The Shelf Is Half Full

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Archive for the tag “Justice League”

Superhero Spotlight – Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

As the 1950’s drew to a close and the genre of superhero comics was about to enter it’s most successful period since the Golden Age, DC Comics was having to expand their roster of superhero characters. While Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and even Aquaman had managed to maintain a level of popularity, most other heroes failed to capture the imagination of post World War II readers. America was more enamored with real heroes than fantastic superheroes, and genres like westerns, war comics and teenage humor comics had taken over as the most popular genres. But after finding success with retooling one Golden Age hero (The Flash) by giving him a new identity and a more modern costume, DC decided to try their luck again with another hero: Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan

Showcase #22

The original Green Lantern was a railroad engineer named Alan Scott who discovered a magical green lantern and ring that gave him the power to fly, walk through walls, fire energy beams and a wide variety of other powers. This mystical take was not going to capture the imagination of an America about to enter the “Space Age”, where science fiction reigned supreme, so the idea of the power ring charged by a lantern was heavily retooled for a new story. And in October of 1959, Showcase #22 introduced comic book readers to the new Green Lantern; a test pilot named Hal Jordan.

In this new take on the Green Lantern idea, the ring and lantern are inherited by Hal when an alien named Abin Sur crash lands on Earth. Dying, he sends the ring out in search of a replacement Green Lantern, and Hal is chosen for his ability to overcome fear. The ring allows him to create hard light constructs; basically he can make anything he imagines as long as he has sufficient willpower and charge in his ring, which gets its power from the energy in the lantern (also called a power battery). It also enlisted Hal into an intergalactic peacekeeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps. Controlled by wise blue elfs called the Guardians of Oa, the Corps had a wide variety of members all around the universe, with Hal Jordan becoming the Green Lantern of Space Sector #2814.

GL Corps

From Justice League Founder to Super Villain

As one of the premier heroes of the time, Hal Jordan was one of the seven founders of The Justice League, alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Barry Allen. In addition to his solo stories, Hal was also known for his close friendship with Barry Allen and perhaps most famously for his confrontational partnership with Green Arrow. The creative team of Dennis O’Neal and Neal Adams famously put the two together as a way to talk about relevant social issues, including racism, corporate corruption and teenage drug addiction. Due to the nature of the Green Lantern Corps, the books also introduced readers to other, “reserve” GL’s from Earth: Jon Stewart and Guy Gardner.

DC Comics continued to struggle with their sales in the early 1990’s, and made some controversial, headline grabbing story choices to catch the public’s eye. Superman was famously killed by Doomsday, Batman had his back broken by Bane, and Green Lantern was similarly shaken up. Hal Jordan was perhaps the biggest victim of this period in comics; rather than give him a heroic death or retire him gracefully, DC had Hal’s hometown of Coast City destroyed in a battle between Superman and Mongul. Hal was driven mad by his lack of ability to save everyone and went on a rampage killing all the Green Lanterns in the universe, leaving only his replacement, Kyle Raynor.

And suddenly I just realized where George Lucas got the plot for his Star Wars prequels from…

Rebirth

Rebirth and the Geoff Johns Era

Hal’s rampage eventually made him a supervillain named Parallax, and he was eventually killed off and then sort of revived as the host for the Spectre, DC’s interpretation of a punishing angel of God. Thankfully, Hal Jordan was destined for more than being remembered as a popular character of a bygone era. Hotshot DC writer Geoff Johns was a dedicated fan of the character and had several fresh ideas for the Green Lantern Mythology, and in 2005 DC editors gave him the go ahead to bring Hal Jordan back from the dead. The Green Lantern: Rebirth mini-series was a godsend to fans of the character; instead of being a simple reboot that ignored years of history, Johns tied up the stories that had been done with Hal to that point, spotlighted Jon Stewart and Guy Gardner while keeping Kyle Raynor around, and even managed to address some of the odd plot holes along the way.

Most notably, he explained the Lantern’s ridiculous weakness to the color yellow as being an impurity in the rings’ power source, the power battery on Oa, homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps. This impurity was the result of the Guardians trapping the fear entity known as Parallax in the power battery, who took over Hal Jordan in Hal’s bid for power. This introduction of other colors tied to emotions paved the way for new stories with the Green Lanterns, building a rich mythology that elevated Green Lantern to be one of DC’s most popular and critically acclaimed series of all time. Not bad for a character that arguably should have died for good in the 1990’s.

Green Lantern

The Jerk With a Heart of Gold

DC Comics is known for characters that are more archetypal than Marvel’s, more mythic figures that embody an ideal than a fully fleshed out characters. And while I would argue that is a bit of an unfair statement, I will grant that there is some validity to that; Superman and Batman tend to feel a bit flat compared to say, Spider-Man and Wolverine. However, I feel that of all of DC’s big names, Hal Jordan is the one that feels most human. Hal is brash and opinionated and often reckless; he challenges the authority of the Guardians of Oa and the Justice League, but also takes his duty as an intergalactic cop seriously. He’s a jerk and a screw-up, but ultimately he is a hero and that’s hard to dislike.

I think most readers can find a lot to like about Hal Jordan; things never seem to go quite right for him, and he often seems in over his head. He makes mistakes and falls on his butt quite a few times, but he never gives up. After all, Hal’s defining trait is the ability to overcome fear. I strongly encourage comic book fans to give Green Lantern a shot; he’s one of the most interesting, likable and well-developed characters in comic books.

The 30 Sexiest Comic Heroines – #10-1

It’s been a long, fun and interesting journey to get to the end, and I feel pretty confidant about these final choices. However, the list went through a few changes and edits while I was putting it together and I figured it’s only appropriate to recognize some of the honorable mentions who almost made this list.

Some came down to personal preference, like Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat. While she’s definitely got her fans, I’ve never really enjoyed the character or understood her appeal. For similar reasons, Power Girl was not really considered either.

A couple of notable omissions are anti-heroes like Emma Frost, Harley Quinn and Catwoman. All certainly have their appeal, but I’ve chosen to save them for another take on this list where we look at the sexy side of villainy. This list is more about acknowledging heroic women with strong moral ideals, and those characters just didn’t seem to fit the overall theme.

And then there’s a few who just didn’t make the cut because I only had thirty spots. Some notable ones include the Huntress, Renee Montoya as The Question, Flash’s love interests Iris West and Patty Spivot, Rachel Summers, Dazzler and Mary Marvel.

Carol Danvers

#10. Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel)

Whether she’s going by Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel, the alien-enhanced U.S. airforce captain is one of the most powerful and capable women in the Marvel universe. But don’t blame yourself if you haven’t heard of her; Carol’s gone through some serious down times; she’s been an alcoholic and was even put in a coma for years when the then Brotherhood member Rogue absorbed all of her powers. But she’s also been a valued member and even leader of the Avengers, and has been starring in some of the better comics Marvel has been publishing in recent years. And in a few years she’ll be coming to the big screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

From a personality standpoint, I tend to describe Carol as a cross between two DC heroes: Wonder Woman and Hal Jordan. She’s a warrior, a leader and a negotiator, but she’s also an adventurer and an explorer. And a bit of a dork. She’s a devoted Star Wars fan and even has a dog named “Chewie”. But perhaps the blonde bombshell’s most admirable trait is that the character has overcome so much adversity to be better than ever. Perseverance under pressure is always cool, and trust me; people want a significant other who is inspirational on some level.

Sue Storm

#9. Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman)

When compiling this list, Susan Storm was a name that came to mind a little late in the game, but once I thought about her she quickly ascended the ranks. I am a huge Fantastic Four fan and have a deep love for all of the characters, and Sue is pretty near the top of that list. More commonly known as the Invisible Woman, Sue is known both for her signature ability to vanish from sight as well as her energy shields that arguably make her the most dangerous member of the Fantastic Four. But while the FF are adventurers, scientists and superheroes, they are above all else, family. And Sue is really the glue that holds it all together.

It’s said that you can best judge the character of the person you’re dating by how they treat the people around them. If that’s the case, Sue is one of the best catches in comics. She is the older sister that both cares for Johnny and makes sure that his ego doesn’t get out of line. Even without their romantic interest, Susan is a grounding force for Reed Richards, reminding him that there are more important things than science and work. Ben Grimm can count her perhaps his best emotional support; she has helped keep from falling into despair. Sue is a woman whose presence strengthens everyone around her and makes them better than they may be. Hard not to fall for someone like that.

Jean

8. Jean Grey (Marvel Girl/Phoenix)

Jean Grey was probably modeled off of Sue Storm and serves a similar function for her team. But I think Jean stands out a little bit more and is a better, more interesting character, so she narrowly edges out Sue. Throughout her history, Jean has been many things. Marvel Girl was a quiet introvert, Phoenix was a more outgoing and passionate person, Dark Phoenix was an extremely powerful megalomaniac with a dominatrix thing going… Pardon me, I seem to have lost my train of thought there for a moment. My point is that the appeal of Jean is sort of a mix between the “girl next door” archetype and the “danger is sexy” trope I’ve brought up a couple of times. On one hand she’s this incredibly nice, loving person who will do anything to help other people. On the other hand there’s a monster inside of her that can be incredibly damaging when it gets loose.

That mix of elements is probably what most defines Jean. Whatever you’re attracted to, it’s likely you can find at least some of it in the character of Jean Grey. And while that is great, it is a bit of a double-edged sword for the purposes of this list. Her personality is harder to nail down and thus it’s harder to analyze what exactly makes her so appealing. But then, there’s a lot of appeal in that too; she’s got layers, so she’ll always be interesting. If perhaps fatally so.

Black Canary

#7. Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary)

Ah, Black Canary. Crime-fighting martial arts expert, flirty and witty girlfriend of Green Arrow, brilliant and capable leader of the Birds of Prey, wearer of fishnet leggings, owner of an excellent singing voice… what’s not to love? For those not familiar with the comic version of Black Canary (or any of her excellent animated counterparts), Dinah is kind of a softer version of Black Widow. And no, I don’t mean more vulnerable, I just mean that she doesn’t have the colorful past history that Romanoff has. So she’s got a lot of the appeal of a dangerous, knowledgeable woman who’s on top of things, but doesn’t come with so much baggage. That makes her a little less intimidating.

Another key aspect of Canary is that while she is completely viable as a solo character, she has some key relationships that really flesh out her character. She’s the sometimes girlfriend, sometimes wife of Green Arrow, and while they have their issues they are an excellent example of a couple that respects each other’s abilities and support one another. So she’s got a pretty good history of being a loyal, supportive and loving partner. Definitely a plus. She’s also a big sister of sorts to Barbara Gordon and Huntress, her Birds of Prey teammates. She’s helps keep Helena’s dark side in check, and helps keep Barbara optimistic during some of the toughest times of her life. So, take everything awesome about Sue Storm and everything awesome about Black Widow and you get Dinah Lance.

Lois

#6. Lois Lane

As probably the first significant female character in comic books, Lois Lane has a very long history and not all of it is good. She started as a constant damsel in distress for Superman adventures; some could argue that falling through the sky to be saved by Superman was her defining trait. Fortunately, Lois Lane has evolved into a much more fleshed out character. She’s smart and extremely quick-witted, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and perhaps most importantly, she’s just as relentless about pursuing truth and justice as Superman. Lois is the kind of reporter who doesn’t care what feathers she ruffles or what personal danger she puts herself through; where there is crime and corruption, she will be there to shine a light on it.

Lois is arguably intended to be the “feminine ideal” in the same way Superman is for men. She’s independent, intelligent, confident and passionate. She’s got respect for herself and expects everyone else to respect her in turn. Her moral center is what drives her work and she is always trying to help other people. One could argue that this is an impossible standard. But much like Superman, I think Lois Lane is a pretty good role model for anyone. She fights for what she wants and does it for the right reasons and without compromising her integrity or her self respect.

Wonder Woman

#5. Diana of Themyscira (Wonder Woman)

If you’re read more than a few of my columns, you’re probably well aware of my undying love for Wonder Woman. Diana is my favorite superhero, but I don’t think she outranks the other four women ahead of her. The iconic prototype for female superheroes, Diana combines the physical strength and martial skill of male heroes like Superman and Batman, and adds a more feminine touch to it. Wonder Woman’s primary traits are her unconditional love and her honesty. Diana cares about everyone, fights for everyone, and tries to make life better for as many people as possible. She is also extremely honest and expects the same out of others, and isn’t afraid to use force (and a magic lasso) to get it.

Women love her because she’s a symbol that women can have strength and skill, and that they deserve equal respect. Men love her because even though she is representative of female strength, she is an equalist; men and women should be respected equally. She’s physically stunning and imposing, but also emotionally vulnerable. She’s supportive and caring but also has high standards. She’s fierce and competitive and driven but also gentle and kind and wise. By whatever measure one wants to measure beauty, Wonder Woman is going to knock it out of the park.

Zatanna

4. Zatanna Zatara

Many women who have made this list are physically imposing and a lot of the appeal is that they are stronger than the man or woman who is crushing on the character. Strength is largely attractive because we equate it with security, and safety is conducive to intimacy which paves the way for sexual fireworks. But there’s the opposite end of that too, and Zatanna’s a perfect example. DC’s most famous magician is generally depicted as petite and not the best hand to hand fighter. Her sex appeal isn’t in her physical power; Zatanna’s more the kind of person one describes as “cute” or “adorable”. Which I totally go for. See Gordon, Barbara. She’s outgoing, flirtatious, unpredictable and likes to create her own fun. Without being too stereotypical, I’d have to imagine that many comic book fans like me tend to be more on the introverted side and creatures of habit. If opposites attract, it’s no surprise so many of us love Zatanna.

But the cool thing about Zatanna is that her magical powers make her both one of the best escape artists and potentially one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe. She has unbelievable magic power at her disposal and has used it to help save the world numerous times. But if left to her own devices she’d rather use her gifts to put on a show and entertain others. She is a performer, the center of attention who manages to do so without being arrogant or annoying.

Starfire

#3. Koriand’r (Starfire)

Starfire is sadly a name that is synonymous with controversy. Many artists have made her the poster child for stripperiffic, impractical costumes that make her a sex object. Sadly, some writers have also found it acceptable to strip away her personality as much as her clothes, making her something that is less of an actual character and more of a pin-up model. These are all valid arguments, but sadly it has taken away from a very simple fact; when written with some actual care, Koriand’r is one of the most fun, likable, and yes, genuinely sexy characters in comics. After all, she’s a Marv Wolfman creation and Marv simply doesn’t create bad characters, especially when they are one of the main characters of a long running and beloved comic book series like The New Teen Titans.

So for those who may only know Starfire for being the subject of some incredibly poor writing and shameless artwork, let me explain what it is that makes us love Kori. First, it’s important to understand that she is very much a counterpart to fellow Teen Titan member Raven. Raven is an introverted pacifist who keeps her emotions bottled up. Starfire is an extremely curious and outgoing person who loves life and tries to squeeze as much out of every day as possible. For those who read Red Hood and the Outlaws and took issue with her having sex with two guys really quickly, there’s nothing wrong with that. Women are people, not things; they deserve sexual autonomy and Kori has always had that. She’s not going to wait around for a boy she likes to make a move; she’ll take the first step because life is too short to wait. What is out of character was the lack of emotion involved; Kori is all emotion; joy and anger and sadness, all felt intensely and coming across transparently. That’s what readers love about Kori, and that’s why she’s so high on this list.

Rogue

#2. Anna Marie (Rogue)

An often repeated phrase in this series has been “danger is exciting, and thus danger is sexy”. Rogue may be that truth to the absolute extreme; her mutation causes her to drain the life force, powers and memories of anyone who comes in contact with her skin. Super deadly. Even worse? Rogue couldn’t control it for the longest time; so she literally could not have sex ever without killing someone. That’s way beyond forbidden fruit there. On its own, it may have kept Rogue from ever being considered attractive by some. But when you take that power and mix it with a feisty, flirty powerhouse with a Southern accent, you have perhaps the most sexually frustrating character in comics. And one of the most common fan crushes in the industry.

Heck, for many of us, seeing and hearing Rogue on the 1990’s X-Men cartoon was the spark that made us realize that we actually did want to have a girlfriend. It also made us feel incredibly bad for Rogue and her main love interest, Gambit. These two always seemed to be made for each other, enjoying each other’s company and obviously caring for each other even they were butting heads. But Rogue’s mutation made it impossible to even kiss for more than a moment. Rogue raises a lot of questions for readers; would we be able to be a committed lover to someone if sexual contact was out of the question. For many, Rogue was worth it. So she went from being this incredibly source of sexual frustration to helping us realize there are more important things.

Storm

#1. Ororo Munroe (Storm)

Trying to pick the top woman for this list was very difficult, but ultimate I feel confident in putting Storm at the top of this list. Ororo has consistently been a major part of the X-Men for a long time and has maintained a high level of popularity from her initial appearances and all the way to today. Other than Wonder Woman, she’s probably the most well known female superhero to the general public. And she has many of the same traits that Diana has. She’s got power, both physically (she’s usually depicted as six feet tall and very well muscled) and because of her ability to control the weather. But she’s also a gentle, loving soul who is very much a pacifist and a nurturer. Somehow she manages to come across as both wise beyond her years and able to enjoy life with reckless abandon.

Ororo’s definitely got some of the exotic appeal to her, and not just because she’s one of the few truly iconic black female characters in comics. The white hair and blue eyes would stand out even if she were a real person. Many of her earlier appearances put her in the position of a stranger in a strange land, someone who isn’t used to Western customs or ideals. Though it isn’t as drastic as say, Kitty Pryde, Storm has still shown considerable growth. She started as a young, almost naive woman who felt out of place to a woman who felt at home with the X-Men and was soon capable of leading them. Ororo has many aspects that could appeal to someone, whether they want someone who is strong and steady, emotionally vulnerable, wise or curious, mature or young at heart. And unlike some characters, Ororo’s personality seems to blend perfectly into one definite character, as opposed to various interpretations that don’t always match up.

Superhero Spotlight – The Flash (Barry Allen)

The idea of an ultra-fast superhero named “The Flash” was first introduced to comic book readers in 1940 in Flash Comics #1, created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert. Jay Garrick inhaled “hard water vapors” to get his powers and began fighting crime as one of many popular superheroes of the era. After World War II the superhero genre took a sharp decline in popularity and Garrick’s last adventures in a starring role came in 1951. But the idea of The Flash was too good not to run with. In 1956 DC Comics created a second character with the powers and the name, but with a brand new costume, secret identity and backstory that would transform The Flash into one of DC’s most popular and enduring characters.

Barry Allen (The Flash)

Showcase

The Comic Book Origin

Barry Allen was a forensic scientist whose life to a dramatic change when he was struck by lightning and doused in the chemicals in his lab. Surviving the accident that should have killed him, Barry soon learns that he has been gifted with super speed, becoming the Fastest Man Alive. Using his powers, he defends his hometown of Central City as their resident costumed hero, fighting everyone from petty criminals like The Rogues to Gorilla Grodd, a hyper-intelligent gorilla with psychic powers. Barry also had many adventures through time and dimensions, using his powers and a device called the Cosmic Treadmill to travel backwards and forward in time. And of course, The Flash would also be a founding and iconic member of the Justice League.

Flash’s personal life was different from many superheroes of the time. He was one of the first heroes who didn’t keep his life hidden from his parents and the first to tell his love interest Iris West of his identity. While this occasionally lead to tragedy when Barry’s most vindictive enemies decided to harm him emotionally (usually Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash), Barry and Iris were mostly a happy couple. They married and Iris would even bear his children. Sadly, Barry would not live to see them, as he nobly sacrificed himself to defeat the Anti-Monitor in the climactic chapter of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Infantino

The Real Life Origin

Barry Allen was created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Carmine Infantino (pictured above), two of DC’s most imaginative creators of the era. Carmine’s dynamic art brought the Flash to life, truly showcasing the movement that the character was supposed to have, while Kanigher very nearly created the Silver Age of Comics by making Barry’s stories so heavily based in science fiction and helping define a new generation of superheroes. Barry Allen debuted in Showcase #4 in October of 1956 and was a staple of DC’s line-up for three decades before he was essentially killed off in George Perez and Marv Wolfman’s game-changing Crisis On Infinite Earths story.

The keyword, of course, is essentially. While Barry was absent from comics, The Flash legacy continued as Barry’s nephew and teenage sidekick Wally West took up Barry’s mantle, becoming the definitive Flash for a new generation of comic book readers. However, after twenty three years writers Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns decided to bring Barry Allen back to DC Comics. Using a loophole that Wolfman intentionally put into Barry’s “death”, they had him escape the void he had driven the Anti-Monitor into; Barry soon became the company’s premiere Flash once again.

Flash

Always Moving Forward

Barry Allen ended up playing a central role in another event that redefined DC’s universe. In a story called The Flashpoint Paradox, Barry went back in time to prevent his mother from being killed. Writer Geoff Johns had created this extra level of tragedy in order to further flesh out Barry’s personality, since he came from a time where characterization wasn’t as important to DC comics as the plot. This story gave Johns a chance to define Barry as somebody who is always moving forward, showing that we can’t spend our lives regretting what we couldn’t change, but we have to keep looking to the future and how we can affect it.

Given that he was written out of comics for thirty years, it’s odd to think that Barry Allen is now more popular than ever. His relaunched series was consistently one of the best comics for the first two years of DC’s The New 52 relaunch, with stunning art and excellent storytelling that introduced Barry to a new generation of comic book fans. And even non-comic readers are familiar with Barry Allen again thanks to a positively received television adaptation that spun out of the already successful Arrow TV show.

CW

Why Barry Allen Is My Flash

Wally West was The Flash when I was growing up, but he was never a character I particularly gravitated to. The Wally I knew was from the television show Justice League and was always making jokes and was rarely ever serious. He was a valuable part of the team, but not a character I enjoyed on his own. When I read comics with Wally as Kid Flash, I grew to dislike him even more, as he was always complaining about being a super hero and even when he took Barry’s mantle he just seemed to whine about not living up to Barry’s legacy. So I didn’t have a high opinion of The Flash when I really got into comics with DC’s relaunch in 2011.

Barry Allen pretty much changed all of that. I enjoyed that he was a scientist, someone who used his brain to solve problems and not just his powers. I liked how shy and awkward he was around everybody and came to realize that he was just a genuinely nice guy. I can’t picture Barry ever being a jerk to anyone, and that is always endearing. Over time I came to realize that he was the DC character I related to most. Superman and Wonder Woman inspired me, Green Lantern and Batman captured my imagination, but I genuinely felt an emotional connection to Barry as if he were me when I read him. Flash has gone from being a character I didn’t care about to one of my favorites.

Supervillain Spotlight – Darkseid

Jack Kirby is probably the most influential and legendary comic book artist of all time. Most famous for his collaborations with Stan Lee, Kirby created the character designs for most of Marvel’s greatest superheroes and their villains. But he has also given some significant gifts to the DC Universe as well, and none are greater than today’s spotlighted villain…

Darkseid

Darkseid

Darkseid is the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips, one of the famed “New Gods” of the DC Universe. He stands in direct opposition to Highfather and his paradise planet of New Genesis. He is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, possessing near invulnerability and immortality as well godlike power to bend reality to his will. The most iconic power is his Omega Beams, which usually release from his eyes and can destroy all but the most powerful of beings. He seeks to bend the whole universe to his will, hoping to destroy all free will through the Anti-Life Equation. This has put him in direct opposition with the Justice League and other heroes, who have been lucky to stop him.

Despite his destructive goals, Darkseid has an uneasy truce with Highfather and New Genesis which ended their stalemate of a war. This truce is maintained because of an exchange of Highfather and Darkseid’s sons. Darkseid’s second son Orion is raised by Highfather and becomes a hero, one of Darkseid’s greatest enemies. The son he got in exchange doesn’t serve him any better; Scott Free refuses to give into Darkseid’s brainwashing and becomes the master of escape known as Mr. Miracle.

Kirby

The Real Life Origin

Jack Kirby based Darkseid’s personality, ideals and even some of his fashion on Adolf Hitler. He is a heartless, fully evil monster who believes that his worldview is the only valid one; he seeks to destroy all opposition and to control the minds and will of his subjects. While his world of Apokolips is completely ordered, it is a nightmarish dystopia. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the Fuhrer was the inspiration for Jack Kirby’s greatest antagonist; Kirby was Jewish and helped to create Captain America as a way to raise awareness of the atrocities the Nazis were committing in Europe. When you are creating pure evil, it is best to use pure evil for inspiration.

Darkseid was created for Kirby’s “New Gods” comics, originally a universe separate from the DC Universe called “Fourthworld”. However, he debuted in, of all things, in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133 and once Kirby finished with DC his ideas were integrated into the DC Universe at large. While this was probably not Kirby’s intention, I do feel that it was for the best overall. His world was too good not to be used, and Darkseid proved to be the ultimate villain that DC needed. He’s a force powerful and evil enough that even Superman feels vulnerable when facing him, and that shouldn’t be put on a shelf and forgotten about.

Uxas

The Most Copied Villain

And if there is any character that can be defined by the phrase “often imitated, but never duplicated”, it is Darkseid. If you’ve been to any Marvel movies lately, you may have heard of this guy called Thanos, Marvel’s ultimate big bad. Probably the biggest Darkseid knockoff ever, but I’m not saying that to knock Marvel; Darkseid is a good idea and it makes sense to have their own version. The X-Men villain Apocalypse is also heavily inspired by Darkseid, possessing a similar appearance and even more similar goals. Were it not for the fact that Apocalypse has vastly different powers and has been defeated far more easily, it would be difficult to tell the difference. And even DC hasn’t been afraid to rip off Darkseid; Mongul is pretty much a carbon copy, though much less powerful.

Despite the imitations, there is only genuine article. Thanos is a great character in his own right and certainly a more complex one; he feels the weight of his actions and has shown to regret them at times. Darkseid would never regret anything. I appreciate that kind of pure evil in the same way I appreciate the pure goodness of Superman; Darkseid stands for something and there is an epic, mythic quality to the character. Apocalypse is a great X-Men villain, but he doesn’t have the scope of Darkseid’s goals. Apocalypse wants to rule Earth and could do it, but Darkseid wants to control the whole universe and bend it to his rule.

Jim Lee

Why Do I Like Darkseid?

Darkseid is, in concept, my favorite villain in all of comic books. He is the quintessentially supervillain. He’s not complex, he isn’t sympathetic. He is pure evil and possesses near infinite power, making him the ultimate threat. Darkseid isn’t a character that should be used often; his stories should be epic and no defeat should come easy. And DC seems to realize that. While is as iconic as any of their villains, DC has never leaned on him as a crutch; when he shows up, it’s a big deal. That is why I love Darkseid; when he’s around, I know I am going to get a superhero story that I am going to love reading.

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