One of the greatest fictional supervillains of all time, Darkseid is the tyrannical ruler of the war world Apokolips. Created by the legendary comic book creator Jack Kirby in 1970, it’s difficult to imagine a DC Universe without the infamous New God. In short order, Darkseid cemented his place as one of the DCU’s big bads. Nearly every major event involves him in some way; he’s always there to take advantage of the situation. Darkseid’s ultimate goal is to rule the universe and eliminate free will. In his never-ending quest to possess the dreaded Anti-life Equation, there are few lengths the New God won’t go to in order to make his dream a reality.
He’s conquered plenty of universes, as few can stand up to his wide array of powers. Armed with super strength, telekinesis, immortality, energy and mass manipulation, his Omega powers, and nearly countless others, there’s little he cannot do. Yet for all his powers, Darkseid, like any great villain, can and has fallen victim to not only his hubris, but also superior might. He’s been defeated by those with greater power and even experienced being unwittingly beaten by clever outmaneuvering. Here at CBR we’re going to examine 15 ways Darkseid can and has suffered losses.
During the DC Comics event know as "Our Worlds At War", the alien tyrant Imperiex is spreading chaos throughout the universe. At one point he is seemingly destroyed and Brainiac 13 takes advantage of the situation to try and drain Apokolips of its power. In desperation, the powerless Darkseid turns to Wonder Woman’s aid in Wonder Woman #173. At Wonder Woman’s instruction, the Amazons pray to Darkseid, giving the old deity newfound power, which in turn allows them to counter the threat.
As Darkseid prepares to leave, it’s pretty clear he intends to get up to no good again. However, Wonder Woman tells him that when Raven linked them during the prayer, Darkseid was “infected” by Wonder Woman’s soul; forcing him to curb his destructive behavior and deal with the concepts of love and compassion.
In the world of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman has taken over the planet Earth. Following the death of his wife Lois Lane by way of the Joker, Superman kills the villain and decides a firmer hand is needed to control the Earth. In Year One, Kalibak, the son of Darkseid, comes to Earth, thinking it’ll just be another super-powered encounter. With an army of Parademos, Kalibak lays siege to the planet, requiring all of Earth’s heroes to stop him. Superman decides he’s had enough and kills both the Parademons and Kalibak.
Later in Year Four, Darkseid acts out of revenge, capturing some of Superman’s allies. Superman saves his friends, and fights Darkseid. The battle doesn’t end with someone unconscious, but rather when Superman intimidates the dark god into submission, Darkseid having realized this new Superman is unafraid to kill.
In Episode #3 of the show Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Darkseid decides to try and destroy the Earth by way of subterfuge. Taking the place of Steve Trevor by rearranging his own molecular structure, the New God gets Wonder Woman’s trust and is able to successfully infiltrate the Galactic Guardians team. From there, Darkseid steals the TC7 satellite, which has the ability to transform everyone on the planet into a hideous mutant race.
When Wonder Woman is kidnapped and turned into a glass statue, her friends come to the rescue, only to be faced by Darkseid. Through some clever reverse engineering, Cyborg is able to boom-tube the satellite away from Earth and send it crashing on top of Darkseid, knocking out the villain and leaving our heroes plenty of time to escape.
12 HIS OWN OMEGA BEAMS
Darkseid has plenty of powers at his disposal, but perhaps his most famous are his neigh unstoppable Omega Beams, or the Omega Effect as he sometimes calls it. Capable of rendering the majority of his opponents to dust and even teleporting those it hits, Darkseid’s Omega Beams have even brought Superman to his knees on more than one occasion.
In Superman vs. Darkseid: Apokoplips Now!, the Man of Steel once again is forced to do battle with the mad god. This time however, Superman is stronger than ever, driven by the need to save his friend John Henry Irons. The battle between Superman and Darkseid is fierce and reaches its zenith when Superman lures Darkseid’s omega beams right back at him, hitting the New God square in the back. While it doesn’t put him out of commission, it’s enough for Superman to win the fight.
When punching isn’t enough to solve a problem, especially a problem as big as Darkseid, other means are required. Introducing Highfather, leader of the New Gods of New Genesis in the Fourth World. One of the strongest beings in the universe, similar to Darkseid, his power is nearly unparalleled. However, even Highfather realizes engaging in all-out conflict with the evil New God is a precarious proposition.
In the early days of Darkseid and Highfather, there was a great amount of political subterfuge and shady manipulations; think of it as Game of Thrones, but with gods. In one of their final confrontations, they realize a pact must be made so their respective worlds aren’t destroyed. The two make a deal to exchange their sons; Darkseid raises Scott Free and Highfather raises Orion. It’s a way to ensure each has a bargaining chip in case the other decides to ignore their truce.
There aren’t many beings with the strength to go toe-to-toe with the mighty Darkseid. Depending on who is writing both the story and the characters, one of those very beings is Superman, the Last Son of Krypton. The two have been enemies ever since Darkseid first appeared on the scene, and they’ve constantly been a thorn in each other’s side.
It’s not everyday Superman is able to defeat Darkseid, but that never stops the Man of Steel from trying. The New 52 iteration of Superman couldn’t take on the New God in a one-on-one battle, but his earlier iterations certainly could. The driving force behind Superman’s ability to beat Darkseid is his holding back. When Superman is unleashed, withholding none of his strength, than Darkseid will typically find himself on the losing side of their battles.
9 GETTING SHOT
In DC’s Final Crisis, the New God Orion has been killed and Darkseid is attacking Earth, bringing the Anti-Life Equation with him. Throughout the pandemonium, Wally West, the Flash at the time, travels back in time to catch the bullet that killed Orion. However, he leaps into a horrible future, but is saved by the return of Barry Allen. They then run back in time, chased all the while by the Black Racer, in order to stop the bullet.
The two Flashes get back to Blüdhaven, the Black Racer hot on their heels. As the heroes reach super-luminal velocity, time warps around the Flashes, and a temporal eddy is created, into which Darkseid fires the bullet, sending it back in time to kill Orion. In the meantime, Batman fires the same bullet, hitting Darkseid square on, as it’s the blow needed to defeat him.
8 THE BLACK RACER
The Black Racer, the speedster embodiment of death, has killed Darkseid on more than one occasion. The fact that Darkseid has been killed several times and yet come back alive and well, is a testament to his character and power. He’s a cornerstone of the DC Universe and is never gone for long.
The Black Racer first killed Darkseid during Final Crisis, after being lead by the two Flashes directly into Darkseid. The second time was during Geoff Johns’ Darkseid War. The War, involving everyone from Darkseid’s daughter, Grail, to the Justice League, finds Darkseid pitted in dire combat against the Anti-Monitor. As the battle begins to reach its climax, the Black Racer possesses the Flash and hits Darkseid head on, accompanied by a blast from the Anti-Monitor, killing Darkseid.
Batman is Batman. For many, that would put an end to most superhero-themed debates. From Superman and the Justice League, to Doomsday and the Hulk, Batman has faced down, and defeated, nearly comic book figure out there. For a guy without powers, aside from exorbitant wealth, it’s pretty impressive. Batman has fought Darkseid multiple times, but we’re looking at the time Batman donned his Hellbat armor and beat the deity right out of the New God.
Forged by the Justice League, the armor was created to help Batman fight in battles that exceeded his strength level. After Damian Wayne, the son of Batman is killed; his body is stolen and taken to Apokolips on account of a chaos shard lingering in Damien’s corpse. Attacking the totality of Apokolips, Batman, by way of his Hellbat armor, defeats Darkseid’s army, his son Kalibak, and then eventually Darkseid himself.
6 MAGIC AND MISDIRECTION
John Constantine is a trickster, con man, mage, and occasional hero. He’s faced everyone from the Devil to maddened warlocks and always come out on top. Towards the end of the New 52 Constantine comic run, Constantine crosses over onto Earth-2, only to find it besieged by Darkseid and his minions.
After running into an alternate version of his family, Constantine realizes he won’t be leaving back to his Earth without saving those he loves. Through a series of deception and lies, as is his way, Constantine starts bringing his family and other civilians to his universe, but Darkseid follows. With no other recourse, Constantine unleashes a powerful spell, but is forced to kill many of those he already saved so it’ll work. Their deaths give him enough power to create an enchantment that misdirects Darkseid, tricking the New God into going back from whence he came.
5 THE POWER COSMIC
Darkseid is an impossibly powerful entity, but in the one-shot crossover Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger, the New God meets his match when he encounters the Devourer of Worlds. Searching for a planet to satiate his master’s hunger, the Silver Surfer happens upon Apokolips, when he is suddenly attacked by a horde of Parademons. Undeterred, the Silver Surfer sends a signal out to Galactus, who promptly responds and makes his way to the giant world of death.
All the meanwhile, Highfather watches on, hoping Darkseid will be eliminated once and for all.When Galactus arrives, Darkseid throws everything he can at the giant, but to little effect. Galactus’s power cosmic on the other hand is enough to seriously wound Darkseid, forcing the mad god to reason with Galactus. To no one’s surprise, Darkseid’s ploy works and Galactus leaves.
4 THE DARK PHOENIX
In the Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans crossover from 1982, the two superhero teams find themselves united in their common goal of saving the world. The Phoenix, one of the greatest powers the universe has ever seen, is on the loose again, or at least is about to be when Raven sees a premonition in a dream. Throughout the story, comic book shenanigans ensue and Deathstroke the Terminator captures both teams.
All the meanwhile, Darkseid is hatching a plan to resurrect and control the Phoenix and its fabled power. Things obviously don’t go as planned for anyone, and eventually Raven and Professor X team-up to psychically weaken the Phoenix-entity so that she has to possesses Cyclops to survive. The reunion sparks memories of Jean Grey’s relationship with Cyclops and the Phoenix turns on Darkseid; the two beings are lost when the Phoenix unleashes a tremendous energy blast.
3 A PUNCH
Countdown To Final Crisis #2 featured one of the most brutal defeats Darkseid has ever suffered. After first battling a super-powered Jimmy Olsen, Darkseid must contend with Orion, his son. While many of the New Gods died at the hands of the Infinity Man, Orion survived. Not only did he survive, his return is one of vengeance.
While Darkseid fights in the name of fulfilling a prophecy that will bring him more power, Orion has his own prophecy to fulfill, one that dictates, “the father of Apokolips shall meet his banished son…” and yadda yadda, Orion will kill Darkseid. Their battle is titanic and all the heroes can do, Superman included, is look on and hope for the best. Finally, in a fit of untamed fury, Orion punches a hole straight through Darkseid’s chest, resulting in a massive explosion; the young New God is the only one left standing.
Doomsday is the Kryptonian monster best known for doing the unthinkable and killing Superman that one time. A mutated creature that knows no remorse, Doomsday is practically the walking embodiment of death and destruction. Whenever he’s beaten, his body evolves so that it cannot be beaten the same way twice. In the 3-part Superman/Doomsday: Hunter Prey, Doomsday unwittingly makes his way to Darkseid’s home world of Apokolips where he instantly starts killing everyone and everything in sight.
Superman heads to Apokolips to stop the rampaging monster, but in the meantime, Darkseid refuses to stand for Doomsday’s tomfooleries. Unleashing the full power of his Omega Beams, he hits Doomsday with everything he has…and it doesn’t work. Doomsday’s revenge is swift and brutal as he easily demolishes the New God, all but crippling the mighty Darkseid.
1 THE ANTI-LIFE EQUATION
One of Darkseid’s popular aspects is his unending quest to attain the power of the Anti-Life Equation. It’s the equivalent of his white whale, constantly seeking it, but kind of at a loss whenever he gets it. Still, Darkseid gets points for consistency, and in the mini-series known as Cosmic Odyssey, Darkseid learns to be careful what you wish for.
In Cosmic Odyssey, Darkseid summons several heroes, Superman and Batman included, to go and find aspects of the Anti-Life equation before they bring ruin to the universe. At some point in the story, Darkseid and the Demon Etrigan encounter the Anti-Life entity. Darkseid is elated; finally believing his moment is at hand. His dream is quickly crushed when he realizes the aspect is too powerful and will kill him. Darkseid is powerless and only through the intervention of Doctor Fate is he able to continue breathing.
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