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Darkseid's Weird Comic Book History

The trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have dropped the biggest bomb in the DC Universe on us, and its name is Darkseid. If you're a Marvel fan, Darkseid is the dude who Thanos stole his game from. We don't know when Darkseid will make his first full appearance in the DC Cinematic Universe, but his sigil and Parademons show up in Batman's weird prophetic nightmare during the Dawn of Justice trailer, so there's no doubt that he's on the way. Here's what you need to know about the galactic conqueror, Darkseid.

1970: First appearance

Darkseid made his first appearance as the chief antagonist of Jack Kirby's Fourth World, going up against Superman, Jimmy Olsen, the ridiculous Newsboy Legion, and the hippie-like Forever People. With a face based on the jagged features of Jack Palance, the personality of Adolf Hitler, and the whole hellish, fiery world of Apokolips under his command, his only goal throughout all of his appearances is to harness the Anti-Life Equation.

1971: Sumo sabotage

The minions of Apokolips assault Earth repeatedly, as Darkseid believes that parts of the Anti-Life Equation are tucked away inside the minds of unsuspecting humans. Darkseid thinks if he rattles their minds hard enough, he might just be able to shake it loose, because that's how math works. In his fury, he totally blows his first shot at solving the Equation when he sends a guy named Sonny Sumo, who fight robots for money and is not a sumo, back in time. Like a galactic bully, Darkseid continued to beat people up for answers until Kirby's Fourth World is cancelled, less than two years later.

1986: Crisis

The Fourth World characters and events are folded into mainstream DC continuity, but generally take a backseat to DC's core characters. Darkseid doesn't make a lot of impact for a while, even during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event, which pretty much involved every DC character ever, no matter how silly. Darkseid appears at the very end and lends some of his power to fight against the powerful Anti-Monitor, shooting beams through the eyes of Earth-3's super-Luthor, demonstrating why DC needed to get their junk in order.

1987: Love, love, love

In 1987, Swamp Thing turns into a chair and gives a guy named Metron a ride into The Source, an infinitely large wall where the universe ends and all truths reside. The unlikely pair have a little adventure, and when they return from The Source, Metron attempts to trade his new knowledge for fuel for his time machine. Probing the remnants of Swamp Thing's memories, Darkseid realizes that he's been leaving out one important part of the Equation all along: love.

1987: Legends, aka the Phantom Stranger's pawn

Darkseid decides to one-up his adversaries by getting the humans to turn on their superheroes. Darkseid frames Captain Marvel for the death of a low-rent villain. In response, Ronald Reagan forms The Suicide Squad. Turns out that Darkseid was being played by the mysterious Phantom Stranger all along, who needed Darkseid's meddling to form a new, more powerful Justice League for Earth. Sucks to be you, Darkseid.

1988: Cosmic odyssey

The Anti-Life Equation is a weird thing. Some writers treat it like it's a trigger word that will destroy life, while others treat it like it's actually a mathematical formula that will depress you so much that you're instantly vulnerable to complete subjugation. Cosmic Odyssey decided that the Equation was actually a living creature, which blows up Metron's mind and tries to take over four planets at once. Apokolips' ruler enlists the unusual help of a rhyming demon named Etrigan to fight part of the Equation. Darkseid ultimately walks away with another sliver of the Equation.

2001: Darkseid helps create the universe

Imperiex is a god-like dude who sees that the universe is fractured. Like Dan DiDio, he wants to tear the whole thing down and reboot the whole process with another Big Bang. Unfortunately, this gets in the way of a certain someone's universe-dominating plans, so Darkseid once again joins forces with Earth's heroes. After a prolonged battle that kills 8 million Earthlings and Aquaman, Darkseid helps send the unstable Imperiex back to the time of the first Big Bang, where he explodes, essentially becoming the cataclysmic explosion in question, thus creating the universe.

2003: A gentle soul

During the battle with Imperiex, Darkseid couldn't find any Red Bull and took a little piece of Wonder Woman's soul in order to boost his power. It wasn't until two years later that Darkseid found himself unable to blast someone with his Omega Beams because he felt the very unfamiliar sensation of mercy. The little piece of Princess Diana of Themyscira's soul had made him soft.

2004: Closer to the wall

In revenge for turning Supergirl evil for approximately 15 minutes, Superman goes berserk, dragging Darkseid across the entire universe before throwing him into the Source Wall, which inescapably traps anything that touches it. Darkseid hangs out there and thinks about stuff for a long while. While Darkseid's trapped, he finally learns the entire Anti-Life Equation. Thanks Clark!

2008: Prophecy fulfilled

For decades, it's been known that Darkseid's son, Orion, would be the one to eventually kill him. With that prophecy long forgotten, Darkseid starts killing all of the other New Gods and saving their energies inside a god-battery that he put inside Jimmy Olsen. The Atom climbs around in Jimmy's guts, finds the battery, and removes it. Without a source of backup energy, the ever-so-ugly Orion rips Darkseid's heart out. Happy Father's Day.

2008: Worst computer virus ever

Darkseid doesn't totally die, but instead falls back in time and takes on the dumb name "Boss Dark Side." The Equation, which is played through mind-control helmets and emailed around like a bad forward about kittens, is being used to take over Earth (serious). Stranger still, it's revealed that you can just write "freedom" on your face and the whole Anti-Life thing will bounce off of you. Once Darkseid's spell is broken, bits of the Equation are left wedged in DC's non-licensed version of The Sims, and another bad guy spends his time playing the game to snag as many pieces as possible for future evil use.

2009: Shot by Batman

Everyone is pretty sick of Darkseid messing stuff up, so Batman takes a high-tech bullet and shoots Darkseid in the chest. Of course, Darkseid lives with the mortal wound for a while, but throws Batman back in time with his Omega Beams. The ghost of Darkseid comes back and tries to start more trouble. Ultimately, the only thing that really kills Darkseid is DC's New 52 reboot—where he's reborn as a bitter farmer who does most of the same stuff all over again.