Today's featured villain is the baddest dude in the universe. (Archive is.)
O Deadly Darkseid is probably the greatest villain in the DC Universe, because he is the purest evil around. After all, Darkseid's life goal is nothing less than the complete and total subjugation of the universe. He aims high. Also, he is not afraid to wear a skirt.
The ever-brilliant Jack Kirby was Darkseid's creator, introducing him in a small cameo in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, of all series. Said Darkseid went on to become the Big Bad of Jack's Fourth World saga, achieving more popularity than any other character in the franchise. When you need the biggest, baddest bad guy for a big epic story, you turn to Darkseid. In that way, he's become overexposed and less effective, which is a shame.
Anyway, for those not in the know, Darkseid is the dread ruler of Apokolips, the scariest planet in the cosmos. He's an extremely powerful and horrible tyrant. He's constantly locked in battle with the denizens of New Genesis, Apokolips' cheerier twin planet. His arch-foe is his son Orion, born on Apokolips but raised on New Genesis. Darkseid's most fearsome power is his Omega Beams, eye-beams of doom that either annihilate or transport. He seeks the Anti-Life Equation, a mysterious power that gives the bearer complete control over the will of others. With it, he plans to conquer the universe and remake it in his own image.
Big evil dude on a scary planet thingie who is the father of his main antagonist? Hmm... sounds kinda like Darth Vader. Yes, I'm fully convinced that George Lucas lifted some of his favorite bits from Jack Kirby's Fourth World to create Star Wars. I am also fully convinced that Darkseid would completely destroy Darth Vader in combat.
Kirby's stories were amazing, turning Darkseid into a giant, mythic force of evil. Over time, Darkseid's been watered down and absorbed into the DC Universe. He fights Superman and the Justice League a lot, and usually loses. Most creators don't use him very well. For every Kirby run or Great Darkness Saga or Walt Simonson's Orion series, there's a dozen lame stories. In the animated DC Universe, Darkseid was brought in as the ultimate villain, and he was used pretty darn well. Michael Ironside was the perfect actor for it. So at least there's that.
I guess I've run out of things to say. I've always felt Darkseid was a truly terrific villain, and easily one of the best in comics-- but then, that's Jack Kirby for you. He brings it, and he brings it big. Darkseid's a super-fascist from outer space who keeps coming really darn close to taking over the universe. Can't beat that!
For more on the granite-faced god king, hit up the Wiki. And remember kids: Darkseid is.
Any other suggestions for Villain Week? I'm especially looking for oddball ones, or even baddies not from the Big Two. Bring 'em on!