Originally published at Ramblings from the Flip Side (Site under construction). You can comment here or there.
Left to his own devices (I’m working and writing today), the SO is spending the day on a Justice League and Justice League Unlimited marathon. The few times I’ve walked into the living room, I’ve added my own color commentary on remembered plot holes and character arcs. And as he swings into Twilight Part I, where Darkseid asks the League’s assistance against Brainiac, I’m suddenly struck with an important question.
At what point did Brainiac become a big enough menace that he could threaten Darkseid and Apocalypse? Darkseid is a god. Brainiac is just an android (or in the old days, a psychic entity). Maybe one heck of a powerful android, but just a friggin’ android at that.
I’m struck by another question. Darkseid wants power, immortality, and a wonderful McGuffin called the Anti-Life Equation which will give him all these things. He’s vicious, amoral, and cruel. The standard definitions of megalomania, sociopathy, and psychopathy don’t apply to him since he not really deluded (he is a god, after all) nor is he truly anti-social. He just doesn’t care about anybody but himself and his goals.
So what exactly does Darkseid get out of being in charge of Apocalypse? It’s not like he cares about the adoration or the suffering of the people. Nor does he need the “assistance” of his ambitious and frivolous lieutenants. He is powerful enough to accomplish his goals on his own, without anyone’s help. At least, that’s the way he’s always been written.
Darkseid is the DCU’s biggest power player villain. He’s spanned the centuries from the medieval era heroes, through the modern era (our time), all the way to the time of the Legion of Superheroes. Sometimes he’s dead, sometimes he’s part of the Source Wall, sometimes he’s alive and kicking (just sitting on his throne, staring into space and plotting until someone does something stupid). But he is arguably a lot more powerful than Brainiac and hardly needs to “strike a deal” with the green guy just to keep Apocalypse intact.
And now I want to know at what point Darkseid took over Apocalypse. At what point did he consider the whole thing a project worth his attention? I want to know why Orion’s DC wiki page, Orion has long been known as Darkseid’s son, has a “mom” reference linked to a comic page where Tigra claims Darkseid is not his father. I always thought Kalibak (Orion’s half brother) was the younger son, not the elder. Now I find out that Darkseid fell in love once long ago (with Suli) and had a son (Kalibak), but then there was Orion who may or may not be Darkseid’s son.
Suddenly I’m in love with a love story that I would almost pay Warner Brothers (DC Comics’ parent company) to let me write.
We all have a romantic side (believing in the power of love and heroes). It’s why Romance as a genre makes so damn much money. It’s why even our action movies have love interests in them. It’s why we cheer even for the bad guys when they have their hearts broken. We’ve been there, feeling the passion, the instant attractions, the destruction of our dreams when we lose what we love.
That’s why writing a new version of the Darkseid love story appeals to me. Here is one of the coldest of the cold bad guys who has a vulnerable side, a weakness that he has shared with no one else. Once upon a time, before he was Darkseid, he had a “love of his life” before she was murdered. He had a second son later with a woman what he did not love, who may have loved him (or had other motives for consorting with him). I want to take this heartless villain and make him a man of great passion. I want to break him into little pieces, one bit at a time, as the supports in his life are taken from him one at a time. Exploring Tigra’s relationship with him, her connections to Granny Goodness, and Heggra’s own dark schemes for her son.
Grayven, Darkseid’s third son, is a recent addition to the DCU, so I haven’t yet plotted out his mother’s relationship to any of this. But three women, three children? What other children of Darkseid could be hiding in the wings? A daughter perhaps, forgotten and sacrificed to Darkseid’s ambitions? Or perhaps he never knew she existed (that one is a stretch). Yeah, the daughter is a bit of a Mary Sue, but I’m seeing quite the potential here.
Damn. At what point did I become a Darkseid fan? When I was a kid, I didn’t care much for Jack Kirby’s world and characters. Something has certainly changed, though, because I’m obsessed with taking a younger, more vulnerable Darkseid and put him quite thoroughly through the wringer.