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Who Are The New Gods in the DC Comics Universe?

In 1970, after failing to get Marvel to recognize his true value and the extent of his contribution, Jack Kirby joined DC Comics–certainly one the major event of the time in the industry. After lengthy negotiations, he signed a three-year contract and was ready to create new worlds, and also some magazines. The magazines were quickly canceled after only one issue though.

Everything started with Kirby taking over Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. With issue #133 (Oct. 1970), he launched the “Fourth World,” a saga that will encompass multiple series (The Forever People, Mister Miracle, and The New Gods), and introduced numerous revolutionary concepts and characters that still influenced the way the DC Universe worked to this day.

Based on ideas he developed during his run on Marvel’s Thor, Jack Kirby introduced us to The New Gods.

Who Are The New Gods?

The history of The New Gods revolves around the cosmic conflict between the inhabitants of New Genesis and Apokolips–these two twin planets existing outside the constraints of time and space in a realm known as the Fourth World. Having evolved due to their close proximity to the Source, a primal energy that is believed to be one of the foundational forces of the universe, these beings consider themselves gods. Enhanced by the Source and their advanced technology, the New Gods possess genetic stability and evolutionary perfection, making them far superior to humans on a physical and intelligent level.

For them, everything started billions of years ago when a cataclysm split the planet Urgrund into New Genesis and Apokolips. New Genesis became a sunlit utopia inhabited by the New Gods, but that was not the case for Apokolips which became an industrialized wasteland. In total opposition from the beginning, the two worlds were embroiled in constant warfare. This eventually ended when Highfather, the ruler of New Genesis, negotiated a peace treaty with Darkseid, the ruler of Apokolips. To assure that peace persists, they organized an exchange. Scott Free, Highfather’s son, was sent to live on Apokolips, while Orion, Darkseid’s son, went on New Genesis.

Darkseid’s insatiable thirst for power would enventually put an end to this fragile peace. He was determined to find the Anti-Life Equation, a weapon that would allow him to annihilate New Genesis, and to impose his will on all life in the universe. When Scott Free found a way out of Apokolips, alonside the former Female Fury named Big Barda, he ended up on Earth and Darkseid was free to overtly mobilized his forces against his main enemy.

Led by swift Lightray and the fierce Orion, Highfather’s forces were determined to locate the Anti-Life Equation before it falls into Darkseid’s hands and they had to go against Granny Goodness and her Female Furies, the general Steppenwolf and his Parademons, and the bloodthirsty Kalibak.

The New Gods To Know

Here is a quick introduction to the main New Gods, not all of them:

The New Gods of New Genesis

  • Highfather (aka Izaya) is New Genesis’ wise and honorable king who possessed a strong connection to the Source and an unwavering quest for peace.
  • Orion is the second son of Darkseid who was raised on New Genesis. Because of that, he struggles with his dual nature and fights against the darkness within him.
  • Mister Miracle (aka Scott Free), the son of Highfather, is known to be a master escape artist and an acrobat who fights against evil and protects the innocent.
  • Big Barda is the wife of Scott Free, a former leader of the Female Furies, a fierce warrior who allied herself to New Genesis.
  • Lightray is a close ally and friend to Orion, a swift and valiant warrior who embodies optimism.
  • Metron is a scientist and inventor who travels the cosmos in the time-traveling Mobius Chair.

The New Gods of Apokolips

  • Darkseid is the tyrannical ruler of Apokolips who possesses an immense intelligence and his massively powerful and who’s first goal was to eliminate all free will from the universe.
  • Granny Goodness is running the training facility for Darkseid’s elite soldiers, the Female Furies. She uses brainwashing and torture to rule Apokolips’s horrid orphanages.
  • Steppenwolf is Darkseid’s uncle and the military general from the planet Apokolips who’s commanding an army of Parademons.
  • DeSaad is one of Darkseid’s closest assistant who is known to be a master torturer who has created many torture machines and devices. 
  • Kalibak is the son of Darkseid, a powerful warrior on Apokolips who serves as a high-ranking general in Darkseid’s armies.

What Happened to The New Gods?

The battle between good and evil that New Genesis and Apokolips represented was disturbed by intercompany politics and other professional animosity that pushed Jack Kirby back to Marvel in 1975. The Fourth World Saga was not a massive commercial success and could have been buried, but the characters made a comeback, and the mythology the artist introduced changed the DC Universe forever.

At first, the Fourth World characters reappeared in various titles, then in 1977 The New Gods series relaunched with a new team, Gerry Conway wrote the series and Don Newton drew it. Mister Miracle also came back the same year in his own series by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. Kirby even cameback in 1984 and wrote a Super Powers limited series in which he continued the Fourth World mythology.

Through the years, Darkseid became an emblematic figure, a legendary villain in the DC Universe, while Orion, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and more became members of the Justice League and found their way to new solo series.

Also, technologies introduced by Jack Kirby like the Boom Tubes and the Mother Boxes, concept like The Source and Anti-Life Equation became récurring elements in the DC lore.

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