the superman gallery

filbypott  asked:

Ever since Darkseid first appeared in the pages of Jack Kirby's SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN, the Man of Steel has been bound up with the Fourth World saga, to the point that Darkseid is often treated as one of Superman's rogues gallery and Supes himself replaces Orion as Darkseid's nemesis. What are your thoughts on Superman's relationship to the New Gods, and how closely do you think he should be tied to them?

He works exceedingly well, for all the reasons Chris Sims goes into here - as Final Crisis showed, the opposite of “Darkseid Is” is “Superman Can,” one of those perfect symmetries that evolves over time. Kirby may have planned Orion to be Darkseid’s opposite number - and Orion absolutely works in that capacity - but Darkseid’s role as a broader DC villain starts to get codified once he’s redesigned by Kirby for the Super Powers cartoon, and really gets in gear for the DCAU beginning with Superman TAS. You probably remember Superman and Darkseid’s slobberknocker fights better than you remember the times Orion fought Darkseid on those shows.

At the same time, reducing Darkseid to “I’m the guy that punches, plus I got Omega Beams” is as reductive as reducing Superman to Guy That Punches, and there is an apocryphal story that Dini & Timm wanted Darkseid as the big bad in Superman TAS because they wanted a more physical foe for Superman than Lex Luthor. So those big fights have probably been as much a hindrance as a help in the broader scheme of things, especially once you factor in Dark Knight Returns Syndrome where attempts to recreate those fights without establishing the context that made them work so well to begin with leads to diminished returns over time, to the point people are more hype about Baby Darkseid than they are about actual Darkseid, since at least Baby Darkseid is a new idea.

But we’re sliding back towards “Darkseid as that itch in the back of your skull that wants you to destroy everything, starting with yourself” thanks to books like the current Mister Miracle, and I think this is a better fit - Darkseid as someone out there somewhere, tempting people towards evil just as surely as Superman inspires them towards nobility. Entire proxy battles between people motivated by their relationship to either one could be fought without either knowing. It’s more subtle than Kirby’s take, but the whole point of Kirby was “come up with your own take.”

So tying it back to Superman: Darkseid works very well as a Superman villain but less so as a consistent villain, i.e. someone who shows up and gets beat down once every few months. Apokalips shouldn’t be a place Superman just swings by from time to time - it’s the final level, not the first level. He works better with a level of buildup to the revelation of “oh, shit, Darkseid’s behind this, things are really bad.” The character with a constant presence in Superman’s world who is a corrupting, controlling bastard is Lex Luthor, who can also suffer from overexposure but can rebound from it with more ease since there’s more variation in his interpretation and how sympathetic he should be.

But building up Darkseid takes time - over a year’s worth of comics, at the least - and that is difficult to reconcile with the modern take on Darkseid as Franchise Villain, where many hands are shaping the direction he’ll take. It’s difficult to quietly build to his latest scheme if he’s gotta show up in Justice League every six months.

One way out, again, would be Mister Miracle, which is relatively self-contained, has little to do with the current storyline with Darkseid, and uses the 4th World quite well. Not every book should be Mister Miracle but takes on the 4th World and its relationship to Superman could benefit from that approach of keeping it relatively constrained to one book and one team’s take.

One final note: I have heard that Highfather is dead and I feel this is an excellent idea, since Orion himself might be a better choice, for dramatic purposes, in the role of the leader of New Genesis. It gives him a different role than Superman that also plays to his essential struggle - a man who grew up in a version of Heaven that never lets him forget he was born in Hell, whose own personal Darkseid is his sense of failure every time he loses his temper - and lets Superman take to the front lines in the role of the hero dealing with Darkseid more directly, as befits a protagonist. It also gives the sense that New Genesis is on the back foot - and while the theme of the Fourth World is that good triumphs, it’s a moral you build up to, and the best way to do that is to show that good can triumph even when it looks like it’s been defeated.


The Chronological Superman 1962:

The Superman Revenge Squad poisons Superman’s mind with a variety of Red Kryptonite which causes terrible nightmares, resulting in the above vision of Lana’s and Pete’s distant descendants carrying on a campaign of hate against the Man of Steel for the better part of two centuries. 

Besides the betrayal of his legacy in the eyes of his former friends’ families, Superman also hallucinates a new enemy - Electro, a being apparently made of neon tubes and which appears to be based entirely on a puppet extraterrestrial invented by Luthor in an earlier story. Electro doesn’t actually do much in the course of Superman’s nightmare, but simply having a new foe is probably quite the stress-inducing element to the beleaguered Man of Tomorrow. 

This is also a good opportunity to point out that, despite the reputation of the Silver Age and the propensity for other Silver Age characters to develop expansive rogues galleries, Superman doesn’t have much in the way of recurring villains in his life at this point. Luthor and Mxyzptlk hog most of the spotlight in terms of repeat foes, Brainiac puts in a surprisingly low number of Silver Age appearances, Bizarro is a nuisance more than anything else and the Legion of Super-Villains usually has the courtesy to only show up when the adult Legion pops up in a story.  The Revenge Squad won’t put forth a figurehead, Hercules is a background player – really, Superman gets off pretty light.

Contrast this to the modern day wherein there’s a new super-foe every month, and a different one in each month’s assorted titles, plus who knows who’ll pop up in the movies and TV shows. The current roster of super-foes – those who might pop up at any time AND who were invented in the last ten years, just to put a timeline on it – is greater than the early 60′s number of foes by a factor of at least  dozen…

(Action Comics vol.1 No.286)


“Street crime isn’t the only problem in Metropolis. It’s the Brainiacs, the Luthors, the giant sci-fi monsters rampaging downtown, the world-conquerors, and many more. Those are the threats that Clark deals with.”-Batman


so OMG I had thought about something similar when you sent me this! I had even started a mini!fic so I finished it (finally) and here it is! Hopefully you guys won’t hate it omg. I’m not the best writer.:’) But I LOVE this kind of scenario.

Title: Truce
Category: Batman » Rogue Gallery, Batman, Robin, Justice League
Pairings: Spring Madness (brief), Mad Love
Rating: Rated: K+
Genre: ??(I don’t even know pfft) End of the World (?) Humor
Words: 3049 

Don’t TOUCH ANYTHING. Got me?”

The stern, slightly gruff voice echoed throughout the walls of the famed, the glorious, the dark—and rather damp—Batcave. The strictness of the voice belonged to a personage who was really putting a dull vibe on the whole field trip. Well, to them it was a field trip. To Batman…it was a nightmare. An invasion of privacy.

It made his stomach twist painfully.

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anonymous asked:

With Superman villains more so than with Batman villains, I feel like they don't have the same level of immediate iconic versions...There are like 8 versions of Brainiac that spring to mind, same with even Metallo. What versions of Superman's rogues gallery do you think are the most iconic?

I figure for most people the iconic versions of many of Superman’s rogues are the ones from Superman: TAS for the most part.

While I don’t know for sure if these are the ultimate “iconic” takes on these characters, they are the ones I think of in my idealized versions.




(Obviously that’s not an actual canonical costume, but I like classic Brainiac with pants)


Mr Mxyzptlk

though I also really like his New 52 look


(So sue me, I prefer the Jack Nimball look, plus I like the idea of it being an actual toy, maybe even controlled by Winslow Schott, like in Justice)


(I think this is way more interesting than his Terminator look, and I hate his New 52 look)

Uhhh, let’s see. I also like McGuinness’s take on Parasite, the purple Ghost Rider version of Atomic Skull (though I do like the pre-Crisis version, too), and the version of the Prankster with the round body and pencil neck.

I’m gonna tag @calamityjon @evandocshaner @theisb @davidmann95 @charlotteofoz and see what they think