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The Greatest Darkseid Stories Ever Told!

Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Darkseid Stories Ever Told!


I think most of these stories are famous enough to stand on their own, without my descriptions. Let me know in the comments if you’ve never heard of any of them, Mary, and I’ll fill you in.

10. Hunger Dogs

Written and drawn by Jack Kirby.

9. New Teen Titans/Uncanny X-Men “Apokolips Now”

Written by Chris Claremont with art by Walt Simonson

8. Cosmic Odyssey

Written by Jim Starlin with art by Mike Mignola

7. Justice League of America, Justice Society of America and the New Gods vs. Darkseid

Written by Gerry Conway with art by Dick Dillin and George Perez (Dillin died in the midst of the story)

6. The Sage of Red Orion

Written and drawn by Walt Simonson

5. Legends

Written by John Ostrander and Len Wein and drawn by John Byrne

4. Final Crisis

Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Rudy and Doug Mahnke

3. New Gods #7 “The Pact”

Written and drawn by Jack Kirby.

2. Rock of Ages

Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Howard Porter, Greg Land and Gary Frank

1. The Great Darkness Saga

Written by Paul Levitz and drawn (and co-plotted) by Keith Giffen

That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!


Philip Ayres

May 6, 2010 at 2:32 am

Has Legends ever been collected ? I read some of it when younger – one of the few DC series I did read in my youth.

Another one I didn’t vote on because I couldn’t think of 10, and didn’t feel strongly enough to submit a partial list. Good choices for the most part, but I have to say I’m surprised that “Cosmic Odyssey” made it in. The art by Mignola is fantastic, but the story, with the possible exception of the John Stewart/M. Manhunter chapter, never seems to rise above mediocre…

Chris McAree

May 6, 2010 at 3:33 am

I didn’t feel qualified to vote on this one. But it just stuck me how much Darkseid looks like the “evil Thing” in those JLA issues!

Damn – I hated the Great Darkness Saga!

Legends wasn’t bad, but I thought the Superman three part crossover for it that ran in the Superman books was far superior. That got my vote here.

The core miniseries of Legends was collected. The crossovers and spinoffs weren’t, afaik.

The Legends Superman crossover issues were indeed great, and got one of my votes too.

No big surprises. I need to check out #3 and #6, obviously.

Has any other DC character so recently created had so many great stories? Ra’s Al Ghul, maybe. I struggle to think of other contenders, though.

Only three Fourth-World-specific books rather than general DCU books. Only *one* Fourth-World-specific book not written by Kirby, for all the attempts over the years to get those off the ground.

One of my favorite uses of Darkseid in the DCU wasn’t a “great Darkseid story” because it was one of those times when he appears on-panel late in the story to clean up the mess of his underlings and send everyone home: the Suicide Squad mission to Apokolips. (See also the JLI mission to Apokolips.)

Of course, the *greatest* Darkseid story is Evan Dorkin’s World’s Funnest.

Edo Bosnar

(…) but I have to say I’m surprised that “Cosmic Odyssey” made it in. The art by Mignola is fantastic, but the story, with the possible exception of the John Stewart/M. Manhunter chapter, never seems to rise above mediocre…

I’m with you . Aside from that part with John Stewart and Martian Manhunter, I wasn’t really impressed with the story .

Tom Fitzpatrick

May 6, 2010 at 5:37 am

Surprised that the Quiet Darkness didn’t get listed, but otherwise an agreeable list.

Has Simonson’s Orion been collected? Still in print?

Rusty Priske

May 6, 2010 at 5:46 am

Final Crisis was activbely bad so it seems odd that it woudl be so high on the list, but I am not really a Darkseid fan anyway, so have a hard time arguing what should be higher.

(Though I DO wish The Great Darkness Saga woudl be currently available in a collection.)

Mike Loughlin

May 6, 2010 at 5:50 am

I haven’t read Hunger Dogs, the JLA/JSA story, or Cosmic Odyssey. I voted for all the other stories that made the Top 10. I know everyone has different tastes, and exposure to different comics, but I am a little disappointed by the fact that only 2 Kirby stories made the list, only one of which came from the initial 4th World comics.

I kinda like Cosmic Odyssey.

Yes, it’s not a masterpiece that tries to redefine comics or anything, but it’s extremely readable. In these days of decompression, of either too dark or too retro comics, of all build-up and weak endings, of crossovers with casts of thousands, Cosmic Odyssey avoids all those traps and does everything right.

It has character moments for all the characters involved, it’s straightforward and assessible, it has a text book example of fine pacing with exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion all in the right places. It has dark moments without being exploitative, and it has old-fashioned heroic action without condescendingly “funny” retro elements. It has a Batman that is driven but not quite an asshole (very sympathetic actually). It even has a heroic death that is pretty cool and to this day has not been undone.

We could do far worse if comics emulated Cosmic Odyssey more. And I actually think it’s better than the usually better regarded Infinity Whatevers Starlin has done for Marvel later.

I liked Cosmic Odyssey for a lot of the reasons Rene mentioned, but the deus ex machina in the end with Dr. Fate was a huge issue with me, because it raises the question of why they didn’t ask for his help in the beginning of the story (on the other hand I read the comic years ago, so I might be mixing everything up).

@ Rusty Priske: I don’t think Final Crisis was actively or passively bad. I liked it very much. Maybe it shouldn’t be so high on the list, but it deserves a spot.

Oh, and Darkseid is great, but Thanos could kick his ass! :-)

Sorry for crappy spellings and errors. English not first language + typing in a hurry = disaster.

And I agree with The Dude. If there is a weak point in Cosmic Odyssey, it is Doctor Fate.

I’ve never heard of any of them besides Final Crisis (I had heard of Morrison’s JLA, I didn’t know it had Darkseid).

I’m not familiar with The Sage of Red Orion. Can you tell us about that one?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

May 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

My big problem with Cosmic Odyssey is also my problem with Starlin’s other forays into the Fourth World, mainly that he tends to utterly reject both the dualism and the mystery that are so key to Kirby’s mythology.

Kirby’s Source is unknowable, and his Fourth World is split along moral lines: characters like Orion internalize and externalize the battle of Manichean opposites that define Kirby’s universe, a universe of bright light and deep shadow, of Alpha and Omega.

Starlin’s always disliked such stark oppositions — partly as a consequence of his endless critiques of the Catholic Church — and his Fourth World stuff tries to create a synthesis of opposites from Kirby’s dualist system. That’d be fine in itself, but Starlin also tends to throw out the mysterious aura that saves Kirby’s dualities from mere simplicity.

Ironically, to synthesize the opposed forces of Chaos and Order, good and bad, Starlin has to treat these opposites as much simpler and more shallow concepts than they are in Kirby’s work. Darkseid becomes an evil alien rather than an allegorical personification of totalitarianism; the Source becomes a mere person split into two rather than an incomprehensible, primordial unity; the Anti-Life Equation becomes a sentient monster rather than the concept of a thoroughly quantified, thoroughly dehumanized mode of existence. For Starlin, unity is an ending, not a beginning; schism and compartmentalization are a beginning.

It’s that simplification, that stripping away of mystery, that Starlin never bothers to earn in his Fourth World work. I don’t think Starlin’s version of cosmic stories works as a commentary or revision of Kirby’s when he writes Kirby’s Fourth World characters, in large part because Starlin simply imposes his own ideas on some of Kirby’s more personal creations without really reflecting on the fact that he’s doing just that. The effect is not to question or revise Kirby’s work, but to misunderstand and misinterpret it.

My question about Cosmic Odyssey was “Who was that guy pretending to be John Stewart?”. He’s suddenly this cocky, arrogant a-hole who thinks he can do it all himself. Was the script originally written for Gardner? Later writers got some decent mileage out of the guilt, but the knocking out J’onn (one of the most powerful heroes around) out of arrogance made no sense.

Glad to see ye olde JLA/JSA team-up get its props, but Ambush Bug was robbed. Robbed, I say. Come to think of it, so was Goody Rickles.

I liked the Quiet Darkness Saga more than some of the stories on this list (including Final Crisis and Legends), but I’m ashamed to say that I forgot all about it when I did my list. Like it says, it’s quiet.

Still, in spite of all criticism (and somewhat proof of its endurance), Cosmic Odyssey should be higher on the list than, let’s say, Rock of Ages or even Final Crisis. And Legends should be here too, because it redefined the 4th World mythos post-Crisis.

And, yes, The Quite Darkness Saga deserved an appearance. But you know how DC ignores the v4 Legion era…

Too bad “Supergirl” didn’t make it from the early issues of Superman/Batman. Great list, though!

Haven’t read Hunger Dogs yet or the Justice League issue but with George Perez on art I have to at least take a look at that one.

Final Crisis was cool when they did the bits with Darkseid but overall I had no idea what the hell was going on…

I’m a big fan of Cosmic Odyssey. But I did read it during my formative years of reading comics, and I didn’t know any DC history outside of what was shown on Superfriends. So any characterizations that might have been off were totally lost on me. But the art was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story, too.

I’m glad X-Men/Titans is there…that was my first exposure to Darkseid, and when i picture him in my mind, it’s the scene with him welcoming the reincarnated Dark Phoenix.

Lord Paradise

May 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I’m 1 for 10! Whoo!

Omar, you have a nice way of verbalizing concepts that most of us only aprehend intuitively.

What you’ve said of Kirby x Starlin also brings to mind the differences between Kirby’s original view of the Silver Surfer and what Stan Lee later did with the character sans Kirby.

Keith Bowden

May 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

“The Pact” is still my all-time favorite.
In 20-some-odd years of trying, I still don’t like Morrison’s writing, but it’s nice to see Simonson, X-Men/Titans and The Great Darkness Saga listed here, as well as Dick Dillon’s final work.
Poor little Ambush Bug…

Has Simonson’s Orion been collected? Still in print?

There was a trade of the first five issues, I believe, but it’s out of print by now. To the back issue bins with you! It’s one of the best comics ever, right up there with Kirby’s run.

Simonson is my favorite writer/artist possibly ever, so it’s reassuring that you say Orion is that good, Bill. I must seek it out! Also, Rock of Ages is not only a great Darkseid story, but THE greatest Atom story of all time – you know it’s true!


Absolutely NO disrespect meant here, as i do understand English is not your first language, and I could come NOWHERE close to discussing anything in a language other than English….


I agree, I am intuitively aprehensive about most of the concepts of which Omar wrote……

(i think you meant comprehend…but I almost think aprehend works better!)

Now, if only I can people whose first language IS English to stop trying AND doing something and get them to try TO do something…..

Legion- “Great Darkness Saga”

What fun “The Great Darkness Saga”. I hope they do justice with the upcoming Legion series.

hi there are some things i agree with here and some i disagree with, and some that were forgotten. largely the list is ok. but, its just the grant morrison darkseid stuff i disagree with. i feel he knows the character but not well enough. i have seen some of the new gods written out of character and even drawn out of character. some additions to the list that i feel were fortgotten or left out entirely are:

from least to greastest:

GENESIS EVENT: a crossover that involved all the dc heroes but featured the new gods; from darkseid’s scheme. darkseid reasoned that there is a wave of energy that began all life in the universe called the genesis wave. this wave created all the gods of the universe, even the gods of earth. when this wave rolls back a second time to return to the point of its origin(the source, i believe), darkseid will be there to control and absorb it. but there is another that is aware of it and seeks to control it. eventhough this never happened, there was supposed to be a titanic battle between darkseid and ares, greek god of war.

eclipso #10; darkseid “vs.” eclipso. they dont fight but exchange origins as their battle as they play a game of cosmic chess.. by keith giffen and robert loren flemming i believe.

during the legends event crossover, superman was teleported to apokolips and gained amnesia. he ended up leading a revolt, then ended up working in darkseid’s army. 3 part storyline that ended with superman battling orion, then darkseid himself. it started in the superman title, continued in adv. of superman, then ended in action comics. byrne and wolfman and ordway.

THE HUNGER: Darkseid vs. Galactus. you mean to tell me this wasnt even mentioned on the list? an inter-company crossover of battling of space gods? c’mon. by Byrne

TRUE ORIGIN OF DARKSEID: they were during the early issues of JACK KIRBY’S FOURTH WORLD. in the back up stories. shows darkseid when he was only part of the royal court, but still a god. shows how he treated his family and friends. and showed the cosmic consequences of his actions of the acquisition of power. again this was the BYRNE RUN.

in closing, in my opinion, these should be the top five of this DARKSEID list. im sure there are a few others im forgetting. but, i was just shocked that not one darkseid story by byrne was on the list.

the average darkseid story will try and show how tough or how heartless he is. but thats the average story. thats what morrison and others do. nothing special there in my opinion. but the byrne darkseid stories show how tough and hearless he is too but in a different interesting way…..and in addition byrne shows how human darkseid is. his flaws as well as his strength. thats got to count for something.

anyway, here’s my contribution to the list, in my opinion

Cant see how Byrne’s Darkseid never made it onto the top 10.

Must agree that the Darkseid / Galactus story should have made it here.

Completely forgot about the Quiet Darkness Saga, darn it.

Agree with Bill : Simonson’s Orion is absolutely superb. The back up stories by talent like Jim Lee and Frank Miller was awesome too.


Ouch. That was me, poorly translating a verb, and getting a very different meaning in English than it would in Portuguese.

darkness saga was dull and mediocre good vs. bad….dunno what’s the deal with this.

I would have liked to see Forever People #3 by Jack Kirby added to the list. Although the flagship title to the Fourth World was The New Gods, readers seem to forget that Darkseid himself was most frequently seen in the pages of Forever People. heck, any mention of Forever People would have been appreciated. I think it is one of Kirby’s most underrated works.

randypan the goat boy

May 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm


I have all his appearances except the original New Gods series. IMO Cosmic Odyssey wasn’t very good and nothing in the Orion series impressed me at all. The rest tho, amazing.

How about some of Darkseid’s more atypical appearances? Like in Severign Seven? Or Suicide Squad? For that matter, was there any consideration given to the Darkseid story that appeared in Dr. Fate 10-13 by J.M. DeMatteis and Shawn McManus? It certainly wasn’t a typical Darkseid anti-life story. He kills Dr. Fate, yet is overcome by the love shared between Eric and Linda Strauss, a love neither of them fully understood at the time. Plus, McManus’ drawings of Darkseid smiling are just… unsettling.

Final Crisis? Really? Yuck!

For me, Final Crisis is number one.
Its even in my top 10 favorite comics of all time list. Such a great book.

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