web stats

CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Darkseid Got Mugged

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we look at the time that Darkseid, lord of Apokolips, was mugged by a pair of punks in an alley!

DC released three Super Powers mini-series to tie in with the Super Powers line of toys. The first two were drawn by Jack Kirby (as part of an attempt by DC to help honor Kirby with some well-deserved cash). At the end of the second one, Darkseid had been severely weakened.

In the third volume, Carmine Infantino and Pablo Marcos took over on art duties (with Paul Kupperberg writing the series) and Tyr and Desaad betray Darkseid and seemingly use up whatever Omega power Darkseid had left…

darkseidmugged0

Darkseid had a LITTLE left in the tank, though. Enough to break free of the ice while no one was looking and escape to Earth, only he was now powerless, leading to issue #3 and one of the most awesome three page sequences in Darkseid’s history…

darkseidmugged1

darkseidmugged2

darkseidmugged3

Darkseid eventually gets a substitute for his powers by adding ALPHA power. The result is that he appears human. He joins the Justice League as a guy named Janus (dudes, seriously, if a guy shows up calling himself Janus for no good reason, please try to guess that he’s some sort of double agent)…

darkseidmugged4

Darkseid’s plan is to go along on a Justice League mission to Apokolips, where he would get access to a lab where he could restore his powers.

And here’s the weird thing – the series ends with the lab destroyed and Darkseid stuck as Janus…

darkseidmugged5

That’s it for Super Powers, there would be no Volume 4, so that’s one hell of a plot to be left dangling, eh?

I love the shot of Janus and Orion seemingly walking off holding hands. Also, I know it is symbolic, but I’d love for someone on the Justice League to shout “What the hell! Janus’s shadow is that of Darkseid’s! Get him!”

Okay, that’s it for this installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange! If YOU have a suggestion for a future installment, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

44 Comments

I love that lesson in sociology.

I don’t think they’re holding hands. Their two hands are making a cross shape. One person has a hand up, and the other has his hand down. I think one of them is gesturing as he talks.

That’s why fanfic exists. To pickup where dangling plot threads leave off.

I had a thread dangling once. I tugged on it, and my whole shirt fell apart….

I may need to work on that one ;)

Wow. So I take it from Darkseid/Janus’s comment that they had some version of the Super-Friends’ Samurai in an earlier issue?

– There’s a lot more to say about DC’s rather unfortunate attempts to follow up on Kirby’s New Gods in the 1970s and 1980s whenever the King himself wasn’t directly involved. Gerry Conway’s “Return of the New Gods” was a flop and got folded into Secret Society of Super-Villains of all things, the Steve Engelhart/Marshall Rogers dream team couldn’t make Mister Miracle work, and even J.M. DeMatteis’s Fourth World stuff is pretty contested. People seem to like his Mister Miracle as a comedy-era Justice League spinoff, but I don’t think there are many fans of his Forever People miniseries. And then there’re Jim Starlin’s efforts to put his own stamp on the franchise. (The Anti-Life Equation as a technique for destroying free will is a lot more interesting than making it a “big cosmic monster;” and then Starlin went ahead and did almost the same thing to the Source itself!)

— That redesign of Mister Freeze is kind of awesome; why don’t more villains

— Man, I forgot they included Tyr, one of the more minor Legion of Super-Heroes villains, in one of the last waves of Super Powers figures. Gotta wonder why he, of all characters, was chosen for plastic immortality.

The above should read: why don’t more villains go hands-free with their weaponry?

@Fraser: You can see Samurai in the pages scanned. On the page where “Janus” shows up, panel 7 (lower left corner), he’s next to Golden Pharaoh. And on the last page, he’s under Mister Miracle’s cape in panel 1; in panel 2, he’s at the front right of the panel; and in panel 5, he’s between Wonder Woman and Orion.

Actually, the first Super Powers mini-series was drawn by Adrian Gonzales (pencils) and Pablo Marcos (inks). Kirby had plotted the issues and drew the covers.

The off-model Darkseid is bad enough, but the off-model Orion is terrible.

Re: the 4th World post-Kirby–
yes, mainly a mess, but the LSH Great Darkness Saga worked, as did Suicide Squad, and I thought Darkseid’s appearance in Crisis #12 was very well done.

IMHO the best non-Kirby writer of the 4th World was Karl Kesel in the 90s– and it’s probably not an accident that he wrote about the earthbound part of that saga, not Darkseid, Anti-Life, the Source, Metron, or Highfather.

I’d make a comment that he should look more like Orion in his human form… but then Darkseid’s not really Orion’s father. (Okay, he actually was, I’m just ticked off that they only put out one trade of “Orion” until the omnibus next year.)

My bad…but, I’m glad I caught it.
Kirby did draw the final issue (#5) of the first mini-series.

I still think it is crazy that DC got this all star roster of artists to draw a tie in comic. Today, that would be like if DC got Jim Lee and Frank Quitely to draw, I don’t know, a Lego Justice League comic, or something….

Apparently Super Powers Orion goes to the same tailor as Man-E-Faces from MotU.

Omar, not quite–Gerry Conway’s Return (which I quite liked, actually) came out well after Secret Society had dropped its Apokalips connection, which only occupied the first few issues. Amusingly, the editors explained they had no interest in being tied to a forgotten flop like the Fourth World saga.
Totally agree with you about Anti-Life though. Easily the best Forever People issue was where we spotlight Glorious Godfrey and his anti-life crusade (creepier in Kirby because he doesn’t have any special powers–people have to want to give up free will). “Life made me doubt—anti-life made me right!”

Shadowtag I thought the same thing.
And now I see Samurai.

Editors of Secret Society of Super-Villains, that is, I think my syntax was mangled.

I still think it is crazy that DC got this all star roster of artists to draw a tie in comic. Today, that would be like if DC got Jim Lee and Frank Quitely to draw, I don’t know, a Lego Justice League comic, or something….

This may be because it was the only opportunity at the time to draw Kirby’s Fourth World creations, which have a huge amount of respect in the artist scene even if the characters have never been big sellers among the fan scene.

Also, and I’m not sure if this was common knowledge among creators back then, but the Super Powers toy contract was gamed by Paul Levitz to have Jack Kirby do the seemingly arbitrary redesigns you see in the book so that Kirby could finally collect royalties off his creations.

@Jacob T. Levy: Darkseid and Orion aren’t exactly “off-model”; they’re fairly accurate to the designs the Super Powers action figure line used. (As featured in Comic Book Legends Revealed (http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/17/comic-book-legends-revealed-454/2/), DC had Kirby redesign the Fourth World characters for Super Powers, so he would receive royalties for the new designs from Kenner.) (I will, however, grant that, while Orion may not be off-model, his design here is pretty terrible…)

I may be stating the obvious here, but this series was very, very much outside the main DC continuity. There actually was no Justice League in this world, just the Super Powers Team, which was basically like the JLA but also included some random heroes like Cyborg, Samurai, Captain Marvel and Plastic Man.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!! I have never read this miniseries, so I had absolutely no idea this ever happened. I am a HUGE fan of Darkseid, and I often get annoyed at how a number of writers have written him so poorly over the years. But this really had me laughing out loud. Darkseid breaks into a clothing store with a crowbar! Darkseid gets mugged! Maybe this explains why he was later seen in the pages of Ambush Bug working at McDonalds: he really, really needed the money :)

Seriously, that is a very clever idea by Paul Kupperberg, having Darkseid successfully masquerade as a hero and infiltrates the Justice League. This must have been at least a decade before Thunderbolts, right? Looks like Baron Zemo owes Darkseid a debt for the inspiration. Now I’m surprised that we never had a panel in JLAvengers showing Alpha and Citizen V fighting side-by-side!

One small correction, Brian: Kirby only drew the fifth and final issue of the first SUPER POWERS mini-series, although he did design the new villains and had a hand in the plotting. The first four issues were drawn by others aping Kirby’s style. Kirby pencilled every issue of the second mini (Although Greg Theakston’s inks were pretty dominant).

Now that I’m think of post-Kirby, I really liked Simonson’s Orion as a follow-up.

interesting since odds are that in the regular dc connunity that even with out his omega beams darkside would have proably just crushed the muggers any way instead the comic tie in for the super powers toyline had not only darkside get taken down by mr. freeze he does his impression of the thing and gets mugged then gets into being janus . not to mention dc using tyr one of the characters who was made up to sell the toys.

The thugs’ dialogue is almost as hilarious in its own right as the idea of Darkseid getting mugged.

Are those panels with Wonder Woman and Janus really weird, or is it just me? Is she supposed to have fallen madly in love with him on first site?

I believe Kirby also illustrated all of the covers of the first series as well.

I like how Infantino made Firestorms flaming hair become just smoke when he was unconscious. That was a clever visual concept. I wonder if that was his idea or if Kupperberg wrote that in the script.

And a very interesting silent panel of Wonder Woman looking at Janus after he unmasked. Almost suggests a reversal of the “Darkseid enamoured with Wonder Woman” aspect of the Super Powers-related seasons of the Super Friends programme.

@Sarah, sheesh you’re right. She is gazing lovingly at him in at least 3 cells.

Simonson’s Orion run was fantastic. Only 25 issues, but he told a great story. And of course the art was great, too.

In case you didn’t notice from what someone above said, Jazzbo, Simonson’s Orion is getting the Omnibus treatment early next year. Coincidentally, I just happened to notice that he did a Fourth World related Christmas story for the DCU Holiday Bash 3, so I hope that one gets in there too.

I just love how it’s drawn so you can see Darkseid thinking of all the ways he’s going to kill every god there is for this indignity.

Fraser: Agreed completely, Walter Simonson’s Orion was one of the all time greatest post-Kirby utilizations of the Fourth World characters & concepts.

I believe Kirby also illustrated all of the covers of the first series as well.

Thanks, Xum. I forgot to mention that.

I like how Infantino made Firestorms flaming hair become just smoke when he was unconscious. That was a clever visual concept. I wonder if that was his idea or if Kupperberg wrote that in the script.

Something similar was done in JLA #203. Aquaman & Firestorm were attacked by the Royal Flush Gang and dumped in the ocean. When they were fished out of the water by a fishing boat, Firestorm’s flame had gone out.

And a very interesting silent panel of Wonder Woman looking at Janus after he unmasked. Almost suggests a reversal of the “Darkseid enamoured with Wonder Woman” aspect of the Super Powers-related seasons of the Super Friends programme.

Ah, Super Friends. I wonder if they had a writers’ meeting about if they should present Darkseid’s quest for the Anti-Life Equation on the show that ended with them just throwing up their hands and saying, “Screw it, let’s just say he wants to marry Wonder Woman. That’ll be good enough. So… Lunch?” :)

I think that Orion design was to make him a “happier” character. I believe the toy had two faces for when he went to an angry rage and essentially became the grumpy character we usually see. I remember thinking that they could have made this series in the same universe as the Super Friends/Super Powers cartoons, but this was it’s own storyline. Still it did pattern itself after the toy line, which did match the series.

It would be fun to see a follow-up volume 4, though I don’t know if anyone would care enough to buy it. Maybe one of the $0.99 digital only series would work for that.

It amuses me, sort of, that one of the primary reasons for Crisis on Infinite Earths was that DC had too much continuity and too many Earths and it was all just so confusing. Now we have Batman alongside Batman 66, Smallville spinoffs alongside Superman and Action … so far as I know nobody’s head has exploded from the contradictions.

Goes to show that nobody is safe from crime. DC does have some of the best comic stories for young children, teaching lesson on morality.

Fraser, I guess that is true, though those are all specifically separate continuities. The problem with all of the numbered Earths was that they were constantly interacting with other universes, and characters were traveling between them. Though I guess the fact that the New 52 has brought back a new multiverse and given us a new variation on Earth 2, all the old supposed confusion could return.

Actually Ethan i thought it might be more confusing when they didn’t travel between universes. The Huntress when she had her own backup series being the daughter of Batman might have been more disorienting than “look, someone showed up from a parallel Earth.” Though I’ve always doubted anyone who actually read comics was really that disoriented.

Darkseid getting mugged is the least strange thing here.

Can’t wait for Grant Morrison to incorporate Janus into a new New Gods tale.

I bought this series just so I could have Jack Kirby drawing Batman

@Ethan Shuster: The Super Powers Orion figure does have two faces that rotate from normal to enraged. That’s also why it bears a resemblance to Man-E-Faces, as others noted. In both these cases, the action feature required the huge headgear. I would assume that also had a bearing on Kirby’s redesigns — he had to work within the guidelines set for the figures. In this case, function dictates form.

And yes, I’m a proud owner of every single Super Powers figure, Hall of Justice playset, and almost all the vehicles. I bought the vast majority at retail way back when, and carefully preserved them through the years. I filled in gaps in my collection later, including Orion — I skipped him as a kid because I didn’t know the character and thought it looked stupid. But I did buy Golden Pharaoh and Samurai. Don’t ask me why, but I’m glad I did.

It would be so hard to imagine today’s Darkseid getting mugged.

And good grief..Janus and Wonder Woman not figuring the connection out. Though maybe Roman myth isn’t as well known to her as her Greek stuff is.

So late to the party, but these two comics (the last two Super Powers comics) were pretty much among the first comics I ever bought when I was a kid. I’d inherited a ton of old (late 60s/early 70s, I think?) mostly Superman and Spider-Man comics from my uncle, and only rarely went to a comic book store and bought new comics, and, as like an eight year old who didn’t know anything about comics, somehow these were the ones I picked. I was totally fascinated by all the Fourth World stuff, which I had previously known pretty much nothing about. And I basically spent years after this wondering about the cliffhanger, and assuming there’d been some amazing resolution that I’d never gotten a chance to read.

Weird to find out all these years later that that was the whole story.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives