kirby's fourth world

hellyeahtitans67  asked:

Regarding Darkseid then, for me as a Catholic I've always placed emphasis on the Satan archetype being the ultimate evil in any fictional universe hence why I somewhat tend to go next to Trigon and from what I get, the Apokoliptans are basically the closest we'll get to a Satanic archetype from Norse Mythology. Is there some elements of Satan in Darkseid (like is his immortal and tempts sentient life to misdeeds for his benefits)? Just curious

Certainly there’s a bit of Satan in there; he’s a god of evil and unrelenting power who tempts sinners and schemes against the light of the highest of fathers. But for him, that’s only on a surface level. For Trigon, that surface is all there is; he was a mean bad demon baby (as opposed to the thoroughly charming Darkseid baby) with devil iconography who killed a whole bunch of people and became god-king of what amounted to hell until a bunch of teenagers in leotards beat him up. He’s hardly unique in that regard; from C.W. Saturn to Satanus to Neron to Doctor Hurt to the First of the Fallen to Vyndktvx, DC’s absolutely lousy with devil figures, with the actual Lucifer of the bunch mostly just hanging out and running a piano bar in L.A. these days. Some of them are better than others, but the fulfillment of that archetype - however uniquely or subversively - is what they’re all about.

Darkseid has his own thing going on.

What it really amounts to above all else - as I understand it, allowing that I didn’t go to Sunday school as a kid - is that Satan is a rebel, at least as far as Milton popularly defined him. He wants to be free, he wants to define himself on his own terms, and whether that’s borne of a genuine ideological divide, sheer ego, or both, that’s the starting point of everything he does. He will endure Hell if it means God can’t tell him what to do anymore, or at the very least he can spit in the lord’s eye. If anything, Lex Luthor’s the most traditional Satan that DC has to offer, in terms of stature and motivation.

Darkseid on the other hand? He wants order, not rebellion - absolute, irrefutable, cosmic order. He’ll push and prod and manipulate and intimidate and even dispense rewards as appropriate to edge towards that order, tempting us to listen to the “other side” as it brings us closer to himself, but freedom plays no role in his desires, because his endgame leaves him with nothing to be free of. Even “conquest” or “domination” are ultimately too weak as concepts to encompass the scope of what he craves; want he wants isn’t to rule men and gods, but for them to stop being in any way that matters, along with everything else in creation except for Darkseid. To him this is perhaps almost something like a moral right, insomuch as that idea is capable of forming in his head, because to him any other outcome is clearly, utterly unacceptable, permitting as it would anything to exist that isn’t Darkseid.

A couple people have put it well; @andrewhickeywriter had a great piece on Darkseid, and Chris Sims had a solid look at the basics of it (even if it positioned his relationship to Superman as far more central than I see it; I’m very much in the camp of his villainous status to the DCU as a whole being completely secondary to his status as the villain of the Fourth World story). And as usual, Grant Morrison put it pretty well, in this case in the script for the first issue of Final Crisis

His is a hatred without emotion, a cold, utterly inhuman and destructive thing. Nothing is real in his world but Darkseid. He would feel perfect if it wasn’t for the whole universe hating him, so he obviously has to bring the universe into line with his viewpoint or he’ll never feel comfortable. Darkseid has no experience of love, tenderness, sorrow. He is monstrously, sociopathically at odds with all free, living things. Everything that is not Darkseid is a thorn in his side and must be converted. Only when the whole universe is an expression of Darkseid’s will can it ever feel comfortable to him. He does terrible things because…he MUST.

So no, I don’t quite see them as equivalents. DC’s Lucifer for instance would likely find Darkseid’s goals banal and pointless in the extreme, while Darkseid would consider the Morningstar a childish, weak-willed wandering fool without the ambition to match his power. They are, after all, products of different moral orders: Satan is classically born of a moral axis of Order vs. Chaos, while Darkseid exists in the context of Control vs. Freedom, with which side you take having vastly different implications in those different frameworks. The Devil wants to do his own thing, whatever the consequences for the rest of us. Darkseid wants us all to do his, to the point where “us” becomes an anachronism, because when that day comes, only Darkseid Is.

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Some highlights from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Gallery, published by DC Comics, 1996. Pin-ups by:

Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding

Eduardo Barreto

Walter Simonson

John Byrne and Walter Simonson

Tom Mandrake

Steve Crespo and Rudy Nebres

Jim Calafiore and John Dell

J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray

Sal Velluto and Mark McKenna

Mitch O’Connell and Rick Taylor