Darkseid Special #1 (DC Comics)
The other company (you know, the one we’re not reading these days), is doing a thing with their big purple guy that has little to no connection to the rest of their universe and is better off for it. Are we going to see the same done with Darkseid? If so, writers Sam Humphries and Mark Evanier are the people to do it.
I met Sam briefly when he was in town doing a podcast. He was working on Star Lord at that point, building a relationship between Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde that was built perfectly before Marvel decided to wreck it for another tired retread. He was charming, reserved, the sort of writer possessed of a decency that never should have become archaic.
Mark Evanier is a man I’ve never met but who was taken in by none other than Jack Kirby. The King kickstarted him but his drive and talent helped develop everything the Hanna Barbara animation studio ever did and helped build up DC Comics’ New Gods, a property that Jack Kirby invented and that Darkseid is a part of.
The New Gods are exactly what they sound like; Jack wanted to develop his own ethereal mythology and DC Comics let him do it, building up a divine dichotomy that flavors the backdrop of DC’s operatic nature. Darkseid is a part of that, the absolute evil that beats at the core of DC Comics, the monster and shadow that rips at people’s souls.
He is not the Devil. DC Comics has their own version of Satan and Hell; the New Gods were a step beyond other religions and Darkseid doesn’t need to carry the weight that comes from other mythologies. He is his own monster and all the more fascinating because of it, the God Emperor of the planet Apokolips, a world he murdered to feed his own ambition. He’s built an empire and this is where he gets interesting.
Yes, he is one of the most powerful beings in comics, but he’s a being a perfect order rather than chaos. He sees free will as a curse and wishes for all souls to abdicate their responsibility and choices to him, for his intellect and drive to inform every decision made by every living being in the cosmos. To this end, he’s been seeking to unravel something called the anti-life equation, a metaphysical sum based in the maths that underlie everything that he believes will give him perfect control of the cosmos for all eternity.
To him, no cost is too great for this. His every crime and atrocity can be forgiven and the horrors that others carry out in his name are just in his eyes provided they get him closer to his goals. He is the big bad of the entire DCU, the one being that everyone is afraid of.
Even Superman, who once led a revolution on Apokolips to overthrow Darkseid… and failed.
Beating Darkseid is possible some of the time, but the chances of surviving him are always somewhere between slim and none. He twists the good things in life into terrors, deals in cosmic abstracts and breaks them. He adopts whole worlds of children and turns them into disposable zealots willing to live and worship and die for his name, all of them raised by monsters he’s created and crafted and built to serve his purposes.
Every now and again, though, one of those children escapes. That’s where this comic starts, with a group of cosmic orphans fleeing the tender care of the greatest tyrant DC can offer. He is incensed. He is infuriated. And he’s putting his best hunter to the task of collecting those that would run from him, as yet unknowing that one of the escapees holds a secret even from the darkest of all gods.
Scott Kolins turns his tight pencils to the art of this story, and he’s the perfect person to do so, what with his background in science fiction and superhero comics and this being a melding of those two genres. Steve Rude, meanwhile, is handling things on behalf of Sam Humphries, and the two of them are combining their efforts to tell a classic tale in the vein of the King.
This sounds like a comic for people that love comics. We do, so we’re planning on reading this and you should, too.