Who would have thought that becoming a god would be such a hollow victory? – Thanos
Just like Thanos, Darkseid was inevitable. Superheroes, regardless of the universe that they call home, need a reason to exist.
They need an all-powerful enemy to fight, one that pushes them to their absolute limits and forces them to discover who they really are when faced with overwhelming adversity.
After all, victory snatched from the jaws of defeat in the last moments of sure and absolute failure, when all hope seems lost is the sweetest triumph of all.
And if we’re honest, it’s what makes reading comics so much fun and the movies based on the superheroes and villains of the Marvel and DC universes such a wild and crazy ride.
We know that the good guys are going to win, but it’s the way that the mediums carry us to, and over the finishing line that makes us fans.
No victory has ever been as hard-fought, or difficult for the superheroes of either the DC or Marvel universes as the ones that they stole from both Darkseid and Thanos.
While they both fulfill similar roles in their respective mythologies, one of the questions that has been the subject of furious online and comic book store debate, for longer than we care to remember is, if they ever found themselves on opposing sides, who would walk away from that battle as the winner? Darkseid or Thanos?
The intriguing idea of who would win that fight, also made us reconsider the idea of their respective inevitability, and who realized that an all-powerful villain was necessary to test, and prove the mettle of their legions of superheroes first, DC or Marvel?
In other words, who came first, Darkseid or Thanos?
And Unto This… Darkseid
Darkseid was created by none other than the king of comics himself, Jack Kirby.
Following his time at Marvel, and during his time at DC, Kirby created the monstrous, imposing Darkseid to serve as the main antagonist in his legendary Fourth World epic.
But given the scope of Kirby’s vision for the character, and the role that he would eventually go on to play in the DC universe, his debut was relatively low-key.
Darkseid first appeared in a cameo in the pages of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134, which first hit the streets in November 1970, before making his devastating debut in the first issue of Forever People which was published a few months later in February 1971.
A being devoid of mercy or compassion, the Lord of Apokolips exists for one reason and one reason alone, to strip every sentient being in the creation of their free will and to rule over them their lord and master.
And to be fair to the monster who would be King, being one of Kirby’s pantheon of New Gods, he was born to rule, just maybe not the way he wanted to, that ended up making him the Justice League’s greatest enemy and one of Superman’s deadliest foes.
Then Came Thanos
We may as well just cut straight to the chase, Thanos didn’t make his four-color debut until two years later when he appeared in The Invincible Iron Man #55, which means that Darkseid beat him to the comic book punch by two years.
It’s been suggested that Thanos’ creator Jim Starlin was influenced by Kirby’s New Gods when he created Thanos and that he retroactively modeled the character to look more imposing and to be more like Darkseid.
It’s also more than a little fitting given that Thanos’ first appearance was in the pages of an Iron Man book, that Iron Man was ultimately responsible for his death in Endgame, and is almost as though the character was always supposed to follow a circular destiny.
Like Darkseid, Thanos, being born an Eternal on Titan, was blessed with incredible power that was corrupted by his love for Lady Death, to who he dedicated his rampage across the universe and “greatest achievement” in the Infinity Gauntlet (the four-color story that Infinity War and Endgame ade loosely based on) in an attempt to win her favor.
It was his actions during his early life as a freebooter and pirate who destroyed his homeworld while still being written by Starlin, that earned Thanos the nickname, the Mad Titan.
One of the most formidable, and unpredictable beings in the Marvel Universe, he has been and remains (Thanos has died before and managed to return to the land of the living, and he’ll almost certainly do it again) one of the greatest threats that Earth’s mightiest heroes have ever faced.
Thanos Versus Darkseid – The Battle Of The Gods
Trying to decide, based purely on comic book lore and their cinematic appearances (granted, Thanos gets a lot more screen time than Darkseid, who only really made his presence felt in a small, but crucial role in the Snyder cut of Justice League) is a tough call.
If they were armed with their respective weapons of choice, the Anti-Life Equation and the Infinity Gauntlet fitted with all six stones, the battle would belong to Darkseid who would merely have to think his opponent out of existence before Thanos had the chance to snap his fingers.
However, if they were stripped of all their weapons, and left to fight on a remote moon, as they both bested the strongest champions of their respective universes when they fought them (Darkseid has defeated Superman and Thanos beat both Thor and the Hulk in Infinity War and Captain Marvel in Endgame), it would be a fight for the ages, and as hard as it would be to predict an outright winner, if we had to bet on who would win, we’d put our money on Thanos.
He has sacrificed more than Darkseid to fulfill his ultimate ambition and would be willing to do whatever it takes, including giving his own life, to ensure victory.
The Final Word
We know that it’s a contentious decision and that there will be those of you who disagree with us, and you’re absolutely right to do so because trying to decide who would win in the war of the gods is almost impossible.
And the only thing that can guide that decision is faith, trust, and a little bit of comic book dust.