Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone's Scale of Evil Rank
14) Ruthlessly self-centered psychopathic schemer.
Why Darkseid has been selected for 10th Place:
The Martian Manhunter’s rogues gallery is obscure and unenviable. A hero who already struggles for respect and visibility could benefit greatly from an adversary with arguably more marquee value than he himself enjoys. Darkseid is the single best known and most formidable foe the Manhunter from Mars has ever been associated with. Facing off against a villain of Darkseid’s caliber shows that the Alien Atlas rates as an A-lister in power, if not in sales. Also, the characters have enjoyed career parallels, as each had been marginalized from a mainstream that never quite embraced them until the mid-80s. Each received their first widespread exposure to the public via the Super Powers Collection toy line, quickly followed by increased prominence in comics via the Legends crossover and consistent appearances in other best-selling books, including the Cosmic Odyssey mini-series. Each has remained a staple of the DC Universe even since, although neither has had much success in series that relied heavily on their presence. Both characters appeared to die in the Final Crisis mini-series, but according to the prior DC One Million event, the Martian Manhunter is fated to deliver unto Darkseid his final defeat in a far distant future.
The Counter Argument:
The Manhunter from Mars helped usher in the Silver Age as a stand-alone strip, and aside from appearances in the Justice League books, he was pretty much divorced from a shared universe until the 1970s. Jack Kirby created Darkseid specifically as an overarching villain for his Fourth World Saga, considered by many the start of the Bronze Age. Kirby always intended ties to the DC Universe to be tenuous, despite their being introduced through a Superman Family title. Linking these properties, from their origins to their final fates, effectively spits on their creators’ intentions and undercuts their efforts to build independent properties. What purpose does Orion serve if we know his father will survive him by millennia to face off against, of all people, J’Onn J’Onzz? If Darkseid so thoroughly shaped the Martian Manhunter’s life, and is responsible for so many of his personal tragedies, why hadn’t their animosity come up in previous decades of co-appearances? Further, there’s just too much of a disparity in power levels, as Martian Manhunter was once murdered by a group of villains so far down the pecking order, only one was even aware he was working toward Darkseid’s interests in the matter. Setting up an ongoing feud is a Quixotic crusade for the Manhunter and a minor annoyance to the Lord of Apokolips, at least until a point in a future so distant everyone will have already had their turn at beating Darkseid, and so unlikely it’s probably already been thrown out of continuity. It’s farcical, really.
What Darkseid Represents:
J’Onn J’Onzz is something of an idealized socialist, expecting his fellow heroes to give all they can without regard to reward or recognition, taking back only what is necessary to carry on. Darkseid is a tyrannical fascist, expecting complete subservience to his will. Pitting the pair against one another is a bit like the Communists battling the Nazis in World War II. If more people were aware of the Martian Manhunter’s beliefs and inclinations, not to mention his decades of covert meddling within the U.S., he might very well be considered a threat to national security. Compared to Darkseid though, he’s firmly on the side of the Allies. Also, life on Mars in the Modern Age represents a look back at a simpler, almost tribal existence of mud huts and community, each member doing their part. Apokolips is the ultimate post-Industrial Age nightmare, a world more mechanical than organic, choking under pollution and the iron rule of a largely unseen but literal God working through unholy agents.
- Darkseid is to the Martian Manhunter as Red Skull is to Spider-Man
- Darkseid is to the Martian Manhunter as Korvac is to Captain America
Who isn't ranked because of Darkseid:
- Libra: While he may have been the murderer who plunged a fatal spear into Manhunter’s chest, it was nothing personal—just a show of strength at Darkseid’s behest.
- Kanto: I don’t really mind the Master Assassin of Darkseid’s involvement in J’Onn J’Onzz’s life, but his name isn’t a draw, he hasn’t appeared all that often, and he was only following orders.
This is roughly a top 8 list rounded up to 10, but despite my objections, Darkseid is a well-regarded villain whose impact on the Martian Manhunter’s series has been embraced by a majority segment of the Alien Atlas’ fans.