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|“||That is who I am. And when the time comes, you and this primitive planet will swear allegiance to Darkseid...or you will be destroyed.||„|
|~ Darkseid to Superman in their first encounter.|
|“||I hope you appreciate, Kal-El, that everything that happens from this point is on your head. The skies will rain fire. The oceans will boil. The streets will run red with the blood of billions. Only then, after your last pitiful hope is extinguished, will I end your life. Let's go.||„|
|~ Darkseid to Superman before their final confrontation.|
|“||Your friends have abandoned you, or fallen before my might. Super or otherwise, you're merely a man. And I...am a god.||„|
Darkseid is one of the overarching antagonists (alongside Brainiac) of the DC Animated Universe.
He is the absolute ruler of Apokolips and would-be conqueror of the universe. He is also one of Superman's greatest archenemies, (and, by extension, the greatest enemy and adversary of the entire Justice League itself).
In the cartoons, he was voiced by Michael Ironside, who also portrayed his LEGO counterpart in the LEGO DC Universe, Overdog in Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Richter in Total Recall, Colonel Dugan in The Next Karate Kid and Emperor Zanramon in the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.
He first appeared as the overarching antagonist of Superman: The Animated Series, serving as the overarching antagonist of Season 1, and as the main antagonist of both Seasons 2 and 3. He later returned as the overarching antagonist of Justice League, serving as the main antagonist of the two-part episode ''Twilight'' and was later resurrected and returned again as the final antagonist of its sequel Justice League Unlimited, appearing as the main antagonist of the series finale ''Destroyer''.
Superman: The Animated Series
Darkseid seeks to bring the entire universe under his control. To achieve this end, he seeks the cosmic power of the Anti-Life Equation, which theoretically will enable him to control any and all existing life in the universe. Darkseid's perpetual rival is Highfather, the leader of New Genesis ― Apokolips's sister planet. For thousands of years, Apokolips and New Genesis waged war, claiming millions of lives until an truce was finally agreed upon. To seal their bond, Highfather and Darkseid exchanged their infant children: Highfather would look after Darkseid's son Orion and Darkseid would raise Highfather's son Scott Free. Scott, despite the influence of Darkseid and Granny Goodness, grew up to become a freedom fighter in opposition to his adopted father and even freed Big Barda.
Orion took to the lessons of New Genesis and became an enemy to Darkseid as well. Though maintaining an uneasy peace, Darkseid still looked to acquire power without Highfather's interference. He soon took notice of the planet Earth, not only for its vast natural resources and vulnerable population, but also because a potential rival had appeared amongst the otherwise "unworthy" masses: Superman. In an effort to gauge Superman's power (as well as prepare Earth for his coming) Darkseid aided Intergang by supplying powerful weapons of his world to the greedy human criminals. Darkseid ordered his servant Desaad to destroy Superman, but his device failed. After his son Kalibak disobeyed orders by battling Superman, Darkseid made his presence known to the Man of Steel, injuring Superman with his Omega Beams before disappearing into a boom tube. Darkseid would later launch a full attack on Earth, beginning with the massive destruction of a nuclear facility in an effort to recreate the fire pits of Apokolips. Superman was again effortlessly defeated in personal combat and bound to the head of Darkseid's war machine.
The invasion would have succeeded if not for the timely intervention of Orion and the armies of New Genesis.
Orion declared that Earth was off-limits on decree of Highfather, and Darkseid grudgingly retreated (claiming he did not wish to spoil his reunion with his son Orion via bloodshed), but not before murdering Dan Turpin in front of all of Metropolis, then escaping through a boom tube before Superman could get to him. Darkseid would orchestrate several attacks against Superman, though keeping his word by avoiding a direct invasion of Earth. He dispatched Granny Goodness to build a device that would pull a comet to Earth, but was thwarted by Supergirl. His most crushing blow to Superman finally came when he brainwashed the hero into believing Darkseid had adopted him. He sent Superman to lead an invasion of Earth. Though Superman fought against the conditioning and eventually managed to break free of it, Darkseid had at least partially achieved a victory by shattering the public trust of Superman. Unfortunately for Darkseid, he had finally pushed Superman too far.
The Man of Steel invaded Apokolips, swatting aside the forces between him and Darkseid's palace, finally clashing directly with the Dread Lord of Apokolips. Darkseid gained the upper hand, telling Superman he would kill more humans, and was about to finish Superman with his Omega Beams when Superman clamped his hands over the overlord's eyes. The backlash of energy exploded against Darkseid's skull, wounding him grievously and knocking him unconscious. Superman threw Darkseid's prone form at the feet of his subjects and declared them free. However, the Lowlies respectfully carried their lord from the battlefield before an astonished Superman, with Darkseid reminding the hero, "I am many things, Kal-El... but here, I am God".
Justice League and Justice League Unlimited
In the quest for the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid invaded a sector protected by New Genesis, thus violating the rivaling planets' ancient peace treaty. Orion's fleet was waiting for Apokolips's invasion force and shattered Darkseid's armada. Upon this, Highfather gave Darkseid an ultimatum assuring that the next breach of their treaty would result in his annihilation. While Apokolips was rebuilding its military forces, the villainous Kryptonian supercomputer Brainiac arrived with the intent of assimilating the planet.
Darkseid secretly approached Brainiac and offered him to hand over Superman and in return, Brainiac would spare Apokolips. So, Darkseid went to the Justice League and asked for their help to battle Brainiac, to which Superman reluctantly conceded. In Apokolips, Darkseid and Superman fought together until Brainiac's forces retreated. Darkseid told the League to follow and finish him off, which they did. Afterwards, Darkseid boom tubed inside Brainiac's headquarters just in time to vanquish the League, thus delivering his end of the bargain: Superman. When Brainiac started extracting living DNA from Superman, Darkseid implanted a Motherbox device that overrode Brainiac's control circuits, turning him into his puppet. Darkseid intended to use Brainiac's program to collect the Anti-Life Equation and reorder the universe at his will. At that point, Orion, Batman, and Wonder Woman showed up to thwart him.
Orion and Darkseid exchanged punches, but Darkseid was victorious over his son. Darkseid attempted to leave the asteroid, however, he was intercepted by Superman, who was determined to hold him inside until its destruction. Darkseid fought with everything he had, but was overpowered by the Man of the Steel finally. Superman tried to finish him off but Batman intervened though Superman was intent on finishing the long awaited fight. Not wanting him to become his enemy, Batman opened a Boom Tube, that sent him, Superman, and the unconscious Orion to safety while Darkseid was left stranded within the exploding headquarters. Despite his circumstances, Darkseid rejoiced and scorned Superman as a "loser" with his last breath before being destroyed with the asteroid.
Darkseid returned thanks to Lex Luthor, who had been trying to resurrect Brainiac instead. Darkseid, enhanced by Brainiac's power as well, showed his gratitude to Luthor by unleashing the Omega Beams upon Luthor's spacecraft, destroying it. He then returned to Apokolips, halting the power struggle between Granny Goodness and Virman Vundabar in his absence. His return shocked his followers, who immediately accepted him as their leader once more. Seething with hatred and vengeance for Superman, Darkseid declared war on Earth, implying that his treaty with Highfather would no longer apply as he was heading there afterwards.
He launched simultaneous attacks across the globe and set up magma-tappers to ignite Earth's core and generate fire pits, thus creating Apokolips on Earth. Darkseid found himself opposed not only by Earth's military and the Justice League, but by the surviving members of Luthor's Legion of Doom who had escaped death at Darkseid's hands only days earlier. With his flagship hovering above the Daily Planet, Darkseid was assaulted by the unlikely trio of Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor. Upon this, the Lord of Apokolips vows to kill the Man of Steel, but not before making him and everyone he loved suffer dearly.
The two engaged in battle, demolishing the Daily Planet along the way. Darkseid was repeatedly hindered by Batman, who was then targeted by his Omega Beam but evaded it after having one of Darkseid's pawns take the blast. Darkseid was impressed to see how Batman adroitly dodged it, remarking on him being the first person to ever do so. He turned to Luthor to see if he would be as lucky, but Luthor promptly fled, an act Darkseid remarked as a wise strategy.
Then, Superman thrashed Darkseid across the city with his full might, but the tyrant managed to gain the upper hand by using a hidden pain amplification weapon ― the Agony Matrix. Darkseid gloated upon Superman's pain, but was impressed by his endurance and proclaimed how he was going to carve out his heart with a Kryptonite blade as a token of mercy. Darkseid would have succeeded, if not for Lex Luthor stepping in on time to bestow Darkseid with his greatest desire ― the Anti-Life Equation. Superman was forgotten, as Darkseid was mesmerized and overwhelmed by the Equation's dazzling beauty.
He took it on and complimented its beauty, something Luthor agreed with before they vanished into thin air. The Justice League suspects that both of them survived and will be back in the future. However, both Darkseid and Luthor were absorbed into the Source Wall, as such is the fate that occurs to those who solved the Anti-Life Equation, where they will stay for all eternity.
Powers and Abilities
- New God Physiology: As a New God who is worshiped by the New Gods of Apokolips, Darkseid is a phenomenally powerful being with tremendous physical might. These attributes were further enhanced/increased power by him being resurrected with Brainiac's cybernetics fused into his own physiology, granting him new abilities. He was then able to teleport himself without the use of a boom tube, which is similar to a huge explosion, and can suspend a person (like Lex) in midair and push him back with a wave of his hand.
- Semi-Immortality: As a New God, Darkseid is immune to aging and illnesses. It has been stated that he is extremely ancient, much like Highfather of New Genesis.
- Superhuman Strength: Darkseid's natural strength outshines the likes of Superman, SHAZAM, Martian Manhunter, Orion, Lobo, Bizarro, or Mongul, as well as most solar-powered Kryptonians and New Gods. He could easily beat down his own son as well as engage and overpower Superman himself, despite the tremendous physical might of both of them. Later, after Lex accidentally revived him and fused him with Brainiac, he became strong enough to outmatch Superman when the latter isn't using his full power. But even with greater strength, he was still unable to hold his own when Superman unleashed his full power.
- Superhuman Stamina: As a New God, Darkseid can go and operate at maximum efficiency for an extremely long amount of time without every tiring or needing sustenance. Darkseid was relatively unfazed even after taking numerous punches from Superman when he was blinded with rage.
- Superhuman Intelligence: As a New God, Darkseid possesses intellectual capacities that are beyond the likes of modern geniuses of Earth. He has detailed knowledge of his obsession (The Anti-Life Equation), is extremely manipulative, and has detailed scientific, religious and arcane knowledge possessed by the New Gods. Furthermore, one might assume that he became even smarter because of Brainiac's influence.
- Near-Invulnerability: Darkseid's durability borders on invulnerability. He cannot be damaged by most extreme means, although direct and focused blows from the likes of Superman or Orion have proven effective. Orion is able to overpower Darkseid and even make his nose bleed, and Superman was able to release the full might of his strength on Darkseid, which Darkseid barely survived. Despite his extreme durability, Darkseid can be killed by explosions powerful enough to obliterate a planet. This makes him far less durable than his comics counterpart.
- Regenerative Healing: As a New God, his metabolism had an advanced healing factor. He was able to recover from damage done to him by Superman and Orion quickly while still in battle. While actually injuring Darkseid was an almost impossible feat, he could still get hurt, but when he did, depending on the damage, Darkseid could heal/recover from his wounds at an accelerated rate. When Superman overloaded Darkseid's Omega Beams against his skull, his eyes exploded and his skull was severely damaged, but he managed to regenerate from such damage overtime. He also healed quickly after Superman used his heat vision to drill through his foot. Furthermore, it's assumed he can even heal both his biological parts and cybernetic/technological parts because of Brainiac's influence, similar to how Lex Luthor healed when Brainiac was inside of him.
- Omega Beams: Darkseid's most renowned ability is his power to fire extremely concentrated beams of energy from his eyes, much like Superman's heat vision, although he can manually control his Omega Beam's course. His Omega Beams have various effects, as it is mostly used to kill beings and even New Gods. Although it can also be used to teleport/translocate people to Apokolips' pits to be punished. After being resurrected with Brainiac's cybernetics being incorporate into his own biology, the power of his Omega Beams had increased. Superman has been the only being able to withstand it, and only Batman has been able to dodge it's homing ability to lock onto targets.
- Agony Matrix: After fusing with Brainiac's cybernetics, Darkseid can emit an energy-field-based weapon that directs neural stimulation to every pain receptor in a person to flare uncontrollably and cause unfathomable torture. It will have complete effect over any being as long as they have the ability to feel pain, to the point they will be lucky to survive regardless of any level of invulnerability they may have. Superman managed to live through the brutal attack only because of his superhuman attributes and his will. It was almost a certainty that a normal being would have succumbed to the intense pain immediately and died. Darkseid even remarked that Superman impressed him with his resilience as Superman laid on the ground writhing in pain.
- Motherbox: Darkseid has his very own Motherbox, a small hand-held semi-sentient supercomputer with near-arcane abilities that he can use to open up Boom Tubes to locations of his desire as well as communicate with the Source (a supposed omnipotent being who exists beyond the Multiverse and is worshiped by the New Gods of New Genesis as a Supreme Being). He used this to override Brainiac and place him under his control to obey his every command to consume the universe with the Anti-Life Equation. Darkseid lost this when he put it under the control panel in Brainiac's asteroid and it was destroyed when Batman damaged the corrupted controls.
- Leadership Skills: Darkseid can inspire undying loyalty throughout the residents of Apokolips through intimidation, as they all fear being on the receiving end of his wrath. Upon his return to Apokolips after his resurrection, the residents who were at the Civil War immediately stopped what they were doing and instantly bowed down to him. He can even successfully lead military invasions of other planets. Thus, despite being a purely evil tyrant, Darkseid proves capable of convincing others to acknowledge his New God Status.
- Given his actions and the personal strife he has inflicted upon him, Darkseid is the only villain in the entire DC Animated Universe whom Superman is openly willing to kill, with the only other villain who had such distinction is Mongul. It is also implied that he is the only being DCAU Superman used his full power on.
- Originally, Darkseid's Omega beams were projected as spurts or pulses of flame beams from his eyes. Later, upon his emergence with Brainiac, he shot more of laser-like beams, of which proved both devastating and chaotic. The properties of the Omega Beams changed according to Darkseid's needs. Sometimes, they took the form of concussive bolts of energy. Other times, they manifested as lethal disintegration rays.
- Although both Darkseid and Luthor's fate are left unexplained in the series, show's late writer Dwayne McDuffie explained in his own website that Darkseid and Luthor are now part of the Source Wall because they solved the Anti-Life Equation.