores many of the characters to Kirby's original vision of them, only to have all of them die, with the heroes of the DC Universe finishing off Darkseid for good after he finally mastered the Anti-Life Equation and attempted to conquer the universe. Although some of the New Gods are implied to have been reborn at the end of the last issue, it wouldn't be until the New 52 era that their storyline would be revisited.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Black Racer is an embodiment of death. He relinquished his role to a tetraplegiac Vietnam vet before returning to the Source.
  • Hate Plague: The Paranoid Pill that Dr. Bedlam unleashes on an apartment building turns its inhabitants into terrified, irrational mobs that try to kill Mister Miracle because they think he's a vampire.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: The primary Female Furies are tricked by Barda into helping her and Scott take on Granny Goodness halfway through the original Mister Miracle run. They then return to Earth with Scott and Barda for a large chunk of the rest of the series and agree to assist him in his escape numbers, though are still ostensively bad guys. After the series’ end, they go back to being minions of Darkseid.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power. Villainous example with Glorious Godfrey, who is a goodlooking blond with tremendous powers of persuasion. Legends showed just how powerful a talent like that could be.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Barda starts off as a loyal minion of Darkseid before her feelings for Scott Free and disgust at her leader's treatment of a fellow Fury cause her to reconsider her loyalties.
  • Homage:
    • Metron was based on Leonard Nimoy.
    • Big Barda was based on Lainie Kazan.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!:
    • At the end of her training, a young Granny Goodness was ordered to prove her loyalty to Darkseid by killing her longtime faithful hound or be killed herself. She killed the instructor giving the order instead, and when called before Darkseid she stated that the warhound was a far more valuable asset, as well as absolutely loyal to Darkseid. Darkseid tested that claim...by ordering the warhound to kill Goodness, forcing her to kill it in self-defense.
    • Part of Mister Miracle’s backstory as a citizen of Apokolips is that, even though he’s a capable fighter and clever strategist, his inability to eat any kittens makes him a failure.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Granny Goodness used to be significantly prettier in her youth.
  • Kryptonite Factor: New Gods are only vulnerable to "Radion", a specific radiation. Darkseid eventually kills Orion with a time-traveling radion bullet in Final Crisis, and Darkseid is shot with that same bullet by Batman.
  • Laughing Mad: Mad Harriet is insane and prone to constant cackling.
  • Lightning Lash: Lashina of the Female Furies has electrically charged steel whips that can extend, retract, and wrap around targets.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Lump is a catatonic creature that can Mind Rape you with scenarios and mental images once you're connected to it.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted; Orion already knows he's Darkseid's son. He does have trouble resisting his inner violence though. However, Scott Free spends much of the original run unaware he’s the son of Highfather.
  • The Meaning of Life: Inverted by the Anti-Life equation, which (Depending on the Writer) basically proves that life has no meaning, but played straight with the Life equation, which instead proves that life does have meaning.
  • Mind Control: The Anti-Life Equation is one of the worst versions of mind control as it works by proving to those subjected to it that there is no purpose to living and no reason to go on, so they willingly give up their free will and selves to become nothing more than extensions of the will of the one controlling the equation. It's implied that even if you couldn't get infected by the equation via Mind Reading (trying to read the mind of someone infected by the anti-life equation just lets in into your mind) you wouldn't be able to read any thoughts or see any memories because those under its control have no minds, identities, or even a self until they are freed from the equation.
    Anti-life justifies my hate! Anti-life justifies my despair! Anti-life justifies my fear! Submit! DARKSEID is my will!
  • Mobile-Suit Human: One-shot Mister Miracle villain Mystivac was revealed to be a robot controlled from within by a tiny alien.
  • The Modern Gods: Their whole thing is that they are "New Gods" that are reborn from the ashes of the Death of the Old Gods, making them look more like Superheroes in Space than a more classic pantheon.
  • Mortality Grey Area: Anything bonded to the Source Wall is as good as dead, but not quite dead nor really alive; more in a sort of conscious limbo being Taken for Granite.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Darkseid's ideal of Anti-Life might be better termed Anti-Freedom (he doesn't want to kill everyone, he wants ultimate power over everyone). At one point, the heroes explain it as Anti-Life representing the loss of everything that makes life valuable and worth living.
  • Nurture over Nature: Orion's dilemma. He is the son of Darkseid, and thus naturally prone to violent impulses. However, being raised by the Highfather compelled him to try and control the darker aspects of his psyche.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Darkseid wants to enslave the universe or, if he can't, destroy it.
  • Orc Raised by Elves: Scott Free is the son of one of the benevolent deities and was given to be raised by the Evil Overlord Darkseid. Darkseid's son, Orion, was raised by the good god in his place. Both children grow up to be heroes.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Depending on the Writer. In Jack Kirby’s original run, Apokolips represented Order and New Genesis Chaos. But other writers have sometimes switched it around.
  • Pitiful Worms:
    • In issue eight of Mister Miracle, the Lump at one point calls Scott Free a gnat.
    • The eleventh issue of Mister Miracle has one of Dr. Bedlam's animates refer to Oberon as a "defiant flea".
    • Kalibak is fond of calling people "earth-worms".
  • Planet Baron: Darkseid is the undisputed master of Apokalips, and seeks to extend his control over all of creation.
  • Polluted Wasteland: Apokolips consists of "fire pits" continually fueled by slaves.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Jack Kirby's run on Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen was in part to serve as a starting point to this series, particularly featuring Darkseid's debut in issue 134.
  • Punny Name: Scott Free is an escape artist. It was originally given to him ironically by Granny Goodness, to remind him that he'll never be free. The lesson didn't take.
  • Purple Prose: John Byrne's Darkseid / Galactus crossover was a tribute to Jack Kirby, and was stuffed full of Purple Prose Ham-to-Ham Combat.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • The Forever People are left stranded on a deserted planet at the end of Kirby's series.
    • Mister Miracle and Big Barda go to New Genesis at the end of Kirby's run and don't get to assist Orion during the final battle against Darkseid.
  • Raised by Rival: An uneasy peace between New Genesis' Highfather and Apokolips' Darkseid is cemented by the two trading sons to be raised by the other. Darkseid's cruel parenting resulted in both sons hating him.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Darkseid started off as a New Gods villain. Though he canonically still is, he also went on to become a recurring Superman foe, before his role was expanded and he became a villain for the entire Justice League and the DCU as a whole.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Kirby's grand statement on morality in the series. Darkseid and his court may be irrevocably evil, but they did not have to be. Orion is the son of the personification of tyranny itself, but was raised by a loving father and is a hero. Scott Free was raised to be a mindless soldier of Darkseid, but maintained his free spirit and escaped, and Big Barda was a soldier who changed sides when redeemed by the power of Love. Ultimately, evil always loses, in the short run or the long.
  • Scenery Porn: It was drawn by Jack Kirby, after all, so beautifully detailed backgrounds were inevitable.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The Source. The Gods originate from it and will return to it upon death. It emanates from beyond a galaxy-sized wall, which it would be a very bad idea to try and breach. New Genesis natives can draw on it to power some of their tech, like Mother Boxes.
  • Sidekick:
    • Mister Miracle has his manager, Oberon, who also acts as his assistant during his escape acts.
    • Orion has his foil and best friend Lightray.
  • Sky Surfing:
    • Mister Miracle can fly by riding his aero-discs, small platforms that are attached to his soles.
    • The Black Racer flies with his skis.
  • Splash Panel: Kirby loved using these. The opening of "New Gods" is one of the most famous double-page splashes.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Big Barda is very tall and very beautiful.
  • Stealth Sequel:
  • Superheroes in Space: The New Gods are essentially an alien race of superhero gods.
  • Take That!:
    • Stan Lee is turned into a character called "Funky Flashman", a toady conman who lives in a crumbling house with a sycophantic manservant — "Houseroy" — based on Roy Thomas, gets his meagre cash by rooting around in a container shaped like Jack's head and isn't half as talented as he thinks he is. Jack was not happy with Stan at the time.note 
    • In the Legends crossover, Glorious Godfrey used the alias "G. Gordon Godfrey", a joint parody of Watergate participant (and later radio demagogue) G. Gordon Liddy and J. Jonah Jameson.
    • During Final Crisis, Godfrey takes the form of Reverend Goode, a clear parody of greedy televangelists.
  • This Looks Like A Job For Aqua Man: The Newsboy Legion runs into a surprising number of water-related problems that can only be handled by Flippa Dippa the diver. Amusingly, this actually makes him the most indispensable member of the Legion, since the others are rarely called upon to do anything that calls for their own areas of expertise.
  • Translation with an Agenda: The Mexican publisher Novaro translated the New Gods in Spanish as the "Nuevos Ídolos", or "New Idols". A correct translation would have been "Nuevos Dioses". The publisher was run by religious conservatives, who would not accept any fictional character to be described as "Gods".
  • Warrior Poet: In the original comics several characters have elements of this, mostly because of the way it's written, but Orion and even Darkseid are known to have talked to themselves about philosophical concepts.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: The heroic gods live in New Genesis, a beautiful paradise world led by the wise and benevolent Highfather; the villains lurk in Apokolips, a grim, dystopian planet led by the tyrannical Darkseid.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Getting mugged and just analyzing the experience, or working the register at Burger Fool... Darkseid had a lot of free time. In the original comics, he tours an amusement park. Granted, it was one controlled by Apokolips but he seems genuinely amused when a pair of people mistake him for a guy in costume. And then there was that time Darkseid wore a costume... of course, that was part of a plan to get close to a human whose mind contained the Anti-Life Equation.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Issue 19 of Mister Miracle has Barda punch Granny Goodness while exclaiming "Back off, witch!"
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: An Ur-Example in comics. Many of the characters and places have very Earth-based names (usually tied to Judeo-Christian myth) but are spelled phonetically (Isaiah = Izaya, Apocalypse = Apokolips, etc) to make it less terrestrial looking.

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