The Neglected Nemeses: Darkseid
Looking back at Bryan Singer’s take on Superman, one of the glaring faux pas is the lack of Supes hitting things. I think he spent more time being hit than the opposite. One thing fans of the character know is that Superman needs to be hitting things…or people. With Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel flying into theaters in June, we are hoping to see that happen and the most recent trailers hint that Kal-El will indeed be laying the smack down on some folks. Of course, this time around, we’ll be seeing a modern take on General Zod, who is a formidable foe in his own right, but what if for future movies, which have already been rumored, they bring in another big gun, one that can stand toe-to-toe (and then some) with the Last Son of Krypton. I speak of Darkseid, of course. A character that is ruthless, cold and brutal and would certainly provide for some thrilling action scenes for a film, as well as a character that has yet to be touched outside Warner Brother’s animated series and films.
Jack Kirby looked to actor Jack Palance as a reference for the look of Darkseid, using the square jaw line and hardened exterior to help define what would become one of Superman’s greatest enemies. He also looked to Adolf Hitler as an inspiration for the character and used Nazi Germany as an inspiration of Darkseid’s homeland, Apokolips, where children are indoctrinated at a young age to become warlike and extremely faithful.
Darkseid’s rise to power on Apokolips was a violent one, one that involved family betrayal and the loss of loved ones, which led to his animosity towards good, hardening his heart, matching his rough exterior. When his Brother, Drax, attempted to harness the Omega Force for his own, Darkseid, known as Uxas, killed his brother and took the Omega Force, which changed his appearance to the rock-like surface we see today. At this time, he changed his name to Darkseid. He ultimately fell for a scientist, Suli, and had a son together. When Suli was killed, at the request of Darkseid’s mother, Darkseid took vengeance against his mother and had her killed, making him the supreme ruler of Apokolips.
Seeing other Gods as a threat, Darkseid layed seige upon Themyscira, the home of the Amazons and Princess Diana, a/k/a Wonder Woman, in order to discover the location of the Olympian Gods. Refusing to aid in this venture, the Amazons were forced to defend themselves against Darkseid and his parademon army. Nearly half of the Amazonian populations was eradicated at this time. Wonder Woman gained her revenge when she placed a piece of her soul into Darkseid, weakening him and causing him to lose a bit of his dark edge.
Darkseid’s ultimate goal is to rid the universe of free will and to reshape it in his own image. To start this, he sought to unravel the Anti-Life Equation, which gives its owner complete control over the thoughts and emotions of all living things in the universe. This, and other ventures, has lead to Darkseid clashing with many superheroes in the DC Universe, but it his epic battles with Superman that has gained him popularity. Few heroes have been able to take on the likes of Darkseid as Superman has done and this has led to some of the greatest battles to ever grace the pages of DC Comics pages.
In the New 52 line-up, Darkseid had been hinted at and alluded to for several issues, finally making an appearance in Justice League #4. In the following issue, the League confronts Darkseid, but is overpowered after Superman is damaged by the brutal Omega Beams and Green Lantern’s arm is broken. Finally, in Justice League #6, Darkseid is driven away after Cyborg activates the invaders’ Mother Boxes and Superman forces him through a Boom Tube. These issues mark the first time in the New 52 when the newly-formed Justice League face a foe as a team.
As I mentioned earlier, when we think of Superman, we think of battles raging in the streets of and in the air over Metropolis and we haven’t seen that since Superman II hit the screens (until next month , that is). Adding a character like Darkseid to the equation would not only solve this problem, but would make for a Superman film of epic proportions. The potential for ground-breaking (pun intended) fight sequences would be astronomical. If you look at Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk from a few years ago, many consider the ending fight scene in that film to be among the top amongst comic book films. If you were to take a scene like that and toss in the “alien” abilities of Superman and Darkseid, you can just imagine what the end result would be.
I wanted to find an actor to fill the role of Darkseid that is lesser known, just to mix things up a bit. One of which was Steve Harris, who is most known for his role on The Practice from several years ago. I still think he’d be a decent choice, but he just wasn’t “doing it for me,” so to speak. I kept going back to a suggestion and fan-favorite. Michael Ironside has had a solid career that has spanned nearly 40 years, but he has never been a “leading man,” save for a few films. Despite this fact Ironside has made a name for himself as a solid and dependable actor. You can always expect him to own every role he takes on. Having said that, with a character like Darkseid, I don’t think you can get away with putting a man in a rubber-suit and call it good. What I’d like to see is the of motion-cap for the facial features and CGI for the rest of the body. This way, you could still maintain the humanoid aspect of the character, yet give him the size that he deserves.