They've confined Darkseid too much over the years. They made him too much of a physical threat and an enemy of Superman.
They focused way too much on making Darkseid just another bad guy who wants to kill and conquer. They've really failed to portray him as the scheming manipulator that he truly is. Destroying his enemies should mean nothing to him, such displays of power are petty and trivial. Darkseid's true goal is to make others see the hypocrisy and weakness of their own beliefs, to realize that he has always been right, to understand that the way of Darkseid is the drumbeat by which all of creation marches, and that they were wrong to ever oppose him in the first place.
Tying Darkseid so much to Superman trivializes what he is. Yes, Superman is powerful and he is a symbol of hope for humanity, but is just a man. Darkseid is a force that guides the destinies of countless species, his teachings have reigned over civilizations throughout all of history, and galaxies tremble at the mere echo of his name. His empire exists within the hearts and minds of all sentient beings and every man, woman, and child is a battlefield upon which he wages his war. One man, however super, cannot hope to stand against such a force. It should take the collective strength of the whole of humanity to even have a chance of turning back Darkseid's will.
That is the way he should be portrayed, enacting schemes upon schemes, plans within plans, with the purpose of corrupting all of humanity, turning it to his will, and making the world accept his teachings and the power it brings. He should be defeated not with Superman, or any other hero, punching him or destroying his armies, but by heroes setting an example, a single spark of hope and inspiration in an unending void of darkness, and rallying the world to speak out in one voice against Darkseid's will.
It does not surprise me at all that Johns doesn't understand the New Gods.
Now it's perfectly fine for a writer not to 'get' the New Gods. Plenty of great writers can't write great New Gods stories, by their own admission or by the end result; guys like Mike Carey and Rachel Pollack and PAD and Joe Casey and Rick Veitch...even guys like Ostrander have missed it. And they're all great writers. Kurt Busiek HAS actually written some fun New Gods appearances, but when I pressed him once on it he said he wasn't sure he felt he could write the New Gods directly.
Which is fair enough.
But it's a shame to see them stripped of everything that makes them unique and compelling and complex. Better that we just leave them off.
In terms of my own personal canon, I read all the Kirby stuff, then continue on with the Simonson backups for Kanto in JK4W, then Simonson's Orion, Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers/Final Crisis/Batman run, and then finally Neil Gaiman's Sandman (with Morpheus as Mister Miracle and Destruction as Orion).
There is just such a pale paucity of understanding there. "Chaos is bad! Darkseid must be chaos, because Darkseid is bad!!".
Other writers did a truly horrible job in a lot of ways, but I've never seen anyone not only miss the point, but invert it entirely out of sheer ignorance. Not to mention his systematic destruction and mis-representation of all the best, smartest parts of the New Gods mythos; the Old Gods, the Source, the Anti Life Equation...he overtly and definitively tried to turn those elements into mundane versions of themselves.
Last edited by Desaad; 07-13-2012 at 02:51 PM.
I dunno, I find the whole thing to be baffling. I mean writing Darkseid as "chaos" isn't just misunderstanding the character, it's writing him the exact opposite of what can be understood on the most superficial level with the character. I think Starlin's Darkseid was just meant to be a stand-in for his Thanos?
It's not so much that he's a stand in for Thanos, although they speak the same way, but that kind of stilted dialogue is really all Starlin is capable of. Astral this, cosmic that...yes yes, we get it.
No, Starlin loves Thanos, and his every story and every goal with Thanos was about propping him up as better than everyone else, in every way. That usually meant making everyone around him unbelievably STUPID, and unbelievably WEAK, so that the simple plans that Starlin's simple mind came up for Thanos were always successful. I mean some truly, truly stupid 'plans' were hailed as masterstrokes and unfathomably brilliant by the characters, it's hilarious.
But with Darkseid, it seemed the opposite. He was constantly FAILING to accomplish anything of merit, constantly brought low by morally superior super heroes. Cosmic Odyssey showed him fail, and need Dr. Fate to save him, and the universe. Death of the New Gods saw him fail, as well, and indeed revealed all the best parts of the New Gods to be a sham (luckily, again, Morrison retconned it away immediately).
There is a small, petty part of me that believes he intentionally takes on the New Gods to degrade them, making his own creations seem superior for the contrast. It's a small part, but I honestly can't understand any other reason that he could be so consistently wrong headed.
Man i love Darkseid and Thanos' dialogue. It's poetic, snobby even.
And i wouldn't be surprised if he purposefully sabotaged Darkseid and co. Although i will say that even though Darkseid came first and was originally awesome under Kirby's pen, apart from Morrison, he hasn't really been written well and has become a bit of a joke really. Thanos on the other hand has been consistently written well and used as a respectful villain.
Besides them looking similar they aren't really anything alike though, so it kinda annoys me when people compare them.
That Thanos has been successful does not make him 'better written'. Maybe more consistently, but it's been consistently heavy handed, unimaginative, and frankly stupid.
I'll take my Darkseid canon over my Thanos canon any time. A handful of appearances by Kirby, a handful by Simonson, a handful by Morrison...these add up to more than 200 by Starlin.
I don't really see how Thanos Quest, for example, is unimaginative or stupid. One of the best stories i've ever read. And his appearance in Annihilation was very well done. As well as the Thor story line Blood and Thunder, where he actually tries to help Thor after he goes berserk and is brain washed. Thanos is a more malleable character, he's had moments where he seeks redemption, for example. Whereas Darkseid by his very nature is a static character. He's a concept afterall. So again, Darkseid and Thanos really are nothing a like accept in a similar appearance. And for me, both are awesome.
Okay, I really enjoyed the Giffen stuff. But that painted him as very fallible. But yeah, I love Giffen.And his appearance in Annihilation was very well done.
Blood 'n Blunder? Oof, no. Again, different strokes, but no. That was not for me.As well as the Thor story line Blood and Thunder, where he actually tries to help Thor after he goes berserk and is brain washed.
They're alike in appearance, power and the role they tend to play in big superhero punch up stories. Thanos used to have a wider array of powers, mostly manifested through his eye beams, just like Darkseid. The entire Titan cosmology was an overt rip off/homage of the New Gods; The Titans were originally an offshoot of the Olympians who embraced technology. Mentor/Alars = Highfather, Starlin's Adam Warlock = Scott Free (replete with christ imagery), Pip the Troll = Oberon, Gamora = Big Barda, Destroyer = Orion, Captain Mar-Vell played the role of Superman, etc.Thanos is a more malleable character, he's had moments where he seeks redemption, for example. Whereas Darkseid by his very nature is a static character. He's a concept afterall. So again, Darkseid and Thanos really are nothing a like accept in a similar appearance. And for me, both are awesome.
They represent different philosophies -- Darkseid tyranny and oppression given form, Thanos an existential Nihilist. My feeling is that Darkseid is a much more complex character than Thanos tends to be, more resonate, and has had smarter stories told about him.
Kirby was much more an incidental intellectual than almost anyone who has ever created comics, certainly of anyone of that time period, so it makes sense that there would be so much more depth coiled in the DNA of his purest creations.
But I don't begrudge anyone for feeling differently.