I’ve read probably hundreds of thousands of comics in my lifetime, starting at the ripe young age of four and half with issue #21 of Archie Comics’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures and having most recently completed Avatar’s Crossed Badlands #17. I’ve read comics from Marvel, DC and Image, all the way down the line to Zenescope. Hell, I’ve even read some of Malibu’s Prime. I’ve seen characters I’ve loved die, and characters I hate come back from beyond. I’ve been to comic book conventions great and small, oogled cosplayers of most every shape and size, and have even unexpectedly gushed in front of Gail Simone (back in ought-seven to be exact). Needless to say, I’ve been around the block with comics and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s this: Darkseid sucks. Yeah, I said it.
Now, what’s got a swarm of bees all up in my bonnet against DC’s biggest, baddest loser? Well, according to the Latino Report, he’s going to be in the Justice League film. Jinkies. At least he’s completely different from Thanos, right? OH WAIT HE ISN’T. In fact, they’re both such galactic threats, that when DC and Marvel fused together during the Marvel Vs. DC event in the mid-90’s, we were gifted with Thanoseid, a fusion of both of our forthcoming cinematic baddies.
Nothing gets me riled up like comic books, and it’s always a good day when I get to write about them on Flixist. I’ve got a lot more to say about this, so read on to see me in rare form.
Oh, where to start on why this is a terrible decision…
Aside from his eye-beams (which can disintegrate people, resurrect the dead, et cetera, and he can control them, because why not?), also known in Jack Kirby-ese as the Omega Beam, I really don’t even know what Darkseid’s powers are. TO WIKIPEDIA! Okay, so, he’s got the ‘Omega Force’ (presumed source of the Omega Beam and Omega Sanction, which send people and Batmen back in time), super strength, super endurance, immortality, invulnerability, and genius-level intellect. Cute.
Now, let’s compare that to Thanos and his powers: superhuman strength, stamina, durability, longevity, and intelligence, energy manipulation, telekinesis, and teleportation.
But this isn’t about comparing the two. And before anybody goes to accuse me of being a Marvel fanboy, I’m no big fan of Thanos either. I just think that his goal (courting Death and wrecking shit with the Infinity Gauntlet) is way cooler and less nonsensical than solving the Anti-Life Equation.
(I love and respect Jack Kirby, but the more I write out these things the more I realize I don’t know what the hell was going on in the sixties.)
Let’s take a deeper look at the Anti-Life Equation. From Wikipedia: “Jack Kirby’s original comics established the Anti-Life Equation as giving the being who learns it power to dominate the will of all sentient and sapient races. It is called the Anti-Life Equation because ‘if someone possesses absolute control over you – you’re not really alive.'” Scottish madman Grant Morrsion actually gave us the eqaution in his Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle mini-series (wherein Darkseid and the other Fourth World characters were all reborn as black people in the ghetto…or something) and this is that equation:
loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding × guilt × shame × failure × judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side
Yeah. Okay. Sure. Thanos just wants to please his lady Death, not do stupid math.
When the Justice League was originally formed in the Silver Age, they came together to fight a giant space-starfish named, appropriately, Starro. Do I found Starro a compelling character? Hell no. But do I think that super-teams can be founded fighting a starfish who can possess people via face-hugging? Yes. Do they need to be formed by going up against someone who is traditionally a Big Bad (to borrow a term from the Whedonverse)? No, because then you’ve got to out-do it the next time.
Therein lies my biggest issue with them deciding to go with Darkseid in Justice League. It echoes my complaints about the Avengers being brought together to fight a giant army of space aliens when originally, in the comics, they came together to stop a rampaging Hulk: you’ve got to out-do it next time. The Avengers get to fight Thanos in the second film, but after that the number of Thanos-tier bad guys is slim pickins. Justice League isn’t even building up to Thanos-tier, they’re just diving right on in to the deep end. Who will the Justice League face in the theoretical JL2? Emperor Joker? Some new garbage villain from the New 52? I can’t even think of another Darkseid-tier villain from DC. What they’ll have to do is a Legion of Doom thing where they fight a bunch of bad guys, because they already busted their great and powerful evil god nut in the first goddamn movie.
Now, I said this article wasn’t about comparing Darkseid and Thanos but I’ve realized I’m wrong. Ultimately, that’s exactly what it’s about. Avengers 2 and Justice League both come out in 2015 and both have a Big Bad from outer space that will tear the teams a new asshole. The obvious advantage The Avengers, and by extension Thanos, has is build-up. Warner Brothers is pulling off the sheet and going, “TA-DA!” whereas we know Thanos is coming. We’ve been waiting years for him to show up and slap Thor and Captain America around. Casual fans will see through Warner Brothers just as easily as us long-time readers and cry out bullshit. And, if you ask me, they’re right. Why do we care about this team in the first place, outside of the bat-symbols and super-crests? These aren’t our Batmen and Wonder Women. We haven’t spent the last decade watching their trials and tribulations unfold before they are brought together to face a world-ending threat. It’s just some people in familiar costumes finding a guy in a skirt (no, really).
What it boils down to is Darkseid sucks. I couldn’t be less excited for Justice League. There’s been no world/universe-building, the villain is lame and way too over-powered for a first movie, and one time, Superman beat him by singing at him. For real. This was after Darkseid had won. He’d basically taken over the world, ‘killed’ Batman, and was basically chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. Then Superman sings at him. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but he is ultimately felled by the dulcet tones of Superman. Read Final Crisis to see what I’m talking about.
And that is the villain they’ll be facing in Justice League, desperately trying to out-do The Avengers in 2015!