Darkseid is one of the most iconic DC villains of all time, well-known for his masterminded plots and the ability to manipulate various events from a watchful distance. Numerous DC Comics shed light on this legendary antagonist, many of which feature epic showdowns, but some titles still stand out more than others.
Stick around to find out about the best Darkseid comics as well as why every DC fan needs to read them, ranked in no particular order. Each of these comic series or issues is powerful in its own way, and they are all worth reading for a truly comprehensive understanding of Darkseid.
15. JLA: Rock of Ages (1998)
Rock of Ages was released as a part of the JLA run by Grant Morrison, giving fans insight into what Darkseid and the universe would become if he were ever to succeed. The story follows the adventures of the Justice League set far into the future, where Darkseid has successfully developed the Anti-Life Equation and taken control of Apokolips, New Genesis, and Earth.
This title is a must for just about any comic fan, praised by DC and fiction enthusiasts since its release. The storyline is incredibly impactful, and it’s packed with twists and turns for the esteemed protagonists. It captures the weight of Darkseid’s threat, making all battles against Darkseid in the current continuity that much more important from the fans’ perspective.
14. Mister Miracle (2017 – 2019)
Mister Miracle gained notoriety for revitalizing fan interest in the New Gods saga while shedding light on mental health through character-based events, eventually winning the esteemed Eisner award back in 2019. It follows the life of Scott Free, known as “Mister Miracle,” as he reaches a new low and eventually a dire breaking point, after which he struggles to get back on his feet.
Although Darkseid doesn’t appear until the end of this 12-issue series, his grim presence can be felt throughout – from the appearances of Desaad and Granny Goodness to the layout of the comic series itself. Scott was exchanged for Orion and suffered tremendous torture while raised on Apokolips, and everything that he goes through in this series shows that Scott still feels Darkseid looming over him throughout his daily life.
13. Final Crisis (2008)
Final Crisis is a really popular DC Comics series for many reasons, following a chain of mysterious yet threatening events after Orion’s body is found on Earth with a bullet wound. Darkseid and his forces begin to appear on Earth after stumbling into the multiverse following a battle, which hints at the idea of Darkseid being that much closer to successfully implementing the Anti-Life Equation.
This saga is certainly complex to follow for any newer fan, primarily due to the number of tie-in storylines released both before and during the saga. However, it’s a crucial read for any fan who really wants to experience an epic clash between Darkseid and the Justice League.
12. The New 52 (2011)
The New 52 saga has become a staple among DC fans in modern times, featuring a ton of amazing adventures and action-packed issues. The first six issues of this saga saw the Justice League form in response to Darkseid invading Earth, and they had to pull off some creative tactics to take him on.
Other DC characters also come to the Justice League’s aid in this series, with a special focus on Cyborg as a crucial ally. It’s a must-read for any DC fan, as it features many crucial events while highlighting how relentless Darkseid truly is.
11. Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger (1995)
Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger introduces a crossover within the DC universe, based on the premise of Galactus coming to Apokolips. Although Darkseid has tons of forces and powers, Galactus is undeniably overpowered in many ways and proves to be far more than even Darkseid can handle.
It features a clash that many DC fans have always been eager to see – Darkseid versus Galactus, amounting to an epic showdown that will be remembered by any fan who reads this comic series. The ending of this clash is also quite surprising, with Darkseid’s cruel nature being the only influence that changes the outcome.
10. Justice League: Odyssey (2018 to Present)
Justice League: Odyssey is a great fit for any DC fan who enjoys the modernized DC feel topped off with fresh surroundings. It’s been set far into outer space in a general area known as the “Ghost Sector,” and it focuses on the events that unfold after Darkseid mysteriously summons Jessica Cruz, Cyborg, Starfire, and Azrael to the sector – where they discover a foreign civilization (of friends or foes) that seems to view them as gods.
This title often goes unnoticed, as it does not involve more well-known DC heroes. But it’s a really good take on this classic villain, with his true plan remaining a mystery throughout, and it flaunts the collective creations of some incredibly talented writers and artists.
9. The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans (1982)
Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson, Terry Austin, and Glynis Wein decided to bring DC and Marvel’s best-selling teams together with the release of The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans, which focuses on Darkseid as he tries to harness the Dark Pheonix’s power via the X-Men’s memories. Many Marvel fans would know how just how overpowered Jean Grey can be when she enters her Dark Pheonix form – to the point where even she cannot fully control her own actions.
As such, just about every Marvel superhero and X-Men member is aware of the risks she involves, now seen as one of the greatest threats even when compared to many powerful Marvel villains. This series is definitely worth reading, bringing fans an epic team-up between Marvel’s X-Men and DC’s New Teen Titans, topped off with an iconic villain as well as an unimaginable threat – the Dark Pheonix herself.
8. Justice League: Origin (2011 – 2012)
Justice League: Origin focuses on the Justice League as they form in the new continuity in reaction to Darkseid as well as the flood of Parademons that invade Earth. It primarily focuses on the major protagonists, but it sets the premise for Darkseid through the perspective of the Justice League members.
It’s worth noting that quite a few fans feel this is more of a low-impact introduction to Darkseid as a character. But, It’s still an enjoyable read that can help fans gain an idea of the overall premise.
7. Cosmic Odyssey (1988 – 1989)
Cosmic Odyssey is a truly unique entry to the DC Comics franchise, focusing on a series of events that leads to the Justice League and Darkseid actually working together. Darkseid’s pursuit of implementing the Anti-Life Equation proves far more detrimental than even he anticipated, now posing the threat of eliminating key planets as well.
As a result, Darkseid and Highfather gather several heroes to help stop the Anti-Life Equation in its tracks, although it would be one of the biggest challenges that DC protagonists would face. This series tells how far Darkseid will go to accomplish his goals, all while establishing that he hasn’t quite wrapped his head around the concept of the Anti-Life Equation – at least, for now.
6. Legends (1986 – 1987)
The Legends comic series focuses on the events following the Crisis on Infinite Earths saga, and it features a surprising premise where the Justice League meets with Darkseid after his orchestrated plan. He attempts to use his powers to show the people of Earth how dangerous their ‘heroes’ can be, which leads to an incredibly gripping plot with room for tons of plot twists.
This series is quite easy to get through as it’s pretty short compared to many others, only comprising six standard-size issues. Still, the interesting story outlined within this title captures the dynamic and chemistry between Darkseid and the Justice League – setting the stage perfectly for more heated DC titles.
5. Orion (2000 – 2002)
Orion by Walt Simonson follows the relationship between Darkseid and his son, Orion. This story contrasts the saga’s hero and this infamous villain, and it’s been fleshed out for the 21st century based on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Mythology.
This comic series portrays Orion in vivid detail, utilizing visual parallels and some stellar storytelling. Simonson did really well in expanding on Kirby’s iconic release and lore in a canonically faithful manner, making it a truly enjoyable read for just about any DC fan.
4. Legion of Superheroes: The Great Darkness Saga (1982)
The Great Darkness Saga is set in the 30th century of the DC universe, and it focuses on an entirely different set of protagonists named “The Legion of Superheroes”. Darkseid makes a return in this comic series, and heroes have to step up in order to vanquish a darkness thousands of years old – or, at the very least, halt its progress for the time being.
While this comic title is fairly hard to find, it’s worth tracking down as it’s still one of the best Darkseid comics any fan could get into. It flaunts the combined talents of Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen topped off with the mythology of Jack Kirby, with some amazing pacing for a truly enjoyable read.
3. The Forever People (1971)
While the title may seem unassuming, the name “Forever People” points to a group of teens who believe in striking back against Darkseid and Apokolips by spreading peace and love on Earth – or by combining their powers to form the superhero known as “Infinity Man.” Although this is possibly the most passive way to stand up to Darkseid, he takes it really seriously.
They embody everything that Darkseid despises and wishes to destroy – free will and free thinking. This comic title is crucial for fans to understand his true nature and motives, showing that he isn’t interested in crime as much as he is in ridding the world of joy, love, hope, and freedom.
2. New Gods (1971)
New Gods is a favorite read for many DC enthusiasts, focusing on the beings of New Genesis in contrast to that of Apokolips, who live in the Fourth World outside of normal time and space. Darkseid ignited a lengthy conflict between the two planets, leading to some epic and high-risk encounters.
Jack Kirby often created a premise where Darkseid would control events from a distance without really getting his hands dirty or taking enemies on with brute force – as seen with his “Fourth World.” While some fans believe this trait has held him back, most DC fans feel that this approach and personality sets Darkseid apart from other villains.
1. Justice League: The Darkseid War (2015 – 2016)
Justice League: The Darkseid War is possibly the most well-loved DC comic focusing on Darkseid, alongside a few other titles. It focuses on a more seasoned Justice League as they go up against the timeless villain as well as Darkseid’s illegitimate daughter, Grail.
Epic clashes and encounters unfold as the team sees themselves on Apokolips where they essentially become Gods. It provides great insight as to how important Darkseid is to the universe as a whole, as opposed to simply being a standout villain for the Justice League or other DC characters.
That’s everything there is to know about the best Darkseid comics that all DC fans should read, with stats thanks to the DC Database. Although Darkseid is complex, these comics allow insight into his motives and true powers – it may be tempting to simply dive into the works of Jack Kirby, but some of the other titles mentioned on this list may be a better starting point for new readers simply trying to get their heads around Darkseid as a character.
What’s your favorite DC Comics series or issue featuring Darkseid? Let us know in the comments below!