Batman and Wonder Woman were both introduced into the DCEU in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but they weren’t the only DC characters introduced in that film. In fact, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg would all get a brief cameo to get us all ready and hyped for their highly anticipated team-up movie, Justice League. While teased in Dawn of Justice, we now know, after the release of a few trailers, that the League will be facing off against the might of Apokolips, home planet to the evil warlord Darkseid.
You might have heard the name before. You might have seen him in an animated movie or cartoon, or you might have played as him or against him in a video game. But who is he, really? Where does he come from, and what does want? The truth of the matter is, Darkseid is only one part of a massive branch of mythology in the DC universe, one that is rarely explored outside the realm of comics. But with the Justice League movie, we could finally see it explored in live-action. If you’re worried about not knowing enough about him and his world, fret not. Today, CBR lists 15 things you have to know about the forces of Apokolips.
15. THE FOURTH WORLD
You may have heard of Darkseid, and the planet he resides on, Apokolips, whether it was in comics, video games or animated shows. But Darkseid is only the tip of the Fourth World iceberg. Created by legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby, the Fourth World is usually the name attributed to the entirety of his comic book masterpiece: the New Gods, a race of deities who live in the far reaches of space.
The Fourth World encapsulates all of those characters, good and evil; two planets filled with a pantheon of gods, locked in an eternal confrontation. But while they reside far away beyond the limits of the cosmos, they are not actually in our universe. In fact, their planets are actually located in their very own pocket plane of existence — a private universe, if you like — one that could be compared to Asgard’s place in the cosmos in Marvel’s comic books and cinematic universe.
14. WHO IS STEPPENWOLF?
While everyone expected Darkseid to be the main villain of Justice League, it turns out that role will fall upon the mighty shoulders of one member of his elite instead: Steppenwolf. Both a powerful, cruel warrior and a brilliant military leader, Steppenwolf was first hinted at in a deleted scene released by Batman v. Superman director Zack Snyder, where he could be seen wielding three Mother Boxes (more on that later).
Armed with his favored battle ax, Steppenwolf commands the armies of Apokolips at the behest of his nephew Darkseid. In DC’s New 52 timeline, he can be seen commanding legions of Parademons as they proceed to swarm and attack the heroes of Earth-2. And from the look of things, this is exactly what he will be bringing to Earth in Justice League.
The Parademons form the bulk of Apokolips’ and Darkseid’s army. They are the foot soldiers, his infantry. They can fly and will follow their commands blindly. They come in unimaginable numbers and they swarm everything in their path. They are so many because they are created from other lifeforms — the conquered, the defeated and the dead are taken by Apokolips and their organic material is then repurposed into these monstrous soldiers.
You first caught a glimpse of them in Batman v. Superman, when Bruce Wayne had his “Knightmare” vision. The Parademons flew all around, and they were the ones to finally subdue Batman. With their arrival on Earth imminent in Justice League, these creatures will be the ones Batman and his friends will do the bulk of their fighting against — a bit like the aliens in the first Avengers flick.
12. THE FIRE PITS OF APOKOLIPS
As if the name Apokolips wasn’t foreboding enough for this place, the planet is actually just one massive city that is peppered with raging fire pits. These pits are engines of war and torture, fueled by the very fire that stems from Darkseid himself. It is where the armors and weapons of the Parademons are forged and where they learn that pain is no obstacle, merely a nuisance.
Few have ever emerged from the fire pits of Apokolips unscathed. In the pages of the Justice League storyline “Darkseid War,” Superman himself was thrown into them, and he emerged from them completely corrupted — just as powerful, but an absolute negative of his very self. We don’t know if we will see much of Apokolips in the movie, but if we do, you can bet its fire pits will be burning red.
11. THE FURIES
While it’s unclear if the Female Furies will appear in the Justice League movie, they are still an important staple of Apokolips and deserve a mention. Led, trained and molded by the evil goddess Granny Goodness, the Furies are an elite squad among Darkseid’s army, each deadlier than the last. Their role is to be cruel beyond measure, to defeat the enemies that the Parademons can’t.
Most notable among their members are the New God Big Barda, who is most famous for defecting to the side of good and finding love with Scott Free, aka Mister Miracle, and Supergirl, who, at the time, was taken to Apokolips and turned into an agent of Darkseid, a weapon to use against Superman. While we might not see Big Barda or Supergirl in the film, the possibilities are certainly intriguing.
10. THE RED SKIES
In DC comic books, the red skies are the herald of terrible things to come, an omen of destruction. The first signs of a crisis. Whether it’s Darkseid and his forces taking over the Earth in Final Crisis, or Steppenwolf and his Parademons swarming over Earth-2, the skies of the planet turn red, and they signal the absolute danger that the entire world is in.
The red skies have become a staple in DC Comics, to the point that they were even teased in the first season of the CW series The Flash, a tease that seems to point at the classic Crisis On Infinite Earths story. And, as we have seen in the Justice League trailers, Batman and his allies are fighting under a crimson sky, a sign of the dangers the planet faces. It is a true sign that the threat of total destruction has arrived, as well as a nice nod to the source material.
9. APOKOLIPS AND ITS PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE
Because they haven’t been properly introduced yet, there isn’t much we know about the New Gods and the Fourth World’s place in the DC Extended Universe of movies. But we have managed to gather some information along the way. Mainly, we came to know that the Kryptonians were aware of their existence, as evidenced by the scene of Lex Luthor learning all he can about the universe in the Kryptonian ship in Batman v. Superman.
Then, there was also a moment in the latest Justice League trailer, a moment where we heard Steppenwolf saying, of Earth, that there were “no Lanterns” here. As great as it is to finally have confirmation that the Green Lanterns do exist in the DCEU, it also confirms that even the Lanterns and the Guardians of the Universe are aware of their existence.
8. NEW GENESIS
As you have read earlier in this list, Apokolips isn’t the only planet in the Fourth World. The opposite to this dark and evil planet is New Genesis, ruled by Highfather. A force for good and light, they are the opposites of their malicious counterparts. Long have these two factions been at war, a seemingly eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil.
Of the more popular stories of the New Gods is the tale of Scott Free, the son of Highfather, and Orion, the son of Darkseid. To broker peace, the two rulers bargained to trade their sons. On New Genesis, Orion learned to control the darkness within him to become a great warrior. On Apokolips, Scott Free fought a very long time to resist the evils of Darkseid, and became the World’s Greatest Escape Artist.
7. WHAT IS A MOTHER BOX?
Mother Boxes are pieces of highly advanced technology created by the New Gods. They are so advanced in fact that their full limits and capabilities aren’t fully known. They can take on many forms, but usually appear as a small metallic box that can fit in one’s hand. They can be used as tools and weapons, but are primarily used as a transportation and teleportation device.
The Mother Boxes are most known to create Boom Tubes, space bridges that can allow one to teleport from one place to another, and the only way to return to the Fourth World. We’ve already seen a Boom Tube active in the most recent Justice League trailer – a Tube that led Steppenwolf into Themyscira – and we also know that three Mother Boxes will be at the source of the conflict.
6. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR CYBORG?
In Batman v. Superman, Diana Prince watched a video of Dr. Silas Stone use a Mother Box to save his son’s life. The Box fused itself onto Victor’s damaged body, to the point that it became a part of him. While not the origin of Cyborg in the old DC Comics continuity, this new origin was introduced in the pages of the New 52 Justice League series.
Like in that comic series, Cyborg will be an instrumental part of the fight against Steppenwolf and Apokolips in the movie. Not only does this Mother Box grant him the use of highly advanced weaponry and technology, it also grants him the power of creating Boom Tubes, and teleporting Justice League members if need be. But will he set his metallic foot on Apokolips itself? We’ll just have to wait and see.
5. WHO IS DARKSEID?
Everything that Steppenwolf does, every command the Parademons follow, it is all at the behest of Darkseid. It is in his service that they act, carrying out his will to conquer every planet in the universe, known and unknown. He is the lord of Apokolips, its tyrant and ruler. He is powerful beyond measure and can more than stand his ground while facing the raw might of Superman.
Darkseid is the ultimate evil in the universe. He has many superpowers in his arsenal, but none equal his devastating Omega beams, rays of energy that will track any target he aims to disintegrate, no matter where they go. Anyone the beams find and kill can also be transported in any time or place, as part of Darkseid’s Omega Sanction, a means that he can use to further torment his victims.
4. THE ANTI-LIFE EQUATION
Similar to Marvel’s Thanos and his hunt for the Infinity Stones, Darkseid’s ultimate goal in life is to find the Anti-Life Equation. Long did he search for it, to fulfill his desire to eliminate all free will in the universe, to break every living organism down and take them under his control. His absolute need to conquer the universe will only be complete once he finds how to break the will of anyone who would resist him.
Once, he did manage to find and use it to take control of the world’s superheroes, supervillains and humans in the pages of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, turning them all into his slaves in an event that saw evil win the day. We aren’t even sure if Darkseid will indeed appear in the Justice League movie, but if he does, you might hear him say something about this Anti-Life Equation.
3. GRAIL: THE DAUGHTER OF DARKSEID
When Diana Prince, the hero known as Wonder Woman, was born on Themyscira, there was another birth, on the other side of Paradise Island. There, the Amazon Myrina gave birth to the daughter of Darkseid, a supervillain who would come to bear the name of Grail. Years later, Grail had only a single purpose, and that was to declare war on her father, and in the process claim the Anti-Life equation to become the goddess of Anti-Life.
A recent addition to the DC Universe and New Gods mythology in the pages of the Justice League story “Darkseid War” by writer and DC Films president Geoff Johns, Grail could easily become a part of the DCEU. With ties to Darkseid, the Amazons and Wonder Woman herself, Grail could be featured in any number of movies, until the final confrontation against Darkseid.
2. LEX LUTHOR
In the pages of “Darkseid War,” we saw that Lex Luthor had quite the connection with Apokolips. Finding himself on the planet with Superman, Luthor long boasted that he was worthy of great power. The people of Apokolips took it as an invitation, and they transferred the Omega Sanction into Luthor, turning him into the new God of Apokolips. Effectively, he became the new Darkseid.
In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, we saw Lex Luthor become aware of the existence of Darkseid and Apokolips. The revelation was so shocking to him that he seemed greatly affected by it. With rumors of both Lex Luthor and Darkseid appearing in Justice League, could Jesse Eisenberg’s Luthor take on the role of lord of Apokolips?
1. WHEN APOKOLIPS INVADES
If you are looking for the main inspiration for the Justice League movie, for a single comic book to read in order to prepare for the film, learn everything you can about Darkseid, Parademons and Apokolips and see just what their invasion of Earth can look like, look no further than DC’s Justice League: Origin.
Telling the modern tale of the formation of the Justice League, the book is a perfect DC Comics jumping-on point. You will see Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Superman meet for the very first time and unite as the Parademons invade. All of this leads to a trip to Apokolips and a massive battle with Darkseid himself. So what are you waiting for? Head to the nearest comic shop near you and get ready for Justice League!
Are you excited to see the Justice League square off against the forces of Apokolips? Let us know in the comments!
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